This may seem a little far fetched, but we believe investing in a good pair of studio headphones is just as important as investing in a good bed to sleep in.
Just like most of us use our bed every night, as a musician you will use your headphones everyday. You will therefore want to invest in a pair that you know will be able to hold up for a few years.
If you invest in something that’s cheaply made, you can expect to get sub standard results unless you only have $100 or less, then take a look at these studio headphones instead giving you the best bang for your buck. And while you don’t need to spend a ton of money to get a decent pair of studio headphones, you will probably end up spending more than you expected.
One thing you should know about studio headphones, is that just because they have the word studio in the description, doesn’t mean they are real studio headphones.
You will find some of the commercialized brands use the term as more of a marketing ploy to get more people to buy their products. But after you purchase them you realize they are nothing more than regular headphones.
And that is why we have decided to put together this short guide. Having a quality pair of studio headphones or ear monitors can be the difference between producing a Billboard banger, or a big bust. You have to remember, a big reason songs become big hits is because of the beat.
It's the beat that captures people's attention and makes them listen. If the bass and the treble aren’t mixed just right, you may find your song shelved before it makes it out the studio.
That’s why it's important you have the best studio headphones at your disposal. With that being said, below you will find 5 of the best studio headphones currently on the market.
These are real studio headphones that provide real studio quality sound. And while each one is unique in its own right, at the end of the day they all do the same thing, and that is provide amazing sound quality for musicians and producers.
Top 5 Best Studio Headphones
First up on the list is the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones. These headphones are critically acclaimed and praised by top audio engineers all over the world.
They are perfect for live shows, in the studio, and even for personal use. The clarity of sound they provide is exceptional. This is thanks to the extended frequency range, with deep, accurate bass response.
The circumaural design ensures you always have excellent sound isolation even in the loudest environments. With this type of design the headphones contour around the ears and block out any outside noise.
The earcups are set on a 90 degree swivel which makes one ear monitoring quick and easy. The headphones are also collapsible which makes them easy to tout around.
The earpad and headband material are professional grade. This means they provide the ultimate in comfort and durability.
- Great sound quality.
- Offers excellent sound isolation.
- Comfortable fit for hours.
- Easily portable.
- Users have complained about the headphones being too heavy.
- Critically acclaimed sonic performance praised by top audio engineers and pro audio reviewers
- Proprietary 45 millimeter large aperture drivers with rare earth magnets and copper clad aluminum wire voice coils
- Exceptional clarity throughout an extended frequency range, with deep, accurate bass response
- Circumaural design contours around the ears for excellent sound isolation in loud environments
- 90 degree swiveling earcups for easy, one ear monitoring, and professional grade earpad and headband material delivers more durability and comfort
The DT 770 pro headphones can be found in music studios all over the world. They are a top pick for sound technicians, broadcasters, and music producers.
Professionals love these headphones because of their base reference capabilities. They provide a level of musical detail you rarely find these days. The bass sounds are very defined and crisp. And the isolation is simply remarkable.
The earcups are soft and adjustable. This makes them super comfortable for the person wearing them.
And thanks to the single sided cable, these headphones can be taken off frequently without any tangling issues.
- Has high resolution sound which makes them perfect for studio and stage recordings.
- Durable and robust workmanship.
- Single sided cable.
- Users have complained about issues with the volume.
- Closed over-ear headphones, ideal for professional recording and monitoring
- Perfect for studio and stage recordings thanks to their pure, high-resolution sound
- The soft, circumaural and replaceable velour ear pads ensure high wearing comfort
- Hard-wearing, durable and robust workmanship Made in Germany. Innovative bass reflex system
- Practical single-sided cable (3.0m cable) . Comfortable fit due to rugged, adjustable, soft padded headband construction
These headphones represent the industry standard and are found in recording studios all over the world.
It features large 50MM drives that deliver studio quality audio. This means you will be able to hear the music the way the artists and producers intended.
To ensure comfort the headband is padded and the earpads are overstuffed. The over the ear design fully encloses the ear which helps keep the noise out. And to make sure they fit your head just right, the headband is adjustable and the ridges are fully customizable.
The CB-1’s come with two 9 foot audio cables. One coiled and one straight. To help eliminate the risk of dislodging, both cables come with a custom locking mechanism. This ensures the cables always stay attached to the headphones.
While the CB-1’s have a very minimalistic design, they are still quite stylish and will never fall out of fashion.
- Versatile. Can be used both inside the studio and out.
- Great price.
- Delivers studio quality audio.
- Over the ear design provides excellent noise isolation.
- Users have complained about the right side no longer working after a few months.
- STUDIO STANDARD: Praised by top musicians, producers, and audio engineers, the CB-1 headphones are an industry standard in recording studios around the world. The CB-1s have received critical acclaim from the most discerning audiophiles on the web as well as top technology editors.
- 50MM Drivers: Large 50mm drivers deliver studio quality audio with a wide, expansive soundstage that puts you in the room with your favorite musicians. Hear music the way the artists, producers, mix and mastering engineers intended.
- DESIGNED FOR COMFORT: The CB-1’s padded headband and overstuffed earpads were designed to be comfortable during multi-hour recording sessions. Its over-the-ear design fully encloses ear, offering passive noise cancelling without putting extra pressure on your head. The CB-1’s adjustable headband ensures a snug fit on your head, and clicking ridges allow for full customizability. .
- TWO CABLES INCLUDED + ¼ ADAPTOR: The CB-1 comes with two 9-foot audio cables - one coiled, one straight. Both have a custom locking mechanism that keeps them attached to the headphones, eliminating the risk of dislodging the cable. The CB-1 is compatible with any 3.5mm audio cable, but it will lack this locking feature. We also provide a ¼ adaptor plug for use with professional audio equipment.
- UNDERSTATED STYLE: The CB-1’s minimalist, unbranded aesthetic will never lose its luster or fall out of fashion. A slim frame doesn’t awkwardly protrude sideways, and the CB-1 can be folded to become compact for travel.
The Behringer Studio headphones are known for their wide frequency response and high dynamic range. It is these two things that make them perfect for mixing a track, monitoring a bass line, or just enjoying one of your favorite songs.
If you want high resolution performance at a great price, these headphones deliver.
When it comes to comfort, the HPM1000 headphones deliver. The ear cups, which are in the shape of an oval, contain high resolution capsules. These capsules are responsible for delivering every little nuance of sound.
The headphones have a single sided cord which means you never have to worry about tangling.
- Provides incredible high-resolution performance.
- Comfortable fit.
- Single sided cord which eliminates tangling.
- Very affordable.
- These headphones don’t last very long.
The AKG K240 MKII studio headphones are often referred to as everybody’s darling. They feature a semi-open design that helps them deliver a wide dynamic range and high sound levels.
Thanks to their impressive accuracy, these headphones are loved by producers, engineers, and musicians.
Besides being able to produce great sound quality, the AKG K240 MKII are also very durable. They feature a self adjusting headband to ensure they are the perfect fit. And thanks to the over the ear pads that envelop the ear, these headphones are very comfortable and can be worn for hours.
The AKG K240 MKII headphones feature a professional mini XLR connector and come with a 3m straight cable, 5m coiled cable and convertible jack plug. This allows you to easily connect the headphones to portable equipment.
When it comes to performance, easy of use, comfort, and reliability, the AKG K240 MKII headphones deliver on all fronts.
- Provides impressive accuracy.
- Designed for comfort.
- Features a self adjusting headband.
- Built to withstand countless hours in the studio.
- Users have complained about having trouble with the jack.
- Over-ear design for comfort during long work sessions
- Semi-open technology for solid bass and airy highs
- Patented Varimotion 30 mm XXL transducer for accurate signal transfer and great dynamic range
- Self-adjusting headband for optimum fit
- The choice of professionals around the worldstage and studio standard for more than two decades
Best Studio Headphones Buyers Guide
6 Things To Consider When Purchasing a Pair of Studio Headphones
Choosing a pair of studio headphones can be a bit overwhelming. With so many different features to choose from, it's hard to know which way to go. But don’t worry, we are here to help.
To make the process a little easier, we have put together a list of 6 things you should consider when purchasing a pair of studio headphones.
Let’s dive in….
Before anything else, you want a set of studio headphones that perform the right way. After all, what good is a pair of studio headphones or any studio equipment, like studio monitors, if they don’t perform well?
Now when we say “performance”, we are referring to a variety of different things. However, the most important is the headphones ability to give a neutral tone. Good frequency range and good sensitivity are also important parts of overall performance.
Good performance will equate to good overall sound.
Most producers and musicians spend hours in the studio mixing and balancing tracks. Because of this, having a comfortable set of headphones is extremely important.
Wearing headphones for an extended period of time can lead to fatigue. Your ears will start to hurt, and your head will start to ache. These aren’t things you want to experience while in the studio.
That’s why comfort is so important. You want a pair of headphones that have ear pads, as well as plenty of padding around the headband.
This will ensure both your ears, and the top part of your head, remain comfortable while you work.
Truth be told, when it comes to quality, you will get what you pay for. While it is possible to find a lower end headphone that is of decent quality, if you want something that will last, opt for the higher end models.
If you’re on a tight budget look for a pair of headphones that has a metal frame. They should be able to hold you over until you can afford something better.
All of the studio headphones reviewed in this guide have a decent quality build.
Are The Cables Detachable
These days it is standard operation for headphones to come with cables. However, the best cables are the detachable cables.
Detachable cables give you a lot more versatility when it comes to length. They allow you to move around more and have more flexibility in the studio. Detachable cables can also easily be replaced should one go bad. When the headphone cables are fixed, this will not be an option.
What Will The Headphones Be Used For
What do you plan on using the headphones for? When looking for studio headphones, knowing what they will be used for will help you better determine which headphones you should get.
If you will be using the headphones for mixing and mastering, then there will be different requirements than if you were just using the headphones to listen to your favorite music.
For example, if you will be mixing and mastering, you will want headphones that have a solid frequency response and clarity. If you will just be listening to music, you will just want a decent sound.
How much can you really afford to spend on headphones? That is something you need to answer before you start your search.
Studio headphones can get expensive. And the last thing you want to do is spend thousands of dollars on a pair of headphones that you really can’t afford.
The first thing you want to do is sit down and create a budget. You will quickly realize the performance and build of a pair of headphones directly correlates with the price. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a decent pair of affordable headphones.
All of the headphones we reviewed above would be considered affordable. Have a look and see which ones capture your attention.
Keep in mind you can always upgrade in the future if you need to.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I Buy Studio Headphones?
Yes, you should buy studio headphones. The great thing about studio headphones is they allow you to hear music the way it was intended to be heard. Don’t get me wrong, consumer headphones work great. But they do not produce the same sound quality as studio headphones.
But here’s the deal, producers and musicians aren’t concerned that much with the best sounding music. Their goal is to instead be able to have the same live experience that they have in the studio, in the comfort of their home.
That’s what really separates studio headphones from consumer headphones. It's all about the overall experience.
Studio headphones also give you the ability to tweak how your music sounds. So if this is important to you, investing in a good pair of studio headphones is a good idea.
What Are The Best Headphones For Mixing?
As you very well know, mixing music is an art. It is therefore vital you have the right pair of headphones. But when it comes to determining which headphones are the best, there is no one best answer. The one that’s best for you will all boil down to preference and budget.
With that being said, here are a few tips to help you find the best studio headphones for mixing. First, you always want to go with a pair of over the ear headphones. You should never mix or record with earbuds.
They don’t allow you to hear the different parts of the music as clearly as over the ear headphones do. And in order to mix properly, clarity of sound is extremely important.
Secondly, you want a pair of headphones that are open back headphones. When it comes to mixing and mastering, you must keep build up to a minimum. This ensures your mix is clear, concise, and accurate.
The best way to ensure a decent mix is to use open back headphones. Otherwise you will have a track that has a build up of extra noise right at the beginning of the track. Open back headphones help release some of that build up so the music can sound amazing.
Expect to pay around $500 for a good pair of mixing studio headphones. If $500 doesn’t fit your budget, it's okay to opt for a less expensive pair. Just make sure they are made out of quality materials.
What Headphones Do Rappers Use?
Hip hop is not just music, it's a culture. And a big part of that culture are the fast beats, quick punch lines, and funky rhythms. But in order to enjoy hip hop music to the fullest, you must have the right headphones.
While each rapper will use a different set of headphones in the studio, there are a few very important characteristics their headphones will have.
It all starts with the sound signature. As a rapper you want to avoid neutral headphones. While they may sound good on your smartphone, they won’t deliver in the studio.
Rappers should get headphones that focus heavily on bass quality and quantity. The best ones will lean more towards the lower frequencies. You also want a strong sub-bass. The deeper the low frequencies, the stronger the overall audio.
For rappers, closed back headphones are the better option. While open back does provide quality bass, it doesn’t have the same impact as the closed back headphones.
Are Studio Headphones Good For Listening To Music?
Yes, studio headphones are indeed good for listening to music. Unlike regular headphones, studio headphones have no added bass, have a wide and flat frequency response, and don’t distort the sound.
With studio headphones you get much more than just a good sound, you get a very accurate sound. This may not be important to regular people, but to musicians and producers it is.
Being that studio headphones are mostly used inside of a studio, they are literally designed to sound accurate. They give the producer the ability to hear exactly how everything should sound.
If the sound isn’t right, they are able to make the proper adjustments based on what the artist needs. This can’t happen without studio headphones.