2022 Headphones under $200 Shootout

Inflation adjusted? Like maybe $350 now?


However, hobby stuff is relatively stable these days.

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I see a good sale on the Hifiman Sundara closed back on Amazon, $150. Looking at Drop, the Hifiman He5xx is just over $200. I have an HE560v2 and like it a lot. Clearly the closed back is a different animal than a mid line open, but what are shoot out thoughts?

My guess is that the 5xx wins hands down.

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I have never heard the 5XX so I really couldn’t say.

The Sundara CB with some EQ is a great deal at that price in my opinion but it is always going to be a closed back.

My personal pick would still be the HE400se.


Really? Why? :phone: Amazon has whacky pricing on HE400SE - from $109 to $249, claiming to be new. I have had my HE560v2 for a long time now, and really like it. The price history on the HE560 is that it was very near where the Arya is now (inflation adjusted) then got price cut significantly in year 2 and 3. I regard the Arya as its replacement in the linup.

I’m looking around for a gift set for a mid-teen that seems to be heading down that slippery audiophile slope. He listens to a wide range of music and does some mixing. Been through entry level mixing phones, and has had exposure to Senn HD-600 and 800s briefly. Uses less expensive Beyers and wants a DT 1770 Pro eventually for mixing. The Drop version of the 1770 is 32 ohm, not the 250 ohm real version and is still in the mid 300s.

He also does gaming, but I figure that is it’s own thing. Last year I recommended a Maxwell to a well-heeled client who bought it and loves it. But we’re not looking wireless in this case. I’d been pretty much considering the Senn HD-6xx or the Hifiman HE5xx as the best choices in my price range, when I saw that Sundara Closed Back advertised. And you know how little I generally like closed backs - I could hardly write a review on the Audeze LCD-3 that was sent around by Headphones.com a few years ago. The only music I liked on it was Tubular Bells.

:phone: Serious question, I am curious why, even though I go on to explain my own reasoning.

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I am told Hifiman had the HE400se on their site for 49€ the other day. I don’t know if it is still available.

As you know, I am a fan of Hifiman and I find that the 400se gives me an overall package that is very enjoyable for a price that is not something that I worry about it being left within reach of small fingers or needing to worry about putting it back in its case when I leave it unattended for 10 minutes.

I did swap the grilles and pads though, as mine came with the towel type pads that I am not fond of.

In regards to the DT1770 Pro, I really can’t get on with them. I always get the sensation that the bass is disconnected from the rest of the frequencies. Like having a subwoofer and main speakers but forgetting to set the crossover between them.

The Sundara CB do take EQ pretty well and are good at details, so with some help they can be a decent set of closed back headphones at a very reasonable price, what they are missing is the openness of the HE400se.


That’s a price at which I might get some as stocking stuffers. In the present case, I want to go up a step. Was on the Hifiman site yesterday reviewing their models. I wonder if some are restricted to certain geographic regions. I see an HE500se that I don’t recall in the U.S. Have been told that the Drop HE5XX is a Drop version of the HE560.

As I have the HE560 and a Drop Senn HD6xx I can have the budding audiophile check out both using my iFi xDSD.

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These are $179 right now, HD 58x is $139 as well. Both are solid contenders in the (currently) under $200.

Don’t wait on these, Black Friday pricing right now.

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