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Popular Culture

How to Buy LEGO on a $100 Budget

There’s no doubt that collecting LEGO can be an expensive hobby. In fact, I’ve found that LEGO sets are a lot like tattoos: people rarely only have one! As a lifelong collector, navigating the waters of budgeting for this hobby is one of the most common questions I get asked. Let’s explore some creative ways to buy LEGO on a $100 budget:

1. Choose a focus
LEGO

By choosing a focus, this will help you fend off temptation to spend your budget on multiple themes. By choosing a focus, you can narrow your scope and buy a few sets to build a clone army, get most of The Avengers, or obtain most of the main characters from Harry Potter. Whatever focus you choose, this can help you from feeling overwhelmed with all of the options available for sets to buy when you walk down the LEGO aisle.

2. Six of One, Half-Dozen of Another
LEGO

One of the unique aspects of collecting LEGO is army building, particularly in the LEGO Star Wars theme.

For example, getting a clone trooper from the Star Wars Black Series of 6 inch figures would cost $22.99, but the LEGO Star Wars 501st Clone Trooper set costs $29.99 and comes with five clones, a walker, a speeder, and some battle droids to fight against. While neither line of toys is better than the other (though I may have a slight bias,) it’s evident that LEGO offers an easier route to army build than perhaps any other toy line available today.

3. Go Big, or Go Small
LEGO

In our hypothetical scenario of using a $100 budget, it can be easy to feel stuck with what you buy. $100 can get you some amazing Avengers or Harry Potter sets. It can also get you a bunch of great smaller City sets, or even a few medium-priced Star Wars sets. The options are endless, but one approach I always like to suggest is to think about your home’s display space. Do you have space to display a large build, or is displaying several smaller builds more feasible for you?

Either way, thinking about where your LEGO set(s) will live before making your trip to the store is a great way to help determine what the best option for you will be.

4. It’s Okay to NOT Be a Completist!
minisuperherostoday

In today’s social media-driven world, it’s easy to feel the pressure of keeping up with the Joneses. As a content creator, I feel pressure to buy the biggest and best of everything LEGO puts out. While LEGO can be satisfying (and addicting!) we as collectors have to realize that at the end of the day, we can’t have it all. It’s okay to not have certain pieces in your collection.

If you choose a focus, it can really help alleviate the manufactured pressure of the need to own everything. Buying the sets, minifigures, and pieces that make you happy should always be the goal. As long as you’re enjoying your hobby, you are unstoppable!

Do you have your own approach on how to buy LEGO on a $100 budget? DM me on IG any time with your tips, and as always, stay inspired and happy building! 

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Style What To Buy

The 12 Best Headphones Under $200

As technology continues to improve year after year and we have more and more things to listen to, whether that be new music, podcasts, audiobooks, or gaming audio, making the right choice when it comes to headphones becomes more and more vital with time. Fewer people seem content with the standard Apple or Skullcandy headphones and want to pay a premium for something that will genuinely offer them a better experience.

There are many factors to consider when picking the pair of headphones that are right for you. Sound quality is the obvious one, but even within that, there is a tonne of criteria to be met and options to sort through that require the user to decide what they prioritize with a good listening experience. Do you want something balanced? Do you want something a little heavier on bass? Perhaps sound quality isn’t even your biggest issue. Maybe you need something with good sound, but that is also very comfortable. Maybe you want something stylish. Maybe you want something light to travel with. There are headphones with longer battery life. There are headphones that are waterproof. There are headphones that have built-in Bluetooth. You name it, it’s a point to be taken.

With all of the above and more to take into account, picking the best headphones for you can be quite the task. Well, not to worry, because we’re here to take a little bit of the weight off your shoulders. Below, we’ve compiled a list of the twelve best headphones that are $200 or under, citing each one’s best quality before expanding further into their details. Whatever you’re getting your headphones for and whatever you value the most, there should be something for you on this list.

1. AKG K371
Great value for money
MusicTech
  • Weight: 255g
  • Foldable
  • Cable: Detachable & 3m

Due to the nature of this list being a collection of headphones under $200, it’s going to be tough to argue that you’re getting the absolute best that any one of these companies has to offer, but you get damn close with the AKG K371. Even though it’s a mid-range offering for them, it’s a stellar product. This set of headphones pretty much does everything well and nothing badly. If you’re going to be wearing your headphones for a long time, these are a great choice because they feature memory foam ear pads. The design is sleek and doesn’t try to do too much while also managing to come off as interesting enough to look like a great product. All around, these are a great pick for many uses.

Buy now, $149.99
https://www.akg.com/Headphones/Professional%20Headphones/K371-.html
2. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
Balanced audio
Audio-Technica
  • Weight: 285g
  • Foldable
  • Cable: Detachable & 3m
  • Passive noise isolation

Audio-Technica is a well-respected brand in this industry and perhaps the most notable product in their M-Series is the ATH-M50x, despite also being under $200. Their closed-back design only leads to the fact that they were made with premium audio quality in mind and they can definitely be used in most professional environments with no problems. The audio is well-balanced so that no kind of audio sounds particularly bad on them, but there is some sound leakage. It must also be said that if portability is high on your list of priorities, this may not be the best choice for you. The ATH-M50x is a large set of headphones that also mean that their use can wear on you quicker than most.

Buy now, $149
https://www.audio-technica.com/en-gb/ath-m50x
3. Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro
Impressive comfort
PMT
  • Weight: 271g
  • Cable: Undetachable & 3m

Those of you who are into streaming might know that the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pros are Ninja’s headphones of choice. Naturally, that means they’re a big choice for people who want to game with them, but they do a lot more than that. First of all, you might notice that the ear pads are coated in velour. This makes them some of the more comfortable headphones you can get at this price point and makes it clear why a streamer like Ninja who wears them for hours daily chose them. The build quality isn’t close to military-grade, largely as a result of how comfortable these can be, but these are far from flimsy. Despite that, the Premium version of this headset did put an extra focus on their sturdiness. Another thing to note is that the cable while being helpful at 1 meter in length, is not removable.

Buy now, $159
https://north-america.beyerdynamic.com/dt-990-pro.html
4. Bose SoundLink On-Ear Wireless
Smooth connectivity
Amazon
  • Weight: 161g
  • Wireless
  • Bluetooth

When you’re talking headphones, Bose is a company that needs to be in the discussion every single time. A powerhouse in high-level audio performance, a lot of their products’ prices reflect this and it can feel like you’re spending an arm and a leg, but the Bose SoundLink On-Ear Wireless headphones are a pair that are worthy of the Bose name but sit comfortably under $200. It’s a wireless version of a set of headphones that were released a few years prior. Of course, they’re not necessarily going to be able to compete with Bose headphones that are double their price, but they do their job well. It still feels like a luxury product and the Bluetooth connectivity is about as smooth as it can be. For the comfort, portability, and money saved, you’ll naturally sacrifice a little bit of durability.

Buy now, $149.49
https://www.amazon.com/Bose-SoundLink-Bluetooth-Wireless-Headphones/dp/B00M58CMYC?th=1
5. Jabra Elite 85h
Long battery life
Jabra
  • Weight: 296g
  • Noise cancelling
  • Internal water-resistant coating
  • Bluetooth

The Jabra Elite 85h can accurately reproduce audio all over the frequency range with decent clarity. If you want some bass, you’re going to have to adjust the EQ a little, because the default setting on these is to amplify vocals more than anything else. The battery life is key here though. With a single charge, you can get up to 55 hours of music playback. A full charge takes just 90 minutes, but if you only have a quarter of an hour to get a quick charge in, you can still get around 10 hours of playback, which is insanely impressive. If you do end up getting these headphones, you might want to also get the Jabra Sound+ app. It’s an extremely handy feature that allows you to create a custom EQ, customize your call settings, download firmware updates, and more.

Buy now, $198
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RR6N864/ref=twister_B08XCF5RY4?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1
6. Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee
Great sound quality
Drop
  • Weight: 260g
  • Cable: Detachable & 1.8m

Formerly known as Massdrop, Drop is a unique company that has collaborated with the likes of Sennheiser and Koss, but initially only sold products from already existing manufacturers. Perhaps the magnum opus of their own products is the HD 58X Jubilee set of headphones. Greatly revered at this price point by audiophiles, Sennheiser may be King in this world, and these are arguably their crown jewel when you talk about a balance between price and quality. These are a great alternative to the HD 650s which are going to cost almost double the price. The 58X Jubilees are going to take the average consumer and casual listener on an adventure that they’ve never known and audiophiles are going to massively respect what these can do for $170. If all you care about is value for your money and things like portability and having in-line controls don’t matter to you, you really can’t go wrong with these.

Buy now, $170
https://drop.com/buy/massdrop-x-sennheiser-hd-58x-jubilee-headphones
7. Monoprice Monolith M565
Good for transitioning to premium audio quality
SoundStage! Solo
  • Weight: 335g
  • Cable: Detachable & 1.2m

The Monoprice Monolith M565s are considered to be a great pair of headphones for casual listeners who want to transition into premium quality, which there’s a great chance to apply to you if you’re reading this. When it comes to their sound, these handle mids incredibly well while lows and highs leave a little to be desired. The design is hit or miss. Some people like the wooden cups, but in general, they’re a little polarizing. The open-back design means that these will be used to their full extent while indoors in a quiet environment. All in all, these are not the most premium set of headphones on this list but are certainly a step up from what most casual listeners are probably used to.

Buy now, $189.99
https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=24733
8. Philips SHP9600
Well rounded
Philps
  • Weight: 300g
  • Cable: Detachable & 3m

The Philips SHP9600 is the sequel to the SHP9500 and at a slightly higher price point, is an attempt to refine it. These headphones perform well in basically all areas. The all-black design is clean and despite the steel-reinforced headband (companies usually go with an all-plastic build to avoid discomfort), comfort is still an area that Philips can boast about excelling in with this product. In comparison to its predecessor, the SHP9600 essentially attempts to make improvements in all areas and it definitely succeeds with sound. The frequency response is 12 Hz – 35,000 Hz and it handles bass, highs, mids, and lows well for something in this range. If money is a big factor for you, you could probably even live with saving money to get the SHP9500s instead, taking a slight hit on everything to keep some more money in your pocket. But of course, these are well within the budget.

Buy now, $85
https://www.amazon.com/Philips-SHP9600-Headphones-Open-Back-00/dp/B08B477BHS
9. Razer Opus Wireless
Covers many bases
Amazon
  • Weight: 265g
  • Wireless
  • Noise cancelling
  • Bluetooth

The Razer brand is definitely best known for its products that are geared towards gamers, but the Opus Wireless set of headphones is much more than something that’s good for gaming with. It certainly does that, but a lot more in addition. They do ANC (noise cancelling) very well, have great bass and a balanced mid-range and barely have any leakage.

Buy now, $149.99
https://www.razer.com/mobile-headsets/razer-opus/RZ04-02490100-R3M1
10. Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC
Great for noise cancelling
Amazon
  • Weight: 238g
  • Wireless
  • Bluetooth
  • Noise cancelling

Appearing once again on this list is Sennheiser, this time with their HD 4.50 BTNC pair of headphones. If noise cancellation is a big priority of yours, these need to be in consideration, and in all honesty, there’s probably little competition for under $200. Brands like Sony and Bose also do great noise-canceling headphones that balance well with other great specs, but you’ll have to shell out a lot more cash. Sennheiser uses its patented NoiseGard technology to make it one of the better noise-canceling options on the market. But it does a whole lot more than that, of course. These are very underrated headphones. They’re very light, but don’t take a hit on build quality for it. The sound is a little bass-heavy which is something to be conscious of, but it’s likely welcoming for most.

Buy now, $169.99
https://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD-4-50-Headphones-Cancellation/dp/B01MSZSL4I/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=sennheiser+hd+4.50+btnc&qid=1619701104&sr=8-1
11. Sony WH-CH700N
Great for travelling with
Which
  • Weight: 241g
  • Wireless
  • Bluetooth
  • Noise cancelling

The WH-CH700N is the modest version of the WH-CH710N and mostly, you’re not taking too much of a hit considering you’re paying a good chunk less cash. We’ve pointed them out as being great for traveling with and that’s because they weigh just 241g, they’re sturdy enough to fit in with luggage and not get crushed and they’re wireless, giving you one less thing to pack. Not to mention their incredible battery life. A full charge should get you over 40 hours of playback time. A welcome feature of this offering from Sony is their Google Assistant and Siri integration, making life that much easier for their user. They are noise canceling, but if that’s a big priority for you, you’re better off going off with the Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNCs that appeared earlier on this list, or something that pays more attention to that detail.

Buy now, $198
https://www.amazon.com/Sony-WH-CH700N-Canceling-Headphones-WHCH700N/dp/B079GV1M9Z
12. V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless
Superb build quality
Gear4Music
  • Weight: 309g
  • Wireless
  • Cable: 1.32m

V-Moda headphones are prominent in the DJing community, which should already tell you a few things about how they value style and build quality as well as sound quality. The Crossfade 2 Wireless headphones have a fun, colorful sort of sound that matches their branding. If you want something like Beats offers but want to avoid the cliché or don’t want to take as much of a hit on the actual sound, these are a good choice.

Buy now, $199.99
https://www.v-moda.com/us/en/products/crossfade2-wireless