Best Studio Headphones (Top 5 for 2024)

Hey there! Welcome to my 2024 review of the best studio headphones available right now.

I’ve spent a ton of hours figuring out which headphones I believe are best suited to studio work.

I’ve looked at build quality, comfort, sound quality, specific studio application suitability…

…and of course, the price.

In my opinion, these five are by the far the pick of the pack!

…let’s get right into this!  

best studio headphones in black text on green and yellow diagonally split background

My Top Studio Headphones

If you’re really tight for time and just want to get straight into which are my very best studio headphones…

…here are my top 3, without all the detail:

Our #1 Top Pick
  • These Sennheiser’s are the pick of the pack for studio work. They give a true display of how everything actually sounds, and how the recording will translate to speakers.

  • $299.95
Best Runner-Up
  • These DT 900’s are ideal for mixing, great for mastering, and equally perfect for just sitting back and enjoying your favourite music.

  • $230.00
Best of the Rest
  • Tough, affordable, great looking…with good, if not totally true sound because they have a bit of bass-bump. Great if you love thumping bass, not so great if you work on acoustic tracks.

  • $149.00
Our #1 Top Pick

These Sennheiser’s are the pick of the pack for studio work. They give a true display of how everything actually sounds, and how the recording will translate to speakers.

Best Runner-Up

These DT 900’s are ideal for mixing, great for mastering, and equally perfect for just sitting back and enjoying your favourite music.

Best of the Rest

Tough, affordable, great looking…with good, if not totally true sound because they have a bit of bass-bump. Great if you love thumping bass, not so great if you work on acoustic tracks.

05/28/2024 01:27 pm GMT
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And now here they all are with the detail… 

#1. Sennheiser HD 600

There’s a big reason why I love these Sennheiser’s for studio work…

…because they tell it like it is.

There’s loads of stuff online where audiophile’s are arguing that these headphones lack bass and don’t detail the mid-range enough.

Well, my audiophile friends, I love you but, if that’s what you’re hearing, that’s how the music was recorded.

Because the HD 600’s are honest to a fault. Transparent audio honesty is what you get with these cans.

If it’s a poor quality recording, they won’t make it better. If it’s a good quality recording, it will sound magnificent.

And this is the main reason why I rate them as the best studio headphones.

Of course, there is some bass roll-off, but these are open-back cans so that will always happen. 

These Sennheiser’s are the pick of the pack for mixing because they give you a true display of how everything actually sounds, and how the recording will translate to speakers.

Exactly what the best studio headphones should do.

These are exceptional studio headphones.

What You’ll Love About these Sennheiser’s:
  • Excellent natural and neutral sound – A very true representation of the music, making these headphones superb for studio use.  
  • Outstanding instrument separation – The instrument separation with these cans is precise to the point of perfection.
  • Neutral bass response – Yes they have a little roll-off but it’s not much at all. What you get is a very neutral bass, pretty much like bass should be. 
  • Beautifully balanced – All the frequencies play nicely together. You won’t hear any one sound beating any other down.
  • Easy maintenance – Just about everything that could eventually need replacing is easily replaceable.  
  • Uncomplicated design – Not the most important thing in the world but they do look nice and minimalist. 
  • Comfortable – Like all Senny’s they tend to feel a little tight at first, but once you’ve worn them in they are really comfortable, even when wearing them for long periods of time.
What You Won’t Love:
  • Neutral bass – This is more of a heads-up than a problem with the phones themselves. The bass is how it should be, but if you’ve got used to the current trend in consumer headphones to be massively bass-heavy, they will take some adjusting to.
  • Tight clamping force – Only at first though, they wear in well, but that said, if you have a massive nut they may not be the best.

Sennheiser HD 600

Sennheiser HD 600

  • Driver Type: Dynamic Driver
  • Frequency Response: 12Hz – 40,500Hz
  • Headphone Type: Open-back, Over-ear
  • Sensitivity: 102 dB SPL/V
  • Impedance: 300 Ω
  • Weight: 260g
  • Cable Length: 3m

#2. Beyerdynamic DT 900 PRO X

Whether I’m DJing, doing studio work, or just enjoying listening to music at home, my go-to headphones tend to be Sennheiser’s.

But, every time I put on these Beyerdynamic’s, I end up asking myself the same question…

…why don’t I use these cans more often?

These are top headphones and I love them!

They don’t sound the same as the Sennheiser’s above, in that the treble is sometimes a little too sharp to my ear, but that’s a trade-off as these DT 900’s have less bass roll-off than the HD 600’s.

Bass roll-off occurs with all open-back headphones, but I would say the DT 900 PRO X is constructed more as a semi open-back headphone, which explains the reduced bass roll-off.

These DT 900’s are ideal for mixing, great for mastering, and equally perfect for just sitting back and enjoying your favourite music.

You’ll have no issues with comfort either, even for prolonged periods of studio work. I have an average size head, I often wear glasses when working, and I’ve found them to be a really comfortable fit.

All-round these are top studio headphones because they effortlessly reproduce sound with full authenticity.

What You’ll Love About these Beyerdynamic’s:
  • Beautiful deep bass – It’s warm and deep but still neutral and natural. I think their semi open-back design gives then an edge in this area. 
  • Equally beautiful mids – You will be genuinely shocked by how easily you can pick out lyrics in songs you’ve previously had little clue what was being sung. 
  • True replication – Like the Sennheiser’s above, these cans make great studio headphones because they present to you exactly what has been laid down in the studio. There’s no polishing of turds going on here.
  • Replaceable parts – All the stuff that producers tend to be rough on are fully replaceable. You can even replace the driver on these without soldering or anything like that.
  • Built like a tank – To be fair, I haven’t had my DT 900 PRO X’s all that long, but they do seem to be built to last.
  • Exceptionally comfortable – I’ve kind of got used to needing to break a new pair of headphones in, but these were super comfortable straight out of the box. 
What You Won’t Love:
  • Slightly sharp treble –  I mean, look, I’m deliberately trying to find fault here. You’re only likely to pick this up with a super-sharp ear, or some analytics software.
  • Semi-open more than pure open – There is a plastic insert with foam dampening around the inside of the cup, albeit the very centre is open, but that definitely makes these only semi-open. This insert can very easily be removed should you want that fully-open feel…but you’ll lose a little bass. 

Beyerdynamic DT-900 PRO X

Beyerdynamic DT-900 PRO X

  • Driver Type: Dynamic Driver
  • Frequency Response: 5Hz – 40,000 Hz
  • Headphone Type: Open-back, Over-ear
  • Sensitivity: 100 dB SPL/V
  • Impedance: 48 Ω
  • Weight: 345g
  • Cable Length: 3m

#3. Audio-Technica ATH-M50X

The ATH-M50X’s appear to have a bit of a ‘love-them-or-hate-them’ thing going on amongst almost every kind of headphone user.

I love them, and that’s why they’re in at number three on this list.

These are closed-back cans and so you will be getting more bass than with the Sennheiser’s and the Beyer’s above.

But I would say that there is also a bit more bass on top of that. It’s good quality, tight bass, not bloated or flabby…

…but it’s for this reason that they may not be best suited to every kind of studio use.

With these Audio-Technica’s you’re going to need to have more of a think about what you’ll be using them for, and your listening preferences.

They are tough, affordable, great looking…with good, if not totally true sound because of the bass-bump.

DJ’s tend to love them, producers of EDM tend to love them, but for studio work of a more acoustic nature, maybe they aren’t ideal.

I should also say that there are quite a few grumbles online about there being some sibilance with these cans. Personally, I can’t detect any.

What You’ll Love About these Audio Technica’s:
  • Good sound quality – Not perfect because the bass can sometimes be a little too thick for me, but pretty good all the same.
  • Powerful bass – So a probably solid choice for EDM producers, but like I said, sometimes it gets a little too much for my liking.
  • Great in loud environments – As you know, these are not active noise-cancelling headphones, but you will find the sound isolation is pretty much as good as it gets.
  • Solid build quality – The have a kind of indestructible feel about them
  • Comfortable for studio work – Maybe a little too tight for some but I prefer cans that feel like they’re going to stay on your head. 
What You Won’t Love:
  • Clamping force maybe too much for some – Not for me because I have an average size head, but if you have a big nut, they might not be the best for you.
  • Sibilance – I cannot detect any hissing at all, but if you’re a very techie type, and you plan on running your cans through sound analysis software, you know it’s going to bug the hell out of you if it shows that their could be sibilance issues.
  • ATH-M50 vs ATH-M50X – If you already own the M50’s and they’re not broken, do not rush out to buy this newer model. They are too similar, apart from getting more cables with the X’s.

Audio Technica ATH-M50X

Audio Technica ATH-M50X

  • Driver Type: Dynamic Driver
  • Frequency Response: 15Hz – 28,000 Hz
  • Headphone Type: Closed-back, Over-ear
  • Sensitivity: 99 dB SPL/V
  • Impedance: 38 Ω
  • Weight: 285g
  • Cable Length: 3m

#4. Sennheiser HD 280 PRO

No matter what type of studio work you’re doing, or the genre of music you’re working on, these Sennheiser HD 280 PRO’s have got you covered.

These Senny’s may not be the absolute best performer in any one area, but they deliver more than adequately in every key area, that’s for sure.

Most importantly, you’re going to get true replication of the sound, and that’s what studio pro’s want.

The sound quality is good all through the frequencies.

They are tough, durable and comfortable.

On top of all this, they are outrageous value, coming in at somewhere in the region of $90.

What You’ll Love About these Sennheiser’s:
  • Sound is great – They render all frequencies just about perfectly with no bleeding and muddying.
  • Top sound isolation – Possibly as good as you’ll get with passive cans.
  • Excellent soundstage – You won’t get the same spaciousness as you would with open-back, but it’s still good.
  • Perfect for a wide range of professional use – Whether you’re monitoring, mixing, recording or DJing, these cans will see you through.
  • Unbelievable value – These are top quality headphones at a bargain bin price.
What You Won’t Love:
  • Not the sleekest looking – No, Sennheiser won’t be winning any design awards with these cans.
  • Non removable input cable – This is a bit odd. It’s industry standard to have a removable input cable. If the cable goes, you’ve got to start some serious repair work, or chuck them in the bin.
  • Not the most comfortable if you wear glasses – I’ve tried to break mine in to becoming more comfortable when I wear my glasses, but it hasn’t happened yet. 

Sennheiser HD 280 PRO

Sennheiser HD 280 PRO

  • Driver Type: Dynamic Driver
  • Frequency Response: 8Hz – 25,000 Hz
  • Headphone Type: Closed-back, Over-ear
  • Sensitivity: 113 dB SPL/V
  • Impedance: 64 Ω
  • Weight: 285g
  • Cable Length: 3m

#5. Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro

Detailed enough for studio work and laid-back enough for everyday listening.

They’ve got good bass, they’ve got good mids, but there is an undoubted emphasis on the highest highs, so if you are particularly sensitive to this I would avoid.

For studio work this could be a problem as you may find that tracks are suffering from an under-emphasis on the higher notes…

…because you’re hearing them louder than you should in the mixing process. 

These cans are extremely comfortable, even when wearing glasses and over long periods of time.

Being closed-back they provide very good sound isolation.

What You’ll Love About these Beyerdynamic’s:
  • Sound quality – Even given the slight over-emphasis on the highs I still find these to sound very good.
  • Outstanding comfort – Over long periods in the studio, with glasses on, you’ll still find these cans to be very comfortable indeed.
  • Sound isolation – I would say that these headphones offer more than enough sound isolation for tracking and monitoring work.
What You Won’t Love:
  • Emphasis on the highs – The most annoying thing that I found about this, is that it takes out some mids a little early. 
  • Emphasis on the highs – Yes, again. If you’re laying down a track, and there’s a fair amount going on at the higher end, you’ll need to check that you’re not dampening those highs.
  • Quite pricey – I think these are maybe a bit too pricey for what’s on offer.

Beyerdynamic DT-770 PRO

Beyerdynamic DT-770 PRO

  • Driver Type: Dynamic Driver
  • Frequency Response: 5Hz – 35,000 Hz
  • Headphone Type: Closed-back, Over-ear
  • Sensitivity: 100 dB SPL/V
  • Impedance: 32, 80 or 250 Ω
  • Weight: 285g
  • Cable Length: 3m

What’s the Difference Between Studio Headphones and Normal Headphones?

Many headphones that are made for everyday use and/or gaming etc. have been produced with a boost somewhere in the frequency range.

This boost is added to enhance the overall listening experience for the majority of users.

It tends to be the bass and treble frequencies that are subjected to this boosting treatment.

I’m sure you’ve already figured out the shortcomings of having boosted frequencies in a set of studio headphones.

Studio headphones should have a flatter frequency response than most other headphones, so that they accurately reflect the music being produced, rather than making it sound better than it is.

A neutral sound provided by a flat response across all the frequencies is what you want for great studio headphones.

Take a read of my guide for buying headphones if you want to know more before parting with your money.

What’s the Difference Between Studio Headphones and DJ Headphones?

It is trues that some headphones can double up a s both great studio headphones as well as great DJ headphones.

But that said, you will usually find there to be a few key differences between the two.

DJ’s will almost always go for closed-back cans for obvious reasons, while studio pros often prefer open-back, albeit dependant on the specific application.

Studio users pretty much always want a neutral frequency response, but DJ’s often like a little more emphasis on the bass and very bright highs.

How durable they are, how well they fold for transportation, how flexible and malleable they are, all tend to be of less concern to a studio pro than for a DJ.

What are the Main Types of Studio Headphones?

First and foremost the main type of studio headphones are those that render a flat response across the frequencies.

After that, the type of headphones that are best for studio work tend to be wired, rather than wireless.

And of course there’s always a decision to be made as to whether closed-back, or open-back is best suited to the job.

Should You Get Open or Closed-Back Headphones?

There are always going to be differing opinions on this.

It ultimately comes down to your own preferences, how your studio is set-up, the genre of music you work with, and the specific job the headphones are being used for.

But as a basic guide, let’s say that the following are usually true:

Closed-back headphones are better for recording work – If you’re recording either vocals or instruments into a microphone, isolation is a big priority. You don’t want sound spilling out of the headphones back into the microphone.

Open-back headphones tend to be better for monitoring, tracking and mixing work – Isolation is going to take a hit, but you’ll get better sound quality and a truer reflection of the actual sounds you’re working with. 

If all the instruments you work with are electronic and therefore don’t require a microphone, you should be able to make a very simple decision to go straight for open-back cans, as you don’t have the concerns about recording spill.

Do You Need an Amp or DAC?

Studio headphones do quite often require either an amplifier, or a digital-to-analog converter (DAC).

An amplifier will deliver more power and so should improve the sound of your headphones.

If you see that you’re using the majority of the sound volume scale on your output device, then an amp will easily fix this problem.

DAC’s only tend to be needed if the impedance is causing issues with your volume.

If you’re hearing added noise in your music when listening with good quality cans, it’s likely that removing the job of creating the analog signal from your source device, and giving it to a DAC will solve the problem.

If you’ve got headphones with an impedance of over 100 ohms, you should easily notice the benefits of adding a DAC.

The Wrap-Up!

Well, I don’t really do wrap-up’s.

I’ve kind of said what I wanted to above.

But if you have something to add on the subject of best studio headphones, feel free to chip into the comments section.

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