The 5 Best Studio Headphones for Audio Recording and Mixing

Get the Gear for High Fidelity: The 5 Best Studio Headphones for Audio Recording and Mixing

Every experienced audio and music producer knows how essential a good pair of studio headphones is for creating quality tracks. But if you’re new to the sound mixing or recording game, it can be hard to know where to begin your search for the perfect set of headphones to elevate your audio to the next level. Have no fear! We’ve broken it all down for you with our top five favorite studio headphones and a primer on the two basic types of headphones you can choose.

But first, ask yourself: Do you want to record or mix audio?

This question is important because it will determine which type of headphones you eventually purchase—closed-back or open-back.

Not sure what all of that means? Here’s a quick rundown on some essential sound production lingo.

 
Closed-Back Headphones
Sometimes also called “closed” headphones, this refers to the design of the back of the earcup—or the back part of the headphone over the speakers. Closed-back headphones are sealed and provide isolation, so sound can’t get out and outside noise can’t get in.

These headphones are best used for recording audio so the musician can hear what they’re playing without the sound leaking out and interfering with the recording. While closed-back headphones are indispensable for audio recording, they can accumulate pressure within, which tends to cause false low frequencies (and a heavier bass sound than usual).

This is why they are less desireable for sound mixing, when authentic sounds are more desirable than over-the-top bass (which means Beats by Dre won’t cut it).

 
Open-Back Headphones
These are also known as “open-air” headphones because they do just that. Air passes freely through the back of the cups, and rather than isolate the listener from their surroundings, the experience is more natural, allowing the sounds to mix in with your surrounding environment—it’s almost like listening with normal speakers.

Open-back headphones lead to a more accurate sound experience, which is essential for sound mixing—you’re going to want to get a feel for what your audience will hear when you’re done mixing a track. However, they aren’t ideal for recording because sounds will bleed from the headphones and can contaminate whatever you’re recording into the microphone.

Now that you’ve determined whether you’ll be primarily recording or mixing—and you’ve got a grasp on some technical lingo—here are our top picks with bullet points outlining the features that make each set of headphones appealing.

 
Shure SRH840

  • Closed-back
  • Very accurate sound—this makes them great for recording
  • Comfortable to wear and sound isolating
  • Midrange price

 
Sennheiser HD280 Pro

  • Closed-back
  • Comfortable to wear with good sound
  • Very popular
  • Low price

 
Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO, 250 ohms

  • Closed-back
  • Best for live studio recording
  • Excellent sound isolation—they’re perfect for listening to music
  • Midrange price

 
AKG K240 Studio Circumaural Stereo Headphones

  • Semi open-back
  • Best for mixing, editing, or recording
  • Sound fidelity is natural and detailed
  • Low price

 
Beyerdynamic DT-990-Pro-250

  • Open-back
  • Great for mixing or editing
  • Accurate sound reproduction
  • Midrange price

 
 
Whether you’re just getting started in audio production or looking to replace an older pair of headphones, any of these sets should do the trick—and once you’ve chosen a pair, you’ll want to test those babies out! We’ve rounded up several audio tracks from our royalty-free library with a deep range of high and low frequencies, so you can fully test and experience your new headphones. Give ‘em a whirl:

 
1. Friday Night Downtown Music

Download this Friday Night Downtown Music.
 
2. The Chance Music

Download The Chance Music.
 
3. Modern Technology Music

Download this Modern Technology Music.
 
4. Logo 34 Music

Download this Logo 34 Music.
 
5. Night Clubs Rule Music

Download this Night Clubs Rule Music.
 
6. Spanish Guitar 2 Music

Download this Spanish Guitar 2 Music.
 
7. Moving Towards the Future Music

Download this Moving Towards the Future Music.

 
Once you’re ready to start recording and mixing, try pulling more samples from our royalty-free audio library, which includes vocal tracks, ambient and looping sound effects, and exclusive music.

 

Get Mixin’

 

2 comments

  • Jesse

    Wat. Where are the Audio Technica ATH-M50x studio monitoring headphones?! These mixing headphones should be on the list–they are literally one of the best on the market, and have been for years! If anyone here wants a more complete and correct list of the best monitoring headphones, go to
    this site
    . They have the Beyerdynamic DT 770 and DT 990 Pro and the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro as well as other mixing headphones known to be the best like the Sony MDR 7506, Sennheiser HD600, Sennheiser HD650 etc. Plus they have very comprehensive reviews if you’re currently looking for a good pair of headphone monitors.

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