The Best Quality Reference Heaphones For Studio Monitoring In 2022

A fantastic and dependable pair of studio headphones is just as important as studio monitors. But selecting the right pair isn’t always easy. Various headphones cater to different needs, so finding one right for you will depend a lot on what you need the headphones for.

In this guide, we check out the best studio headphones you can buy today. From mixing and mastering, to open back and closed back and everything in between. So let’s jump in.

Top Rated Studio Headphones

Below is a choice selection of the best studio headphones on the market. But this is just a small sampling. Be sure to scroll further to read our full summaries of the best studio headphones available today.

Three quarter view of the Focal Clear MG Pro headphones.

Focal Clear MG Pro

Best Studio Headphones

4.8/5
Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X

Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X

Fantastic Closed Back Option

4.8/5
Three quarter view of the AKG K712 headphones.

AKG K712 Pro

Perfect For Music Production

4.7/5
Three quarter view of the Neumann NDH 20 headphones.

Neumann NDH20

Ideal For Recording

4.7/5

The Best Studio Headphones Overall

Now that you’ve seen some of our top picks, check out our detailed reviews below. We selected each pair of studio headphones based on their performance in a studio setting first and foremost. But they are equally fantastic options for casual listening. Let’s dive into the reviews.

Focal Clear MG Pro Review

Best Open Back Headphones

Specifications

Pros

  • Stunning Accuracy – These headphones offer an exquisite sound that is exceptionally neutral and well-balanced.
  • Slick Appearance – Fantastic combination of both colors and design elements. Honeycomb mess is unique and stylish.
  • Premium Quality – Every component of these headphones is of premium grade quality. From the padding, headband, drivers, and everything in between.
  • Fatigue Free – These headphones sound rich and immersive and offer no fatigue. Even when using them over long sessions.

Cons

  • High Price Point – These headphones sport a very high price tag. You can find cheaper headphones that still perform very well.

The Focal Clear MG Pro is a wonderful pair of open-back headphones. A premium combination of both design and technical know-how.

The sound profile is detailed and dynamic. The accurate frequency response ensures you can hear the source material in its purest form.

These also offer an impressive appearance that is unlike most other headphones in the studio space. Competent headphones that also deliver an innovative, lively, and professional appearance.

While these are expensive, the execution is superb. Stunning sound quality, comfortable fit, and an eye-catching design make every dollar spent on these worth it. Easily one of the best studio headphones on the market.

Three quarter view of the Focal Clear MG Pro headphones.

Focal Clear MG Pro

4.8/5

Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X Review

Best Closed Back Headphones

Specifications

Pros

  • Phenomenal Sound – The sound quality of these studio cans is fantastic. Generous bass, detailed mids, and crisp highs. The frequency response is also broad and offers accurate sound.
  • Superb Comfort – The DT 700 Pro X features some of the most comfortable ear pads on the market. Soft and ultra-plush. Weight balance is also outstanding for a relaxed and fatigue-free feel.
  • Solid Isolation – The passive isolation is excellent. It eliminates a good portion of background noise while offering low sound leakage.
  • Surprisingly Wide – The soundstage is quite broad and well-defined for closed-back headphones. A nice change from more cramped-sounding closed-back options.

Cons

  • Exposed Wires – The connecting wires do stick out a little. There is the potential to hook these on something and cause damage.

Beyerdynamic is no stranger to the studio headphones market, and the DT 700 Pro X is among their absolute best offerings.

The detailed and accurate sound profile is ideal for studio work. But even beyond a studio setting, these offer a rich and engaging listening experience. Neutral but in no way lifeless and dull.

Legendary comfort is also in full effect. The ear cups feature super soft padding, combining well with a comfortable clamping force. A good choice if you wear glasses.

These professional studio headphones tick many boxes, and the price tag is very reasonable. One of the best studio headphones you can buy today.

Read our full Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X review for more detailed information.

Three quarter view of the Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X headphones.

Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X

4.7/5

AKG K712 Pro Review

Best Headphones For Music Production

Specifications

Pros

  • High Clarity – These headphones offer a high level of clarity. From the lows to the highs, every element of what you are listening to is clean and well-defined.
  • Accurate Frequency Response – Professional headphones with a perfect sound profile for precise work in the studio. Highly revealing studio cans.
  • Lightweight Design – Nimble frame and low weight. The result is fantastic comfort that is perfectly suited to long sessions in the studio.
  • Attractive – The splash of color helps to give these headphones character and life. Not bland, but equally not overly gaudy.

Cons

  • Super Sharp – The level of detail is high, but they can come across as a little sharp and harsh. Especially evident on low-quality files or poorly mixed tracks.

The AKG K712 is a premium pair of over-ear headphones well-suited to detailed studio work.

The sound signature is very accurate across the entire frequency response. Minimal peaks and dips and a tight delivery that highlights details in your productions.

Two long cables for flexibility and a durable and dependable build that can handle the rigors of frequent use.

These production and monitoring headphones are among the best studio headphones on the market.

Read our full AKG K712 Pro review for more detailed information.

Three quarter view of the AKG K712 headphones.

AKG K712 Pro

4.8/5

AKG K371 Review

Best Headphones For Mixing And Mastering

Specifications

Pros

  • Excellent Definition – This studio headphone features a detailed mid-range. The mid-range is where the bulk of your attention should go when mixing and mastering. An ideal candidate for such tasks.
  • Authentic Delivery – The sound signature is also very neutral across the range. You’ll hear sounds that are authentic and clear.
  • Affordable Price Point – These studio cans offer an excellent balance between price and performance. A decent choice for budget-conscious buyers.
  • Easy Going Fit – The clamping force is light, and the ear pads are very comfortable. A relaxed pair of monitor headphones for day-to-day use.

Cons

  • Bright Top End – While very accurate, these exhibit a bit of sharpness in the highs. It can be fatiguing over long sessions if you are sensitive to this frequency band.

AKG makes the list again with the impressive and affordable K371. These studio headphones have stood the test of time and are often among the most recommended sets of cans.

A great pair of headphones for mixing and mastering. The emphasis on the mid-range will appeal to working professionals that want to hone and refine the most heard frequency band.

Comfort level is also up there with the best. The adjustable headband features good padding, and so do the ear cups.

For headphones in this price bracket, the build quality is also impressive. Solid mixing headphones and among the best studio headphones you can buy today.

Read our full AKG K371 review for more detailed information.

Three quarter view of the AKG K371 headphones

AKG K371

4.7/5

Neumann NDH20 Review

Best Headphones For Recording

Specifications

Pros

  • Clean Sound Reproduction – The balance is superb across the whole range. Tight bass, detailed mids, and a crisp top end that isn’t overly sharp.
  • Dependable Fit – These offer a relatively firm clamping force. But the excellent padding ensures that the tight grip doesn’t lead to discomfort.
  • High Sound Isolation – Studio recording requires high isolation and low leakage. That is precisely what these headphones deliver.
  • Good Looking Cans – The silver and orange combination adds just the right amount of flair. Clean and professional design without the bland appearance of some other studio headphones.

Cons

  • High Impedance Headphones – These are not a great choice for lowered-powered devices like smartphones. You’ll need a headphone amp or quality audio interface to get the most out of these.

The Neumann NDH20 is an excellent choice for any recording studio. The passive noise canceling is fantastic, thanks to the thick padding and tight fit.

But these also present other features that are ideal for a recording studio. The superb sound quality is lively but also accurate. The choice of two cables also allows for total flexibility in the studio.

The NDH20 also features a rugged and dependable build that can handle the demands of frequency recording sessions.

An ideal pair of headphones for recording studios. But equally great for casual listening and studio work. One of the best studio headphones out there.

Read our full Neumann NDH20 review for more detailed information.

Three quarter view of the Neumann NDH 20 headphones.

Neumann NDH20

4.7/5

Beyerdynamic DT 240 Pro Review

Best Budget Studio Headphones

Specifications

Pros

  • Flat Response- The DT 240 Pro offers a flat frequency response ideal for making precise decisions in the studio. High level of accuracy for headphones this cheap.
  • Exceptional Quality – Despite the low price, these are durable and dependable studio headphones. You can also easily buy replacement components which will save you money in the long run.
  • Low Price – A studio headphone that doesn’t hurt your wallet. High quality while retaining a modest price. Fantastic value for money.
  • Refined Design – An uncomplicated and refined design that still oozes professionalism. Great presentation.

Cons

  • Small Ear Cups – These are over-ear headphones, but the small ear cups offer a tight squeeze for above-average-sized ears.

Studio gear can be expensive, but there are some affordable alternatives to the most commonly recommended options.

The Beyerdynamic DT 240 Pro is a perfect example of balancing function, quality, and price. The build quality is better than several more expensive headphones.

Usually, headphones this cheap don’t sound great. But these are surprisingly consistent performers that can tackle your needs in the studio.

The flat frequency response is accurate and detailed and simply put, they just sound good. Fatigue-free listening even over longer sessions.

One of the best studio headphones for people that don’t want to spend too much but also want to stick to a trusted brand.

Three quarter view of the Beyerdynamic DT 240 Pro headphones.

Beyerdynamic DT 240 Pro

4.8/5

Yamaha HPH-150B Review

Best Budget Open Back Headphones

Specifications

Pros

  • Pure Sound – The sound quality on these headphones is very good for headphones this cheap. Enough neutrality for light studio work.
  • Good Build Quality – Regardless of the low price, these offer a high build quality. Good components and a dependable frame.
  • Slimline Design – Unlike several other headphones, these are small in profile and weight. An excellent alternative to bulky headphones.
  • Detachable Cable – Replaceable cables tend to only feature in more expensive options. Adds to the value proposition.

Cons

  • Comfort Issues – These on-ear headphones might be uncomfortable for some people. Especially if you are sensitive to pressure on your ears.

The industry juggernaut that is Yamaha also offers a range of headphones. The HPH-150B is an open-back pair of headphones that offers excellent value for money.

The sound profile is relatively neutral. Something that Yamaha consistently delivers across a range of products, including their studio monitors.

Another hallmark of Yamaha products is the attention to detail regarding construction quality. These are robust headphones that can take a beating.

If you don’t want to spend much and like on-ear headphones, these are among the best studio headphones you can pick up.

Three quarter view of the Yamaha HPH-150B headphones.

Yamaha HPH-150B

4.4/5

Mackie MC-250 Review

Best Budget Closed Back Headphones

Specifications

Pros

  • Comprehensive Sound – The MC-250 offers excellent sound quality for headphones this cheap. Lively and enticing with a decent level of neutrality.
  • Superb Comfort – Thick padding on the ear cups and the headband. These studio headphones also offer a firm yet comfortable clamping force.
  • Low Price Point – Mackie has a strong reputation for developing affordable products that still perform. Outstanding value for money.
  • Collapsible – Unlike many studio headphones, these collapse into a smaller profile. A good option for the traveling producer/DJ.

Cons

  • Lots of Plastic – With a low price point, it is not surprising to see an abundance of plastic. It is sturdy but not as refined as more expensive studio headphones.

The Mackie line of headphones is impressive. But the MC-250 stands out as one of the best studio headphones in their lineup. It offers an excellent balance between features and price.

The sound quality is high with warm bass frequencies, rich and detailed mids, and highs that retain accuracy. A good option for people setting up their studio on a budget. Also, a solid choice as a backup pair of closed-back studio headphones.

Build quality is not as premium as more expensive options. But these also are not overly flimsy or cheap feeling. Also very comfortable for long sessions in the studio.

If you want an affordable pair of over-ear closed-back studio headphones, these should be on your list of options.

Three quarter view of the Mackie MC-250 headphones

Mackie MC-250

4.5/5

AKG K240 MKII Review

Best Semi Open Headphones

Specifications

Pros

  • Oustanding Neutrality – These semi-open headphones offer a clear and precise response. There are a few dips and bumps along the curve but much flatter than many other studio headphones.
  • Self-Adjusting Headband – The headband responds perfectly to your head shape. In combination with the excellent ear pads, the comfort level is very high.
  • Conservative Price – Plenty of quality features like detachable cables and good build quality. All within a reasonable price point.
  • Outstanding Construction – Solid studio headphones that can handle the rigors of regular use.

Cons

  • Disappointing Bass – With more petite than average drivers, these do lean a little light in the bass department. Bass lovers will need to look elsewhere.

Semi-open headphones aim to deliver the more airy sound of open-back cans with some of the isolation that closed-back cans provide. One of the best examples of this is the K240 MKII from AKG.

The neutral sound profile will be an appealing element for working studio professionals. It is clear and accurate enough to be a go-to pair of studio headphones.

You’ll also appreciate how rugged these are. A great pair of headphones that deliver on several fronts.

If you want the best of both worlds, the AKG K240 MKII is one of the best studio headphones in the semi-open market.

Read our full AKG K240 MKII review for more detailed information.

Three quarter view of the AKG K240 MKII headphones.

AKG K240 MKII

4.7/5

HIFIMAN Arya Review

Best Planar Magnetic Headphones

Specifications

Pros

  • Sublime Sound – Planar headphones deliver exceptional sound, and the Arya is among the best. A stunning sound that is accurate and rich in detail.
  • Broad Soundstage – The open and airy delivery also features precise imaging. The soundstage is generous and expansive without sounding hollow.
  • Top-Shelf Quality – The headphones offer premium build quality and impeccable attention to detail. Not a bad component in sight.
  • Good Comfort – Despite coming in at 0.89 lbs. (404 grams), these are comfortable to wear. The weight distribution is perfect, and the padding is superb.

Cons

  • Expensive – Top-shelf quality and premium engineering do come at a price. Not a great choice for people hunting for budget studio headphones.

Planar magnetic headphones are usually associated with the audiophile scene. But the neutrality and clarity make them an appealing option as studio headphones too.

The HIFIMAN Arya is the superlative choice in this category. An exquisite sound profile that is accurate and detailed without sounding dull and uninspired.

These over-ear headphones feature an unusual ear cup design that could be uncomfortable for some. But for most people, these will be a great pair for serious studio work and casual listening.

These headphones sound amazing. Even with the big-ticket price tag, these are easily one of the best studio headphones.

Three quarter view of the HIFIMAN Arya headphones.

HIFIMAN Arya

4.8/5

The Best Wireless Studio Headphones

There is a growing demand for flexible and wireless options in the studio headphones market. While there are some excellent options, you’ll always experience better sound quality via a cable connection.

But several of the best offer both connectivity options. Wired and Bluetooth. Below we look at some of the best wireless studio headphones you can buy today.

Shure AONIC 50 Review

Specifications

Pros

  • Defined Audio – Excellent detail and imaging with a generous sound stage. Neutrality is also high, making it a good choice for serious studio work.
  • Active Noise Cancelling – These over-ear headphones offer active noise canceling. This helps block low frequencies. Something passive isolation usually has a hard time doing.
  • Awesome Case – The rock-hard case is a fantastic inclusion. Durable and rugged, it will protect your headphones between sessions.
  • Extensive Battery Life – Enjoy wireless connectivity with up to 20hrs of battery life. It also charges up quickly.

Cons

  • Not The Best For Travel – The ear cups fold flat but don’t collapse. There are more portable options out there.

The AONIC 50 from Shure is a great pair of headphones with Bluetooth. And unlike many wireless options, these offer a sound profile well suited to a studio environment.

Punchy bass, warm mids, and clear highs produce an engaging sound profile. Even via Bluetooth, the performance is admirable.

Comfort level is also a highlight with soft ear pads and thick headband padding. The clamping force is just right for a secure fit when on the go.

These studio headphones are a great choice if you want a pair of Bluetooth headphones. Equally great when out and about as they are in the studio.

Three quarter view of the Shure AONIC 50 headphones.

Shure AONIC 50

4.6/5

Beyerdynamic Amiron Review

Specifications

Pros

  • Wide Range – Studio headphones that have a generous range. It hits low and equally high while maintaining good balance and precision throughout the range.
  • Perfect Ear Pads – The ear padding is plush and breathable. Some of the best ear padding out there. Super comfortable.
  • Huge Battery Life – Up to 30hrs of battery life means less time worrying about running out of battery and more time enjoying your music.
  • Intelligent Customization – Full flexibility to adjust the output to your preference via a dedicated app.

Cons

  • Short Cable – For a wired connection, you’ll only have access to one short cable.

Beyerdynamic has an excellent reputation for quality studio headphones. While the Amiron targets casual listeners, the sound profile is good enough for studio work.

These are on the heavy side, but that doesn’t impact the comfort level. The premium quality ear padding is superb. The headband padding is equally excellent, and the weight distribution is perfect for preventing sore spots.

These are a little expensive, but you get a whole swath of premium features for the price. Stable and dependable Bluetooth, a fantastic app for customization, and top-of-the-line build quality.

With so much flexibility on offer, these are easily one of the best studio headphones that offer wireless connectivity.

Three quarter view of the Beyerdynamic Amiron headphones.

Beyerdynamic Amiron

4.7/5

PreSonus Eris HD10BT Review

Specifications

Pros

  • Splendid Mid Range – These studio headphones have a distinct focus on the mid-range. Excellent clarity and definition.
  • Dependable Build – The construction quality is fantastic for headphones this cheap and with so many features.
  • Cheap Price – The low price point makes these an appealing choice for budget-conscious buyers that want a pair of Bluetooth studio headphones.
  • Portable Choice – These headphones entirely collapse, making them easy to take with you when traveling.

Cons

  • Meager Bass – The low-end response is a little weak and underwhelming. If you are a bass head, I’d suggest looking at alternatives.

The PreSonus Eris HD10BT is an excellent pair of wireless studio headphones. While they may not be the most accurate, they offer a solid sound profile and flexible features.

The battery life is extensive at 16hrs, and they only take around 3hrs to fully charge. They also offer a decent range allowing you to move about your studio without fear of losing your connection.

The ear pads offer a plush and comfortable fit, and there is little fatigue over long sessions. Plus, added noise cancellation is always a welcome sight for portable cans.

For those on the move a lot, these are a great choice. And for the money, it is hard to find better value.

Read our full PreSonus Eris HD10BT review for more detailed information.

Three quarter view of the PreSonus Eris HD10BT headphones.

PreSonus Eris HD10BT

4.4/5

AKG K371-BT Review

Specifications

Pros

  • Compelling Audio – The sound profile is not as balanced as some may want. But in no way is the audio quality bland or uninspired.
  • Excellent Bluetooth – Fantastic Bluetooth connectivity that is dependable and with an extensive range that offers you plenty of freedom.
  • Heaps Of Cables – You’ll be spoilt for choice when you want a wired connection. Two straight cables in different lengths plus a long coiled option. Fantastic value.
  • Pleasant Fit – These feature comfortable ear pads that are also replaceable. The clamping force is light for a relaxed feel. But as a result, isolation is not the best, and some sound leaks.

Cons

  • Questionable Quality – Several reports of poor manufacturing. But it seems the bulk of these were from initial batches. It appears the newer batches are more reliable but still worth mentioning.

The AKG K371 made this list already, and the Bluetooth version sneaks in here. While it does have a few issues, it is still a fantastic pair of wireless studio headphones.

These headphones are not an identical replica of the K371 with added Bluetooth. There is a distinct and noticeable difference in sound quality, not in a bad way, but not as refined and balanced.

The excellent mobility they provide is where these headphones shine, thanks to the dependable Bluetooth connection. Plus, the comfort level is fantastic, even for people that wear glasses.

While these are not perfect, they are still among the best studio headphones. Plus, it is hard to be too critical of them at such an affordable price.

Three quarter view of the AKG K371-BT headphones.

AKG K371-BT

4.5/5

Our Expert Buying Guide

Below we tackle some of the most important questions you’ll face when buying studio headphones.

Regular Headphones Vs. Studio Headphones

Regular headphones tend to have a curved audio response that highlights bass and highs. This is often called the smiley curve due to the emphasis on either end. It does make what you are listening to engaging and dynamic. But they do lack accuracy and don’t represent the source material authentically.

Mixing console in a music studio with headphones sitting on the console.

Dedicated studio headphones are ideal for professional work.

Studio headphones offer a neutral response that is accurate to the source material. They don’t over-hype bass or highs. This makes them a better choice for producing and analyzing music and recordings. You want your audio to be as clean and balanced as possible when working. To make these decisions, you need to trust the output. Whether that is from studio monitors or studio headphones, accuracy is paramount.

Both types have their pros and cons. Regular headphones might be more pleasing, but the best studio headphones will still perform better than ordinary headphones. You’ll be better off buying studio headphones if you want to hear all the details from your favorite music or work in a studio setting.

Open Vs. Closed Back Headphones

One of the significant decisions you’ll face when buying studio headphones is whether to select an open-back or closed-back pair of cans.

Open-back headphones allow air to pass from the driver to the outside. This results in a wider soundstage and a more natural sound profile. It also means a much less cramped delivery that is satisfying and accurate.

But they do have some drawbacks. These will not be a good choice if you need isolation from exterior noise. Sound will easily get in. Likewise, sound easily gets out.

Man sitting at a desk in a professional music studio with headphones on.

Closed-back headphones offer isolation which can help with staying focused.

Closed-back headphones offer isolation since the earcups don’t allow the passage of air. This usually results in richer and more pronounced bass response. Plus, the isolation will enable you to work without distractions. And you’ll also not be distracting the people around you.

Due to the low leakage, closed cans are also the ideal choice for a recording setting. You do not want any exterior sound finding its way into your recording.

Besides the boomier low-end, you’ll also notice heat build-up. Good quality padding can help with this, but there is potential for sweaty ears over longer sessions. Especially if you work in a warm environment.

As with many things related to a studio setting, the right one for you will depend on your needs.

Wired Vs. Wireless

Another common question is whether wireless headphones are a good choice. The answer to this isn’t clear-cut.

There have been many advancements in both design and functionality of wireless headphones. But there will still be some audio degradation when using them. A wired pair of headphones is generally ideal for studio work.

Back of a man with headphones on at an airport looking at a plane.

Wireless headphones are a great choice for traveling musicians.

But that doesn’t mean that wireless studio headphones are not worth buying. Bluetooth functionality grants you extra freedom, and they can pull double duty. Due to this, they can often be a better value buy than standard studio headphones.

Good wireless cans will allow you to connect via a wired connection when doing detailed work. But they are also an excellent choice for sketching out ideas or for day-to-day listening with the convenience of Bluetooth.

No matter which style you prefer, the most critical aspect is the sound quality they offer. The best studio headphones need to be accurate, whether that is via a wired connection or wireless.

FAQ

Are Studio Headphones Worth It?

Studio headphones are a great addition to any studio space and act as another source to reference your productions. In tandem with studio monitors, you’ll be able to make accurate decisions when working.

Are Beats Good Studio Headphones?

Beats headphones offer a more consumer-friendly sound. While this means they are enjoyable to listen to, they are not accurate enough for serious music production work.

Which One Should You Buy?

In this guide, we have covered a lot of headphones. Some are ideal for mixing and mastering, others for recording sessions, and some are fantastic all-rounders.

All the highlighted headphones have earned their spot on our best studio headphones list. And depending on your needs will depend on which one is right for you.

But if I had to highlight one option, it would be the Focal Clear MG Pro. This is a premium pair of studio headphones. It is expensive, but it is an all-star performer.

The sublime sound quality is detailed and rich. Superb comfort that is perfect for long sessions. Fantastic build quality and a slick design that draws the eye. And since it ticks so many of the right boxes, it is our choice for the best studio headphones you can buy today.

Three quarter view of the Focal Clear MG Pro headphones.

Focal Clear MG Pro

4.8/5

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Patryk Biernacki

Patryk Biernacki

For over 20 years I've been involved in the world of DJing. Now I want to share my experience so that DJing is more accessible for anyone with a passion for music.

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