The future of music

10 Best Budget Studio Headphones

August 3, 2023
best budget studio headphones

Every producer knows that owning a good set of studio headphones is a must.

Studio headphones will allow you to hear everything accurately – they provide flat frequency response, and they’re generally designed with music producers and engineers in mind.

And don’t worry – you don’t have to spend a ton of money to get what you need.

Keep reading and discover the best cheap studio headphones that will provide you with great sonic results.

All of these headphones are popular and trustworthy, and they can fit any budget.

Without further ado, here are the best budget studio headphones available in the market right now!

1. Sennheiser HD 206 – Best cheap studio cans

Sennheiser HD 206 - Best cheap studio cans

When thinking about the top cheap studio headphones, this Sennheiser model is one of the first things that come to mind.

Sennheiser has been producing top-quality headphones for over 75 years now.

So, considering the reputation of the brand, the HD 206 is surprisingly low priced.

They offer great value – balanced response and amazing sound.

Since they provide dynamic sound and clear bass, they’re ideal for beginner producers as well as aspiring sound engineers.

They’re also lightweight and comfortable, so you can wear them for a longer period of time.

All in all, if you’re looking for affordable closed-back headphones you can use in your recording studio, this is an excellent choice.

2. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x – Best for beginners

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x - Best for beginners

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x is another great model you should check out if you’re searching for closed-back headphones for your studio.

They come with a detachable cable, so you can use the cable which suits you best.

Thanks to the fully articulated earcups, in both vertical and horizontal planes, you can wear them for hours without feeling uncomfortable.

And although they’re not as flat as some of their competitors, they still provide great sound quality and listening experience.

If you’re just starting out with music production, the ATH-M50x will provide you with everything you need to produce your first track.

3. AKG K361 – Best for comfort 

AKG K361 - Best for comfort

These closed-back foldable headphones are reasonably priced as well as reliable.

They offer great comfort, so they’re suitable for long mixing and mastering sessions.

On top of that, these popular studio cans provide clean, accurate sound, and that’s one of the most important things to look for in headphones for production.

With a wide frequency range of 15Hz to 28kHz, you can rest assured they will be able to produce more than enough.

Plus, they provide good sound isolation.

All things considered, when it comes to inexpensive studio headphones, AKG’s K361 is one of the best models you can find. 

4. Sennheiser HD 25 – Best for durability

Sennheiser HD 25 - Best for durability

This is another Sennheiser model you can get without spending a fortune. 

Thanks to their low weight and the option of one-ear listening, they’re ideal for mobile monitoring.

They are popular among DJs, but they can also work well in a studio environment.

With high attenuation of background noise and accurate sound, they’ll allow you to mix and master your tracks in an efficient way.

Plus, they’re comfortable, so you can wear them even during long sessions.

Finally, thanks to their replaceable components, they’re quite durable.

That said, although they’re not the cheapest studio headphones on this list, they’re definitely worth checking out.

5. Sony MDR-7506 – Best for professionals

Sony MDR-7506 - Best for professionals

Although they’re quite affordable, Sony MDR-7506 headphones are suitable for beginners and professional producers alike.

They will allow you to detect any flaws during mixing, and since they’re comfortable and convenient, they will allow you to work as long as you like.

Many people refer to them as workhorse cans – and we can understand why.

They’re durable and sturdy, and the whole MDR series has been around for decades. 

So if you’re looking for well-made studio monitoring headphones that won’t let you down, the MDR-7506 headphones are an excellent choice. 

6. Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro – Best for long mixing 

Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro - Best for long mixing

Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro are popular budget studio cans that will undoubtedly meet your needs.

These open-back headphones are ideal for monitoring and mixing, as they provide a well-balanced response.

Due to their unique velour ear pads, they’re also quite comfortable to wear, so you don’t have to worry about long working hours.

The only drawback is their tendency to spill, but that just makes them less suitable for tracking.

If you’re looking for well-priced studio headphones for mixing, the DT990 Pro is definitely worth checking out.

7. AKG K240 Studio – Best semi-open cans

AKG K240 Studio - Best semi-open cans

If you’re searching for semi-open studio cans, you should check out AKG K240 Studio headphones.

These wired headphones have a classic look, and they’re popular among producers of all levels.

They provide an amazing sound, as you would expect from AKG headphones, and they’re ideal for editing, mixing, and mastering.

The downside is that they’re prone to spill, which doesn’t happen that often with closed-back headphones.

Nevertheless, these affordable studio headphones are definitely worth checking out.

8. KRK KNS 6402 – Best for tracking

KRK KNS 6402 - Best for tracking

KRK is another household name in the world of audio production.

And their entry-level studio headphones, the KNS 6402, are an excellent choice for anyone who wants to get started with music production.

They are well-designed and comfortable, and they have a detachable cable with various additional cable types, so you can use them for a variety of tasks.

They produce good sound, offering very clear mid-range and ideal frequency response for tracking.

That said, they’re a solid option for this price range, especially if you want to use them for tracking and recording.

9. AKG K72 – Best cheap AKG cans

AKG K72 - Best cheap AKG cans

AKG has another model suitable for anyone looking for an affordable set of studio-grade headphones.

In fact, the K72 headphones are probably one of the cheapest studio headphones on this list.

And even though that’s a good thing, that doesn’t make them the best AKG has to offer.

In terms of quality, they’re alright, but they probably wouldn’t be a good fit for professional projects and advanced production tasks.

Nevertheless, they’re a good choice for anyone who wants to start making music at home – they provide a clear sound, and they’re comfortable to wear. 

10. Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro – Best well-rounded cans

Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro - Best well-rounded cans

On the other hand, Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro headphones are a top choice for producers of all levels of expertise.

You can choose from open, semi-open, or closed-back designs, and you can opt for different impedances, including 16Ω, 32Ω, 80Ω, and 250Ω.

Regardless of what you choose, you’ll get a balanced sound reproduction with nuanced highs and a unique bass reflex system. 

Plus, all parts are replaceable, so you can use them for many years to come.

The only potential drawback is that they don’t have a foldable design, so they’re not so easily portable.

But that doesn’t make them less appealing for studio use – they’re durable and great-sounding. 

Do You Need Studio Headphones?

Let’s be clear – if you want to make quality music at home, you’ll need a pair of studio headphones.

The thing is, regular headphones that are made for casual listening usually boost bass and treble frequencies.

And this is great for gaming or listening to music, as it improves your listening experience.

But if you want to produce music and mix and master your tracks, you’ll want to hear all the nuances and details so you can make the necessary improvements.

Unlike regular headphones and earbuds, studio headphones are made for producers and engineers.

They won’t change or enhance the sound in any way, which allows you to hear your track in an accurate way.

Moreover, studio headphones are essential for assessing stereo images, low-end, and fine detail within a mix.

Some producers even prefer using headphones as their primary tool for making important creative and mixing decisions. 

10 Best Budget Studio Headphones 1

Although it’s important to get quality studio monitors, headphones offer the advantage of less variability from room reflections.

On the other hand, studio monitors can have extra depth. 

It all depends on your individual approach to music production and personal preferences.

In any case, owning a pair of good studio headphones will help you create music in a professional way.

Thankfully, you don’t have to break the bank to get good headphones – there are many great budget-friendly options out there.

The most important thing is to get headphones that are designed with music production tasks in mind. 

How to Choose the Right Studio Headphones 

Choosing studio headphones is a personal choice, but some of the factors that might affect your decision include: 

  • Your budget
  • Goals
  • Type of project
  • Priorities 

Also, there are certain features you should look for in studio headphones.

Firstly, studio headphones should be comfortable, as you’ll sometimes use them for a longer period of time.

All the best studio headphones provide comfort, and they usually come with padded ear pads which are important because of comfort as well as acoustic exclusion.

When listening to your tracks, you don’t want any unnecessary noise to stop you from hearing all the details.

And if you plan to use them for studio recording, padded ear pads will stop the noise from your backing track spilling out into the mics.

What is the headphone’s frequency response? 

Frequency response is another element that determines the quality of studio headphones. 

This is the measure of a headphone’s ability to reproduce all frequencies equally.

Now, 20 to 20,000 Hz is the standard for most headphones, and it’s generally accepted as the audible frequency range.

Some headphones have a wider frequency range, which means they can produce more of a range of music. 

This doesn’t affect the quality of the sound, but it’s still something to keep an eye out for. 

The wider the range, the better.

Should you get open or closed-back headphones?

When looking for budget studio headphones, there are several options you can choose from: 

  • Closed-back on-ear
  • Open-back on-ear
  • In-ear

Different types of headphones refer to whether the back of the headphone driver is open to the environment or enclosed.

Closed-back headphones are great for recording because they fully enclose the ear and therefore block any external noise.

When recording, the padding around the ear helps to avoid leakage.

Open-back headphones, on the other hand, tend to offer more comfort, so they’re good to wear for an extended period of time. 

Their drawback is the higher risk of audio spill when recording. 

That said, open-back cans are best for monitoring and mixing purposes. 

In-ear monitors (or IEMs) are normally used for on-stage monitoring, and since they don’t offer the same quality as on-ear headphones, they’re not the best choice for production studios.

So, choose the type of headphones that meets your needs.

Wireless vs wired headphones 

In this day and age, there are numerous cheap studio headphones to choose from, and another choice you’ll need to make is whether you should get wireless or wired headphones.

And yes, there are some differences between wired and wireless headphones you should be aware of. 

For instance, wireless headphones offer more mobility, but wireless connections also cause latency.

And if you want to produce good music, you should definitely avoid the possibility of the delay between the sound playing on your computer and you hear it. 

Person wearing headphones

On the other hand, wireless headphones can be quite convenient.

But if you’re going to use them for editing, mixing, and mastering, the fact that you can easily move around with them doesn’t really matter.

From that perspective, wired headphones aren’t necessarily a better choice for music producers and engineers. 

Plus, wired headphones tend to provide better sound quality.

Nevertheless, some producers prefer to work with wireless cans, so it all depends on your preferences and priorities. 

Do you need an amp for your studio headphones? 

If you want to use your budget studio headphones in the best way possible, you also need to think about the gear you’ll be plugging them into.

Studio headphones usually require external amps, but this also depends on a particular model. 

The best way to find out whether your headphones need an amp is to check the impedance level. 

High-impedance headphones are designed for studio environments, while low-impedance headphones can be plugged directly into a single source; a hi-fi stereo amp, audio interface, or mobile phone.

Most popular studio headphones have a low enough impedance so they can be easily plugged into the outputs of phones and other commonly used devices.

But in case your headphones require an external amp, it’s useful to have one in your studio either way.

Best Budget Studio Headphones – Final Thoughts 

Studio headphones are an essential part of music production equipment as they allow you to hear your tracks accurately.

And as you can see, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get quality studio headphones.

Many affordable studio headphones will provide you with everything you need to edit, mix, and master in a proper way.

You just need to find a model that meets your needs – and we hope our list of the best budget studio headphones helped you narrow down your search!

You may also like: Best Studio Headphones

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

view profile

robin thicke songs
Previous Story

15 Best Robin Thicke Songs of All Time (Greatest Hits)

musical form
Next Story

What Is Form in Music? Comprehensive Guide

Latest from Music Production

best multi-effects pedal

10 Best Multi-Effects Pedals

You’re a maverick, right? A multifaceted, ambitious musician that refuses to be put in a box or typecast. Someone who effortlessly blends
best compressor pedal

10 Best Compressor Pedals

Ready to elevate your guitar game? Ready to take your talent, versatility, and abilities into the stratosphere? The compressor pedal has your
best chorus pedals

10 Best Chorus Pedals

Familiar with the atmospheric, haunting warble and resonance of “Come As You Are,” “Free Will,” “One Thing Leads to Another,” “Purple Rain,”
best samplers

10 Best Samplers

Ready to enhance your music and indulge in a heretofore unexplored side of your creative development? Ready to develop a keen, untamed