Music production in a studio is more technical than it sounds. The whole process requires a set of headphones with a few extra refinements and capabilities. No doubt, you’ll need a set of studio monitoring speakers.
But you need to invest in headphones explicitly built for music production. The only thing that may make your search challenging is the number of headphones masquerading on the market as the best for studio applications.
If you’re new to production, you can get the best headphones for music production that will deliver impressive audio. If you’re already a professional, you’ll have to consider editing. Thus, you’ll also need a pair that’s true to input and eases the process of editing.
In this article, you’ll learn about the factors to consider before buying headphones for music production. And you’ll see our top recommendations.
We looked at a ton of headphones on the market, but we came up with four that met our standards in four categories: frequency response, compatibility, accuracy, and authenticity.
- If you want a budget-friendly headphone with high-resolution audio, go for the Behringer HPX2000.
- If you want a fully immersive headphone with professional listening experience, you can get the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x.
- If you want a realistic representation of your finished audio composition, the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro is a good option.
- The Sony MDR7506 is the way to go if you want a closed-back ear-cup option that reproduces very crisp definition audio.
Who Should Get This?
Headphones are vital accessories for music producers because they help them hear every part of their music as transparently as possible to make the right adjustments when mixing.
The closed-back headphones are ubiquitous in the studio because it usually comes with solid ear cups that prevent sound leakage. Plus, it also isolates the listener from the outside sound—which makes it ideal for musicians and vocalists that love to record as they listen to a guide track in the studio.
The open-back headphones are not left out as their openings play a vital role in allowing sound get to the listener—which adds natural ambiance that many find pleasing to the ears. These headphones also allow some sound to go out—to reduce some harshness and dryness. Interestingly, it’s a lighter option—which is a plus if you have to wear it for a long time.
The semi-open back headphones have partly opened cans that provide a good compromise for people that require moderate ambiance in their headphones. It may not be the perfect option for quiet recordings because of sound leaks from its partly opened cans. But it does an excellent job for recording vocals—as it provides singers with a more natural sound.
Best Headphones for Music Production: What to Consider in 2020?
It’s essential to take the quality of any headphones you intend to buy into account. Quality doesn’t stop at the sound alone. It extends to the materials used to manufacture the gadget. You can go for headphones made of leather, steel, or plastic—it all depends on your budget and what you want.
Before you buy headphones for production, you have to be clear about your intended use and level of experience. For instance, if you’re good at producing electronic dance music on your laptop and you often travel and produce on the go, aim at getting a durable pair of closed-back cans. If you have a quiet home studio and you work well at night to perfect your mixes—and using speakers is not an option, the open-back headphone is a perfect go-to. So, it’s best to prioritize what’s most important to you and make your decision.
When you buy headphones with a soundproof construction, it helps you to isolate the surrounding sounds. So you don’t only focus on each tonality better, but you’ll create new sounds with ease.
Wireless or Wired
As you search for the best headphones for your music, ensure that you address wire issues—because there are other items you’ll need to work with that come with long wires. Thus, if you want the freedom of movement or fewer wires clustering around, get a wireless Bluetooth headphone that would save you the stress of staying glued to your laptop whenever you use them.
As a music producer, you need all the concentration you can get while you work—because your career depends on it. So, you should opt for headphones that allow you to stay comfortable even after a long period—that way, you can stay in your zone and enjoy your work.
Frequency is commonly measured in Hertz (Hz). And the frequency range of any human falls between 20Hz to 20,000 Hz. Most times, you’ll notice that a lot of headphone manufacturers advertise their frequency response—which appears to be the effective range that allows the reproduction of treble, mids, and bass.
Others have a frequency response that spans beyond what humans can hear, like 5 to 35,000 HZ. But this kind of frequency doesn’t improve the sound quality—so, you shouldn’t base your decision solely on it. Instead, look out for the frequency response curve—because no headphone comes with a completely flat response. And the curve tells you where on the spectrum the headphones have dips and peaks you need to know.
Best Headphones for Music Production: Our Picks for 2020
The Behringer HPX200 is a high-definition headphone. It’s ideal for demanding users in the home and live applications. It comes with superb frequency response, a single-sided oxygen-free copper cord that promises a fantastic performance, and a high-efficiency cobalt capsule.
The earcups have a reversible round shape that you can easily rotate. The gadget also comes with a high-definition bass and super-transparent highs.
What We Like:
- It’s lightweight
- Great deep bass
- It’s comfortable
- The sound is great
What We Don’t Like:
- The headphones need a plug adapter for small and large jacks
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x is your best bet if you’ve been looking for an option that replaces the Beats at a reasonable price. The sound is quite impressive, with a sturdy build to compliment the design.
The only snag is that the headphones are studio-style, but the “M” in its name represents monitor. However, a lot of people use the gadget on the go even if it doesn’t have a microphone or inline remote that would have been very helpful.
The earcups have improved padding, and they are detachable. This model doesn’t have active noise cancellation, but it does a fantastic job of sealing out the sound from the outside world passively. You can hardly fault this model sound wise because the stereo imaging for a closed-back design is spacious and has a tremendous dynamic impact. Also, the tonal balance is accurate.
What We Like:
- It has an excellent build
- Balanced sound with tight bass
- It has a detachable cord
- It’s quite comfortable
What We Don’t Like:
- It has a bulky design
The DT 1990 Pro is ideal for recording and mastering engineers. The gadget has thick, replaceable cables that have high-fidelity connections. The open-back design of the headphone gives producers an excellent sense of space.
And they are quite comfortable regardless of the massive build. When it comes to its audio performance, it’s remarkably accurate because it has a flat response that doesn’t ignore the deep bass in mixes. Instead, the headphones avoid obvious boosting and cutting. Music producers can rely on this model because it mixes very well.
What We Like:
- Comfortable fit
- It has an accurate audio performance
- It comes with two detachable cables
- It has rich bass depth
What We Don’t Like:
- The cables don’t have a mic
4. Sony MDR7506
Sony has been doing an excellent job in producing quality headphones for over 27 years—so, they are considered an industry standard. The MDR7506 is an over-ear headphone that has a frequency response of 10 HZ to 20 HZ and a driver size of 40mm.
The device is lightweight and ideal for people with larger heads. The gadget allows you to listen for a long time without any discomfort. Once you’ve finished using the headphones, you can fold it easily—which means that the design is suitable for compact storage.
The folding hinge design feels a bit flimsy, but the closed-back headphones are perfect for production and critical engineering environments. Plus, they can stand up to a lot of regular use. The long cables will do a lot of good for professional use.
The headphones are fantastic for critical listening and professional studio. And it comes with neodymium magnets and 40 m drivers that can produce a lot of sounds. The highs are decently balanced for monitoring, recording, and ubiquitous need. The bass is active, and the mids sit in a good position without needing a muddy mix in the crossover region.
What We Like:
- Great for tracking and mixing
- The cable is ideal for studio work
- It has a decent noise isolation
- It fits people with a larger head size
What We Don’t Like:
- The cable isn’t detachable
How to Store Your Headphones Properly
- After using your headphones, hold the cord between your forefinger and thumb so that the plug faces your body.
- Place your headphones in a storage case after each use.
- If your headphones aren’t foldable, use two binder clips to create a makeshift stand that you can use to hang your device.
Now that you’re sure of what to look out for before making a buying decision, settling for one product shouldn’t be a problem anymore. You can choose from any of the listed headphones in this article.
What are your thoughts about our list? Which one caught your attention most? If you have anything to add, we’d love to hear from you in the comments section.
Chris is a lifelong tech enthusiast with a broad range of interests including coding, data analysis, traveling, and more. He used to work as a software programmer immersing himself in the world of codes, now he finds it more interesting talking to real people.