The Best Headphones For Your Money, Part 1: Under 5000


Looking for a pair of headphones? We covered this topic in an article done previously and we preached at length about earphones not too long ago: now we’ve completed our rounds and have brought you…this.  

Our recommendations are not based on brand rather on overall build quality, music and sound quality and additional features. For testing audio quality, we threw a variety of music at each headset– J-pop, rock, hip hop, metal, EDM and Lindsey Stirling (who we believe should be a category of her own) – in FLAC. The hardware of choice was a Nexus 5 running Viper4Android – a smartphone, because that’s what we generally use for these.

iDance Free – Rs. 1,490

The iDance Free is an over the ear headphone which comes in 8 colors. It’s thin, flimsy and also has a buil- in microphone and has a “super bass speaker driver” which does nothing to improve overall sound quality. Build quality is nothing to drool over and they’re generally too small to be of use.

Available at: Ace Com, Hi-Fi- Center,

iDance Crazy – Rs. 1,990Crazy

Aimed at the DJs in making, the headphones offer slightly (but not a lot) better music reproduction for the price. It also has a built in microphone and it has free software download coupons (Magix Mufin Player and PCDJ Dex 2 L.E). Clever marketing tactics indeed.

Available at:, Hi-Fi- Center

Jokey210iDance Jockey – Rs. 2,790

The Jockey comes in a variety of colors, which includes a somewhat acceptable dark blue. These headphones are good value for money: they’re foldable for easy transport, they have a touch of extra bass with an open ear cup design and an inbuilt microphone as well. There’s much to be desired from a set of cans that claims to be aimed at DJs – the mids and highs are again overpowered by the bass and there’s distortion at the high end, but for techno and EDM playlists, it’s pretty decent.

Available at:, Hi-Fi- Center


TDK ST170TDK ST 170 – Rs. 3,000

The ST170 is again similar to the Jockey 210 in terms of build and design.  It’s a tad more study, music is clearer and you get and remote control and mic which you can also use to play, pause, switch tracks and control volume. Music quality is decent, if a little lacking in everything.

Available at:

AKG K511 – Rs. 3,490

AKG K511The AKG K511 looks a lot more expensive than it is.

Rather than the “thump” inherent to most headphones, the K511 is more revolved around accurate sound reproduction; as such, it packs a decent soundstage with good detail but an overall lack of booming bass. Build quality seems a little flimsy and somewhat fragile-  which can be worrisome if you tend to toss your cans around.

Available at: Abans (Kollupitiya, Race Course or The Arcade – Independence square)

iDance Blue 50 – Rs. 3,890Blue 50

iDance enters the fray again with its Blue50, a Bluetooth headset designed for use with iPod, iPhone and Android devices. You can also use it for your PC if it is Bluetooth enabled. As with any Bluetooth audio device, there is a certain amount of distortion that can be heard and the Blue 50 is no exception. The headset has controls for music and volume along with the answer/hang up button that is standard on most headsets, Bluetooth or wired. Sound quality is acceptable and the wireless connectivity does make it easier when traveling.

Available at: Hi-Fi Center,

iDance Hipster 705 – Rs. 4,190

The Hipster is another entry by iDance aimed at both DJs and hipsters (looking around Colombo, we’d say they got their timing right). It has a fairly premium polished surface with aluminum bracket. Audio wise, they’re a decent performer if you’re into trance, techno and EDM. For rock and metal, not so much: instrumental separation isn’t a highlight here. This, too, comes with a built in microphone. It also includes free software vouchers to craft your own personal DJ mixes (PCDJ 3DEX LE and Magix Mufin).

Available at:

iDance Disco – Rs. 4,590DISCO 

The Disco feels very sturdy, with aluminum highlights and metal hinges. The same cannot be said for the audio quality. Despite the 40mm drivers, sound quality is rather muddy and lacks definition. We wish these guys had packed in the sound of the more hipster-ish Hipster into this metal shell.

Available at:

akg k430AKG K430 – Rs. 4,990

Another entry by AKG, the K430 does a decent job. Sound quality is good with bass that isn’t overly powerful combined with clear medium frequencies. Higher frequencies tended to be a bit shrill: expect to have to turn down the treble.

Where it falls is the build. The swivel cup which can be rotated was rather weak and thereby could easily snap if not handled properly. It’s meant to be folded up and make the K430 easy for transport, but it ends up being KS430’s Achilles Heel.

For the price range though, the K430

Available at: Abans iStore – Kollupitiya, Race Course, The Arcade – Independence square


The AKG K511

The K511 wins this category because of the audio experience you get. Despite a lack of thumping bass (as in the K430 or the iDance Hispter) the K511 stands out because it simply has a wider, more accurate listening experience. This in turn blends it to a variety of music genres with a few tweaks of the equalizer. It’s not always about the bass. It does lack an inline microphone, but in terms of sheer audio quality, the K511 is the winner.



  1. What do you guys think about the sennheiser hd 201 and the 180 , they fall under this cat available at chesleylk
    anything special notes on it ?


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