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-   -   Good Inexpensive Phones (http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8404)

dfkt 01-23-2007 01:36 PM

Good Inexpensive Phones
If you're looking for decent phones on a budget (less than $30), you might try some of these:

  • AKG K 24 P/K 26 P - K24 is semi-open, with bright sound. K26 is closed design with very heavy bass and good isolation (can be modded for less bass and better overall sound). Both are foldable.
  • JVC HA-S150-BN "Flats" - Good bass, decent clarity, amazing price (can be found for less than $10).
  • Koss UR20 - Closed design, somewhat isolating. Good bass.
  • Panasonic RP-HTX7 - Closed design, slightly isolating. Balanced sound, good resolution. Nice retro design, comes in five colors.
  • Philips HP460 - Closed design, somewhat isolating. Foldable. Fairly balanced, clean sound.
  • Sennheiser HD 201 / HD 202 - Closed design, somewhat isolating. HD 201 is circum-aural, HD 202 is supra-aural. The HD 201 sound better when played through a stronger amplifier.
  • Sennheiser PX 100 - Open design, balanced sound, foldable headband, small form factor. Might cost a little more than $30, but they're some of the best inexpensive phones out there. Check out Capn's review.

In-ear phones
  • AKG K 14 P - Not much bass (more than Sennheiser MX, however), good mids and treble for the price, decent soundstage, inline volume control, winding case.
  • Beyerdynamic DTX-20 - Balanced sound, good soundstage.
  • Sennheiser MX 400 / MX 450 / MX 500 - Not much bass, good mids and treble for the price, decent soundstage. The MX-500 have inline volume control. All three come with a nice winding case.
  • Sony MDR-E818LP - Better bass than the Sennheisers.
  • Yuin PK 3 - Probably the best earbuds you can get in that price range... for $50, not $30, unfortunately. Check out this review.

Clip-on, neckband, streetstyle, etc.
  • Koss KSC55 - Neckband style.
  • Koss KSC75 - Clip-on style, good bass, mids, and treble. One of the best sounding $10 phones available (can be modded for more treble, which I personally find unnecessary). Also, for those who don't like clip-ons, they can be modded to be over the head cans.
  • Sennheiser PMX 60 - Neckband style.

Disclaimer: I do not know every phone listed here personally - some information is gathered from some reliable sources on the net. In this thread I only recommend phones where a lot of people agree upon good sound quality for a low price.

(This thread is a work in progress... feel free to contribute!)

a12ctic 01-23-2007 03:31 PM

Am I the only one who loves the Koss Spark Plugs?

JDGAFFLIN 01-23-2007 03:33 PM


Originally Posted by a12ctic (Post 59873)
Am I the only one who loves the Koss Spark Plugs?

Yes. :D As long as you enjoy them though, it's all good, right?

Tobey 01-24-2007 02:41 PM

Sony MDR-V150 - Closed, somewhat isolating. Excellent bass and mids. Highs leave something to be desired... but for $12 you can't complain!

EDIT: Apparently you can complain. After reading all the negative reviews, I'm taking back my recommendation. I'm hoping Sony was just using better drivers back in 2005, when I bought my pair. Otherwise, maybe I should quit reviewing audio equipment...

Look away, nothing to see here folks.

dfkt 01-24-2007 03:18 PM

Thanks Tobey, but I'm not sure if I should recommend them, seeing that you can get other ones for about the same price - and based on these opinions:


JDGAFFLIN 01-24-2007 03:21 PM

The Creative EP-630's are on sale for $19.99 at the Creative website. US customers only, however. That sounds like a solid deal.

Yep, I think Im going to get the Creative EP-630's. From what Ive read, at $19.99, they are a good deal!!

dfkt 01-24-2007 03:55 PM

Yeah, they may not have exactly the same drivers as the CX300 (12mm vs. 8.5mm drivers, AFAIK), but they sure get good reviews. For that price you can't go wrong.

juzzyp 01-25-2007 03:24 AM

Sony MDR-EX71SL In Ear Headphones - Really bright detailed sound, good bass, need some running in but after a few hours use a really good sound.

TheMaEstro 01-25-2007 09:08 AM

Three questions, that I couldn't find sufficient answers through the search forums:

1. Has anyone tried any of the panasonic earphones?
2. Can any of the in-ear canal phones allow you to hear ambient noise as much as regular buds? Someone else asked this, but not many clear answers....I need to hear conversations without lowering volume or removing
3. Do the foam/rubber plugs wear out easily? Has anyone ever ordered replacements?


dfkt 01-25-2007 09:13 AM

1. I only know of absolutely terrible sounding Panasonic earbuds. The $100 Panasonic HJE70 should be good, however.
2. The V-Moda Vibe does not isolate very much, you can hear conversations without taking them out of your ears. But they're closer to the $80-100 category (but worth every penny).
3. Silicone plugs should last forever and are cleanable. Foam plugs get unhygienic rather quick and don't provide any advantages over silicone, IMO.

dfkt 01-25-2007 09:31 AM

Here's a nice link for phones under $40: http://www.headphone.com/guide/by-budget/under-40/ (even if there are $60 phones in their "under $40" category... :rolleyes:)

Headroom usually doesn't use marketing speech and nonsense... even if they have to sell their phones their reviews are rather spot-on.

They don't offer inexpensive IEMs, however - only headphones, neckband phones and earbuds.

Mp3UndergroundFan 01-27-2007 10:21 AM

dfkt, will any of those "cheap" phones work well the Cowon D2 which has a maximum output of 74mW@16Ω? (Am I talking about "driving?")

Thanks! :)

dfkt 01-27-2007 10:23 AM

About every phone (except electrostats and the K1000) will work with the D2. I'm sure it will (almost) drive most high-end 300 Ohms phone with ease.

The only problem I see with very sensitive phones (under 20 Ohms, more than 110dB/mW) that you can only use the first 20% of the volume scale before your head explodes... ;)

The D2 might be the perfect player for the HD 201/202 - it should drive those to perfection. (But so will your i6, too.)

Mp3UndergroundFan 01-27-2007 08:01 PM

And they're under $30? Get out! :)

Captain Star 01-27-2007 08:02 PM

How would I manage to get some Creative EP-630 earphones in Canada?

dfkt 01-27-2007 08:07 PM


Originally Posted by Mp3UndergroundFan (Post 62403)
And they're under $30? Get out! :)

Too good to be true? ;)

See if you can try them in some store...

Mp3UndergroundFan 01-27-2007 08:08 PM

Have you visited Creative's website?

Mp3UndergroundFan 01-27-2007 08:11 PM

dfkt, in re: HD 201/202 you say: "Closed design, somewhat isolating." Is there such a thing as open design? If so, does it mean that others can hear what your listening to?

dfkt 01-27-2007 08:12 PM


Originally Posted by Mp3UndergroundFan (Post 62411)
Have you visited Creative's website?

Lol, yeah... the Aurvana might be the most overpriced piece of crap next to Bose phones... :p

dfkt 01-27-2007 08:16 PM


Originally Posted by Mp3UndergroundFan (Post 62412)
dfkt, in re: HD 201/202 you say: "Closed design, somewhat isolating." Is there such a thing as open design? If so, does it mean that others can hear what your listening to?

Most headphones are open, meaning they have a mesh or something on the outside and not a solid "wall".

"Open" indeed means that others will hear the sound - and you will hear the noises from the outside.

I thought it's good mentioning more of the closed phones - so one can enjoy the music in noisy spaces some more. And save your ears in the process, since you don't have to turn the volume to eleven to get a good sound.

One of the most common disadvantages of closed phones is that they don't provide a good soundstage, meaning the instruments are not located as 3-dimensional in space as with open phones. But isolation is more important than soundstage when you're on the move, IMO.

If you want the best in open design, don't look further than the $10 KSC75. ;)

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