Work keeps everyone busy, and musicians are no exception. You may have days where you can’t work in a quiet studio. That’s why you need the best studio headphones for any situation. You need a pair of studio headphones that can handle long mixing sessions and can isolate sound in loud environments.
If you work on the go, you need a pair of studio headphones that you can easily take with you. Even if you only work in a studio, there will be times when you need to block out everything, and you need headphones that can handle that task.
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Best Studio Headphones FAQs
Before you can choose the best studio headphones, you need to know the answers to some basic questions. For instance, there are different types of studio headphones, so you need to choose the best type for you.
What are studio headphones?
Studio headphones are specially designed for making music in the studio. You can use them to listen to yourself while you record and while you mix and edit the different elements of various tracks.
What do they do?
While you’re recording, studio headphones allow you to hear yourself without interference from background noises. Studio headphones also block out excess sounds when you’re mixing and editing so that you can experience the best sound quality possible.
How do they work?
There are two basic types of studio headphones. Closed-back headphones are perfect for recording because they isolate sound extremely well. You can monitor the mix, but you don’t have to worry about the headphone volume affecting what the live microphone picks up.
Open-back headphones don’t isolate the sound as much as closed-back headphones, but they have much better sound quality. While mixing with studio monitors is optimal, open-back headphones are great for mixing on the go or on a budget.
How are they different from other headphones?
All headphones are built for listening to music. The key difference between studio headphones and other types is the fact that studio headphones are built for musicians in the studio. A cheap pair of headphones or earbuds won’t cut it for a recording session. Studio headphones usually have a better sound quality, and they’re often great at isolating sound.
Where can you buy them?
You can buy studio headphones online from retailers like Amazon, and you can also buy them from popular music and audio retailers such as Guitar Center, BestBuy, and Sweetwater.
How much do they cost?
Studio headphones vary in price depending on the type of headphones you get and on the brand. You can find studio headphones for as little as $50, but some studio headphones cost up to $550.
How We Reviewed
We looked at customer reviews and professional ratings to find the best studio headphones. Studio headphones come in many shapes and forms, and we found what we consider to be the best of the best. We found studio headphones from different companies, and we compared their specs and prices to determine the best studio headphones for different situations.
The Best Studio Headphones for Folk Musicians
The best studio headphones for folk musicians isolate the sound but maintain great sound quality. While no single pair of headphones is perfect for everyone, you’re sure to find a pair of studio headphones for you.
The Sennheiser HD280PRO headphones are dynamic closed-back headphones. You can choose between old and new models, and you can also get a case to go with these headphones. The headphones are light and ergonomic, and the cord is 3.3 to 9.8 feet long. They have an extended frequency response and warm, natural sound reproduction. The sound pressure level (SPL) is 113 decibels.
These headphones have padded ear cups and attenuation of up to 32 decibels of outside sound. Attenuation lessens the sound, so in this case, the headphones lower the sound level by 32 decibels. You can replace the ear pads, headband padding, and audio cord so that these headphones will last you a long time.
Amazon lists the headphones as their top choice for Sennheiser headphones. One customer said the headphones have great passive isolation, but they aren’t great for on the go. This customer also said the headphones are great for classical music, and folk musicians might also enjoy the sound of the headphones.
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Sony’s MDR7506 is a professional large diaphragm pair of headphones, and you can get them with or without a case. These closed-back headphones are comfortable and significantly reduce external noise. The cord is 9.8 feet long, and the headphones store well in the case. These headphones have a frequency response range of 10Hz to 20,000Hz, and they’re durable and secure on your head.
If you do want a case, you will get a Gator Cases G-Club series. The case has velvet lining and a padded compartment that keeps headphones in place. There’s also a front panel where you can store your smartphone and ID or credit cards.
Amazon customers love the Sony headphones. One customer said they loved the fact that the headphones don’t have an overwhelming bass. The headphones also have clear mid and high frequencies, and the sound is close to live performance. These headphones are very comfortable, but another customer mentioned the long cord could get in the way.
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Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO
The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO headphones are open, over-ear headphones that are excellent for mixing. They have a strong bass and treble sound, and the ear pads are soft and replaceable to give you maximum comfort. The headphones are durable, and they have a 9.8-foot cable. These headphones have a nominal sound pressure level of 96 decibels, and the frequency response is 5Hz to 35,000Hz.
The Beyerdynamic headphones provide a great reference point for the studio, and they’re great for long mixing sessions. Their open design allows for an airy sound that maximizes natural acoustics, and you can even choose between black and grey ear pads.
One customer was pleased with these headphones because they are comfortable, open back headphones for a reasonable price. Another customer wished the cord wasn’t hard-wired to the headphones so that you could switch the cord for one with a different connector. The customer was happy otherwise.
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AKG’s K240STUDIO headphones are semi-open-back headphones with a 9.8-foot replaceable cable. These professional studio headphones use a 3.5-millimeter stereo plug with a 6.3-millimeter screw-on adapter. You can enjoy a frequency range of 15Hz to 25,000Hz, and you can adjust the headband to fit your head.
The headphones are the newer version of the AKG “classic” monitor, and they have the features to prove it. These headphones offer higher sensitivity and a wider dynamic range, and they’re durable. You can take these headphones on the go, and they’re perfect for mixing and live performance.
These headphones are a steal for anyone on a budget. And, they’re listed as Amazon’s choice for AKG headphones. One customer complained of the lack of rumbling bass, but that comes down to personal preference. That same customer praised the sound quality, comfort, and the price point.
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Sennheiser HD 650
Sennheiser fans looking for an open-back pair of studio headphones will love the Sennheiser HD 650. These professional headphones have a specially designed acoustic silk that precisely dampens sound over the entire range of frequencies. They have an improved frequency response range of 10Hz to 39,500Hz, and the aluminum coils allow for fast transient response.
These headphones come with hand-selected match driver elements and high power neodymium magnets that give the headphones maximum efficiency. The sound quality is phenomenal, and you can rest easy with Sennheiser’s two-year warranty.
One customer said they had tried many different headphones and none compare to the Sennheiser HD 650. This customer said that from the 650, there’s almost no reason to upgrade to another pair of headphones from Sennheiser. Another customer loved the headphones but had to return them because they weren’t working correctly.
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Many top engineers and audio reviewers favor the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, and these headphones have the features to prove it. These headphones have an extended frequency range and a deep bass response. The unique design fits perfectly to the ears for optimal sound isolation even in loud environments.
These headphones have swiveling ear cups so you can use one ear to monitor the sound, and the headband is comfortable to wear. You even get a detachable cable with these headphones. The headphones come with a 9.8-foot coiled cable and a 3.9-foot straight cable, and you can fold the headphones up for storage and transport.
The ATH-M50x headphones are Amazon’s choice for Audio-Technica. One customer said you should buy these over any other headphones because they work well with any device, but better devices (like the MacBook Pro) will have better sound than some (such as the iPhone). Another customer recommended that you switch out the ear pads for velour ear pads to minimize sweat, but that’s the only issue with these headphones.
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Shure’s closed-back headphones are a bit more expensive than the others on our list, but they’re a great choice for professionals or anyone looking for an upgrade. The headphones have 40-millimeter drivers that offer great sound quality with clear highs and warm lows.
You can rest these headphones comfortably over your ears to reduce background noise, and they’re comfortable enough to wear for long periods. Adjust the headband to fit your head, and you can listen for hours. The headphones are lightweight and durable, and the steel driver frame eliminates excess resonance to improve sound consistency.
While these headphones have a low average rating compared to other products on our list, multiple professional reviews praised the headphones. One professional review noted that the aluminum in these headphones is the same aluminum used on planes, and the headphones are “pure class.” Multiple customers complained about the fit of the headphones, but you can adjust the headphones to fit your specific head size.
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Hear Clearly: The Best Studio Headphones
The best studio headphones will make a musician’s life much easier. While some headphones are better for recording and others are better for mixing, good headphones are a worthy investment. There’s no one single pair of the best studio headphones, and the best choice for you depends on your needs.
If you’re on a budget, we recommend the AKG K240STUDIO headphones. They’re affordable, and they have great sound quality. If you’re a professional, we recommend the Shure SRH1540, because many professionals enjoy them. While customers don’t love them, they have everything you need as a professional.
If you need a pair of closed back headphones, we recommend the Sennheiser HD280PRO. These headphones are relatively affordable, and they isolate sound extremely well. The Beyerdynamic headphones are a perfect choice if you need open back headphones. They’re comfortable, and the frequency range is one of the widest you can get.
The most expensive studio headphones aren’t always the best studio headphones for you. Many headphones offer a great compromise between quality and affordability, so you don’t have to choose one or the other. As a beginner, you will probably have a smaller budget, and you might not be able to appreciate the nuances of more expensive headphones. Only you can decide which pair of headphones is the best for you.
Do you have a favorite set of headphones for the studio? Tell us about them!
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