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Best Studio Headphones – our pick of the best headphones for studio production

Last Updated on September 19, 2023

The best studio headphones are products designed to provide listeners with the widest range of frequencies possible whilst still retaining good clarity and response across the whole spectrum. When looking for the best studio headphones, you can expect to find top-of-the-range models from the best audio brands, in higher price ranges.

It is important to bear in mind that the below-listed products are for studio use only, not gaming or recreational use. If you’re looking for recommendations for gaming headsets, click here. And for those of you interested in casual everyday use, click here.

 

Products at a Glance

How we picked the best studio headphones

When selecting the best studio headphones, we paid close attention to sound staging, frequency response and comfort. Comfort is essential for long studio sessions, and to reduce ear fatigue as much as possible. Good sound staging helps listeners better perceive the location and scale of their sound, whilst responsive headphones will be able to cover the whole audible frequency range.

Our Recommended

Best Studio Headphones – our pick of the best headphones for studio production

1
PROS
  • Impressive staging
  • Responsive drivers
CONS
  • Incredibly expensive

The Sennheiser HD 820 is by far the most remarkable pair of studio headphones currently available. Although they come in at an incredibly high, the Sennheiser HD 820 provide unrivaled sound quality and specifications you’d expect to find in this price range. With a particularly well-defined low treble and clear midrange, the Sennheiser HD 820 have become to be known as incredibly proficient monitoring headphones – stepping up to the podium to join other HD series models which are well regarded for great midrange.

The Sennheiser HD 820 provides incredibly impressive staging for a pair of closed-back headphones. Similarly, imaging is very precise and is particularly obvious in the center. In regard to its dynamics and responsiveness – the Sennheiser HD 820 is great at portraying subtle graduations in volume, and the driver is incredibly quick. Unfortunately, the low end is not as well defined as the mid and high ranges. Responsiveness in the bass is therefore not as tight as it could be. Regardless, the Sennheiser HD 820 remain incredibly technical headphones, with an impressive range, incredible staging, and great responsiveness.

2
PROS
  • Comfortable
  • Responsive low end
CONS
  • Expenisve

Another example of breathtaking German audio engineering, the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO are an open-back model of the well-renowned DT1770 Pro. The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO’s strong suit is arguably its responsiveness to bass. Its low end is incredibly fast, with a lot of depth. Treble and mid-resolution is also excellent. In regard to its soundstage, the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO are deep and wide and provide a great sense of space due to their open-back design.

Build quality and comfort are the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO’s strong suit, and neither are compromised in place of the other. These headphones feel incredibly solid due to their metal ear cups and driver grills. Meanwhile, the headband is made of soft leather whilst the memory foam ear pads are wrapped in soft velour. The memory foam is particularly good at delivering a good seal, whilst the headband provides adequate comfort for long listening sessions. The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO are great referencing headphones in the mid-price range, and as a result, are easily one of our top picks of the best studio headphones on the market.

3
PROS
  • Cheap
  • Neutral
CONS
  • Plastic build

The Audio Technica ATH-M50x are relatively affordable studio headphones that are great for casual listening as well as being highly regarded studio monitoring and production headphones. In regard to Lows, mids, and highs – the Audio Technica ATH-M50x are fairly rumbly. However the low-end emphasis is not overpowering, leaving plenty of space on the spectrum for the decent mids and highs to cut through.

The Audio Technica ATH-M50x are very functional and no fuss when it comes to their design. In a completely plastic casing, the M50x feels like its designed to be used, and withstand a fair amount of knock. At a relatively low price for the quality sound you’re getting – the Audio Technica ATH-M50x are incredibly versatile headphones. Primarily designed for studio monitoring and live instrument tracking (since they’re closed back), the M50x serve as great DJ, home production, and just general music listening headphones. Their versatility, cheap price, and high-quality sound reproduction makes the Audio Technica ATH-M50x a solid contender for the best studio headphones.

4
PROS
  • Responsive low-mids
  • Comfortable
CONS
  • Sweat prone silicon headband

The Focal Listen Professional are a great all-round pair of closed-back headphones, designed for studio monitoring. Although they are closed-back headphone, the Focal Listen Professional still provide great, clear sound staging that’s quite impressive for a closed-back model of headphone. They reproduce the entire sound spectrum with honesty. However, the low-mid range is particularly responsive providing an overall added clarity to the bass.

The Focal Listen Professional are also an incredibly comfortable pair of headphones to wear. This is largely due to the memory foam ear pads that provide both great comfort and sound isolation, making long mixing sessions comfortable and carefree. In essence, the Focal Listen Professional studio headphones are designed to fulfill all of your studio needs. However, if you’re after something more versatile that can be used for both professional and recreational purposes, the Focal Listen Professional are great listening headphones too. As a great all-rounder, the Focal Listen Professional still sits comfortably on our list of the best studio headphones.

Things to consider when buying studio headphones

Comfort

When buying a pair of studio headphones, comfort is absolutely key. Comfortable headphones do not only make for a better listening experience. They ensure the listener’s ears do not get exhausted during long studio sessions, that would otherwise affect their quality of work.

Balance

A balanced pair of headphones is essential in ensuring that studio mixdowns are as precise as possible. An unbalanced pair of headphones does not replicate the true nature of the sound. Studio headphones that are intended for music production/mixing should be as flat and balanced as possible to ensure they accurately present audio that’s to be worked with. If you’re not sure you need full-on studio headphones, a set like Corsair’s Virtuoso Pro may offer what you’re looking for.

 

Are studio headphones necessary?

Studio headphones are designed for music production, mixing, and tracking live instruments. There are different specifications for the different types of studio headphones necessary for different tasks. However, studio headphones all tend to be balanced and are not EQ-boosted the way recreational headphones are. Studio headphones are necessary for studio tasks, but often not at all necessary for general recreational listening.

Can you use normal headphones instead?

No. Most normal headphones are EQ’d. This means that certain frequencies are emphasized, and certain ones are turned down. When working in a studio environment you want to hear the truest replication of sound in order to work with it correctly.

Are studio headphones good for music listening?

Technically they are yes – if you want a completely flat sound. However, headphones designed for music listening and everyday use are often cheaper, more comfortable and better sounding.

Our Verdict

The best studio headphones on our list are undoubtedly the Sennheiser HD 820. With fantastic sound definition, dynamic and responsive drivers and a comfortable build, the Sennheiser HD 820 are studio headphones you just cant ignore.