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Headphones, best affordable
  • Hi,

    I thought I'd start a thread about the monitoring headphones. I need ones that I can plug into my Zoom H1. Which ones are good value for the money? I would love to buy SONY MDR-7506, but those cost £105 (the real ones, not Chinese counterfeit). So which headphones would you recommend for sound monitoring for no-budget kind of film-making?

    Must be cheap, but relatively good quality, like those cheap Chinese mics.

    Any advice?

  • 59 Replies sorted by
  • Superlux HD-668 B, 29 € - great value for the money. I would not recommend to go for cheaper headphones.

  • Grado SR60i.

  • @peaceonearth

    Yep, you could find my old topic recommending them. Problem is that they are semi open, so best is to select from closed ones if you do not work at home.

  • Same for Grado SR60i, they are semi open.

  • Thanks @peaceonearth , I watch a review of Superlux HD-668B. Apparently, they are pretty hard on certain ranges, so I might need an equaliser. But I want to just plug into Zoom H1 and monitor what is being recorded. Also the sound isolation is not all that good (so the review says), and I will often be recording in the streets.

    @Mr_Moore , any specific model of AKG, or are you recommening all of AKG headphones?

    @Gabo Grado SR60i seems okey, but at £90 on amazon, I might as well add another £20 and get the Sony MDR-7506

    @Vitaliy_Kiselev and @krotal , what do you mean by "semi open"? and which ones are the "closed" ones?

    I also wonder if anyone had any experience with those cheap Chinese counterfeight Sony MDR-7506 headphones from ebay for $30. Are they any good in terms of performance (sound quality, external sound isolation), or are they just designed to look like Sony and that's it?

  • Indestructible Beyer DT 250s ( and if you do destruct em you can buy individual bits and not have to throw them away!)

  • @kronstadt :Semi open headphones are not meant to fully isolate yourself from the environnement, you can hear almost like if you were not wearing headphones. It may be problematic when you're outside.

  • @krotal thanks for explaining. Then I will definitely need "closed" ones to get 100% sound isolation.

    @soundgh2 Beyer DT250s runs at £130 - that's too expensive for me.

    The purpose of this post is to see if there is some miraculously cheap headphones out there, that offer an incredible value for money, like those cheap Chinese mics or, indeed, like the hacked GH13 and GH2 do.

    If not, I'm still tempted to go with the industry standard Sony MDR-7506 (£91 on ). Is there anything out there that is beter value for the money.

  • Some say KRK KNS 6400. The company originally make Studio Monitors. Also on if you like to shop there:

  • for cheap ones I would get a pair of Sennheiser HD 201. No they wont last forever, but they are 25 dollars

  • AKG K44!

  • @oscillian what you said - cheap closed and cheerful :)

  • For the first time I didn't spend multiple evenings on deciding what item I should buy. I just went to bhphotovideo, chose headphones and sorted by "top rated". And then picked up the first item which was relatively cheap. This is what I got... time will show if I did any good.

  • Thank you all for the input! Really loving the community effort in trying to find cheap and good solutions.

    I've been reading and watching the reviews of all the headphones suggested here. So far I'm inclined to buy Sennheiser HD 201 (£15.99) suggested by @jodydb (thanks!) or AKG K44 (£21) suggested by @oscillian and @soundgh2 (cheers!)

    What I'm looking for is: A) Sound Quality (must be able to hear exactly what is being recorded, and not the more "beautiful" version than it really is) B) Sound Isolation (must be perfect or nearly perfect) , especially in a busy street or forest or seaside environments. C) Comfort (not that important, but these will be worn on location shoots for many hours)

    Has anyone used these headphones? How would you rate each one of these in terms of the above criteria? If you were to choose between these two which one would you pick?

  • Or try some in ears - best isolation you can get - I have a few pairs of Etymotics - flat as a pancake and you can't hear anyhting external with them in - ike them better than the more expensive Shure's that now sit in a drawer at home.

  • As I type this I am listening to MDR-7506's I bought off a chinese ebay seller for $33 shipped and they aren't counterfeit. I own another pair of MDR-7506's bought from B&H for $100+ and they are identical, just great sounding, professional industry-standard headphones... The obvious choice. Here's the actual link:

  • @shrigg

    First, link is to ended auction. Cheapest BIN is $54.5 that I see.

    Second, getting counterfeight MDR-7506 is very easy on ebay. You can find big topics depicting exact differencies. About >90% of all Chinese and HK ones are not original.

  • @shrigg and @Vitaliy_Kiselev does this look like a counterfeit ?

    And even knowing that they are counterfeits, would they still sound as the real thing?

  • I have a few pairs of Etymotics

    I suggest also look at various Chinese balanced armature headphones


    Answer to both questions - no idea. Buy via official dealers.

  • for cheap headphones, your not going to get full iso or flat monitoring abilities. Compared to my hd650s the hd 201 are poor, but theres hundreds of dollars difference and custom cables. If im doing something outside I dont want a pair of cans that cost that much due to risk, I use the hd 280 pro or Sony MDR-V700DJ outside. (they fold up and seem to never break). My first non terrible pair was the hd 201s which still get limited use.

    A- too subjective, but these are not very hyped or have eq bumps for great sounding playback, I would say semi flat, flattest for <30$. With any decent headphone/monitor flat or not, time spent listening will reveal its hyped/lacking parts and allow you to understand what its playing back.

    B- not complete isolation but defiantly useable in those environments.

    C- good, they have light padding, but upper ear may get alittle sore after a few hours if you dont have tiny ears

    MDR-7506 would be a clear step up, dont see anymore for $33 though, I would have got another pair

  • @Vitaliy_Kiselev

    I know it's ended, I posted it just to show the seller I had good luck with.


    As I said before, I A/B compared them to my other "real" ones and they look, feel and sound the same. What more do I need? I think they are genuine, just sold out the back door from the factory where the official Sonys are made.

    If you're afraid of getting stuck with fakes, then I would recommend Sony MDR-V6's. Very close sonically and usually available for substantially less then MDR-7506's.

  • I have tried all the top of the line headphones from Stax, Sennheiser, AKG, Grado, etc. and say that in the US, the Grado SR60 for $79 gets my vote as an audiophile value headphone.

  • A) pretty flat and unflattering. B) The K44s aren't like a proper set of DJ cans when it comes to isolation. In very noisy environments I use my Creative E-630s instead. C) lightweight and comfortable enough for extended periods.

    Compared to the K 701 they hold their ground considering the price ;)

  • @kronstadt The Sony MDR-7506's do have a somewhat hyped bottom end. However this is not a bad thing as long as you are aware of it. It makes it easier to identify low end rumble when location recording such as boompole handling noise or air currents which helps in determining how much high pass filtering to apply. As the 7506's are an industry standard you will find them everywhere. It's important to know your gear and how it sounds as this will effect your decision making process. Chances are if you continue to work in the business someone will eventually shove some 7506's in your hand to use on a job. I would just bite the bullet and get a pair of genuine 7506's from an authorised dealer. Don't screw around with fake Chinese look-a-like shit or you will just be wasting your money. Buy right, buy once!