We show you 11 of the best studio headphones for recording, mixing, mastering and critical listening that will help you get the best sound possible whatever genre of music you’re involved in. Including budget-friendly options!
You need the best studio headphones to get the best sound possible. Whether you own your own studio, you’re a home recording enthusiast or you’re in need of some headphones for mixing on the move, you want an accurate representation of what you’re playing, mixing or listening back to.
So today, we’re offering up 11 of the best studio headphones monitors including cheap options that don't suck, to help you choose the right ones based on your budget.
What should I be looking for when it comes to headphones for studio use?
Above all, when you’re looking for a decent set of studio headphones, or in fact the best studio headphones, there are a few key aspects that you will always want. The main points are:
- High quality sound
These three aspects are vital aspects you need to consider when choosing your studio headphones. But why?
Well, you need comfortable studio headphones so you can record for hours on end without getting that horrible earache or discomfort from wearing earphones. You need isolation so you can hear everything you’re playing and ensure there’s no bleed from the outside world affecting what you’re playing. In addition, you can hear a mix a lot better!
Finally, you need a high-quality sound so it reflects the quality of your instrument or the sound you’re hearing, as the easiest way to become disheartened with something we’re recording or that we’ve recorded is to hear it through a rubbish set of “cans” as they’re known in the music “biz”. You need high-quality audio (as much as your budget can afford) or you risk not getting the full experience which will then encourage appropriate changes or edits to your playing.
Basically, the best studio headphones feel good, put you in the mix and you can hear everything correctly, you’re going to enjoy your recording experience.
Show Me The 11 Best Studio Headphones
We’ve put together 10 of the best studio headphones that’ll help you achieve the best mix possible and help you record your music to the levels of professionalism you need.
These headphones range from entirely budget-friendly to the more expensive (but still affordable) professional level studio headphones and have been picked based on our three requirements – the Isolation, Comfort and High-quality sound.
1. Presonus HD7 Headphones
The Presonus HD7 Headphones are at the top of our list and some of the best studio headphones for those on a budget as they are just £30.
If you’re recording at home or in any space, you’ll appreciate the accurate midrange and bass levels which are perfectly housed in great isolation. This is ideal when you’re recording even if you’re in a noisy environment. The adjustable padded headband and earcups make a comfortable fit so you’re less likely to get that horrible ear fatigue that can sometimes occur. The extended frequency response is also surprising considering the low price tag, as you have a frequency response between 10hz and 30kHz which means the low bass notes make it through and the high frequencies really soar. Probably the best cheap studio monitors available.
2. AKG K52 Studio Headphones
Next up we have the AKG K52 Studio Headphones which are easily some of the best studio headphones under £50. The over ear design is comfortable and basically puts you in a recording booth and really reduces any exterior noise so you can hear what you’re recording or what you’re mixing.
These have also been optimised specifically for personal listening devices such as MP3 players, smartphones, tablets and for audio interface connectivity in the studio. You have professional-level drivers which provide warmth and a rich frequency as well as an accurate response to give you an accurate perspective on your mix.
The 3m cable length is also extremely useful in the studio while you’re recording as it means you’re not stuck in too much of a small space.
These are easily some of the best cheap studio headphones available today, that still provide a high-quality sound.
3. KRK KNS 8400 Headphones
The KRK KNS 8400 Headphones are purpose-built for critical mixing and recording providing an extremely similar experience to the KRK monitor sound. Basically, these are like strapping two KRK monitors to the side of your head as they emulate the highly accurate sound and large dynamic range of the studio monitors you might be used to.
The high-efficiency Neodymium 40mm driver provides the extremely high-quality sound you need to make the correct choices while you’re mixing or recording. The smooth, rich low-end frequencies are all perfectly catered for which is ideal for those who produce bass-heavy Dance, Urban, Rap or Electronic music styles especially.
The acoustic foam technology also helps to provide both an extremely comfortable listening experience as well as offering superb isolation. This means whether you’re laying down tracks, listening to music on the commute home or even mixing music in the dead of night, you’re comfortable and hearing everything you should be.
4. Shure SRH750DJ Professional DJ Headphones
One of the major issues when mixing live or in the studio as a DJ is getting the same level of sound quality through your cans in any situation. Fortunately, the Shure SRH750DJ Professional DJ Headphones have been designed for professional DJ use (the clue is in the name) and not only provide a great sound, isolation and comfort but the functionality you need for performance.
The SRH750DJ’s ear cups can be rotated 90 degrees which is an ideal feature for keeping one ear on your mix and one ear on the crowd, allowing for single cueing. However, these make some of the best studio headphones thanks to the fact that they feature closed-back earcups and comfortable foam earpieces for great isolation – ideal to mix or record in the studio.
The sound quality is absolutely stellar thanks to the 50mm neodymium dynamic drivers which provide optimum bass results without any of that horrible bass distortion which can sometimes occur.
The lightweight and comfortable design which is also collapsible makes these studio headphones perfect for travelling musicians and performing DJs.
5. Beyerdynamic DT240 Pro Studio Headphones
Well we can’t have the best studio headphones blog without a pair of industry-standard Beyerdynamic DT240 Pro Studio Headphones! This company produce some of the best in the world relied upon by studio owners, musicians and producers everywhere thanks to the superb sound and superior isolation which make you feel like you’re recording in a booth wherever you are.
The frequency response of 5 - 35.000 Hz provides a huge dynamic range so you can hear everything you’re playing or recording and the ambient noise isolation, thanks to the soft ear cushions cuts out a lot of the outside noise so you can have an accurate representation of what’s going on.
One of the reasons studio owners and producers rely on these, aside from the great sound and isolation is the fact they are extremely rugged and
6. Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro Studio Headphones
If you’ve ever seen bands doing live radio sessions on YouTube or online, you likely would have seen the Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro Studio Headphones being used. These are widely used by producers and studio owners as well as musicians thanks to the wide frequency range of 5 and 35,000 Hz provide super low-end sound without distortion and the superior highs you need, especially if you’re recording vocals or guitars.
The over-ear, padded velour ear pads are extremely comfortable even after hours of recording, mixing or mastering and the open back, diffuse field design provides a natural listening environment with a super wide stereo image.
Again, the replaceable part system is also extremely handy for producers and studio owners as you can easily fix and replace any part should it need replacing after some damage or a band member accidentally steps on it while they’re recording!
7. Shure SRH940 Studio Reference Headphones
The Shure SRH940 Studio Reference Headphones have been specifically designed for professional audio engineers and in-studio recording. The price tag is a little higher, but they're totally worth it.
We think these are some of the best studio headphones due to the fact they utilise 40mm Neodymium dynamic drivers which delivers an accurate response across the whole audio spectrum, but also due to the fact they don’t place any emphasis any frequency range in particular, which provides a flat response and highly realistic results which is essential for studio work, mixing and live recording.
The fact that they’re a Shure product should put you at ease as the company have been creating industry-standard microphones for over 90 years, so they know a thing or two about good sound quality.
Aside from the high-quality sound, the team at Shure have placed an emphasis on comfort, knowing full-well how uncomfortable it can become wearing headphones for extended periods of time. So, to combat listening fatigue and that horrible earache that sometimes creeps in, they have created the Shure SRH940’s to be as lightweight as possible, with an ergonomic fit and heavily padded headband and ear cups. This ensures great isolation as well as superb comfort hours into your mixing or recording session.
8. Roland RH-300V Studio Headphones
The Roland RH-300V Studio Headphones have been specifically designed for use with the Roland V-Drum kits. These studio-quality headphones ensure all aspects of your electronic drum kits are represented accurately.
However, these studio headphones are also great options for those who need an extended frequency response and wide dynamic range.
The closed-back, circumaural design shuts the outside world off, so you can hear your instrument or mix whilst the soft cushion head strap and comfortable ear pads make sure that listening fatigue is reduced.
They are also incredible mixing headphones for those with portable studios thanks to the lightweight construction and foldaway design. They are also great headphones for listening to your music as you can hook them up to your smart device/laptop/mixer thanks to the gold-plated 1/8-inch (3.5 mm) stereo mini-plug with included 1/4-inch (6.35 mm) threaded adapter.
9. Shure SRH1440 Professional Open Back Headphones
Last but by no means least we have the Shure SRH1440 Professional Open Back Headphones, which have been specifically designed and optimised for mastering and critical listening. The open-back design ensures you have a very natural audio response thanks to the fact the air and soundwaves are able to pass through the outer shell of the headphones without obstruction. This essentially gives you a stereo soundscape with increased breadth which then encourages a more accurate response when you’re mixing or mastering a track.
The 40mm neodymium drivers deliver a full range audio whilst retaining a rich and fully controlled bass frequency without any of that horrible distortion that can sometimes creep in to a mix at louder volumes whilst a wide frequency range of 15 Hz – 27 kHz ensures they are ideal for a wide selection of genres.
If you record, mix or master with headphones, these are some of the best you can get.
10. AKG K245 Professional Headphones
The AKG K247 Professional Headphones are incredible headphones for home studio engineers. They're not really on the cheap side of things, but the extra investment is totally worth it.
These are easily some of the best studio headphones for making music at home, but would easily transfer to the studio thanks to the frequency response. The closed-back design offers superb isolation which is ideal for recording tracks or for making those critical decisions in the mixing process.
11. V-Moda M-200 Professional Studio Headphones
While we're in the realm of higher-end headphones for recording and monitoring now, the V-Moda M-200 Professional Studio Headphones are definitely worth investing in. This is mainly down to their industry-standard sound and design features.
Whether it's the immensely comfortable memory phone padding or the frequency range which can hit 40hHz, these are firm-favourites among recording professionals. The M-200's are perfect if you demand the best when it comes to recording quality and clarity. A stylish design also means that these will look the part just about anywhere.
Read More: Best Headphones For Mixing