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Read Our Review
Read Our Review
Read Our Review
|Samson SR850 Professional||10 Hz to 30 kHz|
|Audio-Technica ATH-M50X||15 Hz to 20,000 kHz|
|OneOdio Closed Back||20 Hz to 20 kHz|
|Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro||5 to 30,000 Hz|
Music is a passion for a lot of us, and a profession for some. Listening to music gives us a form of escape and enjoyment that is different to many other pastimes, and playing it is equally rewarding. It’s a way of expressing yourself, and finding new artists to listen to can be rewarding also.
These days, it is not expensive or difficult to set up a studio in the home. If you have a spare room, or a garage you don’t use, the equipment is easy to source and simple to use. Home computers have made recording simple, too; you can make music and record it to a hard drive easily, without the need for costly equipment that you would have required not that long ago.
You will need the basics – aside from your laptop or PC and some off-the-shelf recording software you will require a decent microphone and stand, plus the cables to go with it, and not to forget the instrument you play! You don’t even need expensive instruments these days, as a decent guitar or keyboard, for instance, is easily within reach.
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If you are getting into recording – whether for fun or with an eye on doing it professionally – it is strongly recommended that you invest the small amount needed in a good set of studio headphones. This will not only allow you to hear what you are mixing better, but will also give you seclusion when you are playing.
So, this review intends to look at the top 10 best studio headphones available right now, complete with details and any key features, so we can help you find the set that will suit you best.
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Studio Headphones (Our Top 10 Picks)
- 2 How It Works
- 3 Important Features
- 4 Let’s Wrap It Up!
Best Studio Headphones (Our Top 10 Picks)
Samson is a brand with a wide range of headphones and other sound equipment, and this set of headphones is typical of the quality at a sensible price that they provide. It’s an open-ear design – this is as opposed to one that is fully enclosed – for comfort and isolation, and they come with a fully adjustable headband for added versatility. 50mm drivers give you excellent sound response and reproduction, and the padded earphone sections make these great for wearing in extended sessions.
A gold-plated adapter, for either 3.5mm or 6.3mm plugs, gives reduced loss of quality and allows you to use either. The frequency response range is an impressive 10hz to 30khz, and impedance of 32ohms guarantees you a quality sound that you will be impressed with. This is a top quality set of headphones that come at what can only be described as a surprisingly affordable price, and we really can’t fault them. Definitely one for the shortlist.
Ask around professionals who use headphones regularly and you will find they recommend the Audio-Technica range, especially the M-series models, of which this is one of the finest. This is a brand with a long history of making excellent audio equipment, and these headphones are certainly up there on the highly recommended list. They come with the usual guarantees you get with this brand, and have been highly acclaimed by many professionals, as well as by home users.
Comfortable ear pieces make them ideal for long sessions, 45mm drivers provide excellent sound, and the rare earth magnets and copper insulated coils give superb response with amazingly deep bass – something that is often lacking in headphones. The headband is fully adjustable and designed for exceptional comfort, and this set of headphones comes with three cables and a 6.3mm adapter. They may be among the more expensive on our list, but they are worth it.
There are two distinct types of studio headphones; open back, and closed back. Which you prefer is always going to be a personal choice. This set, a budget-priced yet surprisingly effective set of headphones from OneOdio, features a closed back, and as such may not appeal to users who prefer the alternative. Nevertheless, they are worth a look, as the price really is very impressive, and they do have some rather nice qualities.
They have 50mm drivers for decent sound quality – deep bass and crisp vocals are promised and delivered – and they have an adjustable headband for comfort. Also, the earcups swivel so you can use them for single ear monitoring, and they come with a very long cord and an adapter for both sizes of jack plug. They are decent, simple and usable, but we would recommend that they are more suitable for use with an iPad, phone and MP3 player than for serious studio use. If, however, you want a cheap pair of decent headphones for occasional use, don’t write them off.
We’re talking serious studio kit with this set of headphones, from the renowned Beyerdynamic brand, and you need to take a close look at these if you want genuine professional-level performance. This is a closed-ear design, so provides perfect isolation of sound, and has a fully padded and adjustable headband and ear padding designed for total comfort. German engineering is evident in the detail, with replaceable ear pads among the neat touches.
The performance of these headphones is impressive: a frequency range of 5hz to 35khz is all-encompassing and gives excellent bass and vocals throughout, while 80ohm impedance is also very notable. It can also be used at 32ohm for listening on your personal device. We would strongly suggest that you take a very careful look at this model before making a decision on the headphones for you. This may not be the least expensive here – and neither is it the most – but what you get for your money is certainly worth paying extra if you want top quality studio sound.
5: AKG K-92
AKG is another brand with a strong reputation for excellent audio and sound equipment at sensible prices. This set of headphones is of the closed-back design, and as such provides good, isolated sound without troubling others. These are designed for studio use and also for personal stereo listening, and would be equally at home recording or simply enjoying your favourite songs. The headband is self-adjusting, too, so you don’t need to worry about fit.
They may only use 40mm drivers yet they cover a frequency range of 16Hz to 20KHz, which is more than adequate for all ranges from bass to vocals and beyond. Impedance of 32ohms also offers excellent clarity and versatility. They come with a 3-metre cable and an adapter for both standard jack sizes, and the sound is designed to be perfectly balanced for monitor use. In short, this is a decent set of very versatile headphones at what is a sensible price, and they would be perfectly usable in a studio setting.
We will start by saying that this is a budget set of headphones. That doesn’t mean you should dismiss them outright, but you should bear that in mind if what you are looking for is a serious set of headphones providing studio quality sound. Nevertheless, for this price you can’t wrong in investing in a pair of these for occasional use – perhaps as a second set for use by visitors if fir wearing out on the street – as it will hardly dent your wallet.
What do you get? A set of closed-ear headphones that are not the most pleasing design – large and clunky rather than sleek like some of the more expensive here – and with decent sound quality and resolution. A wide frequency response and a long cable, with comfortable ear cups and an easy to adjust headband also make it worth looking at. If you want cheap and cheerful – maybe for listening on your way to work – they are perfectly usable.
So far we have reviewed a selection covering the cheap and basic to the high-end studio-performance headphones. This set, from Status Audio, is perhaps the one that – at this point in the list – makes the most sense in both terms. This is not an expensive set of headphones, and it offers excellent sound quality and comfort, too. These are in fact designed for professional use, but at the price you wouldn’t think that in the first instance.
50mm drivers give excellent response, a wide frequency range means deep bass, clear vocals and pristine high tones, and comfortable ear pieces and a fully adjustable headband are also welcome. This set comes with two cables included – one coiled and one straight, so you can choose your preference – and they are also foldable, which is a nice design touch if you have limited space in your studio or want to carry your headphones around with you. Put simply, they are good, especially at a very competitive price.
Roland is a brand associated with many excellent products in the audio and sound world, and these headphones come in at the middle-range of their product line. This is a decent set of headphones with some excellent qualities, but we will say we think there are others here that will appeal more to those looking for serious studio use. That’s not to say you should overlook them; at the price, and given what they provide, this set would make an excellent choice for a second set of headphones in your studio, or for use with your MP3 player or phone.
The ear cushions are designed for fully enclosed wear – that is they go over the ears rather than on them – and are supremely comfortable as a result. 40mm drivers promise excellent sound quality and a frequency range of 10hz to22khz is perfectly adequate for all intentions. The headband is adjustable for fit, and the headphones come with a lengthy cord and a jack adjuster. Roland is a quality brand and these are very well-made headphones at what is a very sensible price – worth looking at if you’re on a budget.
Our list of studio headphones includes some that are at the top of the range, and some the deliver more than you might expect given the price. This set, from PreSonus, is certainly among the latter. Available at a price that does not suggest a serious quality set of headphones, this nevertheless one that comes highly recommended by users, with reports of excellent bass and overall sound quality, great comfort and superb all-round performance. What do you get for your money?
For a surprisingly little outlay you are buying a set of headphones with a semi-open back design, over the ear comfort levels from super-padded ear pieces, and a frequency range the is designed to provide extended bass response as well as excellent vocal performance. This set is designed for studio recording use and does not disappoint in such an environment. The headband is auto-adjusting for comfort, the headphones themselves are surprisingly light for use over long periods, and they come with 2.5m cable. Recommended for a second look, without a doubt.
Our final selection is from one of the true giants of the world of audio and sound equipment – Sony. This Japanese company has been at the forefront of quality equipment for many decades, and this set of headphones is typically impressive. 40mm drivers, rare metal for added performance, offer excellent sound quality, while the over the ear design – this is a closed back set – makes for added comfort and increased quality of sound reproduction.
A frequency range of between 10hz and 20khz guarantees you excellent, deep bass response and fine upper tones, while the impedance of 63ohms is suitably impressive. This model – from an extensive range of Sony headphones and other products – is designed for studio use and comes with gold-plated jacks, of both standard sizes, for reduced loss of performance, plus you get a cord of more than 9ft long. Another advantage is that the headphones weigh only 8oz, so you can comfortably wear these for extended studio sessions. Overall, a great package, and while they may be more expensive than some, they are certainly worth the price.
That’s our list of 10 best studio headphones complete, then, but which one of the above is suitable for you? The choice could be a difficult one given the wide variety of models we have offered – and the difference in prices and performance – so before we try and give you our verdict, here’s a reminder of some of the features you might want to look for when buying your studio headphones.
How It Works
Headphones have been around a long time and make for a great addition to any sound equipment. They are also very useful in conjunction with your stereo system, should you wish to listen to your music without disturbing others. Let’s be clear here: we’re not talking about the small, in the ear headphone sets you get and use with your smartphone, MP3 player of tablet; we are looking at more substantial gear that will give you professional level sound in an enclosed environment.
Indeed, the headphones we have listed here will provide you with sound as impressive as any top-end stereo system. They are designed for studio use so are intended to give you professional level sound, and thanks to state of the art technology, that sound will be clear and without distortion. That’s what you need when you are recording – or, indeed, when you are simply listening to music.
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What do you need to look for when you are buying a set of studio headphones? Well, as you will find out below there are certain specifications you need to understand in order to make sure you get the right set, and we will cover that in more detail within this review. For now, let’s have a look at the top 10 best studio headphones you can buy right now.
What you need to look for when choosing the best studio headphones depends on a variety of factors, not least what you are going to use them for, and your available budget. As with most products of this type there is some merit to suggesting you spend the most you can to get the best, but beware as there are a couple on our list we think are excellent value for money so you might be misled. Here’s a checklist of factors to consider:
- Type – over the ear or on the ear? This depends o what you are comfortable wearing. We have included examples of each, so you can choose carefully. Also, do you want open or closed back headphones? There really is not much difference in performance, but bear in mind closed-back models keep the noise in better, which is preferable for you and those around you.
- Performance – there are several performance parameters you need to consider: the frequency range is one – you want it suitably wide to cover all the tones – and the impedance another, as this determines the efficiency of the headphones. Also, check out the decibel performance too.
- Cable – you need a cable of a sensible length for your headphones, especially for studio use where you may move around a little. Most of these come with lengthy cables, and some come with more than one so you can choose between a coiled cable or a straight one – check out the specifications to be sure.
- Jack Plugs – make sure you get one with an adapter – preferably gold plated for better performance – that allows you to use both standard jack sizes.
- Cost – we wouldn’t normally include cost as a determining factor, but across our ten we have a lowest price of less than £20, and a highest or £100 more than that, so clearly your budget will influence your choice.
That’s our checklist, so which one of our ten is for you? It’s hard to pick, but we have had a go!
Let’s Wrap It Up!
You have ten decent sets of the best studio headphones to choose from – some of which are definitely studio quality, others which we are not sure qualify for such a description – so where do you start to narrow down your options?
Let’s assume you do want studio-quality headphones for recording. You have several choices here, not least the Sony model at number 10, and the very nice Audi-Technica headphones that are number 2 on the list. Indeed, if we were to single out our absolute favourite among those listed it would be the latter, as they really are excellent, although they are the most expensive on the list.
That’s one reason we can’t help but keep coming back to the PreSonus HD7 headphones, number 9 on the list. They really are very good, with great all-round performance and suitable for studio use, and at the price represent a very good buy – perhaps even a bargain.
If, however, you want to spend as little as possible – perhaps for a second set of headphones or one for occasional use – look again at the Samson model, the first on our list, or the Roland, which comes with the guarantee of a name brand at a great price.
We hope we’ve helped you find a set of the best studio headphones that do the job for you, so enjoy your recording!