March 27, 2017 11 Comments

Although the quality of earphones that come out of the box have improved, spending a little to upgrade your earphones is one of the best ways to get the most from a smartphone, or any other portable player. The instant difference in audio quality needs to be heard to be believed – better, more impactful bass, crisper, more detailed treble and better isolation from the outside world are all worth the investment. At the same time, you shouldn't have to break the bank to afford it. To help you sort through the choices, we've rounded up our top headphones under Rs. 3000.

What to Expect in this Category?

Build Quality: Most of the headphones in this category would be made of durable plastic. They would also be comfortable enough for long hours of use.

Sound Quality: Audio quality in this category is good, substantially better than what you'd get out of your smartphone box. Headphones claiming to have balanced sound actually start delivering on those claim at this price point. However, for true neutrality, you should look at a budget that's at least twice as much.

Form Factor: Headphones for specific purposes like studio monitoring or noise cancellation will perform the function perfunctorily. Wireless headphones of good quality cannot be expected here.

Remote and Mic functionality is available, but not very common.

This list has been compiled with the help of users as well as our in-house experts.

In no particular order, here we go!





1.  Audio Technica - ATH-M20x

Studio Monitors From the Acclaimed M-Series


Professional-grade monitor headphones are engineered to produce sound that is exceedingly accurate and true-to-life. Audio-Technica is famed for making audiophile-grade headphones and the ATH-M20X is the entry-level model to its highly acclaimed M-Series headphones. The M20X is an upgrade to the M20 and was launched along with upgrades to the entire M-series.

The M20x has a design that is quintessentially Audio Technica. A rather large company logo runs along the headband. And the rest of the structure is made of plastic and has oval shaped earcups, unlike its predecessor, which had a distinctly round shape. Both the earcups and headband have plush faux-leather making them very soft and comfortable. Unless you have uncommonly large ears/head, you should be able to use the headphones for long hours without experiencing fatigue. If you have a large head, you might also feel some pressure on the top.

A negative design aspect would be that these circumaural headphones have a cord that is 10 feet long and non-detachable, so you'll definitely have to roll it up a little if you want to go portable.

Moving on to the sound, the first thing that you should keep in mind is that the M20x has a very high impedance of 47 Ohms. So, most smartphones and iPods will be unable to drive it well. You can expect sound to be rather soft and muffled. Move on to your laptop or desktop PC and the difference is immediate.

Tuned to low frequency sound, it’s particularly bass that the ATH-M20x excels in. The bass is full and lush without being over-bearing.  Mids and highs ring through with no problem at both low and high volumes. The sound is flat with absolutely no distortion. These cans also have a nice full sound stage and good left/right separation, but it definitely could be better. 

However, while being very detailed, it does seem to focus on the vocals a bit much. 

These headphones are closed, but they’re not intended for noise isolation in crowded, loud places, so they’re not ideal for a commute. But for the purpose of studio and home use, the noise isolation is perfectly adequate.

The ATH-M20x is definitely the best option for budget studio monitors, preferable to the ever-popular AKG K44 & K77. These are also perfect for long hours of movie watching on your laptops and computers.



Ershad Kaleebullah, NDTV Gadgets360


" The headphones get really loud and produce crystal clear sounds. The ATH-M20X is not meant for folks who like drama in their sound definition. In fact, it produces a flat sound with absolutely no distortion."

 

UPS
Flat, Distortion-Free Sound
Very Comfortable
DOWNS
Impedance is too high for many smartphones 

 


Our Verdict:
Budding enthusiasts and professionals with small studios should definitely check out these headphones.


 




2.  AKG - K52

Budget Studio Monitors


AKG is a well-known brand in the audio circle owned by Harman Kardon, now owned bySamsung . Although AKG is predominantly known for its premium offerings, the company does not shy away from the more affordable end of the market.

The AKG K52 headphones have been designed with comfort in mind, with an around-ear fit that completely surrounds your ears. Additionally, the headphones also feature a self-adjusting fitting mechanism which ensures an ideal fit and holds the headset firmly but comfortably in place.The headphones are sturdy with a prominent black finish metal frame around it with a net weight of only 200g.

Unlike most headphones which come with a hard strap, AKG K52 has a much better-designed head strap made of unique malleable leatherette strap that easily conforms to the shape of the head while securing the headphones well.

In spite of the lightweight, these headphones aren’t really designed from portability standpoint as the cable is 2.5 m in length, tangle-prone and the headphones don’t collapse into a smaller footprint.

When it comes to sound, the p resentation and sonic signature of the AKG-K52 is extremely open and clean, offering an excellent sense of space and a wide soundstage. Imaging is fantastic as well, with the headphones managing to separate and position various elements accurately within the virtual soundstage. The headphones are also incredibly loud, and manage to maintain the same level of detail at varying volumes without sounding too muddied or confusing.


Ali Pardiwala, NDTV Gadget 360


" The AKG K52 is among the best budget around-ear headphones you can buy today, and we're left wondering just how the Austrian headphone-maker has even succeeded at packing in so much quality for such a low price."

 

UPS
Detailed sound
Very comfortable 
DOWNS
Not Portable

 


Our Verdict:
If you're looking for a pair of dynamic headphones that you can use both at the studio and casual listening, these are the ones for you.


 




3.  Beyerdynamic - DTX 710

Open Back Bassy Headphones


Founded in 1924, Beyerdynamic is one of the oldest audio companies in the world. With the DTX 710, the company attempts to bring semi open back headphones to the masses. Whether they do succeed remains to be seen.

The DTX 710 are pretty big. The pads are extremely comfortable velour and the pressure level is adequate. Although the earpads might not cover large ears, the earpads are soft enough that comfort wouldn't be a problem. They're also comfortable to be worn with your glasses.

The build quality however, isn't exactly high-end by Beyerdynamic's standards and is a bit plasticky. The swivels also feel a little vulnerable. But, at this price, you can't really complain too much.
Coming to the cable, it is inordinately long, thick and heavy duty. It's excellent if you're using these headphones at home, but on the move, the sheer bulk and weight of cable pulling down from the left cup might get cumbersome quickly.

Moving on to noise isolation, it's not optimal. Because of the semi-open nature of these headphones, noise leakage is also an issue. So, you should definitely avoid using these while at work.

Sound is where the DTX 710 excels in. These deliver some quality punchy and extended bass, it can get sloppy sometimes, but on the whole, i t's quite a fun bass response that isn't really very accurate. The mid-range is pure and well defined. The highs are also nothing to scoff at, being rather clear and exciting.

The sound stage is generally very clear with good placement of instruments from furthest left to furthest right and with a reasonable depth back to front as well. The soundstage is much better than many competing models.



Aumkar Chandan, MrTechAgent


"Incredible headphones for the price. Very comfortable, sounds really great and it's cheap! If you can mod them, they'd be perfect. Definitely get them."

 

UPS
 Open Back Design
Fantastic Sound
DOWNS
Build Quality could be better

 


Our Verdict:
If you're looking for an entry-level open-back model to use at home, these are your best bet.


 




4.  PANASONIC - RP-HXS400

Most Stylish at this Price-Point 

The Panasonic HXS400 is an over the ear headphone. The headband has a slider to extend or reduce its length to fit your head. The over the ear panels have big cushions and feels comfortable. These ear panels come with swivel mechanism for the perfect fit. They also rotate around 90 degrees to flex and fit as per your requirements.

Something that other headphones stand out from others int this range are the inclusion of vast range of colors.The come in blue, white, yellow, black, purple and green along with cool graphics that are sure to visually treat our eyes.

Not only visually, the Panasonic HXS400 is equally impressive when it comes to output. The headphone offers good bass levels as well as manages to produce surround sound as it should be. It doesn't miss out on the faintest instrument sounds either and manages to reproduce various frequencies thanks to its big 40 mm driver unit and Neodymium magnet.

For a headphone with dynamic sound and style, look no further than the RP-HXS400 by Panasonic. Powerful 40 mm drivers deliver crisp, balanced audio. The RP-HXS400 feature a distinctive design with a wide range of color variations to suit your personal style. Ideal for use on the go, the RP-HSX400 fold flat and store easily in a bag or briefcase.


The Mobile Indian


" At the time of writing, the Panasonic HXS400 was available for about Rs 2,500. It does a wonderful job when it comes to sound output. Look wise it is also trendy and appealing. My only concern was its durability. Due to non-detachable cord and absence of a dedicated travel pouch, you must be careful while keeping it in your bag/purse, else you might damage the cords. Better if you don't keep it in a bag at all. But at Rs 2,500, it is certainly a very good headphone."

 

UPS
Colorful Combinations
Dynamic Sound
DOWNS
No Carry Bag

 


Our Verdict:
If you're a frequent flyer who doesn't want to drop a lot of moolah for a decent noise cancelling headphone, this should be your pick.


 




5. PANASONIC - RP-HXD5+

On-Ear Headphones that glow in the dark


The Panasonic RP-HXD5+ are a pair of attractive and elegant looking headphones. The entire design of HXD5+ focuses on giving it a minimalist look.  This very aspect catches our eye from the first moment.  The brand logo is at the bottom of each side of the headband in a small, predominantly white and colour throughout the product without any element of distraction. A simple yet attractive looking headphone, the Panasonic HXD5+ also has a glow-in-the-dark feature. 

The feature that sets this model apart from the Panasonic HXD5 is the in-line mic with volume control
The inline mic shuts out all ambient noise and also has a control button to adjust volume. It is compatible with any phone, music player or other audio devices with a 3.5 mm jack

When it comes to comfort, the earpads areleatherette,  making them extremely comfortable for hours at stretch. A backlog in terms of comfort maybe the headband, which is not very extendable making them hard to use if you wear a pagdi or have a big head.

The sound of the HXD5+ is loud and clear due to its 40 mm drivers.  The sound is well-balanced with an equal amount of treble and bass. Although, as compared to a lot of products included in this list, the HXD5+ misses a bit out on the noise isolation. 

The HXD5 is a headset with a minimalist look elegant and exquisite design and urban. In addition to highlighting the aesthetics, the sound is not far behind, and this will be of excellent quality that will not disappoint anyone through the aperture of 40 mm it has.

 


Audio-46


" Already a great sensation, thePanasonic RP-HXD5 Plus are an edge above the market with the level of sophisticated yet simple looking design. The design work is really impressive with the white headphones giving a look and feel of a glass finish to the headphones."

 

UPS
Minimalist Design
Sound Isolation
DOWNS
 Flimsy Cables

  


Our Verdict:
If you're looking for the best mobile headset that can be used for answering calls along with listening to music for hours on end, do consider these.


 



These were our top 5 Headphones under 3000. There are a lot more present under this range so check out our collection HERE. Which one seems to be your next favourite? Do let us know in the comment section below.

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11 Responses

vijayasaradhi maganti
vijayasaradhi maganti

October 30, 2016

can i plz know which devices are better for using audio technica m20x . whether mp3 players are better? if mp3 players are better which brand mp3 players are better? what about the noise cancellation relating to m20x? if any one can answer these plz give me the reply which help me to buy a good headphones and enjoy the music.

Sheena
Sheena

July 23, 2016

Hi Ashish, the ATH-M20X has higher impedence which means it will produce better sound when paired with the FiiO Q1. Whereas, the ATH-AX3IS is better when paired with your phone as it is essentially a mobile headset.

Thank you,
Sheena

Sheena
Sheena

July 23, 2016

Hi Kitchu,
If you care about sound the most then the AKG K77 is a great budget buy. It doesn’t have a mic though. I would also suggest the Beyerdynamic DTX 710 but since they’re open-back you really won’t be able to use them at home.
Hope this helps,
Sheena

Kitchu
Kitchu

July 19, 2016

Hi, I read your reviews. Got bit more confused as I need a good headphone which delivers a thrilling sound experience. Mostly the usage would be for my Samsung Note 4, but also with my PCs. Mic will be an added advantage, but not a must if it compromise the sound effect. You can also suggest me out these 5 picked-up ones. My price tag would be below 3K INR. Your quick response would be much appreciated.

Ashish Damien Robinson
Ashish Damien Robinson

July 05, 2016

Hello Ms Sheikh,

Cud u pls suggest which is better option to go for out of ath-mx20 and ath-AX3is. As i use Fiio Q1 and keeping in mind that i have already enjoyed denon 310 accoustic luxury and bose on ear. Kindly suggest which ATH is superior and why. I can vividly feel the sound but i am no audiophile or sound techy.

Thanks & Regards,
AD Robinson

Sushanth
Sushanth

May 20, 2016

I want to know whether audio technica ath-m20x is better than ath-ax5is….I want to use it with my smartphone(Sony Xperia z3)…..I’m not an audiophile but I do want to hear some quality music….I have to use them everyday…so, please suggest a pair of headphones for me and please let me know if there any better headphone options at a price point of RS3500.

rahul
rahul

May 04, 2016

Are there any options where the wire is detachable?

Aditya
Aditya

April 28, 2016

How are senheiser HD 202 ii?

Dheeraj
Dheeraj

April 27, 2016

Please suggest me a good headphone under Rs2500 with great bass and clear audio.
I will use it for gaming as well as listening to music on the go.
I was considering Sony XB450AP.
also shed some light on steelseries flux

Nausheen Shaikh
Nausheen Shaikh

April 26, 2016

Hi Vishwas,

Both the ATH-M20x and the ATH-AX3is can be used with any device that has a 3.5mm jack including laptops and mobiles.
However, the impedance on both headphones is very high, so they might not sound as good with your phones. Sound may be muffled and a headphone amplifier might be needed to drive it.
But they’ll work very well on their own with your laptop or computer.

Hope this solved your doubt!

Vishwas
Vishwas

April 26, 2016

Can we use Audio technica headphones for Laptops and mobiles …with 3.5 mm jack ?

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