The best studio headphones go beyond delivering notes and producing punchy bass. As a sound engineer, most-wanted DJ or the media house culprit; you have no time for guesswork where the sound is concerned. You want headphones that deliver it natural, neutral and as original as from the mouth of the artist.
Any compromise leads to bad results, the kind you hear from wanna-be audio techies looking out for quick bucks.
But quality studio headphones aren’t meant for the experts only; audiophiles, diehard gamers and stay home mums want them too. Ask freelance transcribers, they lust for the kind of headphones meant for mixing and mastering even though they only use them for listening through audio interviews.
That’s why we came up with this list of best studio headphones. While the price could deny you access to some of the greatest studio headphones today, we are keen to provide you a variety. Let’s begin from the bottom, shall we?
Best Budget Studio Headphones below $100
Frugal buying doesn’t mean you are cheap; if you are trying a product, are on a tight budget or a beginner in the game, this is where to begin. These low-cost studio headphones will meet your needs.
Samson SR850 Studio Reference Headphones
Built on 50mm neodymium drivers, Samson SR850 Studio reference headphones promise to deliver top of the range brilliance with true mids, punchy depths and extended highs. That makes them the best fit for tracking, mixing, mastering and playing back your music in and outdoors. Even at 80% volume, sound leakage is negligible and any little noise showing up at full volume is drowned by the ambience sounds.
They weigh about 276 grams, have a self-adjusting headband, semi-open back and velour cushioning on the over-ear cups; all to deliver maximum comfort even when worn all day.
For connectivity, Samson SR850 Studio Reference Headphones use 3.5mm audio jack with a 2.5m long cable. They come with a 6.3mm adapter.
The headphones are more performance-focused hence no fancy design. They cost way below $40 on Amazon.
AKG K240STUDIO Professional Studio Headphones
These headphones resemble Samson SR850 but replace the velour cushion on the ear cups with PU leather; both have a self-adjusting headband and semi-open ear cups.
AKG K240STUDIO Professional Studio Headphones have a 3m replaceable cable, gold 3.5mm audio jack and 6.3mm adapter.
The ear cups sit around the ear delivering great comfort even when used for a long time in the studio or elsewhere. Expect professional-level sound quality whether used with low-level audio sources or the high-end type. They cost below $70.
GRADO SR60e Prestige Series Stereo Headphones
Chances are this is the lowest priced open back GRADO headphones you are ever going to get; take them while you still can. Don’t mind their packaging; it is well compensated for by their performance.
Performance emphasis begins with a thick audio cable promising unbeatable sound quality. Expect balanced bass, open midrange, and crisp highs, translating to brilliant soundstage suitable for serious listening and immersive enjoyment of your music.
GRADO SR60e headphones have an old school look hence no chances of attracting itchy fingers. They are also not portable, favoring studio life where sound leakage isn’t a big deal. And their price tag reads $79, a huge favor for their kind of output.
Sony MDR7506 Professional Headphones
Looking for a great set of broadcast or studio headphones for less than $90? Sony MDR7506 professional headphones have your back.
The headphones produce high-quality immersive sound courtesy of the 40mm neodymium drivers, over-ear design and closed back construction that keeps away ambient noises. The soft-padded ear cups and their light construction; 300 grams, allowing you to have them on throughout your studio session. Even when used at 90% volume, the sound leakage is insignificant.
They adopt wired connectivity with 3.0m coiled cable, 3.5mm gold audio jack, 6.3mm adapter and have a self-adjusting headband. Each Sony MDR7506 professional headphone comes in the carry pouch and is foldable for easier handling.
Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphones
If you are a safari kind of fellow, Sennheiser HD280PRO headphones won’t disappoint you any day anywhere.
The headphones endure the abuse of extreme cold at the Everest and the daring African heat without a single crack on their surface. The rounded over-ear design allows great retention of the natural sound of your music and provides comfortable-to-wear ear muffs on a cold day. They also subdue over 95% of engine noises making them a suitable travel buddy when you have to fly. And don’t worry about the guy sitting next to you, sound leakage is negligible.
They are foldable, weigh about 220 grams, with a thick but soft-padded headband and earmuffs. The Sennheiser HD280PRO uses wired technology; a replaceable 3m coiled cable and 3.5mm audio jack at the end. You need a soldering gun to remove and install the new cable.
On design, they have a closed-back, refined raven color and gaming-like look. They are great for outdoor DJ jobs and cost a few cents shy of $100.
The Greatest Studio Headphone for Mixing and Mastering
Assuming you haven’t exhausted your wallet, giving your home studio a facelift with these great studio headphones will meet your expectations and beyond.
Direct Sound EX-29 Headphones
When you need to focus on your music and shut the outer world to a large extent, Direct Sound EX-29
Headphones does it beyond the 80% mark.
Though closed-back, EX-29 headphones have invested on a great build with 40mm drivers so as not to compromise sound quality in the name of passive isolation. Every drummer loves their stamina for ‘live’ drums recording even when placed next to mixers. Add to the list of lovers, sound engineers, and sworn audiophiles.
They have swiveling oval ear cups with PU leather finishing below the thick cushioning and an adjustable padded headband guaranteeing impeccable comfort. They even favor users who wear glasses. Like other top-quality studio headphones, they come with premium 3m cable, corrosion-resistant gold platted 3.5mm audio jack and 6.3mm adapter.
With the foldability option, these headphones will go with you anywhere you wish and won’t break your bank; $130.
Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO Studio Headphones
The Dj-inspired headphones are built to favor sound producers, technicians, and broadcasters in every media house. That doesn’t mean leaving out your everyday audiophiles and the novices. They deliver detailed resolution and transparent sound befitting users who crave for fine sound.
Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO Studio Headphones have over-ear and closed back construction to isolate ambient noises so you can focus on mixing or listening to your favorite music.
The over $150 price tag should give you confidence in their unchallengeable durability. Comfort is guaranteed by a padded headband and the replaceable soft velour ear pads. They are built on wired technology with a single 3m coiled cable coming from one of the ear cups and ending with a 3.5mm audio jack.
Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO Studio Headphones are made in Germany and have a simple gray and black colored design.
ATH-M50x Professional Monitor Headphones
ATH-M50x professional monitor headphones unite the voices of audio engineers and top headphones reviewers.
Their 45mm aperture drivers produce deep accurate bass notes and unbeatable clarity no matter the song’s genre. Their ear cups sit around the ear keeping the sound where it is needed while the closed-back construction isolates ambient noises.
They have 90 degrees swiveling ear cups, foldable design, detachable 3m coiled cable, and a spare 1.2m straight cable. Comfort, when worn all day, remains uncompromised, thanks to the professional-grade PU leather padded ear cups and headband. They are durable.
ATH-M50x has a beautiful design and cost below $150 on Amazon.
AKG K 701 Ultra Reference Class Stereo Headphone Level 1
The headphones deliver accurate audio with sparkling highs and velvety bass response without fail. With open-back ear cups, expect excellent sound imaging in every song, audiobook, and podcast.
They are best used for studio mixing and Hi-Fi listening making the $150 price tag a huge favor.
AKG K 701 Stereo Headphone weigh low; 235g and have fitting 3D form ear pads delivering ultimate comfort throughout long hours of use. Extended comfort is guaranteed by the self-adjusting headband. They have a 3m long audio cable.
Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro Studio Headphone
Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro Studio Headphones define the home for sound professionals and music diehards.
With semi open-back ear cups, the headphones deliver the world’s most analytical sound suitable for long monitoring and mixing sessions.
They have an adjustable soft padded headband with serviceable parts that guarantee matchless comfort. Their permeable round earpads with a velour covering top the comfort game.
Expect neutral, rather spatial yet transparent sound in all music genres.
The 3m coiled audio cable hangs from only one ear cup eliminating chances of entangling allowing you to wear or hang them on your neck with ease. They have a 3.5mm mini-jack and a 6.3mm adapter with a total weight of 295g. Expect to pay about $192 on Amazon for these.
Sennheiser HD 650 Professional Headphone
These are dynamic Hi-fi stereo headphones promising balanced transparent sound for every song or podcast you play; the coolest gift for your concert DJ buddy.
Sennheiser HD 650 professional headphones have open-back design hence do not isolate ambience noises. They also leak quite a bit of what you listen making them unsuitable to use in offices, commuter trains, and planes but great where you need to show off your beats.
They have a beautiful titanium-silver finish with black velour padded headband and ear cups padding. Unlike most headphones in this list, Sennheiser HD 650’s audio cable connects to both ear cups using USB cable and to the sound source a 3.5mm audio jack. The cable is detachable. It comes with a 6.3mm adapter.
The headphones are rather dear, about $370 and are made in Ireland.
Shure SRH1540 Premium Headphones
Though large, Shure SRH1540 Premium Headphones are light in weight with detachable cables for easier packing. The cable attaches on both ear cups and extends up to 1.8m in length.
The closed-back construction shuts most of the surrounding noise out so you can focus on your music whether in your studio or flying to an unknown destination. Sound leakage is also well addressed to avoid disturbing your next-seat neighbor.
With 40mm neodymium drivers, expect clear highs and warm bass from these headphones; the true definition of first-class audio performance. This is backed by round-the-ear cups that keep every note within your ears’ reach and comfort guaranteed by replaceable, heavy-cushioned ear pads. An adjustable yet durable headband tops the comfort.
Shure SRH1540 Premium Headphones are both stylish and beautiful, taking modern sleek looks to a new level. Expect to pay about $450 for such.
Premium Studio Headphone for Your Music Gigs
These are for graduate-level sound enthusiasts who won’t spare a dime where quality is concerned. We picked two for this category; pick one or the other.
Sennheiser HD 800 Reference Dynamic Headphone
Where quality, looks, and performance are needed in one headphone, Sennheiser HD 800 Headphones stand out.
Their 56mm drivers; the largest in dynamic headphones’ universe, spell quality. They tear down the wall between sound recording and your playback source so you hear the original performance as it was. Being open back, expect detailed sound in every music genre.
Unwanted vibrations that mess up music are eliminated before reaching the ear cups courtesy of the layers of resonance dampening polymers wound around the metallic headband. And the handcrafted ear cups with microfiber fabric deliver matchless comfort even when the headphones are worn for long hours.
They weigh 330g, have a 3m audio cable with 4.4mm audio jack and a 6.3mm plug for connectivity. On aesthetics, the headphones have a unique look; high-class matte black metal and plastic parts with a silver finishing. That explains the $1700 price tag.
Sennheiser HD 820 Headphone
These closed-back design headphones allow you to enjoy every bit of your music by producing vivid natural sound with a wide-open sound field. They have soft microfiber ear pads reducing the effect of ambient noises to almost zero, allowing you to immerse yourself in every note produced by the speakers.
Sennheiser HD 820 headphones ear cups sit well around your ear to keep every note focused so you rediscover your music. Bid goodbye to muffled sound experienced in most closed-back headphones and welcome to the art of feeling your music with intense clarity.
As is common with Sennheiser, the audio cable attaches to both ear cups forming a Y-shape. It is detachable and terminates with a 4.4mm audio jack. It also has a 6.3mm stereo jack plug adapter.
They come with a $2300 price tag on Amazon.
While you may feel comfortable picking the cheapest headphones out there, such cannot quench your thirst for top quality output. This list of best studio headphones has those we know for sure define what you need. Why compromise?