Studio heaphones hanging up
Music Gear Reviews

7 Best studio headphones for music production & why we like them

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You’re looking for the best headphones for producing music.

Here are the best headphones used in studios and when to use them.

Our best studio headphone picks

  1. AUDIO-TECHNICA ATH-M50x – Best headphones for music producing
  2. SENNHEISER HD600 – Best studio headphones for mixing
  3. FOCAL CLEAR MG – Best studio headphones for mastering
  4. BEYERDYNAMIC DT 770 PRO – Best studio headphones for recording
  5. AKG K240 Studio – Best studio headphones for monitoring
  6. SONY MDR-7506 – Best headphones for home studio
  7. SUPERLUX HD681 – Best budget studio headphones

Skip to our reviews. ↓

Studio heaphones hanging up

3 things to look for in studio headphones:

Ear fit type (circumaural vs supra-aural):

There are 3 different ear fit types that dramatically affect the sound which you need to consider.

Over-ear fit headphones have large ear cups that encompass your ears completely. Over-ear studio headphones provide superior comfort and excellent noise isolation. The snug fit creates a seal around your ears that blocks out external distractions, allowing you to focus solely on your music. The spacious ear cups don’t put pressure on your ears so you can enjoy hours of fatigue-free sessions.

On-ear fit headphones rest directly on your ears resulting in a compact design compared to over-ear models. They will not provide as much noise isolation as over-ear headphones. They still offer some, making them suitable as studio headphones. The on-ear type is lightweight and so portable, making it ideal for producers who are on the move.

In-ear earphones fit snugly inside your ear canal, providing excellent noise isolation and minimizing sound leakage. This review will only cover headphones. Please see our other guide for our picks for best in-ear monitors.

Cup type:

Closed-back cup headphones feature ear cups with solid outer shells. This seals off the ear from external noise. This design offers excellent noise isolation, making closed-back headphones ideal for critical listening and recording in noisy environments. The closed-back cups prevent sound leakage, ensuring that your audio remains contained within the headphones, essential for recording sessions where audio bleed can be an issue.

Open-back cup headphones have perforated outer shells, allowing air and sound to pass through. As the sound vibrations move more freely, unlike the closed-back cans that trap air inside. The airflow prevents the buildup of air pressure within the ear cups, which can distort sound and create low resonance. Open-back headphones deliver a more accurate and clearer sound representation by omitting these distortions. This engineering quality makes open-back headphones a great choice for mixing and mastering. The space also makes a wider stereo field.

Semi-back cup headphones balance the characteristics of closed-back and open-back designs. Their partially perforated ear cups allow for controlled airflow and sound leakage. A blend of sound reflection, absorption, and diffusion within the ear cups. This design minimizes resonant frequencies whilst giving you a great listening experience with reduced auditory occlusion.

Frequency response:

Understanding the frequency response you want is crucial to finding the right studio headphones.

Frequency response refers to how well headphones can reproduce the spectrum of sound. The low, middle, and high pitches. Balanced or flat headphones make all these sounds come out just as they are intended.

Some headphones are designed to reproduce low sounds with more intensity creating a deep bass or sub. Other headphones enhance high-pitched sounds like cymbals or voices. It’s down to preference which also comes down to purpose. Studio headphones are usually balanced or flat – so that you can work on your recording or production accurately.

1. Best headphones for music producing:

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

Price when reviewed:
From $150

Studio headphones AUDIO-TECHNICA ATH-M50x

We like:

Great balance of freq response
Lightweight and comfortable for long sessions
Memory foam padding is great for sound isolation
Feels robust

We do not like:

May exhibit higher THD levels at highs like 18kHz

Key attributes:

Ear fit type: Circumaural (Over-ear)
Cup type: Closed-back
Frequency response: 15Hz – 28kHz

When it comes to choosing studio headphones, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are our top-rated pick. These headphones have a balanced sound, which is important for most if not all aspects of production. They make every detail clear, from the deep bass to the high notes, so you can work on music precisely.

One great thing about the ATH-M50x is that they block out outside noise well. This means I can focus on my music without any distractions. Plus, they’re really comfy to wear for long periods, thanks to the soft ear cups. This is important when you’re spending hours in the studio.

In terms of technical stuff, the ATH-M50x has a wide frequency range, from 15Hz to 28kHz. This means I can hear every part of my music clearly. The big drivers also help with clarity, so the sound is true to the original recording.

But it’s not all perfect with the ATH-M50x. Some people say the bass can be too strong, which might affect how balanced your music sounds. Personally, I haven’t had a big issue with this, but it’s something to keep in mind.

Overall, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x is a solid choice for anyone making music in the studio. They sound great, they’re comfy, and they have all the technical features you need for professional-level work. Whether you’re a pro or just starting out, these headphones will get the job done.

Features:

  • Professional-grade closed-back design
  • Detachable cable for easy replacement
  • Collapsible design for portability and storage
  • Rotatable ear cups for single-ear monitoring
  • Cushioned headband and ear pads for comfort during extended use

Specifications:

  • Type: Closed-back dynamic
  • Driver Diameter: 45 mm
  • Frequency Response: 15 Hz – 28 kHz
  • Impedance: 38 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 99 dB
  • Maximum Input Power: 1,600 mW at 1 kHz
  • Weight: 285 grams (without cable and connector)

Where to buy?
Check price on Amazon

2. Best studio headphones for mixing:

Sennheiser HD600 399

Price when reviewed:
From $399

Sennheiser HD600 studio headphones

We like:

Flat accurate frequency response
Long sessions are easy due to lightweight
Velour padding is cosy
Low distortion which is ideal for mixing

We do not like:

Open back results in low sound isolation
Non-detachable wires

Key attributes:

Ear fit type: Circumaural (Over-ear)
Cup type: Open-back
Frequency response: 12Hz – 40kHz

The Sennheiser HD600 is a standout choice for mixing.

What makes the HD600 special is its accuracy in providing a balanced sound. This means I can trust that what I’m hearing is true. The headphones’ open-back design also helps create a wide soundstage, which is key in representing the stereo field mix.

Comfort is another big plus with the HD600. They’re lightweight and have soft ear pads, making them perfect for long mixing sessions. And they don’t need a super powerful device to sound good, which is handy.

In terms of technical stuff, the HD600 covers a wide range of frequencies, from deep bass to high trebles. This means I can hear every little detail in my music. The drivers in the headphones also do a great job of making the sound clear and accurate.

However, like anything, there are a few downsides to the HD600. Some people say they need a special amplifier to sound their best, which might be an extra cost. Also, because they’re open-back, they don’t block out outside noise much, which might not be ideal in a noisy studio.

Features:

  • Open-back design
  • Detachable cable
  • Lightweight and comfortable design
  • Velour ear cushions
  • Advanced diaphragm design for natural sound reproduction

Specifications:

  • Transducer Principle: Dynamic, open
  • Frequency Response: 12 Hz – 40 kHz
  • Impedance: 300 ohms
  • Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 97 dB
  • Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): < 0.1%
  • Weight: 260 grams (without cable)

Where to buy?
Check price on Amazon

3. Best studio headphones for mastering:

Focal Clear MG

Price when reviewed:
From $1499

Focal clear MG

We like:

Possibly the best studio headphones we’ve listened to
Massive frequency response all the way from 5Hz
Low THD clean transparent audio
Our pick for mastering treatment

We do not like:

Not able to fold over like other headphones
Premium price point

Key attributes:

Ear fit type: Circumaural (Over-ear)
Cup type: Open-back
Frequency response: 5Hz – 28kHz

These headphones are ideal for mastering with exceptional accuracy in sound reproduction. Their wide frequency response range covers the entire spectrum in with precision detail. This accuracy is a necessity for mastering. You’ll hear subtle nuances so you can make precise adjustments. So that your music can translate well across different playback systems.

The Focals feature dynamic drivers that deliver clear and accurate sound. These drivers are designed to minimize distortion and provide a flat frequency response. Again, essential for mastering purposes. The open-back further enhances performance by creating a natural and spacious soundstage. This gives you better spatial imaging and separation of instruments—a crucial aspect for mastering.

Comfort is important during long mastering sessions, and the Focal Clear MG headphones excel in this aspect. Their lightweight construction and memory foam ear pads ensure hours of fatigue-free listening. You will be able to stay focused and attentive throughout the process.

The low impedance of the Focal Clear MG headphones makes them compatible with a wide range of audio devices in your studio. Their high sensitivity utilises power efficiently for optimal performance at lower volume levels.

The performance of the Focal Clear MG headphones makes them a worthwhile investment for serious mastering work.

Features:

  • Open-back design for natural sound reproduction
  • M-shaped magnesium dome driver for enhanced dynamics and detail
  • Memory foam ear cushions for comfortable extended listening sessions
  • Adjustable headband with leather padding for a secure and comfortable fit
  • Detachable cable with 3.5mm and 6.35mm connectors for versatile connectivity options

Specifications:

  • Type: Open-back dynamic
  • Driver Diameter: 40 mm
  • Frequency Response: 5 Hz – 28 kHz
  • Impedance: 55 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 104 dB SPL / 1 mW at 1 kHz
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: <0.25% at 1 kHz / 100 dB SPL
  • Weight: 450 grams (without cable)

Where to buy?
Check price on Amazon

4. Best studio headphones for recording:

Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro

Price when reviewed:
From $159

dt-770-pro-headphones-beyerdynamic

We like:

High-standard sound isolation
NO sound leak for recording
Incredibly comfortable ear pads
Rugged robust metal hinges will last

We do not like:

Annoying coiled wire may get stuck on guitar or mic stand

Key attributes:

Ear fit type: Circumaural (Over-ear)
Cup type: Closed-back
Frequency response: 5Hz – 35kHz

Make no mistake, these recording headphones are professional grade and are used in many studios today.

What makes these headphones ideal for recording is their exceptional sound isolation. The closed-back cup blocks out noise for focused and uninterrupted recording. This isolation is crucial for capturing clean audio.

Comfort is another strength of the DT 770 Pro headphones. The ear pads and adjustable headband ensure a comfortable fit, even during long recording sessions.

Perhaps the most important feature for recordings is the closed-back cups that prevent sound leakage. So that your mic capture remains unaffected by the headphone’s output sound. The headphones’ low impedance makes them versatile for recording in different studio setups.

The DT 770 Pro headphones’ exceptional sound isolation and comfort make them a top choice for recording music. Their isolation and comfort make them an indispensable tool for recordings in the studio or at home.

Features:

  • Closed-back design
  • Circumaural ear pads
  • Single-sided cable
  • Replaceable soft ear pads
  • Adjustable and padded headband

Specifications:

  • Type: Closed-back dynamic
  • Driver Diameter: 45 mm
  • Frequency Response: 5 Hz – 35 kHz
  • Impedance: Available in 32 ohms, 80 ohms, and 250 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 96 dB SPL / 1 mW at 1 kHz
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: <0.05%

Where to buy?
Check price on Amazon

5. Best studio headphones for monitoring:

AKG K240 Studio

Price when reviewed:
From $85

AKG k240 studio headphones

We like:

Neutral sound reproduction
Spacious sound stage
Low chance of listener fatigue
Low chance of listener fatigue

We do not like:

Annoying coiled wire may get stuck on equipment

Key attributes:

Ear fit type: Circumaural (Over-ear)
Cup type: Semi-open
Frequency response: 15Hz – 25kHz

The semi-open cups allow for a spacious soundstage, essential for monitoring music accurately. The space gives you that sense of depth and separation between instruments. This enables you to detect any subtle nuances or discrepancies in the balance.

The AKG K240s headphones have a wide frequency response range. This range ensures that every frequency in the music is true. Every detail in the mix can be heard with clarity and precision.

The self-adjusting headband and velour ear pads are comfortable. Even during extended listening sessions. This is essential for focus and concentration, during long periods without fatigue.

They have high-quality drivers that deliver balanced sound. The drivers are optimized to minimize distortion for clear audio for monitoring tasks.

While the K240s won’t have the same sound isolation as the DT770 pro headphones, they are great for an immersive listening experience. An excellent choice for monitoring music in the studio.

Features:

  • Semi-open design
  • Self-adjusting headband
  • Detachable cable
  • Replaceable ear pads
  • Single-sided cable entry

Specifications:

  • Type: Semi-open dynamic
  • Driver Diameter: 30 mm
  • Frequency Response: 15 Hz – 25 kHz
  • Impedance: 55 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 104 dB SPL/V
  • Total Harmonic Distortion: <0.3%
  • Maximum Input Power: 200 mW
  • Weight: 240 grams

Where to buy?
Check price on Amazon

6. Best headphones for home studio:

Sony MDR-7506

Price when reviewed:
From $85

Sony MDR-7506 headphones

We like:

Flat response ideal for home mixing
Conveniently foldable and lightweight
Comfortable for long late night sessions
Built to last ages

We do not like:

Coiled cable will be annoying in tight spaces
There are better choices for mixing and mastering

Key attributes:

Ear fit type: Circumaural (Over-ear)
Cup type: Closed-back
Frequency response: 10Hz – 20kHz

These headphones are great for home studios as they reproduce sound accurately. They excel in a wide range of frequencies, ensuring that you can hear every detail just as it should be.

The MDR-7506 headphones have 40mm neodymium drivers that contribute to the detailed sound. These drivers are designed to minimize distortion staying true to the original recording. The closed-back design helps block out external noise, so you can focus on your music without distractions.

Comfort is another big plus with these headphones. They’re lightweight with soft ear pads, so you can make beats for a long time without fatiguing.

The MDR-7506 headphones are reliable and affordable, making them a great choice for home studio owners.

Features:

  • Closed-back design
  • Foldable for portability
  • Coiled cable for flexibility
  • Swivel earcups for single-ear monitoring
  • Wide frequency response

Specifications:

  • Type: Closed-back dynamic
  • Driver Diameter: 40 mm
  • Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Impedance: 63 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 106 dB/W/m
  • Maximum Input Power: 1000 mW
  • Weight: 230 grams

Where to buy?
Check price on Amazon

7. Best budget studio headphones:

Superlux HD681

Price when reviewed:
From $60

Superlux HD681 studio headphones

We like:

Accurately wide frequency response
Lightweight and comfortable
Detachable cable for future replacements

We do not like:

Plastic build feels budget
Lacks proper sound isolation for recording

Key attributes:

Ear fit type: Circumaural (Over-ear)
Cup type: Semi-open
Frequency response: 10Hz – 30kHz

These headphones are great for home studios as they reproduce sound accurately. They excel in a wide range of frequencies, ensuring that you can hear every detail just as it should be.

The MDR-7506 headphones have 40mm neodymium drivers that contribute to the detailed sound. These drivers are designed to minimize distortion staying true to the original recording. The closed-back design helps block out external noise, so you can focus on your music without distractions.

Comfort is another big plus with these headphones. They’re lightweight with soft ear pads, so you can make beats for a long time without fatiguing.

The MDR-7506 headphones are reliable and affordable, making them a great choice for home studio owners.

Features:

  • Semi-open design
  • Self-adjusting headband for comfort
  • Detachable cable for convenience
  • Rotating earcups for single-ear monitoring
  • Wide frequency response

Specifications:

  • Type: Semi-open dynamic
  • Driver Diameter: 50 mm
  • Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 30 kHz
  • Impedance: 32 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 98 dB SPL/mW
  • Maximum Input Power: Not specified
  • Weight: 276 grams

Where to buy?
Check price on Amazon

What kind of studio headphones do I need?

Here are a few considerations which may impact your choose of headphones:

Closed-back headphones offer isolation from external noise, making them ideal for recording.

Open-back headphones provide a more natural sound but may not be suitable for noisy environments.

Semi-open headphones are a bit of both, offering some isolation while maintaining a spacious sound.

Consider the frequency response range to ensure accurate sound reproduction across all frequencies.

Comfort is crucial for long sessions, so choose headphones with padded ear cups and an adjustable headband. Lastly, factor in your budget and the headphone’s durability.

Do expensive headphones sound better?

Expensive headphones may offer better sound quality due to advanced tech. Yet, not all costly headphones guarantee superior audio. Some budget options can provide comparable sound with decent drivers. Factors like driver size and frequency response range play a crucial role in sound quality. It’s essential to consider individual preferences and needs when selecting headphones. The best choice depends on personal preferences and priorities.

Should studio headphones have flat frequency response?

Studio headphones, being flat, ensure accurate sound reproduction. Each frequency receives equal treatment, preventing distortion or emphasis. Professionals require this neutrality for precise audio adjustments. However, some prefer more vibrant sound profiles for casual listening. Thus, the choice depends on specific needs. Professional studios mandate flat headphones, while personal preferences vary.

What is the 60 rule for headphones?

The 60 rule for headphones suggests keeping the volume at or below 60% of the maximum level to prevent hearing damage. This guideline aims to safeguard hearing health by reducing exposure to loud sounds. Listening at high volumes for extended periods can lead to noise-induced hearing loss.

Adhering to the 60 rule helps mitigate this risk by limiting the intensity of sound entering the ears. However, some argue that individual sensitivity varies, making a one-size-fits-all approach challenging. Factors like headphone type, ambient noise, and duration of use also influence the potential for harm. Therefore, while the 60 rule serves as a useful guideline, users should also pay attention to their own comfort and well-being.

Does a bigger driver mean better sound?

A bigger driver may not always mean better sound quality. While larger drivers can produce deeper bass and louder volumes, they don’t guarantee superior audio. The sound quality depends on various factors, including driver material, design, and tuning.

Smaller drivers can deliver clearer, more detailed sound with better imaging and separation. Larger drivers may struggle with distortion at higher volumes and have slower response times, leading to muddier sound. However, in contexts like home theatres or bass-heavy music genres, bigger drivers may offer a more immersive experience. The best driver size depends on the listening context and application.

Do pros use wired or wireless headphones?

Professionals typically use wired headphones for critical tasks. Wired headphones offer consistent audio quality without interference. They provide a reliable connection, crucial for studio work. However, wireless headphones offer convenience. They allow freedom of movement, which can be beneficial in certain situations. Yet, they may suffer from latency issues or signal dropouts.

For professional use, wired headphones are favoured. They ensure consistent sound reproduction and minimal technical issues. Wireless headphones won’t offer the same level of reliability required in professional settings. Pros opt for wired headphones for their studio work, prioritizing stability and consistency over convenience.

Are regular headphones different to studio headphones?

Yes, regular headphones and studio headphones differ. Regular headphones are for general listening. They often emphasize bass and treble, which distorts the sound. In contrast, studio headphones focus on accuracy. They provide a flat frequency response, replicating the original audio faithfully.

Regular headphones suit everyday use. However, they may not accurately represent music. Studio headphones are essential for professionals. They ensure precise audio monitoring during recording and mixing. The choice depends on usage. If you need accurate sound reproduction for professional work, studio headphones are ideal. If you prioritize enhanced bass and treble for casual listening, regular headphones suffice.

What are the headphone types out there?

Different types of headphones cater to various needs and preferences. Over-ear headphones offer excellent sound isolation and comfort, ideal for long listening sessions. On-ear headphones are more portable and lightweight but may not provide as much isolation or bass response.

In-ear headphones, or earbuds, are highly portable and great for active use, but they may not fit everyone comfortably and can cause ear fatigue over time. Open-back headphones provide a more natural soundstage but may leak sound and lack bass compared to closed-back headphones. Closed-back headphones offer better noise isolation and bass response but may feel more claustrophobic during extended use. The best headphone type depends on factors like comfort, portability, sound quality, and intended use.

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