Music producers need a lot of different tools, including speakers, recording software, and decent monitors.
Whether they’re creating a new track in the studio or listening to how their newest mix sounds, every producer needs a good pair of headphones.
Producers use headphones all of the time. If you’re producing music It’s important to make sure that their pair can pick up all of the fine details.
Lower quality headphones could make all the difference to how your track sounds.
The pair of headphones you choose is also a personal decision. You might want to use your headphones for everyday usage too, while others may prefer to use their pair solely for production.
Some brands specialize in making their headphones more comfortable too, which may be a factor you may or may not care about.
There are so many studio headphones on the market, so it can be hard to know which ones to go for.
To make your choice a little easier, we’ve listed our pick of the best headphones for music production below.
You’ll find a short review of each model along with its advantages and disadvantages for you to consider.
You’ll also find a buying guide at the end of this article. This contains advice on what to look for when shopping for studio headphones.
No matter what your production style is, you’re sure to find a pair of headphones that suits your needs below.
We couldn’t start this list off without mentioning the classic Sony MDR-7506. These industry-standard headphones are seen everywhere from broadcast studios to video production teams.
These are closed-back, but users still find that they’re good enough for critical listening. They deliver a nice overall sound, as the bass doesn’t overpower any mid-tones.
If style is your concern, you may want to opt for another pair. The fabric creases and the stitches stand out, making the headphones look dated.
The plastic casing is lightweight, but this also means that they’re less resilient. Overall, these headphones are good for a variety of tasks, like mixing, mastering, and listening, at a price that won’t break the bank.
- Lightweight and comfortable to wear
- Delivers balanced sound
- Good sound quality for price
- Unstylish look
- Weaker build
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- Neodymium magnets and 40 millimeter drivers for powerful, detailed sound
- Closed ear design provides comfort and outstanding reduction of external noises
- 9.8 foot cord ends in gold plated plug and it is not detachable; 1/4 inch adapter included
- Folds up for storage or travel in provided soft case
- Frequency Response: 10 Hertz to 20 kilohertz
Sennheiser are respected for their amazing headphones, and the award-winning HD 600 is no exception.
The brand has created more models since the HD 600, but they are still regarded as one of the best headphones ever made. The sound is neutral, from the bass up to the higher frequencies.
The bass is present without being booming, the mids are full, and the trebles are smooth, but not muffled.
This model does look slightly dated, but this is understandable as they were made in the 2000s. All of the parts are replaceable and readily available.
The HD 600s are also very comfortable to wear; some users even said they forgot they were wearing it after a while.
- Fantastic balanced sound
- Comfortable to wear
- Durable build
- Dated design
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- Lightweight aluminum voice coils ensure excellent transient response
- Neodymium ferrous magnets maintain optimum sensitivity and excellent dynamics
- Sophisticated design, elegantly finished in black and gray
- High quality open metal mesh earpiece covers
- Detachable, Kevlar reinforced oxygen free copper cable with very low handling noise
These headphones from AKG have an innovative semi-open design which is ideal for critical listening. They deliver a decent neutral sound that is good for editing, as you can pick up most flaws easily.
The semi-open design does present some disadvantages. They let sound leak out more than standard closed-back headphones. They also don’t deliver as much isolation to listen to louder tracks or recordings.
However, this design can be useful in noisy settings, as it blocks out any distracting noise and conversation well. They’re also comfortable to wear, thanks to the adjustable headband and padded ear cups.
- Comfortable self-adjusting headband
- Neutral sound delivery
- Leaks audio easily
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- Over-ear design for comfort during long work sessions
- Semi-open technology for solid bass and airy highs
- Patented Varimotion 30 mm XXL transducer for accurate signal transfer and great dynamic range
- Self-adjusting headband for optimum fit
- The choice of professionals around the worldstage and studio standard for more than two decades
These closed-back headphones are a great all-around option, as they’re great for professional and general listening use.
The sound is well balanced; the bass is strong, yet neutral, the mids are bold and clear, and the highs are bright without being overbearing.
Even though they’re closed-back, they’re still quite comfortable. This model is snug on the ears, but not too tight, so they’re a good option for long studio periods.
The black and red design is attractive and matches the protective case that it comes with. However, the headband padding is made from silicone, which may attract sweat in a warm studio environment.
- Comfortable and cozy fit.
- Balanced sound
- Attractive design
- Silicone headband may cause sweat
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- Exclusive cone technology offering acoustic transparency and excellent dynamics.
- Precision and neutrality.
- Total control over the audio spectrum.
- Excellent isolation and optimal comfort.
- Compact, rigid carrying case.
This model from Audio-Technica is a great open-backed option for music producers. Like most open-backed headphones, this model is lighter and comfortable to wear.
At just 210 grams they’re ideal for lengthy mixing sessions. They deliver a spectacular range of 50 – 6000 Hz, delivering impressive bass and mid frequencies.
As they’re mainly made out of plastic, they’re not the strongest of headphones, though they use soft materials to cover the ear pads for a pleasant experience.
You’ll get a neutral frequency response and great comfort while wearing headphones, which is ideal for use in the studio.
- Lightweight construction
- Comfortable during lengthy periods
- May be too large for smaller ears/heads
- Only comes with one cable
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- High-efficiency magnets and pure alloy magnetic circuit design reduce distortion and ensure accurate and extended high-frequency response
- Carbon composite resin improves structural rigidity to provide detailed transient response
- Acoustically transparent, aluminum honeycomb-mesh housings provide a natural and spacious open-back sound
- Breathable fabric earpads and improved wing support provide long-wearing comfort
- Feather-light weight (approx. 210 g w/o cable) and robust construction make headphones perfectly suited for professional use
Shure’s 1840s deliver a ‘speaker like’ sound through their headphones. This prevents you from creating tracks that don’t sound good on speakers.
This model delivers a natural sound and a wide stereo image, making it easy to identify the direction of any specific sounds. This makes them a great choice for critical listening.
As they’re open-back headphones, you can’t listen to your tracks in private, but this isn’t a huge issue as they’re designed for studio or home use.
Overall, these headphones deliver balanced sound with very little distortion, so they’re well worth the investment.
- Strong and durable build
- Comfortable to wear
- Excellent sound quality
- Not cheap
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- Individually matched 40 mm neodymium drivers for unparalleled acoustic performance with smooth, extended highs and accurate bass
- Open-back, circumaural design for exceptionally natural sound, wide stereo image, and increased depth of field
- Lightweight construction featuring aircraft-grade aluminum alloy yoke and stainless steel grilles for enhanced durability
- Steel driver frame with vented center pole piece improves linearity and eliminates internal resonance for consistent performance at all listening levels
- Ergonomic dual-frame, padded headband is lightweight and fully adjustable for hours of listening comfort
Neumann’s NDH20s are ideal for working in noisy settings. The brand designed this model to counter the limits of standard closed-back headphones.
They offer great isolation and a linear frequency, resulting in an unmuddied sound that’s ideal for editing, mixing, and monitoring.
Design-wise, the headphones can be folded up and placed into their protective bag.
They come with two detachable cables, one coiled, the other straight. This design makes them easy to transport, but some users did note that they could get uncomfortable after long periods.
- Great isolation for working in noisy settings
- Easy to transport
- Good for monitoring and editing
- Heavy materials can become uncomfortable
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- Linear sound balance, like Neumann's acclaimed studio monitors
- Excellent isolation allows working in noisy environments
- Transparent sound with high resolution
- High long-term comfort, Easy transportation
- 150 Ohm headphone - Pre amp or headphone amp recommended
If you want to use your headphones to record and listen to your everyday music at home, the DT770’s are the pair for you.
They deliver a huge frequency range from 5 Hz to 35,000 Hz, so you’ll notice a lot of detail in your tracks. The pads are very comfortable thanks to the velour padding, which is ideal for sensitive ears or glasses wearers.
The DT770 blocks out external noise well, so they’re a good choice for tracking or using outside. However, the cord is three meters in length, which is very long.
This isn’t a problem if you’re using them at home, but not the best choice for traveling.
- Superb sound quality
- Very comfortable
- Good for tracking
- Bulky design
- Long cable isn’t portable
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- Closed over-ear headphones for professional mixing at home or in the studio
- Perfect for studio recordings thanks to the their pure and high-resolution sound
- Hard-wearing, durable, and robust workmanship Made in Germany
- The world famous DT770 Pro Headphones deliver unmatched quality in sound reproduction at an incredible price. No matter your application, tracking, mixing, critical listening, even gaming, your DT770's will deliver sound you can rely on - every time.
- Sound - Unique design, construction and innovation give the DT770's superb sound reproduction across all frequencies. Custom built diaphrams in our production facilities in Germany deliver consistent performance to the listener
You can still get good-quality headphones even if your budget isn’t the largest. These headphones from trusted brand Sennheiser are strong, but lightweight, making them comfortable to wear for longer sessions.
The HD-206’s rival some headphones in higher price brackets.
The bass is bold and bright, but the cans still pick up detail from the mid and high frequencies. The earpads are soft and are good at preventing external noise from coming through.
This isn’t just great for tracking in the studio, but for wearing out and about too. Despite this, the cord is quite long and thin, which can be irritating when traveling.
- Light and strong
- Balanced audio
- Good for recording
- Long and thin cord feels flimsy
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- Closed back design provides passive noise isolation and prevents sound from bleeding into adjacent microphones when home recording. Connectivity Technology: Wired
- Lightweight and comfortable designed ideal for long listening, studio or DJ sessions
- 24 ohm impedance provides compatibility with cell phones, tablets, computers, portable audio players and studio recorders
- 1/8 inch plug (3.5 millimeter) with 1/4 inch (6.3 millimeter)) adapter included
Beyerdynamic were known for their DT 100 headphones that were popular during the 80s and 90s. These models are still available today. The DT1770s deliver a balanced sound that’s great for mixing.
The mid frequencies don’t allow any audible phase shifts, so the sound is clear and accurate when used in the studio. Your ears pick up all the detailed sounds, making this pair ideal for tracking.
These aren’t the cheapest headphones on the list, but if you’re looking for well-made headphones with fabulous sound quality, consider going for the DT1770s.
- Fantastic audio
- Strong and durable
- Comfortable ear pads
- More expensive than other headphones
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- Closed studio reference headphones for mixing, mastering, monitoring and recording, Made in Germany
- 250 ohms, 45 mm dynamic Tesla neodymium drivers
- Single sided, detachable cable with mini-XLR connectors.Nominal sound pressure level:102 dBSPL (1mW/500Hz)
- Soft, replaceable ear pads and headband for long studio sessions
- Delivery contents: 2 ear pads (velour and leathrette), 2 cables (coiled and straight, 3m), Premium carrying case.Headphone frequency response:5-40,000 Hz
Types Of Studio Headphones
There are three kinds of studio headphones available: closed-back on-ear, open-back on-ear, and in-ear. Closed-back headphones fully cover the ears and have padding that prevents sound from leaking out.
Similar to noise-canceling headphones, they stop external noise from interfering with the sound.
Despite this, closed-back headphones aren’t the best choice for mixing or critical listening, as lower-end frequencies can build up on the inside.
Open-back headphones have cups that let air circulate around your ears, which prevents frequency buildups inside the cans.
These headphones replicate the sound stage well, making them a better choice for critical listening, mixing, and mastering.
They’re also more comfortable than closed-back headphones, which is ideal for long recording sessions.
However, open-back headphones have a greater chance of audio spill and they don’t block out outside noise well.
They’re a better choice for mixing and programming, but if you’re focusing on recording, closed-back headphones may be a better choice.
In-ear headphones are normally only used for use on-stage, but if they’re of good quality, they can be used in a studio setting.
If you’re switching between stage and studio environments a lot, you may want to go for an in-ear option, but we wouldn’t recommend them over the other two varieties.
Regular Headphones vs Studio Headphones
There’s a difference between normal headphones and studio headphones, so you can’t use your everyday pair for producing music.
In most cases, the headphones that you would use for gaming or usual listening will increase their frequency range to enhance the bass and treble sounds. This results in a better listening experience.
This isn’t ideal in studio headphones, as you want to ensure that the music you’re making sounds the way it does through your pair.
You don’t want your headphones to make your music sound better (or worse) than it does. Studio headphones are normally made to deliver a flatter frequency than normal ones.
This ensures that any music made with them sounds good, no matter what device it’s played through.
Do Music Producers Need Studio Headphones?
Studio headphones will have been created solely for use in a studio environment. Depending on the pair you choose, some will be better for mixing, mastering, editing, and tracking.
Generally speaking, closed-back headphones spill less than open-backed ones, so open-backed pairs are better for editing and mixing.
Closed-back pairs can be used for a lot of studio tasks. They’re also better for recording, as any spill from open-backed cans can be caught on microphones.
Normal hi-fi headphones are made to enhance sound quality by boosting the low and higher frequencies.
This isn’t ideal in the recording studio, so you’ll find that your studio pair decreases these frequencies to deliver a balanced, flatter sound.
Are Studio Headphones Comfortable?
When you’re making music, there are going to be periods where you’re in the studio for a long time, so it’s important to have a comfortable pair of headphones. Look for pairs that have padding on the ears.
These will be soft on your ears, but they’ll also prevent external noise from interfering with your music. If you’re using them to record, the padding will also stop audio from other tracks leaking into the microphone.
Padding is a simple addition that enhances your listening experience. As outside noise doesn’t get in, you can concentrate and pick up tiny details in your audio.
You’ll also want to consider hygiene, especially if you’re sharing your headphones with others. It can go unnoticed, but everyone loses heat from their head.
Your headband and ear cups may stop the heat from getting out, so if your studio is too warm, you may start sweating more.
Make sure that your headband isn’t padded too much, but just enough so that it doesn’t hurt your head.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need Headphones For Music Production?
If you want to produce music, you will need headphones, in particular, studio headphones. Studio headphones sound engineers to hear minute flaws in the track so they can edit them out.
They’re also important for musicians, so they can hear other instruments as their performance is recorded. Regular headphones enhance any music coming through to make the listening experience better.
Studio headphones don’t do this so producers can hear how their track really sounds.
Can I Use Earphones For Music Production?
Theoretically, you could use earphones for music production, but it isn’t recommended. Earbuds are more comfortable than headphones, but they don’t deliver the best audio quality.
Even the best earphones don’t deliver as much bass compared to headphones. In-ear headphones won’t deliver a neutral, balanced sound, which is what you need for mixing.
You can use earbuds once your track is nearly complete as a reference point, but we wouldn’t recommend them for producing.
Are Beats Good For Producing Music?
Beats headphones were designed to boost the bass to enhance the listening experience, especially when listening to genres like hip-hop.
However, this isn’t ideal for music producers, as they won’t give an accurate depiction of the audio that they’ve created.
The best headphones for music producers are ones that deliver neutral audio, without enhancing the listening experience in any way.
Beats are also known to break without the right care. Studio headphones tend to be more durable so that they can last longer, especially when transporting between different studios.
There you have it! Those were our top pick of the best headphones for studio production. Hopefully, after reading through our list, you will have found a model that suits your needs.
If you’re new to producing music, remember that investing in a pair of studio headphones is crucial. Earphones won’t deliver the best audio for editing, as they’re made to enhance the listening experience.
Whatever option you choose, make sure that they’re comfortable to wear, as recording, mixing, and editing sessions can last hours.