Whether you have a podcast, own a studio, or are an up-and-coming artist, you need a good pair of headphones that will reproduce tracks and audio as intended by the creator. Also, depending on the studio use case, leakage may also be a big deciding factor as well as the durability, comfort, and of course the price of the headphones. The best studio headphones typically do well in all of these regards and may even come with a coiled cable to give you enough range when moving around in your studio without any latency issues.
We've tested more than 333 headphones and below are our recommendations for the best studio headphones to buy in 2019. See also our recommendations for the best DJ headphones, the best headphones for music, and the best audiophile headphones.
The best studio headphones we’ve reviewed so far are the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. They sound great and reproduce audio as intended. They have a durable, comfortable design with large ear cups and a padded headband, which makes them perfect for long studio sessions.
Their bass is excellent, providing depth and rumble without being overbearing. Their mid-range is also relatively even and neutral but lends a bit more room to deeper sounds like the punch of kick drums, slightly thinning out vocals and lead instruments. The treble response of the M50x is a bit more uneven, but not significantly so, and is still well-balanced enough to reproduce bright and bass-heavy tracks with a high level of audio fidelity, especially given their price. They also come with a couple of cable options, including a coiled cable that can stretch up to 10ft, to accommodate for different studio setups.
The M50x do get a bit heavy with time and are less breathable and stable than the even better-built Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro. They might not feel totally secure on your head if you’re moving around the studio and your ears will get a bit warm after a while. That said, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are still going to last a very long time and are very good critical listening headphones that are excellent for the studio.
If you’re looking for sturdy, well-built studio headphones that feel ready to take on whatever you throw at them, get the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro. Their cable isn’t detachable and it’s only about 4 feet long, which is a bit disappointing considering the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x come with 3 detachable cables running up to 10 feet long, but the DT 770 Pro have an overall more premium, durable build. They sound great and reproduce audio faithfully.
Unfortunately, The Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO leak quite a bit of sound, which means they’re not ideal to use if you’re recording a podcast or instruments for a new track. However, they’re still a good choice for mixing or mastering. Overall, they’re well-built headphones that sound great and are a solid alternative to the M50x.
If you like the studio design of the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x and want something that sounds almost as good but are cheaper, then get the Shure SHR440. They feel slightly less durable than the ATH M50X, but they’re more comfortable, which is great for long recording or mixing sessions. They have a professional studio look and come with a detachable coiled cable.
The Shure SRH440 have decent leakage performance which is important when recording. Since they’re cheaper than the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, they won’t be as painful to replace if they ever do break. You could even get a couple of extra pairs if you often host guest artists in your studio.
Compared to the M50x, the Shure SHR440 sound a little less balanced, don't have as much bass, and can be a bit sharper on already bright tracks. However, they still sound good overall and reproduce most songs and instrumentals accurately. Like most studio headphones, they’re not ideal for more casual use, but thanks to their great price-to-performance ratio, they may provide better value for some than the M50x.
If you like the over-ear design of the Shure SRH440 and the Audio-Technica ATH-M50 x but want something a bit lighter and more portable with the same level of audio fidelity, then the Sony MDR-7506 might be for you. They are not as comfortable as the SRH 440 or the M50x, but they’re less bulky and fold up into a more compact format. They have an exciting sound that packs a bit more bass and treble than the SRH440 and the M50x, but this also means they don’t have the most neutral audio reproduction.
Unfortunately, their build quality isn’t great. They have a sturdy metal headband and feel dense enough to survive if they’re accidentally dropped every now and then, but they look a little cheaply-made. They also don’t have a detachable cable. On the upside, their cable is coiled and stretches up to 10 feet so you can move your studio while mixing and editing without fear of losing audio. Overall, they’re decent, compact studio headphones that are quite affordable and sound good.
If you need budget headphones for your studio and sound quality is the most important aspect, then get the Superlux HD 681. Since they have a semi-open design, they leak a lot of sound which isn’t ideal for studio recording, but they’re a great choice for sound editing or mixing thanks to their great audio reproduction.
The Superlux HD 681 deliver a level of sound quality that is very hard to beat at this price. They have deep and powerful bass and a fairly neutral mid-range that does a good job with instruments and vocals. Their treble is a little pronounced, making them sound a bit sharp at times, but they’re well-balanced overall. Since they’re so affordable, they're a good choice if you have a podcast with multiple hosts and lots of guests, since you can get multiple pairs for the same price as one Audio-Technica ATH-M50x.
Unfortunately, as somewhat expected considering how little they cost, they don’t have the sturdiest design so they may not last as long as the M50x. Also, the semi-open design can be a bit limiting depending on the studio use case. On the upside, they are one of the best-measuring headphones at this price point and are easy to recommend.
If your studio recording setup is particularly noise-sensitive and you’re looking for headphones with very little leakage, get the TIN Audio T3. Their in-ear fit isn’t as comfortable to wear for long periods as some of the over-ear recommendations on this list, but they barely leak any sound at all, even at loud volumes. They reproduce audio fairly accurately and are very well-built for relatively inexpensive in-ear headphones.
Unfortunately, they can sound a bit sibilant, which means that S or T sounds can sound a bit harsh, but not everyone experiences this equally. They come with a sturdy, braided detachable cable and solid metal earbuds, and are all-around decent in-ear headphones for studio use.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best studio headphones to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for headphones. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection.