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The Best Studio Headphones in 2019

Last updated: 3 months ago, Jul. 16. 2019
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    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.

    Comparison of Best Studio Headphones

      RatingPriceBack-designConnectionFoldable

    Audio-Technica ATH-M50X
    best overall
    4.5
    More info
    $$$$
    ($120-$200)
    closed-back3.5mm
    6.3mm adapter (1/4")
    Sony MDR 7506
    most proven
    4.6
    More info
    $$$
    ($80-$120)
    closed-back3.5mm
    6.3mm adapter (1/4")
    Sennheiser HD 650
    best open back
    4.6
    More info
    $$$$$$
    ($300-$500)
    open-back6.3mm (1/4")
    3.5mm adapter
    Beyerdynamic DT770 PRO
    best V-shaped
    4.4
    More info
    $$$$
    ($120-$200)
    closed-back3.5mm
    6.3mm adapter (1/4")
    Beyerdynamic DT 880 PRO
    best open-back under $200
    4.5
    More info
    $$$$
    ($120-$200)
    open-back3.5mm
    6.3mm adapter (1/4")
    Shure SRH840
    best around $200
    4.1
    More info
    $$$$
    ($120-$200)
    closed-back3.5mm
    6.3mm adapter (1/4")
    Sennheiser HD 280 PRO
    best under $100
    4.1
    More info
    $$$
    ($80-$120)
    closed-back3.5mm
    6.3mm adapter (1/4")
    Status Audio CB-1
    best affordable
    4.4
    More info
    $$ ($30-$80)closed-back3.5mm
    6.3mm adapter (1/4")

    Superlux HD 668B
    best budget
    4.2
    More info
    $$ ($30-$80)semi-open3.5mm
    6.3mm adapter (1/4")

    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 a high audio fidelity. But there are other criteria which make a set of cans suitable for studio use.

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

    This means that when you are mixing audio, you don’t overcompensate in 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.

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      Related:

      Best bass headphones

      The Best Studio Headphones

      1. Audio-Technica ATH-M50X (best overall)

      Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

      The best studio headphones overall

      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.

      As a cheaper alternative, also check out the ATH-M40X.

      Type: Over-ear
      Back design: Closed-back
      Connection: Wired 3.5mm (6.3mm adapter)

      Why Buy These?

      The excellent sonic response makes these an excellent choice for studio and home producers.

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

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

      The Bad

      The only weakness worth writing home about is the fact that these aren’t made out of sturdy materials (as sturdy as they could be). Get a quality carrying case to remedy the issue.

      The Sound

      The clear bass and crisp mids and highs make these great for those who need a flat audio response. The Audio Technica ATH-M50Xs are great for producers and engineers but also perfect for listening to a lot of genres of music. These are the best overall studio headphones picked by many.

      A massively popular pair of Audio-Technica headphones excels at professional studio production and listening to music.


      2. Sony MDR 7506 (best time-tested)

      Sony MDR 5706

      The most time-tested and proven studio headphones

      The Sony MDR-7506 headphones have been on the market a long time, hence their retro look! If you’re looking for a simple, high-quality set of headphones which can stand the test of time, then it is worth considering one of Sony’s best offerings.

      Type: Over-ear
      Back design: Closed-back
      Connection: Wired 3.5mm (6.3mm adapter)

      Why Buy These?

      These over-ear headphones offer plenty of clarity and quality at an affordable price.

      Neodymium magnets combined with 40mm drivers provide the power, and the frequency response is 10Hz to 20 kHz, more than most humans can hear. The headphones are foldable for convenience and come with a case, too.

      Even so, the closed back blocks most of the ambient noise so that you can focus on work at hand.

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

      The Bad

      These headphones have plenty of positives, but some people find that the non-detachable cable is a negative. If you have a detachable cable you can easily replace it (extending the life of your cans) but can’t do so with these.

      The Sound

      These headphones offer a very flat frequency response, clarity, and smart design. They’re a staple for a lot of headphones due to their accurate reproduction of sounds. The Sony MDR7506s are certainly one of the top choices for critical listening.

      Get these Sony’s if you want time-tested quality in sound and durability that’ perfect for studio work.


      3. Sennheiser HD 650 (best open back)

      Sennheiser HD 650

      Top studio headphones with open back

      The HD 650 are the best open-back headphones on the market. If you are mixing and listening in a space where you don’t have a lot of background noise to worry about, the Sennheiser HD 650 headphones are a great choice.

      Type: Over-ear
      Back design: Open-back
      Connection: Wired 6.3mm (3.5mm adapter)

      Why Buy These?

      The manufacturers describe these as being produced for audiophiles. While some of Sennheiser’s products will boost bass frequencies and try and enhance the listening experience, these are made with music production in mind.

      The neodymium magnet system makes these very sensitive and they recreate the sound accurately, with a spatial feel that you don’t always get from closed back. Thus, these are perfect headphones for mixing.

      The components are even hand-picked. The total harmonic distortion is as low as 0.05%, making these great for high-fidelity listening.

      The Bad

      These are slightly more expensive than some of the other options, but they’re not astronomically priced for high-end headphones.

      They’re made of rigid metal, internally at least, and this is great for durability but can put a bit of pressure on your head, especially if you have a large head.

      But due to the open design, their sound isolation is horrible (need a quiet studio).

      The Sound

      For minimal distortion and a lot of clarity, combined with that extra soundstage that can come from the best open-back headphones, we recommend the Sennheiser HD650 model.

      For the expert production in quiet studios these should be your top choice by far.


      4. Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO (great closed-back cans with V-shape)

      Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO

      Best studio headphones with V-shaped sound

      Often, for monitoring and 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.

      Type: Over-ear
      Back design: Closed-back
      Connection: Wired 3.5mm (6.3mm adapter)

      Why Buy These?

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

      They are comfortable with massive velour earpads (replaceable), and they have minimal distortion or impedance 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 studios as reference for many years.

      The Bad

      The fact that these over-ear headphones don’t have a totally flat frequency response means that if they are used for mixing they can lead to overcompensating in some frequencies and not creating a balanced mix.

      The Sound

      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.

      One of the best closed-back headphones with a V-shaped sound that have created a following among the professionals.


      5. Beyerdynamic DT 880 PRO (best open-back under $200)

      Beyerdynamic DT 880

      Best open-back studio headphones under $200

      In the same impressive range is the Beyerdynamic DT 880 PRO. These cans are quite similar to the 770 PRO sibling but have an open back for a different sound quality.

      Type: Over-ear
      Back design: Semi-open
      Connection: Wired 3.5mm (6.3mm adapter)

      Why Buy These?

      This pair of headphones has a more spacial sound than its sister products and provide a little bit of extra clarity as a result.

      The stereo sound has more of a 3D feel to it and makes these more suitable for mixing and music production than the DT 770s (rather than just reference).

      The frequency response is excellent, and this detail is in place even when you are mixing and producing at low volumes, this makes it perfect for tackling ear fatigue on those long mixing sessions.

      The Bad

      Due to being semi-open, these aren’t really suitable for blocking out any background noise. They’re a little bit of an in-between product. They have better sound isolation than fully-open cans but worse than closed.

      Also, the design of the clamp means it can be tight around the head and lead to discomfort, especially for the first month or two while they adjust.

      The Sound

      If you are looking for a neutral sound with no coloration of your audio, and all that brilliant reputation that this brand comes with, the Beyerdynamic DT 880s offer a very flat response and could be a good set of cans for use in your studio.

      For less than $200 the DT 880 are the best open-back studio headphones.


      6. Shure SRH840 (best around $200)

      Shure SRH840 over-ear headphones

      The best studio headphones around 200 dollars

      Shure is a brand which is well-known for producing microphones, and they make some of the very best for recording and live uses. As monitor headphones go, their range is also good, and the Shure SRH840 is their best option around $200.

      Type: Over-ear
      Back design: Closed-back
      Connection: Wired 3.5mm (6.3mm adapter)

      Why Buy These?

      These are designed with studio use in mind, with Shure focusing on recording and monitoring. They have a clever collapsible design making them portable, and this is especially useful for those who want to mix and record on the go.

      The closed-back also means they block out some of the background noise.

      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.

      They are certainly of a high enough quality to mix and produce. Another benefit is the coiled cable, which can be detached and replaced if need be.

      The Bad

      The frequency response isn’t completely flat if you are looking for perfection. On top of this, though they are closed-back, they don’t block out a huge amount of background noise.

      The Sound

      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 SRH840 are a fantastic option.

      For less than $200 Shure offers one of their best headphones that are tailored for studio production.


      7. Sennheiser HD 280 PRO (best under $100)

      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).

      Find more great headphones under $100.

      Type: Over-ear
      Back design: Closed-back
      Connection: Wired 3.5mm (6.3mm adapter)

      Why Buy These?

      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.

      The Bad

      Once you get to this level of price, it is important to be realistic about your expectations. Frankly, these won’t be the same as the top-of-the-line models. The frequency response is not quite as flat, and the impedance and distortion can be a little higher.

      The Sound

      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 HD280 PRO model is bound to give great value.

      With an unbeatable combination of audio quality, comfort, and durability, the HD 280 are the top studio choice under $100.


      8. Status Audio CB-1 (best under $80)

      Status Audio CB-1

      Best affordable studio headphones

      Though there is definitely a trade-off with professional sound once you delve under the $100 mark in the headphone market, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some hidden gems.

      Some of them, such as the Status Audio CB-1, are even made by lesser-known brands. For under $80, this set of headphones really performs.

      Type: Over-ear
      Back design: Closed-back
      Connection: Wired 3.5mm (6.3mm adapter)

      Why Buy These?

      In spite of being quite affordable, these over-ear headphones have a big, clear sound-stage and quality 50mm drivers. They’re comfortable, with massive foam ear pads providing plenty of cushioning.

      On top of this, the cables are detachable, and it comes with two included. Though the build quality is not as high as some of the top models on the market, it has genuine gold accents and gives a sturdy look, feel, and sound.

      The Bad

      For reference and listening back while you are practicing or recording these headphones have a lot of good studio uses. However, if you are a true audiophile and plan to produce the next Grammy-winning album, you might have to step up a gear.

      The Sound

      Okay, so it doesn’t have the flattest frequency response. The audio clarity is good and clear, and the listening experience is enjoyable, and we can say with confidence that the Status Audio CB-1 is the best option under $80.

      If looking for bordering-cheap studio headphones (under $80) the Status Audio CB-1 make an exceptionable offer.


      9. Superlux HD 668B (best budget)

      Superlux HD668B

      Best cheap headphones for studio

      Superlux is far from a household brand. However, if you are looking for cheap headphones, the HD 668B are worth considering.

      Also, we’ve created a full list of the top headphones under $50 here.

      Type: Over-ear
      Back design: Semi-open
      Connection: Wired 3.5mm (6.3mm adapter)

      Why Buy These?

      For a cheap set of headphones, these perform pretty nicely for many studio uses.

      When it comes to recording, they can be good for monitoring and respond quite sweetly to guitars and vocals. They also have a strong and clear bass when you consider the price.

      Also, big ear pads offer plenty of comfort for hours.

      For a starting DJ that works from home, these are a great start.

      Though keep in mind, these are semi-open and don’t offer the best sound isolation, so you need a quiet place to work with them.

      The Bad

      Naturally, at this price point, there are some compromises. The audio frequency response is far from being flat, so if you need to create a balanced mix of a finished track, then these headphones might let you down a little.

      The Sound

      For the price point, and some referencing and basic studio uses, we’re happy to recommend the Superlux HD668B as a good option. They come with a decent spacial sound and audio clarity, which is impressive when you consider the price point.

      For the best cheap headphones for studio work, you should get the Superlux HD 668B.


      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 which 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, 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 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 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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