9 Best Studio Headphones for the Ultimate Recording Experience

Should you invest in a good pair of studio headphones, or will any do? If you’re just starting, you might not realize the importance of having high-quality headphones when you record and mix songs, podcasts, or voiceovers.

In this article, we want to help you choose the best studio headphones for recording. So read on to learn why you should use special headphones.

Do You Really Need Studio Headphones?

The short answer is “yes.” You need studio headphones, and you shouldn’t just use any random gaming headset you have lying around.

Recording and mixing are two very different jobs in a studio, and professionals use two different types of headphones. Since recording demands maximum sound isolation to avoid sound bleeding into the mic, closed-back headphones are used.

The unfortunate side effect of total sound isolation is lower sound quality. Because of this, professionals use open-back headphones for mixing the recorded sound. These headphones have optimal sound quality but at the expense of isolation. With that in mind, here are some of the best studio headphones, closed and open-back, so that you can get the best recording experience.

1. Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X

Beyerdynamic DT 700 is a semi-closed, over-ear headphone that offers a distortion-free and reliable sound. It boasts a new transducer technology with its STELLAR.45 drivers, which improves the sound compared to its predecessor DT 700 Pro. The comfort level is incredibly high with passive cushioning and memory foam. This headset was designed for those long recording sessions where comfort takes priority.

DT 700 Pro X is a good choice as a studio headphone and for everyday use due to its 48-ohm impedance rating. The frequency response is between 5Hz and 40kHz, offering clear and natural sound. The noise isolation is good. DT 700 Pro X attenuation goes anywhere between 30 and 50dB, depending on the pitch of the noise. It won’t protect you from hearing the jet engine of an airplane passing by, but it will cancel out any chatter or unwanted sound coming from within the studio.

2. Audio-Technica ATH-M50X

ATH-M50X is very popular among modern audiophiles and professionals and is a serious competitor to Beyerdynamic. This headset is very comfortable and light, and it can easily bend and fold if you are on the go. Its ear cups are circumaural and swivel for more comfort when resting on your shoulders. It even has a detachable cable that can be easily replaced if needed.

The sound quality of Audio-Technica ATH-M50X is good, though it doesn’t quite hit it at the high frequencies. In contrast, the mids and the lows are very clear and forward. This particular Audio-Technica model has a low impedance of only 38 ohms and a frequency response between 15Hz and 28kHz. It has 45mm, large-aperture drivers with rare earth magnets. The exceptional clarity of sound is also achieved with copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils.

3. Sennheiser HD 280 Pro

If you’ve been in the studio recording business for a while, chances are you’ve already heard of Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones. They are the industry standard for closed-back design options, and for a reason. Although the HD 280 Pro doesn’t really have any special features, this is one of the most reliable headphones.

Although closed-back, Sennheiser HD 280 Pro was not designed to cancel out noise. However, the excellent seal of the earpads to your head significantly isolates you from high frequencies. With a frequency response of 8Hz – 25kHz, HD 280 Pro is a good choice for recording, mixing, and monitoring in the studio. It proves to be a very versatile sound tool.

4. Sony MDR-7506

Another industry standard and competitor to the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro, Sony MDR-7506 has some die-hard fans among recording and broadcasting professionals. But sony has the advantage over Sennheiser in the area of comfort. The MDR-7506 has an extremely comfortable fit for prolonged wearing without compromising sound quality.

These large diaphragm headphones have 40 mm drivers, with Neodymium magnets, and a frequency response of 10Hz-20kHz. Impedance sits at 63 ohms, and the attenuation is similar to that of the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro. If the excellent specifications are not enough, Sony MDR-7506 is a budget-friendly option for beginners.

5. Shure SRH1840

The audiophile geeks describe Shure SRH1840 as headphones with high-end quality sound. These open-back professional studio headphones are among the most expensive options out there. But they do offer very smooth lows and highs and accurate bass response. The listening experience with SRH 1840 is impressive.

The Shure SRH1840 has individually matched 40mm, neodymium drivers with a steel frame. But a vented center pole is added to eliminate the internal resonance and ensure consistent sound quality. It has a frequency range of 10Hz-30kHz, 65-ohm impedance, and 96dB/mW sensitivity. Keep in mind these are open-back headphones, and there is no noise cancellation. However, the sound that comes from it is as natural as it gets, perfect for mixing.

6. AKG K701

Many audiophiles agree that AKG K701 is an impressive set of headphones. They have been in production for over a decade and are still among the best studio options. These 50mm driver-size headphones have an open-back design with a 62-ohm impedance.

AKG K701 is also very attractive, with large earcups and a leather headband that gives these headphones a vintage look. The low clamping force ensures comfort during the long hours spent in a studio. With an audio frequency bandwidth of 10-39800Hz, K701 offers crystal clear highs, smooth lows, and fantastic treble. However, they’re not suitable for modern-day bass-heavy music, though they do play bass decently.

7. Sennheiser HD 650

This headset is a longtime favorite among audio professionals. They are probably the most comfortable headset you’ll ever try. Their design secret is in the shape of ear cups and extra padding that makes them feel like they are floating around your ears. But Sennheiser HD 650 are open-back headphones, meaning they will leak noise a lot. They are not for everyday use, even though it’s tempting to use them for musical enjoyment due to the great sound they produce. They work best in the recording studio environment.

The frequency response of HD 650 is between 10 and 41,000Hz, and the drivers are dynamic with neodymium magnets. There is practically no inter-modulation sound distortion. Their impedance is 300 ohms. That doesn’t mean they won’t work on a smartphone, but the more amplification, the better sound will be produced.

8. Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro

If you are looking for a professional headset with high-quality neutral sound but for less money, Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro should be your choice. These are a mid-range model of studio headphones perfect for mixing, editing, and mastering sound. They have a wide frequency response range, from 5Hz to 35kHz, and a powerful bass presence, though sub-bass is low. Lows, mids, instruments, and vocals are perfectly balanced.

With an impedance of 250 ohms, DT 990 Pro requires an external amp. The design of this model is very sturdy, and although the cable is not replaceable, it will last you for years to come. As with other open-back headphones, don’t expect any noise cancelation. The noise leakage makes Beyerdynamic almost useless outside the studio.

9. Audio-Technica ATH-E70

If you prefer in-ear monitor headphones, you might choose ATH-E70. Be aware that no earbuds will ever come close to a headset regarding sound production. However, Audio-Technica offers a solid solution with this model, especially for a home studio. The only segment where these studio monitors fail is bass. But that is due to the physics and the design of the earbuds. They simply cannot produce the punch needed.

The impedance of ATH-E70 is 39 ohms. It has three balanced armature drivers that provide clear, accurate responses across the entire frequency range (20Hz to 19kHz). Its housing is also specifically designed for noise canceling to help you focus on music alone.

So what are your favorite studio headphones, and why? Leave a comment below and let us know more about your experience with headphones.

Source: 9 Best Studio Headphones for the Ultimate Recording Experience

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