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The best purchases under 50€ (sub 50€ shootout)

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Also available on YouTube in Spanish: Acho Reviews YouTube 




As the holiday season starts to get closer, along with some interesting sales in the near future, I think it is time to do a recap of sub 50€ products that are well worth their cost and could make great gifts for someone or even just a gift to yourself.

I have been wanting to do a recap of the sub 50€ category for a while but I keep focusing on new products that I receive, which is a great way to increase the content of the channel and blog but sometimes it is even better to see where we are so far.


My aim today is to have a quick look at the products I have tried and reviewed over the past months on the channel and see what I still feel is above the rest in this sub 50€ price bracket. I will leave links at the end to individual reviews of each item I mention in this round-up.


I will also go over a few items that have been submitted by other people, on forums, Discord and by other reviewers, to see what they feel is a good way to spend those 50€. Unfortunately not all of the content linked will be available in both English and Spanish, but I will leave the links anyway.


I am also going to avoid posting images in this entry as there is a lot of content mentioned, if you would like to see images of these products, you can check out the video of this list posted on YouTube (in Spanish) by clicking here.


Headphones…


I am going to start off with the headphones I have tried recently in this category, for two reasons, one because there aren’t many and two, because I feel that the winner in this category is quite easy to pick, at least in my opinion.


My two picks for headphones under 50€ are, without a doubt, both by Koss.


The first is the Koss PortaPro, a headphone that has received praise by many people, myself included, and deserves it. The overall performance of these budget headphones is way above what is expected in this price bracket.


As you can see in the photo, my set has been upgraded with the Yaxi Pads (which will also be making an appearance later on in this discussion) that add an extra 10€ to the price of the PortaPro but is a worthy upgrade in my opinion. However, even without the Yaxi Pads, the PortaPro still offers an amazing deal for the 45€ it costs (less if you catch it on sale).


To see the full review on YouTube, click here. To see the full review on this Blog, click here.


My second recommendation in the headphones category is not, strictly speaking, a set of headphones, at least not in the usual term. The Koss KSC75 is a set of earphones that clip onto the ears and do not have a headband, although one can easily be added for less than 10€.


The KSC75 are not only a recommendation of mine for under 50€, they are one of my favourite headphones stretching even into the triple digit category, I am a great fan of their sound and am always happy to listen to music through them.


To see the full review on YouTube, click here. To see the full review on this Blog, click here.


As far as recommendations from other people, the two Koss offerings are also commonly mentioned. However, there were a couple of headphones mentioned in a thread I posted on headphones.com to get other members input.


To visit the thread, click here.


One option is the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x, posted by cpp. Personally I tried these out briefly a while back and while it wasn’t long enough to be able to give a coherent opinion on them, I don’t remember them being terrible.


Another set of over-ear headphones were mentioned by Pharmaboy, being the ISK MDH9000. These are headphones I have never tried (and hadn’t heard of until he posted them) so I can’t give any kind of opinion on them. He says that there are various clones of these same headphones, one being the Marantz MPH-2 but that one is currently listed here at over 100€. The ISK MDH9000 are actually available on Aliexpress for less than 50€.


One final option that has been mentioned by various people on the headphones.com forum and a few other forums I visit are the Superlux HD681.


IEMs…


Over the past year or so, I have tried many IEMs that fall into the sub 50€ category, not all of which I have reviewed, although I have reviewed a few.


Out of all the ones I have tried, my top pick would be the Tin Hifi T2 Plus. The T2+ is a very capable set of IEMs that can perform well with just about any music you throw at them.


To see the full review on YouTube, click here. To see the full review on this Blog, click here.


As a second option, while I would love to name the original T2 but can’t due to QC issues I experienced with 2 sets,  I would probably go for the KZ ZS10 Pro. These are not new IEMs but I have been using them for a long time and still do use them regularly. They do need a little EQ to sound their best but I have found them to be great monitors for stage use or even for portable editing.


To see the full review on this Blog, click here.


I can’t just ignore the Blon BL03, they are a set of IEMs that offer a lot for their price (less than 30€) and made a lot of noise on forums, being praised by many people. In my case they weren’t as enjoyable for me as they were for others, I feel they have things they need to improve. Personally, I wouldn’t put them on the list. I have been listening to the Blon BL05s for the past few days and I prefer them to the 03 but it is still too early to give a definitve opinion on them.


As a different flavour, more neutral than the other two options, there are the Moondrop SSR and the Hifiman RE-400. If you are looking for a neutral sound signature then both of these are capable of giving decent results, especially if we consider their price tag.


To see the full review of the Hifiman RE-400S on YouTube, click here. To see the full review on this Blog, click here.


To see the full review of the Moondrop SSR on YouTube, click here. To see the full review on this Blog, click here.


In the IEM category, there are also a few submissions from fellow reviewers…


David Silva, also known as dbstechtalk (to visit his channel, click here), feels that the best value for 50€ in his experience have been the Moondrop SSR (to see his review on YouTube, click here) and the Jade Audio as a close second (to view his review on YouTube, click here).


From the Spanish reviewer side, cqtek, who posts his reviews on the Hi End Portable blog in both English and Spanish (to visit his blog, click here), also suggests the Tin T2 Plus (to see his review on his Blog, click here), along with a few other alternatives, such as the KBEAR KB04 (to see his review on his Blog, click here), and the TFZ Live 1 (to see his review on his Blog, click here). Cqtek is another reviewer who mentions the Moondrop SSR as good value for its price (to see his review on his Blog, click here) .


Another spanish reviewer is VeRTeX, who posts his reviews on Auricular.org (to visit his blog, click here) and also on the Auricular ORG channel on YouTube (to visit his channel, click here). In the case of VeRTeX, the Tin Hifi T2 Plus again receive his recommendation (to see his review on the Blog, click here, and to see it on YouTube, click here), however, he also mentions the HZSound Heart Mirror as worthy of making this list (to see his review on the Blog, click here, and to see it on YouTube, click here).


One more suggestion from VeRTeX is a set of TWS IEMs, something that hasn’t been suggested by anyone else for this list, and in this case they are the EZEAR X12. I can’t comment on these as I haven’t tried them but he has a complete review (to see his review on the Blog, click here, and to see it on YouTube, click here).


From the Discord channels I frequent, where I also asked this same question, there were a couple of submittals that were repeated. The most notable being the Tin T2+ and the Tin T2 (the original one).


Earbuds…


I don’t have much experience with earbuds. I do have a few sets but the only ones that I have spent enough time with to form a coherent opinion are the RY4S 300Ohm version . These cost around 7 euros but you will need to add a cable to that, so in total you are looking at around 15 euros for a set of earbuds that sound far better that I could have ever expected an earbud to sound.


To see the full review on YouTube, click here. To see the full review on this Blog, click here.


On behalf of reviewers, both cqtek and VeRTeX have made suggestions for earbuds in this price bracket. 


In the case of cqtek, his submission has been the Smabat M2 Pro, a set of earbuds that is right on the limit of our price bracket but can be found under 50€ from certain sellers (to see his review on his Blog, click here) .


The earbuds that make VeRTeX list are the KB Stellar, an earbud that I am completely unfamiliar with but again, you can find a full review on YouTube and the Blog (to see his review on the Blog, click here, and to see it on YouTube, click here).


Sources…


Obviously sources is something that is difficult to find under the 50€ mark, and while there are multiple DAPs available for this price, mostly named as MP3 players, I haven’t tried any of them.


There are a few Android phones with headphone outputs that can be purchased for less than 50€, which is obviously a lot of tech for that price, but again I haven’t tried any of them as a music player, so I can’t comment on them either.


That more or less leaves me with dongle DACs and small amplifiers and to be truthful, I haven’t yet come across an amplifier under 50€ that I would recommend over saving a little longer and opting for one of the 100€ options that are around now with excellent performance.


As far as dongle DACs, I found the purchase of the Apple DAC for 10€ to be a great buy. While it is not the most powerful of options (especially the European version) it’s sound quality is more than enough to pair with any of the IEMs mentioned above, giving any Android phone a decent headphone jack. I have also used it with a PC without issue and it lives in my EDC tech pouch, so it’s always there when I need it.


Dbstechtalk submits the xDuoo Link USB-C dongle to this category, another small dongle DAC that has the added benefit of volume buttons. David talks about this dongle DAC in his “USB C Dongles” video that you can see if you click here.


Cqtek, on the other hand, suggests the Tempotec Sonata HD Pro, saying that it is the best audio/headphones product under 50€, not just in the “Sources” category (to see his review on his Blog, click here).


Two items that were mentioned by mshenay on the headphones.com forum and are related to sources are the Schiit Loki and the JDS Labs OL Switcher. Both of these are source selectors and are a great option but will unfortunately break that 50€ barrier when purchased in the EU (or imported from the US).


A different option for source selectors, which will be under 50€ in the EU, are the Nobsound Little Bear source selectors, as mentioned by generic on the same forum. There are a couple of different models available, most of them being under 50€, and although I have only tried one of them, their quality and functionality are worth the investment.


Cables…


I am not someone who puts too much into cables. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that all the cables are the same and sound the same, as I have experienced differences in response due to cables. However, I am someone that feels that if the cable used is good, the connectors are good and the workmanship is good, then the cable is good. In the case of over-ear headphones, I make my own, using Canare cable and Neutrik or Rean connectors (depending on type), so for overear cables under 50€, my recommendation would be a length of Canare or Mogami cable, a couple of Neutrik or Rean connectors, a cheap soldering iron and some practice.


For IEM cables, I find that the NiceHCK cables are of decent quality and perform well in my experience. I haven’t actually done any reviews of cables but I have used the NiceHCK cables for most of my listening tests when using balanced outputs (on my DAPs or balanced amplifiers).


Interconnect cables I feel the same way as with over-ear headphone cables and usually make mine using Neutrik connectors and Belden cable, so again, a cheap soldering iron and practice goes a long way in the budget interconnect field. Saying that, I have also used Amazon Basics interconnect cables which are of decent quality and a good price.


The only reviewer to suggest cables was VeRTex, who spoke of the KBEAR Rhythm Copper cable which is something he has actually posted a review on (to see his review on the Blog, click here, and to see it on YouTube, click here).


I did get a few recommendations on cables from forums and Discord channels though, with Yinyoo 16 core IEM cables being mentioned a couple of times. On the headphones.com forum, the Blue Jeans BJC LC-1 interconnects and the Hart Cables modular system both being mentioned by PaisleyUnderground, although in the case of the latter, it depends on selection as to whether you can stay in the 50€ price bracket.


Tips and pads…


To be honest, most pads and tips should be well under the 50€ limit, unless we are talking about specific pads from hi-end manufacturers such as Focal or ZMF.


Some of my favourites, that are well under the price limit, are Yaxi pads (for the Koss PortaPro and KSC), Brainwavz for over-ear headphones and New-Bee for foam tips.


To see a full review of the Yaxi Pads on the Blog, click here or on YouTube, click here.


Of course, you always need to consider that pads and tips will change the way a headphone or IEM sounds, so whether these are a good match for the headphones in question is a different story.


Outro…


There are many other headphone related items that are good value for 50€ and the list could be endless if we start to include cases, pouches, stands etc. We could even include the ear hair trimming machine suggested by pennstac on headphones.com to improve clarity!


Saying this, before I end this list, there is one more thing I would like to mention that is well worth the cost and is way below 50€, that is USB Audio Player Pro. UAPP is an application for Android that allows you to avoid the internal processes of Android and send the signal directly to an external DAC (or an internal one if the phone in question has a decent onboard DAC). I am not going to go into details about what it does exactly, as that would be a case of doing a full review to explain it (if you would like me to, let me know) but let’s say that with UAPP and a good DAC, any Android phone can compete with DAPs that are way above them in the price range.


So, I hope this list has proved to be useful to recap on a few great products that can be purchased for less than 50€ in the world of headphones. If you have any sugestions, you can comment on YouTube or get in touch via Instagram and Twitter.


Thank you to everyone that has submitted content for this list, and a special thanks to DBS Tech Talk, cqtek & VeRTeX. I will be grateful for any links you click on to visit their content, and I am sure they will appreciate it also.


Until next time!