The Best Studio Headphones for Home Recording – Updated in 2019
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 an alpha and the omega for music production. Especially if you tend to work on the road, headphones are essential to listen, mix and master your tracks properly.
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 essential to hear the music 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 record 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 it’s 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 significant 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 decent 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 buying studio headphones for home recording:
As mentioned above the primary 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 splendid 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 good 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 to 20,000 Hz. In the end, the desired sound you want is a personal matter.
Sound isolation is a feature to consider 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 essential 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 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 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 quickly go to Audio Technica ATH-M50X. I 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 are comfortable and stable on your head with 90° swiveling rotatable ear-cups for one-ear monitoring and extra convenient to 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 sturdy.
ATH-M50X has superb sound quality and frequency range. In total offers an excellent flat response but with a small boost on low frequencies that gives deep and punchy bass. As a closed-back type of headphones provides superior isolation from ambient sounds with little sound leakage. The 98 dB sensitivity and maximum input power of 1600mW, may not sound enough for live performances, but for studio monitoring is ideal.
It is Amazon’s choice, best seller and highly rated.
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. Plus, the very affordable price tag. With a few extra bucks you can also get a Slappa full sized hardbody pro headphone case. ATH-M50X comes in 5 different colors to pick between Black, Gun Metal, White, Red, and Blue. However, Black is the standard color of this pair, as the rest will cost you a few extra bucks.
Musicians who use it: Paul McCartney, Hardwell, Kygo, and many more professional music producers and artists.
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, thick 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 wide variety of professions with common loud background noise.
The DT 770 PRO is the perfect tool for studio monitoring, mixing and mastering, as the highly sensitive transducers ensure easily heard full dynamics.
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-M50X and is its durability. I read quite a few reviews from users that saw their soft and adjustable ear-cup gets damaged. Some users 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 it 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 large size and the possible damaged ear-pads caused this model the first place. The rest of the features do not lack in anything, with powerful and full sound, flexibility and on an excellent 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 deliver good sound isolation.
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 like the best he ever heard from studio headphones, which led him later to create a special edition, the AKG Q701. As well as the K701, and K702 are the same sounding and same drivers models.
AKG K702 unique feature is the patented Varimotion two-layer diaphragm for improved high-frequency range and excellent performance at low frequencies. The sound quality is fantastic with detailed deep, punchy bass and plenty of mid-range frequencies.
The built is quite sturdy, ear-pads are very comfortable, and they are also lightweight. K702 might not have rotatable ear-cups but are incredibly 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 trendy, classic choice for home recording studios and not only. It’s a beautiful 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 would 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 excellent isolation from ambient sounds and even if ear-pads look rather large and do not rotate, in total are very comfortable and quite durable. The MDR-7510 offers a proper sound quality with great detail at the bass-end. The mid-range on the other hand, I found a bit of overflow. That is the only negative review you will see in a significant number of excellent comments. SONY MDR-7510 is
A proper sound quality The MDR-7510 with great detail at the bass-end. The mid-range on the other hand, I found a bit of overflow. That is the only negative review you will see in a significant 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 essential features to get the job done. It’s 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. KRK KNS 8400
With over 25 years of experience in studio sound, KRK enters the studio headphone world with their KNS series. You probably are already familiar with the Rokir G3 studio monitor speakers by KRK and their original yellow color woofer – which also feature in our list with the best studio monitor speakers of 2019. Should you expect same sound quality as their monitor speakers? Yes, definitely!
KRK KNS 8400 is closed-back monitor headphones that deliver accurate and natural sound, as it must be heard. The full frequency response offers a silky high end, extended mids and lows that will ensure precise reproduction of sound. The bass frequency reproduces the low end of your music accurately, clearly and without boominess. Users say that they were able to discern the most subtle differences and tiny details of the songs for the first time.
These lightweight and very comfortable headphones are ideal for those long sessions that many producers struggle. The Premium Leatherette, detachable cables, and a volume slider to foldback your headphones contribute to getting the comfort and durability you want from your studio headphones.
Conclusion: KRK managed to create a studio pair with all the necessary features every producer wants in his/her studio. This closed-back type of headphones provide a precise listening experience, with frequency range at 5Hz – 23kHz (not ideal for DJing) and 124 dB maximum SPL. All that in a comfortable and most importantly very affordable studio headphone by KRK.
6. SHURE SRH840
Shure is another well-known company among producers for their high-quality audio equipment. SRH 840 is a professional monitoring headphone for studio recording, mixing and mastering your tracks.
This over-ear type of headphones delivers precise frequency response with fat bass, clear mid-range and extended highs. The overall sound is rich and flat and will cover the needs of most music producers in the studio.
As a closed-back type, it offers decent sound isolation. However, if you are looking to block out any ambient sounds completely, I would suggest you go for a pair with bigger ear-cups than this. Small ear-cups, on the other hand, will provide you comfort for long hour studio sessions. Except for some normal wear on the headband, after many years of use, SRH840 is relatively durable.
Conclusion: Shure SRH840 weights less than 2 pounds, making it one of the lightest studio pairs out there. It does not offer any fantastic features, but its entirely quality, functions, and appearance are above average. If you like this option but cannot afford it, take a look at the Shure SRH440. You will also find it in our list with the best studio headphones under $100.
7.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, 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 splendid 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: In general, we like affordable studio tools, because let’s face it, we may break them, lose them or at some point want to upgrade to something better. However, 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 priorities, followed by sound quality and comfort. If isolation is an essential 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 for you to choose. 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.