Best Studio Headphones Under $100 (2020)

It might seem impossible to find the right pair of headphones for under $100 might seem like a hard task, but don’t worry it’s surprisingly easy to find amazing pairs for all budgets. This handy guide is here to take you through some of the best options, answer some of your questions, and remind you of some of the things to keep in mind to help you choose the best headphones for your music production needs.

Best Studio Headphones Under $100

Top 5 Best Studio Headphones Under $100

OUR TOP PICK

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Professional Studio Monitor Headphone, Black, With Cutting Edge Engineering, 90 Degree Swiveling Earcups, Pro-grade Earpads/Headband, Detachable Cables Included

Summary

First up the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x is a great option for the studio and you can get them for just under $100. Closed-back headphones, with a padded headband and 40 mm drivers, these headphones provide an optimal well-balanced audio profile.

You may find that they struggle slightly in a noisier environment, but in the studio, they’re hard to beat. With ear cups that swivel 90 degrees make them convenient for anyone who wants to monitor with one ear, like DJs for example. 

They also come with two detachable cables so you can make your setup work for you. With a frequency response ranging from 15-24000 Hz, these headphones offer an incredibly flat response which is pretty amazing considering the price. They’re also easily portable thanks to the collapsible design making them easy to carry from place to place. They’re comfortable to wear for extended periods and make an impressive amount of noise with the volume turned up.

You’re not going to need an amp with this pair. If you’re looking to mix or monitor your music in the studio then these are a must for you. Perfect if you’re just starting out all the way up to professional, these are excellent quality headphones, at an even more excellent price.

Pros

  • Comfortable for long periods, great for the studio 

  • Fully collapsible for space-saving portability 

  • Impressive sound meaning you won’t need an external audio interface

  • Well balanced audio profile thanks to the 40mm drivers

  • 90-degree swiveling earcups for optimum convenience and comfort

Cons

  • May struggle in an outside environment

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Professional Studio Monitor Headphone, Black, With Cutting Edge Engineering, 90 Degree Swiveling Earcups, Pro-grade Earpads/Headband, Detachable Cables Included
  • Cutting edge engineering and robust construction
  • 40 millimeter drivers with rare earth magnets and copper clad aluminum wire voice coils
  • Circumaural design contours around the ears for excellent sound isolation in loud environments
  • 90 degree swiveling earcups for easy, one ear monitoring
  • Professional-grade ear pad and headband material delivers more durability and comfort

EDITORS CHOICE

Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphone (new model)

Summary

Next up is a pair that’s managed to stay consistently one of the best studio headphones out there, since their release in 2003. The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro is a closed round the ear model to give you the best possible sound isolation. Durable and professional, they’re designed with musicians and DJs in mind thanks to an ear cup swivel feature and is fully collapsible, perfect for going to gig to gig or for those who prefer to monitor with one ear.

They also offer accurate audio tracks due to their ability to fade high ambient noise, and their warm reproduced sound meaning you can enjoy a fantastic audio experience.

Offering a high-frequency response of 8 to 25,000 Hz, these are amazing studio monitor headphones. With an accuracy that’s truly off the scales, these are the perfect headphones for both professional music producers and musicians, but also the casual home listener. The soft ear pads make these a very comfortable option for long wear, while the headphones are lightweight for easy portability.

A padded and self-adjustable headband only adds to the comfort level and the headphones come with a coiled cord measuring nearly 10 feet, for the ultimate listening experience in or out of the studio.

Pros

  • Durable and built to last 

  • A stable sound profile with accurate sound reproduction 

  • Comfortable for extended periods of time 

  • Perfect for all listeners

  • Closed around the ear for better sound isolation 

Cons

  • The larger headband could reduce portability

Sale
Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphone (new model)
  • Dynamic, closed ear headphones.Weight w/o cable: 285 gram Ear coupling is circumaural
  • Lightweight and comfortable, ergonomic design, Cord Length 3.3 9.8 feet Coiled
  • Extended frequency response and warm, natural sound reproduction. Nominal impedance 64 ohm. Sound pressure level (SPL) 113 dB
  • Around the ear design with padded ear cups Dynamic, closed ear headphones with up to 32 dB attenuation of outside sound. Frequency response (Headphones) 8 25000 Hz
  • Ear pads, headband padding, and audio cord are easily replaceable, ensuring long life

BEST VALUE

Yamaha HPH-MT5 Monitor Headphones, Black

Summary

If you’re just starting out and don’t want to spend a lot of money on quality headphones until you’re a bit more in the know, but still want something you’ll actually be able to use without needing to replace every five minutes, then these are a great option for you.

Yamaha is known to be a quality manufacturer and their headphones are no different. Weighing in at only half a pound, this model is incredibly lightweight making them great for portability and comfort. With a padded headband as well, you’ll be hard pushed to find headphones as comfortable as these at this price.  

This model has brilliant sound resolution consistent with the source and offers a well-balanced sound profile with a frequency response range of 20Hz to 20 kHz. These headphones manage the best of both worlds as they’re great at isolating sound and blocking out background noise due the closed back and over the ear design.

If you’re looking for something accurate then these might not be the headphones for you as they tend to sacrifice detail especially in the highs for more accurate imaging. But the bass lacks the muddiness similar headphones have, and they’re still consistent with source and are a great pair for casual listening or recording in a studio.

Pros

  • Lightweight and comfortable making these headphones a great option for on the go extended listening

  • Excellent at canceling out background noise, and isolating sound

  • Well-balanced sound profile

  • Durable and easy to maintain

  • A great option for recording in the studio

Cons

  • Not as loud on motherboard audio so you’d need an amp if you wanted to increase the volume and needed a boost

Yamaha HPH-MT5 Monitor Headphones, Black
  • Delivering balanced sound with excellent resolution that stays faithful to the source, these headphones allow Reliable, high-quality monitoring
  • Comfortable monitoring even during lengthy, extended sessions thanks to Ultra light weight 250 G Hardware
  • Closed-back, circumaural design for excellent isolation
  • 40 mm custom drivers with ccaw voice coils deliver a broad frequency range from 20 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Convenient carrying Bag included

RUNNER UP

Presonus HD9 Professional Monitoring Headphones, One Size

Summary

Next up we have a great comfortable model, perfect for mixing sessions and recording. With a closed over the ear design, these headphones reduce headphone bleed and offer amazing quality sound isolation. The padded ear cups have 180-degree rotation and are a great option for long term listening.

They’re also perfect for DJs and anyone wanting single-ear listening. The headband is collapsible and well-padded, so you can listen on the go for longer in comfort. They’re very portable and easy to take with you without worrying about breakage. The frequency on this model range from 10 Hz to 26 kHz, making this model perfect for monitoring and mixing. The precise, clean sound and bass is brilliant and wonderful to listen to.

They also come with a straight cable measuring about 10 feet, and they offer a clean and clear signal that does best in-studio mixing sessions. They’re great to wear for long periods, thanks to the effort PreSonus has gone to for comfort, making this one of the most comfortable models on this list.

Pros

  • Consistent performance and offers a well-balanced sound profile

  • Incredible comfortable thanks to the padded headband, and comfortable ear cups

  • Excellent for studio use

  • Portable and lightweight for on the go listening

  • Durable and easy to maintain

Cons

  • Does not include a detachable cable

Sale
Presonus HD9 Professional Monitoring Headphones, One Size
  • Closed back, circumaural acoustic design
  • Two-way, 180° cup rotation
  • Tailored frequency response (10 Hz - 26 kHz)
  • Accurate low-frequency response
  • High-power handling (1, 800 mW @ 40Ω, 900 mW per channel)

RUNNER UP

AKG Pro Audio K240 STUDIO Over-Ear, Semi-Open, Professional Studio Headphones

Summary

If you’re looking for an open-backed headphone then this is might be the headphones for you. This is a high-quality model, especially considering the price point. They’re perfect for basic mixing and composing and are great for beginners just starting to get to grips with music production.

Open design headphones are a great option if you’re looking to master your audio tracks, especially when compared to closed back. Closed-back headphones can sit a little bit too close to your ears and stop you from getting an accurate sound of the final mix, which obviously can stop you from getting the best mix possible during the mixing process. This particular set is great for long term wear, thanks to the self-adjusting headband which is padded and lets you fit them to your exact measurements for maximum comfort.

The padding is designed to be slightly thinner than on other models, which makes this pair a bit lighter and much cooler in hot weather, so you can wear them for longer. In fact, weighing on 8.5 ounces these are some of the lightest headphones you’ll be able to find, especially if you’re looking for something to wear in the studio. Their frequency ranges from 15 to 25,000 Hz and has a solid bass while also delivering balanced highs and mids.

They’re also great to wear in a noisy environment thanks to the design of the headphones to isolate audio and reduce noise pollution from outside. The XXL transducers provide natural open sound quality to make them sound more lifelike and three dimensional while maintaining accuracy. This can really help you reach the full emotional potential of your music and can really help master the music production process to create great tracks.

Pros

  • Perfect for beginners thanks to the open design making for accurate sound in the final track

  • Great for use in all weather conditions without getting too hot

  • XXL transducers create a natural and lifelike sound

  • Great at isolating audio and minimizing noise pollution

  • Headphones that are made for mastering

Cons

  • Not the best recording headphones due to audio signal bleeding into the mic

AKG Pro Audio K240 STUDIO Over-Ear, Semi-Open, Professional Studio Headphones
  • Professional studio headphones
  • Semi-open
  • 3 m replaceable cable
  • Audio Interface type: Stereo plug – 3.5mm (1/8-inch) with 6.3 mm (1/4”) screw-on adapter

Best Studio Headphones Under $100 Buying Guide

It might seem impossible, but you’ll be pleased to know that you can get decent quality headphones for under $100 without having to sacrifice on quality. But if you do have a bigger budget you can find articles on studio headphones and in ear monitors to meet your needs. Whether you want headphones for mixing, studio use, recording or just listening to your favorite tunes, then all of these headphones reviewed in this guide will be able to deliver plus many more. But it’s important when buying slightly cheaper headphones to remember that their ability to be used for more than one purpose is far below other headphones that are more expensive. Just like other studio equipment like studio monitors, ultimately you do get what you pay for.The sound quality level is not going to be as accurate, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still get a high-quality experience on a budget, but it is worth thinking about what you want to use your headphones for and picking the best ones for you.

It’s much easier to make a decision if you’re well informed, so this section will take you through all the things you need to know before you make a decision about what headphones will suit you the best. After all, it’s much better to make the right choice the first time rather than having to spend more time fixing a poor choice.

Sensitivity

One of the first things you have to think about is the sensitivity of your headphones. Higher sensitivity means you can concentrate and edit even the smallest details easily. Sensitivity is how efficiently the earphones can convert electric signals into sound, it shows how loud the sound will be at a given electrical drive level. You measure sensitivity in decibels per volt and you can use amps to produce higher volumes. This isn’t recommended as it can damage your hearing and your headphones. Most companies say the sensitivity shouldn’t be higher than 120 dBs, and you shouldn’t wear anything over 85dBs for longer periods of time without risking your hearing. Sensitivity is an important consideration when recording or mixing music because you need to hear the small details you might not otherwise notice. But you also need to think about your hearing, something that it’s worth thinking about all the time when using studio headphones. The higher the sensitivity, the more risk to your hearing. High sensitivity headphones can make music sound great, but they can also be dangerous if used incorrectly.

Ambient Sound Reduction

Another important element to consider when buying new headphones is the ANR or Ambient Noise Reduction. After all, you don’t want to hear outside noise when you’re trying to concentrate on your music. Closed-back headphones can offer a solution to minimize this interruption. They isolate noise using the actual body of the headphone to reduce ambient noise. They can cut the sound from about 8 to 12 dB through some headphones that can cut out more. If you’re using a home studio or are in a noisy environment then this is a particularly important factor. Headphones are only useful as long as you can hear the, and a cheaper pair of headphones might let in more noise then you want and pull you away from your music. Think about what the environment you’re going to be using your headphones is, and how often you might need ANR.

It can be tempting once you’ve got your new headphones to crank up the volume and use them for hours on end. But this can be very damaging for your hearing and can result in temporary or permanent hearing loss. Many companies have safety circuits to limit the volume, or warn you when the volume is becoming dangerous, but not every company has this feature as many have rejected this idea as it takes them out of the audio experience. If you’re looking to get into music production for the first time then be aware that using your headphones safely is the most important thing. After all, you want to make great music you can listen to, so make sure you’re using your new headphones sensibly.

FAQs

Can you use Studio headphones to listen to music?

Yes! Studio headphones can be great for listening to music as accurately as if you were there in person. Many audiophiles love to use studio headphones for this reason, and they can be more comfortable than ordinary headphones due to being designed for long term use.

Do I need studio Headphones?

If you’re looking to get into music production then these are a must. Especially if you’re working in a studio at home or surrounded by other rooms. Studio headphones let you accurately edit and tweak even the smallest details of a track while reducing external noise, making for a better listening experience and better music.