Buying headphones itself isn’t a daunting task but finding a not-so-mainstream headphone locally within a reasonable price range seemingly is. Not only are there few headphones available here that are competitive but also their pricing can be a bit unreasonable. That said, we have a few tips that should help with this.
The two problems mentioned above are cost and availability. Let’s talk about cost first. Just like any gadgets, there’s a significant markup in prices which is understandable since there are costs manufacturers or resellers have to pay themselves. What makes it more painful is the fact that most headphones can be bought overseas for significantly less even with shipping included.
For example, international sites like Amazon or eBay occasionally sell items for ‘street price’ which essentially is a price that is lower than the suggested price. Because of this, it makes it even harder to justify the local price of the same item being sold here.
And then we have availability. Shops would just do what is right for them and that is to find products that they think would sell more. Of course, if a specific headphone is selling 3X more than an obscure-looking one that no one’s ever heard of, there’s no reason for them to even bother with the latter. It’s just what it is.
As unfair as that may sound, we headphone enthusiasts shouldn’t lose hope. There are plenty of ways to get the headphone you’re looking for without spending too much or having to fly overseas to get them.
Amazon – Amazon is probably where you’ll find the cheapest available headphones ever. The price reduction for some items is simply ridiculous. Take for instance my recently purchased Beyerdynamic DT1350. The list price is $399 yet the street price around the time I purchased it was $199. That’s $200 off!
And mind you, it’s not just for headphones. It’s for everything!
eBay – Amazon’s competitor is a good place to search as well. There are some deals there that are great although the price drop may not be the same as with Amazon. Don’t forget to pay close attention to where you’re getting the product from as there are certainly bad guys there trying to scam people.
What about shipping?
Now you’re probably wondering about shipping since most Amazon sellers don’t ship to the Philippines, and the same is the case when you buy from a US seller on eBay. There are plenty of services to use but I have trusted Johnny Air Cargo and more recently Shipping Cart for a long time.
The way they work is they have offices in the US where you can ship your stuff to. Once they receive your items in their office, they can then forward them to you here in the Philippines. It can become quite pricey especially when the product gets heavier and bulkier but it’s simply the tradeoff for purchasing something that is unrealistically possible to be shipped here, and doing so safely and in a reasonable time.
Still, you’d be surprised with how much lower you can get the product overseas and may still end up paying less when all is said and done.
I mentioned above that purchasing headphones locally can be expensive considering some additions to the suggested price, however, there are a few options here in the Philippines that are worth considering.
Egghead Audiohub – Egghead is a reliable place for buying headphones and other audio gears. They arguably have the biggest number of inventory for sale and headphones that you oftentimes don’t see or hear, you’ll find them there. Egghead is currently located in Shangri-La and you can check them out through their Facebook page as well. They have expanded the number of brands that they carry in recent years so they come in highly recommended.
Techshop 28 – Techshop 28 is a smaller version of Egghead that focuses on budget audiophile brands such as Fiio, Moondrop, and KZ while also carrying some products from Philips, Hifiman, and Cayin. I find that a lot of the audio products they’re selling are not available on Egghead so this is definitely another store that you can check out if you’re into those brands. They have an online store at shopee.ph/budgetfiaudio.
Local Distributors – Some of the larger companies like Sennheiser and Audio Technica have authorized distributors here where you can buy their products. I have not been to any myself so I have no firsthand experience however if you want the assurance of buying from authorized distributors themselves, they are certainly an option worth considering. You’ll be able to find them by going to the distributor page of the headphone brand’s website.
HEX– If you’re looking for used audiophile items at a reasonable price, then HEX is the go-to place! Formerly known as Headphiles Exchange, this well-moderated Facebook group has a good volume of buyers and sellers transacting on a daily basis. Some of the products being sold here are not even available locally and if you’re lucky, you may get what you’re looking for at a very reasonable price.
Personally, I still prefer getting the more expensive items overseas because of their scarce availability here (though it has definitely improved in the last 5 years or so), and in the end, it’s cheaper (believe it or not). However, for smaller and less obscure items, I just turn to the local sites/stores as I find myself prioritizing convenience in this case. And of course, you don’t experience the agony of waiting for your product to be shipped. 😛
How about you? Where and how do you buy headphones and other audiophile gears? If you want to suggest any place or websites that I have not mentioned above, let me know in the comments section. 👇