SKIP INTRO? See The Best Studio Headphones
Buying the best studio headphones is as important as buying a good bed. These are materials you will be using every day. Hence, if you are going to invest part of your budget on the best studio headphones, you need to go the ones that will last you many years. Just because the word “studio” is inscribed on a brand or product doesn’t guarantee that they are the best. This is one of the trending topics of the day in our society, especially with the introduction of “Beats by Dre” and some other major brand who use such words for advertisement and marketing purposes.
Before you purchase a studio headphone, you need to first ascertain what you really need in such a headphone. You need to consider their specifications, the price, and what others are saying about them. While there are lots of reviews over the net, Sony MDR7506 has always been the top choice. In case you find any problem going with this choice, there are few more headphones you can consider depending on your need and budget.
After days of thorough research and testing, we have come up with our own unique and hand-picked top 10 best studio headphones available in the market.
Things to Note When Selecting Studio Headphones
- Your budget: There are decent and good pairs of headphones for as little as $100 or less. On the other hand, there are powerful and more sophisticated models that are more expensive. Possibly, you may want to wait in order to gather enough money for an expensive choice?
- Your activities: Do you need a headphone for everyday use, recording, or mixing? Generally, your preferred activity will determine the type of headphone you will go for.
- Your purpose: Do you just need a headphone to listen to music? If yes, you would probably prefer a closed-back headphone since it doesn’t leak and provide a form of privacy. Furthermore, you should know the type of headphone you need depending on your purpose of buying it.
- Your preferred features: A lot of people already have some desired features in mind when going for a headphone. Such features may include the color, size, volume, bass level, and more. These are extra features aside from a clean and accurate sound from music sources.
Indeed, you are missing a lot of fun if you are without a solid pair of headphone. The role of headphones in music making gear in a studio cannot be overemphasized. Open or semi-open type of studio headphones is better off when it comes to mixing due to the fact that they prevent bass frequencies from building-up inside the headphone. This ensures a flatter and accurate sound. Hence, if you are more of mixing or professional mastering, even in the home studio, you need to browse through the list below in order to select the best pair that fits your purpose. Alternatively, you can go through our list of best headphones for mixing and mastering for further guidance.
More so, headphones with closed back designs have been reported to be the best fit for tracking (recording). This is due to the fact that it prevents sounds from the environment from leaking into the microphone which can further affect the track you are recording. This type of design is also common when it comes to studio headphones. This type of design is recommended for recording, producing music, and everyday use in general. Another usual question is the meaning of “circa mural”. This phrase refers to full-sized headphones that provide a better sound isolation, often recommended for recording rather than mixing.
As we all know, those working in the studio need an audio interface to increase the intensity of their headphones. Yet, when it comes to a headphone amplifier, it is essential for studio headphones to have higher impedance (100-600 ohms). This high impedance makes the need for an amplifier in order to properly process that huge amount of power.
Investing in an expensive pair of headphones is usually a good decision. This is due to the additional advantage of a huge power the offer. Some other cheaper headphones and consumer brands do not need this since they already forgone their impedance for the battery-powered interiors. You can read our best headphone amplifier guide to learn more.
Finally, be careful of the brands and products out there in the market with the word “studio” inscribed on them. Most of these brands are made to appeal the market, especially at this age of growing urge for music. This term is becoming rampant, just as “organic” with foods. Our list of recommended top 10 best studio headphones is derived from an extensive research and proper testing. Also, we provide a link to Amazon where you can buy these items at an affordable price.
Our List Of The Top 10 Best Studio Headphones
Sennheiser HD 600
V-MODA Crossfade LP
AKG K 240 MK II
Beyerdynamic DT 880
Sennheiser HD-280 Pro
Ultrasone HFI-780 S-Logic
Grado Prestige Series SR80i
After considering the few but important aspects of the discussion, let us proceed to our list of the best studio headphones in the market. Make sure you research and identify the major factors we figure out before going to the market. We will provide you with the key features, price range, and types of headphones. At the end of the article, feel free to share your thought with us. Also, do not forget to give us a feedback after purchasing and using any of the items below. Check the list out; it is something you have been waiting for.
1/ Sennheiser HD 600
- 12 – 39000 Hz frequency response
- 300 ohms impedance
- 9.8 feet cable
- Detachable cable (Kevlar-reinforced)
- Drivers’ not specified (neodymium and aluminum voice coils)
- Open design, circumaural
- Open metal mesh make
- Parked with 1/4″ adapter
- Weight: 9 ounces
Sennheiser is an open-ear headphone with a circumaural design which is also one of the best studio headphones for mixing. Since it is open-designed, there may be a form of sound leakage: whereas, this is what they are made for. It is made to sound better and does not support privacy. By allowing some sound to leak, Sennheiser headphone prevents sound buildup.
However, this type of headphone is not recommended for iPods or other smart devices due to its power. You will need a headphone amplifier to get the best sound feature from it. Otherwise, it can be a complete waste of money. The major benefit of this HD600 headphone is its quality and general resolution which is very high. Additional, they are very comfortable. You may also decide to go move higher to HD650 with a few more cash.
2/ Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
- 15 – 28,000 Hz frequency response
- 38 ohms impedance
- 45mm drivers (copper-clad aluminum coils and earth magnets)
- 90-degree swiveling ear cups
- Circumaural design, full-sized
- Collapsible for portability and mobility
- Detachable cables
- Weight: 10 ounces (without cable)
Audio Technica headphones have been the top of the list for quite a while. Their original ATH-M50 is one of the commonest products in the market. M50 studio headphone is a new version with an interchangeable cable which provides for connectivity. It also has a 90° swiveling ear cups which helps in mixing and portability.
ATH-M50x is recommended if you are operating a low-budget home studio or intend to use the headphone for everyday use or just for both cases. There is also a higher version of this, ATH-M70x, although quite expensive than this.
3/ Sony MDR7506
- 1/4″ Packed with adapter
- 10 Hz – 20 kHz Frequency response
- 1000mW (Maximum power)
- 40mm (neodymium magnets) driver
- 63 Ohms Impedance
- 9.8-foot cord with gold-plated plug
- Can be folded for storage and mobility
- Closed design, around-the-ear
- Weight: 8 ounces
Undoubtedly, this is one of the best pairs of headphone we are used to. There are some individuals who can swear by these things. Sony electronics is one of the leading companies that are well-known for quality and affordable products. It comes with a 40mm sized driver. Nevertheless, this is not the only thing to consider about the headphone. Their impedance is a little bit higher than others that are sold at higher prices.
Sony MSR7506 is perfect in all aspects; comfortable feel, accurate sound, and decent lows. The presence of headband, pads, and closed design makes it fit for recording and everyday use. It is also packed with a soft case where you can carefully pack the headphone for traveling and safety. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you get a harder covering to guarantee its maximum safety.
4/ V-MODA Crossfade LP
- 105 dB sensitivity @ 1kHz 1mW
- 32 Ohms impedance
- 5 – 30,000 Hz frequency Response
- 50mm drivers (dual-diaphragm)
- Circumaural Design, closed
- Memory foam ear pads
- Parked with hard carrying case (perfect for travel)
- Remote/mic cable for compatible devices
- Steel frame
- Weight: 9.5 ounces
This brand of headphone has been in the market for a while. The most exciting aspect if this V-MODA’s most popular product is durability. There are a lot of reviews out there which claims the pair is still working after several years of use. The essential features of this product, such as an accurate sound, hefty drivers, Kevlar cables, steel frame of metal, plugs, and more, make it a solid investment.
They have replaceable memory-foamed ear pads which tend to add more days to its life. They also have a nice blend of mids, solid bass, and the highs are not amplified. Although the Crossfade’s product is not much popular in the market, its few users give credit to it as being a perfect pair for studio use.
However, there is also a new limited edition. The new V-MODA Crossfade LP2 is also on market for around $200 retail price. We listed the OG version as you cannot go wrong with its durability and longevity.
5/ AKG K 240 MK II
- 15 to 25000 Hz frequency response
- 30 mm XXL transducers
- 55 Ohms impedance
- Detachable cable (comes with straight and coiled)
- Gold plated plug
- Self-adjusting headband
- Semi-open design
- Weight: 10 ounces
AKG headphones and microphones are one of the top brands you can find in the market. Especially with the introduction of K240 headphones, AKG has received a huge attention. This headphone is semi-open which implies that a little sound will leak out primarily to avoid sound build-up. Typically, they are better for mixing. Plus, they have a self-adjustable headband and comfortable ear pads.
Who selected the 240 MK II ahead of K240 because it offers a “don’t fix what is not broken” model and improved specifications. It comes with an extra cable and softer cushions. Apart from all this, it offers an all-around accurate sound system. The bass-treble balance is enhanced and there is no complaint about the price. They have an interchangeable cable of both coiled and straight one based on your preference. It is one of the best semi-open studio headphones you can find. Get you own copy of AKG K240 MKII headphones while they are still cheap.
6/ Beyerdynamic DT 880
- 250 ohms Impedance (available in higher versions)
- 5 – 35.000 Hz frequency response
- 9.8 ft. coiled cable
- Adjustable soft-padded headband
- Has a Nylon carrying case
- Replaceable ear pads
- Semi-open design, diffuse-field
- Weight: 10 ounces
As we move towards the brands with higher prices, we hope that you will find the best studio headphones that are available in the market. Beyerdynamic is a major brand that cannot be overlooked. This product is perfect for mixing (semi-open design). They are designed with a very refined and analytic sound with a wide range of frequencies. This product held the leading role in Headfonia’s old school trio studio headphones article.
The details included are comprehensive as though higher OHM’s are more powerful and better. Some people may complain about the absence of “high-end sparkle” but these are just for accuracy; whereas, they are studio headphones. If you are looking for sparkling headphones, then you need to go for consumer-type headphones. The Beyerdynamic headset also has replaceable earpiece which is soft padded and adjustable. Apart from mixing, you can also use the Behringer BT880 headphones for everyday listening. However, note that the headphone is semi-open which does not guarantee privacy. You may end up leaking some of the Katy Parry you are guiltily listening to for people close by.
Furthermore, there are other versions of DT headphones you may decide to check out. Examples include DT 990 (fully open) or the DT 770 (closed back).
7/ Sennheiser HD-280 Pro
- 3.3 – 9.8 ft. coiled cord length
- 64 Ohms impedance
- 8 – 25,000 Hz frequency response
- Closed design, around-the-ear
- Earpieces are collapsible for portability
- Ergonomic design
- No drivers indicated: Not provided
- Replaceable headband padding, ear pads, and audio cord
- Swiveling ear cups
- Weight: 7.8 ounces
This headphone from Sennheiser is also another nice option. I once had a pair of this brand during the days of Counter-Strike and the lasted for years. Furthermore, this particular brand is loved by several music lovers out there. It has one of the best and most comfortable ear pads. Additionally, it is light-weighted and collapsible for portability.
It has a round-the-ear design which makes it fit for recording and sound isolation. One of its most loved features is its replaceable parts which help to add days to its life. It has up to 6-years lifespan as reported by many. This makes it a good investment you can consider with lots of money.
When it comes to quality of sound, all available frequency level was reported to be clear. In fact, the Senny HD-280 Pro brands provide a very clean signal with a precise bass level and no report of hissing whatsoever. They are a little bit tight, possibly because their noise attenuation is passive. Nevertheless, this helps with ambient noise that passes through the ears. This brand is rated by PCMag in their HD-280 Pro review.
8/ Shure SRH840
- 40mm (neodymium dynamic) drivers
- 44 Ohm Impedance
- 5 Hz – 25 kHz frequency response
- 9.8 ft coiled cord (detachable)
- Closed-back design, circumaural
- Collapsible for easy storage and travel
- Gold played 3.5mm stereo mini plug
- Memory foam earpads (replaceable)
- Moisture-wicking, adjustable, and padded headband
- Parked with 1/4″ adapter
- Weight: 12 ounces
Shure audio has been one of the major competitors in the audio market, although not with headphones as they are mostly known for their microphones. Nevertheless, this model is a big hit in the studio headset market. It has a standard driver and impedance, although not often considered. Nevertheless, the important point is that they are monitoring headphones with a deep bass and clear treble to balance it up.
In fact, I will rather say they are the best studio headphone you can find within the range of $200 because it performs all the functions of a studio headphone. It gives an accurate and clear sound. Additionally, Shure headphone is very comfortable and has a foam ear pad (which is replaceable). It is collapsible for easy storage and travel purposes. It also has an interchangeable cable which we all love on M50x. Generally, this brand is a great option with extremely positive reviews.
9/ Ultrasone HFI-780 S-Logic
- 1/8″ gold-plated plug, adapter and carry bag present
- 10Hz – 26 kHz frequency range
- 1342: 35 Ohms frequency range
- 40mm drivers (Mylar gold-plated)
- Adjustable headband
- Can be folded for storage and portability
- Circumaural design, closed-back
- Surround Sound technology
- Weight: 10 ounces
This brand has been on market for up to 14 years and still one of the best till date. From our opinion, this pair of headphone is the best of Ultrasone. It has a 40mm driver with nice Mylar make. They are cool and adapted for a great studio sound. The whole structure is cool and built with nice acoustics although not amplified to an obvious level on the mixes. They have a comfortable ear cups and you won’t feel much pain wearing them. Another version of Ultrasone, the HFI-870 headphones, is versatile and is compatible with the majority of the music genres and can be used for regular/daily activities. The review of HFI headphones by CNET is extremely encouraging.
10/ Grado Prestige Series SR80i
- 1/4″ screw-on adapter included
- 20 – 20,000 Hz frequency response
- 32 Ohms impedance
- Non-resonant air chamber
- On-ear Design, closed
- Replaceable ear-pads
- Vented diaphragm
- Weight: 5 ounces
It is quite disappointing that their productions have been stopped but are still very much available in the market. This Grado Labs product has a lot of positive reviews in which many users attested to a longer life span; up to 5 years. Although they are quite big when compared to others, they are still comfortable and light-weighted. Also, several users have attested to its sound quality. It was reported to have evenly-matched lows and highs. This brand worth considering if you are looking for a pair of studio headphone that is durable. On the reviews, a lot of users reported that this brand is outstanding when it comes to rock music. Hence, if this particular genre interests you, Grado prestige series SR80i is what you should consider. Notwithstanding, there is no point discriminating between the types of music. If you are looking for headphones in the range of $150, then you can consider this. Get a copy of Grado prestige series SR80i when it is still in the market before can only be found used.
The Final Word on The Best Studio Headphones
Have you ever experience a situation where you have to make a decision, especially in a highly competitive market with lot products on the list? Studio headphone market is a typical example of such. However, we highly recommend that you choose out of the above-listed top 10 best studio headphones based on our extensive research and careful observations. Also, do remember the various aspects we identified, such as your budget, purpose, and qualitative. This will give you an additional advantage in choosing the brand that suits you.
Acquire a good pair of studio headphone and you will not be disappointed. The possibility of replacing some parts is another boost towards extending the life span of these brands. The honesty of some brands is much appreciated as others would prefer that you buy a new pair when one or more part of your headphone got damaged or worn out. Some other brands out there do not have some qualities as those we have identified above. There are lots of low-quality headphones in the market with the word “studio” inscribed on them.
Whenever you are going to the market to buy the best studio headphones, make sure it is one of the brands listed above. Also, we have provided a link to Amazon where you can find the authentic versions at affordable retail prices.