It is a question that probably every music enthusiast have asked themselves. Should I buy expensive high-end headphones?

While many of us are perfectly happy with our “normal” $20 earphones, there’s a plethora of selections available, from the relatively expensive, to the extremely expensive brand named earphones. We take a look at some of the benefits of owning a expensive high-end pair of earphones, and while the advantages may certainly be there, you can definitely get away with owning a technically great set of earphones without paying an arm or a leg.


Budget isn’t always bad

sony earphones

The law of averages would argue that the more you pay, the better quality you get. This is unfortunately the same when it comes to most earphones. There is a definite increase in sound quality the more you are willing to pay. There’s good sound to enjoy at all price points, but the higher you go, the higher the bar.  If you know what to look out for and what the differences are between low, medium and high sound quality, then making a choice will be much easier. We’re not saying you have to be an audiophile, but it helps when you can notice distinct differences in bass, treble and overall sound quality in a song.


High-end earphones really do offer more


First and foremost: more expensive headphones can sound a lot better. Your music will sound clearer and crisper, with bass that doesn’t sound muddy, highs that aren’t quite so harsh, and so on. You’re also likely to get a better overall experience of whatever you are listening to. Enthusiasts call this “soundstage”, which is the sensation you get when you’re listening that you could close your eyes and “feel” like you’re listening to a live performance. You’ll hear the separate, individual instruments, combining to create one piece of music without sounding muddled.

If you think your $20 headphones sound great then it is  because they’re probably some of the best headphones you’ve ever heard. Once you step up to something better though, it’s very easy to tell the difference. Going back to your old headphones after hearing something better will probably leave you underwhelmed by the more muffled, lifeless sound. Even an exceptional pair of budget headphones  can’t stand up to a higher-end pair.


Paying more gives you more

A pair of high-end headphones should have build quality and features to match the price tag. They should feel sturdy, relatively heavy, and be made of solid material. More money can also net you features like wireless audio, noise cancellation, detachable cables, and so on. We’re not saying you should look for wood trim and metal (although you will find those things on some pricey models), but a pair of expensive headphones should feel like they can take a bit of a beating, and they should feel solidly built from the inside out.


The quality of your music determines everything

Spending $500 on a pair of headphones won’t do you much good if you listen to low-bitrate streams on noisy subway platforms. They will, however, come in handy when listening to high quality sound with a higher bitrate or proper HD video. If your common listening environments are noisy, like open offices or outdoors, consider a bang-for-the-buck pair without a huge price tag. If you’re the quintessential at-home listener, spring for a better pair so you can hear everything your music has to offer.




High-end expensive earphones are definitely worth it, but you need to decide if they are worth it to you. Headphones are tricky things to buy. You can do a lot of research, take a ton of people’s recommendations, read reviews, and put your money down only to find out that you still didn’t get the listening experience you were looking for.

Do your homework, Lifehacker has a great guide on finding the perfect headphones, and shop wisely. If you love your music and listen to high-quality tunes in the right environments, a well-crafted, high-end pair of headphones can be worth every cent. If you’re on the go, on a budget, or aren’t really concerned with all of these details and nuances, there are great deals for you too that won’t leave you feeling like you’re listening to cans on a string. Where you put your money should be based on that—not just reviews or fashion.