The best studio monitor headphones.

Complete shopping guide for your studio monitor headphones in 2016.


INTRODUCTION


If you are serious about your music production, getting a solid pair of a closed back studio monitor headphones is a MUST. Choosing good headphones for mixing/recording can be a tricky thing. There are so many models and brands on the market, that you can spend weeks to find the right one.

And we all know this.

Nothing is more distracting for a musician, like an uncomfortable pair of headphones.​ Or....

How backing tracks bleeding into the mic makes for a fussy engineer.​ And we can go on and on...

Greg Kurstin
Greg Kurstinwhen producing  Lili Allen

I did a lot of work on headphones out there, it was the only way to hear what was going on.

This is the list of affordable studio monitor headphones that are suitable for every pocket, based on overwhelming positive reviews of other music producers. The one of the most important criteria was the price range. It should be somewhere between $90 – $250. Of course, that you can find much more expensive headphones, however, you won’t need them. All headphones listed here will give you the same excellent sonic experience as luxurious ones.

1.  Audio Technica ATH-M50

audio technica studio monitor headphones 2014

Bloody Cheap. Durable. Super Comfortable. Especially for long period of listening. Professional. They almost sound like a good set of speakers, but on your head.

Add a pinch:

  • The Bass is PERFECT. Not weak, not like Beats’bass, Audio Technica did it perfectly.

You gonna be blown away how good they sound. Clear and smooth. Everything sounds much more natural. Need a proof?

A-T has raised the bar once again, this time with the new M50 headphones, and this time they've raised it quite a bit. Already these phones are by far the favorite in our studio.

George Massenburg
George Massenburg
GRAMMY® winning engineer & producer

In fact, based on the comments of artists I’ve had try the ATH-M50 headphone, it’s the most exciting thing to come along in years.

Frank Filipetti
Frank Filipetti
GRAMMY® winning engineer & producer

I've gotten used to [other industry-standard headphones]. After A-B'ing them with the ATH-M50, I found much richer bass in the A-T phones, and truer mids through highs.In fact, based on the comments of artists I’ve had try the ATH-M50 headphone, it’s the most exciting thing to come along in years.

david cole
David Cole
Recording engineer

ATH M50

audio technica studio monitor headphones 2014

$130

ATH M50X
model with headphone amp

audio technica studio monitor headphones 2014

$169.00

This headphones are flagship of Audio Technica. They are great for mixing, with good resolution, and also good for tracking with fairly good isolation. Mixes transfer well to monitors.

The good isolation makes them suitable for producing music on laptops.

The sound spectrum is very well balanced: great bass definition with an airy, top end and accurate dynamics, even when you listen your mixes at high listening levels.​

2.  Sony MDR-7506

Sony-MDR-studio monitor headphones

You can see this headphones in nearly every studio or live rig. That's because they are reference cans. Sony MDR-7506 are like Yamaha NS10, industry standard of the headphones world. 

They are comfortable, so you can listen for a long time without getting tired. While ear can get used to any headphone, Sony MDR 7506 provides a pretty neutral space for evaluating any music production. 

Even if isolation is not as great as at ATH-M50, lot of music producers prefer this cans for vocal tracking. There's something about the way a vocal pushes through them that makes it easy for a singer to pitch properly that no other pair of headphones even get close to.

Let's recap:

They sound fantastic.

They have great reviews on Amazon, every audio professional speak highly of them and also you can find them in nearly ​every recording studio, radio station, etc...

They have great build quality, replaceable earcups, they have been around forever and last forever. Seriously. Some producers are using them more than 10 years and still going strong.

They are extremely cheap and comfortable.​

SONY MDR7506

audio technica studio monitor headphones 2014

$84.95

3.  Sennheiser HD280 PRO

Sony-MDR-studio monitor headphones

Probably only competitor to Sony MDR-7506, when it comes to industry standard headphones. Some folks give them a slight edge OVERALL. But it is just matter of taste. Anyhow, if you want to have your mixes sound good on all monitoring systems, you should check them through this cans. 

They have all attributes of a good set of closed back headphones:

  • Good sound isolation
  • High durability
  • Maximum comfort
  • Incredible sound
  • Great bass

Also, they are light weight, and the collapsible design to the swiveling ear cups will give you the maximum comfort. Maybe the best product Sennheiser has ever produced.

Sennheiser HD280PRO

audio technica studio monitor headphones 2014

$99.22

4.  Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO

beyer dt770

$210

They are a bit pricey in compare with previously mentioned headphones. However,they offer some significant upgrades when it comes to comfort, sound quality and style.

​They have a wide frequency range (5Hz to 35k) and are very precise, although not flat at all; VERY well balanced: tight, clean bass, airy midrange, and not too bright, yet very clear highs. 

If you want to have the perfect compromise between luxury features, and affordable price, get DT770.

Thanks to the circumaural velour earpieces they are very comfortable to wear all day long, without any ear fatigue.. While mixing, you are perfectly aware of early‑onset distortion or excessive sibilance, without them simultaneously chewing your ears off. If you serious about studio and live sound quality you should try these headphones.

5.  AKG K 240

akg k240 headphones on budget

$68

If you are on budget, you won't go wrong with this set of headphones. They're great pair. Specially for that price, I don't think you can get anything better in that price range. 

The open air design minimizes ear sweating; they fit over the ears without pinching. while giving a more open perspective to your produced music. Therefore this cans are great for mixing. 

Drake's latest album was mixed on this headphones. And the sound there is awesome.

Every single song on So Far Gone was mixed and mastered in Room 713 or 718 of the Beverly Wilshire hotel on a pair of AKG 240 headphones and a iHome clock radio.

Noah "40" Shebib
Noah "40" Shebib
Music producer 

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