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Oct 28 2016
by Stacy Andryshak

5 of the Best Affordable Headphones and Earbuds

By Stacy Andryshak - Oct 28 2016

Whether you just want some music to accompany your walk across campus or you're trying to block out background noise in a public space, your choice of a listening device makes a big difference in the experience you get. Since headphones and earbuds are something that we all use a lot in this digital age, it is important to make sure we're getting the most bang for our buck. With the help of Cnet's "Top Headphones Picks for Back To School Students," and some real life college students, here are a few recommendations. 

1. Skullcandy Ink'd 2

For a pair of earbuds that are relatively cheap and super long lasting, I would recommend Skullcandy Ink'd 2. These are available at most places like Best Buy, Kohls and OfficeMax. With a price ranging around $15, they have good sound quality according to reviewers. Most inexpensive headphones create a tinny or unbalanced sound, but these have a surprising bass capacity and relatively nice midrange and high sounds. Many reviewers — and even a college student I asked — have said these headphones lasted them at least two years. A nice set of headphones under the Skullcandy domain are the Skullcandy Grind WirelessFor under $100, the Grind Wireless are comfortable and create a high quality sound despite Bluetooth's reputation for sound limitations.

2. Bose SoundSport In-Ear Headphones

A college sophomore I spoke to uses these and says the sound quality is amazing. At $99.95 they are on the pricier side of things, however, if the earbud shape shown above is appealing to you, give them a go. These earbuds are great for people who are not particularly happy with conventionally shaped earbuds, and these get raving reviews on how comfortable they are. Reviews also claim that they stay in your ears while running and even sleeping. If their unique shape, crisp sound quality and noise-canceling feature is your cup of tea, these could be a sound investment. And for all the iPhone 7 users out there, there is a wireless version for $149.95. 

3. Apple Earpods

The classic Apple Earpods are my absolute favorite earbuds. Not only is the sound quality and EQ balance amazing when working in conjunction with other Apple products, but these are also the only kind of earbuds that fit in my ear. For all those people who experience the typical jelly earbuds falling out of their ears at an alarming rate, these "earpods" are a pretty solid alternative. They're also really inexpensive for their quality: free with many Apple devices and for only $30 separately.

4. Audio-Technica ATH-WS55 Solid Bass

The WS55s come from a bit of an "indie" brand in terms of headphones, but just because they aren't well-known doesn't mean that they're low quality. Quite the contrary actually — for less than $100, they deliver impressive sound with decent bass and amazing detail. They are well-built for being inexpensive, and are lightweight. They may not make a comfortable fit for absolutely everyone, but they do deliver a high quality sound profile.  

5. Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear Headphones II

Bose is known for its top-of-the-line sound quality and speaker performance. These are one of the lower-priced headphones in the Bose line at $150. However, that doesn't mean their quality is any less than other, more expensive models. I would recommend these to any student who is willing to splurge a little for a really nice pair of headphones from a reputable brand. These headphones feature a detachable headphone cord and although they are not noise canceling, these headphones do eliminate a lot of outside noise. The only complaints I have seen are that the headphone cord is very thin and tends to get tangled when plugged in. 

When looking for headphones, make sure to buy the best ones that suit your needs as a student and consumer. Remember that you use headphones often for a variety of important purposes, so hopefully this list will keep you from skimping on quality because of unreasonably high price points. 

Lead Image Credit: StockSnap via Pixabay

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Stacy Andryshak - Northeastern University

Stacy is a freshman pursuing a combined major in Communication Studies and Media & Screen Studies at Northeastern University. In high school, she spent most of her free time acting in dramas and musicals. She enjoys obscure vegan restaurants, British soap operas, and her pet rabbit. Find her on: Instagram @stacy.a / Twitter @standryn

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