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Best Recording Studio Headphones Reviewed
When it comes to recording in a studio, you need to ensure you’re using high-quality headphones if you want to produce your best possible work.
Although there are lots of options available when it comes to sub-optimal studio recording headphones, increasing the quality of the kit you’re using could make a huge difference to the work you produce.
To put it simply, imagine you’re in the recording studio and you’re recording vocals. You may listen back to the recording on poor-quality headphones and feel you need to rerecord. This could happen time and time again, causing you to spend hours on unnecessary work.
If you had listened to your recording on some of the best recording studio headphones, however, you will instantly be able to hear the clarity in your work.
The difference that a simple change in headphones can make is phenomenal so if you’re not already investing in high-quality recording studio headphones, we’re here to tell you exactly why you should. From the ability to cancel out your surroundings to the quality of the sound you’re hearing, finding the right pair of headphones should be a number one priority for those that work in a recording studio.
Take a look at our favorite studio headphones:
The first thing you need to do when you’re looking to purchase studio headphones is to ensure you understand the different specs of the different models. From impedance to sensitivity, we’re going to look at some of the best features of the top recording studio headphones on the market.
Top Studio Headphone Comparison Chart
Best Studio Headphones
Known to be one of the most popular sets of headphones over the last twenty years, the Sennheiser HD 60 Open-Back Studio Headphones need no introduction.
With a neutral sound profile, they’re perfect for when you need a natural and accurate sound. And since they’re lightweight, you won’t have to worry about any discomfort during extended use.
Since these headphones feature an open back design, they’re really ideal for mixing and mastering, or other applications you don’t need to accomplish complete noise-isolation.
For those that are looking for headphones to wear for long periods of time, Sennheiser HD 600 headphones extremely comfortable. And with incredibly crisp sound, they’ve been a long-standing favorite of world renowned mastering engineers.
Although they have a simple look, these headphones really are all about the sound. They are super easy to maintain and a true joy to use.
Sennheiser HD 600 Top Features
- The sound quality is incredibly detailed
- The THD is reduced to 0.1%.
- They’re designed to fit comfortably for long-term wear.
What We Liked Most: when it comes to sound quality, the Sennheiser HD 600 Open-Back Studio headphones are definitely one of the best on the market. For some, this is the sole reason they use them time and time again.
- Lightweight aluminum voice coils ensure excellent transient response
- Neodymium ferrous magnets maintain optimum sensitivity and excellent dynamics
- Sophisticated design, elegantly finished in black and gray
- High quality open metal mesh earpiece covers
- Detachable, Kevlar reinforced oxygen free copper cable with very low handling noise
The K712 PROs are reference, open, over-ear headphones that have been designed for precision listening, mixing and mastering. And honestly, they do not disappoint.
If you’re looking for fatigue-free mixing, these headphones have been designed to provide a spacious and airy sound without any compromise to your comfort. Getting in the zone and staying there while you swinging through track after track is a delight with there headphones.
When using the K712 PROs, you will definitely notice their ability to accurately-reproduce every single nuance with absolute clarity. This means that no matter what you’re producing, you can hear everything in great detail.
Whether you’re honing in on a troublesome sound, or you’re discovering beautiful details, you’ll soon realize why they’re the headphone of choice for many professionals in the music industry.
AKG K712 PRO Top Features
- They’re extremely lightweight.
- They use memory foam ear pads for ultimate comfort.
- If you’re looking for a sophisticated design, they tick all of the boxes.
What We Liked Most: the open-back design of the AKG K712 Studio Headphones means that no matter what you’re recording, every detail is reproduced with incredible accuracy.
- Over-ear design maximum wearing comfort for long work sessions
- Sophisticated open technology for spacious and airy sound without compromise
- Improved low-end performance by 3dB for more powerful sound imaging
- Revolutionary flat wire voice coil for incredible impulse and treble response
Designed to feature an expansive soundstage for clear, extended highs and warm bass, the Shure SRH1540 Headphones are much loved among professionals.
Although within a much higher price range in comparison to some of the best recording studio headphones, they’re definitely worth the money that you pay.
From the incredible audio performance and closed-back design to the unbelievable comfort and durability, you should definitely consider investing in a pair if you’re serious about music.
Closed back studio headphones are particularly important when you need reliable sound isolation. Shure SRH1540 are ideal for tracking vocals or any instrument with an open mic, as they effectively prevent headphone bleed from the backing track playing in the headphones.
It’s also important to note that the Shure SRH1540 Headphones come with an included storage case, a replacement set of ear pads and an additional dual-exit cable.
Shure SRH1540 Top Features
- The closed-back design allows for maximum comfort.
- They’re known to be incredibly durable in comparison to their counterparts.
- The warm bass allows for an amazing acoustic performance.
What We Liked Most: for those that are professional in the industry, Shure SRH1540 Premium Closed-Back Headphones are known to be a must-have. With an incredibly track-record, you can be sure you’re receiving the highest-quality product.
- 40 mm neodymium drivers deliver superior acoustic performance for an expansive soundstage with clear extended highs and warm bass
- Diaphragm developed with APTIV Film for improved linearity and lower THD (total harmonic distortion)
- Closed-back circumaural design rests comfortably over the ears and reduces background noise
- Lightweight construction features aircraft-grade aluminum alloy yoke and carbon fiber cap for enhanced durability
- Steel driver frame with vented center pole piece improves linearity and eliminates internal resonance for consistent performance at all listening levels
For those that haven’t heard of the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro Studio Headphone, they are a much-loved reference-class, semi-open studio headphone among audio professionals.
Combining all of the strengths of open, transparent headphones with those of more powerful, closed headphones means that ultimately, they’re a match made in heaven for those that want the best of both worlds.
If you spend prolonged periods of time in the studio, the soft ear pads and adjustable earpieces can slide together to ensure your comfort during extended periods of use.
Not only that, but they’re a bit more friendly to audio engineers that get busy about their studio work. With the cable attaching to one side only, you can ensure you’re not getting tangled as you set up mics and move around your studio. When you’re moving and grooving, every little advantage can be a big help.
Beyerdynamic DT 880 Top Features
- A transparent and balanced sound makes them a great reference tool in the studio.
- Even at low volumes, the sound has depth and detail.
- The sturdy steel headband allows for a strong and comfortable fit.
What We Liked Most: from a measurable and analytical standpoint, the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro Studio Headphones are super close to flat, making the entire frequency spectrum audible and clear.
- Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro Professional Studio Headphones. Semi-open, diffuse-field studio headphone. Analytical sound.
- Comfortable fit due to rugged, adjustable, soft padded headband construction. Robust, easy serviceable construction as all parts are replaceable.
- Single-sided cable. Velour, circum-aural (around the ear) ear pads. Supplied in a nylon carrying case. Transmission type Wired. Headphone design (operating principle) Semi-open.
- Headphone design (operating principle) Semi-open. Headphone impedance 250 ohms. Headphone frequency response 5 - 35.000 Hz. Nominal sound pressure level 96 dB.
- Cable & plug Coiled connecting cable with mini-jack plug (3.5 mm) & ¼“ adapter (6.35 mm). Net weight without packaging 295 g.
The Philips Fidelio X2HR Studio Headphones are known to be a stunning pair of headphones among home studio gurus and industry professionals alike.
With supreme sound quality, fantastic build quality, premium levels of comfort and gorgeous design, they’re certainly one of the best recording studio headphones under the $200 price point.
If you need open back headphones that provide good performance while remaining affordable, look no further than a set of Fidelio X2HR headphones. With a variety of driver configurations, connector types, and even a wireless Bluetooth option, their versatility is notable.
When it comes to comfort, the Fidelio X2HR headphones offer a self-adjustable hammock made up of an airy 3D mesh. This mesh is not only breathable, but it is flexible enough to ensure the headphones are a comfortable fit each and every time you wear them.
Philips Fidelio X2HR Top Features
- Each speaker is handpicked and tested to give you the most detailed sound possible.
- The open-back design allows for enhanced sound transparency.
- They’re built with quality in mind, making them extremely durable.
What We Liked Most: Headphones are known to press too much over the head or clamp too hard around the ears, but the Phillips Fidelio X2HR Studio Headphones are incredibly soft. This means that when you wear them for extended sessions, the weight is evenly distributed and they feel much lighter than many of their counterparts.
- Hi-res Audio Certified with extended response frequencies
- Engineered double layered ear-shells with pre-tilted speaker plates
- 50 mm high definition neodymium drivers with LMC diaphragm
- Acoustic open-back architecture
- Replaceable deluxe memory foam ear-pads with breathable velour finishing
Top Studio Headphone Features To Consider
Now that we’ve looked at some of the best mixing headphones on the market, we want to ensure you have everything you need to make a well-informed purchasing decision.
With that in mind, the points below give a detailed buying guide when it comes to high-quality headphones, helping you to understand the science behind their workings and the different components.
When it comes to studio headphones, people prefer those with higher sensitivity as it allows them to focus on the smaller details.
For those that don’t know, sensitivity measures how well the earpieces convert electrical signals into sound. To put it simply, it shows how loud of a sound the studio monitor headphones can produce.
For muscians, sensitivity tends to be a major consideration as it allows them to hear the smaller details that are required when recording a new track. From backing vocals to instrumental, you need to be sure you can hear absolutely everything.
The number one priority when it comes to investing a pair of high-quality recording studio headphones is the audio quality, as this is the primary reason people choose to upgrade.
When it comes to some of the most popular studio headphones of all time, a lot of them are far from the best sounding, which is why you need to ensure you’re doing a thorough test before you commit to purchase. Whether this means testing them in-store or reading reviews from those that a reputable in the industry, you need to ensure you’re buying the best mixing headphones.
To convert an electrical signal into sound, you need an element called a driver. Measured in millimetres, drivers are made up of magnets, voice coils and a diaphragm.
When looking for the best recording studio headphones, you need to ensure you’re looking for those with a bigger driver, as essentially this produces a bigger sound.
There are many types of drivers used in headphones including dynamic drivers, balanced armature drivers, planar magnetic drivers, electrostatic drivers, hybrid drivers and bonephones drivers.
Size and Weight
If you are buying headphones for a recording studio then there is a fair chance that they are going to be getting worn for long periods of time, which means you need to consider their size and weight in order to ensure they’re comfortable to wear.
When looking at the specs for studio headphones, you’re going to notice values that are measured in ohms. These values, for those that don’t know, relate to the impedance of studio recording headphones.
When more voltage at a specific current is needed in order to drive the loudness of the headphones, the impedance value would increase. If your studio headphones have a higher impedance value, more power is needed by the headphones to produce volume.
Ambient Noise Reduction
When recording in a studio you need to ensure you’re doing all that you can to block out any outside sounds that may be in the surrounding area.
If you’re using closed-back headphones, they will have an unbuilt ambient noise reduction solution to help deal with any background noise you may be able to hear. Standard closed-back headphones can cut off nearby sounds from about 8 to 12 dB, whilst come are specially designed to cut around 25dB of background noise.
Depending on the studio you work in and the conditions outside, you may need to keep ambient noise reduction in mind when choosing your next mixing headphones.
Speaking of closed-back headphones, you need to decide whether you want open-back or closed-back are best for you. To help, here are a couple of differences you may want to bear in mind.
As mentioned above, closed-back headphones are designed to isolate noise.
Although you may be able to find headphones that use active-noise-cancelling technology, closed-back headphones cancel noise as a result of their unique design. To help reduce noise, closed-back headphones use a large pad to cup your ears as well as an insulated shell of plastic that covers them. As a result, this provides an average of 10dB of noise reduction.
If you’re unsure whether closed-back headphones are for you, it may be worth testing some in-store. As soon as you plug in your headphones and turn up the music, you will instantly be able to notice the dampening of the sounds of the outside world. They bring the sounds of the music to the forefront and ultimately, that’s what really matters.
While the benefit of closed-back headphones is that they reduce outside noise at the same time as reflecting the noise created by the headphones, then the benefits of open-back headphones would be that they’re the complete opposite. The perforations (or grills) on the back of open-back headphones allow for both air and sound to pass freely in and out of the headphone cups, significantly altering the listening experience to feel as though you’re ‘in the world around you’.
Ultimately, you need to decide which ones will benefit you more.
If you’re looking for more information when it comes to the best recording studio headphones, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team.