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Mid-level Wireless Headphones
Whether you’re a producer or musician, a dedicated audiophile, or just have some extra money to blow, the “Mid-level Wireless Headphones” up to $500 can offer a lot in feature set and audio capability. In this post, we’ll explore the best wireless headphones you can buy for between $100 and $500.
Key Points to Consider on Buying Mid-level Wireless Headphones
Sound Quality – At headphones priced a little under $500, you should be looking to find the best audio that headphones can produce.
Design – Higher-end phones tend to show off the fact they’re more expensive and luxurious looking. Beauty is always subjective, but we still think some headphone designs are more elegant than others.
Build Quality – With a higher premium, materials should be durable and withstand frequent wear and tear. They need to feel firm but well-constructed. Anything less isn’t worth your money.
Battery Life – More expensive headphones should last longer, or charge more efficiently. They shouldn’t have to die in the middle of a Netflix binge, or a gaming session, or a workout.
Additional Features – Headphones at a certain level become similar to other pairs in terms of sound and build quality, save for a few differences only audiophiles would notice. What separates them are unique features: microphone/controller, apps, noise cancellation, wired/wireless options, and more.
The Top Headphones To Buy For Under $500
Parrot Zik Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones
- Tactile touch panel that enables sensual movements, head detection sensor
- Highly performing active noise control, specialized musical image
- Bone conduction sensor, five microphones and a powerful digital signal processor
The Parrot Zik Wireless Headphones are a classy pair of headphones. They’re sleek and modern, the result of a collaboration between Parrot and a French designer, Phillipe Starck. The modern art-inspired design is backed with some useful technology, such as Active Noise Cancellation, and a touch-sensitive control panel. They even have a head detection sensor that can pause or play music depending on whether the headphones are being worn.
The Parrot Zik Headphones look minimalist and almost futuristic. There’s nothing on the matte ear cups save for two silver designs on the lower curves. The headband also winds around the earcups creating a unique artistic effect. It’s a matter of taste, but I respect it for standing out from other, more typical headphone designs. The earcups can get oily or sweaty from extended use which makes them not ideal for exercise.
The Parrot Zik Wireless demonstrates great audio engineering with its balanced highs and lows, and a detailed soundstage that brought musical performances to life. The Active Noise Cancelling is not an innovative feature, but with the Parrot Zik, it’s done right. It doesn’t alter the EQ levels in any random way.
The Parrot Zik Wireless Headphones package great technology and beautiful design with a tempting retail price.
Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones
- High-performance wireless Bluetooth headphones in matte black
- Features the Apple W1 chip and Class 1 wireless Bluetooth connectivity
- With up to 40 hours of battery life, Beats Solo3 wireless is your perfect everyday headphone
- Compatible with iOS and Android devices
- With Fast Fuel, 5 minutes of charging gives you 3 hours of playback when battery is low
The Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones don’t differ too much from its predecessor, the Solo2, with the exception of a fancy new W1 chip by Apple. The chip is advertised to make Bluetooth connectivity more convenient.
The headphones feature the same ear cup shape, plastic material, and Beats logo that many of their previous headphones had. The plastic finish may give it a little sheen, but it also makes fingerprints more noticeable. For quick storage, the earcups can fold in on themselves. Personally, I wasn’t a fan of the build. It felt cheap and easily breakable, which is unacceptable for headphones at a high price. It wasn’t too uncomfortable however, the pads gave enough cushion and it wasn’t tight on my head.
Everybody knows Beats has a somewhat polarizing reputation for its bass-heavy headphones, sometimes coming out distorted or drowning out the other signals. But this time around, the bass still felt dominant, but it was balanced against the mids and highs. This is easily the best sounding Beats headphone (especially a Beats wireless headphone) out right now.
If you’re looking for a bass-heavy set of headphones, the Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones is an excellent wireless choice. Typically, Beats headphones are a matter of taste- some people prefer better-made headphones, while others swear by the brand name. The choice ultimately is up to you.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Monitor Headphones
- Critically acclaimed sonic performance praised by top audio engineers and pro audio reviewers
- Proprietary 45 millimeter large aperture drivers with rare earth magnets and copper clad aluminum wire voice coils
- Exceptional clarity throughout an extended frequency range, with deep, accurate bass response
- Circumaural design contours around the ears for excellent sound isolation in loud environments
- 90 degree swiveling earcups for easy, one ear monitoring, and professional grade earpad and headband material delivers more durability and comfort
Audio-Technica has produced some of the most beloved reference monitors ever. I still use the Audio-Technica ATH-M50 today, because its design, sound quality, and durability remain unmatched. Audio-Technica has continued to produce headphones based on that original home run with the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x.
The new M50x looks nearly identical to the ATH-M50, the only difference being a removable cable. The black and white design, the ATH logo, the swivel earcups, and ear and headband pads all remain the same. Not that there’s anything wrong with that: the M50 had a robust design that used strong and rugged materials.
In terms of sound, the ATH-M50x sounds like an expensive pair of headphones. And compared to other headphones in this price range, the ATH-M50x wins easily. Everything is given the attention it deserves. The highs sound crisp without sounding shrill, the lows sound powerful without being overpowering. There’s a reason these headphones are favored not just by casual listeners but by producers and musicians as well.
The ATH-M50x doesn’t break new ground in its design, build, even its name, but that’s not a bad thing. The hallmarks of a classic audio live on in this iteration.
BOSE QUIETCOMFORT 35 WIRELESS HEADPHONES
- World class noise cancellation makes quiet sound quieter and music sound better. Connectivity Technology: Wireless
- Volume optimized EQ for balanced audio performance at any volume
- Wireless convenience, with easy Bluetooth and NFC pairing aided by voice prompts
- 20 hour battery life per charge; up to 40 hours in wired mode
- Noise rejecting dual microphone system for clear calls even in windy environments
Bose have typically been the go-to brand for noise-canceling Mid-level Wireless Headphones. They make sturdy headphones, develop great noise-cancellation technology, and have a trademark design.
The QuietComfort 35 (or the QC35) is very similar to the QC25, with the only differences being a widened headband, a wireless option, and a higher price. Available in either grey or black, these headphones are made of metal and firm plastic. The earcups are comfortable when resting against your ears, and with a light frame, makes the headphones easy to wear for long periods.
Bose has built a digital equalizer on the QC35 that automatically balances the levels produced. It helps create a highly vivid soundstage, even when you may not want to hear that in a particular song. With noise-cancelation however, it made listening to music a deep and engrossing experience. The quality is definitely among the top. The headphones also come with 2.5mm jack that plugs into the left cup in case you want to listen wired (we didn’t notice any glaring differences between wired and wireless).
The QuietComfort 35 is a great entry by Bose, and a step up to its wired counterparts. There’s a lot to love, from the noise-cancelation to the simple design, to the comfort and lightweight profile.
Paying a little extra for some high-end headphones can pay off in the long run. With more durable, better-sounding headphones, you can expect to have a pair for several years, instead of just a few months. With this list, you should think about which brand you best trust, which features are most important to you, and what style suits you the most.
Of all the Mid-level Wireless Headphones, I’d choose the Audio-Technica ATH M50x Wireless Headphones. These headphones pack so much great design and technology for such a low price. The audio seemed more balanced than the competition, but I never really cared for the bass features anyway. Compared to the other Mid-level Wireless Headphones, I also just liked the ATH M50x’s design the most.
Stay tuned for other posts on which wireless headphones you should consider purchasing.