One of the “problems” (depending on how you look at it) with the rise in popularity of home studio production is all the choices you face. There are DOZENS of makes and models of just about every piece of gear you can think of. If you’re a beginner, then how do you make the right choices, and buy quality gear that’s going to suit your purposes?
While this is true of just about any piece of studio gear, be it a microphone or an interface or what have you, today we will try to tackle that problem specifically with regards to studio-quality headphones.
If you’re living in a small apartment and lack the funds for monitors, if your listening environment is less than ideal, then this post is for you!
The purpose of this post is to give you some options for headphones to buy, on any budget. Let’s get started…
Two Different Types
The first thing you’ll need to know is that there are TWO main types of headphones to use in your home studio: “closed-back” and “open-back”.
- Closed back – The closed-back variety is much more prevalent; these are the kind you’ll use primarily for tracking (recording your voice and other instruments). The name basically describes the design: they feature a “closed” over-the-ear cup that isolates your ear and blocks any “bleed” from escaping from the headphones and into your microphones when you are recording. They are ideal for this purpose and can be purchased for anything from around $25 to hundreds of dollars (I’ll give you some examples later).
- Open Back – Open-back headphones differ from the closed-back kind in that they simply don’t feature that same isolating design that the closed-back ones have. Instead, there are vents on the ear cups, that let you hear the room and environment around you, and are designed to let sound in and mix with what you’re listening to from your DAW. These models are used primarily from mixing and allow you to get a more accurate sense of your stereo image for that purpose.
DISCLAIMERS: I am including headphones I have personal experience with. I don’t claim to know EVERY single headphone on the market, but I’ve got lots of time in with many different brands and models. Take that for what it’s worth.
Now, on to the good stuff!
Premium Category (Our Pick)
Sennheiser HD650 Open-Back Audiophile and Reference Headphones – If you want to mix WELL on headphones, and if you can afford them, these are the ones you need.
I know LOTS of mix engineers who swear by these things, and I certainly wouldn’t steer you wrong! Simply fantastic-sounding headphones, super comfortable, and makes it a lot easier to mix songs that will translate across a variety of listening environments. Five stars from me (and a lot of other people, too).
- Specially designed acoustic silk ensures precision damping over the entire frequency range and helps to reduce THD to an incredible 0.05 percent
- Improved frequency response is 10 39,500 Hertz ( 10 dB)
- Hand selected matched driver elements; Highly optimized magnet systems for minimum harmonic and inter modulation distortion
Mid Range category
Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80 Ohm Closed-Back Mixing Headphones – As the name suggests, while these babies ARE closed-back, they are also designed for mixing (they’ll work for tracking too of course).
They aren’t cheap but Beyerdynamic makes some REALLY quality stuff, and these will last you for years.
We have a more in depth review of the Beyerdynamic DT 770 here!
If you want to check out a higher-end alternative from the same brand, check out the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 here!
- Closed over-ear headphones, ideal for professional recording and monitoring
- Perfect for studio and stage recordings thanks to their pure, high-resolution sound
- The soft, circumaural and replaceable velour ear pads ensure high wearing comfort
1. Sennheiser HD-280 Pro Closed-Back – If you can afford only one pair of headphones, I highly recommend this one. They are industry standard for tracking, sound excellent, and are very well-made.
At its price range, they won’t really break the bank, and really, they’re simply a phenomenal buy. I’ve got several pairs for tracking bands, and they work really really well. ‘Nuff said.
- Leatherette Cushions
- Padded, Adjustable Headband
- Noise Isolating
2. Yamaha HPH-150B Open-Back – The last and open-back entry on our list, and you can’t really go wrong with Yamaha. These cans offer a nice neutral sound, which means they are ideal for mixing.
The open-back design allows you to hear the room along with the mix, so you won’t have that stark stereo isolation that happens with closed-back headphones (with closed-back cans, things panned left are ONLY heard in your left ear, etc. Open-backs are a little more natural).
- Open-air headphones with a neutral tone palette for faithful reproduction of digital musical instrument sounds
- Featuring small, soft, light-weight velour ear pads and a swivel mechanism, which allows 90 degree turns to properly fit your ear angle
- Compact, fashionable design available in black or white to match your instrument
To Wrap Up
As I mentioned, there are many different makes and models of headphones, and really there are plenty of quality options. You’ll ultimately have to find a pair that YOU like, fits you well and serves your purposes. See if you can try some out, and take your time to make the right choice! Enjoy making some great music, with whatever gear you end up choosing!
Want to Setup your Home Recording Studio Under 400$ or Under 1000$! Then you can Learn More about Some of the Best Setups for different price ranges we have prepared for you!
Last update on 2021-05-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API