OT: Beats by Dre - looking to buy headphones

Submitted by Champeen on April 14th, 2016 at 4:49 PM

Looking to buy a nice set of headphones for working out.  Currently using a 5 dollar earbud attached to my phone.

However, Beats by Dre is very pricey.  I am a noob to the entire headphone line and am looking for some recommendations.  Obviously, price is the number one paramater - what is the best bang for the buck?  Anything comparable (hell, maybe even better) to Beats at a fraction of the cost?


* EDIT *

Thank you everyone.  Many have been extremely helpful and pointed me in the right direction.  Much appreciated.  





April 14th, 2016 at 4:54 PM ^

AudioTechnica ATH-M50 or M50X.  Buy a set and thank me later.

These are what most mixers and studio cats are using these days.  Very balanced, accurate and clear sound.


April 14th, 2016 at 4:59 PM ^


I bought a pair of ATH-M50X to replace a pair of similarly priced Skullcandy headphones and there is NO comparison. The ATH-50Xs sound amazing and are very comfortable. I can't recommend them highly enough.

Probably not great for cardio, but would be fine for lifting, etc.


April 14th, 2016 at 4:57 PM ^

As others have said, Beats are not great. They are OK, but absolutely NOT in the category of "bang for buck". Check out this summary from Marques Brownlee:


I have the Audio Technica ATH-M50x that he discusses and I agree they are fantastic. They aren't cheap but are miles ahead of anything by Beats, especially when it comes to the value proposition.

Also, top 5 headphones under 200 $:



April 14th, 2016 at 4:59 PM ^

Look into Sennheiser brand. I'm sorry I don't have a more specific model, but I think Sennheisers are great value. They aren't as trendy looking, but the sound high quality for the price. My first pair were a $50 Sennheiser HD428 but this model is discontinued. They have a broad price range. I read a lot of reviews before buying most tech items (including amazon reviews, various tech blog reviews, etc) because you'll find a lot of people who are pretty knowledgeable. 

I also liked the AudioTechnica ATH-M50, however, for some reason these were really tight on my head so I couldn't keep them. Best bet is order somewhere with free returns and try some for yourself! 


April 14th, 2016 at 4:56 PM ^

Beats is a fashion brand. If you're buying them as a status symbol or because you think they lok good, then fine, but don't expect top quality as far as the actual headphones go.

I personally care a lot about noise cancelling capabilities because I fly a lot and work in a loud city center, so I got the Bose quietcomfort 25. Best $300 I've spent in a while, you can't hear a plane taking off that you're sitting in if you have the noise cancelling turned on and music playing at a normal volume, it's incredible. It's not the absolute highest sound quality on the market, but it's perfectly crisp and clear for my purposes.


April 14th, 2016 at 5:25 PM ^

Bose is a marketing brand as well.  Better quality than Beats, but they have a massive marketing budget and aren't considered audiophile-grade (whatever that means) by those who are obsessed with audio.  They do have some pretty decent noise-cancelling tech though.


April 14th, 2016 at 5:00 PM ^

Beats (which have been known to insert weights to make them feel higher quality) will not offer you bang for your buck. I've made the mistake of getting PowerBeats earbuds in both generations thinking they would be good for working out & running, but in both generations they've died within 2 months due to sweat damage.

I'm a fan of Sennheiser for headphones and Anker for cheap bluetooth earbuds. 

You can take a look at these links from Gawker Media (the group behind Deadspin) for some places to start:



April 14th, 2016 at 5:12 PM ^

When the AudioTechnica ATH-M50s first came out about 10 years ago, you could find them online for about $79.  However they blew up and got so popular that now they are much higher up to $150+.

I have two sets....

The ATH-M40x are less expensive and probably sound good.  AudioTechnica is a Japanese company that has been making good studio microphones and things for many years.  Their AT4033 and other mics are killer studio mics.

B&H always has the best prices and free shipping


The only other thing I can recommend, is when you decide on a brand/model that you like...stick with it so that your ears get used to them.  If you are mixing, listen to different material though the cans that you are familiar with.


April 14th, 2016 at 5:05 PM ^

Beats are such garbage that they've added metal components whose only job is to make them heavier...seeming like better headphones. 

Sony MDR-7506 are about $99 and are excellent headphones. If you want to drop $300 on Sennheisers or those Bose noise cancelling cans, they're TERRIFIC headphones. That's a bit more money than I have to spend, but if your budget can handle it, they are great.



April 14th, 2016 at 5:07 PM ^

Bought a pair for my kid. Came defective out of the box. Bought another pair. Exchanged for a new pair. Same thing.

Bought a pair of Bose. Awesome!!!


April 14th, 2016 at 5:39 PM ^

I got a pair of the bluetooth Bose over the ear jobs for Christmas and they are very nice sounding.  You can also take phone calls on them, too.

If you want near-perfect sound and don't mind dropping $250, The AKG K545 BOR are uncolored and flat across frequencies.  They are not workout cans, though.  AKG is a German audio electronics company, they invented the cardioid microphone.

KC Wolve

April 14th, 2016 at 5:14 PM ^

I have the Jaybird X2s that I use for the gym. They are pretty great. A bit pricey, but worth it. No idea why you would want the giant can phones for the gym.

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April 14th, 2016 at 5:22 PM ^

I either buy Sony earbuds for $20 or Panasonic for $35 and the sound quality is great. Dont spend money on a name. If youre willing to spend the money, then get Bose. Beats are bullshit that sold a ton because of marketing.


April 14th, 2016 at 5:22 PM ^

Is the way to go, great headphones in every price segment. I own the momentum over ears (absolutely incredible, but around 300 bucks) and some of their cheap ear buds which are great for the money. Beats are terrible for the segment they are priced in.


April 14th, 2016 at 5:27 PM ^

Are you looking for over the ear, light weight? Hook style? I will say the beats are the most functional for workouts if you're wanting Bluetooth hook style. You can find em cheaper on eBay.

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April 14th, 2016 at 5:30 PM ^

I have had nothing but etymotic for the last 10 years or so.  They are in-ear so you have to be cool with that, but they are reasonably priced for high quality headphones.

Note they are closer to truer sound accuracy so if you are expecting / hoping for enhanced bass then move along to another pair

Because I wear mine daily and commute in them (public transportation) I go for the lower end (MC3 for 79) since I admitably don't take good care of them.





April 14th, 2016 at 5:38 PM ^

"Nice set of headphones" should not be attached to "for working out."

They will get sweaty. You will drop them. You will step on them. The cord will catch in equipment. The noise pollution in a gym will wreck your sound. Etc. Etc. An mp3 isn't even high enough quality to warrant good headphones.

The primary attribute I look for in my gym headphones is "durable." The next criteria is "replaceable." I bought some $10 set at Best Buy and love them: loud enough, stay on my ears, and can be thrown out without remorse.