Frequency response: 10 Hz to 39.5 kHz
Impedance: 300 Ohms
At the higher end of the headphone market, prices very quickly spiral out of control. It would be tempting to recommend audiophile headphones with four-figure price tags here – flagship models like Sennheiser’s HD800 or AKG’s K812 certainly have their appeal – but the truth is that the most expensive headphones on the market don’t necessarily offer substantial benefits in the context of music production. Yes, they can be marginally more revealing than cheaper models when paired with audiophile headphone amps in quiet listening conditions, but the bottom line is that headphones will never replace studio monitors.
Let’s keep the budget in check and highlight a slightly more expensive model that justifies the greater expense without breaking the bank. Sennheiser’s HD650 was the company’s flagship headphone model when it was released in 2003. They’ve since been overtaken by a couple of more recent (and more expensive) models, but they’re still a great choice, especially as you’ll have no trouble finding a pair for a little under £250, way below the RRP.
The HD650s are an exceptionally clear, analytical model which sound reassuringly neutral and accurate throughout the frequency range. They’re also incredibly comfortable to wear and not at all fatiguing when listened to for extended periods. Although the build quality is good, the nature of the open construction does make them feel a little delicate – a good hard case is provided to protect the headphones when they’re not in use.
For critical listening and mix decisions, the HD650s are outstanding.