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Buyer's Guide to Casual and Entry Level Headphone Purchase

By Edited Jun 12, 2014 0 0

Cheap and Affordable Headphones for Casual Listening

Over the years, there have been countless types of cheap and affordable casual and entry-level headphones marketed primarily to buyers who just want to listen to music, as well as to beginners who are new in the headphone-collecting hobby. Headphones in this category are usually cheap, easy to replace and have average audio capability. This is an intended quality since they're designed for average Joe and Jane, and as such have none of the high-quality engineering and precision expected by studio or gaming headphones, for example. This doesn't mean casual headphones are bad, however, because they are made to "just work", without confusing usage instructions and proper maintenance demanded by more expensive headphones.

This article will be going over the types, price range and brands of cheap and affordable casual and entry-level headphones.

Types of Casual Headphones

Generally, casual headphones have three distinct categorisation. The categories are based on their primary usage pattern, eventhough they can also be used for other purposes.

Casual Gaming: There are many sets available, specially made for gamers. The ones designed for casual gamers can be differentiated by them having more eyecandy or other specialisations, so to speak. For example, they may have a silvery lining circling the earcup, or similar reflective material covering the fringes of the headband. This accessory have no influence on sound quality, because it is designed to look attractive to prospective buyers. This shiny addons may look good in LAN parties, as many other gaming accessories have had LED lights, shiny stickers and transparent covers. Gaming headphones may complement other devices, especially if they're aesthetically similar in nature.


Sports Accessories: Certain headsets have also been manufactured as another tool to complement physical activities, from those performed by trained athletes or morning exercisers. These type of headsets are stretchable or extendable so as to be comfortable, especially so it won't come off easily or get its wires tangled around the neck or other bodyparts. Another nice touch to these headsets is that they're also covered in sweat-proof skins, meaning the musical pairs are easily washable, or that they won't be covered with body odour, even after an extended jogging session. Sports earcans are also small so that they can be placed inside the pouch on the waist.

One thing about sports headsets, though, is that they are often not soundproof, meaning noises from the surrounding environment can disrupt the music. This is an important feature, however, because musical melodies can be dangerous to joggers who may find it too late to hear that approaching vehicle, or other dangers.


Canned Music: This category likely consists of the bulk of casual headphones produced each year. It is the basic style of headphones seen and used everyday, whether by certain subway travellers, some revisioning students or teens in front of their computers. They are too large or too inflexible to be used in jogging sessions, or have no bling or specialisations available to gaming headphones. Therefore these types of headphones perform best under calm environments, where there are little to no outer distractions. Bass and treble balance of these casual headphones are often in the middle, with no strong preferences on other side of the spectrum.

Typical Price Range for Casual Buyers

Casual Headphones usually retail at around 25 to 100$, for branded, quality ones.

Headphones that are cheaper than 15$ usually comes from made, designed and branded in China and some other third-world country. Not that they are a bad choice, as they are really cheap and affordable. The problem is that they often have no warranty and won't work properly after a couple of months. The sound quality may rival other slightly expensive headphones, but these types are assembled using cheap materials anyway.

Gaming Headphones: For casual users, gaming headphones usually retail at over 75$, but prospective buyers are advised to do some proper research before buying. If possible, try one of the headphones offered before making the final decision. Some of these gaming headphones have slight emphasis on their accessories, in that their shiny design may be slightly pricier to cover compared to their audio quality. Microphones are also a necessary addon for communication in multiplayer games, but at least all are in one place, compared to stand microphones purchaseable separately.

Music Headphones: Often starting at 30$, the price range where they are made of higher quality material. Cheaper cans exist but often neglects one factor over another, for example the audio quality may be okay, but sets like these may have flimsy design and material. More expensive headphones are likely to have better quality microphones, though.

Sports Headsets: These are likely the cheapest of all casual categories as they are quite basic in design and purpose: pump out enough melodies tones to just be audible and have little eyecandy. Some can start at around 10$. Sound quality are basic, but this is intentional so they won't be too distracting and divert sensory awareness.

Headphone Accessories

Some headphone sets also include accessories included within the packaging itself. These accesories can be helpful in case certain parts of the headphone are missing, needs replacing or just another valued-added equipment.

Headset Cover: This is the soft padding on the audio end of the headphone. Each sets are made from different variety of materials, from sponges to soft plastic. Certain headphone sets come with washable covers, so cleaning them can be an easy task, compared to completely replacing dirty ones. In any case, a replaceable cover is better than none, especially if sweat and grime can worn down the covers.

Carrying Pouch: Often a simple cloth bag, the pouch can be very useful when the headphone needs to be carried around a lot. Some pouches are also large enough to contain other devices like music players, but be advised that putting in other gadgets can increase the risk of misplacing both the headphone and the music player, if the owner forgot where they placed the bag, for example.

Extra Audio Jack: Some headphone sets also include additional audio jacks, especially a larger sized one for use on certain home theater sets, or certain electronic pianos. This nifty 35 millimeter audio connectors are useful in increasing the variety of devices that can channel music through the headphone.

Brands Offering Casual Headphones

Listed here are some of the manufacturers offering cheap and affordable headphones for sale.


Skullcandy have a reputation for having low audio qualities among audiophiles. This is because most of their headphones are designed to look good, because headphones are the most visible accessory on the head. Not that Skullcandy are bad for music, it's just that they have a slight emphasis on being visually-attractive.


SonicGear is one of the best brands offering cheap and affordable casual headphones. There are many varieties and types offered by SonicGear, from simple music cans to quality gaming headphones for casual gamers. One of the perks of buying SonicGear's sets is that each packaging also comes with a small cloth pouch to make it easy to move headphones around.


Sensonic deals in many computer accessories, headphones included. They aren't manufacturing as many variety of headphones as other brands, but two of their offerings have a USB connector instead of the usual audio jack. This basically means users who have a broken/malfunctioned audio connector can simply plug in Sensonic's USB headphones and continue listening without worry. These USB headphones function as a separate audio processor, so theoretically, with some tweaking users can use two or more separate headphones on their system, depending on how many USB ports a system have.


UrbanEars are a Swedish-based company. They're are new to the headphones scene but are picking up pace rather quickly. Most of their headphones are created with mobility in sight - thus, their headphones are good for frequent travellers and certain models are low-profile enough for use in jogging sessions or in a busy train carriage.


There are a lot of Sony-brand headphone variety available. Being the multifaceted corporation, Sony has produced many kinds of headphones, many of which are affordable and cheap to procure by average Joes and Janes. Specialised headphones made for the PlayStation and High-Definition exist, though some of them are out of reach of casual users.


Choosing the right set of cans can be a worthy investment in enjoying the sound of music. Even by looking around there are many shops, offline or online, that are offering cheap and affordable gadgets. There are many options and choices a buyer can make before making a guided-purchase of casual and entry-level headphones.



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