The best deal I’ve gotten lately is this pair of DJ-style headphones from the unassumingly fantastic technical retailer Monoprice.com, best known for selling incredibly cheap cables of all sorts. I’ve been a customer for years (and if you have any kind of cabling needs, you should be too), but I was surprised to realize lately that they are trying to branch out into more general consumer product categories.
Monoprice is tackling headphones and computer models — and soon high-end audio equipment, car audio, and home automation hardware — with the same pricing strategy that they brought to cables: they “try to make sure that we’re about fifty percent below what a retailer would be selling that product for.” In many cases, they easily clear this bar. The company’s earbud-style headphones, for instance, start at less than US$3 each. The headphones I bought cost just US$21. (Warning, each customer is allowed to buy just ten pairs. Sorry.)
Adding More to Cheap
You can get cheap headphones in just about any dollar store, of course, but Monoprice’s have been widely reviewed as being comparable to headphones in the US$100 and up range. They also sound excellent, as most reviews attest to. In short, they are a ridiculous bargain, but even better, they include an incredibly smart design feature that I haven’t seen before in these DJ-style headphones (admittedly, I’m no audiophile and know very little about the category beyond having owned a few pairs of Sony MDR-V6s): the wire from the headphones is not fixed.
There is a standard, 3.5 mm audio jack at the bottom of the left headphone into which you can plug any standard male-to-male audio cable (including either of the two that ship in the box). This means that should the cable fail — and in these kinds of headphones, it’s the cables that almost always go first — you don’t need to toss them into the trash, open up the earpieces to solder in a new wire, or even pay someone to repair them for you. All you need to do is buy a US$3 replacement cable. Like I said, incredibly smart, and a huge bonus that I would have paid well over US$21 for. Making something for cheap is one thing, but adding great design to it too turns it into an amazing product.
I looked for years for the perfect headset for myself. I haven’t decided on an over-the-ear model, but for in-ear the Senneiser iE80 are the best I have found on the market. I highly suggest you try them out sometime, you can definitely find them cheaper than the MSRP.
AIAIAI’s TMA-1s have a similar 3.5mm jack, which I adore. Also means that you have a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable with you at all times for hooking up iPods and such. Super handy!
Hmm… I am truly confused by this post. You are talking about headphones. They exist to do one thing: transport music. From a device to your sensible ears. And the one thing you don’t mention at all is the sound quality. Nice design is fine, cheap is good. But when it comes to good headphones they need to sound incredible. You say you are not an audiophile but since you are buying on-ear headphones you must care, otherwise you would stick with in-ears like the ones which come with your smartphone. (Or is this just a sponsored post?)
There are many headphones out there by now, every artist or fashion brand is doing a collaboration with a headphone company. But just a few really get it. I am thinking about ordering some just to try how they sound, for 21$ you can’t make a mistake.
And your headline “Best headphones ever” – seriously?
So who makes their stuff?
Is it like generic brand groceries?
Markus, I’m guessing you missed this part of the post: “…Monoprice’s have been widely reviewed as being comparable to headphones in the US$100 and up range. They also sound excellent, as most reviews attest to.” Additionally, the title is a personal opinion relative to the author and his experience with headphones, not a declarative statement about all headphones ever created.
If you spent more time on your reading comprehension you wouldn’t be so confused.
I agree—I don’t know why all headphones don’t have this feature. I have a great pair of 10-year-old Sennheiser headphones that also have this, and I thought it was brilliant.
Thanks for the tip Khoi, just got a pair today, they are very comfortable and sound great!
I just wanted to thank you because I was actually looking for affordable headphones online, and I’m glad you suggested these. So I got ’em in the mail today, and I’m listening to my channels on Winamp as I’m writing this. Great sound, great price, and easy on my head.
Thanks, man! Cheers…
I recently purchased the Urban Ears Zinken, http://www.urbanears.com/#/headphones/zinken/zinken-dark-grey
Priced around 100 as well, I’ll have to check those Sony’s out.
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