The word cheap brings with it some nasty baggage: flimsy, poor quality, bad design, break as soon as you open the box… However, a pair of HPS3000s from Behringer – which come in at under $50 – go a long way to rewriting the definition of cheap, as these studio headphones offer a solid design, robust build and a great sound for a very wallet-friendly price. The brand should need no introduction, although this budget pair of phones certainly does. Let’s take a closer look.
The first thing you may notice when opening the box is that this pair of HPS3000s look a lot more expensive than they are (German designed, naturally). Of course, on closer inspection you can tell the materials aren’t high-end, but they certainly offer more in the way of a premium look than some of the others on our list of the best sub-$50 studio headphones.
This is largely down to the silver plastic detailing, which complements the black Behringer-branded headband and padded oval-shaped ear cups. It won’t be a design that appeals to everybody, but we love it. These ear cups fit nicely over the ears and – with a lightweight construction and snug but adjustable headband – they feel very comfortable when on your head for long durations.
Hanging from one of the ear cups is a single-sided 2-meter cable, made with oxygen-free copper, which allows you to move back from your mixing desk while still wearing these cans. This cable doesn’t feel as robust as the German brand claims, but it isn’t so delicate that you have to be particularly careful when using. The HPS3000 is also versatile with its connections, from iPads to mixing consoles, coming with both a 1/4” TRS adapter and a 1/8” TRS connector.
The HPS3000 doesn’t have the same power as a more expensive pair – we wouldn’t expect it to – but you get a wide frequency response (20Hz-20kHz) and high dynamic range, with clear sound replication and ample punch from the bass. Note that, while they offer good protection from external interference, they are not noise-isolating/cancelling (again, at this price, we don’t expect them to be). Ultimately, they are versatile enough for most requirements, from studio recording and mixing to listening to music or gaming while chilling at home.
Overall there is very little wrong with this pair of phones. Perhaps the padded ear cups feel like they may end up flaking after a few years use… but for such an affordable price, we can let that go. For the majority of home and studio users on a budget, the HPS3000 will be a very solid choice.