headphones

Best over-the-ear headphones under $150

Nov. 18, 2013 at 6:48 PM ET


Sony MDR-7506 headphones
Sony
Sony MDR-7506 headphones
IMAGE: The Wirecutter logo
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The best pair of over-ear headphones under $150 is the Sony MDR-7506. They’re comfortable, durable, musicians and users love them, and they beat everything else we put them against. They also only cost $80!

Our headphone editor — an audio equipment reviewer for Sound+Vision and a voice actor with a degree in audio production — read reviews of every headphone that sells for between $80-$190 to pick the best candidates for testing. We ended up with five finalists, which we took to our four-person listening panel consisting of our headphone editor, two more audio reviewers with decades of experience at publications like Sound+Vision and CNET, and a session musician. They unanimously agreed, after a blind test, that the Sony MDR-7506 were the best sounding pair of the bunch.

The Sony MDR-7506s are an audio industry standard because they provide clear, balanced sound that accurately represents what the recording artist intended. Our panelists’ impressions mirrored this assessment describing them as having “perfect tonal balance,” with “no flaws.” You won’t get the same level of depth and sound quality that you’d find in more expensive headphones like those that cost $300, but when it comes to accurate, detailed sound, these Sonys are by far the best in their price range.

These headphones are also exceptionally durable. Some reviewers on Head-Fi and Amazon discuss having pairs over 10 years old and still going strong. We ourselves have seen DJs roll over the cord with desk chairs and voice talent drop them on the floor with no ill effects. The ear cups are the weakest link, but they’re replaceable once they start wearing out. 

To read more about the best over-ear headphones under $150 check The Wirecutter's guide.

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The Wirecutter is a leaderboard of personal tech and gear, where each pick is systematically chosen after a dozen hours of research, expert interviews and tests.

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