The 10 Best Studio Headphones for Recording and Mixing (2022)

One of the most crucial pieces of equipment for recording and mixing music is undoubtedly a set of headphones. In order to hear every frequency clearly and to check the quality of your recordings, you need a good pair of balanced headphones with a flat frequency response.

My top recommendation pick would be Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO-250 ohms Comfortable Headphones, as they shine with their 35dB of noise attenuation and flat frequency response as well as their comfort, sound quality, and style.

If you don’t want to spend that much, you can go for my budget pick, Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphones, as they provide great comfort and sound quality for their price.

The Best Studio Headphones for Recording (2022) – At a Glance

Let’s look at the full list:

1. Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO-250 ohms Comfortable Headphones

Top Pick
An extremely popular, well-balanced set of studio headphones.
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The Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO-250 ohms Comfortable Headphones are some of the most preferred studio headphones today by amateurs as well as professional producers. They feature a great frequency range along with high comfort, which allows you to hear your recordings precisely as they are in deep detail without disturbing your ears or head.

Pros

  • Very comfortable
  • Great frequency response range
  • Sturdy build quality
  • Decent isolation (good when recording)

Cons

  • Non-detachable cable
  • If your ears are sensitive, or if you’re planning to use headphones for long periods of time in the studio for mixing/mastering/producing, open-back headphones might be a better alternative.

Furthermore, the headphones are pretty durable and sturdy with their bulky design, and the comfortable soft pads feel great on your ears. The sound isolation is also pretty good, with 35dB of noise attenuation. The only downside is that the cable is not detachable, but that is not a dealbreaker, in my opinion.

Type Closed Back
Impedance250 Ohms
Frequency 5Hz – 40kHz
Type Of ConnectorMini Jack
Detachable CableNo

Overall, Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO-250 ohms Comfortable Headphones are great headphones for beginners and professional recorders who are in search of good-quality studio headphones without spending too much.

2. Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphones

Budget Pick
A very capable budget pair of studio headphones.
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The industry-standard model, Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphones, are some of the most reliable headphones on the market today. They feature a closed-back system, a powerful and detailed sound with an extremely comfortable design, making these headphones great for using for extended periods.

Pros

  • Powerful and detailed sound
  • Great value for the price
  • Lightweight and comfortable

Cons

  • Non-detachable cable

The sound quality is pretty high, with punchy and clear tones on all frequencies with emphasis on mids and highs. The lightweight design with enough ear pads makes them highly comfortable. For the price, the sound quality and the comfort it offers are truly great.

Type Closed Back
Impedance63 Ohms
Frequency 10 Hz – 20 kHz
Type Of ConnectorMini Jack
Detachable CableNo

Sony MDR7506 is one of the most-used studio headphones, and they deserve the title with their price, sound quality, and comfort.

3. AKG K712 Open Back Headphones

Our pick as the best open back studio headphones
A quality set of open-back headphones, which can be easier on your ears over long periods.
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AKG K712 Open Back Headphones are premium quality high-end headphones with an elegant look, highly comfortable ear pads, and, most importantly, impressive sound quality. With the open-back design and wide soundstage, the headphones offer accurate representations of your mixes.

Pros

  • Highly comfortable
  • Highly detailed sound and wide soundstage
  • Detachable cable and extra accessories

Cons

  • No sound isolation due to the Open Back design (it’s not good for recording vocal takes for example)
  • A bit pricey

The mid frequencies sound genuinely great, while the low-ends have enough rumble but aren’t much emphasized. The high-ends are clear, smooth, and mellow. They may not be the best choice for bass-heavy genres, but for the rest, they are ideal.

As this is an open-back headphone, I would not recommend recording with them as sounds leak a lot which may mess up the recording. But for mixing, they are great with high comfort that lets you wear them for hours without any hassle and a wide soundstage to hear every detail of your tracks.

Type Open Back
Impedance62 Ohms
Frequency 10 Hz – 39.8 kHz
Type Of ConnectorMini Jack
Detachable CableYes

Although the price of AKG K712 Pro Open Back Headphones may be a little high for home studio enthusiasts, I highly recommend them for mixing for the producers with the budget.

4. Shure SRH1540 Premium Closed-Back Recording Headphones

Great Low-End
Premium quality headphones with impressive sound quality.
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When talking about headphones and audio accessories, Shure is the first brand to come to mind with its premium-quality products and long-standing reputation. As expected, the brand does not disappoint with SRH1540 Premium Closed-Back Recording Headphones. It features impressive sound quality with clear highs and great low-ends, Alcantara ear-pads for better sound isolation and higher comfort, and a lightweight yet sturdy carbon fiber design.

Pros

  • Impressive sound quality with great low-ends
  • Highly comfortable with Alcantara ear pads
  • Aircraft-grade aluminum alloy
  • 2 detachable cables

Cons

  • Pricey

There is not much to say against these great headphones besides their price tag. Shure often puts quality before economy, which is the case with these headphones. The wide and deep sound staging with the immaculate transient detail combined with the leather Alcantara ear pads for great sound isolation and comfort make these headphones pro-level recording gear.

Type Closed Back
Impedance46 Ohms
Frequency 5Hz – 25kHz
Type Of ConnectorMini Jack
Detachable CableYes

In short, these are top-quality headphones in every aspect and are recommended for musicians who have the budget for them.

5. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones.

Very Versatile
Affordable headphones suitable for every genre.
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Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones is the upgraded version of some of the most-sold headphones in recent years, ATH-M50. It is an affordable and good-quality pair of studio monitor headphones with decent sound quality as well as a foldable and lightweight design.

Pros

  • Affordable, great value for the price
  • Comfortable
  • Decent quality sound with punchy bass
  • Comes with a hard case and 2 cables

Cons

  • Not the best high-end frequencies
  • Narrow soundstage

The bass frequency response is great and punchy, while the mids are recessed yet clear, and the high-frequencies are slightly below average. The sound is not as detailed as other models on the list but still gets the job done. The soundstage is ok, but I would expect a better performance from closed-back studio headphones.

Type Closed Back
Impedance38 Ohms
Frequency 15Hz – 28kHz
Type Of ConnectorMini Jack
Detachable CableYes

In short, Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones is a good value product for the price and recommended for musicians of any genre who are interested in recording in their home studios as well as casual listeners.

6. Sennheiser HD 800 Reference Studio Headphones

A Quality, Professional Option
High-quality open-back headphones.
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Sennheiser HD 800 Reference Studio Headphones is the highest quality and, of course, the highest-end product on the list. It features an open-back design with one of the most impressive audio reproduction performances I have ever encountered. With well-padded large, spacious ear cups, it provides high comfort, while the well-built design is quite sturdy.

Pros

  • Extremely comfortable design
  • Impressive audio reproduction
  • Sturdy design
  • Great tonal response, with solid bass

Cons

  • Not the best looking headphones
  • Not much sound isolation as it is open-back
  • Pricey

The sound is well-balanced on the mid-range, very open on trebles, and extremely solid in low-ends with which the bass kicks sound hard and deep. The sound detail precision is impressive and dynamic responses of almost all frequencies are great.

Type Open Back
Impedance300 Ohms
Frequency 4 Hz – 51 kHz
Type Of ConnectorJack and Mini Jack
Detachable CableYes

I can’t find many things to say against these headphones except their price. Yes, they are not the best-looking ones, and the sound isolation is not the best as they are open-back designs. But, these are not dealbreakers, and Sennheiser HD 800 is an excellent choice for audiophiles and professional sound engineers. They make you feel like you have reference monitors on your ears instead of regular headphones.

7. Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back Professional Studio Headphones

A Very Neutral Sound
One of the flattest and most neutral sounding open-back headphones.
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Another Sennheiser product, HD 650 Open Back Professional Studio Headphones, shines with its flat and neutral sound, making the headphones great for mixing and critical listening. This is one of the flattest sounding headphones I have tried, which also features a high-level imaging performance and comfortable design for long hours of usage.

Pros

  • Extremely flat sound
  • Comfortable
  • Great imaging

Cons

  • Poor noise isolation and leakage
  • Relatively weak bass frequencies

The mids are highly accurate and flat, the high-frequency reproduction is transparent, and the low-ends are tight but are a bit muddy. The imaging performance is also good as you can quickly pinpoint the placements of instruments.

Of course, as these are open-back headphones, the sound isolation is not the best both inwards and outwards. You will need a quiet environment to work with them comfortably.

Type Open Back
Impedance297 Ohms
Frequency 10 Hz – 41 kHz
Type Of ConnectorMini Jack
Detachable CableYes

Overall, Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back Professional Studio Headphones are great for mixing as they feature an ultra-flat, clear and transparent sound. The price is relatively high, but these headphones are worth it, in my opinion.

8. Beyerdynamic DT-990 Acoustically Open Monitor Headphones

Great for DJs
Comfortable And Affordable Decent-Quality Studio Headphones.
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Many DJs often prefer Beyerdynamic DT-990 Acoustically Open Monitor Headphones as they provide a detailed and highly balanced sound with accurate and neutral sound reproduction. There are two different models in the series: 80 ohms and 250 ohms versions for casual and professional usage, respectively.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Affordable, great value for the price
  • Detailed, greatly balanced sound
  • Accurate and neutral sound reproduction

Cons

  • A bit tight on the head
  • Non-detachable cable
  • Poor sound isolation and leakage

These headphones provide a clear, transparent, and balanced sound with powerful bass and treble frequencies along with mild mids. With a good headphone amp, these headphones can provide better sound than most higher-end models.

Due to the open-back design, they have poor sound isolation and leakage. Another letdown is the non-detachable cable downgrading the versatility of the product. Finally, it feels a bit tight on the head, but good and soft earpads compensate for that, keeping things still comfortable.

Type Open Back
Impedance250 Ohms
Frequency 5 Hz – 35 kHz
Type Of ConnectorMini Jack
Detachable CableNo

All in all, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Acoustically Open Monitor Headphones are highly recommended for DJ-style mixing and mastering as they produce great sound quality, and the price is highly affordable.

9. Focal Listen Professional

An all-rounder set of headphones
A good pair of headphones for recreational listening as well as basic mixing and mastering.
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The French brand Focal’s new closed-back headphones model Listen Professional features a great looking design and build-quality and above-average sound performance. You can use these headphones for recreational listening as well as mixing and mastering; however, you will need a good calibration for professional usage.

Pros

  • Great sound isolation
  • Great sound reproduction even at low volumes
  • Comes with accessories
  • Good looks and build quality

Cons

  • Mids are a bit colored

The mid frequencies of the headphones are not as transparent as I would have liked, making them not very suitable for critical listening and recording. The headband also makes the head sweaty after some time as it is made of silicon and is a bit tight. 

The sound isolation, however, is very good, and the sound reproduction is balanced and accurate even at low volumes. That is why with adequate calibration, these headphones can perform greatly.

Type Closed Back
Impedance32 Ohms
Frequency 5 Hz – 22 kHz
Type Of ConnectorMini Jack
Detachable CableYes

Focal Listen Professional is ideal for musicians looking for an all-rounder pair of headphones to listen to recreational music or do semi-amateur recording or mixing sessions.

10. AKG K812

One of the best sets of open-back headphones around
Top-class open back headphones for studio.
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AKG K812 is a top-class professional-level open-back pair of headphones with impressive sonic details and great build quality. The headphones provide highly flat and neutral sound, making them great for sound engineers and critical listening.

Pros

  • Impressive sound detail and reproduction
  • Flat and neutral sound
  • Comfortable
  • Great build quality

Cons

  • Very Pricey

You get a highly-balanced sound in all ranges with plenty of clarity and ambient detail, as well as solid low-frequencies extending all the way down. It is a highly comfortable pair of headphones which you can use for hours without any problem. It allows you to hear every little detail in your recordings and provides highly accurate representations, which are what the pro-sound-engineers are after.

Type Open Back
Impedance36 Ohms
Frequency 5 Hz – 54 kHz
Type Of ConnectorMini Jack
Detachable CableYes

Just like the Sennheiser HD800, AKG K812 is one of the highest-end products on the market, but you get what you pay for. If you want professional-level studio reference headphones and have the budget for them, you can go with these ones without any hesitation.

Open-back or closed-back headphones – Which are better?

The main difference between open and closed-back headphones is that the backside of the woofer on each side. The open-back headphones have them open, exposing the sound to the outside, while closed-back headphones have them closed, isolating your ears from the outside environment.

While the noise isolation is pretty good for working or listening comfortably, closed-back headphones also make the sound bounce off inside the isolated area. So, your eardrums receive more pressure hearing the actual sounds from the woofer and the bounced-off sounds. They can fatigue your ears far quicker than when using open-back headphones (and if you have sensitive hearing, then you may notice this much quicker).

The drawback of the open-back headphones is, as you may have guessed, the poor sound isolation and leakage. So, you can only use them in quiet environments.

You should go with open-back headphones if you work in an isolated environment for mixing and mastering or listening to music while alone, or if other people don’t mind hearing.

If you are going to listen to a backing track while recording, you need a closed-back model as this way, the microphone will not pick up the noise of the backing track.

If you are going to listen to music where other people may get disturbed, or if you want to isolate your ears from the outside environment, again, you will need a pair of closed-back headphones.

If possible and if you have the budget, I recommend getting both a set of closed-back AND open-back headphones as they suit different purposes.

How are studio headphones different from regular headphones?

There is a fundamental difference between studio headphones and regular headphones; the way they reproduce the sound.

The studio headphones are created to provide an accurate reproduction of the recorded track or audio. This way, during recording, mixing, and mastering, every detail can be heard as it is without any coloration. That is why the best quality studio headphones have the flattest and most natural sound without any emphasis on any particular frequency.

On the other hand, regular headphones are designed to provide the best listening experience with the best high-ends or punchy and strongly emphasize low-ends depending on the genre.

While this elevates the listening experience, it also puts make-up on the audio, which is not preferred in studios. But, of course, regular headphones are also used in studios to check the well-finished tracks for better listener feedback.

Are studio headphones comfortable to wear?

As most producers and sound engineers have to use headphones for more extended periods like hours, comfortability is one of the most important features of studio headphones.

The ones that disturb the ears or head are not preferred, even if they provide the best sound quality. So, the answer is yes; studio headphones are some of the most comfortable headphones you can find on the market.

How durable are studio headphones?

As mentioned before, studio headphones are often used for hours and hours during recording, mixing, and mastering. This is the reason durability is a crucial aspect of these products. Adjustable headbands, ergonomic earpads, detachable cables, and of course, the material of the headphones elevate the durability of the products.

The headphones’ build is pretty important as they will be plugged and unplugged, put on and off, even thrown around many times in the studio. As most of the studio headphones feature a decent build quality, the most important aspect is if the cable is detachable or not. 

The most common problem with studio headphones is always with the cables. Problems like loose contact or damaged jack occur often, and when those happen, if the headphones do not have detachable cables, you have to take them to repair. But, if the cable is detachable, you can easily replace it with another one. 

That is why choosing a studio headphone with detachable cables is an underrated but important factor.

Verdict

Whether you are an amateur casual musician or a professional producer, you need a good pair of studio headphones to get the best from your recording, mixing, and mastering sessions.

You can check your needs and budget to go for any of the listed headphones in this article, as they are specially picked from hundreds of models on the market today.

My top pick is Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO-250 ohms Comfortable Headphones as they combine high comfort with great sound quality for a reasonable price.

If you want something more affordable, I recommend you check Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphones, the industry-standard model with a great value-for-price ratio and a powerful and detailed sound.

Berk Öztuna is a handpan player, percussionist, and guitarist. He has been playing multiple instruments over the last 10 years. He started his music career as a guitarist, playing with several bands before putting his main focus into playing the handpan.

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