I have always loved listening to music and I keep trying to find ways to improve that experience. During my teen years, I listened to portable FM radios and cassette players before downloading mp3s, eventually switching to streaming from YouTube, Spotify and now Apple Music. It was during the pandemic when I discovered the YouTube channel DankPods, this dude who talks about iPods and music players. He posted videos about headphones and how most of the cheap headphones we use are not very good for audio quality as in they don’t sound to our ears the way the artists intended them to. Most of them are made to be bass heavy and have little to no treble. Thanks to him, I got introduced to the world of audiophile headphones and today I want to write about the headphones I use on a daily basis that are affordable and have amazing audio quality.
Most headphones in the market have decent Mids: where the majority of instruments and most vocals, especially pop songs live. For bass lovers; EDM and dance music enthusiasts there do exist a few headphones with enhanced bass. Rarely do I see headphones with good treble frequencies. That’s where we are with regular headphones in the market today. Then there is a whole other class of headphones often referred to as Audiophile headphones or Studio headphones which are crafted with the best engineering to reproduce the most accurate sound that the artists intended to be heard by listeners. Here are my favorites that I use everyday.
These headphones are semi-open back which means they have holes in the back of the ear cups to let some outside noise in and bleed some music out. This actually makes for a richer experience where you feel the sound coming from all around you since it has a bit more space. Ideal to be used indoors in relatively quiet rooms for all genres. These have a very neutral sound signature which means there is no extra bass added and the music sounds pretty close to what the artists intended it to be. The comfort is also top notch, they cover my ears completely. The cable is quite long which can be a bit annoying if you walk around the house as much as I do (I just loop it around my neck like a scarf). Perfect for listening indoors with little to no noise around you. Best experienced with music that has a lot of instruments in it like Jazz or Classical. You will notice the instruments all around you, sort of a movie theater experience. I love these and hope they last super long thanks to the sturdy build quality. These are priced quite cheap for the quality they offer. There is a pack of 2 on Amazon that provide an even better value for money if you want to buy with a friend. Link in the image above.
These in ear monitors (IEMs) are ideal for use outdoors. They have some enhancement to the bass and the treble and, but for a good reason. You see, when outdoors, most of the low end and high end of music get drowned out due to outdoor sounds. Since these will amplify those two, when out and about, they sound quite balanced like the Samson SR850s. The metal casing for the earphones can be a bit heavy when you start using them but eventually you will get used to it. Plus they have a mic and button for play/pause music and accept/reject calls. If you have a phone that supports 3.5mm headphone jack, that is. Or if you are committed to the dongle life. Perfect for portable music listening when out and about, these are priced similar to the Samson. Link in the image above.
For those of us not committed to the dongle life and living a sad life without a headphone jack on their phones, there is hope! I was longing for the AirPods Pro but I just could not justify spending that large amount of money for something that could potentially fall off when outdoors. Initally I used Boult Tru5ive Pro truly wireless earphones for running and general outdoors use but the audio quality left a lot to be desired, especially on Android devices. Sounds okay on iOS. The earloops are perfect for running though, they don’t fall off at all. When these started to give poor battery life, I began looking for options with good audio quality and was prepared to give a pass to the earloop design. Perhaps I could wing it; maybe the new ones without earloops will stay in when running? I saw all these positive reviews on the Lypertek Tevi truly wireless earphones. Every reviewer raved about how wonderful their audio quality is for the price they are at. Sounded a lot like the reviews for the Samson and the KZs: the true underdogs of the Audiophile headphones. These are about thrice the price of the previous headphones on this list, however they are still less than 1/4th the price of the AirPods Pro. The Tevis actually do sound wonderful, have truly neutral sound signature, water proof to a good degree (used them while running in the rain multiple times, no problems) and they fit nice. Best battery life, excellent case, wonderful audio quality and clear microphone as well. I was a bit bummed that they needed adjusting every minute when running as they did not stay inside my ears perfectly. Luckily, the detachable earloops from my previous Boults fit perfectly on the Tevis! Whoa! Suddenly I have all the amazing features of the Tevis while running! Now in terms of purely audio quality, they are as close to the KZs as I would expect truly wireless earphones to be and I love it. The are comfortable when used for all day listening indoors and outdoors however I would be wary of running or doing intensive sports activity with them. I have dropped them to the floor multiple times and they are fine for now, but I wish they came with the earloops. I guess you could find these earloops separetely on some websites? Even without them, these earbuds are wonderful and if there’s one item on this list you must buy, go for this one as it will be most versatile for all purposes: be it listening to music, watching movies, attending video calls, light sports activities and so on. Link in the image above.
When I’m home and listening to music or watching movies, I prefer the Samsons for comfort and the KZs when I’m in bed because they have a small profile and I can lie down on the pillow while wearing them. The Tevis are perfect for calls, light workouts, using on walks and train commutes.