Why Are Good Headphones So Expensive? Are They Worth It?

by Alex.   Last Updated On October 3rd, 2022.
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Being an audiophile, good-sounding headphones are a must. High-resolution music is not only a great hobby for some but is a necessity, that’s the reason why podcasters wear headphones and even music producers.

But not everyone can afford these high-quality sounding headphones because of their price points; these headphones can range from $200 to $1000 and more, but what makes these headphones expensive? And is it worth it?

Many factors contribute to why good headphones are so expensive: excellent build quality, a plethora of features, and high-quality headphones have better-sounding audio which requires high-quality components.

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What makes good headphones so expensive?

Higher quality audio components

As you go higher up the price ladder, the sound quality of headphones will sound better, and this is nothing to be surprised by. Top-tier headphones are just made with better materials.

Expensive headphones are made with bigger driver size, better impedance, and other factors that will ultimately provide consumers crisp, balanced, and better-sounding audio than cheap headphones, which are mostly either just bass-boosted or have little to no bass at all.

Primarily for music producers, balanced-sounding headphones that produce accurate tones will allow them to quickly identify what they have to adjust to create great music.

Expensive headphones are more durable

A problem that most cheap headphones have is that they get easily damaged or they won’t last that long because they are made with lower-quality materials such as plastic.

Most companies that produce cheap or budget headphones made with efficiency and saving as much money as possible on their minds, and this is why purchasing expensive headphones at the start is much preferred for most.

Not only will this allow you to save more money in the long run, but it will also give you better-sounding audio in the process.

Expensive headphones generally have better features

To compensate for their hefty price tags, expensive headphones have a ton more features than budget headphones.

They might add active noise canceling, multi-device connectivity, water resistance, easy sound controls, and sound adjustment via their dedicated application. Some might even say that you can safely use headphones in the sauna.

There are many more features that companies can add to their headphones, and these are just some of them.

Expensive headphones are often hand assembled

Unlike most cheap headphones, high-quality headphones are not mass-produced and are only made in small batches.

Cheap headphones are made in enormous quantities to lower their costs, but since big brand companies take their time creating expensive headphones, it drives up their per-unit cost, making their products more costly.

Premium companies run high-cost marketing campaigns

Think about big headphone brands like Beats and Sony, and look at the list of celebrities that endorse their products, such as Lebron James, DJ Khaled, Travis Scott, Lil Wayne, and Conor McGregor.

Seeing these A list celebrities wear and use their products encourages people to buy their products which drives up the demand and, in turn, drives up the price even more.

Premium headphones are more comfortable

Audiophiles, music producers, and podcasters can wear headphones for long periods. It can ultimately hurt the user’s ears in the process, which is something that luxury headphone brands have improved upon.

Wearing cheap headphones made of sturdy plastic materials for hours can easily make anyone uncomfortable, so premium brands allow soft materials to provide cushion and comfort for their consumer’s ears while listening to music.

Making good headphones is an expensive process

It’s no secret that creating high-resolution producing headphones takes a lot of time and effort to complete. Big brands require high-level engineering to make their headphones sound good. And they are also tasked with consistently finding ways to innovate and make their product better than their previous models.

Also, market research drives up their prices, such as researching new trends in the headphone industry and checking up on what their competitors are doing, ultimately requiring effort and capital.

What to do before buying headphones?

Read up on technical audio terms

Study technical audio terminology and find out what they do in producing sound and what difference they make to the overall sound quality. Read on terms such as frequency range, distortion ratio, Total Harmonic Distortion, and many more.

Prepare a budget

To save you some time filtering from the sea of headphones flooding the market, prepare a fixed price range in which you are comfortable buying headphones. It’s generally advised to stay away from very cheap headphones as they are not great, and it would be better to stay in the mid to high price range headphones.

Learn what your preference is

Not everyone has the same preferences when it comes to audio. Many people prefer bassy-sounding audio, while some prefer much-balanced music with great detail blasting on their headphones. So be sure to know what your sound preferences are.

Read reviews online

If you are just an average person looking for high-quality headphones, you might need expert advice from reviewers online. You can scrape a lot of information from informative blog posts, article reviews, and YouTube videos to help you filter headphones that align with your preferences.

Check headphone specifications

Once you have narrowed your choices to three or four options and still have trouble choosing between them, you can compare their specs to see which headphone prevails. You can compare their driver size, battery capacity, features, weight, comfortability, etc.

Test the headphones

If possible, try them out to truly see which headphones you want to go for; this test will be the best judge to determine which headphone is genuinely for you and the one that ticks all the minute details in your reference checklist.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do high-quality headphones make a difference?

Yes, comparing the sound quality of premium headphone brands to cheap ones is like comparing day and night. Premium headphones like the Meze 99 Classics emphasize quality as their audio is always accurate, balanced, and crisp.

Not only will these headphones promise to deliver you high-quality audio, but they will also provide you comfort along with it, which will allow you to listen to music for hours on end without feeling any discomfort on or near your ears.

These premium headphones will also save you tons of money in the long run. As relatively cheap headphones are made with low-quality materials, they quickly get damaged. Leading you to buy another and then another can be more constantly than just buying a premium brand one on the get-go.

Should I spend a lot of money on headphones?

You don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money on earphones to listen to high-resolution music. Ordinary people can purchase mid-range priced headphones such as the Sony WH-1000XM4 for only $348.00 (see more headphones under $400 here), and users can access next-level audio technology, a 30-hour battery life, and active noise cancellation.

Or you can also opt for the Bose QuietComfort 45, where you can have high-fidelity audio, an option for quiet and aware modes, and even 24 hours of continuous listening for just the price of $329.00 making this headphone included in our best headphones under $600 list. Some users though complain about having connectivity problems with their bose headphones to their mac computer, but there’s a way that you can still connect Bose headphones to your mac.

Does the price of headphones matter?

Yes. The higher you go up, the better the headphones are. You get more features, better build quality, higher-quality audio, and more comfortability. But this does not mean that you can’t find fabulous quality headphones for mid-range prices.

How long should headphones last?

The longevity of headphones can vary from person to person and can be affected by several factors.

If you take care of your headphones, keep them away from wet environments, clean them regularly, and use them constantly, you can expect them to last anywhere between three to 10 years.

Are wired headphones better than wireless ones?

Wired earphones generally produce better-sounding audio compared to their Bluetooth-connected counterparts.

Because wired headphones use analog signals that can handle more digital signals from our devices, they can deliver better sounding audio in its full resolution.

However, wired earphones also come with their drawbacks, such as their ability to restrict physical movement. Wired earphones are also becoming a thing of the past now as more and more companies produce smartphones with no headphone jacks. An example of this is Apple which releases smartphones and iPads without a headphone jack.

Are Beats by Dr. Dre good?

The Beats brand has almost become synonymous with headphones in the music industry as Beats have consistently put out high-quality headphones since they started their operations back on July 25, 2008.

With high-grade materials and A-list celebrities constantly promoting the brand, it’s no surprise why Beats is one of the best headphone producers in the world.

One of their best-reviewed headphones is the on-ear Beats Solo Pro Wireless which features active noise canceling, up to 22 hours of playback time, and an option for transparency mode to keep you aware of your surroundings. And it also has fast charging, which allows you to get up to three hours of listening time from just 10 minutes of charging.

Another is their Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones, made for people who are into sports and working out. This high-performance Bluetooth-connected headphone features comfort-cushioned ear cups, multi-function on-ear controls, 40 hours of battery life, and extra fast charging that provides you with three hours of playback time from just five minutes of charging.

Who makes the best headphones in the world?

There is no objective way to choose which brands produce the best headphones globally, but here are some of the best brands for luxury headphones on the market.

  1. Sennheiser
  2. Bose
  3. Beats
  4. Sony
  5. AKG
  6. Audio-Technica

Conclusion

High-quality audio, comfortability, tons of features, and expensive marketing, are some of the most prominent factors contributing to the rising prices of luxury brand headphones.

And while expensive headphones might not be everyone’s choice, they are to some people that require high accuracy and balanced audio that will allow them to produce great music or relax by listening to high-resolution audio.