If you’re a DJ or if you’re getting into music recording, then a good pair of headphones is one of the most important things you should look for. In this article, we listed the 5 best studio headphones available in the market for this year. We tested each of them carefully with different music genres to make sure we give them a proper rating. Let’s take a look at the list:
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5. Sennheiser HD 820
We are going to start our best studio headphones list with the Sennheiser HD820.
There is a general idea accepted in the audiophile circles, the best headphones have an open back. The open back headphones leak sound out and let the outside noise in, which in turns reduces reflections and resonances, leading to less distortion. Sennheiser HD 820 is the first closed back headphone to get close to the quality of the former. Impossibly close, indeed.
Sennheiser HD 820 looks rather technical and high-performance like. And it is gorgeous, one of the most beautiful headphones in the market. A curved see-through glass shows the 58mm ring-shaped driver. The headphones are relatively large, but exceptionally comfortable. The earcups are pretty plush and soft. If it wasn’t for the giant cables and that you need a powerful amplifier, you could take these on your commute. They provide a firm grip without discomfort. The closed design blocks external noise and lets almost nothing out.
Sennheiser HD 820’s are mostly closed-back headphones. However, they come really close to re-engineer the ultra-spacious and wide character of open-back headphones. They even outperform open-backed headphones in some aspects, as a result of their planar magnetic driver that doesn’t maximize soundstage size and scope. The trebles are toned down but doesn’t seem overly dampened. It is less aggressive or even less ambitious, making it more conservative. Making these Sennheiser’s more accessible.
The mid-range bass is slightly more luxurious, there are tonal curves that are tweaked to promote the mid-bass and upper-mids, with a textural gap. The bass is pretty deep and confident. The technical performance on Sennheiser HD 820 is absolutely perfect, and the distortion is very close to none. These headphones provide glossier sound, not the pure aggressive sound that most audiophiles search for. This is partly a good thing because not everybody is an audiophile and would want a slightly softer sound.
Sennheiser HD 820 is a different experience, it is high-end it is premium. Despite having some flaws, which let us be honest nothing is perfect, this is the most open-sounding closed headphone that you can find, it challenges the established ideas set, and there will be a lot of people that will enjoy these.
4. Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO
The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO is perfect for critical listening. Delivering astounding audio reproduction, their open back design does not make them ideal for ideal use. Sound leakage is pretty high and does not block ambient noise, these make the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO’s not good for casual use. However, these are made for studio purposes, and excel in that area.
With a sturdy and rugged build, these will be one of your long lasting studio companions. They are mostly made of plastic except for the metal band that connects the two ear cups. The back of the cups has a two-tone filter with a grill pattern on top of it. It can be said that these are built with function in mind and design is secondary, but can not be considered hideous. The clamping force is slightly high, but, despite that the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO’s are extremely comfortable. With memory foam padding wrapped in velour, slipping these onto your head will feel pretty good. And with the memory foam doing its job, you will wear these for hours without any feeling of discomfort. The 1m coiled cable is pretty heavy not making it ideal for mobile devices, but it is not an issue for computers or interfaces.
Sound quality is what these headphones are made for. And they shine in this area. Compared to its price tag the sound quality is remarkably perfect. The bass is not overblown or very powerful, but they give the right amount of attention to the bass. However, both the bass and trebles are pretty aggressive due to the open nature of these headphones. Some might even consider the treble a little too aggressive and fatiguing. It is not perfectly fine for everybody, but the trebles are pretty prominent.
These headphones have lots of speed and character, with a slight push in bass and treble. The mids are exceptional and accurate. It is just the right amount, really close to perfect. It is recommended to use an amplifier for the best experience with these headphones, you can even tone down the trebles which might bother some.
If you love the punchy, fast and aggressive sounds, with an open-backed nature the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO is ideal for you
3. Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro
Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro is one of the most durable and sturdier headphones you can find on the market. They sound great even for their closed nature, they have a slightly better bass due to that. And another advantage of their closed-back is their versatility and portability, which does not leak a lot of sound compared to the open-back designs.
As expected from the German manufacturer Beyerdynamic, the DT770 Pro’s are built and designed to last. The band and ear cup holders are made from metal, and the earcups are made from thick durable hard plastic. The cable is also durable, coated with lots of plastic and rubber. The velour padding is very plush and comfortable, and it is excellent for people that wear eyeglasses. And compared to leather ear cups they do not trap as much heat, and are relatively breathable. The Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro has an unremovable cable, and it is pretty long making it not ideal for mobile devices.
The Beyerdynamic DT770 Pros have a distinctive sound in the world of studio headphones. With high response speed and the ability to render fine details. Despite being bassier than other studio models, the bass is not overwhelming, it is deep and extended. The mids are perfectly rendered and are pretty clean. Free from any bleed from the bass, and all while not feeling empty or hollow. Instruments and voices all sound natural and pleasant.
The highs are pretty aggressive tho. Which is not a bad thing. They are just a little more punchy then those of consumer-oriented headphones. The soundstage is amazing for closed-back headphone design. Imaging is also amazing, giving you the feel of surround sound virtualization most of the time it is being used. The overall audio experience can be described as fun, fast, aggressive and thrilling. They make everything sound bigger and better. Really engaging and provide a lot of detail.
Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro is perfect for studio work. Allowing you to get every detail and won’t break apart if your guest musician has shaky hands. As for listening to music these are really exceptional, offering a very emotional experience, a roller coaster ride if you will.
2. Sony MDR-7506
Sony MDR-7506 may have been introduced really way back in 1991, but it has remained the favorite headphone of the recording engineers and other sound professionals. They have remained favorites because they perform better than a lot of other headphones costing twice as much. While not being the most versatile of the bunch, they can perform on a lot of different tasks.
Since they have been in the Sony lineup for more than 20 years, one should not question the durability and quality of this product. Some reports have said that the ear pads don’t last that long but they are easily replaceable. The headphones weigh in at 230 grams, which is lighter than the average full-sized headphone. The design and build is mostly plastic, but it does not feel flimsy, the outer ear cups are metal and inside you can find the 40mm drivers.
The headphones have an impedance rated at 63-ohm. The earcups are not as thick as the newer headphone designs but are pretty comfortable to wear since the clamp pressure is moderate. It blocks a nice amount of ambient noise and does not leak sound out. The coiled cable is 3 meters long, but lacks a microphone. It comes with a 3.5mm plug and a screw-on 6.3mm adapter plug.
Try listening with the Sony MDR-7506 once and you will know why it has remained for 20 years in Sony lineup. Nothing around the audio is out of place. The balance between bass-mid-treble is accurate, and these headphones are very versatile, every genre sounds remarkable. It is pretty easy to spot these in music studios, newsrooms and sound engineers alike. They just do everything pretty good.
The bass is smooth, well detailed and pretty tight. Accurate and punchy. Mid-range is detailed and pretty clean. It doesn’t sound congested or muddy. The mids are just pleasing to listen to. For this price the trebles are pretty clean, as there is no other headphone twice the price of Sony MDR-7506 that could provide better sound.
The Sony MDR-7506 is perfect for recording, because of the detail it provides, with unforgiveness for the lower recording qualities. One of the most versatile headphones, and best sound for its price range. It won’t be a surprise if we see these for 20 more years.
1. Sennheiser HD280PRO
To finish our best studio headphones list, we have the HD280PRO’s by Sennheiser.
The Sennheiser HD280PRO headphones provide high-quality audio for critical-listening with a somewhat hideous but durable design. The audio reproduction is pretty good and has punchy bass. Aside from the design choices, Sennheiser has made a solid pair of headphones here, a great tool for sound engineers and audiophiles alike.
Sennheiser HD280PRO has a black build, designed with functionality in mind, it is mediocre and bland. They are somewhat large and are made for the studio, won’t make a good accessory for your commute. The ear cups are thickly padded and are leather-clad. They are pretty solid and won’t break apart from a few falls, even though they are built through from plastic. The large, thickly padded cups fit into most of the ears, and the headband is right on top of the head.
The clamping force will prove difficult to wear them for long periods of time for people with larger head sizes. The tight grip and leather earcups will provide a good seal and will not let ambient sound interfere with your listening, and the sound leakage will be minimal.
However, the downside of that is breathability, these will not provide any airflow to your ear.
The closed-back design of the Sennheiser HD280PRO makes them a good option for listening in loud ambients and in the recording studio. If I had to choose one word to describe the sound of the Sennheiser HD280PRO it would be ‘accurate’. Every sound is precise and accurate. The sound rendering is perfect and just right every time.
The trebles were sharp and crisp without being uncomfortable, and the mid-range was perfectly rendered. In the bass department, the low-end was punchy at the right amount. Sennheiser HD280PRO have throughout genres presented clean and precise sound. The soundstage was amazingly detailed and wide, which was a nice surprise considering that these are closed-back headphones. The frequency on the low-end goes down to 8Hz, which is pretty uncommon considering the price of the product. The low frequency provides you more accurate bass.
Unless you plan on commuting in these, the Sennheiser HD280PRO make the perfect pair of headphones for analytical listening and for precise and clean music listening experience. Best in the field.