Whether you’re recording, monitoring, at home, or at a professional studio – headphones are always going to be a necessity.
Today, we’ll be talking about the best studio headphones of 2021 to help you get the most out of your music productions.
These are the best studio headphones to buy right now:
Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro
The best all-around studio headphones
The DT 880s are one of the most popular headphone options for a lot of reasons: they’re comfortable, they sound great, and they’re super durable.
These have a frequency response of 5 Hz – 35 kHz, which is amazing. Overall, the curve is nominally flat, except for a slight peak around 7 – 10 kHz. This won’t be such an issue for most unless you’re a fan of trap music with loud hi-hats and claps. Even still, it’s much easier to work with something that’s over-exaggerated rather than under.
Given the high impedance and sensitivity of these headphones, you will need an amp to get the most out of them. Also, since these are open-back headphones, you can forget about wearing them on your commute. These are meant to sit in the studio with your mixing desk and monitors.
Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro
The best headphones for tracking
While the DT 770s are less expensive than the DT 880s, they are still an incredibly high-quality option to consider. In terms of comfortability and performance, you really can’t go wrong here.
They’re closed-back headphones, perfect for tracking or monitoring applications. They also have a phenomenally detailed midrange, with some slight exaggerations in the high end (something of a signature attribute when it comes to Beyerdynamic). They also have great low end, possibly due to the closed-back design.
While each model has a frequency response of 5 Hz – 35 kHz, we recommend going for the 80 omh model. Although the higher the impedance, the more you’ll be able to get out of your headphones’ performance without potentially damaging them.
The best budget option for mixing
Priced at around $150, these are usually researched in tandem with Audio-Technica’s ATH-M50x. However, the AKGs are the technically superior option, seeing that they have a more neutral sound signature.
As far as closed-back designs are concerned, these are probably the best you can do for the price. They’re not the most comfortable headphones available, but for a budget option this isn’t much of an issue.
They have a frequency response of 5 Hz – 40 kHz, which is far wider than one would expect from a pair of headphones costing this much. There is some exaggeration in the lows and highs, but the V-shaped curve is far less notable than you would find on the M50xs.
The best option for casual listening
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are something of a staple in producer circles. They’re fashionable, comfortable, and are an especially great choice for EDM, Hip-Hop, and Electronica.
Although these are one of the less expensive options, they still hold up to most of their competition. They’re highly portable due to their collapsible design and swivelling earcups. What’s even better is that they have detachable cords – greatly improving their longevity.
We should note that the sound signature here is fairly colored, making it a less viable option when it comes to mixing and mastering, but great for casual listening.
They have a frequency response of 15 Hz – 28 kHz, which is quite impressive for a pair of headphones costing just under $150.
Sennheiser HD 600
The most comfy headphones
The HD 600s are a great choice for nearly anybody. They have a wide frequency response of 12 Hz – 39 kHz, and are fairly neutral across the frequency spectrum. They’re also rather comfortable.
The one potential flaw in these headphones is an over hyped high end, and a slight lack in the lowest of lows. However, the accuracy of their performance can easily outride these small issues, especially when powered with an amp.
They are open-back so wearing them on your commute will be far from ideal, but when it comes to serious music-making, these are some of the best around.
Largely unnoticed but actually quite good
These are Shure’s highest end headphones, and at around $500, they’re surprisingly affordable. They’re lightweight, comfortable, and sound great.
Due to their open-back design, the low end is not as prominent as you might expect. However, they are extremely balanced and neutral. They have a frequency response of 10 Hz – 30 kHz, and are ideal for most kinds of music except for EDM or Hip-Hop where the extra bass response may be desired.
If you do end up buying these headphones, you’re more or less set for life.
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro
The studio grade
The 1990s are another great choice to consider here. They’re incredibly detailed and balanced across the entire spectrum.
While these might not be the most affordable of the bunch, they’re definitely worth the expense. They have an extremely wide frequency response of 5 Hz – 40 kHz, and have a nominally flat curve.
Some say that the treble of the DT 1990s is quite bright, but this is a fairly subjective take. However, we found no issues ourselves.
Sennheiser HD 800 S
The most high-end
These are the crème de la crème when it comes to headphones, albeit divisive. The HD 800 S have a massive soundstage, and an incredibly dynamic sound. For some, these headphones sound too analytical, but we favor that here at Higher Hz.
With a frequency response of 4 Hz – 51 kHz at the minus 10 dB points, and no hype whatsoever, these are perfect for mixing and mastering. The frequency response is more or less flat, peaking in the upper registers.
All in all, if you have the cash to spare and are looking for some of the best studio-quality headphones around, go test these out for yourself. These will redefine your ideas of what high-quality means, as the HD 800 S is the top of the line.
We hope you came out at the end of this article with a bit of information in your skull.
What really constitutes the best set of studio cans is merely personal preference. Some people like the $15 Sony in-ears, and others like the $3000 Sennheisers – pick your poison.