Capturing recordings in your studio can be a challenge. While there are a lot of things to consider one of the crucial components is a good pair of headphones while recording.
In this guide, we check out the best studio headphones for recording available today. Below are our top two picks but read on for more detailed reviews.
Highly accurate studio headphones with a secure and comfortable fit. Strong isolation and excellent build quality.
Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro
Fantastically neutral response for authentic sound. Super comfortable ear pads and high quality components.
What Are The Best Recording Headphones?
Optimal sound quality along with maximum sound isolation are key features of studio headphones. Below we take a closer look at the best choices for recording you can buy today.
Neumann NDH20 Review
Best Headphones For Recording Vocals
- Remarkable Accuracy – The accurate frequency response is a highlight. Exceptional midrange, clean highs, and a restrained yet detailed low end.
- Secure Fit – Firm fit that ensures maximum reliability. These won’t slip off easily. But for people with larger heads, it might be a little tight.
- Rugged Build – Excellent build quality. Durable and reliable components that will go the distance. Perfect for frequent use.
- Dependable Isolation – With 34db of passive isolation these are among the most dependable options for recording. No leakage and supreme noise reduction.
- Disappointing Pouch – For headphones at this price point I would have liked to see a better pouch. Or ideally a hardshell case.
The Neumann NDH20 is a fantastic pair of closed-back headphones. The sound quality is everything you want from a pair of studio headphones. Very accurate and focused to provide you with all the detail you need.
The high level of isolation makes these a perfect pair of headphones for home recording sessions and studio work. Plus the secure fit ensures you are locked in and focused.
Most headphones get some things right but it is rare to find a pair that ticks this many boxes. Equally capable of recording as they are for headphone mixing.
If you want supreme sound isolation and stunning sound quality, the NDH20 is among the best.
Read our full Neumann NDH20 review for more detailed information.
Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro Review
- Dependable Quality – The DT 770 Pro is exceptionally well-built. Component quality is high. From the sturdy frame to the excellent drivers.
- Authentic Response – Excellent neutral response without any overt dips and bumps. Rather flat and transparent for accurate representation.
- Incredibly Comfortable – Super comfortable ear padding that is also replaceable. The head feel is pleasant without excessive clamping.
- Decent Isolation – The natural passive isolation from the over-ear design is decent. Not as isolated as other options but the increase in comfort is a good trade-off.
- High Impedance Headphones – You’ll need a headphone amp to power these. There is an 80 ohms model available but even that one benefits from an amp.
Beyerdynamic consistently produces some of the best quality studio headphones. The DT 770 Pro is no exception. A fantastic pair of closed-back headphones with studio-quality sound.
The comfort level is amazing and well suited for long stretches in the studio. The long cable also allows you to move freely. And with sound reproduction as good as this it is an instant recommendation.
If you are looking for a professional pair of studio headphones these should be high on your list.
Read our full Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro review for more detailed information.
Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro
Yamaha HPH-MT8 Review
- Exceptionally Flat – Yamaha has a reputation for ultra-accurate response and that is the case with these. Perfect choice for mixing and tracking.
- High Quality – Component quality is high throughout. Much like most Yamaha equipment, there is a distinct focus on producing a high-quality piece of gear that will last.
- Versatile & Flexible – Two cables give you the flexibility to choose your preferred style. Plus the large ear cups can flip up for one-ear monitoring.
- Slick Design – Unobtrusive design aesthetic that is both appealing and professional. No gaudy colors or cheap accents.
- Soft Bass – The flat response is perfect for serious studio work and recording. But the flat bass makes these a little uninspiring for casual listening.
Yamaha adds to their exceptional lineup of studio gear with the HPH-MT8 studio headphones. These deliver in the sound department. Smooth and tight delivery of all frequencies. If you want detail, these have it in spades.
Passive isolation is also very good thanks to the secure circumaural design. Tight but not excessive. They are also surprisingly comfortable despite weighing more than many other headphones.
Reliable and ultra-accurate. A fantastic pair of studio headphones for the serious professional. But also a solid pair of headphones for home recording sessions.
Shure SRH840A Review
- Fantastic Balance – The SRH840A offers exceptional sound quality. The response across the full range is clean, clear, and precise. A good closed-back option for mixing and mastering. Plus no ear fatigue over longer sessions
- Snug Fit – The padding and clamping force provides enough grip to ensure these won’t slide about. Padding quality is also good with a tight yet comfortable seal.
- Appealing Price – For a pair of headphones that perform this well the price point is appealing. High quality and great value for money.
- Sharp Appearance – The updated appearance of the SRH840A is great. Gone is the bland uninspired design and in its place is a sleek and stylish offering.
- Not For Larger Heads – Due to the tight clamping force these are not ideal if you have a large head.
The Shure SRH840A is a perfect example of how to reinvigorate a pair of headphones. The updated design is attractive but backing it up is superior sonic performance.
The level of detail is fantastic and the accuracy is what you need in a studio setting. Crisp highs, well-defined mids, and warm bass tones. Passive isolation is also impressive thanks to the tight seal.
If you want a reliable and attractive pair of studio headphones these are a great choice.
Read our full Shure SRH840A review for more detailed information.
Direct Sound EX-29 Review
Best Headphones For Recording Music
- High Isolation Level – These aim to accomplish one primary task. Keeping things isolated. In that regard, they do a stellar job. No bleed. Perfect for drummers and instrumental work.
- Good Head Fit – Comfort level is very good for over-ear headphones at this price point. The padding is good and the headband offers a firm yet comfortable grip.
- Easy Servicing – All parts are user-replaceable. But more importantly, it is easy to do. Helps to extend the longevity of these headphones.
- Reasonable Price Point – When factoring in the features and the respectable build quality these offer great value for money.
- Not Balanced – While it does offer good sound it is not very balanced. You’ll need a different pair of headphones for serious mixing work post-recording.
The Direct Sound EX-29 is a perfect companion in the studio for musicians. The high level of isolation is great when working with loud instruments like drums. This makes the recording process clean and inviting. All while saving your ears.
They do fall a little short when it comes to neutrality. But that isn’t what these are meant to do. Still pleasant to listen to but not as accurate as other options.
For musicians that need strong isolation, these are easily one of the best choices available today.
Direct Sound EX-29
AKG K271 MKII Review
- Fantastic Mid Range – The K271 delivers exceptional detail and clarity in the mid-range. An excellent translation of both vocals and instruments.
- Auto Shut Off – These headphones will automatically switch off when you take them off your head. A handy feature for recording studios.
- Flexible Accessories – Access to both a coiled and straight cable. Both of which are nice and long. Plus spare ear pads are included.
- Comfortable Headphones – Plush padding along with a flexible and ergonomic headband. High comfort levels for long studio sessions.
- Underwhelming Bass – The small 30mm drivers don’t deliver much punch in the bass region. Adequate but a bit underwhelming.
The legendary K271 from AKG gets a new MKII upgrade. The refresh is well-executed and these headphones retain their spot as one of the best headphones for home recording.
The precise and clear midrange is a real highlight. While the bass frequencies are subdued this is not the worst for a recording environment. Extensive accessories and a good comfort level add to the appeal.
A great pair of headphones that are worth considering for your home recording studio.
Read our full AKG K271 MKII review for more detailed information.
AKG K271 MKII
Shure AONIC 50 Review
Best Wireless Headphones For Studio Recording
- Clear and Precise – Shure is no stranger to the headphone scene. And their experience shows. These deliver excellent sound with lots of detail. The sound stage is also impressive for a closed-back option.
- Active Noise Cancelling – Adjustable noise cancellation is superb. Does a solid job of blocking low frequencies. Far more than passive isolation options.
- Long Battery Life – Up to 20hrs from a full charge gives you the flexibility to use these for a long time. Great for mobile recording.
- Excellent Case – The hardshell case is fantastic. Great for protecting your headphones between sessions. Also makes transporting these a breeze.
- Not Fully Foldable – They do fold flat but do not offer a hinge to make them more compact. Not a dealbreaker but worth mentioning.
Bluetooth headphones are becoming increasingly popular for many studios. Cutting down on cables is always beneficial. But several wireless options lack the neutrality and precision for serious work.
This is where the AONIC 50 comes in. These studio headphones from Shure can pull double duty. Great for studio recording sessions but equally pleasant for casual on-the-go listening.
Solid build quality and excellent features. Bluetooth 5.0 with a 30ft range along with long battery life. If you need a wireless option for recording sessions these are the best headphones available.
Shure AONIC 50
Austrian Audio Hi-X55 Review
- Accurate Sound – The team at Austrian Audio has developed an ultra-accurate set of studio headphones. Excellent for hearing details in your mix or recordings.
- Memory Foam Pads – The pads are both durable and comfortable. They adapt well to your head and provide a good seal for isolation.
- High Build Quality – Excellent component quality with an abundance of high-quality metal. Durable and tough.
- Foldable Design – Folds down into itself for easy transportation. A good option for the traveling artist.
- Deceiving Impedance – Despite the low rating, these are not the best when connected to lower-powered devices. Best used in the studio with a headphone amp.
Austrian Audio is made up of former AKG professionals. And that existing experience is on full display with the Hi-X55.
These headphones offer a sublime listening experience that doesn’t obscure details. If your recording is poor these will highlight issues straight away. Excellent choice for detailed analytical work.
With durable construction and a comfortable fit, these are worth adding to your shortlist.
Read our full Austrian Audio Hi-X55 review for more detailed information.
Austrian Audio Hi-X55
Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Review
- Flat Frequency Response – A neutral frequency response that maintains accuracy from the lows to the highs. Ideal for analyzing your recordings.
- Low Bleed – A super low level of sound leakage. Next to zero chance of sound bleeding into your recordings.
- Affordable Price Point – The low price point makes these a great choice if you are on a tight budget. Also, a workhorse set for visiting guests to your studio.
- Good Construction – Despite the low price the construction quality is robust and durable. All plastic but better than most at this price point.
- Heat Issues – The excellent passive isolation and prevention of bleed do result in a tight fit. This leads to heat build-up quicker than other options.
The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro is an ideal choice for recording artists that don’t want to spend a lot. These over-ear headphones are both affordable and practical.
The well-balanced audio profile adapts and translates source material cleanly. Perfect for hearing exactly what you sound like when recording.
The fit is a little tight and if you have a large head you may find these uncomfortable. But for most people, these will be fine. A great budget option.
Read our full Sennheiser HD 280 Pro review for more detailed information.
Sennheiser HD 280 Pro
Audio-Technica ATH-M70x Review
- Transparent – The sound profile of the M70x is clean, clear, and highly transparent. Not as hyped as other options in the M-line. These are geared for serious studio use.
- Comfortable Fit – Padding on the ears and headband is great. Stability is high without excessive clamping force. A solid option for longer sessions.
- Extensive Cable Options – Three cables give you full flexibility. The short straight cable is also a great choice for smartphones. With a low impedance rating, these work fine on all devices.
- Wide Frequency Range – Reaching as high as 40kHz for supreme detail. Lows extend to 5Hz. plenty of depth in the lower regions.
- Not Durable – Several reports of early failure due to hinge pressure. These are headphones that you need to treat with care.
The ATH-M range is among the most popular series of headphones available today. The rest of the range aims to please DJs and casual listeners. The M70x instead aims to satisfy the needs of studio professionals.
It does a great job of delivering detailed audio without a hint of color. Mids are a little forward and the highs are noticeably bright. But this leads to an easy assessment of any issues in your recordings.
A good but not great pair of closed-back headphones for recording tracks.
Read our full Audio-Technica ATH-M70x review for more detailed information.
KRK KNS 8402 Review
- Warm Sound Profile – The KNS 8402 features a very similar sound profile to the iconic KRK Rokit studio monitors. It’s an inviting and pleasing profile that many will be familiar with.
- Impressive Ear Padding – The memory foam padding on the ear cups lives up to its name. It retains its shape and envelops and adapts perfectly to your head and ears.
- Lightweight – At just 0.54 lbs. (245 grams) these are lightweight and very comfortable. A nice departure from some of the bulky offerings on the market.
- In-Line Volume Option – The addition of an in-line volume adapter is a nice inclusion. A great choice for casual listening but still capable in the studio.
- Biased Sound – Some consider the KRK sound a little too colored for serious studio work. Depending on where you stand on this front will depend on if these are right for you.
KRK has an excellent reputation in the studio gear market. Their range of monitors has found its way into several high-profile artists’ studio spaces.
The iconic appearance and distinct sound profile have won over many fans. If you like that profile these are a great option for you. The clean and refined appearance also earns a few points in my book.
Reasonably priced, good build quality, and a comfortable fit. A dependable pair of closed-back headphones for your home recording studio.
Read our full KRK KNS 8402 review for more detailed information.
KRK KNS 8402
Roland RH-300V Review
- Punchy Sound Profile – The RH-300V is ideally suited to electronic drum machines. It features a punchy and precise profile that allows you to distinctly hear all elements.
- Excellent Quality – High level of quality throughout. Dependable headband, good padding material, and a clean professional finish.
- Comfortable Padding – Both the ear padding and headband padding offer good comfort and support. Great for long sessions.
- Transportable – These headphones fold making them a good option for the on-the-go performer. But I would have liked to see an included pouch.
- Limited Use – While excellent for drums these do fall short for other applications. Not neutral enough for mixing and mastering.
The Roland RH-300V is an excellent pair of headphones for electronic percussion instruments. They offer a high level of isolation that is capable of blocking out exterior noise.
The lack of bleed also makes these an appealing pair of headphones for home recording sessions and well as studio sessions. Backed up by high-quality components and good comfort levels.
However, the price is a little high for a pair of headphones that are ideal for only a handful of applications.
If you want a reliable pair of headphones when drumming these are a great choice. For everyone else, there are better options available.
Our Expert Buying Guide
A dependable pair of closed-back headphones is a crucial part of any recording situation. The isolation and lack of bleed allow you to focus and deliver your best performance.
But recording tracks and vocals can be a challenge. Below we offer some quick tips to get the most out of your recording sessions.
Quick Tips For Recording Sessions
Preparation is a vital key to success. Practice and prepare for your recording session. This will alleviate any nerves and allow you to focus on the task at hand.
A poorly treated room can impact your recordings. Avoid windowed rooms or cover them to prevent reflections.
Acoustic studio foam is also worth investing in to minimize reflections. You want a clean and natural sound space to accurately represent your voice or instruments.
Acoustic panels are a great way to minimize reflections in your recordings.
It is also worth considering ways you can reduce background noise. This could be as simple as choosing the right time to do your recordings. Or investing in some soundproofing for your studio.
Investing in good quality gear pays dividends. High-quality gear lasts longer and also performs better. Choose a good quality microphone and pair it with excellent over-ear headphones.
The ear cups should also be comfortable. You may be in the studio for a while and nothing pulls you out of your groove more than uncomfortable headphones.
Often you will save money in the long run if you buy better gear from the outset. But if you are on a tight budget there are still some decent options available.
While not a true tip it is possibly one of the most important.
You can have the greatest gear in the world. A perfectly treated room and spent hours preparing. But when you go to record it can all fall apart without confidence.
Trust your preparation and trust your skill level. Believe in yourself and it will translate to better recordings.
What Type of Headphones Are Best For Recording?
Closed-back headphones are the best headphones for recording. They do not leak sound and provide isolation. This keeps your recording clean and ready for post-processing.
Is It Better To Record With Headphones?
Recording with headphones allows you to listen to something without it bleeding into your recording. This could be a backing track or a metronome sound to keep in time.
Which One Should You Buy?
As you can see from this list there are several excellent options available. But recording requires a certain set of features to achieve the best performance. Maximum sound isolation, minimal bleed, and supreme sound quality.
This is why the Neumann NDH20 tops our list. It ticks all the right boxes. Excellent build quality, comfortable fit, and impressive isolation. Plus these closed-back headphones offer exceptional sound reproduction and a wide frequency range.
A solid choice for both professional and home recording sessions.