Budget audiophile IEMs and headphones have their own place in the hearts of buyers who are on the lookout for ‘serious’ audio products. While true wireless earbuds undoubtedly add quality and value to the buyer in terms of convenience and ease of use, if you choose to trade them for better audio, you get excellent sound quality that defies the price at which it comes at. Some products in this segment aren’t even new — such is the durability of reliably good audio that the best budget audiophile IEMs and headphones often retain their place for an enduring period of time. On this note, here’s looking at some of the absolute best budget audiophile IEMs and headphones to buy in India right now, if you aren’t looking for wireless audio only.
Moondrop Spaceship: Price: Rs 1,699 (approx). A quick look at critical responses in audiophile forums reveal the Moondrop Spaceship to be one of the most highly acclaimed budget audiophile IEMs launched of late. It’s not the 6mm dynamic drivers that steal the deal here, but for the Spaceship, it is more about the balanced audio delivery that it is said to offer. Add a clean sound signature and a no fuss design, and the Moondrop Spaceship is undoubtedly one of the best budget audiophile IEMs in the market right now. It is something that we can personally vouch for, as well.
KZ ZSN Pro X: Price: Rs 1,699 (approx). The KZ ZSN Pro X is a critically acclaimed pair of IEMs, which allow you to swap out the standard 3.5mm cable and use a balanced 2.5mm cable, instead. These earbuds are dual-driver ones, featuring one balanced armature driver to produce sharper sound than most other IEMs in the budget category. The balanced cable swap option makes a big difference if you consider using audiophile grade players and DACs in the future, to upgrade your personal audio setup. The strong bass delivery is particularly enjoyable, for sure.
Hifiman RE-400: Price: Rs 1,999 (approx). The Hifiman RE-400 has been in the market for a long time, and continues to be one very popular even now. It offers a flat, neutral sound signature, which gives a fairly true representation of the balance of tracks in the way they were recorded. It features 8.5mm titanium drivers that offer excellent clarity of sound and minimal distortion in the audio, and also come with an in-line mic and remote to keep your non-music conversation needs fluent and convenient as well. It is a super reliable pair of earphones to consider if you have a budding interest in good audio.
AKG K92: Price: Rs 2,699 (approx). The AKG K92 is the only pair of closed-back over-ear headphones in the list, but is definitely among one of the best budget audiophile headphones for budding music producers looking for an inexpensive purchase to make. The flat sound signature still has a hint of bass, which makes the headphones sound superbly warm. The sweet timbre belies its budget pricing, and make it one of the most enduring products within conservative pricing. It is also quite a looker, and the fairly light build ensures that you can wear it comfortably for hours of studio sessions.
KZ ZS10 Pro: Price: Rs 4,099 (approx). With a five-driver configuration using one dynamic driver and four balanced armature drivers in its configuration, the KZ ZS10 Pro is arguably one of the most impressive pair of budget audiophile IEMs we’ve heard till date. It has a slight bass bias, but the expansive level of details and precision, paired with its impressive levels of clarity, make it an absolute favourite in the budget segment. It is undeniably one of the best IEMs around in terms of audio quality, and is worth compromising wireless connectivity chops over.
Honourable mentions: Over-ear headphone buyers must consider the Audio-Technica M30x (Rs 6,499) as a great option in this segment. If you wish to add high resolution wireless connectivity chops to any of the IEMs and headphones mentioned above, the Astell & Kern AK-XB10 (Rs 5,999) is a superb addition for enjoying high resolution audio on a tight budget.