The Best Budget Studio Headphones for Home Recording [2021 Guide & Reviews]
For under $100 you can still get some of the best studio headphones in the market for your home recording studio. Including one used be legend Mick Jagger.
In creating high-quality music, using good studio headphones is an absolute must. Best of all, the days are gone when you had to invest $300-$400 buying a good pair. With the current technology, you can choose quality studio headphones with a budget of 100 dollars. And believe me, it will completely cover your needs in recording, mixing, and monitoring.
Studio quality headphones are an essential tool in the world of music production. Tasks in your music production, such as recording, mixing, and mastering require the use of at least one high-quality pair of headphones. Monitor speakers are also desirable for the above tasks. The process of most producers is to listen and mix on studio monitor speakers and then review with a pair of headphones for the final touch or during the recordings.
The best studio monitor headphones should be, comfortable, robust, with excellent sound quality and flat frequency response. We did our research, read customer reviews, and compare features and prices from the top products in the market. So here are the top best affordable studio-quality headphones that deserve your attention.
If your pocket can afford to spend more than $100, take a look at the best headphones for music production.
TOP 8 Best Studio Monitor Headphones under $100 – Reviews
1. SONY MDR 7506
The best closed-back studio headphone for under 100 dollars!
SONY MDR 7506 is a standard studio headphone with thousands of nearly perfect reviews and also a best-seller at the Amazon store. Since 1999 this pair has dominated the market of studio headphones. There’s not a single music producer who hasn’t heard of them or used one. Their long history and countless reviews talk about their sharp audio, comfort, and durability.
There are many reasons why professional musicians have used this pair of headphones.
The small brother of MDR 7510, might have outdated looks but it’s a pro pair used by legends in the music industry (Mick Jagger, Linkin Park, Paul Van Dyk, and more). With excellent detailed sound quality and flat frequency response, this pair is suitable for any studio.
This closed-back type headphone offers ideal isolation, along with excellent built quality, proven to be long-lasting. The design and the two cushioned ear pads make the pair quite comfortable for long last sessions. Actually, they are so light that you will barely feel them in your ears. They are oval and equipped with plush ear pads, as well as the backside of the earcups has metal reinforcements to handle regular abuse. It also folds up for secure storage, and travel in its provided soft case.
Conclusion: Sony MDR 7506 is a solid pair of headphones, precisely what you need if you just start music production if you have a limited budget. If you are not convinced yet, visit the Amazon store, and you will be surprised at the number of excellent reviews. This tremendous and top-rated pair is worth the first pick of the best studio headphones under $100.
Musicians who use it: Mick Jagger, Linkin Park, Paul Van Dyk, Helios
2. AUDIO TECHNICA ATH-M40X
The best noise-canceling headphone for home recording!
The most popular series of studio headphones for electronic music producers are the ATH-M by Audio Technica. I personally own the ATH-M50X, but you can’t go wrong with any of those models (ATH-M20X/M30X/M40X/M50X/M70X).
Audio Technica ATH-M40X is a closed-back pair that offers good isolation from ambient sounds and solid flat frequency response. The bass is heavy -precisely what an electronic producer needs- and the mids and highs are clear and dynamic. However, it requires 40-50 odd hours of burn-in the frequency response. I have to admit that the audio response is more satisfying compared to the all-time favorite and first choice of our list Sony 7506.
Does it get any better?
One more good feature of this pair is the comfort, soft and plush ear-cups lined with synthetic leather. Furthermore, they are 90 degrees rotatable which help with packaging and transferring.
It might look a bit bulky, like all the models, but it is very comfortable, and the built quality is durable with excellent materials. The cable is removable which will provide easy and cheap replacement in case of an accident. The result is a set of headphones that offer optimal performance for the money, all while looking like something that costs at least twice as much as they do.
Conclusion: ATH-M40X is probably the best value for money option out there. The sound quality is outstanding (very close to ATH-M50X), the isolation is exceptional and available at a reasonable price, indeed good enough reasons to go for it. Except for your studio, this pair can be used in a DJ booth, radio stations, news transmission, or even movie productions. Audio Technica ATH-M40x has been around for a long time and counts thousands of users around the globe.
If you are a beginner with a limited budget of around $50, you can take a look at the ATH-M20X or M30X.
3. AKG K-240
The best over-ear headphones for studio monitoring!
The most affordable pair of headphones on our list comes from AKG. I will also add the most beautiful appearance, and design compare to the rest. The classy but straightforward structure, along with the golden highlights on the black exterior, makes it a unique option.
AKG K-240 is a semi-open type of headphone that offers not good isolation compare to a closed-back type. However, on this pair, you will find tonal excellence with higher frequencies than the MDR 7506. The sound quality is powerful with an accurate response at any listening level, and that’s because of AKG’s Varimotion technology. The bass is heavy but precise. Along with the detailed mids and highs, that will show AKG’s real character.
Regardless of the comfort K-240 provides, you will be satisfied with big ear-cups that will fit perfectly around your ear with excellent resilience. The type of headband is self-adjusting to the shape and size of your head, making it very comfortable for long-lasting studio sessions. It also offers a detachable input cable for easy replacement if ever necessary.
Conclusion: If isolation is not an issue in your studio, then the AKG K-240 is the perfect affordable choice for you. AKG is known for good manufacturing products, but despite the many great reviews, it has, however, some complaints in user reviews concerning the built quality and durability. However, you get sound quality impossible to find elsewhere in this price range.
4.SHURE SRH 440
The best studio headphone for mixing and recording!
Another well-known name in the audio gear business is Shure. This classically designed pair of headphones can pretty much cover the needs in a home recording studio as well as a professional studio. A brand name that is seen in every recording studio in every corner of the world has an excellent market value.
Shure SRH 440 biggest strength is its isolation from external sounds. As a closed-back type of headphone, it offers superior isolation in noisy environments. Even if Shure creates excellent quality pairs that ensure long life and endurance to hardship, the built materials of this pair do not look great. However, users of the SRH440 can testify that they have been enjoying theirs for a couple of years already and they still work great. Also, it features a foldable design for easy transportation to take anywhere.
This recording headphone offers a clean sound, with thick bass and bright and detailed mids and highs. You will be thrilled with the high frequencies, and low bass is rich and intense but never out of balance. My subjective opinion is that this studio headphone can very easily adapt to almost all genres.
Conclusion: This model by Shure is durable, and it will withstand the rigors of everyday use. In general, it is very comfortable, and if there is a bit of hardship with the headband, you can still attach one of your own. The ear-cups are also replaceable to ensure long product life. Popular headphones for hip hop and rap music.
5. SENNHEISER HD 280 PRO (new model)
The best studio headphone for drummers and live bands!
Sennheiser is a very popular brand when you talk about headphones. With years of experience, they have built a classically designed studio-quality pair that is highly durable, and according to user reviews, it can last for over ten years. There are still a few affordable pairs, but the HD 280 is right in our budget and ideal for our list with the best studio headphones for under 100 bucks.
Sennheiser HD 280 PRO is not only for studio work but live performances and DJing as well. That is is due to the extended frequency response with sound pressure exceeding 100 decibels. The bass is heavy, clear with flat gain, and acceptable to the mids and high frequencies. This earphone is also popular for EDM music, bass guitar players, and drummers because of its bass response.
This closed-back pair offer splendid isolation from external sounds and is also designed to provide coziness to listeners for many hours. The soft cushioned earpads help also achieve great comfort. You can use the pair for a couple of hours and completely forget you have them on. Furthermore, this pair offers the ability to easily swap out padding for something that might fit you better — versatility at its best with such an affordable studio pair of headphones.
Conclusion: Sennheiser HD 280 PRO is the second most popular pair of studio headphones in the market with users praising its built quality, excellent isolation, and price range. This pair can stand in any recording studio for many years. Check out our list with the best Sennheiser headphones on the market.
6. PRESONUS HD9
The best recording headphone for the money!
Presonus HD9 is a professional studio-quality pair of wired headphones. It features 45 mm dynamic, neodymium drivers and frequency response that extend from 10 Hz to 26 kHz. The sound is flat and transparent, with accurate bass and mid response, for precise monitoring, mixing, and mastering in your studio.
The HD9’s closed-back acoustic design provides excellent isolation and reduces headphone bleed. Especially if you have proper sound isolation in your studio room, then you have nothing to worry about. If not, check how to soundproof your room.
They’re pretty comfortable and easily transferable due to their big and soft pads and two-way 180° cup rotation. However, we found a couple of reviews by users who wear glasses that it is a bit harsh after long-hour sessions. Nevertheless, this studio monitor pair of headphones is an excellent option for DJs and regular audiophiles as well.
Conclusion: HD9 offers a combination of comfort, sturdy construction, isolation, and adjustability in one very affordable pair of studio headphones. It has collected nearly perfect reviews on the Amazon store and can’t go unnoticed by any beginner producer. Presonus also produces HD7 monitoring semi-open type of headphones for an even lower price tag.
7. TAKSTAR PRO 82
The best budget studio headphone for music production!
Taskar Pro 82 is one of these products which often go unnoticed due to their low marketing popularity. That is why we are here to mention these tools and get the word out. To start with an insignificant feature, the black color design, is catchy. The same with the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro, they are the most “black color-covered” headphones in the market!
No studio headphones will be on our list if the sound quality is not precise and flat. The bass response and midrange will happily surprise you, as it comes pretty close to the popular models ATH-M and MDR. It also offers three bass levels to adjust the bass according to your taste and music preference.
The earpads are big and made of soft leather material, which makes them very comfortable to use for long hours. Durability may be an issue as the user experienced small wear and tear on the headband and earpads. On the plus side, it comes with an audio cable, a gold-plated adapter, a cloth bag, and an aluminum case for easy usage and transfer.
Conclusion: Taskar Pro 82 is an ideal cheap option for recording and monitoring in your studio. Although it is also advertised as gaming headphones, I don’t believe gamers will be satisfied as the sound is detailed, precise but offers no warmth or enhancement in a frequency range. It is also available in black or silver to match your style and gear.
8. JLab Studio Pro Over-Ear Headphones | Wired Headphones
The best studio headphone under 50 dollars!
JLab Audio is an award-winning designer of personal audio equipment. They produce Bluetooth earbuds, headphones, and speakers since 2005 and have already claimed a few fans and good reviews.
The 40mm neodymium driver and C3 (Crystal Clear Clarity) Technology sounds good. However, the sound quality is not the top feature of this headset. Studio Pro stands out for its extremely light and comfortable fit to listen to your favorite music all day. The ear cups also close on the inside to pack it and transfer it easily.
If you have a very limited budget, then you might be looking at your next pair. It comes with a braided-nylon cord with an in-line mic for taking calls, plays music, or control the tracks on your mix.
Conclusion: The cheapest studio headphone on our list is not for sound maniacs or serious home recording studio sessions. However, the over-ear design and ergonomically shaped Form-Fit Earcups make it a very comfortable pair.
These were our top picks for the best studio monitor headphones under $100!
If you can get studio quality headphones for under 100 dollars, then I consider it a cheap buy. Nevertheless, the popularity and recognition of brands such as Sony, Audio Technica, Shure, AKG, and Sennheiser, leave no room to doubt their sound and built quality!
Even tho, most of them are advertised as studio monitor headphones, they are suitable for other tasks as well. DJs, producers, singers, radio hosts, reporters, and every professional who requires decent sound quality, comfort, and great sound isolation in one pair of flat eq headphones, will find our choices suitable.
Buyers Guide & Frequently Asked Questions
You have decided to build your home recording studio, and it’s time for your first studio headphones, but you don’t know how to choose. There are a few things to consider and have in mind before you check the market. The headphone type, comfort, and sound quality with a balanced frequency response are the essentials. Also, some producers find durability and portability to be essential factors for your choice.
What to look for before buying studio headphones?
- Durability: Durability is something you should look for unless you are willing to buy a pair of headphones every couple of years. The build quality and a detachable coiled cable are beneficial features and will drop the chances of looking for a replacement pair shortly.
- Portability: If you are planning to travel your studio a lot or produce music on the road, portability is a feature that should affect your decision. A detachable coiled cable and 90-degree rotatable ear-cups will offer the easy transportation you always wanted.
- Comfort: It is vital to wear headphones with a comfortable design and ear pads. Long-hour sessions can be hurtful for your head and ears if you choose wrong. What features suggest good comfort? The materials, the weight of the pair, and how they sit onto your head.
- Headphone type (closed-back / open-back): The closed-back type of headphones provide excellent isolation from background sounds as well as absorbs well so you won’t pick up any noise when you record with a microphone. On the other hand, an open-back type won’t provide such good isolation, but it will offer better sound quality. In your studio, closed-back headphones are the preferred choice.
- Frequency response: The essential feature of your studio headphones is the sound quality and the frequency range. When you are DJing, you want headphones with loud and clear bass and hats that will help you achieve a perfect beat-match. In a studio, you need to hear the sound in its natural state with flat and balanced frequency response headphones.
Each studio headphone usually includes something extra. Either a case to protect and transfer your pair, or extra detachable cables or replaceable earpads to replace them in case of damage. However, you might need an additional tool to use your studio headphones. Yes, you can plug them directly into your computer, but an external sound card will be preferable. For more, check the best audio interfaces under $200.
Are studio headphones worth it?
Studio headphones offer the sound quality, comfort, and price range so that every producer, DJ, or audiophile can purchase and enjoy an amazing sound. Studio headphones are so versatile that we can confidently say, they are worth every penny you are going to spend.
Will you find a premium sound with a budget of $100 or less?
After looking at a couple of dozens of different headphones in the under $100 budget, I’m confident that you can get more than what you will pay. Choices vary according to your brand preference, personal gradient to sound response, appearance, and budget. All suggestions above are studio-quality headphones that can adequately stand in any home recording studio.
Did we help you choose your next pair of headphones without breaking the budget?
Many beginners believe that you have to start with an expensive set of headphones. Well if you can afford it then why not. But we are firmly convinced that any of the models we’ve shown you today will get you started. Not only that but chances are that it will take some time before you end up needing an upgrade.
Every music producer has different needs in the studio and tastes in sound and equipment. So, you also need to find the best studio headphone for YOU. Is sound isolation vital to you? Design & looks or do you most care for crystal clear sound and full frequency range response?
If you liked the article and believe that will help others make a good choice. Then consider sharing it, or leave your comment below.
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