Do you hear big differences in different price ranges of headphones?

So, from another thread here where we were discussing equalizers and related options for headphones, I realized that I rarely make decisions about headphones based on their sound quality. With a few obvious exceptions (obvious distortion, static, etc), I can’t tell the difference enough to care - especially in workout headphones.

My decision about which headphones and style to wear basically comes down to comfort. And there is very little consistency around what people consider to be comfortable when talking about headphones in my experience.

How many people here can hear the sound quality different between a $30 set of headphones and a $100 pair, and appreciate it enough to be willing to spend the difference?


Between a $30 and a $100 pair? Absolutely.

I would say the more money you spend between $30-$200 has a big enough different for anyone that more money (in general, obviously exceptions- looking at you AirPods) is better, and worth it.

Now above $200 there are many people who really wouldn’t hear a difference in quality, or have other reasons to spend the money.

1 Like

Higher the price, the product does have a better value point, however the final result is how the user feels and experiences the audio output… even most expensive product might feel crappy for different users.

Apple Airpods are great true wireless earphones (at least Apple claims it), but I feel these dont give a great experience with airpods falling out of the ears, with their fit one size for all theory

Also they don’t sound very good. Those and Samsung buds :thinking:

When I wear Airpods, i get the “transparency feature”, not because of the audio pass through, but because these loose fit on the ears, which is what I hate the most about them… have reduced usage a lot except while i use private listening on Roku

I’ve never sprung for expensive wireless ear buds, but my wife is a musician and a few years ago I bought her a really expensive set of in ears that she wears on stage. She absolutely loves them, and would never dream of going back to $30-$100 pair of headphones. However, around the house while she listens to podcasts and some songs, she uses a cheaper pair just because she tries to protect the nice ones.

I’ve always opted for a cheap pair because I was always worried about them getting damaged. However, I now produce videos as part of my job and have to ensure that the sound I create on a laptop is perfect in highs and lows before I play it on a massive sound system for 1,000 people to hear.

Those really cheap ones are lousy.

If the more expensive are tuned with an eq, they sound OK.
I would say most human ears are not able to hear really nuances, it is more imagination.
The more expensive the better MUST be the sound.

The problem may be that there are substantial differences in headphones at any price point ($30 headphones can be junk or a steal, so can $100 ones). And most of us only try a pair or two until we find ones that are good enough.

I have never found purely in ear head phones comfortable or secure, so I need the ear loop. I haven’t found many that have that feature and don’t sound good enough for me.

I’ve sorta been wondering the same thing. I’m excited to be able to compare the Liberty Neos and the 2 Pros soon.

For me price doesn’t always mean a better product. I do find that in the 30 to 100 dollar range there is a difference in quality. If there’s a big difference such as getting better base and a better fit I would purchase true wireless in the 100 range.

However, over-the-ear headphones are a little more difficult to justify pricing. I plan to pay around 80 for a good pair. I need a large ear cup that fits tight so I can use them at the gym and out doing landscaping projects. Then they need to be made well and sound good doing it.

I got a pair of Soudcore Life 2 and wasn’t impressed with it. They were to big and fell off my head whenever I leaned over. I gave those to my wife and got a pair of the Space NC and love them. I could tell the difference. Then a competitor sent me a pair of their over the ears to test and they are half the price and they are made almost as well and sound almost as good. I still prefer the Space NC over the other brand, but I use the cheaper as my everyday ones that I can trash and won’t be upset if I have to replace them.

I got the chance to test out the JBL Under Armour Project Rock over the ears and can understand why they are so much. If I had the money and wanted to waste it, I would get a pair of these.

1 Like

I think at a certain point you start paying for the quality of the product, plastic or metal pieces, instead of the sound.

My biggest fault with some earbuds is when the wiring is flat instead of being round. I have not had great experience with flat wired earbuds.


Interesting. The headphones I use most often have a flat ribbon between the two ends (the phone connectivity is bluetooth), and I haven’t noticed issues there.

1 Like

LOL I guess I had been lucky, not. I had some wired Beats with the flat ribbon and they did not seem to last that long. Also another pair or two of others brands and it was about the same. I may have to try to give them another chance. I am not hard on my earbuds. So I am not sure what is happening.

Now I will take responsibility to the handful of wired earbuds that I have forgot to take out of pants only to have them messed up from the washer and dryer LOLOL

1 Like

There are different kind of cables at the Sennheiser MX I have to use (no BT).
The plastic ones became stiff when it is cold so not very comfortable.

Both earbuds are not very expensive and the sound is OK. I got these in 2017