10 Best Studio Headphones

When monitoring recording and mixes in the studio, a pair of studio headphones is needed. Any reliable music producer will also tell you that the best quality studio headphones are one of their priorities.

A decent pair of studio headphones is probably the most used tool of a producer in their studio. They are essential for the stereo image. They will also contribute significantly to creating the most epic-sounding result possible.

But which headphones should you choose from the thousands of models available on the market? Do not worry! That’s why you should read this post.

I spent weeks testing hundreds of models recommended by skilled producers and ended up with a list of the top ten headphones.

Our Top Picks:

1. Focal Listen Professional – Best For Overall

Focal Listen Professional.

Key Features

The Focal Listen Professionals are ideal for both pro duties and entertainment listening, making them firmly top of the class in the all-rounder category.

During testing, I found that the fit is enough, not too tight, letting you wear them for a long time without any problem.

The longest time I had them on was approximately three hours, with the significant issues just being back pain and the lack of blinking.

While plenty of audio specialists and engineers might prefer open-backed designs for the lack of fatigue, the Focal Listen Professional performs admirably in this regard even though it is a closed-back style.

The headphones’ response is perfectly balanced, with punchy, neutral bass, plenty of extension, clear mids, and smooth, sparkling highs. It is impossible to find better studio headphones at this price.

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Things I like

  • Rich bass.
  • Solid build.
  • Smooth treble.
  • A good amount of detail.
  • Sturdy and comfortable fit.

Things To Consider

  • Not the most comfortable model.

2. AKG K812 – Best For Open-Back Headphones

AKG K812.

Key Features

AKG K812 is one of the top-class open-back headphones with the decent build quality and impressive sonic details. It also provides highly flat and neutral sound, making it ideal for critical listening and sound engineers.

The AKG K812 will give you a well-balanced sound in all ranges with plenty of ambient and clarity detail and solid low-frequencies extending down.

This pair of headphones provides incredible comfort, enabling you to wear them for hours without any problem. You can hear little detail in recordings and get highly accurate representations, favored by the pro-sound-engineers.

The AKG K812 comes at a premium, but it’s worth it. So I recommend investing in this model if you can afford it.

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Things I like

  • Comfortable.
  • Beautifully engineered.
  • Decent build quality.
  • Impressive detail resolution.

Things To Consider

  • Pricey.

3. DT 1770 PRO – Best For Mixing Low-End Frequencies

Beyerdynamic DT1770 PRO.

Key Features

The DT 1770 PRO is designed specifically for mixing and is exceedingly well balanced across the audible spectrum. The mid-range is free from audible phase shift, giving you the clarity essential for professional usage.

The sound stage directed into your head is as enjoyable as it is revealing. This model offers a highly detailed view of the audio, from front to back, left to right, and even into the corners.

As a high-impedance design, you must drive these headphones hard. They can reproduce anything a signal chain is capable of providing.

Both mixing, monitoring, and audio restoration benefit significantly from the high quality of the DT 1770 PRO.

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Things I like

  • High-quality build.
  • Good adaptiveness.
  • Great audio reproduction.
  • Sturdy and durable build quality.
  • Superb low-end extension and performance.

Things To Consider

  • Pricey.
  • Tight on the head.

4. Pioneer HRM-7 – Best for Lengthy Mixing Sessions

Pioneer HRM-7.

Key Features

Proper headphones might be an excellent method to judge bass when the monitors do not reach down too far.

In this regard, the HRM-7s will not disappoint producers. This model is one of the best monitor headphones available.

During testing, the HRM-7 presents the detail in this range accurately. It doesn’t push forward and carves out, which are the prevalent side effects of bass light and bass-hyped designs (respectively).

The airy top, meaning 15kHz and up, is present and correct, enabling you to control the “twinkle” without second-guessing. But the upper mid/early high range is a bit overrepresented for my taste, making me mix this region too far back.

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Things I like

  • Lightweight.
  • Very controlled.
  • Exceptionally comfortable
  • Superb sound quality.
  • Price to performance is outstanding.

Things To Consider

  • Not for use in the booth.

5. Beyerdynamic DT-990 – Best for DJs

Beyerdynamic DT-990.

Key Features

Various DJs often favor Beyerdynamic DT-990 headphones since they offer a highly balanced and detailed sound with neutral and accurate sound reproduction.

The series includes two different models: 80 ohms or 250 ohms variants for casual or professional use, respectively.

This model provides a transparent, balanced, clear sound with powerful treble and bass frequencies and mild mids. With a decent headphone amp, the Beyerdynamic DT-990 can offer better sound than many higher-end units.

On the downside, because of the open-back style, the DT-990 is leakage and features poor sound isolation.

In addition, its cable isn’t detachable, minimizing the product’s versatility. Eventually, I did feel it was a bit tight on my head, but soft and decent earpads compensate for that.

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Things I like

  • Great sound
  • Sturdy and durable build.
  • Extremely comfortable.
  • Stable and well-padded.
  • Great stereo reproduction.

Things To Consider

  • Loud leakage.
  • Slightly tight on the head.

6. Sennheiser HD 650 – Best For Value

Sennheiser HD 650.

Key Features

The Sennheiser HD 650 studio headphones shine with their neutral and flat sound, making them ideal for critical listening and mixing.

They are the flattest sounding headphones I have tested. The HD 650 headphones have a high-level imaging performance and provide maximum comfort for extended use.

The mids are flat and highly accurate, the high-frequency reproduction is transparent, while the low-ends are a bit muddy but tight.

Of course, The HD 650 studio headphones are open-back designs, but their sound isolation is not the best, both outwards and inwards. You’ll want to find a quiet environment to use them comfortably.

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Things I like

  • Great comfort.
  • Well-built design.
  • Great audio reproduction.
  • Comfortable and stable design.

Things To Consider

  • Poor noise isolation.
  • Leak a lot.

7. Sennheiser HD 800 – Best for A Quality, Professional Model

Sennheiser HD 800.

Key Features

The Sennheiser HD 800 headphones have the highest quality, making them one of the highest-end products I have tested. They have an open-back design with the most incredible audio reproduction performances I’ve ever encountered.

These headphones have spacious, large, and well-padded ear cups, providing maximum comfort, while their well-built design is sturdy.

Their sound is great-balanced on the mid-range, extremely solid in low-ends, highly open on trebles, and the bass kicks sound deep and hard.

I have no complaints about these headphones, except for their price. Also, their sound isolation is not the best since they have open-back designs.

Generally, Sennheiser HD 800 headphones are still an excellent option for professional sound engineers and audiophiles.

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Things I like

  • Very detailed
  • Comfortable design.
  • Amazing soundstage.
  • Excellent audio reproduction.
  • Lightweight and comfortable.
  • Sturdy, durable build quality.

Things To Consider

  • Undeniably expensive.
  • Bulky and heavy.
  • Sensitive to ambient noise.

8. Audio-Technica ATH-M50X – Best for Versatile

Audio-Technica ATH-M50X.

Key Features

ATH-M50x headphones are the upgraded version of the most-sold models in recent years, the ATH-M50. They are good quality, affordable headphones with great sound quality and a lightweight and foldable design.

Their bass frequency response is punchy and great, and mids are recessed but clear, while high frequencies are a bit below average.

The sound might not be as detailed as other headphones on my list, but still enough to get the job done. The soundstage is alright, but I want a better performance from a pair of closed-back studio headphones.

Shortly, the ATH-M50x headphones are a good value model for the price and ideal for casual listeners and musicians of any genre who prefer recording in home studios.

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Things I like

  • Pretty good sound.
  • Well-made, foldable design.
  • Comfortable and sturdy build.
  • Superb, balanced audio reproduction.

Things To Consider

  • Comfort can be problematic.
  • Heat build-up.
  • Not enough low-end.

9. Superlux HD 681 – Best For Budget

Superlux HD 681.

Key Features

The HD 681 are the best budget headphones I have used. This wired over-ear model has a semi-open style, helping it produce a more spacious-seeming and immersive passive soundstage than most other closed-back models.

They feature a neutral sound profile and are comfortable, making them suitable for various content and genres.

The HD 681 headphones have an extremely flat mid-range response, demonstrating that lead instruments and vocals are clear and accurate.

Their slightly over-emphasized treble will give you a slightly sharp sound, and some people may favor this for studio work as it emphasizes imperfections and brings out details in tracks.

Sadly, they have a plasticky, flimsy build quality and do not feel very durable.

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Things I like

  • Good soundstage.
  • Good build quality.
  • Good THD performance.
  • Absolute killer for the price.

Things To Consider

  • Questionable aesthetics.
  • Not the greatest comfort.

10. HiFiMan Edition XS – Best For Studio Use

HiFiMan Edition XS.

Key Features

The HiFiMan Edition is one of the best planar magnetic headphones I’ve tested.

This model is ideal for those who need an immersive passive soundstage for mixing. They feature large drivers that are greatly able to represent the stereo image well. So their soundstage tends to be wide, spacious, and natural.

The Edition XS has a neutral sound profile, leading to lead instruments and vocals sounding present and clear.

These headphones feature an excellent treble response, adding a bright touch to sibilants, such as cymbals, but don’t make them piercing.

The HiFiMan Edition headphones are designed, but they are great-built and reproduce audio consistently via multiple reseats.

Because of the typically-designed and heavy headband, they aren’t as comfortable as others on my list. Moreover, their plastic hinges feel a bit cheap.

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Things I like

  • Mostly comfortable.
  • Very clear and highly detailed.
  • Deliver audio very consistently.
  • Outstanding passive soundstage performance.

Things To Consider

  • The frame is a bit large.
  • It might not fit well on small heads.

Buying Guide

Things to Choose

Open-Back Or Closed-Back Headphones

Studio headphones come in two types: Open back and closed-back headphones.

Open Back Headphones

Pros

  • Spacious and airy sound.
  • May minimize “listening fatigue.”
  • Provide a more relaxing listening experience.
  • Lack of isolation, allowing you to be aware of your environment.

Cons

  • You will disturb others around you.
  • Noisy environments will disturb your listening.

Closed-Back Headphones

Pros

  • Minimize sound leakage.
  • Isolate sounds to minimize outside noise.
  • Very detailed “upfront” audio reproduction.
  • You can listen to audio without disturbing anyone else.

Cons

  • Potential for “listening fatigue.”
  • Small potential for sound bleeding.

Wireless Or Wired

Unlike normal, wired headphones are more beneficial and preferable for most studios. You usually don’t move much during the recording process, while wired headphones usually have better sound quality.

Although wireless headphones ease your mobility, they significantly affect your recording quality since they compress signals during transmission.

Sensitivity

The higher the sensitivity of your headphones, the better the sound quality they provide. So prioritize the model with the highest sensitivity possible.

Durability

Studio headphones are a significant investment, which means they are often expensive. Hence, it is necessary to pay attention to durability.

You should also consider which ones have replaceable parts, allowing you to replace them when there is a problem.

Frequency Response

The model you choose should reproduce frequencies within the frequency range effectively a normal human ear can hear, ranging from 20Hz to 2kHz.

Studio headphones, unlike other headphones, should generate flat frequency to produce sound as it is without any enhancements and distortions.

Comfort

When choosing studio headphones, producers tend to choose models that offer a high level of comfort, allowing them to use them for a long time without fatigue.

I recommend choosing well-cushioned headphones that are soft enough to get comfortability for a longer time during the recording process.

Conclusion

A fine headphone should offer great sound, comfort, and versatility to suit your needs. With various selections available today, it can be challenging to pick between them all.

Hopefully, this post has helped you find what works best for you!