If you are going to get a headphone for the Rs.10,000 range you need to make sure that what you are getting is the best. We’ve tested four of the best headphones under 10000, to make sure you are getting the best.

As usual, we partnered with Rontek an audio company known for designing speakers, amplifiers and power management systems. Each of the headphones were personally tested by Rontek’s CEO Mr.Jacob Abraham who has 20 years of experience design and creating sound systems.

Here are our best picks.

The Best Headphone under Rs. 10000

Sennheiser HD 598 SR

The Sennheiser HD 598 brings a concert like experience to the table with its unique open back design. Ambient sounds seep through and get mixed with the music which gives you a very different but nice soundstage. What we mean by that is the Sennheiser 598 SR delivers the best sound quality in this price range period.

As we have come to associate Sennheiser’s with clean, natural sound the 598 is no different, giving a sound signature that is devoid of any unnecessary applications in the bass region. But that doesn't mean there is no bass, it's just that it is lesser than most closed backs.

They're well built and feel durable, the ear cups completely cover your ear. However, the open-back design means the sound leaks outside so you may not always prefer this during travel. There is an in-line mic present but, no volume controls on the headphone or remote.

The Best Budget pick under 10k

Sony MDR-XB650BT Wireless Headset with Mic

The Sony MDR-XB650BT is a wireless headphone from Sony bearing the Xtra bass moniker. This headphone has bass and a lot of it. The sound signature is biased towards the low end but the mids and highs are loud and clear for the most part.

Their on-ear design and wireless nature make them far more portable than the other headphones. Their good noise isolation, quick NFC pairing, and  long battery life make them a high-quality travel headphone that doesn't compromise on sound.

Being a Sony it was very well built with an elegant matte finish body and comfortable paddings. This headphone has an in-line mic which can be used in calling and the voice was clear but slightly sharp over the calls we made.


This is a really long post! Use the links below to jump around.


Why Trust Us?

To find the best headphones under Rs.10,000 we spend 5 days testing different aspects of each headphones. To do justice to the audio testing we partnered with Rontek, a company with over 20 years’ of experience in manufacturing high-quality audio amplification systems and loudspeakers.

At Rontek we measured the sound quality of each headphone subjectively and objectively. Good sound quality isn't all that makes a headphone good, so we used each headphone for at least 2 & 1/2 hours to understand the kind of comfort they offer.

Similarly, a noise isolation test was carried out to understand if external noise can seep through.

To check the mics voice call clarity, we called different people and got the headphones rated based on loudness, clarity, sharpness and background noise isolation.

Lastly, we called up all headphone manufacturers to understand their warranty and service policies.

​How we selected?

Our search for the best headphones started with an initial list of 30,000 headphones, from Amazon and Flipkart.

We started by removing all headphones with poor ratings and reviews. We finally selected the most reviewed and highly rated headphones online today. We also browsed popular online websites like Cnet and TechRadar for their best picks and added some products accordingly.

The shortlisted headphones were:

  • Audio-Technica ATH-M50xWH Professional Studio Monitor Headphones
  • Sennheiser HD 598
  • Sony XB650BT
  • Philips SHL3000/00

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 other features as well. Here’s what we tested.

Sound Quality: The sound quality testing was done at Rontek with the help of Mr. Jacob. We split the sound quality testing into two parts, Objective and Subjective. The Subjective testing is where Mr.Jacob listens to a selection of songs from different genres and then grades each headphone for sound quality.

N. Neema with Mr. Jacob and the headphones to be tested

The Objective testing is where things get interesting. Objectively testing a headphone is much more difficult than a normal speaker. Still, with the help of Rontek, we built our own test rig, which consisted of a box to simulate the human head, fitted into which was a calibrated microphone to record sound.

With this setup, we managed to perform the LARSA test on all the headphones. LARSA test helps to plot the frequency response curve of the headphone which shows the frequency and loudness of the headphones.

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 our researcher wore each headphone for over two hours, looking out for any sort of pain in the ear, irritation, sweating etc.

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 sound from the TV was louder than the sound from the headphone. We noted the exact point at which this occurred.

Chart showing Noise isolation in the chosen headphones

Quality of Mic: the mic was used in calling with different people and the voice clarity and volume of the call was analyzed.

Bluetooth : We tested headphones with Bluetooth by connecting to a laptop and mobile phone. These headphones we checked for their connection speed, stability, range, battery life, and charging.

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.

note

Objective testing cannot be conducted on the Bluetooth only headphones as the calibrated microphone is designed to work with wired headphones only 

The Best Headphone under 10000

The best sounding headphones for the price with unique and open soundstage and great listening comfort.

Quality sound and stellar performance: Sennheiser HD 598

Specification

Pros

  • Stellar Sound quality 
  • Good build quality
  • Quality velour padding made the headphone comfortable to use for long hours
  • Thick, round and tangle free 3.5mm/6.3mm cables
  • 6.3mm to 3.5mm adapter included
  • Clear call quality

Cons

  • Poor Noise isolation
  • Sound leakage at high volumes

Quality of Sound: A stellar sound experience

Open-back headphones provide a rather different sound experience. They are designed for people who love sound from speakers rather than conventional earphones and headphones. Hence the open-back nature blends in ambient sound along with the music thus enabling you to feel the sound coming from around you.

The Sennheiser 598 SR has a wide frequency response from as low as 12Hz all the way up to a whopping 38500Hz. It is this wide frequency range that gives it not only tremendous mids and highs but pretty respectable bass. Of course, you cannot compare it to the bass boosted headphones from Sony or the others but you do get decent bass here. Overall the sound quality is well balanced without any emphasis on a particular sound region.

The sound is clear even at extremely loud volumes, and it can get pretty loud. This level of clarity makes them a great pair for movie watching too.

Objectively this headphone did extremely well, topping the charts in this category. Mr. Jacob particularly liked the well-balanced sound quality on them without anything extra added to the sound, making them sound very natural.

As far as noise isolation goes, this headphone isn’t the best. Due to its open back design it leaks sound at high volumes. But that is sort of a given considering the design of the headphones. If you use headphones a lot while travelling, this may not be the best for you.

Do note these headphones have an impedance of 50 Ohms and thus may not work to their full extent with most devices. Most smartphones manage to drive headphones only up to 32 Ohms, you can however pick the Mi A1 smartphone which can drive headphones upto 600 Ohms. To read more about the Mi A1 click here. Alternatively you can also use a standalone DAC/ DAP which will not only give you better volume but will also improve your quality of music.

Build and Comfort: Quality materials, classic Sennheiser design

The Sennheiser HD 598 being an over-ear headphone had ear cups that completely engulf your ears. It is also good for extended listening and we did not face any listening fatigue even after using them for more than 2 hours. However, the earcups lack proper sweat resistance and are thus suited for couch listening rather than on the treadmill. 

A closer look at the Sennheiser HD 598

The metal mesh on the outer ear cups, the chrome ring on the ear cups, the gloss and matte black finishes all lend a premium feel to the headphone. The ear cups have a velour padding which gives it a plush feel. While the long and tangle-free cable has a nifty locking mechanism to prevent accidental removal.

The Sennheiser comes with a 1.2mm 3.5mm cable that also has a remote to answer calls. Also provided is a 3m long 6.3mm cable along with a 6.3mm to 3.5mm adapter.

We found almost no complaints about the cable quality or durability from verified online reviews.   

While taking voice calls on this headphones was clear without any distortion. The remote or the headphones lack volume control, which means you will have to stretch your hands to reach your phone to do that.

It, however, lacks portability due to the inability of the headphone to fold or swivel. Sennheiser doesn't even throw in a carry pouch, which again reiterates that it is a headphone for home listening only.

In short

What makes the Sennheiser great is the purity of the sound reproductions that it manages to keep original, there is no artificial bass boosting or anything. It's simple, clear and loud. If you want a good audiophile grade headphones, then get this.

Best Budget and Wireless Headphone

Enhanced Bass with ​Sony X650 BT

Specifications

Pros

  • Tuned for Bass lovers
  • Bluetooth, aptX and NFC Connectivity
  • Lightweight & Comfortable
  • 10+ hours battery life
  • Soft foam ear cups and good build quality
  • Good price

Cons

  • No wired connection option
  • Sound quality not in the same league as the Sennheiser

Quality of Sound: Good sound quality with a little extra focus on bass

If you read through our previous articles you will see that Sony features as the winner many times. As Sony manages to deliver on great features and sound that please the masses.

The XB650BT is no different with bass boosted sound that works wonder for the music of the current generation. The sound signature is biased towards the low end but the mids and highs are loud and clear for the most part. 

The noise isolation is the best in this category, isolating most of the sound. This makes it a good option if you are in crowded places and want to listen to your favorite track without disturbance.

If you are a listener who likes pure sound as the composer intended it to, walk far away from this Sony and look at nothing except the Sennheiser HD 598 or Audio Technica ATH-M50x as those are far more natural sounding headphones. 

Build and Comfort: Gorgeous color with good built quality

We reviewed the red color XB650BT headphone and we were simply blown away with the richness of the red on the headphone. It simply looks so sinful. The Sony headphones that start at around Rs.1000 all the way up to this particular headphone, share similar designs with flat circular ear cups and colored headbands. What changes, however, is the build quality and this headphone had the best build quality of all the Sony models we’ve tested so far.

Add to that the Bluetooth capacity and it simply gives the listener so much freedom. Now we understand that wired headphones sound better than wireless ones, but this particular headphone, however, does pack in aptX support. AptX enables high-quality music over the wireless connection.

The Sony XB650BT has good quality faux leather padding which makes the on-ear experience comfortable if you have small to medium ear size. But can be uncomfortable for larger ear sized people due to its medium-sized ear cup.  We also did not find any people online complaining about the built quality after long use.

The NFC support makes connecting to the headphones hassle-free, even if the headphones are turned off. Once paired, a voice command gets you going.

There is an inbuilt mic for calls and a micro USB charging port. The voice calls using headphones mic were clear, loud and slightly sharp. Although it would have been really awesome if the headphones came with a wired connection as well.

Battery life: Very good battery life

This headphone has a very good battery life and in our tests, it lasted for more than 10 hours with a single charge. It took approximately an hour to charge.

The headphone maintains good quality sound even till a distance of 15 feet, after which the connection becomes wonky.

In short

Overall, these wireless headphones by Sony are your best bet if you are looking for a wireless headphone with good sound quality and noise isolation. The mic also is very suitable for calling purpose with good voice clarity. If wireless is what you prefer then this headphone is the best choice in this price range.

A note on Warranty and Service

To analyze the warranty we spent a few hours calling the customer care numbers to find out the warranty policy for each of the headphones.

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. This is very unusual. We’ve never seen this kind of warranty policy in any of the products we’ve tested so far. 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, so keep it safe.

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.

Those that didn’t make the cut

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xWH Professional Studio Monitor Headphones

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50xWH almost matched the Sennheiser HD 598 SR in terms of sound quality, with good, natural sound reproduction at all frequencies along with good loudness.We didn’t choose this mainly due to the headphones’ bulky design. The lack of mic support also adds to the negative.

Philips SHL3000

The Philips headphone although is a decent headphone in terms of sound quality, our expert felt our picks had much better sound quality. This headphone also had very poor build quality with poor ear cup padding quality that could wear out easily. For the price range, this product is not a worthy choice.

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