Best Headphones Under $500 in 2024

Immerse yourself in the world of audio excellence without breaking the bank!

Niya Andrew • November 30, 2023

Top Pick

Focal Listen Wireless

Focal Listen
  • Balanced, detailed sound
  • Comfortable design
  • Long battery life
  • Durable construction
  • Stylish design
  • No active noise cancellation
  • No multipoint Bluetooth
  • No auto play/pause
  • Control scheme could be better

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay HX

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay HX
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Powerful active noise cancellation
  • Comfortable design
  • Long battery life
  • Stylish design
  • High price
  • Some users find the sound to be too bright
  • Not the best for working out

Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2

Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2
  • Detailed sound with a wide soundstage
  • Best active noise cancellation
  • Comfortable & premium design
  • Long battery life
  • User-friendly controls
  • Expensive
  • IPX7 rating (not even water-resistant)
  • No aptX Low Latency codec

HiFiMan Edition XS

HiFiMan Edition XS - A Link Between Mid-Fi and Hi-Fi
  • Wide soundstage and balanced frequency
  • Made of high-quality materials
  • Proprietary planar magnetic drivers
  • Comfortable & lightweight design
  • Powerful bass
  • A bit on the high side for mid-fi headphones

Apos Caspian

Apos Caspian
  • Unique tuning
  • Strong bass and lower mids
  • High-resolution, low mud
  • Handsome design and wood cups
  • Low amplification power requirements
  • Adds its colored signature to everything
  • Not ideal for everyone

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless Multi-System Gaming Headset
  • Dual connectivity
  • Easy-to-use base station
  • Fully customizable audio
  • Comfortable elasticated suspension band
  • Supports Hi-Res Audio
  • Expensive
  • No active noise cancellation
  • Microphone quality is average
  • Limited Bluetooth range

Sony WF-1000XM5

Sony WF-1000XM5 The Best Truly Wireless Bluetooth Noise Canceling Earbuds
  • Industry-leading noise cancellation
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Comfortable & water-resistant
  • Long battery life
  • Improved call quality
  • Bulky design
  • Touch controls can be sensitive
  • No aptX Low Latency codec

Although there is no shortage of headphones under $500, not all are high quality. Although many offer great functionality, our customers increasingly ask if better alternatives are available. When shopping for headphones at this price range, our number one recommendation is to focus on brands that make headphones for audiophiles.

You get the best sound and build quality for the money when you purchase headphones made by a high-end brand, even though they cost thousands of dollars. These headphones share the same technology, materials, craftsmanship, and comfort as their more expensive flagship models.

We focus on world-class headphones under $500 from Focal, HiFi, Bang & Olufsen, Apos, SteelSeries, Bowers & Wilkins, and Sony. These brands also make incredible headphones for more critical listening.

 


The Best Headphone Under $500 in 2024

Focal Listen Wireless Over-Ear Headphones

Focal Listen
Type: Closed-back wireless headphones
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.1, aptX compatible
Frequency Response: 5Hz - 22kHz
Impedance: 32 ohms
Sensitivity: 105dB/1mW at 1kHz
Drivers: 40mm aluminum-magnesium alloy

While the 40 mm mylar and titanium dynamic driver in the Focal Listen Wireless isn’t identical to that found in Focal’s most costly models, it shares some of the same technology. With bass that drops down to 15 Hz and a high-end extension that reaches 22 kHz, you have a reasonably wide frequency range.

These headphones under 500 are fabulous for critical listening on the go, thanks to their closed-back design, which contains the bass and makes it tight and punchy. If you prefer the ease of aptX over Bluetooth, then these are a great choice. Overall, the Listen offers a neutral sound profile for its price range, with a bit of emphasis on the low-end, making bass-heavy songs seem crisp and clear.

Listening for almost two hours revealed details; however, some poorly recorded music had fatigue-inducing mix difficulties. The GW-100 wireless headphones by Grado are a great option if you listen to music more casually throughout the day.


1. Bang & Olufsen Beoplay HX

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay HX
Type: Closed-back, over-ear
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0
Frequency Response: 20 Hz - 22 kHz
Impedance: 30 ohms
Sensitivity: 93 dB SPL/mW
Drivers: 40mm, Neodymium magnets
Battery life: Up to 35 hours with ANC on, Up to 40 hours with ANC off

Before we review these headphones, the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay HX wireless headphones retain their position against the top-tier noise-canceling headphones under 500.

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay HX wireless headphones are a surefire bet if you’re looking for some blatantly luxurious headphones. These wireless headphones offer refined luxury with recyclable aluminum, plush lambskin leather, and supportive memory foam. The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay HX are delightful headphones under 500 because they are soft on the ears, pleasant on the head, and incredibly light (285g). These are comfortable to wear for long periods.

So, apart from the cost, what are the drawbacks? Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the finest noise cancellation. Even though that makes you think twice before purchasing the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay HX, it is still decent and should be manageable.


2. Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones

Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2
Type Over-ear, closed-back
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.2
Frequency Response 10 Hz – 30,000 Hz
Impedance 25 ohms
Sensitivity 112 dB/V
Drivers 2 x 40mm, dynamic

If you’re after a little more musical sound with decent bass and commuting casually or at the office, Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2’s noise cancellation is the best option.

The 800 Series Diamond speakers deployed in Abbey Road Studios were made by the illustrious English high-end speaker manufacturer Bowers & Wilkins, who also employed the same engineers for the B&W PX7 S2.

The noise-cancellation technology worked admirably in an office setting with a lot of background mid-range conversation. The earcups were great at blocking background noise and keeping the music locked in so no one at work could hear us.

Put this aside and focus on the sound production if you like listening to classical, jazz, rock, or any genre that features a lot of organic, natural instruments. For serious listening, the S2 are the top-notch noise-cancelling headphones under 500.


3. HiFiMan Edition XS - A Link Between Mid-Fi and Hi-Fi

HiFiMan Edition XS - A Link Between Mid-Fi and Hi-Fi
Type: Over-ear, open-back
Connectivity: Wired, 3.5mm jack
Frequency Response: 8Hz-50kHz
Impedance: 18Ω
Sensitivity: 92dB
Drivers: Planar magnetic

The HiFiMan Edition XS offers the most technical performance among the headphones under 500 we’ve discussed. The performance here is very similar to, if not identical to, the well-known HiFiMan Ananda when it comes to tasks like instrument separation, imaging, and detail recovery, as opposed to devices like the HD600, Sundara, or R70X.

One of the most comfortable headphones under 500 on this list, thanks to the innovative HiFiMan headband that distributes the headphones’ weight well with minimal clamping and the long ear cup oval design typical of many HiFiMan headphones. The ear cups are exceptionally spacious. While I’m not a massive fan of the Edition XS’s mids and treble, they use a planar magnetic driver, similar to the Sundara, which gives a profound and precise response.

Coming to the sound performance, the mids have an unnaturally heightened quality, particularly between 700 and 2000 Hz, and the mid-treble has a noticeable peak between 12 and 14 kHz, giving the song an unusual sheen.

If you want a more neutral listening experience or are sensitive to the treble, this may not be an issue for you, but it is something to consider if your preferred frequency range is mid-range or headphones with a brighter sound.


4. Apos Caspian

Apos Caspian
Type: Over-ear
Connectivity: Wired
Frequency Response: 5-45,000Hz
Impedance: 33Ω
Sensitivity: 115dB

I was surprised to find out that Caspian would outperform our expectations to such a degree. It’s worth around $500, including the fact that it has a balanced cable and a beautiful carrying case and that the build, comfort, and sound are all almost perfect.

Even while the Caspian aspires for a joyful experience overall, its warm sound profile manages to avoid the drawbacks of classic closed-back headphones with too much bass.

The mid-bass, often ruined by other firms, actually sounds great. The rise is just the correct amount to keep you on the edge of your seat, and the slam is the perfect amount to give the songs the extra body they require without making them sound like your mom’s meatloaf.

So, as long as we are not comparing the pair with the HiFiMan Edition XS–it’s a pair that is neither overly analytical nor highly detailed but just a fun sound.

But? Despite the apparent attempt at being impressive, it functions wonderfully and is adjusted nicely. Personally speaking, the bass is their standout feature and main selling point, as it was executed admirably throughout.


5. SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless Multi-System Gaming Headset

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless Multi-System Gaming Headset
Type: Over-ear, closed-back
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.3
Frequency Response: 10Hz - 22,000Hz
Impedance: 22Ohms
Sensitivity: 93 dB SPL @ 1 kHz
Drivers: 40mm neodymium drivers

The Arctis Nova Pro Wireless is best used with a personal computer. Still, it also includes two USB ports on the base station, so you can hook it up to your PS4 or Xbox (though this will affect the compatibility of the two systems, so be sure to check the headset’s specifications). We found the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless to be the most functional and performant wireless gaming headset, so much so that we had to give it our Editor’s Choice award.

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro headset is the most immersive gaming headphone under 500. It has a boom mic that lets you talk to your coworkers more clearly and a comfortable, secure fit that makes it perfect for long gaming sessions.


6. Sony WF-1000XM5 The Best Truly Wireless Bluetooth Noise Canceling Earbuds

Sony WF-1000XM5 The Best Truly Wireless Bluetooth Noise Canceling Earbuds
Type: In-ear, closed-back
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.3
Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz
Impedance: 16 ohms (1 kHz)
Sensitivity: 105 dB/W (1 kHz)
Drivers: 10 mm dynamic driver

Continuing from the WF-1000XM4, the Truly Wireless earbuds are an improved version of their predecessor, thanks to a few tweaks in design and performance. These high-quality earbuds passively block out much ambient noise thanks to their thinner, more rounded design and memory foam ear tips.

These compact and lightweight earbuds make them ideal for prolonged trips or everyday commutes. They have an ANC system that effectively muffles the low-volume noise from bus engines, and when turned on, they can run nonstop for more than eight hours.

When it comes to exercise and sports, the Sony WF-1000XM5 is tops. Despite lacking stabilization fins, these feather-light headphones under 500 will remain securely placed while you crush those weightlifting reps. Not only that, they’re sturdy and water-resistant (IPX4), so even little drops won’t hurt them. Their extended runtime on a single charge is also more than enough for park runs.


Other Recommendations For Headphones Under 500:

Beats Studio Pro

The Beats Studio Pro is an excellent choice for listeners who want high-quality ANC headphones with excellent sound quality, a comfortable design, and long battery life.

Meze 99 Classics

The Meze 99 Classics are known for their excellent sound quality, stylish design, and comfort. It is a popular choice for audiophiles and casual listeners alike.

Linsoul HarmonicDyne Zeus Elite

The Linsoul HarmonicDyne Zeus Elite headphones are the pinnacle of audiophile sound, delivering an unparalleled listening experience that will transport you to new heights of musical enjoyment.

NEW Bose QuietComfort Ultra

With the QuietComfort Ultra, Bose has taken their noise cancellation to a new level, effectively blocking out ambient noise and providing a truly immersive listening experience.

NDH 20 Studio Monitoring Headphones

NDH 20 was well-received by critics, who praised its mix of old and new material. It was also a commercial success, reaching number one in the German charts.

Devialet Gemini II

These meticulously crafted earbuds deliver a symphony of audiophile excellence, combining cutting-edge technology with Devialet’s renowned acoustic expertise.

Sony INZONE H9

They features 360 Spatial Audio, which uses virtual surround sound to create a realistic and spacious soundscape. The headphones also have active noise cancellation to block distractions and help you focus on your game.

ASTRO Gaming A50 Wireless Headset

This top-of-the-line headset is designed to provide the ultimate audio experience, whether dominating online battles or exploring vast virtual worlds.

FiiO FT5

The FiiO FT5 is a portable Bluetooth DAC and amplifier that delivers exceptional sound quality in a compact and stylish package.

Sennheiser HD1 Wireless Headphones

The Sennheiser HD1 Wireless Headphones are high-end over-ear headphones with excellent sound quality, active noise cancellation, and a comfortable design.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xSTS

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xSTS is a professional streaming headset that combines the legendary studio sound of the ATH-M50x headphones with the clarity of the iconic 20 Series microphones.

Sennheiser Consumer Audio HD 600

Renowned for its exceptional clarity and natural sound reproduction, the Sennheiser HD 600 headphones have long been the gold standard for audiophiles seeking an immersive listening experience.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Best Headphones Under 500:

Are more premium-priced headphones better than headphones under 500?

Headphones that cost a pretty penny aren’t the best option. You can get great value with many inexpensive pairs, even though more expensive ones may have more extraordinary sound or functions. The most fantastic way to locate a pair that fits your needs and budget is to read reviews and compare specifications. Luckily, you’re currently doing just that!

Is a warranty included with wireless headphones under 500?

You’ll be happy to hear that a warranty covering material or quality problems is commonplace on most wireless headphones under $500. Your chosen brand and type of wireless headphones will determine the warranty’s duration and terms.

What are the top wireless headphones under 500?

Choosing the best wireless headphones under 500 is no walk in the park; ultimately, it comes down to personal preference and the specific use case you have in mind. To help you narrow your options, we have compiled a list of the seven top wireless headphones under 500.

What are the top brands of wireless headphones available?

Bose, Sony, and Sennheiser are just a few manufacturers that provide high-quality wireless headphones under 500. You should consider the things we mentioned before when picking out a pair since each brand has advantages and disadvantages that make them suitable for specific situations.

Are wireless headphones under 500 comfortable to wear?

Companies like Bose and Sony have tried to reduce the weight of their high-end over-ear noise-canceling headphones to the absolute minimum because lighter headphones are generally more comfortable to wear for a more extended period.

Can you damage your hearing using wireless headphones under 500?

That is until you keep the volume up for too long. The sweet spot for volume is between 50% and 70%, where you can have an immersive listening experience without damaging your ears.

Would you recommend wireless earbuds or full-size headphones under 500?

Wireless earbuds used to be inferior to top full-size wireless headphones under 500. However, that is now irrelevant. In terms of music quality, noise cancellation, and call quality, some of the best wireless earbuds are on par with full-size ones.

Key Takeaways:

To end this piece, I’d like to single out the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay HX  and the Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless Earbuds as two excellent choices. My top pick for closed-back headphones under 500 is the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay HX. If you’re looking for something more economical, check out our list of the Best Headphones Under $200, $100, $50 or even $20

In my opinion, none of these headphones are a choice you should think twice before buying. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from reviewing them and putting this roundup together, there are more competent options than ever for those looking to get into high-fidelity listening. And even if you already own one of these headphones, there are plenty more to try out that will offer a different flavor without breaking the bank

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