You might be wondering whether you need specific headphones for music production. While a regular set of headphones is great for enjoying music, they often have features to enhance bass and treble for an improved listening experience. But when you’re working on music production, you want an authentic and original sound, so you need a set of headphones with a high resolution and proper balance.
Fortunately, with so many headphones on the market, there’s always an option to fit your budget and needs. It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional music producer or a newbie playing with recording software. However, when you have the opportunity, getting a more expensive set of headphones that are likely to last for decades is probably your best option.
This guide will look at factors to consider when purchasing the best headphones for music production. We will also examine the various pros and cons of some of the most popular headphones on the market.
In a hurry? Here are our top picks:
- OneOdio Wire Studio Headphones
- Sony MDR-7506 Professional
- Sennheiser HD 599 Open-Back Headphones
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones – Our Top Pick
- Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro
- PreSonus HD7 Professional Monitoring Headphones
How To Choose Headphones For Music Production
There are many things to consider when buying a pair of headphones for producing music. You want to pick the set that will offer you the most bang for your buck, from design and comfort to sound quality, frequency range, and compatibility. However, you also don’t want to break the bank on a single pair of headphones.
Finding the right headphones to fit your needs can be time-consuming. So, we’ve saved you some time by preparing this buyer’s guide to help you know what to look for in the best headphones for music production, from design and sound to comfort and durability.
We will also look at various sets of headphones at many different price points. Many have the same basic features, but you will undoubtedly favor some factors over others.
Most headphones for music production have the standard “old school” look that resembles a pair of earmuffs. When using this style, you’ll want to find a set of headphones with good adjustability options for maximum comfort. You don’t want your headphones to slip around, so they need to be adjustable to make them small or big enough to stay on your head comfortably.
You may also want to consider the fabric used on the earcups and whether the headband is made of plastic or has fabric around it for comfort. You’ll also want to decide ahead of time between open-back and closed-back headphones.
Open-back headphones allow for a more natural sound and are perfect for critical listening as well as mixing and mastering audio files. Closed-back headphones, on the other hand, are ideal for sound isolation, and they make an excellent option for singers and musicians to monitor their sound as they perform in the recording booth.
Related article – Why Do Singers Wear Earpieces?
Every set of headphones will have a different sound quality, and some offer features that others don’t. While many headphones will be heavier on bass or lower range sounds, production headphones usually provide a more flat and balanced sound and frequency range.
Personal preference will undoubtedly come into play when ordering a pair of headphones. But overall, you want headphones that will offer the most authentic and high-resolution sound possible for producing music.
Some factors to consider when it comes to sound quality are:
- Whether the headphones emphasize bass and treble
- Whether they offer balanced and natural sounds
- How much sound they block out to help improve what you hear
Related article – How To Balance Bass And Treble
Something else you’ll need to consider is whether you want wired or wireless headphones. Of course, like anything else, there are advantages to both options, and in the end, your choice will mostly come down to personal preference.
A pair of wireless headphones is probably the best option for those who can’t sit still (because of their job or just in general). Since most wireless headphones use Bluetooth, they easily connect to most phones, tablets, PCs, and other devices. This gives you the ability to walk around freely without worrying about snagging the cord.
On the other hand, wired headphones typically have a higher quality signal, allowing for better sound quality. You won’t experience being disconnected or having delays because you walked too far away. They also offer a more responsive listening experience in most cases. Generally, people prefer wired headphones for critical listening.
Related article – Do Wireless Headphones Have Delay?
Size is something you’ll likely factor into comfort when picking a pair of headphones. After all, while great for sound quality, bulky headphones can be uncomfortable. Some people would rather forgo the sound quality for something smaller, such as in-ear headphones like AirPods.
If you’re going to be up and wandering around while listening, then something wireless and lightweight might be best. However, if you’re producing music, you might be more inclined to purchase a pair of “earmuff” style headphones that will cancel out other noises and let you focus on the music.
The materials used and the design style will play a vital role in comfort, so finding the style that fits your preferences the best is essential to choosing the best headphones for music production.
Along with comfort and sound quality, the last factor you should think about is durability. While it might come with a higher price tag, a more expensive set of headphones is likely to last for years to come.
Usually, bulkier headphones are more likely to withstand constant use without losing their sound quality. On the other hand, budget in-ear headphones often see one side or the other stop working within a year of purchase.
Our Pick For Best Headphones For Music Production
Now that we’ve looked at what makes a great set of headphones for music production, let’s look at some popular headphones by some of the most recognized brands. We’ve taken all the above criteria into account while making this list.
You’ll find a combination of budget-friendly and durable pricey long-term options to consider. Having so many options means that you can choose the headphones that will serve you the best based on your current needs, no matter where you are in your music production journey.
This popular and budget-friendly set of headphones brings all the quality you would expect of a more expensive brand. They offer a robust base and tend to enhance lower frequency sounds. With the adjustable headband, you’ll get clear sound quality and a comfortable and customizable fit.
The OneOdio Wire Studio Headphones are interchangeable with most headphone cords and compatible with any device with a 3.5mm or 6.35mm audio jack.
The Sony MDR-7506 Professional is an industry-standard closed-back headphone and one of the most popular professional headphones worldwide. These headphones are where quality and budget-friendliness meet in the middle from a well-known brand.
Adjustable to provide a great fit, you can use these headphones for monitoring, recording, tracking, and more. Often found in broadcasting and music studios, this trusted brand offers sturdy and high-quality headphones at an accessible price.
These open-back headphones offer a focus on high-quality performance. Oval-shaped and on the smaller side for comfort, the design is unique. The oval shape directs the audio more naturally and professionally. Meanwhile, the stitched headband and the earcups use velour fabric.
Overall, you should consider the Sennheiser HD 599 Open-Back Headphones when you can spend a little more for comfort, quality, and durability but don’t want to sacrifice sound quality to get any of those things.
These are highly rated and fully immersive closed-back headphones. Created to provide a professional listening experience, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones use 45mm drivers and oversized copper voice coils to optimize and enhance sound reproduction. Features like rotating earcups, professional-grade padding, and well-balanced sound are excellent options for professional quality at a reasonable price.
These headphones come with the possibility to be both wireless and wired. The wireless option functions via Bluetooth, while the set also comes with two options for cords, both straight and spiral. However, the lines are brand specific, so you can’t just replace a lost cord with any 3.5mm cables.
This set of headphones offers a unique style with a semi-open back. These are excellent for mixing and mastering and have sound quality comparable to many expensive but similar sets.
A unique benefit of the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro is that all the parts are replaceable, allowing you to order pieces when you need to repair a much-loved outfit. Considered to have one of the best sounds around, this is a comfortable and durable set of headphones that could be a great addition to your collection for years to come.
Another budget-friendly option, the PreSonus HD7 Professional Monitoring Headphones offer a semi-open back with realistic sound reproduction. Lightweight and comfortable, these are an excellent option for those looking for easily adjustable headphones.
Offering a high-resolution neodymium driver, this low-frequency responsive set of headphones has a detachable cable and can connect to most computers and smartphones. This entry-level set performs as well as many models that are almost twice the price.
There’s no one-size-fits-all choice for the best headphones for music production. When trying to pick the right headphones to use when producing music, be sure to keep your preferences and specific needs in mind.
Do you want to find a quality set of budget-friendly headphones, or can you afford to go “all-out” to make sure you get a durable pair that’s comfortable with excellent sound quality?
Don’t forget these factors when you’re shopping:
- Sound quality
It may be hard to find a pair of headphones that tick all the boxes. However, chances are, at least one of the sets of headphones on this list will meet your needs in all the above criteria without breaking the bank. Affordable doesn’t always have to mean cheap.
If we had to pick one, we’d go for the Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones which is a great balance between design, sound quality, and price tag.
Be sure to consider the brand you’re looking at and whether they meet your primary needs with reasonable sound quality and comfort level. No matter your goal or your budget, there is a pair of headphones out there to fit your needs.