The natural inclination is to go for headphones - but I'm not sure why, but we have heard a few <$500 headphones like the Marshall and Focal Spirit One and the sound was just bad. I mean really bad - but I'm willing to discount it given that we only heard it through the iphone output, but believe some of these are made to use with ipod/iphone.
I find this is weird because of the pricetag. As a reference, I personally can listen to the stock iphone earphones, and have accompanied friends to buy $50-200 earphones and generally find the balance ok for some brands.
So what's the deal?
Did I just happen to listen to headphones at shops/hifi shows that were not run-in, or not properly showcased with right amplification?
So far the only cheaper headphone I have heard that I find quite well balanced was the Shure SRH940. Glad to take more recommendations.