The 10 Best Studio Headphones in 2021

Studio Headphones Pro

The 10 Best Studio Headphones in 2021

Are you seeking out the best studio headphones? Are you going to use them for listening, sound monitoring or mixing? Well, as you already know, studio headphones are divided into three main types, open-backed, closed backed, and Semi-open backed headphones.  A poor quality headphone can damage your hearing or can potentially lead to problematic stereo field choices or wrong mixing decisions. Therefore, investing in the best headphones you can afford early is a smart investment. 

Of course, for your studio setup, you will also need a computer, DAW, an audio interface, microphones, studio monitorsMIDI controllers, etc. But If you want to find the perfect pair of top studio headphones, the list below will take you through some of the best models from Shure, AKG, Sennheiser, Focal, Audio Technica, Beyerdynamic, and more, available today. 

What are the best studio headphones right now?

The top 7  Studio Headphones  below $500

1. Sennheiser HD280PRO

Sennheiser HD280PRO Studio headphone

Sennheiser HD280PRO  is a closed-back headphone designed for pro monitoring applications. With reasonably flat frequency response and high sensitivity, it is suitable for a wide variety of listening tasks. The bass is clear and accurate and lacks aggressive thump. The mids are very clear and detailed. The highs are shine and suitable for monitoring.  These are great headphones, comfortable and neutral they sound great with an amp and they’re very good for the price.

 Pros

  • durable
  • clean and accurate audio performance across the full frequency range
  • comfortable, secure fit for long listening sessions
  • passively reduces ambient noise significantly

Cons

  • the cable is not detachable

Summary

Sennheiser HD280PRO are affordable recording/mastering-grade headphones, more appropriate for studio use than personal listening. If you like “colored” headphones, these are not your thing. 

2.  Focal Listen Pro 

Focal Listen Professional Studio Headphones

Focal Listen Pro are honest, direct, and have a very pleasing soundstage with no unwanted frequencies bouncing around. They have transparent reproduction across the entire spectrum, with great low end. The lower mids and bass are both tight and rich. They put your music in front of you, which a valuable addition to any control room. 

 

Pros

  • solid sound reproduction even at low volumes
  • light and comfortable
  • excellent noise isolation
  • closed-back design and large ear cushions

 

Cons

  • mid-frequency coloration

Summary

Focal Listen Pro is an almost perfect choice of headphones. They are ideal for both listening and pro tasks. Therefore, we can put them in the all-rounder category.

3. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x studio headphones

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x offers a very detailed and balanced sound with tight bass and excellent build quality. Vocals and instruments have a pleasant texture and are nicely separated on a well-organized soundstage. The low end is a bit more, but the midrange is well defined and integrates well with the treble.

Pros

  • lively and engaging sound
  • portable over-ear headphones 
  • cable with a twist-and-lock mechanism to prevent accidental ejection
  • earcups swivel 180 degrees

Cons

  • low-end is a bit more

Summary

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are in the list of the best studio headphones for music production as these are among the best-sounding pairs, you’ll find for less than $180. They’re fantastic for studio use, comfortable and durable for these extra-long studio sessions. Plus, they’re affordable enough that you can probably afford multiple pairs for your studio.

4. Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro

Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro headphones

Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro headphones are a bit pricey side, but they offer a next-level listening experience, which makes them one of the best studio headphones. They provide professional-quality sound for critical listening applications and sound monitoring in an open environment. DT 770 Pro are recognizable staples of recording studio gear over the last few decades and are still relevant thanks to their excellent audio performance.

 Pros

  • innovative bass-reflex system
  • good neutral listening headphones
  • superior build quality
  • well balanced audio reproduction
  • near-perfect mid-range
  • stable and well-padded

     

    Cons

  • some people find them to be a bit overly sharp

Summary

Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro are well-built, great-sounding and durable closed-back headphones. They offer a clear, engaging, and rich listening experience.  Vocals and instruments sound natural and warm. The headphones are a good blend of price and performance.

5. Pioneer HRM-7

Pioneer HRM-7 Studio Headphones

The Pioneer HRM-7 have a really big sound stage for a headphone of this price.  The headphone housings feature a large space around the ear for a wider sound stage and acoustic separation. The bass is very well controlled. The midrange is really smooth and reserved without sounding hard. The highs have a presence and a nice clear tone. These are really good studio headphones for Monitoring or Mixing.

Pros

  • frequency response: 5 Hz to 40kHz
  • solid and durable
  • fully enclosed pads
  • comfortable for monitoring
  • well-controlled bass

 

Cons

  • the high frequencies may become tiresome for long sessions

Summary

The Pioneer HRM-7 are fully enclosed dynamic stereo headphones. They are flat all the way up to the boosted treble. The highs are just a bit too cutting,  but the phones are good for critical listening. 

6. Shure SRH 1540

Shure SRH1540 Premium Closed-Back Recording Headphones

Shure SRH 1540 are closed-back headphones that feature an expansive soundstage for clear, extended highs and warm bass. The headphones are developed with aluminum alloy and carbon fiber construction. They have a lightweight and durable design that features Alcantara ear pads for maximum sound isolation and comfort. The sound staging is as deep and wide with crystal clarity.  The frequency response is very linear in the mids and highs with a slight emphasis on the low-mids and the sub-bass.

 Pros

  • Frequency response 5 Hz to 25 kHz
  • 40 mm neodymium drivers 
  • closed-back, circumaural design reduces background noise
  • lightweight construction – aluminum alloy yoke and carbon fiber cap
  • detailed and balanced sound with outstanding bass
  • high-quality components

Cons

  • a bit pricey

Summary

If you like headphones with an intimately warm tonality Shure SRH 1540 is a great option for you. These are headphones that you can wear all day. They feel good and sound good.  They are one of, if not the best studio headphones on the market.  Shure SRH 1540 brings superb comfort with above-average imaging and soundstage.

 

7. AKG Pro Audio K702 

AKG Pro Audio K702 studio monitor

AKG Pro Audio K702 are open, over-ear studio headphones with a neutral signature, great for listening, mixing, and mastering. They are linear and do not emphasize any frequency. Mid-range doesn’t get mixed up with mid-bass and retains the sound clarity, it is vibrant and transparent which holds great significance during track mixing. The K702 is a great pair of headphones with a clear and smooth sound, comfortable fit, and phenomenal imaging. Therefore, they are in our best studio headphones list.   

Pros

  • frequency response 10 to 39,800Hz
  • precise sound reproduction
  • great sound performance
  • perfect for critical listening and studio mixing
  • comfortable design
  • detachable cable
  • replaceable earpads

Cons

  • a little too big and bulky

Summary

AKG Pro Audio K702 are ideal for mixing applications thanks to their impressive sound reproduction. The stereo image is wide with an extremely linear frequency response range. They deliver a comfortable listening experience even during long listening sessions.

Pro Grade Studio Headphones

Top 3 Studio Headphones in the $1600- $2700 price range

8. Sennheiser HD 800 S

Sennheiser HD 800 S Studio Headphone

Wide, realistic sound staging and highly precise imaging are the biggest advantages of the Sennheiser HD 800 S. No matter the quality of the recording or the genre, all instruments are precisely placed. There is so much air and space present that listening to well-recorded music is just phenomenal and a real joy to the ears. To get the best of these headphones you should be using a dedicated high-quality audio interface or DAC+amp combo. The handmade microfiber earpads offer exceptional comfort for long listening enjoyment. Sennheiser HD 800 S definitely worth an audition.

 

Pros

  • frequency response 4 Hz – 51.000 Hz
  • reference class dynamic headphone
  • spacious, lifelike soundstage
  • ring  radiator transducers for incredible detail 
  • vibration damping chassis with luxurious padding
  • detachable cable
  • made in Germany from purpose-built materials

Cons

  • you’ll need a good amplification and a quality soundtrack to hear what they can really do

Summary

The Sennheiser HD 800 S is airy, revealing, and detailed.  The sense of realism, depth, and space is just unmatched. HD800S is probably the last headphone you will ever need after you get one. 

 

9. AKG Pro Audio K812 PRO

AKG Pro Audio K812 PRO Headphones

The AKG Pro Audio K812 PRO are really elegant. They feel light, and the ‘3D’ ear–cup design, makes them very comfortable. These reference headphones offer the purest and natural sound possible and allow music professionals to experience the smallest sonic details down to the imperfections of the recording. Yes, the K812 are expensive headphones, and they sound like it. Therefore, these headphones are perfect for all kinds of high-budget users who want to get a top-notch quality product that has been built to last.

Pros

  • frequency response:  5 to 54.000 Hz
  • superior reference headphones
  • faithful sound
  • Impressive detail resolution and transparency
  • beautifully engineered and well-built
  • accurate representation of what has been recorded

 

Cons

  • they need a good amplification to shine

Summary

The AKG Pro Audio K812 PRO are designed for music professionals to experience the smallest sonic details with the most accurate balance for music production, mixing, and mastering. They are one of the best studio headphones AKG has ever released and they will help you a lot in making crucial mixing decisions.

10.  Focal Clear Professional 

Focal Clear Professional Headphones

The Focal Clear Professional deliver a mixing experience that is pretty close to a set of studio monitors. Thanks to the very low-mass driver moving parts, these headphones reproduce the tiniest details in the higher frequencies. With an impedance of 55 Ohms and 104dB sensitivity, you can use them with about any smart device or digital audio player. 

Pros

  • frequency response 5 Hz-28.000 Hz
  • professional open-back headphones
  • a truly accurate listening experience
  • remarkable tonal balance over the entire spectrum
  • bass articulation, down to the very lowest frequencies
  • incredibly comfortable for long sessions
  • pack of extras
  • work with any mobile device

Cons

  • the cable is well built but it is not very flexible

Summary

Focal Clear Professional are the ultimate tool for the most demanding professionals. Audition these as soon as you can hear a set of phones that perhaps deliver everything for your mixing.

End Remarks

It’s unlikely that your home studios have perfect acoustics. Mixing on headphones can be useful and even necessary in many situations and headphone monitoring can be an important part of the mixing process. But just like with studio monitors, it is important that we get a pair of professional studio headphones (though they can be pricey) such as Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro , AKG Pro Audio K702, Sennheiser HD 800 S, AKG Pro Audio K812 PRO. The best studio headphones offer excellent, full-range, detailed audio, and will help you in making crucial mixing decisions.

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