Transform Your Rough Recordings Into Released Records, Even If You Only Have a Home Studio

5 Studio Headphones That Won’t Break The Bank

Dabbling in creating your own music doesn’t have to be expensive.

If you don’t have money for high-end reference monitors, investing in a good pair of studio headphones can be a great way to get started.

In fact, many studio headphones are very affordable while still being high in quality. You’d be surprised what you can find when you do a little bit of research. Well rest assured; we have done that hard part for you.

In this article, we are going to list 5 studio headphones that won’t break the bank. Keep in mind that many of the links in this article are affiliate links that help support Audio Issues if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Sennheiser HD280 Pro

No list about studio headphones can’t really be complete without at least one entry from Sennheiser. The Sennhesier HD280 Pro represents studio headphones in the purist form – no flashy gimmicks, just performance, and comfort.

It’s amazing how good these sound considering the sub $100 price tag. The mids are clear and the bass isn’t overpowering. These are the features you want in studio headphones. Sound isolation is also excellent and ensures you can hear every detail of a recording.

While there are no complaints in the comfort of wearing these, you can always opt for the newer version of the HD280, which comes with an updated headband – resulting in a better fit.

To sum it up, Your Best Picks gave these headphones one of their top rankings in their best closed-back headphones of 2020 saying ‘It’s a perfect tool for recording or for anyone looking for a great pair of headphones, and it’s also extremely well priced.’

AKG K240

These babies are in fact the best-selling headphones offered by AKG. And it’s easy to see why. The open-back design offers superior mastering and mixing abilities compared to headphones that fall in a similar price range.

They do what every great studio headphone should do – produce the original sound as honest as possible.

Of course, it is not just about sound quality (though that is the most important thing). The build quality is also decent but reflects the budget price range. It’s mainly plastic which means these headphones are extremely light. The headband does not even need to be super thick. Many users have reported wearing these all day with little discomfort.

Alex Rowe (a pretty popular reviewer in the headphone space) summed it up perfectly – ‘The K240 Studios are a great-sounding, detailed, comfy pair of open headphones for a very affordable price.‘ They are certainly worth your consideration.

Superlux HD 681

Hailing from Taiwan, the Superlux HD 681 offers very good value for the price. Expectations are exceeded in all categories.

Sound quality is mostly great. It’s accurate in all sound ranges with a slight loss of quality towards the higher frequencies. Build quality does lack, but comfortability is a plus. These feature generously large and thickly padded earcups so long sessions in the studio isn’t a problem.

A relative newcomer to the American market, Superlux has been around for more than 30 years. They’ve even been called the best circumaural headphones you can get for the price.

Samson SR850

For under $50 you can get studio headphones that sound better than other models that are several times more expensive.

The SR850 offers an accurate production of the source sound with a bit of punchiness on the bass side of things.

The build material lacks behind even the AKG K240 as it is mostly plastic. However; they will still last years as long as you treat them as you would more expensive models. The vinyl pads can also lead to sweaty ears so you might also want to place some alternative covering over them.

If you’re dabbling into music production for the first time, the SR850’s are a great entry point into high quality studio sound.

Audio Technica ATH-M20X

Audio Technica have a bunch of studio headphones that could make this list. While the ATH-M50X (and M40x) are regarded as their flagships of the M-series, they do fall outside the price range of this list.

The ATH-M20X does fall in the budget category and can be had for under $100.

Whilst the sound quality of these headphones almost matches that of it’s more expensive siblings, the biggest difference comes with the build quality. It seems to be the most common trend amongst popular cheaper headphones. The earpad foam isn’t as soft and the materials just don’t have that premium feel.

But you can’t really complain at this price range. Since they are lightweight, they are still very comfortable to wear.

These are a top choice if you can’t afford the better (and more expensive) M50X.

Price isn’t everything

After doing some research, you’ll realize that price doesn’t mean that much when it comes to studio headphones.

For many models, the main difference between a cheaper one and something several hundred dollars more expensive is build quality, not sound quality.

And they will still last you several years if you treat them right. The fact is, there are many great models for under $100 that can be had, you just need to find them.


Photo by Jan Střecha on Unsplash

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About Audio Issues and Björgvin Benediktsson

We help musicians transform their recordings into radio-ready and release-worthy records they’re proud to release.

We do this by offering simple and practical music production and success skills they can use immediately to level themselves up – while rejecting negativity and gear-shaming from the industry. A rising tide floats all boats and the ocean is big enough for all of us to surf the sound waves.

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