Finding a good headphone can be hard. Especially something with crystal clear audio and good noise isolation. That’s why we tested six of the most popular headphones for over a week.
We did our testing by partnering with Rontek’s CEO Jacob Abraham. Jacob Abraham has been in the audio technology field for over 20 years. He helped us to conduct our tests to find the best headphone under Rs. 2000.
Here are our best picks.
The Best Headphone under Rs. 2000
Sony Extra Bass MDR-XB450AP On-Ear with Mic
The Sony XB450AP with Extra Bass in its name leaves no doubt about the fact that they are designed for bass lovers. And they are superb at bass reproduction, with the bass not overpowering the mids and highs. The headphones also have quite the punch at the high end. Despite being an on-ear headphone the noise isolation was, well, isolating, in fact the best here. The padding too was comfortable without giving any strain on the ears.
Motorola Pulse Max Headset with Mic
The Motorola Pulse Max surprisingly matches the sound quality of the Sony XB450AP. It too has a good sprinkle of bass without an strain on the mids and highs and delivers a clear and crisp sound quality. It however falls back in terms of the build quality and noise isolation.
Note: The Sennheiser HD180 was our recommendation for the best headphone under Rs.1,000. But given the quality of sound that it reproduced we felt it deserved to be added in comparison with the Rs.2,000 headphones too. If you are looking for a budget pick then check out our research on best headphones under Rs. 1000.
Why Trust Us?
To find the best headphones under Rs.2000 for you we spent over a week testing six of the most popular headphones. We partnered with Rontek to measure the sound quality of each headphone subjectively & objectively.
Good sound quality isn't all that makes a headphone good, so we used each headphone for at least two and a half hours to test its comfort. Similarly a noise isolation test was carried out to understand if external noise can seep through. Lastly, we called up all headphone manufacturers to understand their warranty and service policies.
How we selected?
We analyzed all the headphones available on Flipkart and Amazon and chose the most popular ones.
How we tested?
When buying a headphone, sound quality alone is not enough. You must also make sure the ear cups of the headphone are comfortable enough to at least watch a movie. There's no point in buying a headphone with great sound which continuously hurts your ears. We wanted to make sure the headphone you buy has great sound quality and delivers on other features as well. Here’s what we tested.
Sound Quality - Jacob conducted the LARSA test to assess the sound quality. He built a listening chamber out of a cardboard box, inside which a calibrated microphone was mounted. The headphone was placed around the cardboard box as shown in the image below. We then ran test sounds through the headphones which were collected by the microphone and plotted into a frequency curve.
We also conducted a blind listening test with Mr. Jacob, with a set playlist of songs. After listening to each headphone he gave a rating based on the quality of sound, bass, mids, treble and the noise isolation and comfort.
Comfort - As we said before, we don’t want you to be stuck with headphones that hurt your ears. So, to test the comfort of each headphone we wore each headphone for almost two and a half hours.
Now, each person's ear is different and our testing was done on the same person's ears. So we can't objectively tell you the amount of time you can wear. But, we did this mainly to compare which headphone we could wear for a longer.
Durability - Next we wanted to check the durability of the headphone padding. So we checked the sponge quality, softness, thickness of padding on each of the headphone. We also checked verified reviews on Amazon and Flipkart to assess whether people had problems with the padding.
Next we checked the cable quality to see if they were actually tangle-free. We tried tangling the cable and then tried removing the tangles.
Noise Isolation - To test the noise isolation, we sat down next to a TV and put the headphones on. We kept increasing the volume on the TV until the noise from the TV could be heard above the music in the headphones. We noted the exact point at which this occurred. We also noted the point at which the TV noise drowned out the music from the headphones. The graph below shows the volume at which each headphone allowed the TV noise to seep through.
Warranty and Service: We called each headphone company to find out the warranty and service policy and process for getting a headphone replaced or fixed for each headphone.
Best Headphone under Rs. 2000 (in-Detail)
Sony Extra Bass MDR-XB450AP On-Ear with Mic
The best sounding headphone with great comfort and durability for the price.
- Best sound quality with a good focus on bass
- Good build quality
- Quality padding makes headphone comfortable to use for long hours
- Flat tangle-free cables
- Good noise isolation for this budget
- No Volume Control Buttons
- Headphones can't be folded for added portability
Quality of Sound: Excellent Audio Quality with great bass
The Sony Extra Bass MDR-XB450AP aced our objective and subjective sound tests giving great and clear sound quality. Jacob stated that this headphone had superior audio quality compared to most others in this range. The headphones are focused around the low ends, but that doesn't mean they aren't good elsewhere. The bass is never overpowering and the headphone has a very good quality of mids and highs. The warm sound of these headphones makes them great for music listening as well as for watching movies.
This headphone was the most effective in our noise isolation tests. It managed to suppress the noises from the TV significantly. This is mainly due to the thickness of the ear cups’ padding.
Build and Comfort: Premium design and build quality
The Sony Extra Bass MDR-XB450AP being an on-ear headphone had ear cups that completely covered your ear and were second most comfortable headphones in this range. Listening to the XB450AP for more than 2 hours did not give us any strain on the ear.
Sony has used quality materials on this headphones. Be it the padding, the tangle-free cables or the outer body of the headphone, all of them felt much better than the other headphones we tested. The better build quality does add some weight to the product but you don't feel uncomfortable with the weight. Having flat cables completely prevents it from getting tangled. Despite actively trying to tangle the cable, we couldn't do it. This was further confirmed by lack of complaints about the cable quality or durability from online reviews.
The ear pads are made of good quality faux leather which is semi-sweat resistant.So this may not the best bet for gymming.
Coming to the portability of these headphones. The ear cups can be rotated to make the headphones flat while carrying. However, the ear cups do not fold inwards to further improve portability.
This headphone has an inline mic and can be used on phone calls. However, we found the quality of calls was muffled. The mic was not the best part of this headphone. In fact most headphones which we tested in this budget did not have a good mic.
Based on our extensive testing and with inputs of our sound expert, we can say the Sony XB450AP offers the best experience if you are looking for something that sounds very good, looks and feels premium and is comfortable to listen to for long hours.
Note: The Sony MDR-XB450 is a headphone that's priced less than the XB450AP, that has the exact same specs and performance but loses out on the microphone. You can try that if it makes more sense for you.
You can get it here - Amazon | Flipkart
Second Best (in-detail)
Motorola Pulse Max with Mic
Extra comfortable over the ear headphones with sound quality that's close to the Sony XB450AP
- Clear sound quality with decent bass
- Super comfortable ear cups
- Detachable aux cable
- Feels bulky courtesy of the large ear cups
- It can't be folded for added portability
- Plasticky build quality
Quality of Sound: Matches our best pick in sound quality
The Motorola Pulse Max matched the Sony MDR-XB450AP in terms of sound quality, producing a clear sound which was very well balanced. The Moto Pulse Max has just the right amount of bass that gives it a good sound for the price.The reproduction of the mids and high were also clear without any overlay of bass seeping through.
Despite the over the ear set up, the headphone doesn't even come close to isolating sound as well as the Sony XB450AP. In fact, it was the worst of all the headphones we tested. However, it more than makes up for it on the comfort it offers.
Build and Comfort: Decently built but feels plasticky
The Motorola Pulse Max is an over-the-ear type of headphone. It completely engulfs your ear and gives a nice cozy fit. Being made of plastic the headphones are very light. We used it for more than two hours without experiencing any discomfort or pressure in our ears. The angle of the ear cups can be tilted to a required angle which adds on to the extra comfort and proper fit.
The ear cups come with thick foam padding covered with faux leather that looked good and gave us a very comfortable listening experience. One minor flaw, is that the ear padding is not fully sweat resistant and this limits their use as a gym headphones.
This model has a round detachable cable with a sturdy looking connector. The cable is not fully tangle-free like the flat cable on the Sony XB450AP. However we found it relatively easier to untangle thanks to the thicker size of the cable. We found no complaints about the cable quality, ear padding or the headphones durability from online reviews.
The Pulse Max has a sturdy and bulky looking design. While the build quality was decent it felt too plasticky. It lacked the premium feel of the Sony. The headbands too did not exude the same quality as the other Sony headphones.
The Pulse Max has an inline mic with remote control and can be used for phone calls. But as mentioned earlier, the clarity of calls through the mic are not good
Our Tests showed that the Motorola Pulse Max matches the Sony MDR-XB450AP in terms of sound quality. It comes very close to the Sony in terms of Noise isolation and surpasses it in terms of comfort to the ear. Sadly the headphone lacks the build quality and feel of the Sony, especially the headband and cable. Also, many people will prefer the Sony because of its better and more appealing design.
You can get it here - Amazon | Flipkart
A note on Warranty and Service
To analyze the warranty and service policy of each product, we called up all the given helpline numbers.
Sony: Sony has a 1 year warranty on all their headphones. For any issues with the product you drop off the product at the service center or ring up the customer care for assistance. Headphone replacement under warranty is valid only if the product is purchased from the following authorized sellers given below here. Make sure you check this list before you buy. If the product is brought from a different seller, the warranty will not be respected.
Motorola: We faced some difficulties in reaching the Motorola helpline. We had to call them five to six times before we finally got through to their customer care rep.
We were informed to reach a different helpline number or to write to firstname.lastname@example.org for service or warranty related queries. Our email was replied promptly with the proper contact details. The confusion is created as the Motorola headphones are not made by Motorola but, Binatone to whom the Motorola name is licensed for accessories.
Motorola headphones have a 1 year warranty. The invoice or bill copy is the warranty card. They have only one office in Delhi. You can ship the product to their service center along with the invoice copy and the reference address. If the product is found to be faulty, the replaced product will be sent to the customer. We found that they do not offer any services post warranty.
If you are buying the Moto, then you should contact this company - Shyam telecom Ltd, Naraina, Delhi. When we spoke to them last we found that the number you must call is 9136008800. If the number doesn't go through email the above mentioned address.
Sennheiser: Sennheiser has the best warranty policy of the brands we tested. They have a 2 year warranty policy, plus, they offer repair services post warranty! You can call the number on the box you receive and then ship the headphone to them for service. The invoice or bill copy is the warranty card, sp keep it safe.
Those that didn’t make the cut
Sony Extra Bass MDR-XB250 On-Ear Headphones - The MDR-XB250 had a decent design and build quality, but there was nothing great about the sound. While it was clear at most frequencies we felt the sound quality could have been better.
boAt Rockerz 400 Wireless Bluetooth Headphone - The sound quality was not on par with our winners. Listening fatigue creeped in after 15 mins of usage. The only good thing about the boAt headphones was the bluetooth support.
Sony MDR-ZX310APL Headset with Mic - The sound quality of this headphone was decent in terms of clarity, it couldn't match the superior sound quality of our best picks. The reason for this we feel is the thin padding that leaks sounds and also doesn't give you the isolated feel one gets on wearing headphones. Then there were online reviews suggesting the ear cups we not that durable and got soiled quickly.
Can you help?
Here at Hometop, we’re committed to researching, analysing, and testing products thoroughly to ensure you never buy horrible products again.Our business stands on your trust in us.
Some of the work we do takes weeks of analysis before we can consider recommending something. To support ourselves, currently, our site operates on affiliate links. Meaning we make money when you purchase a product from our links. If you are not satisfied with the product and return it then we do not make any money. In other words, we only survive if the product you buy satisfies you!
You can support our work by buying the products we recommend on our site. If we are the last link you click before you buy a product then Amazon and Flipkart pay us a small commission. This helps in funding our research and reviewing activities. This, in turn, helps us create reviews so you can make an informed and educated decision.
Either way, welcome to Hometop – Home to the top products.