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Best Studio Headphones: 10 Of The Best In 2017!

Best Studio Headphones: 10 Of The Best In 2017!
With so many options available, finding the best studio headphones can be a complicated task.

They all have something unique to offer and finding the best pair can seem overwhelming and complex at first.

Luckily, we’ve done all of the research for you!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with headphones, here is a quick intro to get you started:

Simply put, there are two main categories of studio headphones: open-back and closed-back.

Closed-back headphones are the most common and widely used in the music industry. The ear cup is completely closed off, and the pad forms a seal around your ear.

This keeps the sounds inside your headphones instead of leaking out into the space around you.

Their purpose is for you to listen closely to your tones and mix and to make sure everything’s perfect, panned, and balanced.

They’re great for mixing in noisy environments, as they drown out unwanted noises and keep the sound tight and focused in your ears.



As a result, the bass frequencies are exaggerated, and the soundstage (the acoustic realism of the overall sound in the headphones) won’t sound quite as large or natural as open-back headphones.

Furthermore, this can cause ear fatigue during prolonged sessions, as all of the sounds are trapped in the earcup.

Because you’ll be able to hear any and all outside sounds, open-back headphones are perfect if you’re in quiet environment.

But they also let sounds escape into the space around you, which means that your soundstage will feel more genuine, wide, and natural.

Both work! It just depends on what you need for your own purposes.

Closed-back headphones are always the safe bet if you’re not sure that you’ll always be in a quiet environment.

On the other hand, if you only do all of you producing in a quiet studio, then open-backs are better. This is because you’ll have a wider and more natural-sounding soundstage, as well as bass frequencies that aren’t overpowering.

We’ve come up with a list of five of each type of headphone and ensured that they provide the highest quality sound.

Enjoy the list!

Closed-Back Best Studio Headphones


1. Sennheiser HD 280 Pro [99.95 USD]


cymatics-best studio headphones-hd 280

By far, these are the best studio headphones for producers on a tight budget!

From a technical perspective, these are one of the best options if you’re looking for a solid pair of losed-back headphones.

They treat the lows, mids, and highs almost perfectly equal! The HD 280’s don’t color the sound, and they have a very clean character to them.

However, you often get what you pay for in the music business, and although being great in sound quality, the HD 280 Pros lack in comfort and aesthetics.

They’re not incredibly adjustable, and the head clamp can sometimes be too tight. In fact, it could take weeks to adjust these properly to your ears.

The all-black and somewhat blocky look can turn some users away.

But if performance and budget is what’s important for you, then these should be your choice!

Check out the reviews from CNET and rtings.com.

2. Sony MDR-7506 [130 USD]


cymatics-best studio headphones-sony mdr

These headphones, the exact same model released all the way back in 1991, have reliably been used by giant acts such as Kaskade, Omar S, Paul van Dyk, and The Glitch Mob for decades!

They’re perhaps the closest competitor to the HD 280’s in terms of value.

Like the 280’s, they boast a mostly flat frequency response and clean character.

A little more expensive than their Sennheiser counterparts, but you get a lot more overall comfort with these.

Sony has remained with their “rugged design principles” for 26 years, with ultra-comfortable ear pads.

You can wear them for those long, grueling studio sessions and have no problems with pains coming from your head or precious ears.

They have a compact storage design and even come with a carrying bag.

Check out this review from HiFi Heaven for more.


3. Audio Technica ATH-M50X [149.99 USD]


cymatics-best studio headphones-ath m50x

No list that claims to have the best studio headphones would be complete without mentioning the ATH-M50Xs!

These headphones are the bread and butter of bedroom producers and professionals alike.

They’re used by some of the most famous producers on the planet such as Skrillex and Zedd.

By far, they are the best value when it comes to sound quality and money combined.

Similar to Rokit KRK-6 speakers, they apply a certain warmth and character to the sounds that make them more enjoyable to listen to.

Heavy in the low end and boosted in the mids, the high end is lacking at some key frequencies to prevent ear fatigue.

Strongly constructed for optimum comfort and adjustability, and with supreme aperture drivers and sound isolating earcups, this pair of headphones will give you the most bang for your buck.

Check out the reviews from head-fi and rtings.com.

4. Yamaha HPH-MT7 - Flat Response Headphones [169.99 USD]


cymatics-best studio headphones-yamaha

One of the highest-fidelity options available, the Yamaha MT7’s are even better flat response headphones than the M50x’s.

This means that instead of too much bass coming through your ears, you’ll be able to hear all sounds in a balanced way!

Along with the M50x’s, these also have a high price-to-performance ratio.

Due to their high sound pressure levels and overall durability, they’re also optimized for a live performance setting.

They include movable earcups for single-ear monitoring, and Yamaha gives you a convenient carrying bag!

Watch drummer and producer Ralf Mersch show them off here and read this in-depth review from Sound On Sound for more information.

5. Focal Spirit Professional [349 USD]


cymatics-best studio headphones-focal

We want to give you the option of purchasing some of the highest-fidelity headphones the industry has to offer!

Flume, a grammy-winning artist known for his mixes, uses this pair.

What’s exciting about these headphones is that in regards to their tone, it’s very realistic. This means that what you hear is exactly what’s going on. There’s no bass boosting, no lacking treble sounds, and perfect mids.

The selling point here is that the Focal Spirit Professionals have one of the most detailed sounds available.

This means that if you can get your tracks sounding good on these, it’s likely your mix will sound good on nearly any device.

On top of an astonishingly accurate and precise sound, these headphones are the cheapest you’ll find in the realm of ultra-precise sounding headphones.

Like the 280 Pros, you’ll have to break these in before they’re comfortable, as the head clamp can be tight.

If you can afford high-fidelity headphones, these are the best bang for your buck.

Read the reviews from CNET for more.


Open-Back Best Studio Headphones


6. Samson SR850 [49.99 USD]


cymatics-best studio headphones-sr850

For the open-back headphones, we’re starting you off with one of the best budget headphones for beginners!

The Samson SR850’s are notoriously low-priced for the quality they provide.

The sound quality does leave something to be desired, as the frequency response curve isn’t very flat and lacks in the low and sometimes even the high mids.

Sometimes, when pushed too loud, distortion occurs. This isn’t the case in higher end models, however.

What it lacks in sound quality can be somewhat made up for in comfort, as the earpieces are thick for long sessions.

Even with its flaws, the cheap price and comfort make this all a well-priced package that’s perfect for beginning producers on a budget!

Read this review from head-fi for more info.

7. AKG K240 [67.99 USD]


cymatics-best studio headphones-akg

Similar to the Samson HR850’s, this pair is about cutting cost with the least amount of quality loss. In fact, it’s one of the best headphones you can grab for under $100.

With a sleek and matte design, they don’t look cheap!

The sound quality isn’t quite as good as the higher-end models and will distort when pushed too loud.

The bass is a little louder than normal, and there are a few frequency spectrum dips and dives in the highs.

Still, mixing well on this set is very possible. And if you’re on a budget, these are a great option.

Check out the reviews from head-fi here.

8. Beyerdynamic DT 990 Professional [179 USD]


cymatics-best studio headphones-dt 990

In the mid-range level of headphones, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro’s are arguably the best studio headphones for people that need excellent clarity in the mid range while mixing.

The design itself is sleek, with a myriad of colors and gold-sheened open-back earpieces.

The ear comforters themselves are extremely thick, which makes them easy to wear during long studio sessions.

Sonically, they boast a large sound range (5hz-35khz) and a big, yet balanced bass presence.

Arty recommends them and Nicky Romero records with them. Hellberg also said on Instagram: “These are the headphones I use for producing and mixing. Love them, they are super clean and have an awesome “room” to ‘em!”

You won’t go wrong with these. Here are some reviews from rtings.com.

9. Shure SRH1840 [399 USD]


cymatics-best studio headphones-shure

Shure has taken their first dive into designing open-back headphones with the SRH1840’s.

This is one higher-end model you’ll want to consider.

They’re lightweight and durable, with velour covered ear pads for extra comfort.

The sound is incredibly clean with a full, crisp, and warm mid-range, and a flat bass that won’t trick you into thinking there’s more bass present than there actually is.

If you want warmth and perfectly clean and high-fidelity sounds, this is the high-end model you’ll need!

Here’s a good review of the SRH 1840’s from CNET.

10. Sennheiser HD 650 [499.95 USD]


cymatics-best studio headphones-hd 650

On the high end of the spectrum, there’s the cream of the crop: the Sennheiser HD 650’s.

While they are pricey, you get exactly what you buy! In their class, they are by far one of the “flattest” headphones around.

This means that nearly every frequency is perfectly balanced - from the low, subby bass to the atmospheric and noisey highs.

Like the Focus Spirit Professionals, if you can get your mix sounding good on these, it’s likely the mix will transfer well onto most other music systems. That is a vital aspect of mixing for any producer, beginner or expert.

Don’t believe us? Ask Avicii, Flume, Zedd, Arty, Knife Party, and so many more.

One unique thing about the 650’s are their easily removable and lightweight parts. This makes it incredibly easy for fully customizable comfort, and guarantees your full satisfaction while wearing them!

In their price range, these are the best open-back headphones available. Check out a review from CNET here.


Conclusion


Why do you need this list?

Simply put, having the best studio headphones is one of the major steps towards becoming a great mixer and producer.

As a grand majority of your listeners will likely be listening on some sort of headphones or earbuds, it’s vitally important that you know what your tracks sound like in that unique environment.

But finding the right pair of these monumentally important pieces of equipment can be frustrating and overwhelming.

That’s why we’ve made sure to consider in every single case:

    • Price

    • Sound Quality

    • Appearance

    • Comfort

    • Frequency Response


This way, you’ll be able to make a decision on which are the best studio headphones to suit your specific needs.

This list of modern headphones will get you on the right track.

We now want to hear from you. Did we miss any headphones you love?

Which headphones do you consider to be the best studio headphones?

Let us know in the comment section below!

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