Best Studio Headphone Review – Top Rated Models in 2021 with Buying Guide
If you’re looking for the best studio headphones and you don’t have too much time to read all the reviews, this article will help you a lot. We have carefully examined the most popular models and we found out that the Sennheiser HD 600 headset is the one that you should be looking at. It comes with advantages such as the ability to reproduce sound very clearly and naturally. These headphones are also very comfortable, even when you work for long hours in the studio and they’re also quite sturdy and you can find replaceable parts for them. If you can’t find these for sale, try to get the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x model, which is next on our list.
Our Top Choice
They offer excellent audio reproduction, keeping the sound as natural as possible. The build quality is above average and they offer a great degree of comfort. Although not designed for sports, they offer good stability and should stay in place during mild physical activity. They’re sturdy and offer replaceable parts if needed.
Although the open-back design is good for studio use because it helps provide a natural sound, they do leak a lot of sounds and that can be annoying.
Offering a balanced and effortless tone, this pair of headphones is great for studio use, excelling at midrange and treble sounds.
This model is highly portable and can serve as studio headphones or they can be used just to listen to music. They offer a sound that most people like to hear - with a more powerful bass. Offering great separation and stereo imaging, the sound can be clearly heard in both ears. The earpads are comfortable and soft.
In terms of isolation, they could do better. They are thus hard to use in noisy environments. Their focus on bass may make some music producers dislike them.
They’re a pair of headphones designed for general use, although they have good capabilities when it comes to using them in a studio.
Also To Consider
Their ability to fold up into a more portable shape and the slick design offer them a nice feel. They excel at producing a neutral sound, offering adequate volume for all frequency ranges. Boosting the music in the right places, particularly the high and medium frequencies, they are very suitable for studio usage.
Although they are lightweight, the plastic that they’re made of can be broken quite easily. Their carrying case is also soft so it won’t offer much protection in case of damage.
They have been around for more than 20 years, and thus, these headphones’ sound is considered a standard in the industry due to how clear and natural it is.
7 Best Studio Headphones (Reviews) in 2021
We have taken the time to read all the possible studio headphones reviews, we paid attention to what experts had to say about headphones and how to choose them and we’ve checked the statistics on what are the most sought-after models. This is how we managed to pick the following models, each coming with some great features.
- 1. Sennheiser HD 600 Audiophile Quality
- 2. Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Studio Monitor Professional Headphones
- 3. Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone
- 4. Samson SR850 Professional Studio Reference Open Back Headphones
- 5. Audio-Technica ATH-M20X Professional Headphones
- 6. Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphone
- 7. Behringer HPM1000 Multi Purpose Headphones
- Yearly Guide & Report
1. Sennheiser HD 600 Audiophile Quality
With aesthetics reminding of the 90’s, these headphones feature a blue marble effect painted on them. Although made of plastic, the construction feels very solid and the metal articulation between the headband and the ear cups should be sturdy enough.
One advantage that this model has is that, if pieces get broken, they can be easily found online and replaced. They are also comfortable, mostly due to the ear pads. Their shape is oval and fits most ears and the interior is soft and comfy.
In terms of sound, they are effortless and offer a very balanced tone. The sound is natural and it’s in harmony from bass all the way up to treble. They excel at midrange sounds and the vocals and instruments can be heard with no graininess. Although they are good all-round headphones, they have small issues with reproducing sounds in the sub-bass area.
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2. Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Studio Monitor Professional Headphones
Coming after the ATH-M50 model, this one from Audio-Technica is almost the same pair of headphones but adapted for general consumers rather than professionals. However, they offer similar capabilities, a great sound, and the ability to be highly portable. They’re a great choice to use for your electronic drum set.
Although bigger than usual portable headphones, these ones are stylish, and the ear cups don’t stick too much out. The large earpads provide more room for your ears, thus more comfort. What’s interesting about this model is that it offers a sound that appeals to a lot of people.
They have the low bass sound that many enjoy and they back that up with good separation and expansiveness so your ear can experience the sound better. The treble is something that ads to the sound quality because it’s detailed and smooth. This makes for a very exciting pair of headphones to listen to.
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3. Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone
First released in 1991, these headphones are made of plastic, which makes them light and easy to transport. Additionally, because of that, the parts are easy to replace if they break. What makes them a favorite for traveling musicians is that they can fold up in a more compact shape.
Because they’re over 20 years old, their sound is considered the standard in the industry. And that is due to the fact that, unlike other pairs of headphones, these ones are able to produce a neutral sound. That means they are capable of delivering sound in any frequency, from 10Hz to 20kHz with the same sound pressure or volume.
Also, another difference between this model and others is that they don’t focus on boosting the bass sounds but rather the mids and treble. That is why they are more appreciated by music producers, rather than general users – because they offer a more natural sound, essential when mixing.
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4. Samson SR850 Professional Studio Reference Open Back Headphones
The design of these headphones suggests they are fit for professional use and the metal bands that run across them mean that they are sturdy enough to withstand most bumps and accidents. It’s a model that doesn’t require an amplifier and offers a good output volume.
Although some users say that at first, the headphones can be a bit uncomfortable, that can be resolved by letting them adjust and with some use, they loosen up. They are not ideal for traveling, because they are an open back model, and people around you can hear what you are listening to.
However, for the same reason, they are good for music production. The open design allows for the sound to be more natural and clear, an essential feature when mixing. In terms of sound, they provide decent bass and good treble and they allow the user to hear all the details.
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5. Audio-Technica ATH-M20X Professional Headphones
This is a closed back pair, meaning that they cover the whole ear, and this may result in a slightly altered sound. These headphones have a 10-foot long cable, so they are made for indoor, studio use.
The low frequencies have a little hump on them, but they provide a sound close to the natural one. Being a more affordable version of similar products like the ATH-MX50, this one is not bass focused but rather decent at reproducing sounds in all frequencies and it represents a pair of budget studio headphones.
They offer enough isolation and although they are a closed back model, they reproduce the sounds good and natural enough to be used in the studio. In terms of comfort, they do their job actually well and provide a stable fit on the head. They come in an all-black design and they offer a studio image. The ear cups don’t stick out too much, thus the headphones are quite slick.
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6. Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphone
The bulky design that these headphones showcase is certainly not feasible for wearing them on the road, but it makes them good for studio use. They’re solid and the plastic used in making them can withstand drops with no issue. The earpads are comfortable and large enough to keep you away from headaches during all those music production hours.
When discussing sound, taking into account that they are a pair of closed-back headphones, they offer a deep and thumpy bass, and a good and even midrange and treble. They are thus a versatile model, suitable for most music styles.
In terms of isolation, they offer some, but they won’t do much against the noise and loud environments of commuting. But then again, this is not their purpose. At higher volume, they can be heard by people around you, an advantage in the studio when you want others to hear your mixing too.
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7. Behringer HPM1000 Multi Purpose Headphones
These are multi-purpose headphones and they are great for a large number of applications in the studio. They’re also a good fit for casual listeners and they work with many devices, due to the adapter that they come with. Offering an ultra-wide frequency response, as the manufacturers state, they should offer a good and balanced sound in all frequency ranges.
Due to their high dynamic range, there should be no discrepancies in sound, no matter the volume at which they are played. In terms of design, they offer a simple look, as they are made of plastic. The headband is extra padded to be as comfortable as possible and to last a long time. The ear pads are oval and should fit most ears.
They produce a pretty clean and natural sound, although the midrange frequencies are a bit boosted. The fact that they are not adjustable may be a disadvantage, particularly for those with bigger heads.
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Yearly Guide & Report
Headphones that are to be used in a studio need to have certain features that set them apart from others. They need to provide an accurate sound, while still offering enough comfort to the wearer. Depending on what you want to achieve with your headphones, below you can find our detailed guide on how to pick the best studio headphones for mixing or recording.
Closed-back or open-back
Depending on how you intend to use the headphones, you should know that there are generally two types of models. The first of them is the closed type. They are generally designed so they cover the whole ear. If you are a vocalist and want to record something, they are ideal.
That’s because they don’t leak too much sound into the microphone that you use for recording. They are also more powerful in the bass area so they can be used for more than just monitoring while you record – you can use them for listening to music too.
On the other side of the spectrum, open-back headphones are the models that don’t cover the whole ear and as a result, the sound in them is leaked. Although not ideal to be used while recording, they offer a more natural sound and a more neutral frequency so they are great for mixing. Even more, you sometimes want the people around you to hear what you are listening to or producing.
When discussing headphone’s shape it’s also important to note that headphones can also be classified in other two types of models: over-ear and on-ear ones. The over-ear models are the ones that fit entirely around and over your ears, while the other ones have pads that rest on your ears. If you want something more compact, the on-ear ones should be for you. But if you want more comfort and you intend to block more sound, try the other type.
Headphones for mixing
While you track something recorded or you mix a piece of music, you want your headphones to be capable of identifying problems such as buzzing of bad cables or unwanted humming. Even cheap studio headphones can do that job. They must also allow you to hear the product of your mixing without the interferences of the room.
That is why they need to have the clearest and most natural and accurate frequency response possible. This is where quality open-back headsets shine the most. Semi-open-back models are also recommendable for mixing. And if you love producing music, you might need a synthesizer keyboard and also, a midi controller keyboard.
If you want to hear your mix as a casual user, you can always keep a pair of earbuds with you, because most people will use that when listening to music. Or you can try a pair of headphones for music production that put more emphasis on the bass line. Anyway, for that purpose, you should be able to find quality studio headphones on a budget.
When using a headset for tracking what you are recording, it’s essential that the model you use is as isolated as possible. There are many different applications that you should take into consideration when buying a pair of headsets for tracking recordings.
That’s why you should keep in mind that you might require different studio headphones for recording each instrument and voice. Guitarists love to have more volume in the monitor speakers and if that sound leaks from the vocalist’s headphones, it all becomes a mess.
If you want to record drums, for example, you need a pair of headphones that are very good at acoustic isolation. They are not only a must for blocking the sound of the drums and allowing the drummer to hear the whole mix, but they also ensure that the sound they produce doesn’t “bleed” into the microphone.
Unfortunately, the closed-back models that drummers require are not always good at delivering high volumes of bass sound. But you can find models that focus on bass and are suitable for drummers too, so you should look for those. Also search for overhead drum mics, to make sure you properly record the drums.
Vocalists, on the other hand, benefit more from quality open-back headsets. They require a balanced frequency range and proper pitches so they can sing the best. You want the singer to hear himself or herself as close to natural as possible. However, you don’t want a headset that lets too much sound out and interferes with the microphone.
Open-back models that don’t leak too much sound are ideal for this, as well as the semi-open-back ones. Closed-back headphones can be used if you really require them to leak no sound.
By the way, make sure to check our guide on studio recording microphones for the best experience while recording.
If you are a music producer, you might be spending lots of hours in your studio, and owning a pair of headphones that are comfortable is a must in this situation. When you wear them for hours and hours, you will want them to put little pressure on your ears and your head if possible.
You also want to avoid them slipping off your head and they should also be good at not getting your ears too hot. Over-ear models are better at putting less pressure on your head, but they can sometimes get too hot.
Open-back headphones let the air flow better, keeping your head cool. However, quality headsets will keep you comfortable no matter what, and you can find that comfort even if you need something affordable and look for the best studio headphones under 100.