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PreSonus HD9 review: A valid budget option for tracking

In this review, I’ll be taking a look at the PreSonus HD9 closed-back headphones. There is potential for these to be a good budget-friendly option, as they are listed at $100. Let’s take a deeper look.

Why you should trust this review

I’m a producer, audio engineer, and songwriter with a decade’s worth of experience with a wide range of gear and recording techniques. I have worked with and tested a huge variety of headphones, including Shure, Sennheiser, AKG, Beyerdynamic, Sony, and Audio-Technica, among others.

To find out more about how we test and rate headphones here at Higher Hz and why you can trust our reviews, check out the “Headphones reviews” page.

PreSonus HD9 headphones tested
Image: Higher Hz

Final verdict on the PreSonus HD9 3.8

If you’re a recording artist on a budget, the PreSonus HD9 are a great set of headphones for avoiding any bleed during your tracking. If you’d like to use these for mixing, mastering, or casual listening, I’d suggest you go elsewhere.

What I like

  • Extremely affordable.
  • Comfortable.
  • Good noise cancellation.

What I don’t like

  • Inaccurate sound.
Buy PreSonus HD9 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Power and frequency response 3.0

The PreSonus HD9s have a frequency response of 10 Hz – 26 kHz at the ±3db points. Overall, these have a generally warm sound signature with a slight V-shape curve.

Due to their closed-back design, there’s a decent amount of build-up with the ear cups. The low end is particularly exaggerated because of this and hardly accurate. The high end suffers for the same reasons, making the treble sound quite harsh, especially over 5 kHz.

The midrange feels scooped, but I was unable to tell whether there was truly a dip in the frequency response or as a side effect of the bloated bass and treble regions.

What’s frustrating is that PreSonus has not released a frequency response graph to accompany these headphones, and considering their performance, I reckon they might have suppressed this so as not to scare people away from buying them.

I wouldn’t recommend mixing on these, although they have decent noise cancellation making them a viable budget option for tracking.

Build quality 4.0

PreSonus seems to have taken a few notes from Audio-Technica for the design of these headphones, which have some resemblance to the ATH-M40x.

The earpads are made of memory foam and the cups are rather roomy. Much like a pair of Audio-Technicas, the earcups swivel 180 degrees, so you can flip around one of the drivers if you wish to listen with one ear.

PreSonus HD9 monitoring headphones closeup
Image: Higher Hz

Comfortability 4.0

For an $100 pair of cans, these are quite comfortable. The memory foam earcups are soft and don’t heat up that much.

The adjustable headband is rather comfortable, and the headphones are fairly lightweight making them good for longer-running sessions.

Stability 3.0

These are perfectly stable enough for studio work, although the cable is non-detachable, so they’ll fly off if it ever gets caught on some gear. I can’t recommend them for working out or anything.

Noise cancellation and isolation 3.5

These have quite a fair amount of noise cancellation. When it comes to studio work, these are perfect for tracking and don’t omit any bleed.

Wearing them on your commute might yield different results however, as their low end cancellation isn’t quite as great.

Accessories 2.5

There are no accessories to be mentioned here. All you get are the headphones, a 1/8 to 1/4-inch adapter, and some paperwork for the warranty, that’s it.

PreSonus HD9 with cable and adapter
Image: Higher Hz

Compared to other headphones

While the PreSonus HD9 might be a valid option for those looking for a budget set of studio headphones, here are a few alternatives to consider before picking up a pair of these.

PreSonus HD9 vs Audio-Technica ATH-M40x

While the ATH-M40x have an equally exaggerated bass, they have a much fuller midrange and a smoother high end. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, the Audio-Technicas are superior.

Read the full Audio-Technica ATH-M40x review

PreSonus HD9 vs Sony MDR-7506

I suppose it depends on your intentions, but for the money, the Sonys offer a bigger bang for your buck. They’re more versatile, and are suitable for both mixing and tracking, not so with the HD9.

Read the full Sony MDR-7506 review

PreSonus HD9 vs AKG K240 Studio

The K240 Studio headphones are better by comparison, as they’re far more neutral. They are also cheaper. Save yourself a headache and get the AKGs.

Read the full AKG K240 Studio review

Who are the PreSonus HD9 headphones best suited for?

The PreSonus HD9 headphones are for anybody who doesn’t care about sound quality too much and is looking for a comfortable pair of headphones to record with. Otherwise, there are better options.

Buy PreSonus HD9 at: SweetwaterAmazon