While spending Rs.5,000 on a headphone may seem like an expensive splurge, it is really the entry level of high quality audiophile grade headphones. These are headphones for serious listeners who want a pair of headphones that can do justice to their playlist.
We understand this, so we partnered with Rontek an audio company known for their 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.
Here are our best picks.
The Best Headphone under 5,000
Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Over-Ear Professional Studio Monitor Headphones
The Audio-Technica ATH-M20x was simply the best in sound quality, producing excellent sound at all frequencies. The sound from this headphones was pretty loud too. The bulky design coupled with the lack of foldability make them far less portable than other headphones. The noise isolation works effectively keeping you cocooned from the noises in the world. The materials used for the padding, headband and cables feels extremely durable.
The Second Best Headphone under 5,000
Skullcandy Uproar Wireless
The Skullcandy Uproar is an on-ear lightweight headphone that can be worn for long hours without any discomfort. Being wireless and backed by a good battery life makes them great for you if you hate dealing with tangled wires. The Skullcandy Uproar has effective sound quality but lacks good noise isolation. This headphone has a in-line mic which can be used in calling and the voice was clear 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.5000 we spend 5 days testing different aspects of the 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.
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:
Creative Sound Blaster Jam
Skullcandy S5URHW-509 On-Ear Wireless Headphones
Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Over-Ear Professional Studio Monitor Headphones
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: 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.
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.
Objective testing cannot be conducted on the Bluetooth only headphones as the calibrated microphone is designed to work with wired headphones only.
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.
Quality of Mic: the mic was used in calling with different people and the voice clarity n volume of the call was analysed.
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.
The Best Headphone under 5,000
The best sounding headphones with great comfort and durability for the price.
Great Sound Quality
Suitable for professional studio monitoring usage
Good build quality
Quality padding makes headphone comfortable to use for long hours
Thick round tangle free cables
Very good noise isolation
Comes with a long 3m cable
No Volume Control buttons or on/off button
Headphones very bulky can't be folded for added portability
Can be used only indoors
Quality of Sound: Loud and clear natural sound reproduction
The Audio-Technica ATH-M20x being headphones designed for studio monitoring have a relatively flat sound to them. 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 on them without anything extra added to the sound, making them sound very natural.
As far as noise isolation goes this headphone managed to suppress external noises to a very great extent. The quality of the passive noise isolation comes from the thickness and diameter of the padding.
Do note these headphones have an impedance of 47 Ohms and thus may not work to their full extent with most devices. Most smartphones manage headphones only upto 32 Ohms.
Build and Comfort: Bulky but comfortable
The Audio-Technica ATH-M20x 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.
Audio Technica has used quality materials especially on the ear cups and the long tangle free cable. The design of the headphone has a strong industrial look to it. It is however quite bulky especially given the lack of foldable ear cups which make them difficult to carry. The headphones ships with a long 3m cable which is great if you listen to your TV using the headphones. This headphone also comes with an extra 6.3mm jack for connecting into musical instruments and for studio monitoring purpose.
Also given the lack of proper sweat resistance on the earcups and as stated previously the bulkiness of these headphones make them more suited for listing on the couch rather than on a treadmill. We found almost no complaints about the cable quality or durability from online reviews.
This headphone doesn't have an inline mic and cannot be used for calling purpose, but no volume control buttons. Taking voice calls on this headphones was clear without any distortion .
What makes the Audio Technica great is the purity in the sound that it manages to keep, there is no artificial bass boosting or anything. It's simple, clear and really loud. If you want a good audiophile grade headphones and don't know which one to pick, this one make for a great starting point.
Skullcandy Uproar Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
Tuned for good low end
10+ hours battery life
Soft foam earcups
Average built quality and materials
Loudness is low compared to Audio-Technica ATH-M20x
No wired connection
Quality of Sound: Made for Bass
The young, active nature of the Skullcandy brand can also been seen in the sound from the Skullcandy Uproar headphone. The Uproar is tuned for music that needs a lot of bass. And bass is what it delivers, in spades. However it is remarkable in the treble region too, producing relatively loud, distortion free sound.
The noise isolation is however not very good with background noise seeping in, this is a bigger problem when worn outside.
If you are a person who prefers a pair of headphones for listening to symphonies and classics we suggest you look at the Audio Technica as that is far more natural sounding headphone.
Build and Comfort: Lightweight and comfortable
With a stylish looking design and funky colors the Uproar will create quite an uproar with the younger crowds. Also the wire free design and little details like the funky logo or the retro GameBoy like buttons on the side make this a refreshingly different headphone in this range.
The Skullcandy Uproar has good quality faux leather padding which makes the on ear experience much more comfortable. Its medium sized ear cup will almost cover your entire ear.
However the build quality of the headphones is not the best with plastic being used everywhere, although we did not find any durability issues.
The size of the headband can be adjusted. The headband slider joints are also made of plastic but still its very smooth to adjust unlike some other cheap products.
There is an inbuilt mic for calls and a micro usb charging port. 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 1 hour to charge. The device switches off automatically if kept idle thus saving battery life.
The headphone maintains good quality sound even till a distance of 15 feet, after which the connection becomes wonky.
Overall , this wireless headphones by Skullcandy is best bet if you are looking for wireless headphone with good sound quality. The mic also is very suitable for calling purpose with good voice clarity. If wireless what you prefer then this headphone is the best choice in this price range.
A note on Warranty and Service
To analyse the warranty we spent a few hours calling the customer care numbers to find out the warranty policy for each of the headphones.
Audio Technica: To reach Audio Technica's customer care was a little difficult. We had to call the toll free number a few times to get the phone number of the service center. AT headphones have 1 year of warranty from date of purchase for headphones. Your invoice bill is your warranty card. The AT Delhi service centre details can be reached here: Landline: 011-49049414, Cell: 91-8700466883. ONce the headpone is found faulty, the replaced product will be sent to the customer.
Skullcandy: Skullcandy was also difficult to get on the line. We had to call them five to six times before we finally got through to their customer-care representative. Generally, Skullcandy products have two years of warranty from date of purchase. Brandeyes.in is the sole distributor of Skullcandy headphones throughout India.
If a product malfunctions, the user is advised to call the customer-care number mentioned on the box, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. No initial registration is required. The invoice or bill copy of the purchase doubles as the warranty card. They have only one office in Noida (UP). To claim the warranty, the customer needs to ship their product to the service centre. They have to enclose a copy of the invoice and the reference address. Once the service centre verifies that there is a fault in the product, a replacement will be sent to the customer.
No technical assistance or service will be provided, post-warranty.
Those that didn’t make the cut
Creative Sound Blaster Jam:
The Creative Sound Blaster Jam although is a good headphones that is referred by many websites, our expert felt the Audio Technica and SkullCandy had much better sound quality. This headphone has a good design and was very comfortable for wireless listening experience. The quality of ear padding however was poor low and could wear soon. Also there is no mention on the warranty contact no on the box. The customer toll free number was not reachable even after multiple tries. So you could be left stranded if your headphone stops working.
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