The Best 30 Studio Headphones for Music Producers

The Best 30 Studio Headphones for Music Producers


"In my headphones, I led a life of romance and incident and intrigue, none of which had anything to do with the world outside my Walkman." – Rob Sheffield


When you see a photo of your favorite producer’s studio, they usually don’t have the best studio headphones front and center. But let me tell you, their studio headphones are among the most important pieces of gear that they, or any producer, have access to.

Why is it so important to have a pair of one of the best studio headphones at your disposal? The best studio headphones take the room out of the equation. When you listen to music on your monitors, you aren’t actually listening to what’s coming out of your monitors — you’re listening to what comes out of your monitors after it has traveled through your room to reach your ears. This means that the shape of your room, the furniture in it, and where you are sitting all affect how you hear your monitors.

On the other hand, the best studio headphones go straight to your ears, so you can get a very accurate depiction of the music you are making. That’s why in the Hyperbits Masterclass, we encourage our students to regularly flip back and forth between their headphones and their monitors.

This article is your guide to the thirty best studio headphones on the market. There is something here for every budget. Let’s start with a quick overview of the characteristics that differentiate headphones from each other, our favorite brands overall, and then let’s get to the list.

How to Choose The Best Studio Headphones

There are a few characteristics of headphones you want to keep an eye out for:

Open vs. Closed Back — open-back headphones are designed to let sound pass in and out of the headphone cup. This means that your music will bleed out of the headphones, and ambient noise will bleed in. Closed-back headphones isolate the sound of the headphone, like your typical “noise canceling” headphones.

When it comes to studio headphones, we prefer the open-back models. You typically get a cleaner sound out of the headphones, and because the sound is able to escape from the headphones, you won’t get ear fatigue as quickly.

    Comfort — this one is self-explanatory. We recommend going to your local music store to try on a pair of studio headphones before buying. Sweetwater also offers free returns if you don’t like the pair you’ve ordered. Remember, you may be wearing these for hours at a time, so comfort is critical.

    Impedance — impedance refers to the amount of power needed for the headphones to produce sound. Headphones with high impedance need more voltage (for example, from an audio interface or a DJ mixer), whereas low impedance headphones need less power and tend to work better when plugged into lower-powered sources (like directly into a laptop)

    Top Brands Making The Best Studio Headphones

    Best Studio Headphones - audio technica

    Audio Technica – One word sums up Audio Technica: value. These aren’t the absolute best headphones out there, but the bang for your buck is as good as any. Audio Technica headphones are a great pick for new producers that want to get used to using studio headphones without breaking the bank; the closed-back models below are also a good pick for producers looking for headphones to bring on the road (great for planes, coffee shops, etc). Audio Technica has been producing headphones since the 1970s — they’re a staple in the music industry.

    Best Studio Headphones - akg

    AKG – Their headphones are built with sound engineers and audiophiles in mind. Hyperbits Masterclass instructors have pairs of AKGs in their studios, and when it comes to comfort and clarity of sound, they are a fantastic choice. We recommend AKGs for studio use — if you want to throw them in your backpack and take them on the road, we’d recommend going for a different brand. But for beautiful headphones that will help you hear your productions with great detail, AKG is a solid choice.

    Best Studio Headphones - deyerdynamics

    Beyerdynamic – This should be a name that is involved in every conversation about the best studio headphones. While they may not be our favorite brand in 2021, Beyerdynamic has produced quality headphones for decades and are a fine choice for any producer. We especially like the closed and semi-open back options here, which are great lower-budget headphones for studio recording and producers who are regularly traveling.

    Best Delay Plugins - Echoboy

    Shure  – We like to think of Shure headphones as a solid entry-level choice. They are affordable, durable, and come from a company that has been around for a long time. I’d recommend picking up a pair of the closed-back headphones, and in a couple of years grabbing an open back pair from a different brand — it’ll be beneficial to have both of the sets of headphones to reference on, and the closed-back Shure’s can be used for studio recording (like tracking vocals) when you don’t want any bleed from the headphones to be picked up by the microphone.

    Best Studio Headphones -  slate digital

    Steven Slate Audio –This is a brand new to the headphone game. Shipping out for the first time in Fall 2021, the SSA VSX headphones purport to recreate various mixing environments: from world-class recording studios to car speakers, to nightclub sound systems. The name of the game here is detailed referencing — with one set of headphones, you’ll know exactly how your song translates across different listening environments.

    Best Studio Headphones -  audeze

    Audeze – This is a luxury, high-end brand that makes top-tier headphones for those with a sizable budget. If you are just starting out, I wouldn’t recommend getting a pair of Audeze. If you’ve been making music for a while and feel that you need that extra level of clarity to push your music forward, then they could be a great choice. Audeze’s planar magnetic technology offers an excellent transient response that presents the music as it is intended to be heard.

    Best Entry Level Studio Headphones (less than $300/pair)

    SRH840

    Price: $149

    Style: Closed Back

    Frequency Response: 5Hz-25kHz

    Impedance: 44 ohms

    Jack: Jack: ⅛”

    Why it made the list: These headphones are amazing entry-level headphones that hold their weight enough to carry you into the early stages of your professional career as an engineer or producer. Even after you upgrade, they'll be a solid backup option.


    Best Studio Headphones -  srh840

    SRH840

    Price: $149

    Style: Closed Back

    Frequency Response: 5Hz-25kHz

    Impedance: 44 ohms

    Jack: ⅛”

    Why it made the list: The warm bass response of these cans makes the listening experience second to none at an entry-level cost. Plus its collapsable design is great for producing on the go.


    Best Studio Headphones -  SRH440

    SRH440

    Price: $99

    Style: Closed Back

    Frequency Response: 10Hz-22kHz

    Impedance: 44 ohms

    Jack: ⅛”

    Why it makes the list: These headphones offer amazingly flat frequency response, giving accurate representations of the sound that easily translates across any listening environment. As an added addition, these headphones are durable to the last and will certainly stand the test of time, travel, and use.


    Best Studio Headphones -  hd 600

    HD 600

    Price: $299

    Style: Open Back

    Frequency Response: 12Hz-39kHz

    Impedance: 300 ohms

    Jack: ⅛”

    Why it made the list: These headphones as crystal clear and absolutely comfortable. They have specialized acoustic silk that hugs your ears like a glove. That, coupled with the open-back modeling means you can wear these headphones without ever risking headaches or ear fatigue.  


    HD 300 Pro

    Price: $199

    Style: Closed Back

    Frequency Response: 6Hz-25kHz

    Impedance: 64 ohms

    Jack: ⅛”

    Why it made the list: The ambient noise reduction on these headphones makes them a clear winner in my book. This fact alone makes them great for both mixing and for casual listening (which certainly helps in entry-level cans).


    Best Studio Headphones - hd 280 pro

    HD 280 Pro

    Price: $99

    Style: Closed Back

    Frequency Response: 8Hz-25kHz

    Impedance: 64 ohms

    Jack: ⅛”

    Why it made the list: These are incredible starter headphones, plane, and simple. For being one of the most economical headphones on this list, they give a flat response and decent ambient noise reduciton.


    Best Studio Headphones -  hd 200 pro

    HD 200 Pro

    Price: $69

    Style: Closed Back

    Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz

    Impedance: 32 ohms

    Jack: ⅛”

    Why it made the list: They're cheap and even some of the best audio professionals I know have an extra pair of these lying around in their studios.


    Best Studio Headphones -  dt 990 pro

    DT990 Pro

    Price: $159

    Style: Open Back

    Frequency Response: 5Hz-35kHz

    Impedance: 250 ohms

    Jack: ⅛”

    Why it made the list: These headphones are great both for mixing and for DJing. They are comfy, built like a brick truck, and give a flat response. What more could you want?


    Best Studio Headphones - dt880 pro

    DT880 Pro

    Price: $249

    Style: Semi-Open Back

    Frequency Response: 5Hz-35kHz

    Impedance: 250 ohms

    Jack: ⅛”

    Why it made the list: Much like the previous model, these are durable and comfortable. These two factors alone make them a worthy investment, and you'll likely have them within arm's reach for years to come.


    Best Studio Headphones -  dt770 pro

    DT770 Pro

    Price: $159

    Style: Closed Back

    Frequency Response: 5Hz-35kHz

    Impedance: 80 ohms

    Jack: ⅛”

    Why it made the list: These headphones offer absolute control, and their bass flex system built into them makes them accurate for mixing purposes. But because they are not technically 'flat,' I would recommend using these for mixing and editing and not for the nuances of mastering.


    Best Studio Headphones -  k612 pro

    K612 Pro

    Price: $209

    Style: Open Back

    Frequency Response: 12Hz-39.5kHz

    Impedance: 120 ohms

    Jack: ⅛”

    Why it made the list: I'm not sure exactly what it is about these headphones, but the sound image and stereo field is clearer on these than on any other headphones at this price point. I love using these for exacting placement of small details across the stereo field.


    K553 MKII

    Price: $209

    Style: Closed Back

    Frequency Response: 12Hz-28kHz

    Impedance: 32 ohms

    Jack: ⅛”

    Why it made the list: I have a pair of these, but if I must be honest, I don't use them for music. I use them for casual gaming and enjoyable listening due to the intimate and encompassing sound they bring that simply takes you to another place.


    K271 MKII

    Price: $239

    Style: Closed Back

    Frequency Response: 16Hz-28kHz

    Impedance: 55 ohms

    Jack: ⅛”

    Why it made the list: These are classic headphones that have been around for as long as I can remember. As such, they have a slightly dated frequency response that only reaches up to 28k Hz but oh do they sound good!


    Best Studio Headphones -  k240mk11

    K240 MKII

    Price: $155

    Style: Semi-Open Back

    Frequency Response: 15Hz-25kHz

    Impedance: 55 ohms

    Jack: ⅛”

    Why it made the list: A slight evolution of a previous model, these have quickly become to go-to standard for many engineers. I like wearing these while tracking instruments as they're comfy enough to where you almost forget they're there.


    Best Studio Headphones -  k182

    K182

    Price: $105

    Style: Closed Back

    Frequency Response: 10Hz-28kHz

    Impedance: 32 ohms

    Jack: ⅛”

    Why it made the list: These are amazing reference headphones that give accurate responses. For a long time, these were my go-to travel headphones for producing on the go.


    Best Studio Headphones - ath-m70x

    ATH-M70x

    Price: $299

    Style: Closed Back

    Frequency Response: 5Hz-40kHz

    Impedance: 35 ohms

    Jack: ⅛”

    Why it made the list: One of the most flexible headphones in the game while also being one of the most durable at this price point. You know they're popular because there's more than one top-level DJ using these while playing live.


    Best Studio Headphones -  ath-m50x

    ATH-M50x

    Price: $149

    Style: Closed Back

    Frequency Response: 15Hz-28kHz

    Impedance: 38 ohms

    Jack: ⅛”

    Why it made the list: Designed for the studio, their closed-back design gives crystal clear representations of every mix. Plus, they look cool (which makes them fun to wear while running errands too!).


    Best Studio Headphones -  ath-m40x

    ATH-M40x

    Price: $99

    Style: Closed Back

    Frequency Response: 15Hz-24kHz

    Impedance: 35 ohms

    Jack: ⅛”

    Why it made the list: This is my favored recommendation for entry-level producers/DJs. They give good referencing at high volumes which makes them great for gigging and for mixing (just don't mix at high volumes for too long!).

    Best Advanced Monitors (less than $600 a pair)

    Best Studio Headphones -  ath-r70x

    ATH-R70x

    Price: $349

    Style: Open Back

    Frequency Response: 5Hz-40kHz

    Impedance: 470 ohms

    Jack: ⅛”

    Why it made the list: These headphones offer near-perfect representations of sound. Their high-frequency monitors make them perfect tools for entry-level mastering engineers.


    Best Studio Headphones -  k701

    K701

    Price: $469

    Style: Open Back

    Frequency Response: 10Hz-39.5kHz

    Impedance: 62 ohms

    Jack: ¼”

    Why it made the list: These cans give a holistic listening experience. It's hard to put your finger on exactly why, but they offer a surrounding experience in which it's easy to get lost in the sound.


    Best Studio Headphones -  dt1990 pro

    DT1990 Pro

    Price: $599

    Style: Open Back

    Frequency Response: 5Hz-40kHz

    Impedance: 36 ohms

    Jack: ⅛”

    Why it made the list: It's an odd thing to label as the bets perk, but the replaceable ear pads make these a great investment. I've had to ditch many headphones over the years simply because the pads wear out and this solves it all.


    Best Studio Headphones -  hd 650

    HD 650

    Price: $499

    Style: Open Back

    Frequency Response: 10Hz-41kHz

    Impedance: 300 ohms

    Jack: ¼”

    Why it made the list: These things are sleeky and sexy while still offering a complete surround-sound listening experience. Overall, this completely eliminates ear fatigue over long mixing sessions.


    Best Professional Headphones (more than $700 a pair)

    Best Studio Headphones - lcd-2

    LCD-2

    Price: $995

    Style: Open Back

    Frequency Response: 10Hz-50kHz

    Impedance: 70 ohms

    Jack: ¼”

    Why it made the list: These are Audeze's first foray into the world of headphones, and to say they came out strong would be an understatement. These are high-quality headphones that exemplify everything that this top-tier brand stands for.


    Best Studio Headphones - lcd-x

    LCD-X

    Price: $1,199

    Style: Open Back

    Frequency Response: 10Hz-50kHz

    Impedance: 20 ohms

    Jack: ¼”

    Why it made the list: This is Audeze's most popular-selling headphone, and for good reason. Not only is it trusted by mixing professionals and high-end producers, but it's one of the premier models for audiophiles looking for crystal-clear listens to their favorite music. If you have the money, these are an obvious choice.


    Best Studio Headphones -  lcd-xc

    LCD-XC

    Price: $1,299

    Style: Closed Back

    Frequency Response: 10Hz-50kHz

    Impedance: 20 ohms

    Jack: ¼”

    Why it made the list: Sharing the same drivers as the previous model, you get everything the LCD-X offers and then some. Slightly boosted bass makes for more powerful perceptions of your mix which makes your music appear so close you could almost touch it.


    Best Top-of-the-Line Monitors (more than $1,500 /pair)

    Best Studio Headphones -  HD 800 S

    HD 800 S

    Price: $1699

    Style: Open Back

    Frequency Response: 4Hz-51kHz

    Impedance: 300 ohms

    Jack: ¼”

    Why it made the list: Sennheiser's premier model of headphones, offer one of the most natural listening experiences one could ever obtain. While being small and compact, the drivers on these headphones pump out some intense quality and can handle the serious volume. There's nothing these cans can't do.


    Best Studio Headphones -  lcd-4

    LCD-4

    Price: $3,995

    Style: Open Back

    Frequency Response: 5Hz-50kHz

    Impedance: 200 ohms

    Jack: ¼”

    Why it made the list: These headphones took over 40 years to make, and that alone has got to make you wonder what makes them tick. They're a sizeable investment, but it will be the only investment you'll ever need to make.


    Best Studio Headphones - LCD-3

    LCD-3

    Price: $1,945

    Style: Open Back

    Frequency Response: 10Hz-50kHz

    Impedance: 110 ohms

    Jack: ¼”

    Why it made the list: Why invest in woodgrain in your car when you can have it in your headphones?! These things look amazing, sound better, and cost twice as much. But as always, you get what you pay for and simply put, these things are amazing. 


    Best Studio Headphones -k812

    K812

    Price: $1,575

    Style: Open Back

    Frequency Response: 5Hz-54kHz

    Impedance: 36 ohms

    Jack: ⅛”

    Why it made the list: AKG's premier model of headphones, these headphones are big where it matters. Its 53mm transducer pushes the limits on what is possible in headphones and you can hear the difference just by pressing play.


    Final Thoughts on The Best Studio Headphones

    So many students of the Hyperbits Masterclass come to us wondering what the best pair of monitors would be for them to invest in, and we always recommend they take a step back. Investing in a great pair of headphones will get you much more bang for your buck than a pair of monitors ever will. Having the best studio headphones allows you to completely ignore room treatment, meaning that once you know how your headphones translate across all sound systems you can use them to mix records regardless of your listening environment.

    If you're looking to achieve the best possible mixes that rival those of your favorite artists then the only realistic option would be enrolling in the Hyperbits Masterclass which helps you conquer music production in as little as 8-weeks.