Studio recording sessions often come with a lot of noise, so wearing studio headphones makes a big difference. The headphones are designed to provide the correct sound isolation that reduces distractions when performing or recording a song.
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However, searching countless online reviews to identify the perfect pair of studio headphones for your music production needs can drain your energy. So, we’re here to help.
In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the 6 best studio headphones, so you can spend less time researching and more time creating.
Our top pick is the Audio Technica ATH-M50x, which offers exceptional clarity, unmatched sound isolation, and is comfortable for even the most sensitive ear. Besides, you can use the headphones in the studio and on the road.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro, on a budget, or just starting, we’ve identified top-of-the-line studio headphones that come with exceptional sound quality, comfort, and durability.
Quick Summary of the Best Studio Headphones
- Audio Technica ATH-M50x (Best Closed-Back Headphones)
- Sony MDR7506 (Best Budget Closed-Back Headphones)
- Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO (Best Mid-Range Closed-Back Studio Headphones)
- Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo (Best Budget Open Back Headphones)
- AKG K-612 Pro (Best for Beginners)
- AKG K-712 Pro (Best Studio Headphones for Mixing and Mastering)
Best Studio Headphones
1. Best Closed-Back Headphones – Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
- Maximum Input Power: 1600mW
- Frequency Response: 15-28,000 Hz
- Impedance: 38 Ohms
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x is one of the leading closed-back headphones you won’t miss in most recording studios and music production setups. Its sound quality, comfort, durability, and value make it a top contender in its price range.
The headphone offers a balanced sound and wide frequency, which supports quality monitoring and mixing. Its impressive volume matches the needs of even the most demanding music recording task.
If you’re looking for comfort, the ATH-M50x comes with plush headband earpads and ear cups so you can wear it even for longer hours.
Audio Technica ATH-M50x headphones are known for their durability. The sturdy construction can withstand the rigors of daily use, which is, without a doubt, a good way to save some bucks.
Despite its high-quality construction, Audio Technica ATH-M50x is relatively affordable compared to other professional-grade headphones. This is an excellent option if you’re looking for affordable high-end headphones.
2. Best Budget Closed Back Headphones – Sony MDR-7506
- Maximum Input Power: 1000 mW
- Frequency Response: 10-40,000 Hz
- Impedance: 63 Ohms
If you’re in the market for the best budget studio headphones that provide exceptional audio quality without breaking the bank, then the Sony MDR7506 headphones are worth considering.
These headphones offer a dynamic range of sound and crystal-clear audio, allowing you to hear subtleties and nuances that you might not hear on lower-quality headphones.
Another unique feature that these headphones boost is non-existent leakage. This means you can enjoy the privacy and clarity you need, whether in the studio, at home with family or friends, or in a public space.
The high level of noise isolation allows you to immerse yourself in your audio without distractions at any time.
The build quality is also durable design and can withstand heavy use. This makes them an excellent choice for use in a high-traffic professional setting.
We highly regard the Sony MDR7506 headphones and find them reliable for high-quality music production and studio monitors.
3. Best Mid-Range Closed-Back Studio Headphones – Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO
- Frequency Response: 5-40,000 Hz
- Impedance: 250 Ohms
- Nominal Sound Pressure Level: 102 dBSPL (1mW/500Hz)
The DT 1770 PRO features unmatched technology that music producers, sound engineers, and audiophiles require to do the job. It’s known not only for its unmatched sound quality but also comfort.
Its optimized contact pressures and materials make the headphones comfortable to wear. You won’t even notice that you’re wearing them.
Not only that, its frequency response range allows for reproducing a wide range of precise frequencies needed for quality studio monitoring. From deep bass notes to high-frequency harmonics, this is the ideal choice if you’re looking to explore various frequencies.
In addition, the high impedance rating can enhance the sound quality and dynamics of the headphones.
The DT 1770 PRO ear pads are also soft, replaceable, and can adjust to match the shape of your ears. This won’t limit how you use the headphones or even how long you wear them. Besides, the adjustable headband and ear cups can fit any size and shape of the head.
These headphones may require a powerful amplifier to drive them, but their rating proves they are worth investing in if you want to upgrade to a phenomenal sound system.
4. Best Budget Open-Back Studio Headphones – Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo (Best Budget Open-Back Studio Headphones)
- Maximum Input Power: 200 mW
- Frequency Response: 12-35,000 Hz
- Impedance: 32 Ohms
For the best in ear headphones, Philips SHP9500 is worth considering. These headphones are built to deliver clear, detailed audio needed for sound monitoring. They are a perfect combination of quality, performance, and comfort.
Like DT 770 Pro, its response range is equally wide, which supports a wide range of frequencies. The accurate delivery of audio ensures you can hear every nuance and detail.
Importantly, the open-back design ensures a smooth flow of air and sound through the headphones, creating a natural soundstage. Plus, you don’t have to worry if you sweat a lot since the headphones are built with a breathable material that keeps the head and ears cool and dry, even during long listening sessions.
Regarding comfort, the SHP9500 features large, comfortable ear cups that fit over the ears rather than on them. This design helps distribute the weight of the headphones evenly across the head, reducing the risks of pressure points and discomfort.
5. Best for Beginners – AKG K-612 Pro (Best for Beginners)
- Maximum Input Power: 200 mW
- Frequency Response: 12-39,500 Hz
- Impedance: 120 Ohms
The AKG K612 PRO is highly rated for its excellent ergonomics, sound, and comfort.
With these headphones, you can accurately reproduce frequencies, from sparkling highs to deep bass. This is one way to grasp every detail when recording audio.
These headphones produce a rich, powerful, warm, and accurate bass, providing a natural listening experience without artificial enhancements. This creates an immersive soundstage that gets all your attention.
The K612 PRO also features large, lightweight ear cups with soft material that allows you to fully enjoy the rhythm of your music.
The large, open-back ear cups allow for free air and sound flow, creating a natural soundstage. You can enjoy their audio content with unparalleled clarity.
6. The Best Studio Headphones for Mixing and Mastering – AKG K712 Pro
- Maximum Input Power: 200 mW
- Frequency Response: 10-39800 Hz
- Impedance: 62 Ohms
The AKG K712 Pro is one of the best studio headphones for mixing and mastering. Expect excellent sound reproduction, improved ergonomics, and flexible cable features for its price.
These headphones feature a flat response that provides a balanced, accurate sound representation, perfect for prolonged and attentive listening. So you don’t have to worry about exaggerated frequencies or boosted bass that can divert from the true sound of any music or audio.
Furthermore, the open-air design supports clear listening in a quiet room. In addition, the ear pads are soft and comfortable against the skin, and the foam ensures a snug and secure fit.
With its detachable cables, the mixing headphones offer unparalleled convenience and versatility to you. No more tangled wires, unnecessary cable lengths, or broken cables – replace the cable when needed, and you’re good to go.
More importantly, these headphones are highly rated for their accuracy, which enables you to mix and master with ease. They also perform well at both high and low volumes.
Whether listening to your music at full blast or enjoying a more subdued experience, the AKG K712 Pro delivers your desired results.
Best Studio Headphones Buyer’s Guide
Finding the best headphones for your music needs will require you to consider several factors. Here are some important things to keep in mind:
Sound quality is one of the most important factors when buying studio headphones. After all, the whole point of using headphones in a studio setting is to hear the sound of your recordings accurately.
Look for headphones that offer a flat frequency response and neutral sound profile, as these don’t artificially boost or cut any frequencies, allowing you to hear your recordings as they are.
Besides, you want headphones that can reproduce every detail of your recordings accurately, especially if you’re working with complex arrangements or subtle nuances in your music.
Noise isolation is key if you don’t want any background noise.
When choosing studio headphones, it is important to consider the level of noise isolation you need based on your working environment and the type of audio work you do.
Impedance and Frequency Response
Impedance is the amount of electrical resistance of the headphones, measured in Ohms. High-impedance headphones need more power.
Choose headphones with high impedance if you spend most of your time handling professional audio equipment, such as studio mixers and amplifiers.
Likewise, a headphone with a wide frequency response will allow you to hear even the tiniest details of your recordings.
Music producers spend hours wearing headphones, so choosing a pair that won’t cause discomfort or pain is important. Look for a studio headphone with an adjustable headband and ear cups that fit comfortably over your ears.
Over-ear headphones are generally more comfortable than on-ear headphones, as they distribute the weight of the headphones more evenly. With these, you can work for extended periods without feeling irritations or interruptions.
You don’t want to invest in headphones that will break or wear out quickly. Headphones with sturdy construction, such as metal or high-quality plastic, can last longer.
Additionally, the type of cable that comes with the headphones also matters. A detachable cable is ideal, as it can easily be replaced if damaged.
The brand you choose will determine if you get a quality product and have peace of mind that you can always get assistance when appropriate.
Certainly, certain brands are known for producing top-notch products. Established brands such as Sony, Beyerdynamic, and Audio-Technica have been in the industry for decades and have built a reputation for producing high-quality headphones that professionals trust.
In addition to the quality of the headphones you get, brand reputation can also affect the level of customer support and after-sales service. You want to invest in a brand with a responsive customer service team.
Functionality matters since you don’t want to purchase headphones that won’t serve you fully. Go for closed-back headphones if you want zero disturbance when recording.
On the other hand, if you spend most of your time mixing and mastering, open-back studio headphones are a good choice. They provide a more natural sound and prevent ear fatigue.
Additionally, headphones with adjustable EQ settings will allow you to tweak the sound to your liking. This feature can be particularly useful if you are working with different genres of music or if you have a specific sound in mind.
Going for the cheapest option may be tempting if you’re on a tight budget. However, you’ll get what you pay for.
While some fairly priced headphones may not have the perfect sound or durability for professional use, the most expensive headphones are not the best option either.
Find a balance between price and quality. Consider your budget and look for headphones that offer good value for money.
Best Studio Headphones Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Should You Get Open or Closed-Back Headphones?
Open-back headphones are a good choice if you need accurate and detailed sound for critical listening and mixing audio. Closed-back headphones are designed for recording or listening in noisy environments.
Close-back headphones have more bass and provide better isolation, making them a good choice for listening in environments with lots of disruptions.
On the other hand, open-back headphones allow you to hear all the nuances in your music. However, they also allow sound to leak out, making them more suitable for quiet environments.
You can also go for other headphones with a semi-open design for balanced sound and noise isolation.
What’s the Difference Between Studio Headphones and Normal Headphones?
Studio headphones are designed for professional use, while normal headphones are intended for a wider range of applications.
Studio headphones are used in recording, broadcast, and other professional audio environments. They have a flat response that allows sound engineers to hear the recording as accurately as possible.
These headphone also have a closed-back design to isolate external noise and prevent sound leakage, which is important for recording sessions.
On the contrary, normal headphones are designed for general-purpose use. They may feature noise-canceling, wireless connectivity, and other consumer-oriented specifications.
Do I Need an Amp for My Studio Headphones?
You need an amp if your headphones have high impedance, your audio source has a low output level, or if you prefer loud music.
High-impedance headphones require more power to drive them. Amps can improve the overall quality of sound. An amp may also help you get enough volume if your audio source has a low output.
Headphones Frequency Range and Response Explained
Frequency range and response are important features of headphones as they determine the overall sound and listening experience.
Frequency range is the range of frequencies that a headphone reproduces. It’s measured in Hertz (Hz) and represents the frequencies from the lowest to the highest. A headphone that can produce a wider range of sounds has a wider frequency range.
Frequency response is how even a headphone reproduces the frequencies within its range and is measured in decibels (dB).
A flat response means equal frequencies, whereas an uneven response means certain frequencies are emphasized or de-emphasized.
Knowing the specific features you want in studio headphones can help you choose the best ones.
If you want the best closed-back headphones, go for the Audio Technica ATH-M50x, but if you’re looking for open-back headphones, Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo is one of the best options available.
Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO can work if you want unmatched mid-range closed-back headphones. Importantly, if you’re a beginner looking for a smooth and natural listening experience, go for AKG K-612 Pro.
Whichever option you settle for, ensure that the headphones match your specifications, durability, price, and functionality expectations.
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