Best  Studio Headphones 2017 - Buyer's Guide

If you’re just starting out in this ‘’Home Studio Recording’’ thing, the term Studio Headphones may get your head spinning. You’ll probably wonder what difference there’re between these models and your casual gaming or music headsets and what are the best studio headphones.

Well, to put it plain and simple, there exists a huge difference between these sound accessories. This means that your casual Beats by Dre just won’t cut it here regardless of how far they throw your socks off.

In the same way that you can’t rely on your home speakers for professional sound monitoring, so shouldn’t you depend on your regular pair of headphones. Why?

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The answer is quite simple and straightforward… your standard headphones are designed to add some sexy enhancements to any soundtrack that goes through them. Now, this is the exact reason why professional sound engineers and artists steer away from them.

And so should you!

You need a pair that remains true to your real sounds and mixes, no matter how awful they seem. An ideal studio headphone should offer flat frequency response. It shouldn’t artificially boost the bass or treble.

That’s the only way that you’ll be able to correct your tracks and make them sound good in other people’s headphones and loudspeakers.

So, here is a list of our best studio headphones accompanied by some of the critical features that make a good pair.

We only selected headphones from brands you can count on for quality products and excellent customer service.

Our top picks are mix of price, style and users. We have picked some of the best headphones for beginners and professionals​. If you are on budget we've selected headphones under $200, $100, and $50.

10. Shure SRH840 ReviewProfessional Studio Headphones

Shure SRH840 starts us off in our search for the best studio headphones under $200. While these headphones may not be affordable to everyone, they have been purposely designed for professional musicians and audio engineers.

What makes this pair a solid competitor in this field is the fact that it comes from a reputable brand. This isn’t a convincing reason to fall for this model, though. So, why is SRH840 really worth the mention? We’ll soon find out.

Shure Audio has been in this business since 1925. This manufacturer is popularly known for its microphones and boasts several firsts in this department.

For instance, its model 55 Unidyne Microphone was the world’s first single-element unidirectional microphone. Shure is also known to have surprised performers with the first wireless mic- the Vagabond- that offered an extended wireless range of up to 700ft.

As we found out, this manufacturer isn’t only good in microphones, but in quality studio headphones too. Following is Shure SRH840 review

Features Highlight

  • Closed back
  • 9.8ft coiled cable (detachable and replaceable, OFC)
  • 5 Hz- 25 kHz Frequency response
  • Impedance: 44 ohm
  • Adjustable and collapsible headband
  • 40mm Neodymium driver
  • Circumaural design for reduced background noise
  • Connector: Gold-plated 1/8" stereo mini jack plug with 1/4" threaded adapter

Construction and Design

As pricey as this model is, it boasts a superior design that’s only synonymous with high-end headphones. It’s made of quality plastics and feels solid and sturdy. This pair has also been made to look good on you while still being comfortable.

It’s fitted with a generously padded headband that allows you to have the cans on for a pretty long time without being overly uncomfortable. The headband is also adjustable and will, therefore, fit on any artist’s head. Besides being comfortable, this headphone also collapses easily making it easy to take the gear with you.

These headphones’ comfort level is then accentuated by its memory-foam ear-cup pads that fit snugly around your ears. Another plus with this model is its 9.8ft cable that allows you incredible freedom within your studio as you do your thing. Amazingly, the earpads and cable are both detachable and replaceable. Needless to say, this is an excellent feature since you won’t be shopping for another pair any time soon.

The hallmark of a professional set of headphones is determined by its real-time performance. This takes us to our next section…

Performance and ease of use

As I’ve just pointed out, Shure SHR840 is a professional artist’s thing meant for accurate listening. It boasts a closed-back design which results in minimal bleeding and superior isolation if you’re working in a noisy environment. It’s again fitted with an ultra-wide- 40mm- neodymium driver. This component allows you to listen to yourself accurately as you make your music.

Its performance is made even better by its precisely tailored 5Hz-25 kHz frequency response that offers a clean natural sound with a rich bass, superb mids, and extended highs. This model also has a high impedance of 44 ohms. This allows you to work with a wide range of audio equipment with either high or low amplification without the risk of burning your headphones out.

Here’s a shot of some of its unique features you might be interested in

What users say about this studio headphone

A 4.5 out of 5 star-rating on Amazon is a clear indication that SHR840 has what artists need for professional and home-based studios. Most reviewers appreciate this model’s sound clarity and its wide frequency response. Its strong yet bearable bass was also highly-favored by most reviewers alongside its midrange and comfortable treble.

Pros

  • Legendary durability
  • Replacement ear pads and cable
  • Closed back for superior noise isolation
  • Impressive look and design

Cons

  • The only downside with the studio headphones is that they are pricier. But they are worth every penny.



Verdict

Though pricey, these Shures are much more worth than their price tag. Its wide driver and precisely tailored frequency allow you to use them on a wide range of audio gear. Their sturdy construction coupled by the replaceable cable and ear pads point out that you’ll be having this pair for a long time.

However, it’s safe to inform you that these aren’t so good for public use given their bulk design and weight. Don’t get that wrong, though. You can still have them on if you don’t mind that strange look.

9. LyxPro HAS-10 - Cheap Studio Headphone for Mixing

We surely love LyxPro’s HAS-10 model. This is a high-end studio unit coming at an unimaginable price tag. We love that it’s almost 6 times cheaper than SHR840 but still competes favorably regarding performance, durability, and comfort.

In fact, our testers felt that this pair is more comfortable compared to Shure. It also blows the former out of the water with its superior construction and state-of-the-art features.

For your information, LyxPro isn’t a name you’re likely to come across when discussing these studio necessities not unless you’re an audiophile who’s always on the lookout for the next big thing in town.

LyxPro may not boast much in terms of existence in the market since the brand was launched just 4 years ago.

The manufacturer’s passion for high quality yet affordable audio gear has secured it a slot amongst the most reputable brands in this niche today.

So, what makes HAS-10 a safer bet when you’re strapped for cash?

Features Highlight

  • 45mm Neodymium drivers
  • Closed cavity structure for reduced bleeding
  • Aluminum ear shells
  • Telescopic arms with sizing scales
  • Memory foam-padded 1800-rotatable ear cups
  • Single ear listening capability
  • Steel skeleton for flexibility and durability
  • Leather headband
  • Impedance: 40 ohms
  • Max. Power: 1800mW
  • Connectors: 3.5mm, 6.3mm

Construction and Design

One look at this model and you’ll have to confirm its price again. It’s easy (and quite understandable) for a manufacturer to overlook the aesthetics department of a lowly-priced unit especially if performance is on the high end. However, LyxPro is exceptional in that.

HAS-10 has it all regarding aesthetics and performance. Its sleek all-black finish with LyxPro’s logo on the ear cups gives it a decent next-generation appearance.

The over-ear shells are made of sturdy aluminum that contributes to this headphone’s lightweight design. The shells are then filled with comfortable leather ear pads. To your delight, these ear cups are 1800-rotatable for a personalized fit. The cups are again mounted on telescoping arms with engraved sizing scale for hours of comfort in the studio. Notably, the are pivoted arms allow one-ear listening.

This pair’s stainless steel skeleton with a professionally stitched leather headband is also worth mentioning. The steel frame offers years of usage while the headband contributes to these headphones’ unbeatable comfort levels.

Moreover, HAS-10’s 3-meter cable allows you to reign in your studio without tangling.

These headphones also have more to offer in terms of performance…

Performance and ease of use

These headphones flaunt several smart features that offer blissful recording sessions. They are fitted with 45mm neodymium drivers which are doubtlessly larger than those in SHR840. This magnet system coupled with 40 ohms impedance makes these headphones reliable for your vocals and instruments.

Its 10Hz ‒ 26 kHz frequency range and 1800mW maximum power allow you to mix, monitor, and listen to your music in its most natural, honest, and clean representation.

Since they are created for accurate monitoring, their closed-back design is worth noting. It has been precisely crafted to allow almost zero bleeding and reduced external noise interference. Notably, this design may get your ear warm and sweaty if worn for a long time. However, be assured that it won’t be uncomfortable at all.

Users opinions about this studio headphone

This pair of headphones has received tons of positive reviews from its past users. Most buyers were amazed by its sound quality which is way beyond its price range. This can be well seen in the stellar 4.5/5 star rating that the pair had received at the time of writing this.

Pros

  • Budget friendly price
  • Telescopic arm and rotatable ear cup for a personalized fitting
  • Newly designed 45mm drivers
  • Long cable
  • From a reputable brand

Cons

  • Not foldable
  • The carrying case is sold separately





Verdict

We highly recommend these headphones if you’re looking to improve your mixes without spending much. We appreciated the comfortable memory foam and leather on the headband and ear pads which allow prolonged used. It’s true that these headphones’ sound quality may not equal the highly-priced units. However, be assured that they are amongst the best studio mixing headphones you can get below 50 bucks.

Having reviewed the closed-design headphones in our first 2 models, our next studio headphones have something different for you. Read on

8. Samson SR850 Review - Another Legendary Studio Headphone under 50 Bucks

If you’re just starting out in home studio recording, Samson is a reliable brand for quality, inexpensive audio accessories.

Their BT5 Studio Monitors reviewed in our article on the Best Studio Monitors 2017 are amongst the best performing models you can go for today.

Samson is a New York-based manufacturer that began in 1980. Over the last 3 decades, the brand has diversified its reach in professional audio and currently has its footprints in over 140 countries worldwide.

It also boasts over 250 audio products to its name with several firsts, for instance, their professional USB Microphone.

Without further ado, let’s see what Samson SR850 has for you.

Too much praise for Samson. Let’s dive into the real thing.

Features Highlight

  • Over-ear design
  • 50mm drivers
  • 10Hz-30 kHz frequency response for a wide dynamic range
  • 32 Ohm impedance
  • Self-adjusting headband
  • Connectivity: 1/8’’ to ¼’’ gold-plated adapter included

Construction and Design

OK, first things first. These headphones aren’t the best in terms of aesthetics though not the worst either. As such, you’ll want to use them in your studio but not in trains, buses, and airplanes. But don’t get me wrong. They are still an ideal choice if you like maintaining a low profile as you commute.

One thing that helps this pair edge out the competition is its self-adjusting plastic headband. This is a guarantee that the headphones will remain comfortable over prolonged listening period without being so tight or causing unbearable pressure which may cause headaches in the long-run. In case you’re wondering, you’ll still be able to wear them over your glasses with any discomforts.

As I hinted before, SR850 also has a different back structure compared to our first 2 models. This one features a semi-closed design that allows incredible noise isolation while still enabling you to hear what’s going on around you. It’s, therefore, a great option if you need a great pair for vocals and near-perfect critical listening.

This pair also beats the previous headphones with the size of its magnet drivers-50mm. You’ll also benefit from its 2m cable that lets you move around your working table with much ease and freedom.

Next is the juicy part…

Performance and ease of use

SR850’s 50mm drivers and wide frequency response of 10 Hz-30 kHz allow you to listen or doctor almost any music that comes your way. Its 32 Ohm impedance, on the other hand, makes it easy to use the headphones in almost any audio playing device without frying its drivers.

During our tests, these headphones amazed us with their hefty low end which responds quite well up to the 20Hz mark. We only experienced a mild bump in its mid bass which seemed to fade away slowly after some burn-in.

Its mids were smooth and unbelievably clear for its price and compared almost to that of Shure SHR840 but not better than Samson’s. Its highs are also insanely fantastic and remain highly detailed and transparent across all genres.

What users say about this studio headphone

A 4.6/5-star rating is a simple and dependable way of telling how good its past users found this pair. With over 70% (when writing this) of its buyers giving it a clean 5/5 rating, it’s doubtless that you’ll be getting more than you paid for here.

Pros

  • Self adjusting headband
  • High-frequency response
  • Dynamic 50mm drivers

Cons

  • Not good when on the go



Verdict

If you’re hunting for a safe bet in best budget studio headphones for editing, mixing, and mastering, you have our word on this model. It costs less than 40 dollars on Amazon and 50-60 bucks from other retailers. There’s no doubt that the headphones will fit on your head given their self-adjusting headband.

The only tradeoff that we experienced with this brand is its ‘microphonic’ body that tends to cause some noise as you move around. However, that can also be attributed to its open-back design.

Our next pair comes from a manufacturer that deals solely with microphone and headset gear technology. So, be ready to be impressed.

7. Sennheiser HD 2011 Review– One of the best cheap studio headphones

Sennheiser is amongst the big giants in this niche. Established in 1945 in Germany, this producer has made major advances in this market supplying not only the general public but also the law enforcement force with both wired and wireless communication accessories.

HD 201 isn’t Sennheiser’s latest model, and neither is it the most advanced in its legendary line of professional studio headphones. You’ll be surprised to find out that this set has been on the market for over 10 years now.

How it has been able to withstand the cut-throat headphone competition is heroic given its simplicity. It’s also true that Sennheiser has delivered several other improved models all along.

So, why did we choose to cover the ‘cheap’ HD 201? The reason is simple. This is an affordable model that’s able to deliver professional quality studio without feeling cheap. But there’s more than that.

Here is ​Sennheiser HD 201 review

Features Highlight

  • Over the ear design
  • Closed ear cup
  • 21Hz- 21kHz frequency response
  • Hypoallergenic pads
  • Transducer principle: dynamic
  • Impedance: 24 Ohms
  • Ear coupling: Circumaural
  • Connectivity: 1/8" plug with 1/4" adapter included

Construction and Design

HD 201’s aesthetic design isn’t the type that gets you hunting for the ‘Add to tray’ button. However, it’s arguably far much better than what Samson SR850 has to offer. It’s, therefore, a great option if you need a pair that you can use in your home-based studio or on the road.

These headphones come fitted with a dynamic transducer and have a circumaural ear design. The ear cups have a hypoallergenic padding that aims at offering you with long and comfortable deejay-ing and listening sessions. They feature a closed-back that provides a good attenuation of ambient noise. This closed design prevents bleeding which makes this a great option if you need affordable recording headphones.

HD 201 is made of plastic. I don’t mean the cheap easily-breakable stuff but the kind synonymous to airplane headsets. Consequently, you can expect it to take a beating for some years before hunting for a new pair.

Performance and ease of use

This model has a frequency response range of 21-18,000 Hz. Though they lack in boomy bass and won’t blow you off as such, you’ll still be able to grasp a fairly detailed picture from their performance. On the other hand, the highs aren’t as explicit as that in high-end gear. However, it’s not so raspy to the extent of making it hard to capture what’s going on. The midrange is also fairly good and direct to let you do your thing without much guesswork.

Ratings for this studio headphone

Sennheiser HD 201 reviews were significantly lower star rating compared to the previous models that we’ve seen above. However, 4.1/5 is still remarkable and translates to performance and acceptance. Despite being cheap, its users felt that this pair offered enough comfort and sound quality for its price. Most Sennheiser HD 201 reviews indicate that this is a perfect replacement of high end headphones.

Pros

  • Good quality at a budget friendly price
  • A well padded ear cup and headband
  • Reputable brand
  • Superior comfort

Cons

  •  Not the best for professionals




Verdict

Frankly, we didn’t expect much from a pair of headset way below 40 bucks. However, we were pleasantly surprised by what this pair could deliver. Obviously, we may not compare it with the overpriced Shure SRH840.

However, if you don’t have much to spend on a pair of high-end audio gear, HD 201 offers lovable sound and enough level of comfort.

Our next option is a slightly pricier than the last 2 and a safer bet if you’re graduating to the higher-end models. I give you…

6. AKG K 240 Review Best Semi-open Studio Headphone Under 100

AKG K240 is a hybrid of closed and open back models. As such, it’s an ideal option if you just have enough cash to spend on a pair of headphones that you’ll use for precision mixing and recording purposes.

Ever heard of AKG before? This company was established in Vienna in 1947 by 2 Viennese. It originally dealt with microphones and film projectors for use in cinema halls.

With time, it expanded its reach to microphones and brought world’s first dynamic cardioids microphone which would later be the best in recording studios and radio stations globally.

Today, AKG is a renowned manufacturer in the world of pro sound and audio with most of its sound gear being used not only by artists but also in the aviation world.

Here is ​AKG K 240 review

AKG K240 cans are amongst the best pair that you’ll find in this producer’s series of headphones. While it isn’t the latest model, this set has almost everything you’d think of in a midrange pair of headphones including a wider frequency range, diverse connectivity, and advanced comfort levels. We’ll unearth more about these later. First…

Features Highlight

  • Circumaural (over-ear) design
  • 30mm transducer
  • 3m one-sided cable
  • Self-adjusting headband
  • Semi-open technology
  • Connectivity: 1/8" to 1/4" stereo jack adapter
  • Frequency response: 15Hz- 25kHz
  • Impedance: 55 ohms

Construction and Design

These headphones boast a badass design derived from their retro look and modern construction. They feature black and gold color scheme that has been carried across generations since their invention in the 1970s.

The pair has an over-ear build design which offers high wearing comfort allowing you to have them on for prolonged sessions. They also have large semi-open ear cups made of hard plastic. The ear cups are large enough to envelop the ear. As such, they don’t exert direct pressure to the ear which would create warmth and discomforts.

K240 also employ 2 30 mm XXL transducers and have a wider frequency range of 15 to 25000 Hz, maximum input power of 200Mw and 55 ohms impedance.

It also has a self-adjusting leather strap similar to that of Samson SR850. It offers a comfortable fit each time you have the earphones over your head and doesn’t require regular adjustments.

Performance and ease of use

K240 is equipped with a 3m replaceable OFC cable. This cable is single sided and, therefore eliminates all tangling associated with the Y-style cords. The cable has a plug-in design with gold-plated ends on either side.

Let’s talk about sound quality

These headphones are designed to offer near-field sound qualities similar to the famous AKG K 240 Studio Monitors. Though it may not exactly equal that of the studio monitors, the XXL transducers coupled with the acoustically-tuned circumaural design offer neutral and uncolored sound qualities.

The bass is smooth and articulate and has a low-end punch while the mids and highs remain crisp and clean across all frequencies.

User's feelings for this pair of studio headphone

K240’s great sound with no overhyped frequencies makes it an all-time favorite for many artists out there. It garnered an incredible 4.3/5 star rating from its close to 1000 reviewers. Its high levels of comfort, rugged construction, and fantastic sound quality are some of the great attributes that featured highly in the reviews sections.

Pros

  • Great flat sounds
  • Ideal for portable audio
  • Has detachable and replaceable cable
  • Reputable brand

Cons

  • Isolated complaints of the cable quality




Verdict

AKG K240 is a commendable pair if you’re on a tight budget. It’s not as pricey as the $200 models but sounds just as good. We love its flat reproduction with no gimmicks whatsoever. Even better, it’s ideal if you need something you can use on the go since it’s lightweight and allows multiple connections.

Do you feel that you’ve saved enough for a model that’s slightly on the higher end? Meet…

5. Senheiser HD 598 Review Best Studio Headphone under 200

Remember Sennheiser’s inexpensive HD 201 that we covered before? Here is its one of its legendary siblings which is almost 5 folds pricier for a couple of reasons.

Frankly put, anyone willing to spend over 150 bucks must have a multitude of expectations from a pair of headphones. To offer real value for the money, the set needs to be not only beautifully voiced but also insanely eye-catching and comfortable.

I think Sennheiser HD 598 strikes a darn near-perfect balance of all these attributes. Let’s see how.

Here is Sennheiser HD 598 review



Features Highlight

  • Detachable cable
  • • True-leather coated headband
  • Over the ear design
  • 40mm driver
  • Frequency: 12Hz - 38.5kHz
  • Open back
  • Impedance: 50 ohms
  • Weight: 0.6lbs

Construction and Design

HD 598 has arguably the best eye-catching looks compared to other units we have on this list. In fact, its style stands out from its other siblings beating even the recent and priciest HD 800.

Though the materials used in these cans’ construction are more similar to those used in its brothers’, its cream and brown color scheme gives it a superior edge from the routine black and gray.

These headphones main structure is hard plastic. The headband is luxuriously stuffed with foam engraved in real leather. Notably, the use of real leather in this model is worth the mention considering that the cheap pleather material employed in Sennheiser’s more affordable units.

The ear cups are rust brown in color and are noticeably super comfortable. Uniquely, these cups don’t pinch or exert too much pressure on your skin. Simply put, they won’t cause any sweating and can, therefore, be worn all day and all night.

At the back of these cups, HD 598 flaunts an open design with a metal grill cover. Their style is then complemented by the high-gloss real burl wood accent surrounding the exterior grill and on the headband.

These headphones also have a removable one-sided cable with a twist-to-lock mechanism that enables it to stay put without pulling off from the main unit.

Performance and ease of use

HD 598 aims at meeting all its users’ needs. Whether you’re a DJ, artist, or a music/movie/game lover, you’ll be glad to realize that this set is compatible with almost any audio device. It also ships with a long cable for all your studio or gaming needs.

The 3m cable may be too long for use on the streets. Luckily, it’s easily detachable and replaceable to a cord with your convenient length. It’s also lightweight at 0.6lbs.

Amazingly, these headphones also pack a punch in sound quality. They are supplied with 40mm drivers and have a frequency response of 12Hz - 38.5kHz and 50 ohms impedance. Their open design offers you an irresistible ‘’in room’’ soundstage that makes creates a feeling that the music is coming from all over the room. This is made even better by the Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement technology used in the ear cups that channels the audio right into your ears while minimizing resonant frequencies.

Sennheiser has a knack of being not so good with their bass. However, you still get enough amounts, so your hits don’t sound soulless. Other than that, the mids and highs are consistent and well balanced.

What users say about these headphones

Sennheiser HD 598 boasts over 3000 reviews. Of these, they flaunt an impeccable 4.6/5 star rating which is exceptionally amazing given their high price. Most of its users pointed out that this pair had not only an amazing design but superior sound too.

Pros

  • Impressive design
  • Superior sound and good bass
  • Detachable cord
  • From a reputable brand

Cons

  • A volume adjustment knob would be welcome




Verdict

If you feel that you’re ready to venture into high-end models with quality sounds for your studio, HD 598 can never be a wrong bet. These headphones have a rich sound and are also aesthetically pleasing. To your delight, they are packaged with a long cable that can be replaced for on-road use. They are also compatible with a wide range of audio devices.

A great option to this pair could be the ATH-M50x, a few bucks cheaper and arguably better…

4. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Review- Professional, Budget Friendly Studio Headphone

Ask me about the best budget professional monitoring headphones and these tanks will always come out first. Not because my all-time personal favorite active monitoring speakers are from this brand too, but because of their advanced build quality and excellent sound engineering.

This headset comes from a Japan-based company established in 1962. Audio Technica is a globally reputable brand whose headgear and microphone systems have been utilized in Common Wealth Games and World Cup Soccer. A-T technologies and audio accessories have also been used in several USA presidential debates since 1988.

With that, let’s move on to Audio-Technica ATH-M50x review

Features Highlight

  • 3 cables included (1 3.0 coiled cable and 2 shorter versions)
  • Detachable cables
  • 900-swivelling ear cups for storability and portability
  • 45mm driver
  • Frequency response: 15-28,000Hz
  • Impedance: 38 ohms
  • Professional grade construction

Construction and Design

In an era where headphones are now a fashion statement, it’s quite impressive that ATH-M50x isn’t left out. Though the pair has nothing much to boast over others in this list, we like that you can use these cans virtually anywhere without receiving those weird looks.

This pair has a closed back design with excellent sound isolation required for critical listening, and audio monitoring and mixing. It also features a robust construction with a professional-grade headband and nicely-padded ear cups for advanced comforts and durability.

A unique feature with this set is its 900-swiveling ear cups that allow one-ear listening. The headphones are also collapsible for space-saving purposes.

Comparing this pair to its M30x and M40x predecessors, you’ll realize that M50x has a larger driver (45mm), a wider frequency response (15Hz-28kHz), a lower impedance 38 ohms, and higher maximum input power 1600mW.

Another remarkable feature with this model is its 3.0m detachable cable. In fact, this M50x ships with 2 extra cables which are slightly shorter and perfect for anywhere use.

Performance and ease of use

If sound quality matters to you, then you need to give these bad boys a try. The fact that they ship with 3 cables geared towards different audio devices makes it a go-to choice for everyone.

The earpads may feel somewhat uncomfortable for the first few days but will be super comfy after that. All its ranges sound sweet, crisp, and clear. In particularly, the bass is full and superbly powerful across all volume levels. The lows tend to be a little punchy though the overall sound quality never gets distracted.

What are users saying about this studio headphone

This set has amongst the highest number of reviewers on Amazon heading to 4000. It also has a high 4.6/5 star rating which is quite enough to prove that this was a hands-down pair for its past users.

Pros

  • Clean and crisp sound quality
  • Collapses to save space
  • Comes with 3 detachable cables
  • From a reputable brand

Cons

  • These studio headphones are bulky




Verdict

M50x turned out to be a reliable bet for artists, musicians, and Deejays caught between budget and wish for nothing less than perfection. Though slightly heavier than most models here, that’s quite understandable given the premium accessories used in this tank. They are currently the best headphones that almost any studio enthusiast is raving about and will soon blow their predecessor ATH M50 out of the water in terms of reviews.

If you need something more phenomenal and dynamic for your professional studio, check this one out…

3.Beyerdynamic DT-990-Pro-250 ReviewProfessional Open-back Monitoring Headphones

Beyerdynamic is considered slightly superior to the M50x. This can be attributed to the claim that most of Beyerdynamic's products are mostly built by hand.

Again, this Germany-based manufacturer stresses that its products and technologies are designed and crafted in its facilities rather than being outsourced from third parties.

Whether that is true or not, all we know is that DT-990-Pro-250 is a fantastic and a stellar choice in the audio world. It has been in this manufacturer’s catalog for over 30 years now and continues to be a #1 choice for professional sound engineers.

Here is Beyerdynamic DT-990-Pro-250 review



Features Highlight

  • Open back
  • Single-sided cable
  • Replaceable ear cushions
  • Gold-plated mini jack &1/4" adapter
  • Power handling capacity: 100 mW
  • Frequency response: 5 - 35,000 Hz
  • Impedance: 250 ohms
  • Spring-padded steel headband

Construction and Design

These headphones are open contenders given their open back. As such, your audios will spill out to others if you plan to have them in public. They have a simple design which isn’t so classic or youthful. However, they don’t feel or look cheap.

This model also boasts over-ear design with heavily padded cups that remain comfortable on your ears. They 2 cups are again connected with a wire. This differs from M50x in that the cable isn’t detachable. The cups are then attached to the headband with a robust plastic material.

The headband is metallic and has also been padded to make it soft and comfy. The metallic headband is a guarantee that it won’t snap any time soon.

Performance and ease of use

This is where DT-990 beat M50x like crazy. These headphones are fitted with dynamic transducers and have a wider frequency response range of 5-35,000 Hz which is, with no doubts, greater than what M50x offers.

They also boast higher impedance at 250 ohms which is also several folds greater than M50x’s 38 ohms. As such, they are great-sounding and can be used with a wide range of audio devices. However, do know that they also require more power.

This pair has a flat frequency response with extremely low distortion. You’ll also enjoy its excellent soundstage which makes it great for movies and music listening. Their wide frequency range is also a nice addition if you need a pair for critical listening, sound tracking, and mixing.

What users say about this studio headphones

If previous users’ star rating is worth going by, then these headphones’ 4.5/5 is quite enough to get anyone off the fence about buying them.

However, some users also reported that this pair caused listener’s fatigue. In my opinion, this isn’t avoidable given the overemphasized treble response and boomy bass. However, you may opt to keep the volume low if you intend to use them over a prolonged period.

Pros

  • Built to last
  • Impressive look
  • From a reputable brand
  • Compatible with a wide-range
  • From a reputable brand

Cons

  • May require an amp
  • Has a boosted bass, which some users don't appreciate



Verdict

Beyerdynamic DT-990-Pro-250 is amongst the most reputable open-back headphones on the market today. It’s a great choice that can be used for virtually any audio activity. Though open-backed, its dynamic transducers and wide frequency response make it ideal for critical listening too.

We love that it’s tough and well built and should, therefore, serve in your studio for some years.

2. Sony MDRV6 ReviewAnother Great Studio Headphone Under 100

I doubt anyone Sony requires an introduction. Not when we’ve all grown around a plethora of electronic devices from this manufacturer.

Sony is brand that has grown to a market leader when it comes to electronics. When it comes to studio headphones, they have some of the best studio headphones in the market.

Sony MDRV6 is another fantastic pair of headphones for the entry-level amateurs as well as professionals looking for a replacement pair.

They are way cheaper than what Sony is known for. But they also have that no-nonsense look that you’d require for a near-professional pair.

Features Highlight

  • 10ft single-sided cord
  • Collapsible mechanism
  • Wide, adjustable, and nicely padded headband
  • Drivers: Neodymium
  • Frequency Response: 5Hz– 30,000 Hz
  • Impedance: 63 ohms
  • Closed back design

Construction and Design

MDRV6 has nothing much to show off in terms of aesthetics. They don’t look old-school, and neither are they too flashy compared to today’s statement headphones. Their low-profile design has been maintained around their original design of the 1980s but with some slight changes.

This headset has a closed-back design, so not much sound goes to your neighbors. The headband collapses easily allowing you to fold the headphones into a compact package. It’s also notably wide and padded and helps in distributing the headset’s weight across your head.

Its skeletal structure features lightweight aluminum. Consequently, you’ll be amazed to see your pair withstand constant abuse for several decades.

Performance and ease of use

These cans come fitted with a 10ft long thick cord. You may not fancy taking them to the streets especially given that the cable is built-in not detachable. This cable features a 1/8’’ plug at one side. It also ships with a ¼’’ adapter to allow you a greater convenience with audio devices.

For the DJ who is always on the road, a faux leather carrying pouch is included in the package to help you store your headphones easily as you move.

Sony MDRV6 also has slightly impressive specs for the entry-level users. Its 5Hz - 30,000Hz frequency response, for instance, is a good thing that will offer great sound across all music genres. Its 63 ohms impedance and 106dB/mW provides a good punchy bass at the lower end. Its detailed and textured mids and highs also make these headphones worthy listening to.

What users say about these headphones

This headphone appears to be an all-time fantastic option for the audiophiles. It was rated 4.6 out of 5 stars and had received numerous positive reviews from its over 2,600 reviewers when writing this.

Pros

  • Impressive durability
  • Budget friendly
  • High quallity
  • From a reputable brand
  • Impressive closed-back design

Cons

  • Lacks in impact and quantity





Verdict

Sony MDRV6 have been around for quite some time and are here to stay. They are doubtlessly the best studio headphones if you need a sturdy pair under $100. Their closed-back design allows you to use them in a noisy environment since they have good blocking capabilities. Finally, they are durable and know how to take quite a beating.

1. Sony MDR7506 Studio HeadphonesOur Best Studio Headphone 2017

Our top choice is a pair that CNET and Head-Fi readers and Amazon customers swear by. Like its bro MDRV6, Sony MDR7506 has been around forever and seems to last forever too.

This set is comfortable and budget friendly. It should, therefore, top your list if you need a pair of best studio headphone for mixing without breaking the bank.

Below is Sony MDR7506 Professional review and why we feel this is a great studio headphone


Features Highlight

  • 9.8’’ cord
  • 40mm neodymium magnet drivers
  • Impedance: 63 ohms
  • Connectivity: Gold-plated Unimatch plug 1/4" and 1/8" plugs
  • Wide lightly padded headband
  • Collapsible

Construction and Design

Sony MDR7506 Stereo Headphones are designed for studio sound monitoring in radio, video, film, and recording studios. As such, don’t expect anything less in the build department.

This pair boasts a rugged construction design (though not as tough as the MDRV6). It features a thin metal frame that reinforces its structure and also helps it to withstand mild abuses. It also has hinges that conveniently folds for easy packaging, portability, and storage.

The headband is notably wider than MDRV6’s and may be slightly oversized for bald users. On the upside, the headphones exert minimal pressure on your ears. You’ll, therefore, enjoy having them on for long hours.

To add on to this comfort level, MDR7506 has large and oval ear cups that will run over your ear without causing excessive sweating.

These headphones are also fitted with a professional-quality 9.8ft OFC cable with a 3.5m plug to ¼’’ adapter included.

Performance and ease of use

Featuring 2 40mm neodymium drivers, 63 ohms impedance, and 1000Mw power handling capacity, this set has probably the best results in the sound department. Their closed-back design and over-ear cups create a rich soundstage perceived to be in your head.

You get flat and consistent bass, mids, and treble. Particularly, this pair has excellent bass range performance with incredible extension at its low levels.

What users say about this studio headphones

Sony MDR7506 was the most highly ranked studio headphone in this list with close to 80% of its almost 4,000 reviewers giving it a clean 5/5 star rating. Some stated that they have had this model for close to 3 decades now which is a good sign of reliability.

Pros

  • Incredible sound isolation
  • Professional-quality components
  • Highly durable
  • Reputable brand

Cons

  • Not always clear with some lead equipment




Verdict

Sony MDR7506 has always been and will always be a longtime top choice of thousands of sound engineers around the globe. The headphones give clear sound given their high impedance than most highly-priced competitors. They are also super durable. Their high power handling capacity allows you to use them in a plethora of audio devices while still getting the same consistently excellent sound quality.

Your Ultimate Guide to the Best Studio Headphones 2017

Before helping you identify your ideal studio headphones- note the word IDEAL here- there are several things that you need to understand.

The word ‘ideal’ in the above sentence signifies that studio headphones come in different types each with a specific task. This means that you’ll need a different model for tracking and another one for singing in a vocal booth or playing drums guitar or drums on a recording.

For clarity purposes, do know that studio monitoring headphones come in 2 broad categories Open-back vs. closed-back

Open-back headphones and Closed-back headphones

As the name implies, open-back or simply ‘’open’’ headphones have the back of their ear cups open. This means that the sound from the transducers can spill out freely and you can also hear the sound of the AC or a banging door.

So can you tell what closed-back or closed headphones do? You got it right. They prevent sounds from leaking in and out.

More about open headphones

Open headphones are mostly used for mixing, referencing, and critical listening. As I pointed out before, open-back cans allow some pressure to escape out of the ear cup with the trade off being inadequate isolation.

On the upside, this feature enables these models to offer an accurate frequency balance which results in more airy and natural responses.

More about closed headphones

These headphones are perfect for noise isolation. They are mostly used for recording tracks. Remember that maximum noise isolation is critical, for instance, when trying to play your acoustic guitar over a pre-recorded backing track. This means that you don’t want the sounds from the pre-recorded track bleeding out and getting recorded again by your highly sensitive recording microphone.

In this case, the open-backed headphones won’t do.

On the downside, the sound quality seems to deteriorate as isolation goes up. Why?

This is because, as more pressure is retained in the headphones, false low frequencies tend to be created which may affect critical listening.

Bottom line; choose open cans if you intend to do your studio thing in a quiet environment. For a noisy neighborhood, closed-back headphones are a must-have.

Semi-open headphones acts a halfway solution

Well, a serious studio setup may require that you have at least 2 pairs of headphones for your tracking and mixing needs. However, for those on budget, a semi-open pair of headphones acts as a good halfway solution if your budget allows you to purchase just one pair.

These are thoughtfully-designed headphones that offer the best of both sides of the spectrum. You get quality noise isolation for recording purposes while still being able to mix.

Apart from the backs, the ear cups also play a crucial role when choosing your ideal headphones. You’ll have to choose between circumaural and supra-aural models. Don’t let the 2 terms scare you.

The main difference between these 2 is that circumaural cups are usually larger and cover the entire ear. On the other hand, supra-aural earcups sit above the ear.

Is there any difference between these 2? SURE!

Circumaural headphones tend to be excellent noise isolators. They are also incredibly comfortable since they don’t exert direct pressure on your ear. On the downside, these headphones tend to be slightly heavier.

On the other hand, supra-aural earcups are lighter but very poor on preventing sound leakage. For your information, very few professional studio headphones utilize the latter design.

Here are a few headphone terminologies that you need to understand before purchasing a set of studio headphones:

Frequency amplifier

Frequency amplifier is a highly important feature that determines whether a given set of headphones will serve you better or not. The wider frequency range a pair has, the more it will be able to reproduce accurate bass (on its lowest end) and mids and trebles (on its higher end). If you aren’t so good in these terminologies, go for a model that plays within the 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz spectrum- this is the normal human being hearing range.

However, don’t be confused by some models with frequencies that span beyond our hearing range (5Hz-35kHz, for instance). This has little to do with sound quality.

Impedance/Resistance

Simply put, high impedance prevents distortion on the signal. This means that a pair with a higher resistance is more likely to offer cleaner tones than that with low impedance. However, don’t be swept off your feet by high impedance just yet. This is because high resistance models also tend to be quieter and may require a headphone amplifier for you to use them on some low power devices like your Smartphone or iPod.

Sensitivity

Sensitivity refers to how loud your headphones can play in Db.

Other factors

Some other factors that you may require your attention include the construction material, durability, replaceable parts, and, of course, your budget.

Wrap up for our best studio headphones 2017

The key qualities that differentiate a pair of studio headphones from its competitors are comfort, clarity, quality sound, and durability. It needs to offer flat frequency response to enable you to hear your sounds in their most natural form.

One last note: remember to choose your headphones depending on your intended application.

We hope that our definitive guide covered about everything that you needed to know about quality studio headphones. We also look forward to hearing from you. Whether you have an unanswered question or you wish to share with us a link to your new track/mix, let’s meet in the comments below.

Lastly, remember to share this guide with your friends if you found it helpful and worth the mention.

  • Updated October 9, 2017
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