The Best Studio Headphones of 2020
Are you looking for the best studio headphones to create an ‘out-of-the-world’ music experience. A skill like DJing demands nothing but the best equipment, especially studio headphones. In this guide, we’ll dive deep into studio headphones and help you pick the best one. Our headphones experts spent weeks and months testing each product; so, without further ado, let’s enter the world of studio headphones. Read on to know more.
Important Factors to Consider While Buying Studio Headphones
It doesn’t matter what the price tag says – don’t underestimate the importance of investing in decent studio headphones. At times, you may find that high-end studio headphones provide users with less features as compared to similar headphones at a cheaper price. But, don’t let the price fool you!
Listed below are some key factors you should consider while looking for the best studio headphones to suit your budget and requirement.
- Clarity and sound quality: Ideally, you should be looking for studio headphones that allow you to clearly and distinctly hear each and every beat. You’ll find it easier to monitor and record if the quality of your headphones is good.
- Comfort and style: If you’re going to be investing a fair amount of money, opt for a pair of headphones that look both stylish and are comfortable. Look out for ones that fit snug around your ears. You don’t want to have to constantly be tugging at them because they keep slipping off your ears.
- Durability: This is a crucial element to consider when you are picking headphones, especially since there’s a lot of movements that a DJ does. Look for a pair of headphones that can take the brunt of a fall. You wouldn’t want your headphones falling apart after a few uses, would you?
- Type of headphones: While some buyers prefer open-eared headphones, especially if you are on the move, others would rather buy closed ear headphones. If you are someone who is into mixing, our team of experts recommends picking over-the-ear headphones. Such headphones allow users to create better soundtracks. On the other hand, closed-ear headphones are designed in a way that the sound does not leak out – helping you focus on your tracks and match every beat of the music effortlessly.
- Additional features: Rotating ear cups enable the headphones to be used like those designed for single-ear usage. Perhaps you would like to buy a pair with detachable auxiliary cables or cords, or ones that come with a travel-friendly carrying pouch
- Frequency range: This range represents your music’s bass and treble. The standard response range is between 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. The lower value indicates the value of the bass, while the higher number represents the treble.
- Size of the drivers: The bigger the size of the drivers in the headphones, the better is the sound dynamics. The minimum driver size is 8 mm while the maximum is 50 mm.
- Sound isolation: To be able to hear your tracks without any interruption of ambient noise, sound isolation is a key factor. While mixing, DJs prefer to listen to their mix as it would sound with a level of external noise. This helps in clearly understanding each tone of the music.
The Best Studio Headphones of the Year: All-Rounders
So, here’s the first and most critical category of studio headphones we’ll be covering, i.e., the best studio headphones from the all-rounder category. Here’s a quick roundup of the products we’ll be discussing in detail.
|Audio-Technica ATH-M50x||Best All -Rounder Studio Headphones|
|Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back||Best Frequency Response Studio Headphones|
|Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro||Most Powerful Studio Headphones|
|Sony MDR-7506 DJ Headphones||Best DJ Studio Headphones|
|Sennheiser HD280PRO||Best Closed-Ear DJ Headphones|
1. Audio Technica ATH-M50x: Best All-Rounder Studio Headphones
Audio Technica is a popular brand in the music industry. The Audio Technica ATH-M50x is highly suitable for DJing and studio recordings. The headphones come with perfect noise cancellation owing to the fact that they are closed-ear headphones. With the extended frequency response range, you can be assured that these sleek headphones will provide you with exceptional sound quality and high clarity, and have been critically acclaimed by top audio engineers and our experts.
The 90° pivoting ear cups provide easy monitoring by just one ear – a great feature for DJs who prefer mixing and recording with one ear. This makes it easy to cue your next music track, even while monitoring with your headphones. The headband is made of top-quality material, providing users with both a high-level of comfort and durability. We were pleased to see that these headphones come with a detachable cable; a feature that many brands don’t incorporate into their headphone designs.
We know how worrisome it can be trying to find a way to travel with your headphones. No matter how durable a brand may claim to be, you don’t want to be cramming your headphones into a small backpack. Isn’t it? Since the headphones are collapsible, they can easily be folded and placed in your bag when you are on the move. Their frequency response is of the range 15-28,000 Hz. Whether you’re looking for DJ headphones for tracking or mixing or personal listening, this Audio Technica DJ headphones can be a great buy.
- Bass heavy profile
- Isolated stage
- Blocks ambient noise
- Provides easy monitoring
- Good sound quality
- Somewhat expensive than other high-end studio headphones on the market
2. Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back: Best Frequency Response Studio Headphones
If you’re a DJ looking for the best studio headphones with a good frequency response, you can consider Sennheiser HD 650. With the response ranging from 10 to 39,500 Hz, the headphones have excellent accosting silk, mastered to have precise damping over the frequency range.
The top-quality neodymium magnets and driver parts enhance the performance of the headphones. We were also impressed with the level of dynamic response and sensitivity of the magnets. They have a low THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) of 0.1% and an SPL (Sound Pressure Level) of 97.
With impeccable sound quality, the Sennheiser HD 650 is great for mixing in the studio. Having incorporated aluminium into its voice coils, the headphones are both lightweight and have a quick response rate as compared to other studio DJ headphones on our list.
These sleek and stylish headphones are coated with titanium-silver, which makes them a delight to the eyes. Just like the Audio-Technica M50x, the headphones have a detachable cable which is 118 inches in length.
Since the headphones are open-ear, be careful when you’re listening to music out of the studio, such as in the library or public transport. This is because the sound tends to ‘seep’ through. While the tracks may be music to your ears, they can be a nuisance to others. Despite the leaking music, these headphones are comfortable to use for prolonged periods. They are so lightweight that you almost forget you’re wearing them.
The Sennheiser HD 650 requires an amplifier, so although the headphones are travel-friendly, the amplifier may not be. Having said that, these headphones are compatible with almost all devices, Mp3 players and phones. However, our team of experts noticed that the performance many vary from device to device.
Unfortunately, although the HD 650 provides users with many great features, we found that the noise isolation of the headphones wasn’t great, so to say. However, being studio headphones, DJs tend to use open-ear headphones while mixing. Hence, this feature of not being able to totally cancel out external noise is beneficial as it allows users to mix in a realistic manner, taking into consideration ambient sounds too.
If you’ve been a DJ for a long time, you may have noticed that while some headphones sound better with the bass, they may raise issues with the highs, mid, and treble, or vice versa. We were expecting the same problem with the Sennheiser 650, but to our surprise, the sound quality and clarity is truly something worth appreciating.
Fortunately, Sennheiser provides customers with a 2-year International Warranty, meaning you can get the headphones fixed or replaced no matter where you are in the world. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? It is safe to say that the 650 is one of the best all-rounder studio headphones in its price range.
- Sleek look
- Soft ear padding
- Smooth sound
- Clear bass and treble
- Comes with a 2-year International Warranty
- No noise isolation
- Some users have complained about the durability
3. Beyerdynamic DT 880: Most Powerful Studio Headphones
Beyerdynamic is no new name in the music industry. And, we’ve all heard about these powerful headphones. But, ‘with great power,’ comes ‘greater responsibility’ or in this case, price! Coming from a popular brand with top-quality features, Beyerdynamic DT 880 are impeccable headphones, but a little overpriced.
Operating at a value as massive as 250 Ohms, the headphones are truly powerful. Because of this, you should ideally be using the headphones with an amplifier to get an enhanced music experience.
Unlike other top studio headphones of 2020, DT 880 has a unique semi-open design. We liked the overall appearance of the headphones and were thrilled to see a sturdy yet fashionable headband design. The ear cups are covered with soft padding on the inside, so you won’t have any issues with the fit.
Not only this but you also don’t need to fret about the headphones getting worn out or damaged after a few uses. They are durable and robust; features you want to look for when buying studio headphones. That being said, do take care of the headphones please! They are expensive!
Beyerdynamic has provided a complementary nylon carrying case, which comes in the box along with the headphones, making it all the more easy for you to travel around with them. Along with the pouch, the box also includes a cable and plug connecting cable. A 3.5 mm mini-jack plug and a 1/4” (6.3 mm) adapter are additional, complementary accessories. The cable length is 4-feet which is excellent when you need to move around to excite your audience. Y
You won’t need to worry about awkwardly hovering around; nothing puts a crowd off more than an uncomfortable DJ.
Operating at a frequency response from 5 to 35,000 Hz, the nominal SPL (Sound Pressure Level) is 96 dB. The DT 880 is great for mixing, recording and monitoring, and can be used whether you’re at home or in the studio.
- One-sided cable allows adequate movement
- Easy to wear
- Soft earpads
- Study and durable
- Available in only one color
4. Sony MDR-7506 DJ Headphones: Best DJ Studio Headphones
Sony MDR-7506 is one of the most popular DJ studio headphones on the market in 2020. The headphones are quite comfortable to use and wear, and come with a noteworthy sound isolation. They cancel out a good amount of surround noise and disturbances, which is impressive. Similar to the Beyerdynamic DT 880, they are wired headphones and won’t provide you with as much movement and flexibility as headphones with detachable cables.
Sony, another well-known brand in the industry, has created another top-quality musical master –
the MDR-7506. The brand has incorporated 40 mm drivers and neodymium magnets; a great combination resulting in top-class sound quality and clarity. You’re able to hear every beat clear and distinct.
However, sadly, the Sony MDR-7506 headphones do not come with a travel pouch, so you’ll have to go out of your way and find one per your liking. The headphones are compact and lightweight, and can be folded into a travel-friendly manner. They have great durability and so them falling apart isn’t going to be an issue.The ear cups have replaceable ear pads, meaning you can easily find a replacement for them in the situation that they begin to wear out and become uncomfortable to use.
Although they were initially designed to be used as studio headphones, they are great to use for DJing, especially since you are able to distinctly hear every range of frequency. These Sony DJ headphones operate at a frequency range of 10 to 20, 000 Hz.
- Good sound quality
- Reasonable price
- Good noise isolation
- High sound clarity
- Ear cups do not rotate
- Carrying pouch is not included
- No interchangeable cord
5. Sennheiser HD280PRO: Best Closed-Ear Studio Headphones
Sennheiser HD280PRO DJ headphones are closed-ear. We’re sure you know by now that closed-ear headphones provide great sound isolation. However, they are not wireless. So, if buying “wireless headphones” is your top priority, we definitely won’t suggest buying these headphones.
Nevertheless, if you’re an audiophile, you will love these headphones. With an ergonomic build, these particular Sennheiser headphones are strong and sturdy. The comfortable-to-use ear cups won’t make you feel any discomfort even if worn for a long period, as the padding on these cups is very soft.
If you ever feel the need to replace the ear cup or headband padding, you can easily do so. The audio cable is replaceable too. It won’t be difficult for you to find replacements for them. The last thing you want is to have to buy a brand new pair of headphones simply because the padding has worn off or the cable connection has come loose.
The adjustable headband is a great fit, and wraps around snugly around your ears. The headphones have rotating ear cups, which is an added benefit for those who prefer DJing with headphones only on one ear.
We were glad to find that the Sennheiser HD280PRO DJ studio headphones are compatible with different electronic devices like MP3, iPod, DVD and CD players, owing to its 3.5 mm jack. If this wasn’t enough, they are also compatible with stereos and other musical devices you may have at home or in the studio, thanks to the 1/4” stereo plug adapter. The headphones function at a frequency response of 8 to 25,000Hz.
- Good level of noise isolation
- High sound quality
- Replaceable parts
- Sleek, glossy look
- Good bass and treble distinction
- Perfect blend of highs and lows
- Foldable and compact
- Rotating ear cups
- High ambient sound attenuation
- Cord is not detachable
- May feel bulky and lead to sweating
- Ear cushioining prone to come off easily
The Best Budget Studio Headphones in 2020
In the previous section, we listed the best all-rounder studio headphones on the market; some of them being expensive and high-end. This section is completely dedicated to those who are looking for pocket-friendly options.
Our team of experts has put together another list for the best budget studio headphones on the market. You won’t believe the price tags on some of these – we couldn’t either! What a steal! Read on to know more.
|Audio Technica ATH-M20x||Best Wired Budget Studio Headphones|
|OneOdio Studio||Best Compact Budget Studio Headphones|
|Samson SR850 Semi-Open-Back||Best Quality Budget Studio Headphones|
|Behringer HPX2000 Headphones||Best High-Definition Budget Studio Headphones|
1. Audio Technica ATH-M20x: Best Wired Budget Studio Headphones
Audio Technica is a popular name in the music industry. The brand owns some of the top-quality DJ headphones, most of which have been critically acclaimed, like the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x.
The headphones are wired, with the cable attached to only one ear cup. Therefore, the headphones don’t restrict too much movement and since the cable falls on one side of the ear cups, you won’t need to worry about constantly having to pull it away.
With a durable and cutting-edge design, these headphones come with a rugged build. Whether you are looking for a low-frequency performance or a high-frequency one, the Audio Technica ATH-M20x is tuned to perform well in both cases. Hence, the headphones can be a good choice for mixing and tracking.
Due to the build contours, the headphones provide flawless sound isolation. The ear padding on the ear cups is comfortable and thanks to the large size padding, you won’t have any issue even if you’re mixing for long duration.
While the ear cups don’t rotate 90 degrees like many other headphones, they swivel 15 degrees in both directions. They are neither compact nor flexible, so you may find an issue when you’re travelling; you can’t fold them and place them in your bag. Unfortunately, Audio Technica hasn’t provided users with a travelling case with the headphones.
- Excellent sound quality
- Sturdy construction
- Adjustable headband
- Some users have complained of ill-fitting of headband
- Available in only one color
2. OneOdio Studio: Best Compact Budget Studio Headphones
One of the things we really liked about these headphones is that you can adjust them effortlessly to fit them perfectly around your head. Thanks to the rotating ear cups, you can also wear the OneOdio Studio headphones as single-ear headphones.
The headphones are comfortable with soft padding lining the inside of the ear cups. So, it doesn’t matter how long you’re going to wear them, you’ll always feel light and great.
The over-the-ear OneOdio Studio headphones have great sound isolation. With neodymium magnets and speaker drivers incorporated in the design, you can experience a powerful bass and clearly defined beats. The headphones are so compact and flexible that they can easily fit flat in your bag. No squeezing or forced-folding required!
The only thing we din’t quite like about the headphones is their look. It was definitely not love at first sight. The headphones are mainly made of plastic, but boy, they do look sleek, especially in the matte black color!
Afeature of the OneOdio that exceptionally impressed us is its adapter-free operation! The dual-duty cable makes it convenient to use. As there is no adapter, the headphones come with two standard sized plugs of 6.3 mm and 3.5 mm respectively. Luckily both the plugs are detachable, which means that you no longer need to spend hours connected to your mixer or monitor.
But, wait there’s more! The OneOdio can be connected to almost all electronic devices ranging from an iPad or iPod to various other Android devices. They also come with a 2-year warranty. Sound great, don’t they? They operate at a frequency range of 20 Hz-20 kHz.
- High sound quality
- Sleek look, with a glossy finish
- High fidelity
- Slightly heavy
- Limited color choices
3. Samson SR850 Semi-Open-Back: Best Quality Budget Studio Headphones
These headphones are definitely a run for your money. Samson is a known name in the music industry, and so, it’s no surprise that their headphones are as good as many high-end headphones on the market. With top-notch performance and sound quality, we’re sure you’ll love these beauties.
The SR850 comes with neodymium magnets and 50 mm speaker drivers built into its design. This means you get a large-ranged dynamic bound. The ear padding is ultra-comfortable and the headphones fit quite snugly around the ears.
You’re going to love the sound quality of these over-the-ear headphones. Since they are open-back headphones, you can use them for DJing, mixing, monitoring, and recording. It also means you get the best mix possible since you can clearly hear every high and low. Unfortunately, the headphones aren’t detachable, meaning they will restrict your movement up to a certain extent. If you are looking for headphones that are detachable, we wouldn’t recommend investing in the Samson SR850. The frequency response of the headphones lies between 10 to 30 kHz.
Our team of experts was quite pleased with the durability of the headphones. Being cheaper than other brands, we expected that the plastic build of the headphones wouldn’t be able to take the brunt of a fall. However, we were glad to see that this wasn’t the case. We can easily say that the Samson SR850 is one of the best budget studio headphones of the year!
- Self-adjustable headband
- Comfortable fit
- Velour pads don’t heat up
- Sleek look
- Users have complained about headband slipping off
- Plastic construction may not appeal to all
- Clamping is tight
4. Behringer HPX2000 Headphones: Best High-Definition Budget Studio Headphones
Behringer HPX2000 DJ headphones are one of the best cheap DJ headphones on the market. With a cobalt-capsule design, you can easily expect top quality bass and crisp, clear beats. The 40 mm drivers provide users with a dynamic and vast range, allowing you to have the perfect music experience.
Don’t get fooled by Behringer HPX2000’s low price! The brand has ensured that the construction of the headphones are durable and sturdy and that the headphones won’t get damaged if you drop them. Of course, that doesn’t mean they’d be able to take a fall from a high level, so do be careful!
Thanks to the 1/4 inch adapter and the 1/8 inch connector included in the box, these Behringer headphones are compatible with most devices, including your studio devices as well as your stereo system at home.
Since the headphones are over-the-ear, they provide good noise isolation too. The ear cups are rotating and swiveling; however, being wired headphones, they limit movement. Luckily, the cable lies on one side, so that they won’t be too much of a nuisance.
- Sturdy build
- Design has cobalt capsule
- Rotatable ear cups
- High sound quality
- Warranty included
- High definition bass
- Adjustable headband length
- Limited noise cancellation
- Headband may feel bulky to some users
The Best Mixing Headphones in 2020
As a DJ, you’re always looking for flawless and smooth transitions between each track. You definitely don’t want a sudden awkward silence or a drastic change in the tempo during this changeover. This is why mixing is an important element. And, it would be unfair if our experts don’t mention the best mixing headphones in 2020 in this guide. Since your crowd doesn’t hear the end of a song due to the effortless blending, they keep dancing for hours without realizing how tired they really are.
So, what should you be looking for when you want to buy a good pair of headphones designed for mixing? Our team of audiophiles and experts has researched, tried and tested a variety of headphones, and have put together a list of the best mixing headphones in 2020. Continue reading to find out more!
Why Do You Need Headphones Designed Specifically for Mixing?
We bet you’ve been thinking about this question all the while. So, let’s find out whether it was really worth investing in a pair of headphones that claim they are good for mixing? What would happen if we simply mixed using a monitor? Would it do justice?
At times, you may be in a room with poor acoustics. Perhaps the monitor you’re using wouldn’t be of the best quality. In such scenarios, you can always count on your mixing headphones to help you deliver nothing but the very best. We understand that the chances of such a scenario occurring may be less, but come on, is that really a risk you are willing to take?
Is impedance important when looking for a DJ headphone? The concept of impedance is diverse and quite mathematical and scientific, so we won’t bore you with the finer details. To get to the point, a pair of headphones with a lower impedance value ( below 25 Ohms), require more power for high volumes. Higher the power requirement, the more the chances of damages. To avoid this, such headphones are provided with protection on their internal wires. If you are buying headphones with a higher impedance value ( any value around 250 Ohms or above), make sure you thoroughly research for the equipment you would quire to prevent blow out.
How Does Frequency Response Affect Headphones?
You will encounter the words ‘frequency response’ very often when you are buying headphones. But what do they really mean? Frequency response often refers to the bass, mid, and treble of music. For example, if the frequency response is 10 to 24,000 Hz, the 10 refers to the bass while the 24,000 represents the treble.
For a large number of headphones, the frequency response is 20 to 20,000 Hz. While other headphones have a higher frequency response, it does not necessarily mean that their sound quality is better. In fact, at times the treble is hardly audible.
Now that you know why you need mixing headphones, let’s quickly look at the best mixing headphones in 2020.
|AKG K 701 Mixing Headphones||Most Comfortable Mixing Headphones|
|Audio-Technica ATH-M40x||Best Budget Mixing Headphones|
1. AKG K 701 Mixing Headphones: Most Comfortable Mixing Headphones
The comfort, precision and quality of these headphones is truly mind-blowing. With a frequency response range similar to that of Sennheiser HD 650, you would love the product when you’re mixing. You want to hear everything, and the AKG K 701 gives provides you with an interestin
g feature to do just that. .
Even after wearing this pair of headphones for hours, none of our experts ended up with a splitting headache. So, you won’t need to take constant breaks to get rid of annoying ear pains. With soft ear padding that covers your entire ear, comfort definitely isn’t an issue. The leather headband is adjustable – once again cancelling out the chances of the headphones being too tight or giving you a headache. The headphones are lightweight and do not feel bulky on your head.
For those of you who would like to know the operational details of the headphones, it functions at a frequency response of 10 to 39.8 kHz and has an input power of 200 mW.
However, the headphones are only available in one color, i.e. white, so you really don’t have any options to choose from in terms of aesthetics. One more point worth noting is that the AKG K 701 aren’t exactly what you would call ‘travel friendly’ and finding a suitable carrying pouch/case for them can be a task.
- Replaceable ear pads
- Adjustable leather headband
- High accuracy
- Only available in one color
- Not travel friendly
- Non-detachable cables restricts movement
- Needs a headphone amplifier
- Not recommended to use with an iPhone or an iPad
2. Audio-Technica ATH-M40x: Best Budget Mixing Headphones
These headphones are easily affordable and have an excellent sound quality , no matter where you use them. The headphones come with a detachable and interchangeable auxiliary cord, which is great for when you want to move around and perhaps dance along a bit, while the crowd is grooving to your mix. We liked the comfort of the M40X too, especially since the design incorporated memory foam ear padding. We’re sure that by now you know why soft ear padding is a definite must when picking out the perfect pair for you. The ear cups are rotatable – making them great to use if you plan on using these headphones as single-ear headphones. Audio-Technica has provided cutting-edge engineering, even at a low price!
The Audio-Technica is foldable and compact and can be easily stored in its complementary carrying case. The pair of headphones comes with a sleek build and look, and is definitely a run for its money. It is designed with top quality materials and is durable and sturdy. Having said that, it does not completely isolate external noise. 40mm neodymium magnetic drivers have been incorporated into the design to enhance its appeal. Since these headphones are tuned flat, they are ideal for listening to acoustic and classical music. The Audio-Technica operates at a frequency range between 15 to 24,000Hz and is best for those who love bass.
- Tuned flat which allows users to hear sound distinctly
- Can be audible even if powered off of motherboard sound system
- Sleek look
- Stronger headband adjusting
- More padding
- The headband may be a little tight for some users
- Strong clamp force
We hope we have been able to provide you with enough information to help you choose the best studio headphones 2019. If you are an aspiring DJ or someone who’s planning to upgrade their existing mixing headphones, we suggest you buy headphones that don’t burn a whole in your pockets. That way, you can learn what is best for you and understand what features you prefer. If you are a professional DJ, then you may want to invest in a good pair of DJ headphones with high-end features.
Either way, there’s a lot of thinking you’ll have to do. Make a list of features that are an absolute must for you, and whether you are willing to pay money for certain features that may be of no absolute use to you. You will have to keep in mind the price, the brand name, and of course, the warranty. Does your the pair come with at least 6 months warranty? While most brands provide users with a 2-year warranty, you should also check if it’s an international one. If you have bought the headphones in one country while on tour, you shouldn’t be expected to travel all the way back to the same place for your warranty. How bizarre!
If you have any questions, doubts or queries, feel free to drop a comment in our comment section below, and our experts will get back to you with an answer in no time. If there are any products you have in mind that you would like for us to review and compare, do write to us!