Among all of the reasonably priced portable headphones, the Audio-Technica ATH-ES7 is a unique offering that manages to combine style and substance without compromising much of either.
Though I’ve never personally considered Grados to be portable cans, the sound produced by the SR60i for a mere $80 is hard to argue against.
The Philips SHP5400 are quite different from most other headphones I’ve heard in the $50 range, focusing their sonic performance on speed and clarity.
The Beyerdynamic DT235 is easily one of the better sub-$100 headphones I have heard. The combination of simple and durable construction, long-term comfort, and truly impressive sound quality make it an excellent choice for those who care little for looks and a whole lot for substance.
As someone who still finds the sound signature of Sennheiser’s aging PX100 enjoyable in a relaxing sort of way after years of ownership, I had high hopes for Senn’s new ‘audiophile’-class portables. What I got was a more refined dose of the typical Sennheiser sound in what is admittedly a very handsome and convenient portable.
Like the higher-end HD238, the HD228 is a very comfortable portable headphone that’s unobtrusive and easy on the eyes.
The Sony MDR-XB500 is a solid, albeit not truly hi-fi, performer in the $50 range. The bass is strong and smooth and generally remains quite competent despite being slightly dull in nature.
Though the Alessandro MS1 suffers from the same isolation, comfort, and portability issues as the competing Grados, they offer quite a lot of sonic bang for the buck.
Though most retailers want around $100 for the Numark PHX Pro, looking around ebay and amazon can yield an open-box or even brand new set for as little as 2/3 of that.