Comparison of the 5 best headphones of the moment under 200€

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The P3 is excellent, the Spirit One rocks, the M1 impresses, the SR125i rocks, and the Beats Solo HD is really nice… Ok… But that’s a bit of a light argument. So to know everything about the sound of these headsets, read on!

We took a bit of our time to make a comparison between the headsets most popular at the moment. No need to make you wait any longer, here is the “line up” of this file on the 5 best helmets of the moment in the category “- from 200€ :Focal Spirit One, B&W P3, Philips Fidelio M1, Grado SR125i, and finally, Monster Beats Solo HD – models that you can find for sale on our site in the family of headsets.

Let’s start this comparison with the B&W P3, which is certainly the most “classy” of the 5 models selected. B&W has opted for a luxurious finish that inspires confidence from the first minutes of handling. Once on the ears, we really appreciate the material of the acoustic fabric which garnishes the ear cups, and we note a very good support on the head. In operation, the P3 once again proves its value, thanks to a deep and well-tamed bass, perfect for electronic and urban music. The mids are silky, with backing vocals that have volume, and the highs remain consistently clear and defined. The boxes and the cymbals are quite natural, and the whole generates an impression of vigor and very appreciable speed. Finally, note that this P3 is in no way less good than its big brother P5, it simply has a very different signature.

Barely released into the wild and already highly appreciated, the Philips Fidelio M1 headphones clearly came as a surprise. After the L1, high-end headphones from the Fidelio series, Philips is back with a more compact but not light version! The listening comfort is indeed present, and the earpieces are rather comfortable for a supra-auricular type headset. The materials, although quite basic, have excellent attributes of lightness. In terms of sound, this M1 does not do half measures: it displays a more penetrating and tighter bass than the P3, but with a slightly less soft midrange, and therefore, less carnal choirs. The treble is well detailed, without tiring the hearing aid during long listening. Same observation as for the P3: it is suitable for electronic and urban music, and will undoubtedly show its limits on grand operas or classical music.

Focal knew how to arouse the desire among helmet enthusiasts, pushing back time and time again its baby, the SpiritOne. advertised as a headphones portable with Hi-Fi characteristics, it is the most comfortable in our test. It’s also the one that seemed the most balanced to us: the registers are well balanced, and neither seems to take over the other. But the Spirit One is not sad for all that… Quite the contrary! The sound is energetic as desired, with ample bass and treble suitable for compressed music, which will however also reveal the subtlety of Lossless or HD music. Comfortable and designed using robust materials, it is the most pleasant to wear of all the helmets presented in this comparison. If you’re used to long listening sessions, then this might be the one for you.

the Grado SR125i headphones is our (my?) little favourite! Ok, it’s not very elegant. Agree, its comfort is rather spartan. Admittedly, it does not have a padded headband… But what does it sound good! Once on the ears, the magic operates immediately, and we are impressed by the ventilation of the high register, which in addition, shows a highly commendable precision. At ease on all types of music, and in particular on very detailed genres (Classical, Jazz…), he will be able to recreate a very credible sound stage, in which the instruments are clearly locatable in space. The registers are well balanced, to reproduce the music as faithfully as possible. We also appreciate its lightness, and therefore the little physical fatigue it causes. In addition, no hearing fatigue is felt, probably due to its open design. +1!

Least but not last (though…), the Monster Beats Solo HD is sonically the most colorful of them all. It reproduces music with power, it’s true, but offers a very forward midrange, with a treble that some will consider dull, poorly defined, lacking in airiness or as not “going very high”… But it doesn’t is not disappointing, however, and has qualities recognized by all. First, its look is really appreciable. Then, its sound remains ideal for those who like the bass, and therefore, for lovers of urban and electro music. In fact, it’s a bit like putting a subwoofer in your car: you’ll have a lot of bass, a lot of fun, a lot of “swagg” but the quality of the rendering won’t be optimal!

Hoping that these few tips will help you make the wisest choice possible, we strongly advise you to come and test all these beautiful people in one of our HD Stores! But this test has the merit of proving that for 199€, you can clearly have a lot of fun with a headphones, and sometimes even enter the audiophile world (SR125i?). Something that seems very difficult when you consider the purchase of a Hi-Fi system at this price… So, which premium portable headphones are you?

Test setup:
iPhone 4 + App Golden Ear

Test titles:
Demarco – Over do it (FLAC 16Bits/44.1kHz)

Amy Winehouse – Back to Black (FLAC 16Bits/44.1kHz)
Lauryn Hill – To Zion (FLAC 16Bits/44.1kHz)
Adele – Rolling in the deep (FLAC 16Bits/44.1kHz)
Snoop Dogg & Whiz Khalifa – Young, wild & free (FLAC 16Bits/44.1kHz)

Video presentation of the new B&W P3 helmet:

Video presentation of the new Philips Fidelio M1 headphones:

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