The Best Studio Headphones under $100 – UPDATED 2018
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 a pair of good quality 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 your home recording studio.
For those with a limited budget that hardly exceeds the $100, we found the best quality pair of headphones that will get the job done. Most of the models we picked here are smaller siblings of the pair on tour list of the best studio headphones.
If you came to this article from “the best studio headphones” post then you already have a general idea what to look for.
What to look for when you buy studio headphones
So, you have decided to start 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 balanced frequency response. Those are the basics to take a good look at. In addition, some producers find durability and portability to be important factors for your choice.
- Durability: Durability is something you should look for, unless you are planning to buy a pair of headphones every couple of years. The build-quality and a detachable coiled cable are very helpful features and will drop the chances for looking for a replacement pair in the near future.
- Portability: If you are planning to travel your studio a lot or produce music on the road, portability is a feature that should effect your decision. A detachable coiled cable and 90 degree rotable ear-cups will offer the easy transportation you always wanted.
- Comfort: It is important to wear headphones with 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, thr weight of thepair 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. From the other hand an open-back type won’t provide such a good isolation but it will offer better sound quality.
- Frequency response: The most important 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 it’s natural state with FLAT and balanced frequency response.
Will you find all the above with a budget of $100?
After looking at couple of dozens different headphones in the under $100 budget, i’m positive 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 below are studio quality headphones that can properly stand in any home recording studio. So here are the best of the best studio quality headphones you can not afford to miss.
5 BEST STUDIO HEADPHONES UNDER $100
1.SONY MDR 7506
SONY MDR 7506 is a studio standard headphone with thousands of nearly perfect reviews and also best seller at Amazon store. Since 1999 this pair has dominate 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 is a reason so many musicians have used this pair of headphones.
The small brother of MDR 7510, might have outdate looks but it’s a pro pair used by legends in music industry (Mick Jagger, Linkin Park, Paul Van Dyk and more). With a nice detailed sound quality and a flat frequency response this pair is good for any studio.
This closed-back type headphone offers ideal isolation, along with an excellent build-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 on your ears. They are oval and equipped with lush ear-pads, as well as, the back side of the earcups has metal reinforcements to handle regular abuse. It also folds up for easy storage and travel in it’s provided soft case.
conclusion: SONY MDR 7506 is a solid pair of headphones,exactly what you need if you just start music production and you have a limited budget. If you are not conviced yet visit Amazon.com store and you will be surprised of the amount of excellent reviews. Consists a great headphone worth the first choice 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 most popular series of studio headphones for electronic music producers is the ATH-M by Audio Technica. I personally own the ATH-M50X but you can’t go wrong with any of those models (ATH-M30X/M40X/M50X/M70X).
Audio Technica ATH-M40X is a closed back pair that offers good isolation from ambient sounds and a nice flat frequency response. The bass is heavy -exactly what an electronic producer needs- and the mids and highs are clear and dynamic. However, it needs 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 favourite and first choice of our list Sony 7506.
Does it get any better?
One more good feature on this pair are the comfort, soft and plush ear-cups lined with synthetic leather. Furthermore, they are 90 degrees rotable which helps for packaging and transferring.
It might look a bit bulky, like all the models, but in fact it is very comfortable and the built quality is durable with excellent materials. The cable is removable which will provide easy and cheap replace in case of an accident. The end result is a set of headphones that offers optimal performance for the money, all while looking like something that costs at least twice as much than they really do
conclusion: ATH-M40X is probably the “best value for money” option out there. The sound quality is very good (very close to ATH-M50X), the isolation is outstanding and available in a good price, certainly good enough reasons to go for it. Except your studio, this pair can 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.
The most affordable pair of headphones in our list comes from AKG. I will also add with the most nice appearance and design compare to the rest. The simple but classy structure, along with the golden highlights on a black exterior, make sit a unique option.
AKG K-240 is semi-open type of headphone that offers not a good isolation compare to a closed-back type. However on this pair you will find a tonal excellence with higher frequencies than the MDR 7506. The sound quality is powerful with accurate response at any listening level and thats because of AKG’s varimotion technology. The bass is heavy but accurate. Along with the detailed mids and highs, that will show AKG’s true character.
Regardless the comfort K-240 provides, you will be satisfied with big ear-cups that will fit perfectly around your ear with very good 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 also 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 also collect some complains concerning the built quality and durability. However you get sound quality impossible to find in this price range.
4.SHURE SRH 440
Another well known name in the audio gear business is Shure. This classic 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 it’s isolation to external sounds. As a closed-back type of headphones, it offers superior isolation in noisy environments. Even if Shure creates excellent quality pairs that ensures a 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.In addition, it features a foldable design for easy transportation to take anywhere.
SRH 440 offers great sound quality, overall flat, and clean, with deep punchy bass and clear and detailed the mids. 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.
5.SENNHEISER HD 280 PRO
Sennheiser is a very popular brand when you talk about headphones. With years of experience, they have built a classic designed studio quality pair that is highly durable and according to user reviews, it can last for over 10 years. There are still a few affordable pairs but the HD 280 is right in our budget and ideal to close our list.
Sennheiser HD 280 PRO is not only for studio work but live performances and DJing as well. This is due to the extended frequency response with sound pressure exceeding 100 decibels. The bass is heavy, clear with flat gain and acceptable the mids and high frequencies. HD 280 PRO is also popular among electronic producers, dj’s and drummers because of it’s bass response.
This closed-back pair offer very good isolation from external sounds and is also designed to offer coziness to listeners for many hours. The soft cushioned ear-pads helps also achieve great comfort. You can use the pir 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 it’s finest 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 it’s built-quality, the very good isolation and price range. This pair can stand in any recording studio for many years.
Did we help you choose your next pair of studio headphones?
Many beginners believe that you have to start with expensive an expensive set of headphones. Well if you can afford it then why not. But we strongly believe 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.
If you liked the article and believe that will help others make a good choice. then consider letting your friends know about it.
What you will need to complete your home recording studio you will find it at Build your home recording studio with less than $600.