The last few years there have been many innovations in the field of earphones. With leaps in terms of Best Earbuds Under $500 regarding lightweight but sturdy materials, multiple drivers filled in a small earbud, better cable systems, and more accessories, we are excited to do the best earbuds under $500 list. Although some of our old favorites predominated, we have a number of exciting new entries, given their progressive design. The best earbuds of this year are spread across the price spectrum with a variety of sound signatures and features that distinguish them from previous years. Time to take advantage of some of the best technology in audio equipment to enter the market.
Best Earbuds Under $500 Comparison Table
Best Earbuds Under $500 Earbud Name Feature Connectivity Shure SE535 Triple High-Definition Micro Drivers Wired Audeze iSINE10 Cipher Lightning cable with inline DAC Wired AKG N40 3 replaceable sound filters Wireless Etymotic Research ER4SR Studio 35-42 dB of noise isolation Wired Westone W30 18kHz frequency response Wired Klipsch X20i KG-926T Balanced Armature Woofer Wired Sennheiser IE80 Attenuation of ambient noise Wired Bose SoundSport Pulse Works with various apps Wireless Sony MDR-EX800ST Detachable cable Wired Shure SE425-CL Metallic Build Wireless
Things To Know Before Buying Best Earbuds Under $500
Earphones are debuted annually by the dozens of known audio giants and smaller companies. But only a few really match the potential of their price. Good earbuds have a price, but the reverse is not always true. Here we try to explain why these best earbuds under $500 took the crown.
Although the perception of good audio is subjective to each person’s taste, there are certain key qualities that make audio sound fantastic:
- Clarity: the clarity of the audio across the board, from bass to mid-tones to high tones, ensures a pleasant listening experience. A lot of work goes into making every sound that goes into the audio. The good earphones ensure that the audio does not sound veiled or blunted so that some details of the music are not clearly audible.
- Balance: tonal balance is very important for the best in-ear earbuds. In a tonally balanced audio, none of the frequencies sounds too loud or too soft compared to the others. In other words, the energy of audio is distributed uniformly over the audio spectrum. Balanced audio gives you a good picture of the original audio, ie the song as it should be.
- Detailing: You might wonder why some earbuds cost $1000. What could they do those earbuds under $500 cannot? The devil is in the details. Careful detailing of the sound helps you to hear all the small sounds that are part of the audio and to enjoy your favorite songs more thoroughly. The popular songs on the market are popular because of the combined efforts of these details.
- Signature audio: some people prefer bass-heavy audio, some seem completely flat, some like a warm balance. We can not say that one is definitely better than the other, so we have selected the best earphones that cover different types of audio talks. However, a flat audio response is most easily matched to your taste of warm / bass-heavy / mid-front sound. So we preferred them. Some of the best earphones come with tuning filters that change the audio response to neutral / bass forward / treble heights based on the filter that is physically fixed to it.
Earphones have the annoying habit of shorting you on one side. It is a banter. You can hear half of the shape of you. The best earbuds do, not when you treat them moderately well. Sometimes even when you abuse them completely. The extra protection on the earbuds, the Y-joint, the connection, etc. Indicate the lifespan of the earphones.
Most of us think earbuds are generally more comfortable than earbuds. Only some do not like the earbuds that penetrate the ear canal. And there are audiophiles who believe in the power of major drivers that have standard earbuds. But in-ear is given priority due to convenience. Audiophile earphones often place their wires over the ears and behind the neck instead of being worn in the normal way. Although this gives you a safer fit, some users do not find it very comfortable. The normal earbuds on the front are usually comfortable unless they have disproportionately large earpieces.
There are a number of ways in which a cable can determine the fate of the earphone. One is whether they are removable. Thanks to the detachable cables you do not have to throw away $ 300 earphones because the wire is shorted. But to be economical, the backup cables must be affordable. There are modular cables where a part of the cable is connected to an extension just below the Y-connection. The cable must be sturdy but not so heavy as to load the earphones.
The connection of the earphones is another stress area. For most earbuds, the jacket is now gilded. A straight connection is easier to insert and remove from the audio device. But an L-shaped jack has more stress relief and is more likely to last longer without damage. The housing of the plug must be thick but not so beast that it does not enter the hole in a phone case.
The optimal performance of the best earphones depends on the seal you receive in the ear. The better your ears are sealed against ambient noise, the more bass and details you can distinguish. With a good seal, you can get the best audio from your earphone. Usually, silicone ear tips in different sizes do well. Comply foam earbuds are guaranteed to provide a good seal, but they can absorb sweat. Some earphones come with both types of earpieces, along with double/triple flange tips. The options ensure that you find the best seal.
The Shure SE535 in-ear earbuds emerged as a top successor to SE530s. And they’ve kept the Shure SE535-V-J sound-isolating earbuds in position without seeing the slightest drop in price since 2010. This performance is doubly surprising because their great predecessors Se530s underwent a huge price increase and were available at killer rates. The SE535s with universal fit run a number of delicate scales to deliver physical and audio performance that deserves the best place in our best earbuds under $500 list.
The design of the Shure SE535 earphones speaks of a refined design and exceptional strength. The earpieces of the triple driver are noticeably flatter than the SE530s. They are very low in the ear and you can even sleep on your side with this one. They are still larger than the regular earbuds. The pre-formed design fits universally in almost all ears, although you talked a little about it, in the beginning, to place them correctly. The earpieces have a transparent driver’s compartments. There is something new about seeing the circuits for our tech geeks. These are earbuds over the ear, where the wire must be guided around the ear. This offers safer equipment. The portion of the wire that is attached to the earbuds is memory wire. It is difficult but can conform to the curve of your ears.
The Shure SE535 earphones have a design with three drivers. Each earpiece has two woofers and a tweeter for the complete audio sound. Together they have succeeded in achieving a precise point of the sound balance where the sound is in balance but not soundly sounding. Another exceptional quality of their sound is the end-to-end clarity. The bass is present without going overboard. It is spicy, meaty and extensive to the sub-bass. It is beautifully defined and detailed. And that remains the same in the entire volume range. The four woofers work together for this precise effect. The mid-tones are decadent in their detailing. They have a nice sense of space for earbuds, although you can expect the openness of open-back earbuds.
- Universal-fit triple-driver earpieces
- Detachable cable
- Exceptionally balanced sound
- Powerful and tight bass
- Plays all genres beautifully
- A good haul of accessories
- Could have come with a spare cable at the price
Audeze iSine10 earbuds came on the market at the end of 2016 and much more needs to be discussed. This is Audeze iSINE10 In-Ear, Semi-Open earbuds the first time the famous planar magnetic technology is descended from over-ear earbuds to IEMs. Planar magnetic earbuds are known for exceptionally coherent audio with very low harmonic distortion. The aesthetics, the magic among the moths, the Cipher Lightning cable all look to the future of audio technology. It is a slot for the best earbuds under $500.
The Audeze iSine10 earphone looks like a Hulk-y version of your average earphone. To accommodate the planar magnetic drivers, the driver enclosures are large and look like something from Star Wars. But the whole weighs only 0.7 grams, so do not let the size confuse you. The actual earphones protrude from the housing of the drive in the ear. Because of the negligible weight, they are safe on the ear without any help. However, Audeze offers a choice of earhooks and ear fins that can keep them well on your ears and give you that extra feeling of conviction. There are two pairs of clear and black ear hooks and two pairs of ear fins for the inner ear. They are thorough, if not.
The Audeze iSine10 is an open-earphone. They let in ambient sound and the audio slightly, so they are most suitable for private listening. The audio performance is more in line with that of good full-size earbuds than with an earphone. It takes away the biggest disadvantage of annoying earbuds: the openness of audio. The sound response is much lighter and more spacious compared to earbuds. The lack of distortion reflects the temporary processing and resolution. These in-ear earbuds have a deep, well-defined bass. They flow smoothly in the very detailed mid-tones. The highs have the same resolution, but with a hint of hardness in the high tones.
- Open-back planar magnetic drivers
- Very spacious and detailed
- Futuristic design with appropriate accessories
- Cipher Lightning cable with inline DAC and audio cable
- Clean and distortion-free audio
- The design is not very universal
- Needs DAC cable for Android phone
AKG N40 earbuds bring their A-game to the door of Shures and Westones with their unique audio. Their AKG N40 customizable in-ear earbuds with high-resolution audio are almost hard to describe, except that we love its beautiful nature. They also take the build quality to a different level and even beat Shure SE535s according to certain users. The choices of detachable cables and the replaceable filters are a nice touch. AKG N40 appears with the highest brownie points in certain columns, which is why they are in the best earbuds under $500 list.
The AKG N40 earphones make a statement with their design. These are over-ear earphones. The ears are quite lightweight. They are mainly sturdy plastic with metal reinforcements for a long life. The chromed finish of the metal part gives the design its premium appearance. The ears are about the size of Shure SE535s and are close to the ears. The part of the cable that is connected to the ear pieces is stiffened in a bend. These parts act as earhooks and balance the earpieces. They also dampen any vibrations of your movement and protect the audio. The cable of this earphone is detachable. They are supplied with two cables, a straight audio cable and another cable with 3-button operation.
It is difficult to characterize the sound of AKG N40 earphones. We tested them with reference audio air filters because the equalizer on our phones made the other filter unnecessary. We recommend using it with a DAC for excellent audio. The audio is detailed, accurate and slightly warm, so that it remains accurate, but does not clinically sound. The bass has a great depth and detail and a bit more punch than the reference IEMs like Klipsch X20i. This does not change the balance of the frequencies. The midrange has revealing clarity although you get a little entangled in the radiance of the bass and the high tones.
- Stunning audio
- Enjoyable, accurate, detail
- Good cable design
- 2 detachable cables
- Comfortable design with built-in earhooks
- Useful accessories
- Tuning doesn’t make much difference
Etymotic Research ER4SR Studio
Etymotic Research ER4SR earbuds are the direct descendants of the first commercial earphones for the use of balancedEtymotic Research ER4SR studio reference in-ear monitors luminaire technology for high-fidelity audio. The SR version is the reference model of the studio, while the XR version offers a comprehensive answer. These are audiophile equipment with the best quality mid-tones available for this price. The excellent sound insulation is only one of the advantages. The new and sophisticated design makes the top of the best earbuds under $500 list.
The Etymotic Research ER4SR earphones have an unconventional design that might impress some and annoy the rest. For us, it was the first because the design helped our need for complete silence in the background while listening to music. The ears of the ER4SR are longer and slimmer than the usual earphones. Their cylindrical structure is thin enough so that the ear tips and part of the earphones can sit comfortably in the ear canal. This deep dive design provides the sound-insulating benefit. The earpieces are covered with a metal tube that can be slid away to reveal the MMCX connector. These earphones come with pairs of triple-flanged earbuds and ear cups with black foam.
The Etymotic ER4SR earphones are famous and notorious for their mid-tones. These little divers have set up the perfect stage for midrange with a tight and elaborate bass and sparkling highs. With the really high-end detailing, ER4SR gives you a taste of ultra-expensive audio sounds such as. Unlike some of the more clinically sounding earphones, the ER4SR has a relaxed and pleasant sound. They are not as intense on bass as the XR earphones coming deeper into the sub-bass. But the lower frequencies are tight and fast. The fast transient response ensures clear audio. If you prefer a more relaxed audio character, we advise you to watch the ER4XR.
- Extremely clear and detailed
- Balanced and neutral audio
- Detachable cable
- Kevlar-reinforced cord
- Replacement ear filters
- Metal-reinforced earpieces
- Slightly bass-light
Westone W30 triple-driver earphones are a very undervalued unit in a market that is run over by other well-known True Waves Earphones with three drivers. These are refined earbuds that offer premium audio through triple drivers. They come with an excellent range of accessories. Westone has paid much attention to the physical and sound design of these earbuds. The result is an almost perfect sound for the price and a possibility to use only nitpick. They get a well-deserved place in the best earbuds under $500 list. The Westone W30 triple driver earphones make a good impression when we open the package. They come in a rubber, sliding presentation case that speaks the premium talk of the price.
This is an impressive, foam-covered mini safe to carry the in-ear earbuds around. It is waterproof with shock absorbers on the sides. These are earbuds over the ear. The earpieces have a size somewhere between the Shure SE535 and SE846. So they are slightly out of ears. Apart from the three drivers, the cause of this bulk is the replaceable faceplate on the earpieces. W30 comes with spare faceplates in red and blue. It appeals to the vanity of the audiophiles and adds the smallest volume to the ears. They were comfortable for us, so we do not mind the consideration. This earphone comes with a generous collection of earbuds. Including the patented Westone Star earbuds, short and long versions, there are 10 pairs.
The Westone W30 earphones are remarkably removed from the clinically flat response that is rampant at this price from IEMs. This is a lively earphone with a warm, slightly V-shaped signature. It retains stellar detailing through the frequency spectrum, but with a rich plush that everyone likes except purist audiophiles. The bass has a strong impact with a certain calculated boost in the mid-bass range. For its price, it plays effortlessly and with a tight impact. It can be a bit slow in comparison with Sennheiser IE800s, but they are also twice and price and less exciting. The treble offered by these earphones is the right amount of sparkle without being overbearing or hard. The midrange sounds a bit sunk between the enthusiasm of bass and treble.
- Warm, enjoyable audio
- Excellent audio detail
- Fun and accurate
- 2 detachable cables
- Westone Star tips selection
- Play loud even at low volumes
- Great haul of accessories
- Driver housings could look better
Klipsch X20i in-ear earbuds are the dream of a purist audiophile. These have the flat signature that can satisfy all Klipsch X20i earbuds in the ear of analytical listening. The sound and build quality are premia and they are quite expensive to match. There are certain design elements that can form the basis for the individual user performances. The modularity of the cable, the metal housing, comfortable fit and reference sound all make for one of the best earbuds under $500.
The Klipsch X20i in-ear earbuds have a slimmer, more tubular design in the lines of Etymotic ER4SR. The ears are slim and long. They fit nicely in the ages with their double drivers per earmold. They have a metal housing with rubber parts to relieve stress. You can not sleep with it because they stick out the ears. But who probably wears such an expensive piece to bed unless they can afford it? These earphones have an uncomfortable modular cable. Approximately 4 inches of the cable is permanently attached to the earpieces. At the end of these mini-cable segments, you have connectors that are connected to the rest of the cable. One side connects to an inline 3-button operation.
The Klipsch X20i earphones feature a balanced luminaire woofer and a super tweeter per earpiece for great sound. These are IEMs of reference quality. Your preference is for a completely neutral response in which no frequency range attracts attention to the others. But all three: bass, mids, and highs are clear in themselves. The powerful bass is very detailed and tight. It is fast, along with the rhythm of the songs. The lower frequencies naturally sound like an audio device has not played with them. The mid-tones are beautifully detailed here. The clear nuances of singing and orchestral music are revealed. We recommend using a good audio source and source material to take full advantage of these earbuds.
- Slim profile
- Accurate and neutral audio
- Intricate details in the sound
- Modular cable with remote
- Metal Housings
The Sennheiser IE80 earbuds were praised 6 years ago as the best earphones of their time. They still have excellent value for Sennheiser IE80 earbuds, especially at the reduced price. These over-ear earphones know how to charge a bass tuner on the earpieces, a feta that is commendable. They were delighted by the classic Sennheiser fans with their warm and detailed audio. It is in the category IEMs that produce high quality and pleasant audio, hence a perfect fit for our best earbuds under $500 list. The Sennheiser IE80 earphones have a strong attraction. The brushed metal plate on the back of the earpieces is a bold, grungy statement.
The earpieces themselves are pentagonal. The design turned out to be quite comfortable as a universal fit. The back of the earpieces has a small button with white markings to show the bass levels. A mini-bass adaptation tool is supplied with the package to turn the small knob. The cable of this earphone is detachable. It must be looped around the ears for proper assembly. Sennheiser sends a pair of ear hooks with IE80 for extra help to route the cable correctly. These are removable accessories. The cable is simple and rounded. There is no visible outer layer, but it remains tangle-free and resistant to daily abuse.
The Sennheiser Ie80 earphones offer a number of high-quality basses. There is a slight mid-bass bump at the moderate bass setting, so purist audiophiles usually turn the bass knob all the way down. It is difficult to dispute the detailing and the depth of the bass here. For us, average audiophiles, this low end brings a powerful force to the audio that a flat frequency response can not. The heat that bass offers hardly ever gets in the way of the mid-tones. Although the mid-tones of Sennheiser IE80 may not sound as forward as the Shure SE535, they have the dynamic detail. The high tones are fluid and forgiving without much glare or hardness. The audio is smooth and detailed for the casual listener. The more demanding audiophile might prefer the SE535s over this one.
- Smooth, detailed, fun audio
- Exceptionally defined bass
- Bass tuner
- Detachable cable
- Low-profile earpieces
- Wide soundstage
- Treble could do with a bit of sparkle
Bose SoundSport Pulse
An earphone with a heart rate monitor might not be that new, but the Bose SoundSport Pulse earphones are the first that the SoundSport Pulse wireless earbuds are the first to do well. These wireless sports earphones have an HRM mounted on the earbuds. The seamless Bluetooth integrations, the limited but well executed HRM and the smooth sound, all characteristic of the quality of Bose, they launch in the best earbuds under $500 list.
The Bose SoundSport Pulse earphones are wireless buttons. They have earpieces connected by a thick wire. Unlike this specific agreement, they are virtually wireless. The earpieces are large but flat. They do not stick out of the ears. They are loaded with new StayHear earbuds. These have fins hanging on the ears. In this way, the earbuds do not penetrate the ears and rest at the entrances on the ground. The disadvantage is that environmental noise can creep in. The StayHear tips with these earphones are not back-compatible. These are designed for these HRM earphones. The monitoring unit rests in the earpieces. The contact of their usual fit is sufficient to collect data about the heartbeat.
The Bose SoundSport Pulse earphones are tailored to the active lifestyle. Add that to the moderate sound insulation, you need a full-bodied audio. The audio is fluid with a calculated mid-bass hump. This is tight and spicy. The midtones are clean but only moderately detailed. The high tones are energetic. The sound signature is such that you can hear a significant amount of sound even in areas with a lot of noise. They are not as premium sounds like other normal earphones for this price. Part of the investment goes to Bluetooth and HRM.
- In-built Heart Rate Monitor
- Bluetooth sports earphones
- Smooth full-bodied sound
- Secure StayHear tips
- Hassle-free performance
- Battery life could be better
The Sony MDR EX1000 earphones have largely been favored by the audiophiles over time. The MDR EX800ST inSony Mdr-ex800st earbuds Inner Ear Type-ear earbuds are the affordable and still great version. These studio monitors offer an accurate but musical audio response that purists and music lovers will enjoy. These are wide open sounding earphones, thanks to their ventilated design. This also limits their use to quieter places.
The Sony MDR EX1000 earphones are intended for use in the studio and the design reflects that. These are over-earphones and the ears are huge. They are loosely on the ears and the earbuds give you a secure attachment. They do not fit completely in the ear. But they are flat and look neat. There are vents on the driver housing that are intended to extend the sound image. The part of the cable that is connected to the earbuds has a memory foam. This keeps the earbuds in the ears when the wire is guided around the ears. These earphones have a detachable cable. They attach to the earpieces via a private connector.
You should immediately know that the air vents on the Sony MDR EX1000 earphones limit sound insulation. These run a string between musicality and pure audio. And they remain firmly in the balance. The bass is tight and spicy. It is meticulously detailed with good extensions. The amount of bass is just neutral, so the usual music listeners might find it a bit of bass light. The midtones are clearer than the Sennheiser HD600 earbuds with open back. That should give you an idea of the excellent detail and airiness of the midtones. The high tones are detailed but smooth. It does not create sibilance or goes overboard.
- Musical and accurate
- Highly detailed reference audio
- Comfortable fit
- Detachable cable
- Tight but laidback audio
- Large earpieces
- Little noise isolation
The Shure SE425 earbuds are another of their range of audio excellence. The energetic and fun audio is Shure SE425-CL sound-isolating earphones partner to ensure the comfortable build quality. They are designed in the style of Shure SE535 and are a nice alternative for them. Together with their expensive alter ego, these make the cut for the best earphones under the $500 list. The Shure SE425 in-ear earbuds have exactly the same construction as the SE535.
They are over-ear earbuds with the cable wrapped around the ears. The ears are slimmer than the SE530s and have a much lower profile in the ears. They are closer to the size of SE535s and are close to the ears. The scale of the drivers is clear and shows the circuit that is cool inside. These earphones have a detachable cable. It connects to the earpieces via MMCX connectors. The part at the ears is done with a memory wire. This ensures that they remain stable in the ears and reduces the vibrations during movement. These are comfortable even when they are routed around the ears.
The Shure SE425 earphones packs dual drivers per earphone, i.e. a woofer and a tweeter. The audio is accurate with a beauty to the midtones that immediately stands out. They have many details that reveal new sounds that allow you to review your audio collection. The bass is tight and spicy. He is so strict that nonchalant listeners can find basses. The high tones are detailed with some sparkle, but not clear enough to create a feeling of astonishing clarity, like high-end earphones often do. They are laidback and forgiving in comparison to Shure SE 5353 which are a bit superior in just about every sonic aspect. That does not mean that SE425s are great. A casual listener may not find much difference between the two.
- Pure and laidback audio
- Detailed audio with fantastic mids
- A good haul of accessories
- Detachable cable
- Durable design
- Takes some fidgeting to fit properly
500 Dollars is a big amount when it comes to buying earbuds at this price range. So you’d wish you get the best for your hard earned money. Our list of Best Earbuds Under $500 consists of the best earbuds that you can buy right now. And we assure you that you’ll not be let down by choosing any of the ones out of our list. Let us know your thoughts on our list of best earbuds under $500 by commenting in the box below.