Have you ever struggled to hear the subtleties of your favorite tracks while mixing or producing music? Well, fear not, because today we will discuss the one essential tool every producer needs in their arsenal – the best studio headphones.
With the right pair of headphones, you’ll be able to hear every detail of your mix, from the deepest bass to the highest treble, and ensure that your tracks sound their best no matter where they’re played.
So, let’s dive into what makes a pair of studio headphones great and explore some of the top options on the market.
At a Glance:
10 Best studio headphones
1. Beyerdynamic DT 770 ProBest Pick
|Frequency response||5 – 35,000 Hz|
|Sound pressure level||96 dB|
|Cable||3.0m coiled cable, single-sided|
As someone constantly looking for the best studio headphones, I recently tried out the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro and was impressed! These headphones are designed for professional mixing in the studio and live up to that promise.
The DT 770 Pro delivers a pure and high-resolution sound essential when working on studio recordings. The frequency response range is 5 – 35,000 Hz, meaning you’ll hear every detail of your mix, from the deepest bass to the highest treble.
The headphones have an impedance of 250 ohms and a sound pressure level of 96 dB, requiring a decent headphone amplifier.
Another thing I appreciated about these headphones is their comfort level. The soft, circumaural, and replaceable velour ear pads ensure high wearing comfort even during long recording or mixing sessions. The headband is also adjustable to find the perfect fit for your head.
Regarding build quality, the DT 770 Pro is hard-wearing, durable, and robust. These headphones are made in Germany, and you can tell that the manufacturers take pride in their artistry.
The single-sided cable is also a nice touch, as it eliminates tangling and allows for more freedom of movement.
Overall, the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro is an excellent choice for anyone looking for the best studio headphones. Of course, no product is perfect, so here are some pros and cons to consider:
- Exceptional sound quality
- Comfortable for long periods of use
- Durable and well-built
- Single-sided cable for more freedom of movement
- High impedance requires a decent headphone amplifier to get the best out of them.
- It may not fit everyone’s head shape perfectly.
2. Sennheiser HD 660 S
|Frequency response||10 – 41,000 Hz|
|Sound pressure level||104 dB|
As someone who values high-quality audio, I was excited to try out the Sennheiser HD 660 S studio headphones, which top audio engineers and pro audio reviewers have praised. After using them for a while, these headphones live up to the hype.
The proprietary 45-millimeter large-aperture drivers with rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coil provide exceptional clarity throughout an extended frequency range. The deep and accurate bass response is particularly impressive.
Whether mixing music or listening to your favorite tracks, the HD 660 S headphones deliver an incredible audio experience.
The circumaural design contours around the ears, providing excellent sound isolation even in loud environments.
This makes them great for use in a studio, where you must focus on the task without any distractions. The 90-degree swiveling ear cups also make monitoring sound with one ear easy, which can be particularly useful when communicating with others in the studio.
The earpads and headband are made from professional-grade materials that are durable and comfortable.
This means you can wear these headphones for hours without experiencing any discomfort. The 3-meter detachable cable is also a nice touch, giving you plenty of room to move around.
- Exceptional clarity and deep, accurate bass
- Comfortable and durable materials
- 90-degree swiveling ear cups for easy one-ear monitoring
- Excellent sound isolation in loud environments
- High impedance requires a decent headphone amplifier to get the best out of them.
- The price point may need to be lowered for some.
3. Audio-Technica ATH-M50xStaff Pick
|Driver size||40 mm|
|Frequency response||15 – 28,000 Hz|
|Cable||3m straight, detachable|
As someone who appreciates high-quality audio, I was excited to try the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x studio headphones.
With neodymium magnets and 40-millimeter drivers, these headphones promise to deliver powerful and detailed sound. After using them for a while, they live up to that promise.
The closed-ear design provides both comfort and an outstanding reduction of external noises. This makes them great for use in a studio, where you must focus on the audio without distractions. The headphones are also foldable, which makes them easy to store or travel within the provided soft case.
The 9.8-foot cord is long enough to give you plenty of room to move around, but it is not detachable. A 1/4-inch adapter is included, which is a nice touch.
However, it would have been better if the cord was detachable, making the headphones even more versatile.
Regarding sound quality, the ATH-M50x headphones deliver a clear and detailed audio experience. The large diaphragm and rugged construction make these headphones great for use in a studio or any other professional setting.
They also work well for casual listening, providing a balanced and enjoyable listening experience across various genres.
- Clear and detailed sound
- Comfortable and effective noise isolation
- Foldable design for easy storage and travel
- Comes with a soft case
- The cord is not detachable
- Some users may find the clamping force too tight for extended listening periods.
4. Sony MDR-7506
|Design||Closed-back, over-ear headphones|
|Frequency Response||10Hz – 20kHz|
|Cable Length||9.8ft coiled cable with gold-plated plug|
The Sony MDR-7506 headphones have been around for decades and are still one of the best studio headphones available today.
These headphones are known for their excellent sound quality, comfortable fit, and durable build quality.
One of the standout features of the MDR-7506 is its closed-back, over-ear design, which provides excellent isolation from external noise.
This makes them a great choice for studio recording, where hearing only the recorded sound is important.
Another great feature of the MDR-7506 is its 40mm drivers, which deliver a flat and accurate frequency response.
The sound is detailed and clear across the entire frequency spectrum, with a slight emphasis on the midrange frequencies. The bass is tight and controlled, while the highs are bright without being harsh.
The build quality of the MDR-7506 is also impressive, with sturdy construction that can withstand frequent use and abuse.
The headphones have a coiled cable that stretches up to 9.8 feet, and the cable is terminated with a gold-plated plug that provides a secure connection to your audio device.
Overall, the Sony MDR-7506 headphones are an excellent choice for anyone looking for high-quality studio headphones that deliver accurate sound, excellent isolation, and a comfortable fit.
- Excellent sound quality with a flat frequency response
- Comfortable fit for long studio sessions
- Durable build quality with a coiled cable
- Good isolation from external noise
- The design is not as modern or stylish as some other headphones on the market
- The headphones can feel a bit heavy and bulky after prolonged use
5. AKG Pro Audio K371Budget Pick
|Design||Closed-back, oval over-ear design|
|Transducers||Largest-in-class, titanium-coated 50mm transducers with pure OFC voice coils|
|Frequency response||5 Hz to 40 kHz|
|Sensitivity||114 dB SPL/V|
|Cable||Detachable 3m cable with 3.5mm connector, 1.2m coiled cable, 6.3mm adapter|
The AKG Pro Audio K371 is a great choice for those looking for the best studio headphones. It offers a closed-back, oval over-ear design with superior isolation and improved low-frequency response.
The ergonomic fit ensures the headphones are comfortable for extended periods, making them ideal for long studio sessions.
One of the standout features of the K371 is the largest-in-class, titanium-coated 50mm transducers with pure OFC voice coils.
These provide exceptional clarity and accuracy, making it easy to hear every detail in your music. The headphones are also engineered to match AKG’s reference response curve acoustic target for accurate, neutral sound, essential when mixing and mastering audio.
The K371 has a frequency response range of 5 Hz to 40 kHz, meaning it can reproduce the entire range of frequencies, from deep bass to sparkling highs.
The sensitivity of the headphones is 114 dB SPL/V, meaning they can produce a high volume level without distortion. The optimal impedance supports a range of sound sources.
The AKG Pro Audio K371 also has a detachable 3m cable with a 3.5mm connector, a 1.2m coiled cable, and a 6.3mm adapter, providing flexibility for different studio setups. The headphones are also easy to store and transport with their foldable design and included carrying pouch.
Overall, the AKG Pro Audio K371 is a solid choice for high-quality studio headphones. It provides exceptional clarity and accuracy, a comfortable fit, and an impressive frequency response range.
- Excellent sound quality and accuracy
- Comfortable ergonomic design
- Large frequency response range
- Detachable cable with multiple options
- Foldable design for easy storage and transportation
- Affordable price for the quality
- Plastic build quality may not feel as premium as other options
- Some users may find the clamping force to be too tight for their liking
6. Shure SRH1540
|Driver size||40 mm neodymium|
|Frequency response||5Hz – 25kHz|
|Cable length||6.9 ft (2.1 m) detachable cable|
|Weight||10.1 ounces (286 g)|
The Shure SRH1540 headphones are popular for studio professionals and music enthusiasts looking for high-quality sound performance.
The 40 mm neodymium drivers deliver excellent sound quality with clear, extended highs and warm bass, allowing for a detailed and expansive soundstage.
The closed-back, circumaural design of the headphones also helps reduce background noise, making them an excellent choice for critical listening in a studio environment.
One of the standout features of the SRH1540 headphones is their lightweight construction, thanks to the aircraft-grade aluminum alloy yoke and carbon fiber cap, making them comfortable to wear for extended periods. The dual-frame, padded headband is also fully adjustable for a secure and ergonomic fit.
The steel driver frame with a vented center pole piece improves linearity and eliminates internal resonance, providing consistent performance at all listening levels.
The detachable cable is also a welcome feature, allowing easy replacement or customization to suit personal preferences.
The Shure SRH1540 headphones offer an exceptional listening experience with excellent sound quality, comfort, and durability.
However, they come with a premium price tag, which may only suit some. Some users may find the bass response overwhelming, while others prefer a brighter sound signature.
- Excellent sound quality with clear highs and warm bass
- Lightweight and comfortable design
- Detachable cable for easy replacement or customization
- Durable construction with aircraft-grade aluminum and carbon fiber
- The premium price tag may not be suitable for everyone
- Some users may find the bass response to be overwhelming
- Others may prefer a brighter sound signature
7. Focal Listen ProBest Pick
|Sensitivity||122dB SPL @ 1kHz/1Vrms|
|Cable||1 x 5ft coiled cable, 1 x 3.9ft straight cable|
Focal is a brand that’s synonymous with high-quality audio equipment, and the Listen Pro headphones are no exception.
These headphones offer exceptional clarity and precision, making them a great choice for anyone serious about their music production or listening experience. Here are some of the features that make the Focal Listen Pro headphones stand out:
The exclusive cone technology offers excellent dynamics and transparency in the sound, making it easy to identify the different instruments and sounds within a mix.
The Listen Pro headphones are designed to provide a flat, neutral sound response, which makes them perfect for studio use. They allow you to hear your music exactly as intended, without coloration or distortion.
Control Over Audio Spectrum:
The headphones offer excellent control over the audio spectrum thanks to precise and balanced sound reproduction. This makes it easy to identify any issues or imbalances in your mix and correct them accordingly.
Isolation and Comfort:
The circumaural design of the Listen Pro headphones offers excellent isolation, reducing external noise and allowing you to focus on your music. The ear cups are well-padded and comfortable, even during extended listening sessions.
Compact and Portable:
The Focal Listen Pro headphones have a rigid carrying case, making them easily transported from one location to another.
- Excellent sound quality with neutral sound reproduction.
- Comfortable fit with good isolation.
- Durable design with a compact carrying case.
- Wide frequency response range.
- Detachable cables offer versatility in how they can be used.
- Great value for the price.
- Bass’s response may be different from everyone’s liking.
- The headphones are relatively heavy.
8. Neumann NDH 20Best Pick
|Sound quality||Transparent and high resolution|
|Comfort||High long-term comfort|
|Recommended usage||With preamp or headphone amp|
As someone who works in a recording studio, finding the right pair of headphones is crucial to getting the job done right. The Neumann NDH 20 headphones are one of the best studio headphones out there for a good reason.
One of the standout features of these headphones is the linear sound balance, similar to Neumann’s acclaimed studio monitors.
This means you can trust what you hear and make informed decisions about your recordings. The sound quality is transparent and high resolution, allowing you to hear all the nuances in your audio.
The excellent isolation provided by the NDH 20 headphones is another major advantage. Even in noisy environments, you can focus on your work without distractions.
The headphones are also designed for high long-term comfort so you can wear them for extended periods without discomfort.
Transporting the headphones is easy, too, thanks to the compact and foldable design. However, it’s worth noting that these headphones have an impedance of 150 Ohm, which means they may require a preamp or headphone amp to drive them properly.
- Linear sound balance, like Neumann’s acclaimed studio monitors
- Excellent isolation allows working in noisy environments
- Transparent sound with high resolution
- High long-term comfort
- Easy transportation
- May require a preamp or headphone amp to drive them properly
9. KRK KNS 8400Best Pick
|Type||Closed-back, circum-aural dynamic headphones|
|Frequency Response||5Hz – 23kHz|
|Sensitivity||97 dB SPL / 1mW|
|Cable||2.5 m, (8.2 ft.), 99,99% OFC detachable|
|Weight||235g (8.3 oz)|
The KRK KNS 8400 is a pair of headphones developed with 25 years of experience in studio sound. These headphones are designed to remain true to the character of KRK’s class-leading studio monitors.
They are closed-back, circum-aural headphones that provide good noise isolation and are suitable for noisy environments.
The KRK KNS 8400 has a detachable in-line volume control, allowing you to adjust the volume easily without reaching for your audio interface or mixer.
This feature is especially useful for those working in a home studio setup where they must frequently adjust the volume.
The headphones have a frequency response of 5Hz to 23kHz, the latest reference quality frequency response for closed-back, circum-aural dynamic headphones. This means that they offer accurate sound reproduction across various frequencies.
The newly developed headphone auditory system of the KRK KNS 8400 brings a new level of headphone performance for the first time.
It utilizes the latest acoustic memory foam technology to ensure class-leading performance in reproduction and isolation. The headphones are also lightweight, making them comfortable for extended periods.
The KRK KNS 8400 headphones are great for accurate sound reproduction and good noise isolation. However, one thing to note is that they have an impedance of 36 Ohms, meaning they may require a preamp or headphone amplifier to drive them properly.
- Accurate sound reproduction
- Good noise isolation
- Detachable in-line volume control
- Lightweight and comfortable to wear
- Latest reference quality frequency response
- Utilizes the latest in acoustic memory foam technology
- May require a preamp or headphone amplifier to drive them properly.
10. PreSonus HD7Best Pick
|Frequency Response||10Hz – 30kHz|
|Sensitivity||98 dB SPL|
|Connector||1/8″ (3.5mm) stereo mini-jack with 1/4″ (6.3mm) adapter jack|
The PreSonus HD7 is a great option for anyone looking for an affordable and reliable set of headphones for use in the studio.
These headphones are designed to provide accurate and detailed sound, making them a great choice for mixing, monitoring, and recording.
One of the standout features of the HD7 headphones is their high-resolution neodymium drivers, which deliver clear and accurate sound across the entire frequency spectrum.
The patented, precision-tuned acoustic chamber helps to ensure that the sound is delivered with maximum accuracy and detail. In contrast, the extended bass response helps to provide a solid foundation for your mix.
The HD7 headphones are also designed with comfort in mind. The ear pads are soft and comfortable, and the auto-fit headband ensures that the headphones stay securely in place without putting too much pressure on your head. The headphones are also lightweight, making them easy to wear for extended periods.
Overall, the PreSonus HD7 headphones are a great option for anyone looking for an affordable set of headphones for use in the studio.
They deliver accurate and detailed sound and are comfortable to wear for extended periods.
However, there are a few potential downsides to keep in mind. While the extended bass response is a great feature, some users may find it too pronounced for their tastes. The single-sided cable can also be cumbersome, as it can get tangled or snagged during use.
- High-resolution neodymium drivers
- Precision-tuned acoustic chamber for accurate sound
- Comfortable ear pads and auto-fit headband
- Lightweight design
- Affordable price point
- A pronounced bass response may not be to everyone’s liking
- The single-sided cable can be cumbersome during use
Buying Guide: How to Choose
Choosing the best studio headphones can be daunting, especially for those new to the music production industry.
The right headphones will help you to hear every detail of your mix, making it easier to fine-tune and achieve a professional sound.
This guide covers everything you need to consider when buying studio headphones.
The frequency response is one of the most important things to consider when buying studio headphones. The headphones should provide a flat and accurate frequency response, meaning they should not boost or cut any particular frequency range. A flat frequency response will help you hear your mix exactly as it is, without artificial enhancements.
The impedance of the headphones is also important, as it determines the amount of power needed to drive them. A higher impedance means that the headphones will require more power to produce the same volume, while a lower impedance requires less power.
It is important to consider the impedance of the headphones concerning your audio interface or headphone amplifier to ensure that they are properly powered.
Wearing studio headphones for extended periods can be uncomfortable, which is why it is important to consider the comfort of the headphones.
Look for headphones with soft ear pads and an adjustable headband to ensure a comfortable fit. The weight of the headphones should also be considered, as heavy headphones can cause discomfort and fatigue.
Isolation is another important factor to consider when buying studio headphones. Closed-back headphones provide better isolation than open-back headphones, which allows you to focus on your mix without being disturbed by outside noise. This is particularly important if you work in a noisy environment.
The headphones’ build quality should also be considered, as you want a pair of headphones that will last for a long time. Look for headphones made from durable materials such as metal and high-quality plastics, and check for any weak points such as hinges or cables.
Finally, price is an important factor to consider when buying studio headphones. While it is tempting to choose the cheapest option, investing in a high-quality pair of headphones can significantly impact your mixes. Look for headphones that offer a good balance between price and features.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between open-back and closed-back studio headphones?
Open-back headphones have perforated ear cups that allow air to pass through, resulting in a more natural and spacious sound. They typically have a bass-heavy sound.
What is the impedance of studio headphones, and why is it important?
Impedance refers to the resistance of electrical current in the headphones. A higher impedance requires more power to drive, which means it will require a headphone amplifier to achieve optimal performance. Studio headphones generally have a higher impedance (usually around 32-300 ohms) to provide a more accurate sound and prevent distortion.
Can I use wireless headphones for studio recording or mixing?
While wireless headphones may be convenient for casual listening, they are not recommended for studio recording or mixing. Wireless headphones can introduce latency (delay) in the audio signal, which can affect the accuracy of the sound. Wired headphones are the preferred choice for studio work.
How important is frequency response in studio headphones?
Frequency response refers to the range of frequencies that the headphones can reproduce. Studio headphones ‘ flat and accurate frequency response is crucial for monitoring and mixing audio. A frequency response that is too bass-heavy or treble-heavy can result in inaccurate mixing decisions.
Can I use studio headphones for casual listening or gaming?
Yes, studio headphones can be used for casual listening or gaming. However, remember that they are designed for accuracy and monitoring, so that they may have different bass-heavy or enhanced sound profiles than consumer headphones. Additionally, they may not be as comfortable for extended listening sessions as consumer headphones.
In conclusion, investing in a good pair of studio headphones is essential for anyone involved in music production, whether you are a professional or an amateur.
Studio headphones allow you to hear every detail in your mix, allowing you to make informed decisions and produce high-quality work.
When choosing the best studio headphones for your needs, consider sound quality, comfort, durability, and price factors.
Many great options are available on the market today, so take the time to research and find the perfect pair of studio headphones to help take your music production to the next level.