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15 Best Headphones for Mixing in 2024

Last updated: 6 months ago
10 min read

Clarity and fidelity are the best features to look for when mixing. We tested 193 headphones, and here are, in our opinion, the best headphones for combining and optimizing music.

We test and evaluate headphones using a standardized 9-point methodology. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

More info Price Back design Connection Foldable
Sennheiser HD 400 PRO Best overall
Sennheiser HD 400 PRO
Under $250
Open-back
Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
crosscross
Sennheiser HD 600 Best for $400
Sennheiser-HD-600-s
Under $400
Open-back
Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
crosscross
Audio-Technica ATH-R70x Best for $350
Audio Technica ATH-R70x
Under $350
Open-back
Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
crosscross
AKG K702 Best soundstage
AKG K702
Under $270
Open-back
Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
crosscross
Sennheiser HD 560 S Best under $200
Sennheiser HD 560 S
Under $200
Open-back
Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
crosscross
Beyerdynamic DT 880 PRO Best Beyerdynamic
Beyerdynamic DT 880
Under $200
Semi-open
Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
crosscross
AKG K245 Best under $150
AKG K245
Under $150
Open-back
Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
checkmarkcheckmark
Sony MDR-7506 Best under $100
Sony MDR-7506
Under $100
Closed-back
Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
checkmarkcheckmark
AKG K371 Best for Harman Curve
AKG K371
Under $150
Closed-back
Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
checkmarkcheckmark

Find the rest under Honorable Mentions.

CONTENTS (show more)

    If you don’t have great mixing headphones music, you won’t be producing to a professional standard. You may be missing a lot of fine details when mastering vocals or a backing track.

    Our list of studio headphones for mixing is designed to suit different budgets. While there is an element of “you get what you pay for”, some budget options are pretty decent, especially for newbies.

    For more great-sounding options, see the best audiophile headphones.

    In our selection of headphones, we picked the best models with a neutral sound, a big soundstage, and long-term comfort, the crucial features for mixing, mastering, and remastering like a professional. We combined our expertise and feedback from the music production community.

    Best Headphones for Mixing

    1. Sennheiser HD 400 PRO

    1st-place Best for Most Audio Engineers
    Sennheiser HD 400 PRO

    HD 400 PRO are, in our opinion, the best mixing headphones for most people, with an accurate sound and good bass extension for mixing low frequencies.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm & 6.3mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm dynamic
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 6-38.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Open-ear | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 120 Ohm | Weight: 8.4 oz (240g) | Cable lenght: 5.9 ft (1.8m) & 9.8 ft (3m) | Features: Detachable cable
    • Neutral sound quality
    • Lightweight & comfortable design
    • Two detachable cables included
    • No carrying case for the price

    These are the best balance of price and sound quality for doing mixes. While they’re not the most expensive on our list, they’re suitable for professional work without paying an exorbitant price. For this reason, they’re the top choice.

    For around $250, you get reliable sound with good bass extension, which is rare in open-back studio headphones.

    There’s still some energy in the treble to reveal tiny details, which should help create a spotless mix while avoiding sibilance.

    Due to the open design, sound leakage is the thing with HD 400 PRO. However, that isn’t a problem when mixing in the studio. Quite the contrary, an open back helps to enlarge the stereo image.

    As for the headphones, they’re fully made of plastic, with a metal piece making the headband more flexible and sturdier.

    Velour earpads help with breathability and create soft contact with your skin. Much like the cable, they can be replaced when damaged.

    Best Deals Today:

    Best for $400

    2. Sennheiser HD 600

    dollar Best $400 Mixing Headphones
    Sennheiser HD 600

    If you want amazing headphones for creating music, the Sennheiser HD 600 are the top choice for $400.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Open-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 300 Ohm | Weight: 9.17 oz (260g) | Cable lenght: 9.8 feet (3m) | Features: /
    • Reference for neutral sound
    • Lifelike vocal rendition
    • Comfortable fit with velour earpads
    • Durable construction that is fully repairable
    • Needs an amp for optimal performance
    • Small soundstage

    These Sennheiser over-ear headphones are amazingly clear and provide an industry standard for those who are serious about their mixing, as long as you’re willing to pay for it.

    Expect 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 a studio engineer who takes 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-backs is another bonus.

    Because of their big ear cups and velour ear pads, they are extremely comfortable. Also, they come with a hard case for easier transport.

    These high-end headphones work optimally when you use them with an amp (300 Ohms of impedance).

    Best Deals Today:

    Best for $350

    3. Audio-Technica ATH-R70x

    dollar Best $350 Mixing Headphones
    Audio Technica ATH-R70x

    Audio-Technica ATH-R70x are the most perfectly neutral headphones Audio-Technica makes, and they’re perfect for mixing.

    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 frequency response
    • Lightweight, comfortable design
    • Don't fit users with smaller heads

    The R70x are a high-quality pair of headphones made for producing audio. They’re featherlight for long-term comfort and have a cool design.

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

    Despite having an open-back design, they don’t have a very three-dimensional sound. 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.

    These high-impedance headphones have higher resistance than other headphones (470 ohms), so you need a powerful audio interface to drive them properly.

    Best Deals Today:

    Best for Expansive Soundstage

    5. AKG K702

    trophy Best for Mixing with Wide Spatial Sound
    AKG K702

    AKG K702 have the widest and most expansive soundstage for mixing.

    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

    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.

    It’s perfect for high-end mixing in a busy studio space. Mids and highs, as well as low-end, are flat and fairly 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 treble frequencies.

    It comes with detachable cables fitting both 3.5mm and 6.3mm connections. The ear pads are both comfortable and replaceable 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 mixer headphones for 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-making industry.

    Best Deals Today:

    Best Under $200

    6. Sennheiser HD 560 S

    dollar Best Cans for Mixing Under $200
    Sennheiser HD 560 S

    If your budget is $200, the Sennheiser HD 560 S are the best option for mixing headphones.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 6.3mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 38mm (36mm diaphragm)
    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

    They’re an “affordable HD 600” for a lower price. These headphones are an extension of the HD 6xx lineup in terms of sound quality and width of soundstage. They have a lovely flat sound with a brighter treble.

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

    Thanks to that and big earpads, they’re very lightweight and supremely 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 headphone amp.

    Best Deals Today:

    Best Beyerdynamic

    7. Beyerdynamic DT 880 PRO

    dollar Best Beyerdynamic Mixing Headphones
    Beyerdynamic DT 880 PRO wired headphones

    If you’re a loyal Beyerdynamic user, the DT 880 PRO are the top choice for mixing.

    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

    Beyerdynamic makes headphones with crisp sound quality and great soundstage for a reasonable price. Out of their whole lineup, the DT 880 Pro model is the best choice.

    Great soundstage with minimal harmonic distortion makes them perfect for mixing and mastering. Their flat sound signature makes them a popular model 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 ideally suited 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 sound engineers swear by using these to mix vocals.

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

    Best Deals Today:

    Best Under $150

    8. AKG K245

    dollar Best $150 Mixing Headphones
    AKG K245

    For $150, the AKG K245 are the top choice for mixing with an analytical and detailed sound quality.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 50mm dynamic
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 15-25.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Open-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 32 Ohm | Weight: 10.4 oz (295g) | Cable lenght: 16.4 feet (5m) | Features: Foldable, detachable cable
    • Great sound quality
    • Foldable design
    • Replaceable cable
    • Treble is a bit too smooth
    • Replacement earpads needed for the best comfort

    A successor to the beloved K240, with better technical performance and foldable design at a reasonable price.

    The sound is similar to the K240, but it goes further in terms of technicalities and is better for analytical listening.

    Especially in the bass response, which sounds more dynamic and well-defined. The soundstage is modest in size this time around due to the smooth treble.

    They have a very comfortable fit, but it depends on your ear size. Users with smaller ears shouldn’t have any problems, whereas others might experience discomfort. Replacing earpads with bigger, plushier ones should resolve the issue.

    Otherwise, the construction is super lightweight due to mostly plastic build. AKG even made K245 foldable using a unique patented folding headphone design.

    Moreover, the cable is easily replaced if it gets damaged. Note that it uses a mini-XLR port, AKG’s proprietary connection.

    Best Deals Today:

    Best Under $100

    9. Sony MDR-7506

    dollar Best for Mixing Under $100
    Sony MDR 7506 wired headphones

    Sony MDR-7506 are fantastic headphones for audio mixing and other studio work under $100.

    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

    Sony MDR-7506 are trusted and versatile studio headphones for critical listening like detecting errors in the mix. They’re one of the most popular studio headphones among audio engineers and technicians because they offer an amazing value-for-the-money ratio.

    They have a well-balanced sound throughout the bass and have nicely clear mids. However, they can be a bit harsh in high frequencies.

    While that isn’t perfect for casual listening, it does bring out details and errors in a recording. 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 have a relatively lightweight build and can fit most head sizes. Earpads aren’t the thickest out there but should remain comfy for a couple of hours of use. And it’s easy to get replacements.

    Best Deals Today:

    Best With Harman Curve

    10. AKG K371

    trophy Best for Mixing With Harman Curve
    AKG K371 on a DJ table

    If you’re looking for headphones with the Harman Curve sound signature, the AKG K371 are the best choice.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 50mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 5-40.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 32 Ohm | Weight: 8.9oz (255g) | Cable length: 1.2m & 3m | Features: Removable cable, mini-XLR connector, foldable
    • Great sound quality
    • Comfortable earpads
    • Foldable design
    • Good build quality
    • Detachable cable
    • … with proprietary connector
    • Might be too bassy/warm for audio purists

    AKG K371 closed-back headphones offer one of the best representations of the Harman curve tuning that plays exceptionally well with all genres.

    Since AKG is owned by Samsung and Harman Group, it makes sense for their headphones to adopt the Harman house curve.

    This tuning best represents what a natural listening experience sounds like, and none does it better than the K371. AKG added a touch more bottom end to make them more appealing to a wider audience.

    It doesn’t stop there. Build quality is excellent, with metallic construction and a satisfying foldable mechanism. Over-ear design and thick earpads ensure long-lasting comfort.

    One minor annoyance is that while the cable is detachable, it uses a proprietary mini-XLR port (if you’ll even want to buy a new one).

    Best Deals Today:

    Honorable Mentions

    10. AKG K240 Studio

    AKG K240 Studio

    If you are looking for semi-open cans that do a professional job on a budget, then the AKG K240 Studio headphones are impressive. They come in at under $100, which makes them a budget option.

    AKG K240 review

    11. Samson SR850

    Samson SR850 construction

    If you are looking for the best cheap headphones for mixing that are easy to drive and sound good, the Samson SR850 studio monitors are the best we’ve tested. Keep in mind these are semi-open, providing you with an airy listening experience while keeping sound leakage to a minimum.

    Samson SR850 review

    12. Sennheiser HD 280 PRO

    Sennheiser HD 280 PRO wired headphones

    A good choice for a reference headphone with studio-quality sound. Sennheiser HD280 Pro closed-back headphones offer great isolation and are also very easy to drive, so you don’t need a separate headphone amplifier.

    Check Sennheiser HD 280 PRO price

    13. Superlux HD 668B

    Superlux HD668B

    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 an excellent job. Headphones sound more suitable for listening to backing tracks during shows.

    Check HD 668B price

    14. Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro

    Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro wired headphones

    A secondary option from Beyerdynamic, which is also popular among audio engineers. These recording and mixing headphones have detailed sound reproduction and velour earpads for extra comfort and breathability. They’re great for listening for long work hours in a professional or home studio environment.

    Check DT 990 Pro price

    15. Shure SRH1840

    Shure SRH1840 wired headphones

    Shure’s SRH1840 headphones are a staple for studio work, like mixing and mastering. Their open-back helps create an airier sound and broader soundstage. The bass has good extension and detail, and the midrange is super accurate. The headphones have an aluminum frame and comfy velour earpads that stay comfortable during long mixing sessions.

    Check Shure SRH1840 price

    What to Look For in Headphones for Mixing and Mastering?

    Here’s how to choose headphones for mixing in a nutshell:

    For music production, look for headphones that don’t taint the mix

    So, forget about external noise cancelling or Bluetooth headphones. They’re not suitable.

    A boost in any frequency alters the mix. This means that when someone listens on better headphones, the mix won’t sound the same. You may overcompensate for missing frequencies.

    Look for a neutral, balanced sound signature, preferably with an open-back design for a spacious soundstage.

    Open-back headphones have a bigger soundstage and more neutral sound, which is perfect for mixing.

    Adjustable headband and ample padding for comfort

    Other helpful features include comfort. You will probably need to wear headphones for long sessions. Memory foam or other comfortable material around the ears will help with this, especially if you wear glasses.

    Naturally, if you are spending a lot on headphones, you will want something durable. When treated well, wired headphones can last decades.

    Extra features

    • Replaceable cords are useful and improve longevity.
    • If you are traveling a lot, consider folding headphones that are easy to store in a backpack and safely carry around.

    Should You Choose Open- or Closed-Back Headphones for Mixing?

    Generally, open-back headphones are better for mixing and mastering.

    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 designed to block out ambient noise. While this can be very useful for listening in crowded, busy places, they don’t reproduce the most natural sound.

    Passive noise isolation is useful for listening in public and noisy environments but isn’t the top priority for mixing.

    Sound leakage is only bad for monitoring and recording.

    So, if you want studio headphones for mixing, monitoring, and recording, then you might want to consider closed-back headphones. More on types of headphones.

    Headphones in studio

    How are Mixing Headphones Different From Recording Headphones?

    • Mixing headphones’ main job is to produce a neutral sound to avoid audio overcompensation in the mix.
    • Recording headphones’ main job is to let the audio engineer hear the recording without their noise leakage bleeding into the recording.

    The main difference is in the way they’re used.

    In studios, most people use closed-back headphones for recording and monitoring. They isolate the sound that comes from elsewhere (such as other instruments in the room) and give the audio engineer full control over what audio signal they are sending to the headphones.

    Closed-back design is 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.

    When mixing, there’s no chance of headphone sound leakage ruining the mixing process, so the focus is on neutral tuning.

    Why Trust HeadphonesAddict?

    At HeadphonesAddict, we provide honest headphone tests through a rigorous methodology and a transparent process. See how we test here. We put a lot of effort into personally testing and measuring each pair so we can make educated recommendations. For this guide, we also included research from the audio production community to make the most relevant recommendations.

    More reasons to trust us:

    • We test headphones ourselves on 9 key points (less for wired models).
    • We measure frequency responses, ANC, passive isolation, battery life, and compare EQ presets.
    • We don’t take money for tests and reviews.
    • We don’t delete or edit “bad reviews.” Even when brands ask us to. If the headphones sound bad or have other faults, we tell you without embellishment.

    FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

    Are headphones good for mixing?

    The best way to mix is with professional studio speakers because they offer the best representation of how sound behaves in a room and the biggest soundstage. However, if you can’t afford a recording studio, headphones are the next best thing. When properly tuned, they closely portray a great pair of speakers, and they’re much cheaper and more convenient.

    What volume should I be mixing at?

    60dB or lower. If you’re mixing, you probably spend a lot of time listening to music, which can result in noise-induced hearing loss. When mixing, keep the volume as low as 60dB and take regular breaks. Raise the volume only when reviewing small EQ changes, up to 90db, to hear the difference.

    What kind of headphones should I use for mixing?

    Use over-ear headphones with an open-back design and neutral sound for the best mixing results. Established headphone brands with neutral sound signatures like Sennheiser, Audio-Technica, AKG, and Beyerdynamic are among the most popular.

    Are flat headphones better for mixing?

    Flat headphones are better for mixing than unbalanced, colored headphones because they ensure the audio engineer doesn’t overcompensate specific frequencies colored by the headphones. This ensures the end mix sounds the way it is intended.

    References

    1 Comment
    1. Closed back headphones while recording (so there’s little to no leakage for a mic to pick up) and open backed for mixing etc.

      But staying cool on one’s head and comfort are my first criteria.

      Then simply use software like SoundID (no, I don’t work for or get a commission from them) to get to the Harman curve basis of balanced sound to ensure you’re not overcompensating for headphones that are boomy, thin, dull or shrill.

      Remember the Loudness Curve and don’t create your mix while listening too loud – or too soft either!

      Only after that check the mix on your preferred loudspeakers.

      Reply

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