The Right Headphones for Your Studio Setup (Ultimate Guide)

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Choosing the right headphones for your studio setup can make a huge difference in your sound quality and comfort. Learn how to find the best pair for your needs in this ultimate guide.

1. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

PROFESSIONAL STUDIO

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2. Sony MDR-cd900st           

JAPANESE AUDIO PROS

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3. Sennheiser HD 600 Open Back

AUDIOPHILE’S DELIGHT

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4. Beyerdynamic DT 990

PROFESSIONAL MIXING

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5. AKG K240                            

STUDIO VERSATILITY

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6. Shure SRH940                      

REFERENCE MONITORING

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1. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

PROFESSIONAL STUDIO

Balanced, accurate sound reproduction.Closed-back design isolates external noise.
Comfortable and adjustable fit.detachable and interchangeable cable
Picture by Audio-Technica

Picture by Alesis

PROS

  • If you are in search of the perfect headphones for your studio setup, look no further than the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. These headphones have garnered high praise from professional audio engineers and musicians alike for their exceptional sound quality, comfort, and durability. Let’s take a closer look at four key advantages of the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x:

    1. Balanced and accurate sound reproduction:
    The ATH-M50x headphones impress with their ability to accurately reproduce the intricate details and nuances of your music. Equipped with 45 mm drivers, these headphones offer a wide frequency range, delivering deep bass and crisp highs without any distortion or alterations. With these headphones, you can trust that your mix will be represented faithfully and honestly.

    2. Closed-back design for noise isolation:
    Thanks to their closed-back design, the ATH-M50x headphones effectively isolate you from external noise and prevent sound leakage. This feature is particularly beneficial for recording, mixing, and monitoring in noisy environments such as studios, live venues, or public spaces. With the ATH-M50x, you can immerse yourself in your music without distraction or worry about disrupting others.

    3. Comfortable and adjustable fit:
    The ATH-M50x headphones offer a comfortable and customizable fit to accommodate various head shapes and sizes. The earpads and headband are crafted from soft and durable materials that provide a cozy and secure feel. Additionally, the earcups can swivel up to 90 degrees, allowing you to wear them in different positions, whether over one ear or around your neck.

    4. Detachable and interchangeable cable:
    For added convenience and flexibility, the ATH-M50x headphones feature a detachable and interchangeable cable. With three different cable options – a 1.2 m coiled cable, a 3 m straight cable, and a 1.2 m straight cable – you can choose the cable that suits your specific needs and preferences. Additionally, it’s easy to replace the cable if it becomes damaged or worn out.

    The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones excel in providing a range of benefits, including superior sound quality, comfort, resilience, and versatility, making them a top choice for your studio setup. Discover more about these remarkable headphones by visiting their official website or reading customer reviews.

CONS

  • If you’re searching for the ideal headphones for your studio setup, you may have encountered the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. Loved by audio professionals and enthusiasts alike, these headphones boast remarkable sound quality, comfort, and durability. However, it’s essential to be aware of their drawbacks before making a purchase. Two negatives about the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are as follows:
  • Firstly, they have a unique cable connection, limiting the use of only the provided cables. If these are misplaced or damaged, acquiring replacements from Audio-Technica or third-party sellers can be costly and inconvenient.
  • Secondly, they are not suitable for noise-sensitive environments as they lack active noise cancellation and tend to leak sound from the ear cups. For those requiring enhanced noise isolation, alternative options might be worth considering.

2. Sony MDR-cd900st

JAPANESE AUDIO PROS

Neutral, wide and comfortable!Realistic soundstage with wide depth.
Comfortable and lightweight design.Durable build quality, reliable performance.
Picture by Sony

PROS

    • If you are in search of the perfect headphones to complete your studio setup, look no further than the Sony MDR-CD900ST. This professional-grade audio gear stands out from the competition thanks to a variety of impressive features. Here are four crucial advantages of the Sony MDR-CD900ST:

      Firstly, these headphones boast a neutral and uncolored sound signature that faithfully reproduces audio without any artificial enhancements or distortions. This level of accuracy is perfect for monitoring and evaluating your recordings, allowing you to appreciate every intricate detail and nuance of the sound source.

      Secondly, the Sony MDR-CD900ST offers a wide and natural soundstage, creating a realistic sense of space and depth in the sound. This assists in pinpointing the precise location and direction of different sounds within the mix, as well as capturing the ambiance and atmosphere of the recording environment.

      Furthermore, these headphones feature a comfortable and lightweight design, making them suitable for prolonged use without causing fatigue or discomfort. The adjustable and padded headband, along with soft and breathable ear cups, ensures a personalized and snug fit. Additionally, the headphones offer a slight cup rotation and flip feature, allowing for customized adjustment to your preferred fit and position.

      Lastly, the Sony MDR-CD900ST boasts a durable and reliable build quality, capable of withstanding the demands of daily use in the studio. Crafted from a combination of plastic and metal, these headphones are equipped with a thick and sturdy cable featuring a 6.35mm connector. To further instill confidence in their performance and longevity, Sony Music Entertainment Japan provides a warranty for these headphones.

      These are just a few reasons why the Sony MDR-CD900ST stands as one of the best headphones for studio use. Offering exceptional sound quality, comfort, and durability, these headphones can greatly enhance your recording and mixing experience. If you wish to acquire a pair for yourself, consider checking out the provided reviews and sources below for a comprehensive understanding of their capabilities.

CONS

  • The Sony MDR-CD900ST is a renowned pair of studio monitor headphones beloved by professionals in the music industry. These headphones are revered for their precise and authentic sound reproduction, as well as their long-lasting build and comfortable fit. Nonetheless, they are not without their shortcomings, which it is important to be aware of before purchasing. Here are two cons associated with the Sony MDR-CD900ST:

    1. Availability outside Japan is limited. These headphones are manufactured by Sony Music Entertainment Japan rather than Sony Electronics, meaning they are primarily intended for the Japanese market and not widely distributed elsewhere. Consequently, acquiring them may necessitate importing from Japan or purchasing from third-party sellers, both of which can be costly and risky.

    2. Soundstage is narrow and sub-bass is lacking. The Sony MDR-CD900ST headphones are engineered for studio monitoring rather than casual listening or gaming. With their flat and neutral frequency response, they do not highlight any part of the audio spectrum. Some listeners who prefer more bass or treble may perceive them as monotonous or uninspiring. Additionally, their limited soundstage fails to provide a sense of spaciousness or depth, making them less immersive or realistic for certain genres or applications.

    These are two downsides worth considering when contemplating the purchase of the Sony MDR-CD900ST. While they excel as studio monitoring headphones, they may not cater to everyone’s preferences or requirements. To find the ideal headphones for your studio setup, explore other options and compare their features, performance, and price alongside the Sony MDR-CD900ST.

3. Sennheiser HD 600 Open Back

AUDIOPHILE’S DELIGHT

Well-balanced, accurate sound quality.Spacious and immersive soundstage.
Comfortable and durable design.Compatible with various devices/sources.
Picture by Sennheiser

PROS

  • If you are in search of the perfect headphones for your studio arrangement, then the Sennheiser HD 600 Open Back headphones should definitely be at the top of your list. These headphones are designed for professionals and offer numerous benefits for critical listening and music production. Here are four significant advantages of choosing the Sennheiser HD 600 Open Back headphones:

    Firstly, these headphones provide a well-balanced and accurate sound quality. The Sennheiser HD 600 delivers a detailed and neutral sound reproduction that allows you to pick up on every nuance in your music. With its extended frequency response, clear mids and highs, and tight bass, these headphones are ideal for mixing, mastering, and editing audio. They excel at revealing any imperfections or flaws in your recordings.

    Secondly, the Sennheiser HD 600 headphones offer a spacious and immersive soundstage. Their open-back design allows sound to escape and enter, resulting in a natural and realistic soundstage. Listening to music with these headphones will make you feel as if you are in the same room as the musicians. The accurate imaging and separation of instruments enhance the experience and make these headphones perfect for genres like classical, jazz, acoustic, and orchestral.

    Furthermore, the Sennheiser HD 600 headphones are both comfortable and durable. Their lightweight and ergonomic design ensures a snug fit without being excessively tight or loose. The large velour ear pads provide a cushioning effect and distribute pressure evenly, while the padded headband adjusts to your head shape and size. Made with high-quality materials, these headphones can withstand daily wear and tear. The detachable and replaceable parts, such as the cable and ear pads, further extend their lifespan.

    Lastly, the Sennheiser HD 600 headphones are compatible with a variety of devices and sources. With a low impedance of 300 ohms, they can be driven by most devices like smartphones, laptops, tablets, and MP3 players. However, for optimal performance, pairing them with a dedicated headphone amplifier or DAC is recommended as it provides more power and clarity. Additionally, they come with a 3-meter cable featuring a 6.3 mm plug and a 3.5 mm adapter, allowing them to be used with both standard and professional audio equipment.

    In conclusion, the Sennheiser HD 600 Open Back headphones are an excellent choice for your studio setup. They offer exceptional sound quality, a spacious soundstage, a comfortable and durable design, and versatile compatibility. Furthermore, they are highly regarded in the audiophile community and have received numerous positive reviews from users and experts alike. To experience the best these headphones have to offer, check them out on Amazon or the official Sennheiser website.

CONS

  • If you’re in the market for studio headphones, the Sennheiser HD 600 Open Back Professional Headphones might catch your eye. These headphones are lauded for their top-notch sound quality, expansive soundstage, and comfortable build. However, before you make your decision, it’s important to know about a couple of drawbacks.
  • Firstly, these headphones leak sound due to their open-back design, meaning you’ll hear everything around you and others will hear your music. This could be problematic for recording in noisy environments or wanting to keep your tunes private.
  • Secondly, they require a powerful amplifier to deliver their full potential, as their high impedance demands substantial power. While they excel for critical listening and mixing, they may not suit every scenario or preference. Explore our comprehensive studio headphones guide for more headphone options.

4. Beyerdynamic DT 990

PROFESSIONAL MIXING

Wide, spacious, immersive soundstage.Neutral and accurate frequency response.
Comfortable and durable studio headphones.Reasonable price for quality.
Picture by Beyerdynamic

PROS

  • If you are in search of the perfect headphones to enhance your studio setup, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO should definitely be on your radar. These exceptional open-back headphones offer a superb, well-balanced sound quality that is ideal for mixing and mastering. Here are some of the benefits and advantages that make the DT 990 PRO headphones stand out:

    Firstly, the wide and spacious soundstage they provide is truly remarkable. This distinctive feature allows you to accurately perceive and locate the position and direction of sound sources within your mix, ultimately creating a captivating and immersive audio experience for your listeners.

    Another significant advantage is the neutral and precise frequency response delivered by these headphones. The audio reproduction is faithful, maintaining the original sound without any distortions or alterations. This accuracy enables you to make exact adjustments and corrections to your mix without any unintended influence from the headphones.

    Additionally, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO boasts a remarkable design that guarantees comfort and durability during long hours of use. The soft velour ear pads gently adapt to the contours of your ears, ensuring a cozy fit. The padded headband effectively distributes the weight, preventing any discomfort or strain. The detachable cable is an added bonus, easily replaceable in case of damage.

    Considering the exceptional quality and performance, the price of around $150 USD is quite reasonable. Other high-end studio headphones on the market often exceed this price range. Furthermore, the DT 990 PRO also comes with a soft carrying case and a 1/4-inch adapter for added convenience, further adding value to your purchase.

    To summarize, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO headphones are an outstanding choice for your studio setup. They deliver unrivaled audio reproduction that will undoubtedly contribute to enhancing your mixing and mastering skills.

CONS

  • If you’re in search of studio headphones, you may have come across the Beyerdynamic DT 990. These headphones are favored by audiophiles and music producers, and for good reason. With qualities like impressive sound quality, comfort, and durability, they certainly have a lot to offer. However, it’s important to consider a couple of drawbacks before making your decision.

    Firstly, the DT 990 is an open-back design, which means that sound leaks out and ambient noise can seep in. This may pose an issue if you intend to use them in a noisy environment or if you’re recording vocals and want to avoid microphone bleed. Additionally, compared to closed-back headphones, open-backs can lack some bass impact, potentially impacting your mixing choices.

    Secondly, the DT 990 has a high impedance of 250 Ohms, which requires an external amplifier for proper power. Plugging them directly into your smartphone or laptop may result in insufficient volume and clarity. Consequently, you’ll need to invest in a dedicated headphone amp or audio interface to fully drive them.

    While these downsides may not be deal-breakers for everyone, they are certainly factors to consider based on your needs and preferences.

5. AKG K240

STUDIO VERSATILITY

Detailed, spacey sound.Retro design with distinctive elegance.
Comfortable fit, lightweight, adjustable.Replaceable parts for long-term durability.
Picture by AKG

PROS

  • If you’re in the market for studio headphones, the AKG K240 is a strong contender to consider. Renowned for their sound quality and comfort, these semi-open, critical listening headphones have stood the test of time. Let’s explore four key advantages of the AKG K240 that make them an excellent choice for studio work.

    First and foremost, the AKG K240 impresses with its detailed, spacey sound. With a neutral sound profile, vocals and instruments are reproduced with accuracy and clarity. The semi-open design further enriches your listening experience by creating a vast and natural soundstage, allowing you to discern the depth and width of your mixes.

    In addition to their impressive sound, the AKG K240 boasts a classic design that exudes elegance. A nod to its long-standing legacy, these headphones sport a retro look with a self-adjusting headband and circular ear cups adorned with gold accents. Be prepared to stand out from the crowd with this distinct and eye-catching aesthetic.

    Comfort is key when spending hours in the studio, and the AKG K240 delivers on this front. Lightweight and equipped with soft ear pads that mold to your ears, these headphones offer long-lasting comfort. The automatic headband adjustment ensures an even weight distribution, meaning you can wear them for extended periods without experiencing any fatigue or discomfort.

    Lastly, the AKG K240 is built to last. However, accidents happen, and wear and tear are inevitable. The great thing about these headphones is that they feature replaceable parts. Whether it’s the cable, ear pads, or headband, you can easily replace any component to keep your headphones in exceptional shape for years to come.

    To summarize, the AKG K240 is an outstanding option for studio headphones. It provides high-quality sound reproduction for accurate monitoring of your recordings and mixes. The comfortable and durable design ensures prolonged use without compromising your comfort. If you’re eager to acquire a pair of AKG K240 headphones, you can explore reviews and check out prices. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to enhance your studio setup with these exceptional headphones.

CONS

  • The AKG K240 is a popular studio headphone option. However, there are two aspects to consider before purchasing:

    1. These headphones are semi-open, so sound leakage and ambient noise could be an issue. This can affect vocal or instrumental recordings, as the headphone sound may bleed into the recording. It can also be irritating in noisy environments or if you want to block out distractions.

    2. With an impedance of 55 ohms, they are easily driven by most devices. However, they lack power and volume, which could be a problem when listening to loud music or working with high dynamic range audio. An external amplifier or headphone amp may be necessary for optimal sound quality and performance.

    Although these drawbacks exist, the AKG K240 provides balanced and accurate sound, a comfortable fit, and a durable design. They are also affordable and widely available, offering good value for money.

    If you desire more isolation, power, and volume, consider alternatives like the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro, Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, or Sennheiser HD 280 Pro. These closed-back headphones have higher impedance and deliver louder and more impactful sound.

    Ultimately, the AKG K240 is a solid choice for studio headphones, but its limitations must be taken into account. Depending on your personal needs and preferences, they may or may not be suitable for your studio setup.

6. Shure SRH940

REFERENCE MONITORING

Bright, neutral sound with high resolution.Comfortable and durable with versatility.
Easy to drive, no amp needed.Affordable at around $200.
Picture by Shure

PROS

  • If you are in search of the perfect pair of headphones for your studio setup, the Shure SRH940 should definitely be on your radar. These closed-back pro studio reference headphones offer an exceptional level of accuracy and detail when it comes to sound reproduction. In this article, we will outline four essential pros or positive aspects of the Shure SRH940.

    First and foremost, these headphones possess a bright neutral sound that leans towards the high frequencies, making them an excellent studio monitor. Additionally, they boast incredibly high resolution and outstanding localization. With the Shure SRH940, you can expect to hear every subtle nuance and pinpoint the exact position of sound sources in your mix.

    Comfort and durability are also key selling points of these headphones. The padded velour ear-cups fully enclose your ears, isolating you from external noise and allowing for a truly immersive experience. The Shure SRH940 also offers a detachable cable, as well as spare earpads and the option of straight or curly cables. This versatility promotes longevity while providing optimal user convenience.

    Not only are the Shure SRH940 comfortable and long-lasting, but they are also easy to drive. With an impedance of 42Ω and a sensitivity of 100dB SPL/mW, they do not require a special headphone amplifier to power them. This means that they can seamlessly work with a variety of audio sources and devices, making them highly versatile and practical for any studio setup.

    Last but not least, these headphones come at an affordable price point of approximately $200. Offering exceptional quality and performance, the Shure SRH940 punches above its weight and can easily compete with more expensive options available on the market.

    In conclusion, the Shure SRH940 headphones boast an impressive array of features that make them an excellent choice for any studio setup. Their bright neutral sound, comfortable design, easy-to-drive nature, and affordability make them a top contender in the market. If you need further information, we recommend checking out online reviews and ratings from other users and experts.

CONS

  • If you’re in need of studio headphones, the Shure SRH940 may be worth your consideration. These closed-back pro studio reference headphones aim to provide accurate response throughout the audio spectrum. Nevertheless, it’s important to be aware of a couple of drawbacks before making your purchase:

    1. Some users find the bass to be overly tight. Those involved in genres reliant on a robust low-end, like electronica, hip-hop, or dance music, may be unsatisfied.

    2. Durability could be a concern. Constructed from plastic, the SRH940s may not withstand regular studio use. Users have reported issues with broken hinges, cables, and earpads after a few months or years of use.

    Consider these drawbacks when deciding whether the Shure SRH940 headphones are right for you. They possess positive aspects, such as high resolution, neutral sound, and excellent isolation. Ultimately, your personal preference and budget will determine your choice. Additional reviews and price comparisons can be found on various websites.

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