The Best Headphones for Audio Production

The best headphones for audio production

What are some of the best headphones you can get for your home recording studio? There are so many brands and models out there it’s hard to choose between them all. Maybe you need really quiet ones that don’t bleed at all for recording. Maybe you want to be able to mix with them but also be able to take them on the road.

Regardless of what you want to use them for, here are some suggestions for the best headphones for all the situations that might pop up.

Sennheiser HD-202

Cheap, sturdy and sound good. I use these for tracking and they work great.

Sennheiser HD-280 Pro

I used these at my old job where I taught kids about music production and engineering. I barely knew more than them at the time but I did know that this high-end pair sounds amazing.

AKG K-77

The SAE Insitute I studied at had boatloads of these to use for tracking and mixing purposes. Certainly a contender for the home recording studio.

Ultrasone Pro-900

They don’t get any better than this. Ultrasone make some of the best headphones on the market. But don’t take my word for it, listen to the man at the top talk about them in the video below.

Audio Technica ATH-M50

These headphones are great for mixing live sound due to their easy one ear monitoring. When I’m doing live sound I like checking each instrument with headphones and for that they get my vote.

Bose Noise Canceling Headphones

Extremely expensive but amazing sounding. These have a switch on them that filters out any outside noise so you feel alone with your music. These are the best headphones if you need to work in noisy environments, or hate plane noise. It’s all gone with a flick of a switch.

Direct Sound Extreme Isolation Headphones

These headphones will not bleed any sound to a live microphone when you are recording. They are great for drummers that want a loud click-track to their drum-kit to.

What headphones are you using in your production?  Many people swear by their specific headphone brand and model so let me know what you are currently using.

Remember though, the best headphones in the world won’t make a badly recorded song sound good.

  • Scott

    I use Sennheiser HD-SP II. Great clear sounding headphones but can be uncomfortable for extended listening.

    • http://www.masteringmastering.co.uk/onlinemastering.html online mastering

      I like the beyer DT770pro and AKG K240 for different purposes. The Beyer for QC, hyped and enclosed. The AKG for neutrality and comfort. cheers

  • Björgvin Benediktsson

    I have yet to try a headphone that doesn’t become uncomfortable at some point. Some are obviously more comfortable than others so I strive to find a nice balance of audio quality and comfort.

    Thanks for your comment.

  • http://www.sjolund.se Jimmy

    The school where I studied audio engineering used AKG K-240 all around so I ended up continuing to use them ever since. They put up a bit of bass I think but I’m used to them and know how “it should sound”. Since they are not closed headphones I noticed lately I’m getting some leakage on my home recording and just order a pair of Shure SRH 240. It will be fun to try them out.

    • Björgvin Benediktsson

      Nice. Yeah, it’s a good idea to have closed back for recording due to spill and such.

      Thanks for the comment.

  • Smurf

    I use to use the K-240′s for years, but after trying the ATH-M40fs I could never go back. The mid-range in these are right on, and I can pretty much rough in a mix on these with no problem, unlike the K-240′s.

    Good article!

    • Björgvin Benediktsson

      Nice. It’s sweet to be able to rough out a mix on headphones pretty accurately. Seems like you found the ones for you.

      Thanks for the comment.

  • Mitchell s

    I love my Sennheiser HD 380 Pro! They have big cups that fit over your ear and not on so when you wear em for long hours they are comfortable and they are really clear compared to other brands out there.

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  • Susan_2d

    I do audio engineering for movies, had a lot of experience with headphones. If you’re on a budget I would either go with the:

    Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Studio Monitor Headphones – $159.00 (http://tinyurl.com/3fuceuj)

    or

    Sennheiser HD595 Dynamic High Grade Performance Premiere Headphones – $189.00 (http://tinyurl.com/3tem4f4)

    If price isn’t an issue, the nicest headphones I’ve ever user are the Sennheiser HD800 Over-Ear Circum-Aural Dynamic Premiere Headphone – (http://tinyurl.com/3obpum8)

  • Noonie

    Your advice is all really great! But im still a little undecided.Can anyone help,I want to get a good pair as a present for my boyfriend who is studying music production but he also records with a band and mixes/edits tracks.my budget is 200-250euro!the bose noise cancelling sound amazing but are they just un necessary for what is needed?much appreciated!

    • http://audio-issues.com Björgvin Benediktsson

      I would say that the noise canceling ones are probably unnecessary for your needs. The Ultrasones are really great, and if you can get any model within your price range I would do so.  The Sennheiser ones are really good as well, and they should only cost around $150-$200 or so, and the Audio Technicas are popular as well. Hope this helps!

  • Heiðar

    Flott grein, einfalt og hnitmiðað. Takk takk.

    • Heiðar

      Vangaveltur,
      Hvaða interface myndir þú mæla með fyrir heimilið?

      Hefurðu notað Beyer DT250 eða 770?

      • Björgvin Benediktsson

        Ég hef notað hvorugt. Ég nota Apogee Duet nýja núna. Þetta fer bara eftir því hvað þú ert að leita að,hversu mörg input og hversu dýrt etc..

        • Heiðar

          Já að vísu, svo mikið úrval í boði. 2 i/p duga langleiðina, er með 8 rása mixer líka ef þörf er. Endaði í M-audio C-400. Beyerdynamic 250 hljóma vel svo ég endaði á þeim, low budject studenta heima leikföng :D

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  • http://pixelogist.me Heshan

    Nice list. I actually prefer the Sennheiser HD201 to the 202 – more natural, and without the added bass, which I prefer for my basic studio work. I’ve been using the HD201s for around 3 years now; unfortunately, the left channel on my pair conked off (something that’s happened a lot to me with Senns) so I’m looking to upgrade. the HD280Pro looks very good, as do the Shure/KRK ones in that price range $100-170)

    I’m actually deciding between the Shure SRH840, the KRK KNS 8400, and the HD280. I have a very basic studio setup and cannot afford a lot of gear, so I’ll be using these cans for tracking as well as mixing – I’ve read everybody speaking of the necessity for monitors for mixing, but I can’t get monitors right now, so the headphones will have to do until I get a pair of speakers. Would you be able to recommend one of these three? Thanks!

  • Victor

    For music and gamming which headphone do you recommend? (max 300 dollars)

    • Björgvin Benediktsson

      That’s pretty broad. I think any of the higher-end ones would be good for music. As for gaming you might want to go for comfort if you’re going for long periods of time with them on your head.