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The Best Studio Headphones in 2023

Last updated: 2 months ago
7 min read

Discover the best studio headphones for professional or home recording.

These are used by popular celebrities as well as your neighboring radio. And, they aren’t all super expensive, so check the list below.

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Rating Price Back design Connection Foldable More info
AKG K371 Best overall
AKG K371
Under $170
Wired – 3.5mm
Under $150
Wired – 3.5mm & 6.3mm
Sony MDR-7506 Most proven
Sony MDR-7506
Under $100
Wired – 3.5mm & 6.3mm
Sennheiser HD 400 PRO Best open-back
Sennheiser HD 400 PRO
Under $240
Wired – 3.5mm & 6.3mm
Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO Best classics
Beyerdynamic DT770
Under $160
Wired – 3.5mm & 6.3mm
Etymotic Research ER4XR Best in-ear monitors
Etymotic Research ER4XR wired IEMs
Under $290
Wired – 3.5mm
Shure SRH840A Best under $200
Shure SRH840A small image
Under $150
Wired – 3.5mm & 6.3mm
Sennheiser HD 280 PRO Best under $100
Sennheiser HD280
Under $100
Wired – 3.5mm & 6.3mm
Under $50
Wired – 3.5mm & 6.3mm

Finding professional headphones which are good for studio use is often a different proposition to finding headphones you enjoy for casual listening.

Professional studio headphones should be clear and offer high audio fidelity. But there are other criteria that make a set of cans suitable for studio use.

For instance, studio headphones should have as flat frequency response as possible.

This means that when you are mixing audio, you don’t overcompensate for the bass in the mix, and ruin it in the process.

The over-ear headphones, which have the closest natural audio frequencies, will usually be best for studio use.

In this article, we’ve collected our list of the nine best studio headphones.

CONTENTS (show more)


    Best bass headphones

    The Best Studio Headphones

    1. AKG K371

    AKG K371 on a DJ table

    The best studio monitoring headphones with natural sound.

    AKG has been a staple in the audio world, with most studios using at least one pair of its headphones. The K371 are the best headphones for any beginner or professional studio worker.

    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
    • Excellent resolution
    • Neutral-to-warm sound
    • Smooth and forgiving treble
    • Sturdy build with completely replaceable parts
    • Prorietary cable solution
    • Headphones lack sub-bass

    AKG, now a part of Samsung and Harman, has started making headphones closely following the Harman curve. The K371 are a great example of that, as the headphones sound quality is very natural.

    While their sound signature is a bit on the V-shape side, that’s perfectly fine for studio monitors.

    Headphones have a minimalistic look with a mix of metal and plastic construction. Ear cups can fold, with a folding mechanism producing precise and satisfying clicks.

    Furthermore, headphones use plush earpads that retain comfortable fit even if you wear glasses. Unfortunately, they aren’t removable.

    On the other hand, the cable is removable for easier transportation or future replacements. However, it uses a proprietary mini-XLR port.

    2. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

    Audio-Technica ATH-M50x wired headphone

    The legendary studio headphones.

    The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones are the best overall for most mixing studios.

    Their excellent frequency response and accurate reproduction of sound have made these cans great for studio use. And, they outperform their price point by a nice margin.

    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

    The clear bass and crisp mids and highs make these great for those who need a fun yet well-balanced audio response.

    The Audio Technica ATH-M50Xs are great for producers and sound engineers but also perfect for listening to a lot of genres of music. These are the best overall studio headphones picked by many.

    The 45-mm large-aperture drivers create a powerful and clear sound and a balanced set of headphones perfect for writing and recording music as well as listening.

    Also, replaceable cable options and swiveling, velveteen padded cans cater for comfort on those long listening sessions, too.

    Sound isolation is good, too (low bleed), so these are great for monitoring.

    As a cheaper alternative, also check out the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x.

    3. Sony MDR-7506

    Sony MDR 7506 wired headphones

    The most time-tested and proven studio headphones.

    The Sony MDR-7506 headphones have been the industry standard for a long time, hence their retro look.

    If you’re looking for a simple, high-quality set of headphones that can stand the test of time, then it is worth considering one of Sony’s best offerings.

    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

    These headphones offer a very revealing frequency response, clarity, and smart design.

    MDR-7506 are used a lot among audio technicians and recorders to quickly pick up small details and issues in the sound. They are certainly one of the top choices for critical listening.

    For better portability, headphones can fold and conveniently pack inside a provided carrying case (not hard case). While that doesn’t protect them against drops, it will keep them free of scratches.

    Earpads are reasonably thick and can block most of the ambient noise so that you can focus on the work at hand.

    Plus, they’ve stood the test of time. These are still popular among professionals for their fantastic value. Sound quality, dependability, and sturdy design at their best.

    4. Sennheiser HD 400 PRO

    Sennheiser HD 400 PRO

    Best studio headphones with an open-back design.

    Sennheiser HD 400 PRO may look simple, but they’re meant for some serious work. They boast an impressively accurate frequency response with a slight emphasis on the highs to reveal the smallest of details.

    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

    The HD 400 PRO look inconspicuous, but they deliver insane sound performance. Especially if you’re looking for neutrality and more accurate sound.

    A new addition to the Sennheiser PRO lineup has excellent detail retrieval and imaging. Their open-back design also helps to produce a good soundstage.

    They’re not perfect. You must keep the sound leakage in mind, so these aren’t the best for monitoring near microphones. But they’re perfect for mixing, recording, and remastering work.

    Thanks to their lightweight design and big velour replaceable earpads, you can wear them for hours without needing a break.

    Headphones come with a detachable coiled cable that extends up to 3 meters and a regular 1.8-meter straight cable.

    5. Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO

    Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO

    Best studio headphones with V-shaped sound.

    Often, for monitoring and studio recording, headphones with a V-shaped frequency response are preferred. They can make guitar and vocals sound excellent.

    The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro have been a studio staple for a long time, and though they’re big and bulky, they have excellent quality and versatility.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm / 6.3mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 45mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 5-35.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 16, 32, 80, or 250 Ohm | Weight: 9.5 oz (270g) | Cable length: 9.8 feet (3m) | Features: /
    • Great, V-shaped sound
    • Good breathability due to velour earpads
    • Sturdy build quality
    • Tight fit

    In spite of the fact that they’re not always best for mixing, these are excellent for listening, and the V-shape of the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO can really bring tracks to life.

    These closed-back headphones boost the bass and top end for an improved sound (for bass-emphasized music).

    They are comfortable with massive velour earpads (replaceable), and they have minimal distortion for having a closed back.

    Above all, you can be sure these will last many years. With metal, padded headband, and quality plastic earcups, it’s hard to destroy them.

    There is a reason why these have been used in a lot of recording studios as a reference for many years.

    6. Etymotic Research ER4XR

    Etymotic Research ER4XR wired IEMs

    Best in-ear monitors to replace your studio headphones.

    Etymotic Research is a company best known for its tiny IEMs that reach deep into your ear canal and provide superb passive noise isolation on stage or in other loud environments. On top of that, the ER4XR also sound incredibly well.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm / 6.3mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: Balanced armature driver
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-16.000Hz
    Type: In-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 45 Ohm | Weight: n/a | Cable length: 5 feet (1.52m) | Features: Detachable cable, replaceable ACCU-Filters, custom-fit option
    • Exceptional, balanced sound
    • Great passive isolation
    • Replacable filters
    • Deep insertion can cause discomfort

    Even in-ear monitors can be used for studio monitoring, especially if they output such a natural and accurate sound as the ER4XR.

    IEMs use a balanced armature driver, providing control and very detailed performance. The XR version stands for extended range, so you can expect great sound across the board.

    The ER4XR have a signature Etymotic shape with small and elongated housing. They come with a large variety of ear tips, some more intrusive than others.

    That ensures excellent passive noise isolation, which is helpful when monitoring loud instruments like drums.

    The cable is removable if it ever gets damaged, and you can even replace the mesh covering the driver if it gets covered in ear wax.

    7. Shure SRH840A (2022 Version)

    Shure SRH840A wired headphones

    The best studio headphones under $200.

    Shure is a brand that is well-known for producing microphones, and they make some of the very best for recording audio and live uses. As monitor headphones go, their range is also good, and the Shure SRH840A is their best option under $200.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired 3.5mm / 6.3mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm dynamic
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 5-25.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 40 Ohms | Weight: 11.5 ounces (327 grams) | Cable lenght: 9.8 feet (3m) | Features: Detachable cable, collapsible
    • Great clarity across entire frequency response
    • Overall comfier design compared to predecessor
    • Detachable cable
    • They aren't great at blocking ambient noise

    The clarity on offer certainly represents value for money. These cans have minimal noise and impedance and are great for all genres of music.

    As long as you don’t need a totally flat response or headphones with the capacity to block out all background noise, the Shure SRH840A are a fantastic option.

    These are designed with a studio setting in mind, with Shure focusing on recording and monitoring. While they can’t fold like previous iterations, they’re still portable and useful for those who want to mix and record on the go.

    Moreover, the frequency response isn’t totally flat but is what the brand describes as “tailored” to give clarity across low, mid, and high frequencies.

    Another benefit is the coiled cable, which can be detached and replaced if need be.

    8. Sennheiser HD 280 PRO

    Sennheiser HD280PRO (new model)

    The best studio headphones under $100.

    Sennheiser is a well-renowned professional audio brand, but they do cater to a lower budget part of the market too. The Sennheiser HD 280 PRO are an example of good cans for those looking to spend a little less (under $100).

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 8-25.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 64 Ohm | Weight: 10.1 oz (285g) | Cable lenght: 118 inch (3m), 51 inch when coiled | Features: /
    • Excellent noise isolation
    • Professional build quality
    • Heavy-duty design
    • Great for monitoring at low volume
    • Heavy coiled cable can strain connectors
    • Padding and fit can be too tight for larger head sizes

    The sound of these cans is the best you can get under $100. They have had some glowing reviews. If you’re on a budget, the Sennheiser HD 280 PRO model is bound to give great value.

    For the price, these are some excellent studio monitor headphones. They have a high noise attenuation and very impressive frequency response, something that a lot of the models under $100 start to lose.

    While they don’t quite stack up to the power and quality of the very best studio headphones, they do have another excellent feature; comfort.

    The incredibly comfortable ear pads are great for long sessions and are even replaceable should anything happen to them.

    Find more of the best headphones under $100.

    9. Audio-Technica ATH-M20x

    Audio-Technica ATH-M20x

    Best cheap headphones for studio.

    Audio-Technica is a household brand with lots of reputable headphones under its wing. The ATH-M20x are their best offer for studio work at an affordable price.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired- 3.5mm / 6.3mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 15-20.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 47 Ohm | Weight: 6.7 oz (190g) | Cable length: 118 inch (3m) | Features: Included 6.3mm adapter
    • Affordable studio monitors
    • Decent build and comfort
    • Great, balanced sound for the price
    • Not very portable

    While not the most neutral headphones out there, they make a good choice for beginner studio monitors. The sound is slightly under-emphasized, especially in the bass, so don’t expect it to rumble.

    ATH-M20x are entry-level headphones from Audio-Technica under $50, meaning the construction leaves much to be desired.

    That said, their plastic construction feels quite resistant to everyday abuse. The aluminum piece in the headband also ensures some flexibility.

    Earcups go fully around your ears, but you might want to take occasional breaks due to relatively shallow earpads.

    While the earpads are removable, the cable isn’t. It uses a 3.5mm connection, with a 6.3mm screw-on adapter included in the box.

    Also, for similar options see the best headphones under $50.

    Honorable Mentions

    Sennheiser HD 650

    Sennheiser HD 650

    The HD 650 are one of the best open-back headphones on the market if you seek studio-quality sound.

    If you are mixing and listening in a space where you don’t have a lot of external noise to worry about, the Sennheiser HD 650 headphones are a great choice.

    Just be aware these are high-impedance headphones, so having a headphone amplifier is recommended.

    Check the HD 650 price

    Samson SR850

    Samson SR850 wired headphones

    For the price of around $50, you get impressive sound quality that can easily rival headphones twice their price.

    However, due to overly cheap plastic construction and hard earpads, they aren’t the best to wear for long hours in the studio.

    Samson SR850 review

    What to Expect from Best Studio Headphones?

    Headphones in studio
    Studio headphones are more than just accurate sound.

    What sets a good pair of headphones apart as being the best for studio use?

    Well, as we’ve briefly mentioned, you need to look for headphones that don’t taint your sound.

    Say you use some headphones which boost the bass frequencies, they may sound good when listening to music. But when you are mixing, they might mean that you don’t mix the bass frequencies high enough, thinking that you have plenty of bass in your mix when really it is the headphones.

    Other functions such as low impedance, low harmonic distortion, and powerful and precise drivers are also a bonus as far as the sound quality is concerned.

    From a functional point of view, extremely comfortable cans, which you’re happy to wear for hours on end, are also a must.

    For this reason, circumaural headphones (over-ears) are the go-to choice for most people since on-ear, and in-ear headphones don’t offer as much comfort.

    Should I Purchase Closed-Back or Open-Back Studio Headphones?

    Closed-back headphones are designed to do a good job of blocking out background noise.

    As a result, though, they can add more resonance to the bass frequencies and certainly don’t give the same spatial sound that open-back could.

    Open-back headphones won’t be suitable if you are mixing in a space with lots of noise. But if you are in a studio alone, they are great for giving space and help you to hear the stereo sound-stage far better than closed headphones.

    The circumstances in which you are likely to be using the headphones is the biggest deciding factor.

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