The Best Studio Headphones for Home Recording – Updated in 2018
The best studio headphones of our list can easily stand in any home recording studio. From beginners to professional musicians, a studio quality pair is the alpha and the omega for music production. Especially if you tend to work on the road, headphones are important to properly listen, mix and master your tracks.
Why invest in studio headphones
First of all, a pair of good quality studio headphones will make your life a lot easier. Except for your studio monitors, headphones are essential to produce music. Let’s face it, that sometimes you will have annoyed neighbors or want to produce on the road.
There are Hi-Fi or gaming headphones out there but they do not work for us. These pairs are altering the frequency response, giving you dynamic bass and boosted highs. It may sound better but the sound is not real. It is important to hear the sound as it is, flat and balanced. If you make a track that will sound good on your flat frequency response headphones, the song will sound good on all types of sound outputs. But if you produce a track with headphones that make the sound “sweeter”, where you will hear on good quality studio monitors you will hear the “missing” sound.
The difference between DJ and studio headphones and if its necessary to own both
If you are taking music production seriously then yes, you will have to invest and purchase two different pairs that will get the job done on both ends. The only major difference between studio and DJ headphones is the frequency response and clarity of the sound. With the first, you want a flat and balanced sound with-which you will be able to hear proper audio. While with the DJ headphones you will have loud bass and extensive mids and highs. Sound isolation is another matter that differs between, studio and DJ headphones. However, there are still some great options that can do a pretty good job same well in your studio and your live performances. Beyerdynamic DT 1350 is a good example.
Here you will find our list of reviews for the 5 best DJ headphones.
What to consider before you buy your studio headphones for home recording.
As mentioned above the basic thing to consider is the type of headphone (closed or open-back) and the search for a pair with flat frequency response and clear sound.
- Type of headphones:
It is preferable to go for a closed-back type of headphones that offer superb isolation. They block ambient sounds and also prevent sound leakage into your recordings which can create distortion. The downside of this design is that it traps pressure inside the headphone, and it basic travel the sound around the ears. That may cause a false perception of low frequencies.
If isolation is not an issue in your studio, open-back type of headphones will offer fair isolation and relatively better sound quality.
- Sound response:
We can’t talk about studio headphones and not ask for a high-quality sound response. We are on the search for a pair that will offer a flat frequency response along with great clarity of the sound. Every headphone “tells us” their frequency response, but don’t forget that you can generally hear from 20Hz all the way to 20,000 Hz. In the end, the desired sound you want is a personal matter.
Sound isolation is a feature to consider for all types of headphones. As a DJ you don’t want to hear background noises, that will distract your mixing process. The same for your home recording studio, a pair with poor isolation can also interfere with your recordings, causing a distortion. Even if a closed-back type is known to do the job better, some open-back may provide almost the same isolation as good closed-back headphones.
In your studio, you want comfortable headphones that you can wear for hours at a time. Therefore we are looking for comfort ear-pads and headband. If the ear-cups are also rotatable it will offer extreme transportation and easy storage.
Unless you are planning to buy new headphones every couple of years, durability should be an important factor in your decision. However, all models below have a very good built-quality and brand credibility that will guarantee a long life product. If you are known as the one who easily destroys tools, it is good to find a pair with easily removable parts to replace.
There are some headphones sit on top of your ear, those are called On-Ear. However, on our list, we will meet only Over-Ear types where the ear pads (cups) cover the whole of your ear. Over-ear headphones are usually more comfortable and help for a better isolation from the ambient sounds.
If your budget is limited there are still some pretty good choices for under 100 dollars. Find out more on our article with the best studio headphones under $100.
There are so many choices for the best studio headphone out there. Characteristics such us, size, shape, style, comfort level, noise cancellation, removable cables, extra gifts, make it a hard choice for everyone. With our personal experience, recommendations, reviews, specific features and the price tag we picked five of the best studio headphones.
5 BEST HEADPHONES FOR HOME RECORDING STUDIO
1.AUDIO TECHNICA ATH-M50X
The title of the best studio headphones could easily go to Audio Technica ATH-M50X. I personally use it in my studio and if I had to choose again I would pick this one. With a very affordable price tag and features that overcomes headphones with double the price, is an excellent option for every music producer.
This pair of headphones is comfortable and stable on your head, in addition, the ear-cups are rotable for extra convenient storage. The cable is detachable and the headphone overall is light, making it a good option for those who travel and ask for portable studio headphones. The headband feels a little hard after long hour studio sessions. But at the same time, the built quality is tough.
ATH-M50X has superb sound quality and frequency range. In total offers a good flat response but with a small boost on low frequencies that gives deep and punchy bass. As a closed-back type of headphones, offers very good isolation from ambient sounds, but with small sound leakage.
conclusion: Audio Technica ATH-M50X continuously add amazing reviews from amateur and professional musicians. The reason for that is that it constitutes a complete pair of headphones with high quality built, reliability and desirable sound. Another reason for its success is it’s very affordable price. With a few extra bucks you can also get a Slappa full sized hardbody pro headphone case.
Musicians who use it: Paul McCartney, Hardwell, Kygo
2.BEYERDYNAMIC DT-770 PRO
Beyerdynamic is well known for its top quality studio monitor headphones. Therefore we couldn’t miss one of its models in our list of the best studio headphones. Beyerdynamic DT-770 PRO could also be our first pick as one of the most discussed headphones for music studios.
The sound quality is similar to ATH-M50X with flat frequency response, deep and punchy bass but also a bit emphasis on mid and highs. DT-770 PRO is a closed-back type which offers superb isolation and you will also see it used by a big variety of professions with common loud background noise.
The cushion system and the adjustable and robust steel headband makes this pair very comfortable for long periods of use. Although it lacks one thing compare to ATH-M50 and is its durability. I read quite a few reviews from users that saw their ear-cup gets damaged and some also noticed a small distortion after a long time of use. A better option the 80 and 250ohm edition that comes with replaceable velour ear-pads. In total is an excellent choice for home as well as pro recording studios. If you take care of them you will end up with a pair for years.
conclusion: As I have mentioned, i try to give the best possible advice considering all ratios. Therefore the bulky size and the possible damaged ear-pads caused this model in the first place. The rest of the features are not lacking in anything, with powerful and full sound, flexibility and on a very good price range. BEYERDYNAMIC DT-770 PRO 80OHM is also available with full-sized PRO case for easy transportation with just a few extra bucks.
Musicians who use it: Armin van Buuren, Dyro, Pole Folder
3.AKG PRO K702
For the fans of AKG, K702 is a great studio quality pair. You may hesitate because of their open-backed type nature or semi-open as the manufacturer states, but they actually deliver good sound isolation.
The sound quality is awesome with detailed deep punchy bass and plenty of mid-range frequencies. AKG K702 has won plenty of awards for its sound quality and especially for the patented Varimotion two-layer diaphragm for an improved high-frequency range. Quincy Jones characterized its sound as the best he ever heard from studio headphones, which led him later to create a special edition, the AKG Q701. Q701, K701, and K702 are the same sounding and same drivers models.
The built is quite tough, ear-pads are very comfortable and they are also lightweight. K702 might not have rotatable ear-cups but are durable and comfortable for long studio sessions.
conclusion: AKG PRO K702 is a bit bulky and do not rotate or fold for easy transportation, and even if the isolation is sufficient, the closed-back types are a better choice. They are a bit costly, but the sound quality is so good that they definitely deserve your attention and probably a place in your studio. Keep in mind that they also may have a long break-in period around 130+hrs.
SONY MDR-7510 is a very popular classic choice for home recording studios and not only. It’s a very attractive price tag, the well-known name of Sony and the quality features making it a satisfactory set of. If its appearance didn’t discourage you, this quality pair will happily surprise you. Worth mentioning that it’s smaller sibling MDR-7506 is our first pick for the best studio headphones under $100.
The closed-back type offers very good isolation from ambient sounds and even if ear-pads look rather large and do not rotate, in total are very comfortable and quite durable.
A proper sound quality by MDR-7510 with great detail at the bass-end. The mid-range on the other hand, I found a bit of overflow. This is the only negative review you will see in a big number of excellent comments. SONY MDR-7510 is a very popular pair in music studios, radio stations, film production and electronic newsgathering.
conclusion: If you have a limited budget then I highly recommend this pair. It has an excellent sound quality that can be useful in a studio for recording, mixing or mastering. The design doesn’t excite anybody but it has all the important features to get the job done. Is the best value for money pair in our list of the best studio headphones.
Musicians who use it: Mick Jagger, Kaskade, Linkin Park, Paul Van Dyk
5.SENNHEISER HD 600
We will take it up a notch with this professional HiFi studio headphone. The Sennheiser HD600 offer the best sound quality you will find in the market at this price range. With nearly perfect reviews from audio engineers gives no room to doubt. It is an ideal headphone for mixing and mastering in your recording studio.
HD600 with a sophisticated design and elegantly finished in black and gray, offers a luxurious wide range of sounds and full and extended bass. As well as open-sounding highs with plenty of detail. If your pocket can afford an upgrade to HD650 you will exit winners.
This open-back type of headphones does not offer very good isolation from ambient noise. The reason for this is because HD 600 is made to provide better sound and not privacy. Regardless now the comfort they provide is excellent, extremely light-weight and sits very well over the ears with the velour ear-pads.
conclusion: Sennheiser HD600 is the most expensive pair on our list for the best studio headphones. A pair which also does not provide reliable sound isolation compared to the others. Although the sound quality is unbeatable, clear and detailed with tight bass. This pair is ideal for almost all kind of electronic music. If you have the budget and a quiet studio room with no noisy environment, then this is a perfect choice.
Musicians who use it: D.Ramirez, Avicii, Audien, Max Cooper
Investing in a pair of good quality studio headphones is one of the more thoughtful things you can do.
The studio headphones that you will pick is an ultimate personal matter. For example, I cannot work if ambient sounds pass through my headphones. It distracts me and I’m becoming less creative and productive. Therefore isolation is one of my first priorities. Followed by sound quality and comfort.
If isolation is an important factor for you, and you plan to record loud vocals or instruments, closed-back type of headphones should be on your list. If you want to focus more on sound quality go for the open-back type. There many options out there, different brands, features and price tags. That is why we made a list of different products and characteristics that will cover the needs of the most.
Have you found the “ONE” for you?
Do not hesitate to post your comments and questions about the best studio headphones.
If you have found what you are looking for, take a look at what else you will need to start music production today at Build your Home Recording Studio with under $600.