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Best Headphones for Mixing

Last updated: 6 months ago
8 min read

Clarity and exceptional fidelity are among the best features to look for when mixing. Find what headphones are best for the job.

Rating Price Back design Connection Foldable More info
Sennheiser HD 650 Best overall
Sennheiser HD 650
4.7
Under $400
Open-back
Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
crosscross
4.8
Under $350
Open-back
Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
crosscross
Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro Best closed-back
Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro
4.3
Under $600
Closed-back
Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
crosscross
AKG K702 Best soundstage
AKG K702
4.4
Under $270
Open-back
Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
crosscross
Sennheiser HD 560 S Best under $200
Sennheiser HD 560 S
4.7
Under $200
Open-back
Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
crosscross
Beyerdynamic DT 880 PRO Great under $200
Beyerdynamic DT 880
4.4
Under $200
Semi-open
Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
crosscross
Sony MDR-7506 Best under $100
Sony MDR-7506
4.8
Under $100
Closed-back
Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
checkmarkcheckmark
AKG K240 Studio Great under $100
AKG K240 Studio
4.6
Under $70
Semi-open
Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
crosscross
4.7
Under $150
Closed-back
Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
checkmarkcheckmark
Samson SR850 Best cheap
Samson SR850 wired headphones
4.5
Under $50
Semi-open
Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
crosscross

A good pair of headphones is totally subjective based on what you are using it for.

If you don’t have great headphones fit for mixing music, you won’t be producing to a professional standard. You may be missing a lot of details.

Our list of headphones is designed to suit different budgets, too. While there is an element of ‘you get what you pay for, some budget options are still pretty great, as we will explore.

Table of Contents

    Related:

    Best studio headphones

    Best audiophile headphones

    Best Headphones for Mixing

    1. Sennheiser HD 650

    1st-place Best overall
    Sennheiser HD 650

    Best open-back headphones for mixing

    These Sennheiser over-ear headphones are amazingly clear and provide an industry-standard for those who are serious about their mixing.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm / 6.3mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 10-41.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Open-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 300 Ohm | Weight: 9.2 oz (260g) | Cable lenght: 9.8 feet (3m) | Features: Detachable cables
    • Excellent resolution
    • Neutral-to-warm sound
    • Smooth and forgiving treble
    • Sturdy build with completely replaceable parts
    • Prorietary cable solution
    • Headphones lack sub-bass

    Clear and distortion-free audio quality. Sennheiser is a market leader in the price range chosen as the option by many music professionals in the audio world. These are great for serious musicians and music producers.

    These reference headphones are best suited to people who really take mixing seriously. Their high fidelity and flat response make them perfect for working on professional mixes.

    Also, the frequency response is ideal for mixing any type of music, and there is no need to worry about an unbalanced sound.

    The spatial sound that comes with a good set of open-back headphones is another bonus.

    Because of their big ear cups and velour ear pads, they are extremely comfortable.

    2. Audio-Technica ATH-R70x

    2nd-place Runner-up
    Audio Technica ATH-R70x

    Most perfectly neutral headphones Audio-Technica makes

    The R70x are a very high-quality pair of headphones. They’re featherlight and have a cool design.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 6.3mm & 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 45mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 5-40.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Open-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 470 Ohm | Weight: 7.4 oz (210 g) | Cable length: 9.8ft (3m) | Features: Detachable cable
    • Detailed, neutral sound
    • Lightweight, comfortable design
    • Don't fit users with smaller heads

    These are Audio-Technica’s attempt to make their own HD 600, achieving excellent neutrality. R70x have a smooth, airy sound quality with tight bass and lush treble.

    Despite being open-back, the soundstage isn’t very wide. Thankfully, the imaging remains strong.

    Since R70x uses primarily aluminum, they feel like you’re wearing nothing. They rest gently on your head, with two wings gently supporting their whole weight.

    Under a metallic mesh, you can clearly see the driver, which is really cool.

    They use plush earpads that feel comfy on your skin, but because ear cups don’t move, they aren’t suitable for users with smaller heads.

    3. Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro

    trophy Best closed-back
    Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro

    Deep bass for accurate low-frequency mixing

    They’re a bit high in price but so is their sound quality.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 6.3mm & 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 5-40.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 250 Ohm | Weight: 13.7 oz (388g) | Cable length: 9.7ft (3m) | Features: Detachable cable
    • Detailed sound
    • Controlled bass response
    • Comfortable fit
    • Can get a bit sibilant

    They deliver a very detailed sound across the frequency response, with tight, controlled bass performance.

    They’re less sibilant than some other Beyerdynamic headphones, which is why you can use them for casual listening, too.

    These are premium headphones with great build quality that should survive a harsh studio environment. They come with a robust, hard shell carrying case.

    Velour earpads are nicely padded and super comfy so that you don’t have to worry about aching ears.

    The cable is detachable and of good quality but uses a special connector. They’re fairly easy to drive, albeit plugging them into a headphone amp is still the best choice.

    4. AKG K702

    trophy Best soundstage
    AKG K702

    Best mixing headphones around $200

    Here are the first of two over-ear headphones on our list made by AKG. The excellent Austrian design and manufacture make this a good, sturdy alternative to the other products on this list.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm / 6.3mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 45mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 10-39.800Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Open-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 62 Ohm | Weight: 8.3 oz (235g) | Cable lenght: 9.8 feet (3m) | Features: Detachable cable
    • Flat frequency response
    • Comfortable with velour earpads
    • Earpads and cable could be more durable

    It’s perfect for high-end mixing in a busy studio. Mids and highs, as well as low-end, are flat and accurate, just what you need for quality production.

    AKG is continuing to push the boundaries. The two-layer diaphragm is a patented design they have included for an improved high-frequency range. This gives a lot of clarity in the high-end.

    It comes with detachable cables fitting both 3.5mm and 6.3mm connections. The ear pads are both comfortable and replaceable for when they become worn and tatty.

    They don’t boost the bass, which may not be the best for listening to hardcore trance, but it is perfect to make these some of the best headphones for mixing and mastering.

    There’s also a great AKG K 701 option that was made in collaboration with Quincy Jones, a well known name in the music industry.

    5. Sennheiser HD 560 S

    dollar Best under $200
    Sennheiser HD 560 S

    Best studio headphones for mixing under $200

    An affordable HD 600 with a bigger soundstage.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 6.3mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 6-38.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Open-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 120 Ohm | Weight: 8.46 oz (260g) | Cable length: n/a | Features: E.A.R. tech
    • Exceptional neutral sound
    • Comfortable
    • Big soundstage
    • Velour earpads
    • Detachable cable
    • Can get sibilant at times

    These headphones are an extension of the HD 6xx lineup in terms of audio quality. They have lovely flat sound with a bit brighter treble and a big soundstage.

    HD 560 S are entirely made of plastic, except for the metallic mesh that protects drivers.

    Thanks to that and big earpads, they’re very lightweight and comfortable to wear for extended periods.

    The included cable ends with a 6.3mm jack, with an extra 3.5mm adapter in the box. The cable is also detachable.

    Impedance is moderately high (120 ohms), but you can drive them to loud sound pressure levels with your computer or smartphone. Of course, they will sound better with a proper amp.

    6. Beyerdynamic DT 880 PRO

    trophy Great under $200
    Beyerdynamic DT 880 PRO wired headphones

    Best open-back headphones under $200

    Beyerdynamic manufactures headphones with a solid sound quality, and for a great soundstage on a relatively reasonable budget, the DT 880 Pro model is a very viable choice.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm / 6.3mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 5-35.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Semi-open | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 250 Ohm | Weight: 10.4 oz (295g) | Cable lenght: 9.8 feet (3m) | Features: /
    • Robust build quality
    • Great midrange clarity
    • Big soundstage
    • Close to neutral sound signature
    • Can get sibilant

    Great soundstage with minimal distortion make them perfect for mixing and mastering. Their flat sound signature makes them popular among audiophiles as well.

    The Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro headphones have a lot of professional properties for studio use. As well as 250-ohm impedance making them suitable for studio mixing, they are comfortable with a soft headband and sturdy ear cups. The parts are also all replaceable.

    These pair of headphones are clear with flat frequency response, the clarity in the mid-range is excellent, and many people swear by using these to mix vocals.

    They come with a standard 3.5mm coil, but there is also a 6.3mm adapter included.

    7. Sony MDR-7506

    dollar Best under $100
    Sony MDR 7506 wired headphones

    Best studio headphones for mixing under $100

    Trusted headphones with analytical sound for detecting errors in the mix.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm / 6.3mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 10-20.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 63 Ohm | Weight: 8.1 oz (229g) | Cable lenght: 9.8 feet (3m) | Features: Foldable
    • Accurate and powerful sound
    • Lightweight & foldable design
    • Long cable good for studio work
    • Decent noise isolation
    • Fits well with larger head sizes
    • Non-detachable cable
    • Foldable design feels a bit flimsy

    They’re balanced throughout the bass and midrange but can be a bit harsh in the treble.

    While that isn’t perfect for casual listening, it does bring out details and errors in a recording.

    MDR-7506 are, for many years, a trusted pair of headphones among audio engineers and technicians.

    They aren’t particularly flashy or suited for commuting, primarily due to their long, coiled cable.

    Thankfully, they’re still quite portable, with a foldable ear cup design and included carrying pouch.

    Headphones are relatively lightweight and can fit most head sizes. Earpads aren’t the thickest out there but should remain comfy for a couple of hours of use.

    Sony MDR-7506 review

    8. AKG K240 Studio

    trophy Great under $100
    AKG K240 Studio

    Best mixing headphones under $100

    If you are looking for a pair of cans that do a professional job on a budget then the AKG K240 Studio headphones are impressive. They come in at under $100, which is very affordable for such high quality.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 30mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 15-25.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Semi-open | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 55 Ohm | Weight: 8.3 oz (235g) | Cable lenght: 118 inch (3m) | Features: Detachable cable
    • Lightweight and comfortable
    • Replaceable ear pads and detachable cable
    • Exceptional frequency response, even suitable for mixing and producing
    • Generous 2-year warranty
    • Open soundstage and good acoustics
    • Blocks out some external sound
    • Doesn’t have the most powerful bass frequencies
    • No waterproof protection or sweat resistance
    • The earcups can get tatty and frayed over time and therefore need replacing

    The soundstage is clear and has great acoustics due to the semi-open back of these headphones, and the frequency response for the price is exceptional.

    In spite of the price, the AKG K240 headphones have a relatively professional reproduction of sound.

    The XXL transducers, combined with the AKG varimotion diaphragm give these headphones an accurate response, and they are the choice of many bedroom producers who are on a budget.

    An adjustable headband and ear pads are designed to flex to the shape of your head and make these very comfortable, even for those long sessions mixing audio.

    AKG K240 Studio review

    9. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

    Audio-Technica ATH-M50x wired headphone

    Best studio headphones that are also suitable for commuting

    Though closed-back headphones aren’t as advisable for mixing, they are great for blocking out other sounds. If you need sound isolation, the ATH-M50x from Audio-Technica could be worth exploring.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm / 6.3mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 45mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 15-28.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 38 Ohm | Weight: 10 oz (285g) | Cable lenght: 3.9ft (1.2m) & 9.8ft (3m) | Features: Detachable cable, foldable
    • Fun, V-shaped sound
    • Foldable, travel-friendly design
    • Good overall durability
    • Foldable hinges seem fragile

    A balanced signature with a punchy but controlled bass response makes them a great fit for mixing. Though the limited spatial response is a disadvantage.

    These over-ear consumer headphones have been designed to be very versatile.

    They are used for a variety of different audio purposes and some DJs, as well as producers, use the ATH-M50x. They do a very good job of blocking out ambient noise.

    Swiveling, folding ear cups make these good for portability. This is great for those who want to do mixing and mastering on-the-go.

    Some studio monitor headphones struggle to give a decent spatial soundstage, being closed-back especially. While this is somewhat of a compromise, the ATH-M50x do an excellent job.

    10. Samson SR850

    dollar Best cheap
    Samson SR850 construction

    Best mixing headphones that you can get at a cheap price

    If you are looking for the best budget option, these cheap studio monitors should do the trick.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm / 6.3mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 50mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 10-30.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Semi-open | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 32 Ohm | Weight: 9.7 oz (276g) | Cable length: 98.4 inch (2.5m) | Features: /
    • Fantastic sound for the price
    • Lightweight construction
    • Decent durability
    • 6.3mm adapter included in the box
    • Price
    • All-plastic construction feels cheap
    • Below average comfort and fit
    • Bad noise isolation

    There aren’t many audio consumer products like this in a headphone market. Neodymium drivers produce a very dynamic sound with good, punchy bass and natural frequency response.

    Treble is slightly more pronounced, giving them a brighter sound signature. The soundstage is also quite big, but it doesn’t hurt the overall stereo image.

    You can also find them among best studio headphones.

    They’re made entirely from plastic, with even headband and earpads feel slightly harder to the touch.

    Thankfully, because their clamping force is relatively light, you should find these comfortable. If you want to improve the overall comfort, try out some AKG earpads since they rock a similar size.

    Keep in mind these are semi-open, providing you with an airy listening experience while keeping sound leakage to a minimum.

    Samson SR850 review

    Honorable Mentions

    Superlux HD 668B: Not everyone is in a position to splash the cash on audio equipment. Superlux HD 668B is one example of how affordable consumer cans can still do a decent job. They’re more suitable for listening to backing track during shows. (Check HD 668B price)

    Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro: Recording studio headphones with detailed sound reproduction. They come with velour ear cushions for extra comfort and breathability. That’s great for long listening sessions in your pro or home studio environments. (Check DT 990 Pro price)

    Shure SHR1840: Open-back headphones with a reference point neutral sound quality that is suitable for studio recording. Aluminum alloy makes Shure SRH1840 pair of studio headphones very lightweight and comfy. (Check SRH1840 price)

    Sennheiser HD 280 Pro: A reference headphone with studio-quality sound. Sennheiser HD280 Pro are also very easy to drive, so you don’t need a separate headphone amplifier. (Check HD 280 Pro price)

    Why Are These the Best Headphones for Mixing and Mastering?

    In our selection of headphones,we picked the best models with features you need for mixing and mastering like professionals.

    For production, you should be looking for headphones that don’t taint the mix.

    So, forget about noise cancelling or Bluetooth headphones.

    A boost in any frequency will alter the way you mix, and this means that when someone listens on different or better headphones, the mix won’t be as balanced. You may overcompensate for missing frequencies, for instance.

    Other features that can be very helpful include comfort. You will probably need to wear cans for hours at a time. Memory foam or other comfortable material around the ears will help with this.

    Naturally, if you are spending a lot on the headphones, you will want something durable, which means they will last and give value for money. Treated well, the best headphones can last many years.

    You may also want additional features. Some find replaceable cords useful, and if you are traveling around a lot, you might also want to look out for folding headphones to take out in a bag.

    More on types of headphones

    Should You Choose Open or Closed Back Headphones for Mixing?

    Open-back headphones tend to have a much better sound stage and give a nicer acoustic sound rather than being tight and pressuring your eardrums.

    Closed-backs are more designed to cancel out the external sounds, while this can be very useful for listening in crowded, busy places, they don’t do the best job of reproducing the sound naturally.

    Generally, we advise open-back headphones for mixing.

    They give more of a balanced sound which not many of the closed-back options do. It is useful to be able to have sound isolation capabilities, but this isn’t the top priority for mixing (but for monitoring/recording).

    How are Headphones For Mixing Different from Recording Headphones?

    Often, people use closed-back headphones for recording (monitoring). This isolates the sound which is coming from elsewhere (such as other instruments in the room) and gives the audio engineer full control over what audio signal they are sending to the headphones.

    Closed-back headphones are also less likely to “bleed” audio through to the microphone. It can mean you are recording things like backing tracks from the headphones on what would otherwise be a clean vocal track.