Best Studio Headphones 2021 Review

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Listening to music and producing it has always been part of human life. However, with the advancement of technology, this enthusiasm exceeded itself to a point where some people claim that they cannot pass a moment without music. Then again, today, listening to music as the producers intended for you to hear is a challenging concept. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different models of studio headphones with different capabilities, comfort levels, and technology. This article has been prepared in order to deliver you a clear picture of what you will need when you are choosing studio-quality headphones that can match your needs and wants. For the maximum quality of sound reproduction, you will need to match your headphones on your device; for that, you have to decide on the right impedance and frequency range, and so on. Stick until the end of this review in order to get more information regarding choosing a suitable pair of headphones for desired quality, comfortable head band design, cable options (long, coiled, wireless, etc.), and still be within an affordable price range.

Sony MDR-7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone

Sony MDR-7506 Professional Stereo Headphones are a great choice for sound monitoring in professional studios, movie making, and any project where high-quality sound is an absolute necessity. The closed-ear design of the Sony MDR-7506 is a great choice for producers and home recording studios. It has a rugged and convenient foldable design. Also, this product has a 40mm driver, gold connectors, and a high-quality oxygen-free copper 9.8′ cord that is durable against corrosive environments, however, at the same time, it is quite heavy to carry around. The MDR-7506 also features a closed-back design that reduces external noise. In addition, these studio headphones have 63 Ohms of impedance and a frequency response of 10Hz-20kHz that offer detailed sound. Yet, Sony MDR-7506 does not excel at bringing high basses forward and slightly overemphasizes mids and highs. Lastly, the material of these headphones is plastic so the head band is subjected to peeling over time. All in all Sony MDR-7506 is a great choice for its reasonable price. You can check the price here.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones

Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones are one of the greatest budget studio headphones with 45mm magnetic drivers, an extended frequency range, and an elegant foldable design. This product is one of the most critically acclaimed models in the M-Series. The ATH-M50x has been designed with the same coveted sonic signature, now with renewed earpads and different-sized detachable cables. These studio headphones feature 15 Hz-28 kHz frequency response and deep bass response at the same time. Although M50X Pro has a neutral frequency response, it has a slight emphasis on lower notes that cannot be found at higher-end studio headphones. Nevertheless, the audio quality of these headphones is just amazing. Also, its lightweight design and foldable frame make this product easy to carry. Furthermore, it comes with a wireless option. Earpads and closed-back design ensure excellent sound isolation in loud environments and 90° swiveling earcups provide effortless one-ear monitoring. Furthermore, quality earpad and head band material deliver a more comfortable and durable design making it an ideal choice for producers. You can check the price for Audio-Technica’s ATH-M50xs here.

Shure SRH-1540

 

The Shure SRH-1540 Premium Closed-Back Headphones exhibits an expansive soundstage for clear, extended highs and warm bass. Designed with aluminum alloy and carbon fiber material, the lightweight and durable construction also includes Alcantara ear pads for superior sound isolation and comfort. 40 mm neodymium steel driver frame with vented center pole piece enhances linearity and suppresses internal resonance for persistent performance and excellent sound quality at all listening levels. However SRH-1540 model exhibits a high distortion rate during high basses which can be calibrated in order to get the most accurate details. Furthermore, Dual-exit cables with gold-plated MMCX connectors ensure a fine grip and detachability for easy storage or replacement. These studio headphones have an impedance of 46 Ohms and the frequency range is between 5 Hz and 25 kHz. Lastly, this product comes with a storage case, replacement set of ear pads, and an additional dual-exit cable ensuring years of uninterrupted listening sessions. You can check the price here.

Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO

 

Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro has several quality features that attract the attention of professionals owing to their bass reference capabilities, meantime also because of the spacious reproduction that is absolutely remarkable for closed headphones. The sound quality of these headphones is exceptional. You can hear the musical details at all levels which make these headphones ideal for conducting monitoring. Ultra-low bass sounds are defined and reproduced crisply. High frequencies are translated to an analytical, precise, and differentiated sound. The frequency range of these headphones is between 5 Hz and 35000 Hz. Although DT 770 Pro is not matched with DT 990 Pro and DT 880 models in terms of Soundstage, DT 770 Pro shines at bass due to its closed-back design and may leak audio at higher volumes. Furthermore, DT 770 Pro comes with different Ohms levels, these are being 32, 80, and 250. If you are going to use these headphones on mobile devices and laptops, you should select 32 Ohms. Should you will use it in professional studios, 80 Ohms or 250 Ohms models are more suitable for you. The biggest downfall of this product is its weight which is considerably bulkier than other headphones. All in all, its superb audio quality, excellent comfort, and different options make it ideal for a wide range of audiophiles. You can check the price here.

SENNHEISER HD 820

 

SENNHEISER HD 820 defines a new standard for closed-back headphones for audiophiles. The biggest innovation these headphones do bring is 56mm ring radiator transducers and glass reflectors that provide total immersion in your music with absolute detail and a breathtaking soundstage. This absolute beast has an impedance of 300 Ohms and the ability to providing accurate frequency response between 12-43800 Hz and 6-48000 Hz. Although the frequency range is broad, lows and highs have more emphasis than mids which might be undesirable for different types of usage. Not just the technical features but also the aesthetic design with black color makes this product amazing. Yet again, despite being lightweight, these headphones conduct pressure at top of the head, which might cause you to interrupt mixing or listening sessions. All in all, these headphones are for people who are searching for high-end sound, a wide range of frequency spectrum, and high-impedance at the same time. However, SENNHEISER HD 820 is one of the expensive options. You can check the price here.

AKG Pro Audio K240 STUDIO

 

AKG K240 Studio Headphones build around a classic design that has become a bare minimum in monitoring. This newer, lower impedance rate of 55 Ohms ensures a remarkably higher volume level on portable studios, keyboards, drum machines, and other project studio gear. AKG K240 Headphones do include an integrated semi-open-back can with a highly accurate dynamic transducer for naturally open sound quality and around-the-ear pads for persistent comfort for extended periods of time. These studio headphones have a frequency range of 15 Hz to 25 kHz. However, the bass on different levels has been de-emphasized which is quite a downside for bass lovers. Also, the material of this product is not long-lasting which means you will have to replace it within a short period of time. Yet, when you consider the price of AKG K240, it is expected to be that way. In addition, the semi-open back design is quite ineffective at sound isolation, which makes this product is not suitable for commuting. Furthermore, plug-in cable and self-adjusting headband provide an optimum fit for the user. Lastly, all these features are within an affordable price range. You can check price here.

 

Samson Technologies SR850

Samson SR850 Semi-Open Studio Headphones are designed to ensure that the listener hears linear frequency response which is a desired trait for mixing or music playback. 50mm neodymium drivers provide a smooth high-frequency response and warm and tight bass response in a wide range of different sounds.  In addition, the semi-open, circumaural design diminishes the chances of getting ear fatigue and makes it an ideal choice for long mixing or listening sessions; meanwhile makes it a bad choice for listening in public. Also, the SR850 headphones tender exceptional sound quality and precision so that you can mix without missing a note. These headphones offer a wide, flat 10Hz-30kHz frequency response and have an impedance of 32 which makes them ideal for daily usage in quiet environments. Considering SR850 being semi-open headphones, the bass is seriously exciting to hear, however, it does not drown mids with powerful lows. Lastly, although treble has an immense amount of details, it may cause fatigue at higher volume levels. Undetachable cable and being small for large heads might be the reason you can hesitate to buy this product. In conclusion, Samson SR850 is an affordable option for people who wants to get into recording without spending too much. You can check price here.

Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO

The DT 990 Pro Studio Headphones are open-back headphones with a circumaural design. They offer a wide range and deep tonal details. Their moderate bass and treble boost provide superior sound quality. The bass is not overkilled, but it has immersive precision and the treble boost is powerful yet enough. The single-sided cable grant the headphones the ability to be put on and taken off frequently without cables getting twisted all around, and soft, adjustable ear cups enable the listener to feel comfortable for long listening sessions. The sturdy spring steel headband has a durable design in order to withstand impacts. Also, dynamic drivers provide a frequency range of 5 Hz- 35kHz and have two options for impedance, being 80 and 250. It does come in gray and limited edition black colors. However, Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro, due to its open-back design, is not recommended for people who are looking for studio headphones that are also great for commuting. Also, 1m coiled cable is quite heavy and may drag your mobile devices along with itself and it is not replaceable which means if it is broken, you will need to get a new pair of headphones. DT 990 Pro has some issues with lows and sub-bass due to the open-back design. Especially the powerful bass sections of your favorite music might not just feel right. Yet, mids and highs are quite clear and treble is slightly boosted. All in all, you can add this product to one of your buying choices due to the accurate sound profile, extended frequency range, and lowest price for all these features. You can check price here.

 

Audeze LCD-MX4

Enhanced by Audeze’s patented Fluxor magnets, the LCD-MX4 uses 1.5 Tesla of magnetic flux on the lightweight 20 Ohms impedance diaphragm. Furthermore, the LCD-MX4 headphones’ durable design includes a quality magnesium housing with a carbon fiber headband. Notably lighter than the LCD-4 model, these headphones are the perfect choice for extended mixing sessions and long hours of critical listening. In addition, the double-sided magnet arrays offer a uniform driving force across the entire audio for near-zero distortion. LCD-MX4 features a frequency range of 10 Hz – 50 kHz. In addition, you might feel a little bit disappointed if you are buying these headphones for bass because it does not deliver powerful kicks and so on. However, where does MX4 model shines is its pure reproduction quality of mids and highs. They are just extremely clean and flows like a liquid. This product comes with a variety of different cable types and lengths and a professional travel case in order to ensure that the headphones are not damaged during transportation. When it comes to open-back headphones, LCD-MX4 is a superb choice for sound reproduction, studio recording, and for all music lovers. If you are trying to hear each and every high-end sound, then these headphones are just what you are looking for. You can check price for Audeze LCD-MX4 here.

Direct Sound EX-29

 

Direct Sound EX-29 has a beautiful yet classic design and powerful noise absorption which set it aside from its competitors. It features 40mm, closed-back dynamic drivers, with 32 Ohms of impedance. These pair of studio headphones have a range of frequencies between 20 Hz and 20 kHz.  Gold-plated, corrosion-resistant stereo jack (3.5 mm) and adjustable and heavily padded headband make these headphones a fantastic option for daily listening. In addition, the foldable design offers easy storage. However, one of the issues EX-29 suffers is that the treble is heavily boosted which might not be enjoyed by some users. Yet, you should be able to caliber it to match your needs and expectations. In addition, if you are an avid music listener and daily commuter, you can distance yourself from the world while not bothering those around you, thanks to the passive isolation of EX-29. All in all, this product is one of the best choices in terms of its sound quality and is an affordable option at the same time. You can check price here.

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x has been designed in order to provide maximum performance and quality for recording, DJ performance, and audio monitoring. Its 40mm drivers with rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils offer much-needed sound quality for the task at the hand. Furthermore, ATH-M40x has a frequency range of 15Hz- 24kHz which is perfect for reproducing the clear and accurate sound at, especially midrange. Also, circumaural frame grip around the ears for superb external sound elimination in loud environments. Also, it produces very vivid and realistic sounds in order to ensure the listener is able to catch every detail. High-quality grade earpad and head band material deliver a more durable and comfortable product. Moreover, 90° swiveling earcups ensure effortless and one-ear monitoring. However, ATH M40x is a bulky studio headphone that might not be the perfect choice for listening during commuting. The biggest difference between ATH M40x and ATH M50x is the driver size which affects the quality of bass slightly. This does not mean that the bass of M40x is bad. Lastly, these headphones come with different cable options, being 1.2-meter coiled cable and 3-meter long straight cable.  All in all, Audio-Technica ATH-M40x has a reasonable price for its driver and sound quality. You can check price here.

Sennheiser HMD 300 PRO-XQ-2

If you are looking for being capable of locating and reproducing every audio detail, then these pair of studio headphones should definitely be one of your buying choices.  Recently developed acoustic system in the Sennheiser HD 300 PRO offers neutral, elegant sound reproduction. Furthermore, Active Gard technology does not only shut down the device at peak levels above 110 dB but also calibrates signals that are too loud down to a safe level. Other design elements also protect the concentration of the listener by providing the maximum shielding of ambient noise. Also, the ergonomic design ensures that long hours of work do not cause ear corrosion. However, perhaps the most impressive feature of these studio headphones is the quality of their boom microphone. For the clear transmission of speech, a super-cardioid, this product has been equipped with a dynamic microphone which includes wind and pop screen. It is guaranteed to generate a detailed, striking and accurate sound that can be accounted for even in the loudest of environments. Moreover, HMD 300-XQ-2 has a frequency range of 6 Hz- 25kHz and impedance of 64 Ohms. Lastly, this product is a great choice especially for broadcasting and live theater. You can check price here.

KRK KNS 8400

 

Are you in search of a pair of headphones that are especially created to replicate music as it should be heard with the ability to appease trained ears? KRK KNS 8400 offers extremely accurate monitoring. With its high efficiency Neodymium 40mm drivers deliver a flat frequency response range of 5 Hz – 23 kHz. Furthermore, KNS 8400 has an impedance of 36 Ohms and a sensitivity of 97 dB. However, where this product truly shines is 30 dBA of sound isolation, which makes these headphones also perfect for daily usage in public. Thanks to a gold-plated 3.5mm stereo jack, you can use this product on mobile devices. Also, KNS 8400 is equipped with a volume control feature on its cord so that you can change the volume with a single hand gesture. Its black finish and other materials are impact resistant which makes it more durable against corrosion. All of its ear and head cushions are totally replaceable so that you can use these headphones for quite a long time. Lastly, KRK KNS 8400 uses memory foam on-ear and head cushions which results in maximum possible comfort for long sessions. If you are looking for a cheap pair of studio headphones for their sound quality, comfort, and elegant design, you might have found what you are looking for. You can check price here.

Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro

The Beyerdynamic DT 880 PRO is a pair of semi-open over-ear headphones, with a  matte chrome finish on the rear, and a matte black finish on the metal ear forks and headband. The headband is encased in a leather padding being secured by buttons. The cable is connected to the left ear which might irritate people who want to put it on the right side (such as me!). Although a 3-meter coiled cable does give freedom of movement, it is quite heavy compared to other models. The headphones have a unique quality due to the semi-open design, they have an accurate and wide stereo image. The audio quality is much more 3-dimensional compared to the DT 770 PRO. If you are transition from regular headphones to studio headphones, Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro will impress you with its detail and sound quality even at low volumes. It reproduces audio without coloration, providing optimal positioning of sonic components in the mix so that every change can be heard clearly. However, in order to perform at its peak performance, you will need to use an amplifier, which is not recommended for only daily listeners. DT 880 Pro has an impedance of 250 Ohms and a frequency range of 5 Hz – 35 kHz. All in all, this product is a perfect semi-open studio headphone suitable for mixing and monitoring. You can check prices here.

 

Model Cans Ohms Frequency Range Sensitivity Driver
Sony MDR-7506 Closed 63 10Hz – 20 kHz 106 dB 40mm
Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Closed 38 15 Hz – 28 kHz 98 dB 45mm
Shure SRH-1540 Closed 46 5 Hz – 25 kHz 99 dB 40mm
Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO Closed 32/80/250 5 Hz – 35 kHz 96 dB 40mm
SENNHEISER HD 820 Closed 300 12 Hz – 43.8 kHz 103 dB Ring Radiator
AKG Pro Audio K240 STUDIO Semi-open 55 15 Hz – 25 kHz 91 dB 40mm
Samson Technologies SR850 Semi-open 32 10 Hz – 30 kHz 98 dB 50mm
Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO Open 80/250 5 Hz – 35 kHz 96 dB 45mm
Audeze LCD-MX4 Open 20 10 Hz – 50 kHz 105 Fluxor magnets
Direct Sound EX-29 Closed 32 20 Hz – 20 kHz 114 40mm
Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Closed 35 15Hz- 24kHz 98 dB 40mm
Sennheiser HMD 300 PRO-XQ-2 Closed 64 6 Hz- 25kHz 110 dB Ultra-linear
KRK KNS 8400 Closed 36 5 Hz – 23 kHz 97 dB 40mm
Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro Semi-open 250 5 Hz – 35 kHz 96 dB 45mm

What Should You Know Before Buying Studio Headphones?

If want to hear music as intended by the producer, you will definitely need studio headphones to capture all the details possible. Although there are some normal headphones that are capable of delivering on-par quality, still studio headphones shine above most of them. So, in order to buy the best option for your needs, you have to understand each component and make an educated choice in this matter.

Low Impedance vs. High Impedance?

Impedance, perhaps one of the most important aspects of headphones, is often overlooked by the users.

Low-impedance devices have been created to be connected directly to only one source and can generate more efficient audio from the lower level input signal. Currently, nearly all of the headphones with low impedance (less than 30 ohms) demand little power to deliver high levels of audio quality. For instance, low impedance headphones will work well with devices with weak amplification such as portable music players, smartphones, and other portable audio devices.

High-impedance headphones, on the other hand, have been designed for studio-quality utilization where usually operate with multiple phones plugged in with parallel receiving an input signal from one source. Headphones with higher impedance (30 ohms and up) require more power to deliver high audio levels. Subsequently, they are secured against damage that might be caused by overloading. They can also be connected to a wider range of audio devices such as amps.

In conclusion, as the ohms get higher, also the sound quality improves depending on if you are plugging into an appropriate amp to transfer the demanded power. For example, 100 ohms devices connected to a laptop probably won’t deliver you the quality you expected, as most laptops support an impedance of only up to 32 ohms. However, a laptop paired with the appropriate amplifier will allow you to feel the maximum quality of your studio headphones.

Frequency Response

Sound and audio are created by waves within a range of frequencies. Humans instinctively react to the audible range of frequencies, and headphones have been designed with their own range of frequencies that they are able to produce. That being said, what is the headphone frequency response, and why it is important? Headphone frequency response indicates the frequency-precise sensitivity of the output signal.

Although frequency response is often perceived as unimportant, it is really one of the most important elements when proper sound reproduction is the highest aspiration. Meanwhile, stability, comfort, noise-cancellation and isolation, ohms, and sensitivity might also be weighted as major components, the frequency response is perchance the most crucial as it is directly linked with the substantial reproduction of sound.

If you are reproducing music, you will want to get a pair of studio headphones that are capable of reproducing neutral frequency response, to allow you to hear more accurate, persistent mixing.  Moreover, flat response lines indicate that the drivers do not emphasize or de-emphasize any specific note more or less than the others.

Open-Back vs. Closed-Back?

This distinction comes from whether the drivers of the headphones are exposed or they are covered.

Open-back headphones enable air to move through their ear cups from the back of the speaker driver. This refers to the fact that resonances and low-frequency build-up caused by the rear enclosure will not be a concern for your mixing and monitoring. Most of the high-end quality studio headphones have open-backs because it allows them to produce audios more naturally and clearly. However, open-back headphones are not able to block outside noise that well. This means that will b able to hear all the noises around you. In addition to that, due to the poor isolation capabilities, they expose sound all around you.  So if you are working in an office, your colleagues probably will be hearing what you are listening to, and you will hear them whining about your music taste. Then again, open-back headphones may sound superb, most probably you should leave these at home or studio.

Closed-back devices, on the other hand, are effectively airtight around the back of the driver meaning that only producing sound out where it can reach your ear. This indicates the fact that meantime your music might not sound natural as it would sound on open-backed devices. Yet, closed-back headphones will set a barrier between the outside noise and your music resulting in much more efficient isolation. Especially if you are a travel enthusiast, riding a subway train, or a car every day, you should choose closed-back headphones for your trips. Additionally, if you are recording music in a professional studio; closed-back devices will allow you to listen to yourself while you record without endangering a leak of noise directly to your microphone.

 

 

 

Last update on 2021-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API