Producing music with headphones presents some challenges. The lack of dimensionality in the sound can make it hard to make accurate decisions when creating. But they can be a handy tool when on the go or for additional testing and refinement, and the leading studio headphones will frequently perform better than poor-quality studio monitors.
We set out to determine the best choices for people who want to use studio headphones for producing music. After extensive research and testing, our Editor’s Choice is the highly capable AKG K712 Pro. These headphones offer accurate sound with an impressive soundstage and high comfort for long sessions in the studio.
Our website is all about providing quality advice on music gear, and with over 15 years of experience, we’ve refined our process to ensure only the best options rise to the top of our guides.
Our process involved a detailed research stage that involved gathering data and consulting experts. We then assessed 49 candidates before arriving at a list of choices that went through our testing methodology. This testing highlighted the best headphones for music production, which make up our top picks.
AKG K712 Pro
Super revealing and accurate studio headphones. Ultra-comfortable padding and an attractive design.
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro
A dynamic sound that is very neutral and balanced. High build quality backed up by supreme comfort levels.
Generally speaking, most studio headphones will deliver sound that is crisp, neutral, and clear. They are generally wired, but even some of the best wireless studio headphones can do the job. Below we take a closer look at the best headphones for music production that are worthy of your attention.
AKG K712 Pro Review
- Revealing Sound – These studio headphones offer exceptional clarity and precision. Very neutral and revealing making them great for critical listening.
- High Comfort Level – The headband offers just the right amount of support without excess pressure. The ear cups feature plush padding that provides plenty of room for larger ears.
- Attractive Design – The splash of color throughout these headphones gives them a distinct and stylish look. A nice change from the flood of all-black studio headphones on the market.
- Generous Sound Stage – Superb imaging and passive soundstage. Does a great job of making you feel like you are using studio monitors and not headphones.
- Unforgiving Audio – The supreme accuracy is great for critical listening. But the level of detail can come across as harsh. Especially when listening to poorly mixed and mastered tracks.
The AKG K712 is a professional pair of over-ear open-back studio headphones. The focus is on supreme accuracy and neutrality. And it delivers this with ease.
The stereo image is also broad and spacious resulting in a natural sound profile. The audio quality is fantastic with plenty of liveliness. Neutral yet satisfying to listen to. Even when spending hours in the studio.
These popular studio headphones also offer comfort levels that are up there with the best. Just enough clamping to provide a secure fit but not cumbersome.
AKG is well-known for its range of studio headphones. And the K712 is easily one of the best headphones for music production you can buy today.
Read our full AKG K712 Pro review for more detailed information.
AKG K712 Pro
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro Review
- Dynamic Audio – These open-back headphones deliver in the sound department. An excellent sound profile that is balanced, neutral, and clear.
- Supreme Build Quality – Every facet of the DT 1990 Pro is top-notch. From the quality of the drivers to the materials used for the ear pads, headband, and ear cups.
- Wonderful Comfort – Despite coming in at 0.81 lbs. (367 grams) and the bulky ear cups, these are still very comfortable. Plush padding and an accurate and dependable fit ensure long sessions will be a breeze.
- Long Cables – Two long high-quality cables. Perfect for studio environments where you want to maintain mobility.
- Requires An Amp – The high impedance level requires you to run these through a headphone amp. Not great outside the studio.
The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro is one of the best headphones for music production available today. These premium headphones tick all the right boxes if you are a music producer.
The superb sound quality is a true star. Well rounded and full lower frequencies along with clear and precise highs. The mid-range is also very good but not as polished as the other frequencies. Even then these are miles ahead of most other studio headphones.
These professional headphones also offer comfort that keeps you focused on the music and not your headphones. Combine that with the fantastic build quality and you have a shining example of what studio headphones for music production can be.
While they do come with a high price tag, they are worth it. One of, if not the best headphones for music production.
Read our full Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro review for more detailed information.
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro
Shure SRH1540 Review
- Super Flat Response – Stunning accuracy that retains a neutral and balanced profile. Despite the flatness, the audio retains life and fullness.
- Amazingly Wide – For a pair of closed-back headphones these offer a generous and spacious image.
- Low Heat Build Up – The excellent ear padding is both comfortable and very breathable. Most closed-back headphones tend to suffer from excess heat buildup. These are a welcome alternative.
- Great Inclusions – A hard case along with a spare cable and spare ear pads. All these components are high quality and add to the value proposition.
- Not For Bass Heads – Neutral headphones will inherently not offer epic bass. These are very neutral. As a result bass heads should look elsewhere.
Shure has hit it out of the park with the excellent SRH1540. These closed-back studio headphones provide a delectable sound profile. One that is ideal for music production.
The highs display clarity and precision without overt sharpness. The mid-range is full of warmth without straying into colored territory. The low-end is precise and clean with just enough thump to make educated music production decisions.
Build quality is also up there with the best. These are light and feature aircraft-grade aluminum alloy. The padding is superb and component quality is fantastic.
These tick a lot of boxes. One of the best headphones for music production you can buy.
Read our full Shure SRH1540 review for more detailed information.
Austrian Audio Hi-X60 Review
- Natural Audio Quality – The Hi-X60 takes the natural sound profile of the x65 and manages to replicate it well in a set of closed-back headphones. The flat frequency response is ideal for music production.
- Metal Components – All the crucial components are metal. Exceptional durability that ensures these headphones will stand the test of time and frequent use.
- Surprisingly Wide – Despite the closed-back design these headphones offer a generously wide sound stage.
- Good Isolation – The firm clamping force and thick padding give you excellent isolation. Great for studio recording or noisy environments.
- A Little Bulky – The design is quite bulky, especially the huge headband. These are also a bit heavier than other headphones.
Austrian Audio continues to impress with its line of studio headphones. The Hi-X60 over-ear closed-backed headphones offer a linear sound balance that is ideal for music production.
Sound leak is also not an issue thanks to the impressive isolation. Ideal for recording sessions or when you want to focus on the task at hand.
Quality headphones that also look the part. Crisp red accents give these headphones character. And backing it up is supreme craftsmanship.
These also fold up making them a solid option for traveling music producers. An impressive set of studio headphones that are worth adding to your list of options.
Austrian Audio Hi-X60
Focal Listen Pro Review
- Perfect Clarity – If you want supreme clarity these are an ideal choice. Not a hint of muddiness across the full range.
- Comfortable Ear Pads – The memory foam earpads adapt to your ears well. Plus the microfibre coating feels amazing. Excellent execution and good comfort.
- Modern Design – Design is subjective and in a studio environment not overly important. But there is no denying these look sleek and modern. If looks matter to you these are a solid candidate for the best-looking cans out there.
- Excellent Accessories – The rigid case is fantastic. Included cables are also high-quality. One also features inline remote controls. Versatile accessories that go beyond just the studio.
- Average Mid Range – These headphones sound a bit forward in the mid-range. Not by much but enough to be noticeable.
The Focal Listen Pro is a pair of closed-back studio headphones with a lot going for it. Accuracy and clarity are the key features. Details are easy to pinpoint which leads to more efficient and precise decisions when producing music.
Wearing headphones for long periods can lead to discomfort. Selecting the right headphones to tackle these longer sessions is critical. And in that regard the Focal Listen Pro delivers. Comfortable ear padding and adjustable headband with just the right amount of clamping force.
I also appreciate the breadth of inclusions. The hard case is perfect to both protect your headphones and take them on the road. These low impedance headphones also work well with smartphones. And the included inline controls on the straight cable make it a total package.
If you need closed-back headphones for studio use and on-the-go use, these are among the best.
Focal Listen Pro
Beyerdynamic DT 900 Pro X Review
- Gorgeous Sound – The DT 900 Pro X offers excellent sound reproduction. Bass and treble frequencies don’t dominate and the mid-range is accurate. A dependable pair of over-ear headphones for music production.
- Stable Fit – The perfect amount of clamping force to provide a secure and stable fit. The headband adjusts to various head shapes with ease.
- Inviting Comfort – The super plush ear pads are enveloping and inviting. If you spend hours in the studio you’ll appreciate how comfortable these are.
- Long-Lasting – Replaceable components along with a dependable level of build quality. Nothing cheap about the construction or materials.
- Exposed Wires – The exposed wires do stick out a little. Possibility to catch these and cause damage.
The Beyerdynamic DT 900 Pro X studio headphones are among the most recommended sets of headphones for music production. And it is not hard to see why. These offer excellent sound quality that is ideal for professionals.
The airy and spacious soundstage is perfect for critical listening. Plus the open-back design ensures your ears can breathe. Especially handy for long sessions in the studio.
As with all open-back headphones outside noise is an issue. You’ll want to avoid noisy environments when using these.
Studio headphones like these make working away on your latest production a joy. One of the best headphones for music production.
Read our full Beyerdynamic DT 900 Pro X review for more detailed information.
Beyerdynamic DT 900 Pro X
Sennheiser HD 400 Pro Review
- Neutral Audio Delivery – The HD 400 offers a detailed and rather neutral and balanced sound profile. Good balance between frequencies with a surprising amount of warmth and fullness.
- Impressive Comfort – Big ear cups allow for plenty of room. Comfortable padding on the headband also minimizes pressure points. Good for long sessions.
- Stereo Image – The angled transducers and open-back design provide a wide stereo image. Broad and inviting.
- Wide Range – Hitting very low and equally high. Plenty of range and depth. Frequency response is also clean throughout the full range.
- Need Amplification – At 120 ohms you’ll need a headphone amp or an audio interface with built-in amplification.
Sennheiser is no stranger to the headphone space. They produce a wide assortment of both open and closed-back headphones for music production. The HD 400 studio headphones are among the best they have to offer.
The sound profile is very neutral and offers a wonderful range. Rich and warm lows, a defined mid-range, and crisp highs. The balance between these frequencies is also very good. Not as refined as some more expensive models. But still fantastic for this price point.
Superior comfort is also on display. Plush ear padding that doesn’t dig into the side of your head. Especially good for people that wear glasses. The headband is equally comfortable.
Lightweight but well constructed the Sennheiser HD 400 studio headphones are among the best available.
Read our full Sennheiser HD 400 Pro review for more detailed information.
Sennheiser HD 400 Pro
Audio-Technica ATH-M60x Review
- Neutral Sound Profile – The ATH-M60x features an impressive sound profile that is very neutral. Bright highs, slightly recessed mids, and bass with enough body.
- Tough Build – The component quality is high. An appropriate amount of steel elements. The earpads are also replaceable, and the headband detaches.
- Good Inclusions – A total of three cables both coiled and straight gives you maximum flexibility. Cable quality is also good and there is also a pouch included.
- Surprisingly Comfortable – For on-ear headphones, the comfort level is very good. Memory foam padding and a relaxed grip combine well.
- Narrow Soundstage – The on-ear design results in a soundstage that feel a little cramped. Look elsewhere if you need a wide soundstage.
The on-ear Audio-Technica ATH-M60x is another solid choice for music production. The balanced and neutral profile maintains integrity so that you can make accurate decisions.
While the on-ear design does feature a cramped soundstage, the comfort level is better than most other on-ear options on the market. Low heat build-up and ample padding, and low clamping force.
These studio-focused headphones don’t collapse for travel. Despite this, the narrow profile still makes them a relatively portable choice.
If you want a well-built on-ear pair of headphones for music production, the Audio-Technica ATH-M60x is worth picking up.
Read our full Audio-Technica ATH-M60x review for more detailed information.
AKG K702 Review
- Balanced Sound – The K702 displays a high level of neutrality across the frequency range. Clear and detailed. Perfect for studio use.
- Excellent Comfort – The large soft ear pads deliver fantastic comfort levels. The adjustable headband doesn’t apply much pressure. Ideal for long studio sessions.
- Dependable Construction – High-quality components and reliable construction. These offer enough flex where you won’t be concerned you’ll break them easily.
- Spacious Sound Stage – These open-back headphones provide a broad and generous soundstage. Great for picking out elements in your mix.
- Restrained Bass – Bass frequencies are a little bland and underwhelming. Very neutral but lacking life.
The AKG K720 is an excellent pair of over-ear open-back headphones for music production. The frequency response is broad and detailed, especially in the mids and top-end. But if you do work with bass-heavy music you may want a little more definition from the lows.
The exceptional build quality also sets these apart from some competitors. Replaceable ear pads and detachable straight cable are also appealing features. An ideal combination for a studio setting.
Sound leakage is present by design so you’ll need to make sure you have an appropriate studio space where outside noise is not an issue.
A reliable pair of professional studio headphones. And among the best headphones for music production available today.
Read our full AKG K702 review for more detailed information.
Sennheiser HD 650 Review
- Trustworthy Sound Quality – The HD 650 delivers high levels of accuracy across the full range. Great for critical listening and music production.
- Large Ear Cups – The oval earcups are quite large. But they are very comfortable and also provide plenty of room. A solid option for people with larger ears.
- Top-Notch Quality – Component quality is superb. These headphones are light yet don’t feel cheap or flimsy. Excellent materials and precise craftsmanship.
- Enveloping Presence- These open-back headphones deliver a spacious yet enveloping soundstage. Easy to pinpoint elements in the stereo field.
- Ordinary Appearance – While highly functional the design of the HD 650 is rather bland. Not the most attractive set of studio headphones.
The Sennheiser HD 650 is a popular pair of studio headphones. The high level of precision makes it a firm favorite for critical listening.
These over-ear studio headphones also place a lot of emphasis on comfort levels. The velour earpads are both breathable and comfortable. Plus the large elliptical shape gives your ears plenty of space.
These belong in a studio environment due to their high impedance level. You’ll need an amp on hand to get the most out of these. But when properly powered these feel as good as listening to quality studio monitors.
If you want a well-built and accurate pair of studio headphones these should be on your list of options.
Read our full Sennheiser HD 650 review for more detailed information.
Sennheiser HD 650
PreSonus Eris HD10BT Review
Best Wireless Headphones For Music Production
- Well-Rounded Mid Range – The mid-range is the most defined of all the frequencies. Good body and clarity to make accurate decisions when focusing on this frequency range.
- Active Noise Cancellation – Up to 18dB of active noise cancellation. For studio recordings, this is a great feature to ensure no distractions.
- Lots Of Metal – These are as solid as they come. Plenty of high-quality metal components throughout to ensure longevity.
- Foldable Design – Quick and easy to fold these into a discreet package. The included hard case is also a nice inclusion. Perfect for travel.
- Flat Bass – Bass tonality is a little lifeless and uninspiring. If you create bass-heavy music there are better options out there.
Wireless headphones for music production inherently offer a few drawbacks. Latency tends to be the biggest issue along with audio quality. PreSonus has put in an admirable effort to tackle this challenge with the HD10BT.
The sound profile of these noise-canceling headphones is quite nice. The highs and mids offer plenty of detail and clarity. The lows are a little disappointing but still capable.
Sound reproduction isn’t ultra-accurate. But these are good enough for sketching out your productions. Collapsible design and strong sound isolation. Great for music producers that want to do some rough work when traveling. Plus equally great for casual listening.
With good battery life and solid construction, these are among the best Bluetooth headphones for music production.
Read our full PreSonus Eris HD10BT review for more detailed information.
PreSonus Eris HD10BT
Yamaha HPH-MT7 Review
- Distinct Mid Range – The HPH-MT7 aims to replicate the sound profile of the iconic NS10 monitors. And they do a fairly solid job of doing that with a focus on mid-range delivery. Good for working on the most heard frequency range in music.
- Approachable Price – These are rather affordable compared to other studio headphones. Good value option from a trusted brand.
- Color Choice – Choose from a classic black and silver aesthetic or a white and black combo.
- Hard Wired Cable – The cable is not easily replaceable. Something I feel all studio headphones should offer.
- A Little Heavy – Comfort level is good but these are a little heavy compared to other studio headphones out there.
I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing several Yamaha products. And each time they have impressed. Yamaha has an extensive history when it comes to audio gear. So I was happy to see them expand into the headphone space.
The HPH-MT7 is a solid pair of studio headphones. Neutrality is quite good but there is a focus on the mid-range. For some these may not be as neutral as you may need. But if you spend a lot of time fine-tuning the mid-range when producing these are perfect.
Dependable build quality and a comfortable fit also add to the appeal. But the choice of locking in the cable is one I can’t get behind.
Despite a few shortcomings, the Yamaha HPH-MT7 is still a solid pair of studio headphones.
V-Moda M-200 Review
- Relatively Neutral – V-Moda tends to make headphones for DJs and mainstream consumers. But these are quite neutral and impressive. A decent choice for music production.
- Solid Construction – Rock-solid build quality. The tough exterior is matched by high-quality internal components.
- Slick Design – Attractive and iconic V-Moda design aesthetics. Plus the ability to personalize your cans with optional shield kits.
- A Bit Tight – The clamping force does lean a little tight. If you have a larger head these might be uncomfortable.
- Short Cables – I don’t mind short cables. They have their uses. But I always like having options. A longer cable would have been a nice inclusion.
V-Moda is not a brand I would normally think to put on a studio headphones list. They tend to focus on DJ headphones. But the M-200 has changed my mind. This specifically designed pair of closed-back headphones offer good neutrality. This makes it a suitable candidate.
The robust build quality is also appealing. Especially if you tend to be a little rough with your headphones. But the comfort level is on the lower end of the scale. The padding is decent but the clamping force is a little much.
I’m glad to see V-Moda partnering with Roland for the fine-tuning of these. The results are fantastic. And for a dip into an area they are not known for, they have done a great job.
With a stylish appearance and a hardshell case, these are enticing. A solid alternative to the usual suspects you’ll find in the studio.
Our Expert Buying Guide
Selecting the right studio headphones for music production can be a challenge. But above we have provided you with a thorough list of options. However, there is one question that often comes up. Should you use monitors for music production or headphones? Below we tackle this contentious topic.
Monitors Vs Headphones
Both monitors and headphones have some pros and cons when it comes to producing beats.
Monitors are the first preference for most music producers. They provide a more realistic representation of critical elements like stereo imaging. Headphones feed audio directly to your ears which isn’t the way most people listen to music.
Monitors and headphones both have pros and cons when it comes to music production.
But monitors and sound, in general, will be impacted by your environment. If you have a poorly treated room it can be difficult to make accurate assessments of your productions.
This is where a quality pair of studio headphones can save the day. They can eliminate these encumbrances and provide you with clear, well-defined audio.
Ideally, a combination of both is the perfect setup for music production.
What Type Of Headphones Are Best For Music Production?
Both closed-back headphones and open-back headphones are good for music production. Closed-back headphones are better for tracking vocals and recordings. Open-back is better for fine-tuning details in your productions.
Do You Need Special Headphones For Music Production?
You can use any headphones for music production. But studio headphones offer high clarity, neutral delivery, and durable build quality. These are ideal features for music production and make studio headphones a better choice than normal headphones.
Which One Should You Buy?
As you can see from the extensive list above there are several amazing choices available. Stand out options from trusted brands and newcomers alike. All have their benefits and shortcomings. The right one for you might be different from someone else.
But if I was backed into a corner to pick just one the AKG K721 Pro is my top pick. Its uncompromising accuracy is ideal for producing. You can make educated decisions and know that your final product will be polished. Plus with an attractive design and comfortable fit, it ticks all the right boxes and is our choice for the best headphones for music production.
AKG K712 Pro