Best Studio Headphones
- Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO
- How do Studio Headphones Work?
- Where Can You Benefit from Studio Headphones?
- Why Choose Studio Headphones over Speakers?
- 1. Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO Studio Headphone
- 2. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Studio Headphones
- 3. Sony MDR-7506 Stereo Professional Headphones
- 4. Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Studio Reference Headphones
- 5. Sennheiser HD280 PRO Headphone
- 6. Shure SRH440 Professional Studio Headphones
- 7. AKG K240 STUDIO Semi-Open Studio Headphones
- 8. Status Audio CB-1 Closed Back Studio Monitor Headphones
- Non-Bias Response
- Open vs Closed-Back Headphones
- How About Wireless Alternatives?
- Why is high impedance a problem?
- What are headphones for recording studios?
- What are ohms?
- What ohms should my headphones be?
- Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO
Are you ready to embark on a sonic journey that will elevate your music production to new heights? Look no further than the realm of studio headphones. Whether you’re a budding artist, a professional sound engineer, or a dedicated audiophile, finding the perfect pair of studio headphones is crucial for achieving exceptional audio precision
What are Studio Headphones?
Studio headphones are specialized audio devices designed to provide accurate and detailed sound reproduction, allowing users to hear every nuance and subtlety in their music or audio recordings. Unlike consumer-grade headphones, studio headphones offer a neutral and transparent sound signature, making them indispensable tools for musicians, sound engineers, podcasters, and anyone seeking unparalleled audio fidelity.
How do Studio Headphones Work?
Studio headphones employ advanced technologies such as high-quality drivers, open or closed-back designs, and precise acoustic tuning to ensure an accurate representation of audio signals. Their wide frequency response, low distortion, and isolation properties enable users to analyze and manipulate audio with utmost precision, making them ideal for critical listening and professional audio work.
Where Can You Benefit from Studio Headphones?
Studio headphones find their true value in a range of applications, including music production, mixing and mastering, film and video post-production, podcasting, gaming, and even casual listening for those who crave the most authentic sound experience possible. Whether you’re in a professional recording studio, a home studio setup, or a cozy corner of your living room, studio headphones are your gateway to sonic perfection.
Why Choose Studio Headphones over Speakers?
While studio monitors offer an immersive sound experience, studio headphones provide a more intimate and focused listening environment. Headphones eliminate the acoustic influences of room reflections, ensuring you can analyze your audio creations without external variables interfering. They also provide privacy, allowing you to dive deep into your music without disturbing others. Additionally, studio headphones are portable, making them perfect for on-the-go music producers.
- Best Studio Headphones Under $100
- Best Studio Headphones Under $200
- Best Studio Headphones for Recording
- Best Studio Headphones for Mixing
The cheapest studio headphones are the Status Audio CB-1 and the AKG K240 STUDIO, both of which are around the same price. I suggest the AKG over the CB-1 because it has a semi-open back and marginally better audio quality.
The majority of the studio headphones mentioned in this article are priced between $100 and $200. The DT 770 PRO from Beyerdynamic is what I suggest as having the best price/quality ratio. These headphones have a high impedance and deliver fantastic sound for the cost.
My top picks would be the Sennheiser HD280 PRO or HD380 PRO. Both of these headphones have a 32dB passive attenuation and provide excellent isolation. Both are comfortable, which is crucial because it enables the performer to concentrate on their voice or instrument.
I favor the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO with a headphone preamp for drummers. The bottom end of these headphones is nice and chunky, and they have enough detail and power for the drummer to hear the guide track or audio signal separated.
The Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO or Sennheiser HD 380 PRO would be your best options if you enjoy mixing. In light of the fact that the DT 770 PRO is a 250-ohm headphone and necessitates a professional audio interface or sound card, you might want to choose the Sennheiser HD280/380 PRO if you plan to mix on a laptop.
Our Selection of the Best Studio Headphones
1. Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO Studio Headphone
Specs & Features
|Freq. Response||5Hz – 35kHz|
One of the few headphones with three different impedance ratings is the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO. This implies that you can find a pair of DT 770 PRO to match the output of any device you’re using. The 250-ohm model, which is appropriate for mixing consoles and professional audio interfaces, is the one we are most interested in for the studio.
One of the most comfortable studio headphones available is the DT 770 PRO. The ear cups fit comfortably over the ears, and the ear pads are made of soft, comfortable memory foam. Instead of being lined with PU or genuine leather, the memory foam is covered in a soft fabric. This implies that prolonged listening does not cause your ears to become hot. The headband has a leather lining and similar memory foam that fits comfortably over the head.
It is simple to swap out the ear pads and headband. Four press studs hold the headband in place, making replacement much simpler than most headband replacements because it only requires unbuttoning and replacing them.
The DT 770 PRO 250 ohm speakers sound fantastic. The clarity and detail are perfect for mixing in headphones if you’re the type of person who prefers that kind of sound. The highs are bright without being harsh, the mids are clear and detailed, and the bass is well-defined and punchy. There is no distortion when using the headphones at high volumes. For the DT 770 PRO, Beyerdynamic did an excellent job of obtaining a flat, balanced mix.
A standard 3.9 feet to 9.8 feet long coiled studio cable with a threaded 1/8-inch connector is included with the DT 770 PRO 250 ohms. Additionally, Beyerdynamic offers a 1/4-inch adapter for use with professional audio gear.
The DT 770 PRO does not fold up, so keep that in mind. Consequently, they aren’t the most convenient headphones to tuck into a laptop bag or small backpack. Therefore, if you frequently switch between studios, you might want to purchase a small carry bag to safeguard your DT 770 PRO. However, Beyerdynamic does offer a drawstring carrying bag.
The models with 32 and 80 ohms are also available. For compact electronics like cell phones, MP3 players, and tablets, the 32-ohm DT 770 PRO is ideal. If you intend to use your headphones with guitar amplifiers, laptops, PCs, keyboards, and other similar devices, the 80-ohm model is a better choice. Mobile devices will work with the 80 ohm DT 770 PRO, but you won’t get a lot of volume from these smaller ones.
The DT 770 PRO comes with straight cables for both the 32-ohm and 80-ohm versions, as opposed to a coiled cable for the 250-ohm version.
The DT 770 PRO 250 ohms is a great purchase if your headphone budget is around $200. The headphones have excellent sound quality and are comfortable. The DT 770 PRO is a 250-ohm studio headphone that produces a clear, detailed sound with a high SPL and no distortion. The DT 770 PRO isn’t particularly portable, but a cheap softshell carry case can easily fix this.
What You Will Receive
- Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 250 ohm
- 1/4-inch adapter
- Drawstring carry bag
2. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Studio Headphones
Specs & Features
|Freq. Response||15Hz – 28kHz|
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50, the predecessor model, was for a very long time a preferred closed-back headphone among musicians and studio engineers. The headphones are reasonably priced and have great audio quality. The most recent model of these well-regarded studio headphones is the ATH-M50x.
There may be a tendency among those who are familiar with the ATH-M50 to think that there is no distinction between the ATH-M50 and ATH-M50x. The headphones still have the same appearance, but the sound has changed slightly. The ATH-M50x is less bright and warmer than its predecessor.
Keep in mind that this is not a drastic change. Just a small adjustment is needed to improve the audio profile of the headphones. A good pair of headphones suddenly became exceptional as a result.
Over the entire frequency range, the ATH-M50x delivers a warm, defined bottom end with finely detailed clarity.
One of the most comfortable studio headphones available is the ATH-M50x. The ear cups can be turned 90 degrees (effectively 180 degrees) in both directions, allowing them to rest flat on a surface or comfortably around the shoulders. The ATH-M50x’s ear cups also make single-ear listening more comfortable than ever. DJs will especially appreciate this.
Over-ear headphones like the ATH-M50x are very comfortable to wear. In addition, the ear pads have been improved, becoming softer and more comfortable than the ATH-M50. The comfort is increased by the thick padding on the headband. This is excellent for prolonged studio sessions that call for prolonged headphones-only listening.
Three detachable cable options are provided with the ATH-M50x: a 3.9-foot straight cable for mobile devices, a 9.8-foot straight cable, and a 3.9-foot-to-9.8-foot coiled cable. The fact that the headphones have these three options makes them adaptable for any use. To prevent accidental cable removal, the connector at the headphone is twist-lock.
Since the ATH-M50x headphones have a 38-ohm impedance, any mobile device can drive them effectively at any volume.
The ATH-M50x is packaged in a softshell carrying case for storage and protection while traveling. To keep all of your cables and connectors together, there is a pouch inside. The headphones can easily fit inside a laptop bag or even a small backpack because of how small and compact they fold up.
The ATH-M50x will be a great option if you’re looking for versatile headphones for studio use or everyday listening. The headphones provide a respectable level of isolation, making them suitable for both studio and mobile use. The ATH-M50x can be used with any device or application thanks to its three cable options.
One of the most reasonably priced professional studio headphones available is the ATH-M50x, which retails for less than $200. The four additional color choices for the ATH-M50x are black, gunmetal, blue, and white.
What You Will Receive
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Headphones
- 1.2m – 3.0m (3.9ft – 9.8ft) coiled cable
- 3.0m (9.8ft) straight cable
- 1.2m (3.9ft) straight cable for mobile devices
- Softshell carry case
- 1/4-inch threaded connector
3. Sony MDR-7506 Stereo Professional Headphones
Specs & Features
|Freq. Response||10Hz – 20kHz|
For a little more than 20 years, the Sony MDR-7506 has been a well-liked option. This is a rare claim for an electronic product, especially one that has undergone no modifications since its initial release.
The headphones are well-liked by audio professionals, musicians, and DJs because they provide impressive sound detail and clarity and can push 106dB. The MDR-7506 is the ideal illustration of the straightforward, excellent sound quality headphone that most engineers and DJs seek.
The MDR-7506’s standard uncomfortable ear pads have been its one and only complaint over the years. This is a minor flaw, though, because there are earpad replacement options on Amazon.
The MDR-7506 has a flat sound profile with a very slight bass trough. Although the bass is strong and distinct, it could use a little more weight. However, since the MDR-7506 has been around for more than 20 years, it isn’t a major problem and obviously has little impact on people’s decisions to buy them.
Consider the MDR-V6 if you like the sound of the MDR-7506 but are turned off by its lack of bass. The MDR-V6 produces a chunkier, more defined bottom end than the other headphones despite having an identical appearance and sound. Therefore, the Sony MDR-V6 would be the obvious choice if you need a better bass response.
With a 63 ohm impedance, the MDR-7506 can be driven effectively by any output, including mobile devices. The cable is a fixed 3.9- to the 9.8-foot coil that has a fixed 1/8-inch connector and a threaded 1/4-inch adapter. Although the relatively thick cable is fine for the studio, you wouldn’t want to use these headphones while traveling or out and about.
Despite being made of plastic, the MDR-7506 is incredibly tough and resilient. They will undoubtedly avoid being harmed by a few drops, bumps, and scratches. Therefore, if you frequently break headphones, the MDR-7506 has a reasonable price and is durable. Having said that, it’s unlikely that you should test this hypothesis.
The Sony MDR-7506 is a fantastic option for both amateurs and professionals. The headphones are reasonably priced, have excellent sound quality, and are robust. These headphones are well-liked by DJs who need clarity and volume for mixing in noisy environments because of their 106dB sensitivity. Because of its flat sound and ability to deliver a true audio reference, studio engineers and musicians will adore the MDR-7506.
What You Will Receive
- Sony MDR-7506 Headphones
- 1/4-inch adapter
- Soft drawstring carry case
4. Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO Studio Reference Headphones
Specs & Features
|Freq. Response||5Hz – 40kHz|
One of Beyerdynamic’s most well-known high-end headphones is the DT 1990 PRO Studio Reference model. Without being flashy or extravagant, the headphones are constructed to the standard you’d expect from a premium pair of headphones. Simply high quality, with the appropriate details placed where they belong.
The DT 1990 PRO has a premium, expert appearance thanks to the metal frame and ear cups.
An over-ear, open-back headphone is the DT 1990 PRO. You can easily wear these headphones for long periods of time without feeling uncomfortable thanks to the incredibly comfortable fit. Because they frequently have to put on headphones for extended periods of time, broadcast engineers also favor the DT 1990 PRO for this reason.
The DT 1990 PRO has exceptional spatial sound with a large, detailed soundstage thanks to the open-back design. This gives the user the ability to hear everything with perfect clarity, especially the lower frequencies, which are more likely to color on closed-back headphones.
Clear and bright without being harsh, the highs. The midrange has exceptional detail and clarity with superb low-to-high separation. Punchy bass with a pleasant, round bottom-end sound. The sub-bass range does seem to have a slight drop-off, but this is very slight and shouldn’t have any impact on the final mix.
A 4.2ft – 16.4ft coiled cable and a 9.8ft straight cable are included with the DT 1990 PRO. Each one has a mini XLR (3-pin) connector that fits into the headphones for a better connection and ensures the cable won’t pull out unless you release them physically.
Since the DT 1990 PRO headphones have a 250-ohm impedance, an expert audio interface or sound card is needed to drive them effectively.
Two sets of ear cushions are also included with your DT 1990 PRO. The headphones are equipped with a pair of neutral ear pads that reproduce sound as intended by the manufacturer and a second set of what Beyerdynamic refers to as “analytical” ear pads.
These pads produce a brighter, more detailed sound because they have more exterior holes. The mix sounds a little tighter overall and the neutral pads have the slightest amount of attenuation on the highs.
The DT 1990 PRO is a great option if you’re looking for high-end studio headphones with exceptional detail and clarity. The DT 1990 PRO isn’t what you’d call a cheap headphone; it costs just under $600. But you unquestionably get value for your money. The German craftsmanship is unmistakable in the DT 1990 PRO, which is made in Germany.
For seasoned studio engineers looking for headphones for professional mixing, there is the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO. Having said that, the DT 1990 PRO will be a great substitute for studio monitors if you’re a beginner or have a home studio.
What You Will Receive
- Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO
- Neutral ear pads
- Analytical ear pads
- 4.2ft – 16.4ft coiled cable
- 9.8ft straight cable
- 1/4-inch adapter
5. Sennheiser HD280 PRO Headphone
Specs & Features
|Freq. Response||5Hz – 25kHz|
Recent improvements to the Sennheiser HD280 PRO include slightly larger ear pads with more comfortable memory foam. Much thicker padding with softer, more comfortable memory foam is used for the padding over the head. The end result is a pair of incredibly comfortable studio headphones that you can use for hours on end.
For a very long time, educational institutions and beginning engineers and producers have preferred the HD280 PRO. The headphones have excellent sound quality and are reasonably priced. No matter what genre you’re working with, the bass is clear and punchy.
It’s a really exciting headphone to listen to and work with because the mids and highs are crystal clear with excellent clarity and detail. Sennheiser has achieved a remarkable balance with the HD280 PRO, especially given that they have a suggested retail price of less than $100.
The HD280 PRO has a sizable ear cup with a 32dB passive attenuation, just like the HD380 PRO. This allows you to concentrate on the specifics of the mix. They are great for beginners and are good for home studios where the mixing room might not be as private as a professional studio.
The fact that almost every component of the HD280 PRO can be changed is another reason to love them. Online ordering makes it simple to quickly replace the headband and ear cups at home. It is also possible to replace the fixed cable, though it will take a little more work. Both the user manual and comprehensive instructions are provided for this by Sennheiser on their website.
You can always hire a pro to open your headphones if you’re not sure how to do it. For things like this, a lot of music stores and professional audio stores have a service center.
The fixed 4.2ft – 9.8ft coiled cable for the HD280 PRO is included. This is fairly typical and ideal for navigating the studio. Sennheiser provides you with the 1/4 inch adapter, and there is a threaded 1/8 inch connector.
With a 64-ohm impedance, the HD280 PRO is compatible with all outputs, including portable devices.
The headphones are foldable and extremely portable for travel. While the Gater case combo is an option when buying on Amazon, the HD280 PRO does not come with a pouch or case.
There are a few reasons why Sennheiser HD280 PRO is preferred by so many colleges and universities for student use. The first is that the headphones are reasonably priced. No other studio headphones under $100 provide the same level of audio quality. In fact, the HD280 PRO likely outperforms many brands that cost twice as much or even three times as much in terms of sound quality.
Second, replacing the cable, ear pads, and padding on the headband of the HD280 PRO is a simple way to fix it. As a result, the headphones last longer, increasing the value that these headphones provide.
Having said that, even seasoned professionals will adore the HD280 PRO. These are excellent for beginners. For headphone mixing, the audio is perfectly balanced and accurate. Due to the HD280 PRO’s superior isolation, there is no chance of coloration when recording with it.
What You Will Receive
- Sennheiser HD280 PRO
- 1/4 inch adapter
6. Shure SRH440 Professional Studio Headphones
Specs & Features
|Freq. Response||10Hz – 22kHz|
Another reputable brand in professional audio is Shure. Most studio and live production companies will stock at least one Shure microphone. In general, Shure products have great sound and are long-lasting. This is also true of the Shure SRH440 Professional Studio Headphones.
An over-ear headphone with soft memory foam and PU leather is the Shure SRH440. The headband has a pleather covering and a memory foam-like texture. When worn for extended periods, the headphones rest comfortably on the head and cause very little fatigue.
The Shure SRH440 delivers the expected clear, accurate sound that is ideal for studio monitoring. The SRH440 can be used for tracking and mixing due to the headphones’ flat, balanced response.
The SRH440 creates a transparent soundstage that enables you to hear extraordinary detail at all frequencies. Excellent for playback and critical listening.
The SRH440 includes a threaded 1/8 inch connector on a detachable 3.9 feet to 9.8 feet long coiled cable. A 1/4-inch adapter for use with professional audio equipment is also included. For the best possible connectivity, all connectors are gold-plated. The 1/8-inch connector’s twist-lock feature prevents the cable from unintentionally pulling out when it is inserted into the ear cup.
A 44-ohm headphone that works with any output, including mobile devices, is the SRH440.
A 10ft straight cable and replacement cables are both offered on the Shure website.
One more excellent pair of headphones that costs less than $100 is the Shure SRH440. When mixing on the Shure SRH440, you can get precise results thanks to the balanced sound. The SRH440 is made of plastic, but it is incredibly sturdy and well-built. These headphones can even travel well and withstand some abuse. The SRH440 comes with a drawstring travel case and folds up to be incredibly small.
What You Will Receive
- Shure SRH440
- 3.9ft – 9.8ft coiled cable
- 1/4-inch adapter
- 2 x replaceable ear pads
- Soft drawstring carry pouch
7. AKG K240 STUDIO Semi-Open Studio Headphones
Specs & Features
|Freq. Response||15Hz – 25kHz|
The AKG K240 STUDIO has a rich history that dates back to the 1975 release of the original K240 MONITOR. The STUDIO is now built in China, as opposed to the original, which was created and produced in Austria. The design is compact but durable, and the headphones have enough flexibility to withstand the usual stresses and strains of wearing them.
The K240 STUDIO is a very lightweight pair of headphones, which is the first thing you’ll notice. With soft memory foam ear pads, the build is primarily made of plastic. Instead of the typical padding, a pulley system spring-loads the headband.
As a result, you don’t feel any weight or pressure on your head, which makes the result fairly comfortable. An attribute that will be valued for prolonged listening Additionally, the over-ear fit is cozy for the ears.
The K240 STUDIO provides a detailed soundstage as a semi-open headphone with just enough open-back to allow the low end to pass through the back of the headphone. Even though the sound isn’t as good as a full open-back headphone, it is still respectable, especially for a headphone that is priced under $100.
The K240 STUDIO’s frequency range is evenly distributed. I’ve spoken with a few engineers who use these headphones for repair, and they report positive results. They do need to make a few adjustments when switching to their studio monitors, but overall the mix is very similar to what they hear on their monitors. which is impressive once more given the cost.
A 10-foot straight cable is included with the K240 STUDIO. A mini XLR (female 3-pin) connector on the cable, which is detachable, connects it to the headphones. This prevents the cable from having a chance to pull free. This kind of cable can also be easily made, and the majority of music and audio stores carry it or can make it for you.
A threaded 1/8-inch connector and a 1/4-inch adapter are on the cable. For improved signal flow, AKG uses a copper cable that is 99.99% oxygen-free and has gold-plated connectors.
As a 55-ohm headphone, the K240 STUDIO can be used with any output, including mobile devices. Since the K240 STUDIO cannot be folded, they are probably not the best headphones for travel.
Affordable semi-closed studio headphones like the AKG K240 STUDIO are ideal for students or home studios. The K240 STUDIO doesn’t quite achieve audiophile status even though the sound is accurate. DJs looking for a pair of semi-open headphones at a reasonable price will also love these headphones. The AKG K240 STUDIO is undoubtedly excellent studio headphones, even though they may not be the best under $100.
- AKG K240 STUDIO Semi-Open Studio Headphones
- Detachable cable
8. Status Audio CB-1 Closed Back Studio Monitor Headphones
Specs & Features
|Freq. Response||15Hz – 30kHz|
The Status Audio CB-1 Closed Back Studio Monitors are simple headphones with an emphasis on sound quality over construction and appearance. In order to keep their prices low, Status Audio focuses on two specialized headphones that can only be purchased online through their website or on Amazon.
To produce high-quality budget headphones, Status Audio uses less expensive components for external construction while spending more on internal electronics.
Although the CB-1 is a low-cost studio headphone, Status Audio has lavished the ear cups with padding. The pads have a soft PU leather cover over a thick foam core. The ear cups are among the biggest on the market, so they ought to comfortably fit over the ears of most people.
Additionally, the headband is thickly padded, providing excellent comfort and support. Long-term use of the CB-1 is simple and doesn’t cause much fatigue. A thumbs up for comfort without a doubt.
The CB-1 sounds surprisingly good for less than $70. It’s a great-sounding headphone that costs less than $100, in my opinion. Budget headphones typically don’t deliver anything extraordinary, so it’s amazing that the CB-1 sound this good. The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x offers only a slight advantage in terms of definition and clarity over the CB-1 in terms of sound quality.
With only a few minor adjustments, the CB-1 would work flawlessly for headphone mixing when switching to studio monitors.
Two detachable cables are included with the Status Audio CB-1. The first is a 9.8-foot straight cable, and the second is a standard 3.9-foot to 9.8-foot coil cable. Each cable has a twist lock mechanism that secures it into the ear cups, preventing accidental cable removal. The threaded 1/8-inch connector on both cables allows you to attach the 1/4 adapter if necessary.
The 32-ohm CB-1 headphone is compatible with all outputs, including those from mobile devices. The CB-1 does begin to distort at higher volumes, but this is to be expected from inexpensive, 32-ohm headphones.
The Status Audio CB-1 falls short in this area because the build quality isn’t the best. Because Status Audio spent all of its budget on internal electronics, the CB-1 is not the most robust headphone. The CB-1 will break much more easily than the other headphones in this article if you twist or bend it too much.
The earpads are also simple to remove but challenging to put back on. So these headphones might not be the best choice for you if you have a tendency to break things.
The Status Audio CB-1 is a good option if you’re looking for a low-cost headphone that still produces excellent sound for headphone mixing and referencing. Status Audio has created low-cost headphone that sounds good, unlike Beats, which produced a durable, high-quality product but not the best sound with the Beats Pro.
Beginners and students looking for reasonably priced, high-quality headphones will love the CB-1. The CB-1 is a budget-friendly headphone, making it a good choice if you need to purchase a few sets of studio headphones for recording sessions involving numerous musicians.
Despite the CB-1’s ability to fold up into a small package for travel, I would only buy these headphones to use in the studio. These headphones could get broken or damaged if you accidentally lean, sit on, or drop them.
What You Will Receive
- Status Audio CB-1
- Detachable 1.2m – 3.0m (3.9ft – 9.8ft) coiled cable
- Detachable 3m (9.8ft) straight cable
- 1/4-inch adapter
What to Look for in Studio Headphones
It’s crucial to comprehend the metrics we took into account when choosing our products. You must take into account a few crucial elements and features to avoid purchasing a set of headphones that will negatively affect your final mix.
Generally speaking, locating a studio headphone is not too difficult. You need headphones that produce a flat, undistorted response. What does this actually mean?
The largest frequency bias in headphones is a bass boost, which is made popular by companies like Sony and Beats. These are not appropriate for studio mixing, even though they might be great for listening (if you’re a bass head). even if the bass is strong, as in urban or dance music. You want flat-sounding headphones for the studio. Why? You must be able to accurately hear the track you are tracking or mixing.
If you choose to mix on headphones with a lot of bass, you will have so much bass that you will probably lower the bass EQ on the mix. When you switch to normal headphones or speakers after attenuating the bass to match bass-heavy headphones, the bass will almost certainly be reduced in the mix.
You can accurately EQ and balance each track while mixing on a flat headphone so that the mix sounds balanced when switching to any playback device (speakers, stereo system, car, or headphones). Having said that, it’s not a bad idea to have a set of bass-biased headphones in the studio for reference listening.
Studio headphones shouldn’t be chosen based on whether they are made of plastic or metal, in contrast to standard headphones, where you’re looking for a listening device and possibly even a fashion accessory. This is of minimal to no significance. Since most studio headphones are made of plastic, more money can be spent on internal electronics. The sound quality is much more significant than how the headphones appear.
One of the best-made studio headphones mentioned in this article, for instance, is the Beats Pro. The headphones are not the best option for studio mixing because of their heavy bass. The Sony MDR-7506 is constructed of plastic and PU leather in contrast. Many live and studio engineers view the headphone, which has been around for decades, as the industry standard.
Another crucial factor to take into account when choosing studio headphones is headphone impedance. Electrical resistance comes in the form of impedance. The speaker’s internal headphone voice coil controls this. High-impedance headphones need a headphone amp or sound card, whereas low-impedance headphones can be driven by almost any device.
Low-impedance headphones work well with mobile devices. Typically, this will range between 8 and 32 ohms. However, your mobile device can function with headphones up to about 60 ohms before they begin to struggle against the resistance of the headphones.
Although there is some uncertainty regarding the 32–100 ohm range, these headphones are compatible with PCs, keyboards, budget sound cards, and guitar amplifiers. The majority of studio headphones for professionals operate between 100 and 600 ohms. Many of the well-known studio headphones, however, fall between 40 and 60 ohms.
So what will happen if your impedance is mismatched? Even if you turn the volume all the way up, you probably won’t hear much if you plug a high-impedance headphone into your mobile device, such as the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 250 Ohm. Simply put, the high impedance of the headphones creates too much resistance against the low-powered output of the mobile device.
You run the risk of overdriving low-impedance headphones and causing distortion if you connect them to a high-powered output (such as a headphone amplifier or professional audio interface). This could cause permanent damage to the headphones.
A better bandwidth of frequencies and, consequently, a more precise, clearer sound are typically driven by using a high impedance headphone with the proper high-powered output (also known as impedance matching). When combining audio tracks to create a soundstage, accuracy and clarity are key.
On these high-powered outputs, 40 to 100-ohm headphones are still compatible, but you should avoid overdriving. Anything less than 40 ohms is never advised.
Open vs Closed-Back Headphones
Closed-back headphones are the most popular kind. Closed-back headphones are more than sufficient for the majority of applications, including studio mixing. A better spatial sound image is provided by open-back headphones. Yet why?
The bass is pervasive. This indicates that the bass emanates from the speaker’s sides and back as well as its front. This results in some reflection off the back of the ear cup in closed-back headphones, which alters the sound. The majority of us won’t even notice this coloration because it is so subtle, but some mixing calls for absolute precision and minimal coloration. By allowing the frequencies to move freely, open-back headphones produce a sound image that is less colored and more accurate.
High-end audiophile headphones are open-back because of this. It is claimed that the sound is accurate and pure. Although there is some coloration with closed-back headphones, the bass frequently sounds tighter and punchier because the back serves as a speaker enclosure. Open-back headphones can be advantageous or detrimental for the studio. You might want to use a set of open-back headphones to get a rough mix.
You’ll be able to pick out detail, apply EQ, and compress very precisely when mixing with an open back. The drawback is that since most people don’t use headphones or speakers with this level of fidelity, the mix will sound entirely different when you use regular or closed-back speakers.
To obtain a more balanced mix, some professional engineers use multiple pairs of headphones (both open and closed), or they only use closed-back headphones.
Open-back headphones would only ever be useful for mixing if used in the studio. The open-back of the headphones causes significant sound bleeding. These will bleed into the microphone when being used while recording, altering the sound. Because of this, whenever you’re recording, you should only use closed-back headphones with the maximum amount of passive isolation.
The majority of consumers will be impacted by their budget. When shopping for studio headphones, you don’t have to break the bank to get high-quality products. Our top pick, the DT 770 PRO, is an excellent illustration of great sound coming from a pair of headphones that are very reasonably priced. Just be aware that the quality you can find will be slightly constrained if you keep your spending to less than $100.
How About Wireless Alternatives?
The quick response is no. Every time, copper cable is preferred to wireless headphones. Compression is a feature of wireless technology in headphones that affects frequency range, tone, and ultimately sound quality. A messy final mix will result if you EQ a mix on a pair of wireless headphones and then switch to cable headphones because you had to make up for missing frequencies. In the studio, NEVER use wireless headphones.
We sincerely hope that this article was useful to you as you selected your next set of studio headphones. A brief review of the opening suggestions is as follows:
- The best headphones are neutral-sounding ones. Any frequency boosts or cuts will result in an inaccurate final mix, necessitating a possible start over.
- Plastic as a construction material is not crucial. Prior to deciding on build quality, choose sound quality. However, if you plan to wear it for an extended period of time, you should make sure the fit is comfortable.
- If you don’t have the right tools to drive it, make sure you don’t buy a high-impedance headphone. Choose headphones with resistance between 40 and 60 ohms if you only have a laptop. For mobile devices, a resistance of under 40 ohms is preferred.
- A closed-back headphone is a better option for versatility. Choose a high-end open-back model like the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO and then possibly a closed-back model like the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO or Sennheiser HD280/HD380 PRO if you have the money to buy two pairs. Refer to using both headphones to achieve a perfect balance of functionality and quality.
- Refuse to use wireless. The final mix will have EQ and processing to make up for the losses caused by the compression, which results in an inaccurate sound image.
Why is high impedance a problem?
What are headphones for recording studios?
In short, the sound signature of studio monitor headphones often identifies them. A decent set of studio headphones will have a flat or balanced sound signature because of audio mixing and mastering call for the most precise and authentic sound possible.
What are ohms?
Impedance is measured in ohms, with lower values signifying a lower impedance and larger values signifying a higher impedance.
What ohms should my headphones be?
The user’s setup and choice of impedance are ultimately up to them. We advise choosing a higher impedance if you have the funds for a DAC or headphone amplifier, but if you cannot afford the additional equipment required to drive a higher-impedance pair, you can still get decent sound with a low-impedance pair.
Elevate your audio game with the best studio headphones on the market. By investing in a pair of these exceptional audio tools, you’ll unlock the full potential of your music production or audio engineering endeavors. Remember, the right studio headphones can make all the difference in achieving professional-grade sound quality. So, take your pick from our recommended options, and let your auditory journey begin!