The future of music

10 Best Studio Headphones

December 29, 2023
best studio headphones

When setting up a home recording studio, one of the first things you should do is to get a pair of good studio headphones. 

Headphones are an essential piece of music production equipment, so it’s important to choose the right ones.

To help you narrow down your search, we compiled a list of the best studio headphones on the market right now. 

From high-end studio headphones to great budget-friendly options, there’s something for everyone on this list.

1. Audio-Technica ATH-M50 – Best studio headphones 

Audio-Technica ATH-M50 - Best studio headphones

If you’re looking for affordable professional studio monitor headphones, you should check out Audio-Technica ATH-M50.

These popular studio headphones provide exceptional audio quality for mixing and monitoring.

They’re very comfortable – the adjustable padded headband will allow you to feel comfy even during long mixing sessions.

Thanks to their collapsible design, they’re also convenient and easily portable.

They’re available in several colors, including: 

  • White color with coiled cable (ATH-M50WH)
  • Red color with coiled cable (ATH-M50RD)
  • Black color with straight cable (ATH-M50s)
  • Silver color with straight cable (Limited Edition ATH-M50s/LE)

Regardless of what you opt for, you’ll get studio headphones that will allow you to listen to your mix in a proper way. 

Whether you’re a professional producer or a beginner, you can’t go wrong with Audio-Technica ATH-M50.

2. Focal Listen Professional – Best sound 

Focal Listen Professional - Best sound

Focal Listen Professional is hands down one of the best studio headphones out there.

After all, Focal is one of the reputable monitor manufacturers that offers reliable, high-quality products.

That said, you can’t go wrong with Focal Listen Professional. 

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned producer, these amazing studio headphones will allow you to hear every detail and bring your project to the next level.

They provide solid sound reproduction at low volumes.

And thanks to their memory foam ear cups, they have the right density for both comfort and isolation.

On top of that, Focal Listen Professional headphones are reasonably priced – compared to some other options, they’re actually quite affordable, especially considering what you get. 

And last but not least, they have a distinctive look that helps them stand out from competitors. 

3. Beyerdynamic DT 900 PRO – Best for mixing

Beyerdynamic DT 900 PRO - Best for mixing

Another great studio headphones that won’t disappoint you are Beyerdynamic DT 900 PRO headphones. 

With these top-rated headphones, you can enjoy mixing, mastering, or listening to music for hours in a comfortable way.

Besides comfort, their biggest advantages include excellent build quality and natural sound.

They also feature an updated driver design and detachable cables.

All in all, they’re arguably some of the best mixing headphones available on the market right now.

And although they’re more pricey than some other options and Beyerdynamic products, they’re worth the money, especially if you want to use them in long mixing and mastering sessions. 

4. Sony MDR-7506 – Best on a budget 

Sony MDR-7506 - Best on a budget 

This is a top choice for anyone looking for affordable headphones for music production.

The Sony MDR Series has been around for a while now, and their Sony MDR-7506 headphones certainly won’t let you down. 

They are hands down one of the best workforce headphones on this list.

They’re practical as well as comfortable, and they offer great value for money.

One of the most important things is that they provide clear sound that will allow you to find any potential weak spots in your mix. 

On top of that, they come with a long cable, which is important if you intend to play an instrument.

And thanks to their affordable price, they are a great choice for beginners and anyone on a budget. 

5. Røde NTH-100 – Best for comfort 

Røde NTH-100 - Best for comfort

Røde is an Australian company known for manufacturing cutting-edge audio equipment.

And their Røde NTH-100 headphones are no different – they are among the top studio headphones, and they will provide you with high-quality sound.

But one of their biggest strengths is comfort.

These over-ear headphones are therefore ideal for long music production sessions.

They have a truly innovative design, and apart from being incredibly comfortable, they provide top quality in terms of sound and functionality.

And they’re also affordable, so you can consider buying them even if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option. 

6. Sennheiser HD 400 Pro – Best pro quality 

Sennheiser HD 400 Pro - Best pro quality 

These popular open-back studio headphones are another great option.

They are a bit more pricey, but they’re worth it.

Sennheiser HD 400 Pro headphones provide a natural and accurate listening experience so you can work on any type of audio or music project with ease.

They provide professional’s tools with neutral sound reproduction, and their open ear cups and angled transducers allow for a wide and transparent soundstage.

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

With this type of analytical audio, the HD 400 PRO reference headphones are ideal for mixing and mastering. 

7. AKG K371 – Best for portability 

AKG K371 - Best for portability 

If you’re looking for foldable over-ear, closed-back studio headphones, you should check out AKG K371.

These top studio headphones offer a perfect combination of excellent functionality and comfort.

They’re also a bit sturdy, and since they’re foldable, you can easily carry them wherever you go.

The AKG K371 headphones provide superior isolation and improved low-frequency response.

So, they’re perfect headphones for podcasting and gaming as well as producing music. 

It all depends on your goals and preferences – in any case, they will meet your needs and probably exceed your expectations. 

8. Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO – Best for production 

Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO - Best for production 

When it comes to the best-closed studio headphones, Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO is always somewhere high on the list.

They’re used by music producers, sound engineers, and broadcasters around the world.

So it’s fair to say these headphones are perfect for audio production.

After all, we’re talking about reference headphones for control and monitoring purposes.

They feature an innovative bass reflex system and they boast extremely detailed resolution.

And thanks to their rugged, adjustable, soft padded headband construction, they’re also exceedingly comfortable. 

9. Sennheiser HD-206 – Great budget-friendly option 

 Sennheiser HD-206 - Great budget-friendly option

Headphones don’t have to be expensive to be reliable, and Sennheiser HD-206 is the best proof.

These well-designed studio headphones provide dynamic sound and clear bass, so they’re ideal for beginner producers as well as aspiring sound engineers.

They are also very comfortable and lightweight, so they’re suitable for longer sessions as well.

Their hypoallergenic ear pads do a great job of blocking out any unwanted external noise. 

That said, if you’re looking for comfortable headphones with powerful sound reproduction that won’t cost you a lot of money, you should go for Sennheiser HD-206. 

10. Shure SRH1540 – Best well-rounded 

Shure SRH1540 - Best well-rounded 

We have another suggestion for you: Shure SRH1540.

These premium closed-back headphones make a great addition to any home recording studio or professional studio. 

They are pricey, but they come with many advantages – comfort, durability, and great performance.

In fact, these pro studio headphones deliver superior acoustic performance, providing an expansive soundstage with clear, extended highs and warm bass. 

They come with a storage case, a replacement set of Alcantara ear pads, a replacement cable, and a threaded adapter.

All things considered, if you’re looking for well-rounded headphones that will bring your production process to the next level, consider getting Shure SRH1540 headphones. 

Do I Need Good Studio Headphones?

As we’ve already mentioned, if you want to produce music at home, getting a good pair of studio headphones is essential. 

But why are headphones so important, and do you need high-end headphones in order to achieve good results? 

Microphone, Earphone and Piano

First of all, headphones are an essential piece of professional studio equipment.

But even if you just want to make music at home for fun, good headphones will help you in your process

In some parts of the audio production process, they’re even necessary. 

For instance, headphones are crucial for assessing stereo image, 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. 

The thing is, although it’s also important to get quality speakers for your studio, 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 quality headphones is a must. 

But how are you supposed to make a choice and choose the right pair of headphones for you? 

How to Choose the Right Studio Headphones

First of all, this is a personal choice.

How much you’re going to invest in headphones and what type of headphones you should opt for primarily depends on your needs, goals, and personal preferences.

Some of the factors you should think about when browsing and purchasing studio headphones include:

  • Your budget
  • Goals
  • Type of project
  • Priorities 

Although this is entirely up to you, there are certain features you should look for in studio headphones.

First and foremost, headphones need to be comfortable as you might use them during longer mixing and mastering sessions.

If you intend to wear them for extended periods of time, comfort should be one of your priorities.

Luckily, most reputable studio headphones provide great comfort, and they come with padded ear pads – they 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.

Also, 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.

Finally, good headphones won’t make you sweat a lot, and that’s also something to keep in mind when choosing headphones.

What is a headphone frequency response? 

When browsing the most widely used studio headphones, you’re probably going to hear about frequency range and response a lot.

So, let’s clarify what these terms actually mean. 

Microphone and Earphone

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. 

On the other hand, better frequency response does not always mean better sound quality.

Nevertheless, the frequency range is a good indicator of the quality of certain headphones; so the wider the range, the better.

And the frequency response refers to this range plotted against the output of the ‘phones in dB on a graph.

This is the range of bass, mids, and treble, or the measure of a headphone’s ability to reproduce all frequencies equally.

Should you get open or closed-back headphones?

When it comes to studio headphones, there are several options to consider:

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

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

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

Plus, when recording, the padding around the ear helps to avoid leakage.

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

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

Therefore, open-back headphones are best for monitoring and mixing purposes. 

In-ear monitors (or IEM’s) 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, it all comes down to your needs – think about your goals and what you intend to use them for, and make a choice accordingly. 

Wireless vs wired headphones 

There’s another choice you might come across when choosing studio headphones: whether to get wireless or wired headphones.

Although this also depends on your preferences, there are some significant differences you should be aware of. 

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 hearing it. 

So, although wireless headphones can be quite convenient, wired headphones tend to provide better sound quality.

Do you need an amp for your studio headphones? 

If you want to use your 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. 

Piano and Earphone

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.

Is there a difference between studio headphones and normal headphones?

Another popular question: what’s the difference between regular headphones and studio headphones?

Well, most regular headphones that are made for casual listening boost bass and treble frequencies. 

And this is great for gaming or listening to music as it generally improves the listening experience.

But if you want to produce music and mix and master your tracks, you’ll want to hear everything accurately.

And that’s why studio headphones that are built with producers and sound engineers in mind provide a flatter frequency response.

In other words, if you want to use headphones for making music at home, using regular headphones wouldn’t be such a good idea. 

Best Studio Headphones – Final Thoughts 

Hopefully, our list of the best studio headphones helped you narrow down your search.

After all, finding a good pair of studio headphones is important, and it can significantly impact your music-making process. 

That said, think about your priorities and preferences and choose the headphones that meet your needs. 

You may also like: Best Budget 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.

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