Best Studio Headphones: For Mixing & Recording 2019 [Guide]

Last updated on October 12, 2019
by Jay Von K

Open or Closed Back Monitoring

Best Studio Headphones

You’ve a probably got that engineer or enthusiast friend bragging about…

how awesome his set of “Beats by Dre” sounds.

But when you truly have “Dre ears”, you might find it sounding a bit unnatural.

Yes they are entertaining!!!


…”crappy” for using it in the studio.

For some reason…

…listening to a pair of AKG open back cans is a better and more affordable alternative for studio work.

13 Best Studio Headphones - For Mixing and Recording

Best Closed Back Headphones for Recording:

01. Sennheiser HD280 Pro

Sennheiser HD 280 Pro


One of the many reasons that Sennheiser HD280 Pro has gained so much popularity among audiophiles and casual music listeners is its professional audio capability.

Even in a market filled with stiff competition from modern headphones, the HD280 Pro remains a formidable force.

If you’re on a budget and looking for a headphone with the whole sonic package, HD280 Pro has got you covered.


In the package, you’ll get the Sennheiser HD280 Pro headphone with a fixed 3.3 ft. coiled cable (that can extend up to 9.8 ft.) and a quarter inch stereo adapter screwed onto a 3.5mm plug.

The leatherette headband design rests perfectly on top of the head to add to the level of comfort. It's adjustable and the soft ear cushions press comfortably on your ears.

HD280 Pro from Sennheiser

Overall, they are made of plastic that’s lightweight but tough.

The black headphones are closed back with circumaural earpieces. This simply means the cups completely enclose the ears to provide a high level of isolation.

Evidently, they don’t want you to worry if you're operating in a noisy environment.

Eager to know about their sound reproduction?

hd 280 Pro

If you're familiar with Sennheiser, then you know they don’t compromise on sound quality.

The HD280 Pro is no exception. Audio engineers, DJs, and artists will appreciate the articulate, balanced, and wide adaptability with various musical genres.

With a frequency response of 8Hz to 25kHz, you get a really deep bass. Going down to 8Hz is insane. The bass is clean and extremely clear.

What's more, the HD280 Pro have a 60-ohm impedance.

Normally, you'd think you need a powerful amp to get rocking.

sennheiser HD280 Pro Headphone

But guess what?

With your modern device, say iPhone 6 or even Android, you can get a GREAT performance out of these cans.

Let's talk about what you’ll like and might not like.

Pros & Cons
  • The headphones fold for easy mobility and storage
  • Sound quality is amazingly accurate and clean
  • Impressive isolation
  • Affordable
  • Soft ear cushions for extended comfort
  • A wide frequency range
  • Capable of deep low ends
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Cable is not detachable
  • The size and shape make them ideal mostly for studio applications

If you’re shopping for affordable headphones guaranteed to get the job done, Sennheiser HD280 Pro should be your top choice.

This is where performance meets value.

Trust me, you'll become obsessed with these headphones from the word go!

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Sennheiser HD280 Pro: Amazon | Thomann

02. Extreme Isolation EX-29 Plus

Extreme Isolation EX-29


What secret magic did Direct Sound use to deliver a set of cans that still maintain the top spot as the world’s best isolation headphones?

Well, it's all in the design and production.

The Extreme Isolation EX-29 Plus has new premium features that offer top-notch audio mixes for musicians and drummers.

Extreme Isolation EX-29 +

For professional studio use, the EX-29 is lightweight enough for comfort, yet sturdy enough to endure constant usage.

Sounds pretty awesome, right?

You bet!

So, what's new in this studio workhorse headphone?


First off, the overall design is striking. Presented in two colors, white and black, the nicely padded headband is adjustable to fit any head size.

It’s a closed back headphone with near zero leakage in either direction.

Extreme Isolation EX-29 Plus

It has a detachable 8 ft. premium cable with 3.5 mm stereo plug and 6.3 mm screw-on adapter. The cable connector is made of aircraft-grade aluminum.

Furthermore, the headphone is foldable for easy mobility and storage.

When it comes to performance, Extreme Isolation EX-29 can stand up to extreme volume levels such as those demanded by drummers and trumpet players.

And you know what else?

The way these headphones dissect sound to deliver super accurate audios is beyond any studio’s imagination.

EX-29 Plus

Trust me, you’ll instantly detect how bad your mixes are and fix them.

The EX-29’s sensitivity is 114dB at 1 KHz. The frequency response of 20 – 20,000 Hz is wide enough to give you more detail in the tracks you reproduce.

To top it off, Direct Sound integrated the HPA 40mm drivers for pristine sound quality.

EX-29 +

And, unlike many over-ear headphones, comfort is a factor the engineers took seriously in this model.

However, the real deal lies in the passive attenuation of 36.7dB. This gives you get better isolation than most of the modern headphones.

Pros & Cons
  • Easily replaceable headband and other parts
  • Clearer and flatter frequency response
  • Premium removable cable
  • Top-level comfort for long session recordings
  • Solid build with Red felt insert indicating the right channel and the Black felt insert for the left channel.
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable with great isolation
  • Made of plastic which might break if not handled with care

If you're looking for headphones for tracking drums or recording in a loud environment, you won't get better service than with the Extreme Isolation EX-29 Plus.

The selling point of EX-29 is powerful isolation, high fidelity performance, and pure comfort.

All the qualities you look for in a high-end headphone wrapped into one.

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Extreme Isolation EX-29 Plus:Amazon | B&H

03. Sony MDR-7506

Sony MDR-7506


How does owning an all-rounded piece of cans sound?

The Sony MDR-7506 is undisputed when it comes to noise cancellation and audio production.


Whether you're in film, newsroom, or studio – basically, where audio editing is a requirement, you can never go wrong with Sony headphones.

But, what really makes these headphones a classic favorite among audiophiles?


I say ‘classic’ because the MDR-7506 Legend was released in 1991.

Amazingly, they are still in production, with little tweaks here and there.

Sony MDR 7550

When it comes to sound, these headphones reveal every tiny detail. This is important to detect flaws or distortions in music.

You see, the fact that the market is leaning towards low-end sound response does not mean Sony MDR-7506 won't deliver.

On the contrary, they offer a deep satisfying bass.

Every studio probably has one of these headphones.


With the stunning sound isolation, well-fitting headband and soft pads, who wouldn’t want them?

Plus, they are lightweight and affordable.

Best Studio Headphones: For Mixing & Recording 2019 [Guide] 3

These are circumaural closed-back headphones and you don’t have to worry about outside noise, whether in the studio or in public.

Clearly, the large ear cups are made for comfortability. They fully cover the ear, locking in the sound to minimize chances of your monitor mix bleeding into your microphone when recording.

Another GREAT feature in the MDR-7506 headphones is the 1/8” stereo mini jack with 1/8” to 1/4” TRS adapter.

Sony MDR-7506 comes with 40mm driver units which provide a 106dB/mW sensitivity. They have an impedance of 63 Ohm and a frequency range of 10Hz-20kHz.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, they come in all-plastic.

But then, considering the reasonable price, you won't feel the pinch buying a new pair in case they drop and break.

Pros & Cons
  • Decent headphones for studio monitoring
  • Closed-back design ensures no sound leakage in either direction
  • The long thick cable is durable
  • It's foldable and lightweight
  • Impressive sound isolation
  • Adjustable headband fits any head size
  • The padding could have been more comfortable
  • It's made of plastic which could easily break
  • Cable is non-removable

You can't place Sony MDR-7506 with other high-end headphones in terms of tone accuracy and top design.

But, one thing’s for sure. Sound quality is exceptional and you can use them with your iPod!

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Sony MDR-7506:
Amazon | Thomann

04. Focal Listen Professional

Focal Listen Professional


Hearing about these headphones and actually experiencing them are two totally different things.

One really cool feature about Focal Listen Professional that will instantly blow you away is that you can twist and turn them, and they won't break. They are flexible headphones!

Focal Listen Pro Headphones

The French love details. And, as if to prove just what they are capable of, they released these cans to succeed the Spirit Pros.

Are they really ‘professional’ headphones as the name suggests?

Let's get to it.


They have a simple yet unique design. Not only is the headband semi-flexible, but it also has silicone padded liner which is proven to evenly distribute weight to relieve pain or pressure.

You can literally use these headphones anywhere you go because they are foldable and compatible with any smartphone.

They have a low impedance of 32 Ohms and sensitivity is specified at 122dB at 1kHz.

Focal Listen Pro Closed Back Headphones

The Focal Listen Professional headphones ship with two oxygen-free cables that are detachable. For the studio, you get the 16 ft. coiled cable and for your phone the shorter 4.5 ft. straight cable with a built-in microphone.

Let me say this straight, the soft ear cups are made of a 22 mm thick memory foam carefully molded with microfiber jackets to maintain heat and pressure.

Plus, they press nicely around your ears, not on top of your ears.

Renowned for their superior studio monitors, Focal brought their knowledge of GREAT sound into the Focal Listen Professional headphones.

Closed Headphones Focal Listen Pro

Equipped with a pair of 40mm drivers with Mylar and titanium cones, they offer an extended frequency range of 15 Hz to 22kHz, low distortion low-ends, and controlled high ends.

And, get this. Although most of the parts are made of plastic, they don’t look cheap or feel flimsy.

Quite the contrary. They are sleek with a matte finish that doesn't leave fingerprints all over.

Pros & Cons
Pros & Cons
  • Stylish semi-flexible design
  • Foldable with detachable cables for easy portability
  • Closed back design providing passive isolation
  • The earcups are heat sensitive thus providing a custom fit
  • The 40mm drivers boost performance
  • The low impedance of 32 ohms makes them ideal for use with smartphones, laptops, or other devices
  • The earcups feel tight if you have fairly large ears

Are the Focal Listen Professional exceptional?

Definitely yes.

They perform better using a decent amp, but still sound impressive using your phone’s or laptop’s amplifiers.

In a nutshell, they offer a wide soundstage with well-balanced tones.

Focal know their gadgets and they did a wonderful job creating headphones that incorporate professional audio quality and good design.

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Focal Listen Professional:
Amazon | Thomann

05. Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro & M

Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro M


You needn’t be a music producer or a sound engineer to hear the crisp highs and deep bass thrown by Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro & M.

If you're a Front of House engineer, a DJ or a drummer, you'll appreciate the accuracy and excellent sound isolation.

DT770 Pro 80

At a glance, these headphones look GREAT in every way.

But, what makes them so interesting to earn the trust of studio pros?

Let me explain.


Technically, the DT770 Pro & M are designed for the studio. That does not mean you cannot show them off in public.

What's ridiculous about these headphones, is the speed of the drivers. This simply means, there's a quick delay so that sounds don’t bounce around in the cup.

DT-770 Pro250

The sound production is tight and detail rendering is amazing. You can hear the smallest (and weird) sounds an artist makes when preparing to sing – allowing you to detect any distortions.

Let's talk sound quality. DT770 Pro & M are bass-heavy headphones, which means lower notes are favored above all else.

But, with the right interface, these headphones are capable of handling more than you can feed them.

DT 770 M

The mids have a nice neutral tone, though a touch reduced compared to Takstar Pro 80. Mixing with DT770 Pro will leave you with weak highs and an over-emphasis on mids.

The treble is impressive, given that your track is properly mixed. It's accurate, clear, and pleasant to the ears.

Are you concerned about durability?

The headband is made of metal, and the pads are replaceable. The ear cups’ casing is a hard composite plastic.

DT-770 Pro250

And, comfortability?

The soft velour padding provides lots of it.

The Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro & M headphones are wired with a 10ft undetachable cable which has an in-line volume control.

The 3.5mm TRS-pin gold plated connector with a quarter inch (6.35mm) adapter makes the headphones easy to use with most headphone amplifiers.

Pros & Cons
Pros & Cons
  • Detachable ear pads
  • Comfort is assured
  • Comes with an adapter
  • Long cable makes movement around the studio or home easy
  • Clarity of sound
  • Headband gives a secure fit
  • Minimum sound leakage
  • Cable is too long and not removable
  • Not exactly portable

You’ll love the Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro & M headphones for their wide soundstage, excellent bass, and hours of comfortability.

What's more, you don’t get plenty of closed-back headphones in the market capable of detecting the slightest distortion and flaws in music.

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Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 80 Ohm Limited Edition:
Amazon | Thomann
Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 250 Ohm:
Amazon | Thomann
Beyerdynamic DT770 M:
Amazon | Thomann

Best Open Back Headphones for Mixing:

06. Sennheiser HD650

Sennheiser HD 650


You know a headphone is good when music professionals and sound engineers recommend it.

Sennheiser HD650 is created for the most demanding studio performances.

HD650 Studio Headphone

Following in the footsteps of the award-winning Sennheiser HD600, they offer a truly natural sound even for the ordinary music lover.

And, the good news is that they were designed for maximum comfort. So, sit back, relax and let’s explore the features together.


I’ve always been fond of black headphones and the metal grille covering the earpieces just completes the picture.

For one thing, the design is dynamic, striking and professional. They are open backed which allows the earpads to breathe and keep your ears cool.


Sennheiser is known for designing headphones with a high level of sound transparency. And, they rarely disappoint.

The velvet lining the earpads make them feel soft to the ears and the padded headband rests elegantly on top of the head, without any hint of soreness.

Plus, the earpieces are elliptically designed to adapt to the shape of the ears.

HD650 from Sennheiser

For another thing, the Sennheiser HD650’s frequency response range of 10Hz to 39.5kHz is made possible by the 40mm drivers

This ensures a very detailed audio capable of catching previously unnoticed sounds – great for identifying glitches in your recordings.

Given their level of versatility and 1/8” to 1/4” adapter, the headphones can be used with mobile devices as well as other hi-fi gears such as CD players.

Sennheiser HD650 Headphones

The HD650 comes with an oxygen-free, highly conductive 3m detachable copper cable with low handling noise.

Will the headphone work for you?

Well, check out the pros and cons and decide for yourself.

Pros & Cons
Pros & Cons
  • Surprisingly detailed cans
  • They sound great with a phone’s or laptop’s amp
  • Affordable
  • The headband paddings and the soft velvet covering the earphones make them ideal for long hours of listening
  • They have lightweight aluminum voice coils that give an exceptional transient response
  • The elliptic design fit the ears perfectly
  • Capable of connecting directly to mobile devices
  • They offer very little coloration on your audio
  • The bass and treble may not appeal to everyone
  • They are open back, thus, sound leakage is high

You’ve been looking for decent headphones and it's all starting to get confusing. Well, search no more. Get the Sennheiser HD650 headphone.

There's a reason why they have survived for so long in this highly competitive music space.

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Sennheiser HD650:
Amazon | Thomann

07. Shure SRH1840


Whenever a new headphone hits the market, the first question people ask is “How’s the sound quality?”


That’s how you can describe Shure SRH1840.

These are professional studio headphones that surround you with detailed and extended highs as well as realistic bass.

Shure SRH1840 Studio HEadphones

Moreover, they come with an extra detachable cable and a set of replaceable velour earpads.

So, is SRH1840 worth your studio? Let's find out.


If you were to buy this headphone solely based on design, let just say, it's not eye-catching.

But don’t get me wrong.

The headband looks sleek, with premium padding. And they are adjustable.

The earpads are cushy which means comfortable listening in long sessions.

SRH1840 Headphones

Shure SRH1840 has a pair of 40mm neodymium drivers encased in stainless steel grilles to give astounding recordings.

The headphones are lightweight and come with a removable oxygen-free copper cable.

Fortunately, where they lack in design, they make up for it in sound quality.


With a frequency range spanning from 10 Hz – 30 KHz at 96dB of SPL, you’ll hear details that are easy to miss with other headphones.

An interesting fact about SRH1840 is the low impedance of 65 Ohms. At such a price, you'd somehow expect a high impedance.

What's the catch?

You need a dedicated amplifier to get its full potential. The low end is deep and strong with a good isolation. The mids precision is spot-on with little to no distortion.

SRH1840 from Shure

The finer details in the midrange bring out the true nature of the vocals as well as instrumentation. The highs are not piercing, but smooth and controlled.

Another attractive feature about Shure SRH1840 is how refined and balanced it sounds. F

or an open-backed headphone, its clarity and the smooth sound throughout the frequency is a big win.

So, what are the pros and cons?

Pros & Cons
Pros & Cons
  • The details are exceptional
  • It's comfortable
  • The extra cable and velour ear pads are a plus
  • Recommended for mastering
  • Deep controlled bass
  • Quality build
  • You need a strong amp for better results

What it all boils down to is a tailored headphone for your studio recording.

Listening to Shure SRH1840, you'll instantly feel the weight of its bass.

It offers each note with plenty of detail and insight that easily immerses you into a world of pure sound.

Will it work for you?

Definitely yes!

Carry it along and enjoy your favorite music even in public.

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Shure SRH1840:
Amazon | Thomann

08. Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro

Beyerdynamic DT880 Pro


Headphones have a special way of taking us deeper into the music zone.

Every sound becomes so clear and suddenly it's just you and the music.

And, one thing that could affect you after long sessions of using your headphones is fatigue.

DT880 from Beyerdynamics

Not with Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro.

Professional producers and music lovers agree that the DT 880 Pro’s accuracy and clarity are unrivalled.

So, is the semi-open, dynamic headphone truly a “Studio Legend?”

Let's find out.


At first glimpse, its simplicity and sturdy build is sure to get your attention.

At a closer look, you’ll notice very soft ear pads and adjustable notches on either side to conform to your head.

The leather headbands not only give the DT 880 Pro a classy look but are a snug fit and your comfort is assured.

There's a 3-meter coiled cord extending from the left side of the headphone.

DT880 Pro

This gives you the much-needed freedom should you need to move around the studio.

Are you the crazy type with high volume levels?

You might want to go easy on this one due to the high treble energy.

These headphones’ focus seems to be the high frequencies.

DT880 Pro 250 Ohm

The bass can be loud but not overly obtrusive.

With the correct balance, the crystal clear highs and bass will leave you wonderstruck!

One factor to consider is that Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro has a high impedance of either 250 Ohms or 600 Ohms and a 96dB/mW sensitivity.

The frequency response ranges between 5Hz and 35kHz.

When it comes to studio monitoring, the 250 Ohms unit is the most ideal.

Beyerdynamics DT880 Studio Headphones

What's really interesting about DT 880s is the fact that they are very detailed in terms of bass extension and extreme highs.

They are capable of reproducing audio tracks neutrally.

Sounds impressive? Now, check out the pros and cons.

Pros & Cons
Pros & Cons
  • Almost every part is replaceable
  • Out-of-the-world audio performance
  • Leather headbands give a comfortable and secure fit
  • Extreme audio clarity
  • Highly transparent
  • Build to last
  • Coiled cord prevents tangling
  • The cable is not detachable
  • They are open backed which means you cannot use them in public

Even a novice who lays his hands on these incredible Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro headphones will hear the accurate sonic signals professionals talk about.

Don’t just take my word for it, you got to hear it to feel it!

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Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro:
Amazon | Thomann

09. Sennheiser HD800 S

Sennheiser HD 800S


When the word ‘perfection’ accompanies musical instruments, somewhat, we become a little skeptical.

Not with Sennheiser HD800 S. If you're aware of the original HD 800, then you know these headphones are engineered for performance.

Sennheiser HD800S

With the striking design donning matt black, it brings more class and glamour.

Considering this is a high-end headphone, what bundled features can you expect?


To begin with, the Absorber technology eliminates the masking effect which makes low frequencies inaudible.

Sennheiser’s absorb technology brings all the frequency components out and makes them clear and audible.

The dynamic drivers give the headphone its fairly large size.

Encased in a 56mm steel frame, there's little material surrounding the drivers, not only for aesthetics but also functionality.

HD800S from Sennheiser

Besides, if you use headphones for long sessions, you'll find the Sennheiser HD800 S is extremely comfortable, thanks to the soft earpads.

These are open-backed headphones, which means anyone else in the room will be able to hear what you're listening to.

And, loud outside noises can prove distractive.

For their size, they are impressively light, but ideal for indoor use.

To enjoy their full capacity, you'll need a decent amp to deliver the 300-ohm impedance.

Normal headphones run between 20 to 50-ohm impedance.


So, you can see why you need a high output amp carrying an additional 9.7dB of voltage gain.

Better still, Sennheiser HD800 S comes with a thick cable, 3m long that fits securely into the headphones.

Additionally, there's a 6.3mm connector and an XLR-4 cable

DH800S Studio Headphone

When in use, the sound is epic and feels like its floating all around you.

In other words, it reproduces sounds as natural as possible.

This is rare among other open headphones.

The treble in HD800 S is calmer than the previous HD800.

The bass is deeper and full, and you’ll notice the low distortion and refined sound details.

Convinced already?

Check out its pros and cons.

Pros & Cons
Pros & Cons
  • Top build quality
  • Top level comfortability even in long listening sessions
  • Lightweight
  • 4Hz-51kHz frequency response
  • Absorb technology gives clear highs even at top volume
  • Build to last
  • Balanced and detailed sound for a great studio experience
  • Cable requires some force to detach
  • Fairly large size
  • Ideal for quiet environments

Is the Sennheiser HD800 S worth your money?

It's a big yes.

While the budget might seem a bit limiting, if sound quality is your top priority (which it should), with good amplification, Sennheiser delivers beyond reproach.

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Sennheiser HD800 S:
Amazon | B&H

10. AKG K240 MKII

AKG K240 MKII Studio Headphones


The AKG signature design is hard to miss on K240 MKII headphones with over-ear design.

This gives you comfort during long recording sessions.

These are mid-priced cans designed for mixing and mastering.

AKG K240 MKII Headphones_1

The package ships with two removable cables – a 5m coiled cable and a 3m straight cable.

Also included, are two pairs of earpads – the leatherette ones that come pre-attached and the velvet ones to substitute.

In a competitive market of modern headphones, where does the AKG K240 MKII stand?


The design is quite comfortable.

However, in a world where aesthetics seems to matter as much as performance, they feel somewhat cheap.

But, I'm not suggesting that their quality is questionable.

On the contrary, the low end is solid and the mids are accurate. The highs are well-balanced and pleasant.

The headphones have a flat response, which is surprising at that price range.

AKG K240 MK2

This makes the headphones a great choice if you're looking to reproduce audio professionally.

When it comes to durability, the K240 MKII is built of solid quality materials.

The old school headbands lack padding, which doesn’t affect comfortability that much.

But, if you move a lot, they feel unstable and the circular ear cups may not be the perfect fit for larger ears.

The good side of this is that they sit light on your ears allowing sufficient breathability.

K240 MKII from AKG

And another thing.

Although these headphones are lightweight, they have a bulky unfoldable design making it difficult to carry them.

The semi-open technology locks in sound to give minimal bleeding when recording into the mics.

The semi-open design doesn’t exactly block out noise in loud environments.

AKG K240MKII from above

Either way, they leak to some extent, not as much as open backed, but enough to distract anyone sitting close by.

Now, let's take a look at the good and the bad of K240 MKII.

Pros & Cons
Pros & Cons
  • Ideal for critical listening
  • Comfortable
  • Sound quality is good
  • Minimal sound leakage
  • Great soundstage
  • Good for in-house or studio use
  • Bulky to carry and use outside the studio
  • The semi-open ear cups allow outside noise to seep into your tracks
  • The loose fitting headband can fall off while running or exercising

While bass may not the strong suit for the AKG K240 MKII, they will reward you with high sound accuracy.

If you're looking for neutral sound - without coloration, these are the headphones you need for your studio.

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Amazon | Thomann

11. AKG K701

AKG K701 Studio Headphone


To be in the market for over 10 years and still make a mark is not a small fit.

The AKG K701 boasts of crystal clear sound quality and wide soundstage.

Imagine a dramatic sound that’s filled with accuracy, punchy bass, and stunning highs.

K701 Headphone

A headphone that, no matter how long you listen to your tracks, your ears don’t pain nor feel sweaty.

That’s what you get with the K701.

And, that’s just the beginning.


AKG K701 headphones design is attractive, to say the least.

They look like most of the other over-ear headphones, but the metallic ear cups are actually made of plastic.

But hold on, before you start changing your facial expression, the plastic makes them lightweight.

This gives you two benefits – easy to carry and easy on your head.

K701 from AKG

Add to that the extremely soft velour earcups padded with 3D foam and a leather headband featuring two radial arms.

The result is an ergonomic and perfect-fitting headphone.

One thing that AKG K701 really excels in, is comfortability.

We don’t say this often but, they are one of the most comfortable headphones you'll find out there.

AKG701 Studio Headphones

A point to note, however, is that these are open-backed headphones.

This means you ought to forget about noise cancellation.

In other words, they are suitable for indoor use.

And to really show you they were created for the studio, they don’t have any in-line volume controls.

AKG K701

The K701 sound quality is so unique that it vividly highlights every recording’s weaknesses and strengths.

If you're a hip-hop fan, the low end is deep enough to catch those inaudible notes.

The mid-range performance is amazingly flawless within 1dB.

The headphones are also dynamic and serve a wide range of genres with perfection.

Pros & Cons
Pros & Cons
  • Long cable (9.77 ft.), for easy movement around the studio
  • Sturdy build
  • Nice finishing with a metallic look
  • Very comfortable with 3D foam wrapping the earpads
  • The headband has genuine leather padding
  • Precise sound and deep bass
  • Cable is not removable
  • High leakages
  • Somehow bulky to carry around

One issue with open backed headphones is the distraction you cause to people sitting next to you.

Other than that, the AKG K701 offers a nicely balanced and detailed sound.

Plus, the level of comfort you get from these headphones is not an exaggeration.

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AKG K701:
Amazon | Thomann

12. Samson SR850

Samson SR850 Studio Headphone


Are you an audiophile on a budget? Samson have your interests at heart.

The Samson SR850 is a semi-open-back headphone that offers the great features you find in headphones costing thrice as much.

These stereo headphones are designed for critical listening or casual listening to your favorite tracks.

SR850 Headphone

They are dynamic and capable of producing phenomenal open sound.

If you're wondering if the low price compromises on quality, you’ll be surprised to learn that it's in the realm of some pricier cans.

To find out more, keep reading.


To get things straight, they are semi-open, hence, you can expect leakage to some extent.

Unless you intentionally want to distract people sitting next to you, don’t wear them on the bus!

For those looking for really deep lows, the SR850 delivers rich bass that’s very pleasing.

SR850 from Samson

The low impedance (32 Ohms) means you don’t need a powerful amp.

Your phone’s amp will do just fine.

The first impression doesn’t give you high expectations.

However, the moment you put them on and start listening to your audio, you'll be taken aback.

Besides, with two 50mm drivers, the SR850 can go as low as 10Hz to as high as 30kHz. (The ability to produce sound at 10Hz is simply amazing).

The lively trebles are great and you won't be needing another pair of headphones for a long time.


And another thing.

They are highly versatile for use with most music genres and the vocals are crisp, clear and balance surprisingly well.

For such a price, the Samson SR850 delivers a truly intimate, amphitheater-like sound.

The details in these cans! You’ll literally hear every sound from the recordings.

Samson SR850 Studio Headphones

Gamers will especially love the HD sound and the width of the image.

Tends to make you feel like you're inside the game.

And, they have that airy-sound feel.

Pros & Cons
Pros & Cons
  • Nice open sound with some sense of space
  • Very detailed mids and highs
  • They are comfortable and the headband is adjustable
  • They are lightweight with a quality build
  • Cable is tangle free
  • Compatible with many devices
  • The earcups feel a bit shallow. They can be tight and get you sweaty

Don’t judge the Samson SR850 because of their low price.

They deliver exceptional audio quality.

Why spend more if you can get the same details for much less?

The ball is in your court.

Introduction VideoBest Studio Headphones: For Mixing & Recording 2019 [Guide] 13
Compare Prices

Samson SR850:
Amazon | B&H

More Closed Back Headphones Options

Sennheiser HD 820:
Amazon | B&H
Beyerdynamic DT 240 PRO:
Amazon | Thomann
Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro:
Amazon | Thomann
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x:
Amazon | Thomann
Shure SRH1540:
Amazon | Thomann

Best In Ear Headphones:

13. Etymotic ER4XR & SR

Etymotic ER4 XR and SR


If you're the type of person who feels you need to adjust in-ear earphones, you haven’t tried Etymotic ER4 XR & SR.

Etymotic has been around for over 30 years, and one thing they focus on in all their equipment is accuracy and sound quality.

Etymotic ER4SR

The XR version is an Extended Response model while the SR version is a Studio Reference model. Both are leading high-fidelity and noise isolating earphone brands.

As the inventors of insert earphones, Etymotic has gained a lot of respect from all quarters of the music industry.

So, what’s all the hype about the ER4 series?


Oddly, the low profile design is actually good-looking and the bullet-type earphones offer the right fit. Regardless of how much you move, they won't fall off.

Gym-goers, travelers, runners, and virtually anybody who loves music will find extreme comfort in them. Both the ER4 XR & SR sport three flange-style eartips - with additional eartips included in the package.

Etymotic ER4 XR and SR In Ear Headphone

You’ll have to try several eartips to get the right fit. Once you do, they are so comfortable you won't even realize they are there.

And that’s not all. Because of the secure fit, the eartips offer passive noise reduction.

Performance wise, the SR has a deeper bass response than the XR. Both exhibit depth, clarity, and accuracy with an impressive soundstage.

They are enhanced to give a richer and full sound on your mixes. The mids and highs are full of detail, controlled and never screeching. Vocals are exquisite and distortion is very minimal.

A fair warning. Once you get used to Etymotic ER4 earphones, there will be no looking back.

Pros & Cons
Pros & Cons
  • The cables are detachable and tangle-free.
  • The additional set of foam tips and silicone tips are an added advantage
  • The overall sound of both SR and XR is convincing and precise
  • Nice isolation
  • Eartips offer a secure fit
  • The bass response could do better
  • The XR model doesn’t have in-line remote control or mic

Both Etymotic ER4 XR & SR deliver sonic accuracy that’s hard to find in most of the other professional earphones.

These earphones are built to last and they deliver extremely clear audio.

That’s all that really matters.

Introduction VideoBest Studio Headphones: For Mixing & Recording 2019 [Guide] 14
Compare Prices

Etymotic ER4XR:
Amazon | Thomann
Etymotic ER4SR:
Amazon | Thomann

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