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Best headphones under £50 to buy in 2015 - Expert Reviews

"Our review of the top 10 best headphones under £ 50 - we rate the best budget headphones you can buy."

Top 10 Best Headphones Under £50

SoundMAGIC ES18 / ES18S

SoundMAGIC ES18 In Ear Isolating Earphones - Black & RedSoundMAGIC have made a fantastic name for themselves within the budget in-ear market, no wonder they get on the list of top 10 best headphones under £50. The E18 is a great example of just how they do it – designing products which offer exceptional sound quality for the prices asked.

The ES18 has bass which is warm but not overblown, mids which are fluid and engaging, and highs which are slightly recessed. Suitable for those who find percussion and cymbals generally strident and fatiguing.

Also available as the ES18S with a microphone and button for answering/hanging up calls.

Hifiheadphones verdict:

For the asking price these are difficult to beat; try the famous SoundMAGIC sound for under £20!

 

DUNU DN-12 

Dunu DN-12The DN-12 is a sturdily built IEM with solid metallic housings and a good solid sound also.

Bass is deep and punchy without being boomy, midrange is slightly recessed with high frequencies well balanced; there’s a slight roll-off for those who like a warmer sound signature; normal for IEMs of this price.

A very well put together earphone with a sound signature that is sure to please.

Hifiheadphones verdict:

A great IEM for the price, the DN-12 gives great weight to music and will suit those who like a fun sound.

 

FIDUE A31

Fidue A31sAnother entrant in the IEM market is FIDUE, and their range starts with the fantastic FIDUE 31 – the capsules are tiny and the sound is big!

Good warm bass and good mid-range detail – there is a slight roll off in the treble region for those who like a warmer presentation.

The earphones are lightweight and tough, perfect for running or in the gym.  Ear tips are designed to keep the earphones in the ear and cables can be worn over the ear for a more secure fit.

Also fitted with a lightweight microphone in case you need to take calls.

Hifiheadphones verdict:

A great budget choice – narrower nozzles may make this a good choice for those with fit issues with other IEMs.  Perfect for sports use.

 

 

Audiofly AF33M

The entry-level AF33 from Audiofly gives a fantastic sound, and the AF33M version gives added functionality with smartphones, offering an answer button for those calls.

Good bass which is tight and well controlled, midrange with a slight recess and treble which has liveliness and sparkle without being fatiguing. When we first tried these we thought that there was a mistake - these sound like IEMs which cost more than £50.

A very capable earphone with a grown up sound signature without the boom, boom of some other budget earphones. Very musical.

Hifiheadphones verdict:

Many are getting a kick out of Australian firm Audiofly’s range in more than one way. The engaging and involving sound of these IEMs will certainly get you waltzing.

 

Sennheiser HD201

sennheiser-hd-201Sennheiser’s entry-level full size, the HD201, is incredibly cheap for what you get – anyone looking for a good sound without wanting to part with much cash must be tempted by the HD201.

Good but not bloaty bass, a clear midrange and a slightly forward treble make these superb all rounders. Fantastic for detail, you might hear things with these which are missed on pricier headphones.

This are a ideal everyday headphone that won't break the bank.

Hifiheadphones verdict:

Probably the best full-size headphone you’ll find for under £20, hands down.

 

Koss PortaPro

Koss PortaPro Foldable On Ear Headphones – Black BeautyThe Koss Porta Pro may not be an obvious choice for the top 10 best portable headphones, it is likely older than most of its current users; introduced in the early 1980s, it pre-dates most other lightweight designs and has a real retro charm.

The sound is still very current however, as the PortaPro’s sound signature suits dance music, rap and anything the user can throw at them.

A good level of bass and midrange gives a good grunt with realistic body. The highs are a little rolled off but not to the point where it’s a problem, indeed the roll-off makes them less likely to fatigue the wearer if dance music is played.

Hifiheadphones verdict:

For the money this is amazing value – get yourself a design classic which has stood the test of time.

 

SoundMAGIC P21 / P21S

SoundMAGIC P21 Portable On Ear HeadphoneThis portable is certainly a fun-sounding headphone – it also looks fun and feels it too!

They are very light and are a perfect travelling companion when folded into the semi-rigid case.Bass is present but not overblown, midrange is clear and involving, and highs are revealing but not overbearing.The flat cable does not tangle and the 90 degree jack is perfect for placing your music source in a pocket or bag.

If you need mobile phone compatibility try the P21S fitted with microphone and call control button for taking phone calls.

Hifiheadphones verdict:

Look no further if you’re planning to explore! This is the perfect travelling companion for the journey to another continent, or the local park!

 

Grado iGrado

grado igradoGrado are well known for their trademark wide open and airy sound, and the iGrado follows in this theme. Designed to sit over the ear with a neckband keeping things in place, the iGrado gives a wonderfully natural sound.

They are wide open in design, meaning that there is no isolation. Others will hear your music, and you will be aware of the environment around you. This makes the sound much more realistic in terms of soundstage and imaging, but you may get some odd looks if these are worn on the train, for example.

Hifiheadphones verdict:

The iGrado is very popular with joggers and those who prefer to be aware of the sounds around them, also they are a great low-cost upgrade for anyone wanting a headphone specifically for use in the home.

 

Fostex TH7-BB

Fostex TH-7BB Semi Open Back Studio Headphones - BlackFor its price, this versatile Fostex model is great value and is great for enjoying music as well as a whole host of professional applications.

Imaging and soundstage are impressive thanks to the semi-open design, but isolation is not lost.

Bass goes low but remains tight, mids are clear and natural, highs are detailed and not rolled off, but not too bright.

The impendence and sensitivity may require a headphone amp for portable uses.

Hifiheadphones verdict:

A good rugged all-rounder for both in and out of doors, the TH7-BB is a great choice for those on a budget.

 

Grado SR60i

grado-sr60Another of Grado’s great value headphones, the SR60i is much like its elder sibling the SR80i, but may be more appropriate for enjoying older recordings or music with less than perfect sound quality. As the SR60i is not as bright sounding as the SR80i, they may be better or you if you find that you get fatigued after listening for a while.

The SR60 has been around for 20 years, which in the fast-moving world of electronic gadgets seems like a lifetime. Apart from the odd tweak, why change something which works so well?

Hifiheadphones verdict:

The look, feel and quality of the SR60i is magnificent for the asking price; why not get yourself a slice of a headphone legend? If you like details and a more forward or bright presentation, consider the SR80i.

 

About Shaun Gostelow

Shaun is co-founder of hifiheadphones.co.uk and spends most of his time dealing with the business side of running the store, but still loves listening to music with headphones just the same as ever.
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One thought on “Best headphones under £50 to buy in 2015 - Expert Reviews”

  • Hogni

    A very nice list you have here. Some of these headphones are absolutely great, considering their low price tag. My Sennheiser HD201 broke a few weeks ago, after serving me well for a long time. Can definitely recommend them.

    Reply
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