There are many headphones to choose from in the market but unfortunately, many of them sacrifice function for design. This is why many users resort to purchasing studio headphones instead of normal headphones as they do not put form before function. While they are mainly for music production, other users such as gamers and streamers have also started to use them for their great quality. However, there are many factors to consider when finding the perfect pair for you. That said, the search for the best studio headphones for every user is on.
In this guide, we’ll be looking at the best studio headphones in the market and what makes them the best among the rest.
Best Studio Headphones in 2021
|Best Pick: Sony MDR-7506 Studio Headphones||Best for Mixing: Pioneer HRM-7 Studio Headphones|
|Best Luxury: Audio-Technica ATH-R70x||Best for Streaming: Nuraphone by Nura Headphones|
|Best Affordable: Sennheiser HD-206 Studio Headphones||Best for Audiophiles: Sennheiser HD280 PRO|
|Best Comfort: KRK KNS8400 Studio Headphones||Best Wireless: SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless|
|Best Design: AKG K240 Studio Headphones||Best Closed Back: Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro|
|Best for Gaming: Drop + HIFIMAN HE4XX||Best Open Back: Samson SR850|
|Best for Recording: Sennheiser HD 25|
What are Studio Headphones?
Studio headphones are mostly seen in the music industry. They are essential to music production as they help to create, record, mix, and master music. However, studio headphones are no longer just for the music industry alone as many professions and hobbyists have also begun to use them for their line of work such as streaming and gaming.
The best studio headphones usually provide users with audio that is clearer and richer, thanks to their flat frequency response that doesn’t boost the bass or the treble. It’s not the best option for entertainment use but they are a good option if you’re looking for a pair of headphones that will give you the purest sound. Most studio headphones are over-ear headphones as these provide the best sound quality compared to in-ear headphones.
Ideally, in the music industry, the best studio headphones are the ones that you can use for mixing and mastering music. However, it naturally depends on the individual and their needs. That said, choosing the best studio headphones might be subjective, especially now that these headphones are being used by other professionals as well. For that reason, we give you 13 of the best studio headphones that you can buy today.
Sony MDR-7506 Studio Headphones
Kicking off this list of the best studio headphones is the Sony MDR-7506 Studio Headphones. It stands as one of the best studio headphones in the market today even after three decades. The Sony MDR series never disappoints when it comes to quality and functionality. It combines value, function, and comfort to bring headphones that are great for almost every use — not just studio use.
The headphones are comfortable to wear even for long periods. It’s designed to deliver sound that is clear with moderate boosts here and there. Still, it manages to deliver clear sound that is helpful to music creators if they need to find flaws in a recording. In the same manner, it provides a sound that is immersive enough for other types of users to enjoy. The Sony MDR-7506 Studio Headphones are a great fit for anyone looking for a pair of headphones that perform well regardless of their use.
- Comfortable for extended use
- Clear and great-sounding
- Heavy cable
- No ANC and noise isolation
The Audio-Technica ATH-R70x is a favorite in the recording community for its value, durability, and sound quality. This pair of headphones are most commonly used for long recording and mixing sessions. In terms of sound quality and reproduction, the sound is accurate and well-balanced with just a small amount of extra bass. Regardless, you don’t have to worry about nuances in the audio because the bass doesn’t affect it at all.
The mid-range and treble are clear without any distortion. It’s also great for audiophiles and gamers to use because of its sonic balance and immersive properties. The Audio-Technica ATH-R70x is a great option to consider if you’re looking for a pair of studio headphones that has a well-balanced sound and can be worn for long hours.
The biggest downside of these headphones is that it doesn’t have active noise cancellation, so it’s not the best if you’re looking for something that fully cancels out the noise. Regardless, it only leaks out sound when set on a higher volume so you might not want to use it in noise-sensitive environments.
- Great sound quality
- Good design
- Comfortable for extended use
- They don’t cancel out noise
- Earpads can become uncomfortable in hot environments
Sennheiser HD-206 Studio Headphones
If you’re looking for a pair of studio headphones that is slightly cheaper than the other entries in the list, your best bet is the Sennheiser HD-206 Studio Headphones. Despite its cheap price point, you can guarantee that these won’t disappoint because of the brand that it comes from. Sennheiser is a well-respected brand that produces headphones of the highest quality, so you can best believe that you’re getting the best headphones despite the price. Further, the HD-206 has a remarkable audio quality that easily puts it at par with studio headphones that are at a higher price point.
The Sennheiser HD-206 Studio Headphones feature a well-balanced response with plenty of detail in the mids and the highs. Moreover, you can also use them out of the studio as they can effectively block out noise wherever you go. With this pair of headphones, you’re getting your money’s worth. Unfortunately, this model has been discontinued by Sennheiser but you can still get one from the brand’s Amazon store as it is still up for sale.
- Balanced Response
- Long Cord
KRK KNS8400 Studio Headphones
KRK is a brand that is well-loved for their monitor speakers but they aren’t exactly popular for their studio headphones. However, that doesn’t mean to say that they don’t deliver when it comes to sound quality. These headphones are like having the KRK studio monitors on your head. They deliver almost the same experience as the studio monitors but in a compact version. It also has decent noise exclusion which makes for a great companion for audiophiles and music producers.
Apart from the sound quality, the KRK KNS8400 Studio Headphones are also well-loved for their comfort. It’s made of plastic that is lightweight and impact-resistant. Further, it has earpads that are made from memory foam which makes them undoubtedly comfortable. It’s a great pair of headphones if you’re looking for one that delivers great sound quality and comfort at the same time.
- Accurate stereo imaging
- Great bass response
- Inline volume control
- Comfortable and lightweight
- Unusual sound signatures
AKG K240 Studio Headphones
AKG studio headphones are a staple in music production and the AKG K240 Studio is no exception to that. These headphones are great for recording, editing, mixing, and mastering. Moreover, these headphones have a self-adjusting headband and a semi-open configuration which makes them great companions for music and other uses. The headphones also have comfortable earpads that fully enclose the ears. While it generally has a closed-back style, its sound is more transparent than the normal headphones of its style.
The AKG K240 Studio‘s bass is solid with balanced mids and clear highs. Its sound quality won’t disappoint. However, the headphones have a slight increase in sound leakage but only when used to the highest volume. That said, you’ll still get a reliable and functional choice for the studio.
- Classic headphones
- Balanced audio
- Great design
- Prone to sound leakage
Drop + HIFIMAN HE4XX
The Drop + HIFIMAN HE4XX are great for gaming. They are magnetic planar headphones and are considered to be the best of their kind in the world. The headphones showcase a balanced sound that is immersive and great for long hours of gaming.
The Drop + HIFIMAN HE4XX might appear to be inferior to normal headphones but they are one of the best studio headphones that you can rely on for gaming. It has a wide sound stage that will immerse the player into the game. The downside of this, however, is that isn’t great for long use and it does not have ANC that gaming headsets have. That said, you might want to consider checking out our guide to the best gaming headsets if you prefer something that has features solely for gaming.
- Excellent sound quality
- Not recommended for prolonged use
- No ANC
Sennheiser HD 25
Up next is the Sennheiser HD 25. These headphones are a favorite among those who spend their time in the studio. They can withstand high sound pressure and produce superb sound reproduction. It also delivers accurate sound that is both lightweight and strong.
The Sennheiser HD 25 is ideal for professional use, however, those who want to dive into music production and even DJs can make the most out of these headphones. Just take note that they might not be the best options for prolonged use as the earpads aren’t the comfiest.
- Pro’s Choice
- Uncomfortable earpads
- Not great for extended use
Pioneer HRM-7 Studio Headphones
The Pioneer HRM-7 headphones are great for mixing. Not only can it detect bass accurately but it can also help users to identify the low-mid and the mid-range during the mixing process. This is an important process in mixing and mastering because a single mistake can affect the entire product.
These headphones accurately show the range and you can monitor the sound properly. However, this might not be the best option if you intend on using them while recording in the booth. You might want to consider the Sennheiser HD 25 instead. Regardless, the Pioneer HRM-7 studio headphones are the best studio headphones to use for mixing.
- Dynamic range
- Comfortable and Lightweight
- Not recommended for booth use
Nuraphone by Nura Headphones
For those who want to use their headphones for streaming, the Nuraphone might be the best option for you. These headphones are unique because it personalizes a profile for its user. It tailors a bespoke experience that best suits the user’s hearing and creation.
The headphones are immersive. It delivers a crisp and detailed sound that offers a lot of depth. These headphones are great for streaming to make the experience better. The Nuraphone by Nura Headphones is also great for mixing and sound editing. That said, these headphones are not ideal for professional use but they make for great alternatives to the usual professional headphones.
- Customizes hearing profiles
- Immersive sound
- High reliance on its accompanying app
Sennheiser HD280 PRO
Another entry from Sennheiser is the HD280 Pro. This is one of the most recommended headphones for studio owners and even for audiophiles. These headphones deliver a balanced sound with a clean and accurate bass. This is great for those who love listening to music. Further, they have great sound isolation that makes the listening experience more immersive and better compared to regular headphones. The HD280 PRO is also comfortable and functional with its rotating earcups.
The only downside of these headphones is that they might not be the best if you’re looking at design. Regardless, the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro is a pair of comfortable headphones that deliver superb sound quality.
- Superb sound isolation
- Replaceable parts
- Dated design
SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless
While the majority of studio headphones are wired, the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless proved that even wireless headphones are great companions in the studio. These headphones are primarily used for gaming, but they make great studio headphones as well. Its wireless technology is great for when you want to move freely while mixing or mastering your tracks. The best thing about these headphones is that it doesn’t lag. The Arctis Pro Wireless uses a transmitter-based technology that doesn’t have audio lag and low latency.
The headphones also come with companion software that allows users to tweak the sound, presents, and graphic EQ so that it can better suit your taste. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the best bass and treble delivery which might be a problem for other users. Regardless, the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless is a great option to consider if you want wireless studio headphones.
- Less audio lag
- Low latency
- Neutral sound profile
- Leaks a bit of audio
- Inconsistent bass and treble
Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO
The Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro is one of the most dynamic studio headphones that you can purchase. This particular model is their closed-back design that comes in different impedances. Despite being a bit pricey, they are one of the best that any professional can rely on.
These are for all-around use and offer a well-balanced spectrum that has an innovative bass and detailed highs. Moreover, it’s also comfy despite its strong headband tension. It’s an option to consider if you’re looking for studio headphones that are flexible and dynamic. In all, the Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro is one of the best headphones because it suits all needs.
- Minimal sound leakage
- Excellent sound
- Multiple Impedances
- Replaceable parts
- Headband tension might be too strong for certain users
The Samson SR850 is on the more affordable spectrum. It’s generally made out of plastic with a self-adjusting headband and velour earpad cushions. They are light and comfortable which is great for long listening sessions.
Despite being open-back headphones, the Samson SR850 delivers great sound quality with well-rounded bass lines and nice detail. The soundstage is decent for headphones of its type and it’s great for streaming movies, listening to music, and gaming. The only downside of the headphones is that it does leak a bit of sound but it is forgivable as the sound quality makes up for it.
- Great sound quality
- Superb bass
- Prone to sound leakage
The Best Studio Headphones: A Quick Buying Guide
Now that you’ve seen a list of the best studio headphones in the market, the next step is to identify which one is the best for you. To help you choose, you can refer to this buying guide to assist you. In this quick guide, we’ll be listing down a couple of factors that you should consider when looking for studio headphones that will best suit your needs.
That said, here are a few factors to look into when you’re on the hunt for the best studio headphones:
For studio headphones, the first thing to consider is the type. There are two types of studio headphones and they are:
- Closed-back headphones – These headphones fully enclose the ears and prevent audio from the headphones from leaking out. In most cases, this is great if you’re a performer who wants a pair of headphones that will keep your backing track from spilling into the recording. This is also great for streamers who want to keep the game audio from leaking into the stream and adding extra noise.
- Open-back headphones – These are more comfortable and lightweight. They’re great if you’re looking for a pair that you can wear for long periods. This is more ideal for programming, mixing, streaming, and even casual listening because they are made for long wear. However, the sound quality of open-back earphones might not be as good as the closed-back ones. If you’re particular with sound quality, you might want to check out the best open-back headphones to find the perfect fit for you. Still, they are the best if you’re looking for something casual.
Studio headphones are usually long-lasting and durable. Even the headphones that are on the cheaper side are sturdy. They are also usually made with higher quality materials than normal headphones. Some headphones are made of metal and others plastic but regardless, they are still high-quality and will last for a long time.
3.) Sound Quality
Studio headphones are made mostly for music production. Hence, their audio quality is better than other headphones. The best studio headphones have an audio quality that becomes very immersive and expansive. Headphones like these also have neutral sound signatures that will help you hear better. Audio is clearer and more vivid in comparison to regular headphones.
The best studio headphones are affordable. Despite being durable and having great sound quality, studio headphones are on the cheaper side of the spectrum. The designs of studio headphones are usually taken from older models so companies don’t necessarily spend much for development. Regular headphones are usually more expensive because of the research and development cost to create them. That said, studio headphones are cheaper but offer better quality.
5.) Personal Needs
Lastly, it’s better if you purchase studio headphones according to your needs. You need to evaluate the things that you need from headphones before you make your purchase. Ideally, the best studio headphones are great for most uses. From gaming to streaming, headphones offer quality and durability regardless of your intention. However, if you’re looking for headphones for aesthetic quality, you might want to opt for regular headphones instead. Studio headphones are built for function and durability, hence, design isn’t a focus.
Taking Care of Your Studio Headphones
Generally, studio headphones will last you a long time. These headphones are durable enough to withstand damage due to regular use. However, it’s also essential to take good care of your headphones so they will last longer. Most often, headphones incur damage because of how users handle them. That said, you might want to take a few extra measures to make sure that your studio headphones will last a long time.
With that, here are three ways in which you can take care of your headphones:
1.) Clean Your Headphones
No matter what headphones you have, it’s always a good idea to clean them. Give them a wiping down and if you can, make sure that the earpads are clean by removing them and giving them a thorough clean. This is also a good time for you to inspect your headphones for any damage. This way, you can find ways to remedy the damage and prevent it from getting worse. It’s always a good idea to wipe down your headphones after every use to ensure that they’re clean.
You might also want to take this time to check your earpads. The earpads are usually one of the first parts of the headphones to show damage. Hence, it’s important to always keep an eye on them. If you think that it’s time to replace them, you might want to check out our quick guide to replacing headphone earpads to help you out.
2.) Store Them Properly
When you buy headphones of any kind, it would be best to get a stand so you don’t have to put them back in their box. However, if you don’t have a stand, you can always opt for a storage case. Make sure that you get a hard case that can protect your gadget from being bent or smashed when you put them away or carry them around. Getting a hard and sturdy case also helps to protect your headphones from the elements that may cause damage to their form.
3.) Store Cables Properly
Aside from the earpads, the headphone cable is also prone to damage. Store cables properly to prevent them from getting tangled as this usually leads to damage. When cables are not properly stored, it can lead to premature breakage. That said, the best way to store cables is to loosely wrap and gather the cable and tie them off with a hair elastic or a string. This way, the cables won’t strain or stretch and they’ll remain secure.
Take Your Pick at the Best Studio Headphones
Finding the best studio headphones widely depends on the needs of the user. However, it’s best to still look at the best options in the market before purchasing a pair. It’s ideal to know which headphones are best for casual listening and even for professional use. Ultimately, the best headphones are the ones that offer the best immersive experience and the ones that are comfortable for extended use. Regardless of your profession or purpose of purchasing the headphones, studio headphones are still great buys because they are durable and will last you a long time.