We offer a selection of our recommended headphones for studio use, picking out our top choices at a range of price points.
Choosing a pair of headphones for production is probably an even more personal decision than choosing a pair of studio monitors. Not only do you have the sound to worry about, but you’ve also got the ergonomics, build quality and even the appearance to consider.
The fact that many producers can’t justify the expense of multiple pairs of headphones complicates matters further. In an ideal world we’d all have separate headphones for different tasks – mixing, sound design, recording, DJing, listening for pleasure – but in reality, budgets often necessitate finding a compromise.
We’ve put together a selection of our favourite models, presented as a list of starting points for further research; what works for one person might not work for others, but we’d recommend checking out these models first (and do make sure to check them out in person if there’s any way you can).
Like monitors, you generally get what you pay for with headphones; more expensive models tend to offer a more accurate, less fatiguing sound and more comfortable fit for extended listening. But that’s not to say you can’t get different value for money at any given price point. All of the models recommended here represent good value for money when compared to other alternatives at a similar price.
Like monitors, you generally get what you pay for with headphones
All the headphones here are either on-ear (supra-aural) or over-ear (circum-aural) models, and we’ve included a mixture of open-back and closed-back models. Generally speaking the open models will have a purer, more neutral sound but poor isolation, meaning they’re less favourable for tracking and not suitable for use in noisy environments. Most of our selections are low impedance models that can be driven by any device. The few slightly higher impedance selections will benefit from a quality headphone amplifier, whether a standalone unit or one built into an audio interface.
As always in Ten Of The Best, the choices here are presented in ascending order of price. At the cheaper end of the scale we’re paying particular attention to models that fit the bill for multi-purpose use: models chosen primarily for producing, but and general listening. As we move on to the more expensive options, we focus in on production and headphones more suited to mixdowns.