Years and years ago (when Circuit City was still a thing), I purchased a pair of Sennheiser headphones that sounded great and (most importantly to me) felt great. Specifically, the piece that touched my ears was made of velvet – it was well work the $200 price tag back then. Unfortunately, those eventually broke and I could not find a replacement pair exactly like them anywhere – not even Amazon.
As a result, I used whatever cheap pair of headphones I could find. For years, I used a non-branded $5 set on the plane and in the gym just fine. Eventually, the cheap pair also broke and I was in the market for another pair – this just happened a few months ago.
Although I think that Bose is a wonderful-sounding brand, I just do not feel that a small amount of improvement in sound-quality is worth a car payment or more. The other big brand out not is Beats. These phones are bordering on the price point for me too. I ended up not going with them because the headphones actually felt bad to me when I wore them – specifically, the earpieces were smaller than my ears. I’m also not a fan of earbuds as those consistently fall out of my ears.
Ended up going with a generic-like brand from Target that cost $30. Not a big investment, but it holds me off until I can find the perfect pair that has the sound-quality of Bose with the comfort of Sennheiser.
On a related note – I’m glad I did not go with Beats. This article talks about how marketing plays into their awesome sales.