Finding affordable yet high-quality closed-back studio headphones can be challenging. In this review, we check out the 512 Audio Academy headphones. An attractively priced set of headphones with a tonne of excellent features that are not normally found at this price point.
512 Audio Academy
The 512 Audio Academy closed-back headphones aim to deliver exceptional quality. Without the big-ticket price tag. Have they succeeded? Check out the highlights before we take a closer look.
512 Audio is a new company hailing from Austin, Texas. But they are no stranger to the audio space. Founded by the team behind Warm Audio they have extensive experience. But does this new entry-level targeted brand hit the mark? Read on to find out.
The 512 Audio Academy studio monitoring headphones offer a distinct and capable sound profile. With a focus on content creators, you’d think these might fall short in some areas. But they are rather impressive, especially at this price point.
The large 45mm dynamic drivers offer plenty of punch. And this is one area where these headphones shine. The lows are clean and precise. Often budget headphones start to show their weakness in the lows. But these don’t throw bass frequencies into a pool of mud. From a DJs perspective, I’d like a little more fullness in the low-end but they are still more than capable for a session behind the decks.
The 512 Audio Academy is an impressive pair of budget headphones.
This clarity also helps to deliver pleasing mid frequencies. The lack of muddiness in the lower mids is excellent. For the target audience of podcasters, streamers, and broadcasters these deliver. An over-hyped low end has a bad habit of impacting speech. You often end up with overly boomy tones. That is not present here with the 512 Audio Academy headphones.
The highs are equally clear but potentially a little on the bright side. But I don’t mind the top end offering a little bit of sharpness. To my ears, it helps define the upper frequencies and make them have life within a mix.
The frequency range is broad enough to cover the audible range. The low impedance of 32 ohms also means these work great with a large range of devices. For an affordable pair of headphones, these perform a lot better than the price suggests.
The comfort level of the 512 Audio Academy headphones is also better than I expected. The adjustable headband offers a good amount of padding and flexibility. Clamping force is also good. They offer that Goldilocks sweet spot. Not too tight where it causes discomfort but not too loose where they fly off your head at the slightest movement.
The 512 Audio Academy offers excellent padding.
The ear padding is also comfortable. The over-ear design engulfs your ear. But there is just enough space available where you don’t need to worry about your ears hitting the drivers. These are great for long sessions. Relatively lightweight and without the fatigue that comes from bulkier options.
Warm Audio has a reputation for its excellent range of products, especially microphones. Under the 512 Audio banner, this is the first proper dip into the headphone space. And it shows. The design aesthetic of the 512 Audio Academy headphones keeps things simple.
The all-black plastic design blends well in a professional environment. But some people may prefer a bit more color of uniqueness. If you are in that camp you may find the 512 Audio Academy headphones a little on the bland side. The only embellishment is the large embossed logos on the cans. Plus the debossed 512 on the headband.
The 512 Audio Academy offers a clean and minimalist design.
Beyond appearance, there are some smart and thoughtful inclusions. The 90-degree swivel is handy and offers good flexibility. The closed-back design does a solid job of providing passive isolation. Much needed for podcasting, streaming, and DJing. No exposed wires and a lockable cable connection are extras you often won’t find on other affordable headphones.
I always rate function over appearance. So while these may not be the most groundbreaking or eye-catching headphones they make up for it in performance and features.
Cheap headphones often include below-average build quality. It is often my biggest concern with cheaper headphones. There is no point saving a few dollars only to end up having to replace your headphones sooner rather than later.
The 512 Audio Academy features high-quality components and inclusions.
512 Audio has managed to strike a good balance with the Academy headphones. The plastic build is solid and robust. Component quality is also high for headphones this cheap. The padding is durable on both the headband and the earcups. The included cables are also impressive. No complaints in this area.
Where the 512 Audio Academy studio monitoring headphones excel is in how much they offer for such a low price. The headphones themselves are durable and sound great which is already enough to justify the price tag. But the inclusion of two cables and an adapter is a nice extra.
The hardshell case is an excellent accessory.
Tipping the value proposition over the edge is the included hardshell case. Often at this price, you’ll be lucky to get a pouch let alone a proper hardshell case. The zippers also glide smoothly. Excellent value for money.
Stay Focused When Streaming
One of the most important elements to presenting a winning stream is focus. As a streamer, you may need to maintain focus on a variety of things all at once. You may be playing a game, monitoring chat, and keeping an eye on other technical aspects of your stream. The last thing you want is distractions that break your focus.
Closed-back headphones help you stay in the zone.
This is why closed-back headphones are an excellent choice. They isolate you from external noise and allow you to maintain your focus. Closed-back headphones also prevent sound leakage from hitting your microphone. This helps you deliver a smooth, clean, and professional sounding stream.
If you want to build your streaming career a pair of high-quality closed-back headphones should be high on your shopping list.
If you want a pair of affordable closed-back headphones there are some established alternatives. Here is a small selection of options.
Audio-Technica ATH-M30X Review
Audio-Technica offers a full range of closed-back headphones. The ATH-M30X is their entry-level model. With a range of excellent features and great sound, it’s a worthy alternative to the 512 Audio Academy headphones.
- Excellent low-end punch that is warm and full.
- The collapsible design is a great feature if you take your headphones on the go.
- The exposed wires can be get caught which can lead to damage.
Read our full Audio-Technica ATH-M30X review for more detailed information.
Shure SRH440 Review
If you need a pair of headphones that lean more into studio editing work the Shure SRH440 is worth considering. The neutral response is perfect for more analytical listening and work.
- Very clear and precise sound delivery for more critical listening.
- Good build quality while maintaining a low price point.
- The retro-style design may not appeal to some people.
Read our full Shure SRH440 review for more detailed information.
AKG K72 Review
While the 512 Audio Academy headphones offer an affordable price point there are cheaper alternatives. If you need to stretch your budget the AKG K72 is a cheap option.
- Super affordable price point while offering good sound quality.
- Very comfortable headband and great ear padding.
- Low-end delivery is below average. Not great for lovers of bass.
Should You Buy?
For a debut offering the 512 Audio Academy headphones get a lot of things right. A pleasing and clear sound profile with excellent definition in the low-end. Robust construction and good quality components. Plus an impressive selection of accessories. If you want an affordable pair of headphones for podcasting, streaming, or DJing the 512 Audio Academy is a great option.
512 Audio Academy