Headphones, headphones…headphones everywhere…which pair do you pick? They are very essential for any audio monitoring – whether you’re a hard-core sound technician, music producer, or mixer. In this post, I’ve reviewed the best headphones for music production.
Summary: If you need a quick answer, I recommend either this Sennheiser HD 650 or the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO as your top headphones for music production. The 2 models offer flat frequency response to enhance your studio audio production. They are great even with string instruments and extra vocals. Forget your regular earbuds or beats headphones.
Reviews: 7 Best Headphones for Music Production in 2020
Good headphones offer a flatter but feasibly pure, cleaner, and truer sound. But, if you’re listening to sound with highs and lows that are pushed or mids that are too back or too forward, you might make to bad editing decisions.
Sennheiser HD 650 has earned top fame for good reasons – it has premium neodymium magnets and acoustic silk (allows ultra-fine damping), relatively high clamping force (but comfortable). Thus, HD 650 takes the top spot for Best Headphones for Music Production.
Considering design, the Sennheiser HD 650 won’t win a beauty contest. However, it has a solidly built design that definitely speaks to Sennheiser’s excellent sense of material engineering. Most importantly, most of its parts are user serviceable – thus you can take them apart, clean or replace them.
First, I like the Sennheiser HD 650’s rich powerful sound that has a great sense of authority – particularly in the bass. Also, the treble is smooth but it’s textured – but it’s still well extended. This pair is great for intermediate to pro audio engineers. In fact, I feel that the HD 650 is even better for having a tighter sound and warmer tone – thus the soundstage will come out a little more intimate and compressed.
Some music producers claim that the HD 650 is veiled or slow – but, I don’t really agree with this. Clearly, it’ll not scratch the inner of your eardrum with trebles like the AKG or Bayer dynamic DT 880. Though, considering resolution and tightness, the HD 650 ranks up there with other premium headphones. It’s apparent direct detail and resolution is lower since the treble seems to take a backseat in the sound mix. But, the HD 650 has superior technical capability.
Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80 has a legacy that spans over several decades. It’s loved for use in recording studios by sound engineers and music producers. In fact, most audio engineers believe that the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80 is superior to the ATH-M50x – and still have a lower price.
On sound quality, the DT 770 pro has excellent speed and widest soundstage – maybe close to Sennheiser HD 598. On speed, the DT 770 pro has a quick frequency decay, fast attack, and amazing detail rendering. If you don’t mind the low-end frequencies, you’ll find the boosted bass great for electronic music production – with warm sound and an adequate boost to the low end.
I score these headphones highly for comfort – with its pillow and soft velour pads, which will have minimal pressure around your head and thus will work great for extended hours of music production. Despite not being highly portable, compared to smoothing like the ATH-M50x, the DT 770 Pro has an aesthetic rugged look.
It has a precise, extended and punchy Bass (I believe they are bass-light), but also highly relaxed. Its bass response is more on the frequencies of the sub-bass and not mid-bass. Maybe you already know that the regular headphones require some mid-bass hump to produce acceptable bass – but the DT 770 Pro doesn’t. To create a neutral and amazing studio-style sound –w with its detailed highs, wide sound stage and deep natural bass.
Next up is the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x (arguably the most popular studio headphone) –they’re versatile, great for music production, traveling, and reference audio while filming. The main change in the new model is that it has a cable is detachable and are more comfortable.
It trails the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO for recording, audio monitoring, video editing and traveling. Why so? They offer a great balanced rich sound with rich deep lows, balanced mids, and detailed highs.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x has the “V-shaped” sound signature with some slightly accentuated the lows & highs. Also, you’ll not require an amp for the ATH-M50x (they also sound great on phone), are deeply portable (they flex and bend without cracking).
On the downside (well not literally), some producers claim that the headphones have a tight sound space – well, which I think is common in all closed back monitors. Luckily, they’ll achieve excellent sound isolation when there are ambient sounds in the studio. It’s over the ear type – and thus will fit around your ear and thus cancels most of the background noise.
They rotate well, they’re highly flexible, and will lay amazingly flat – and thus they’ll go right into your bag as you move to your studio or traveling. Also, it’s possible to rotate the headphone all the way around. Thus, it’s possible to hold a single cup and listen to anything just like how the DJs do.
I love Audio-Technica ATH-M50x’s audio quality – they are not just loud, but its audio quality is crystal clear – eve compared to the wireless Senheisser. It has a proprietary detachable cable – comes with 3 types of cables (short, coiled, and a long straight cord). Thus you can choose a cord that matches your studio recording environment – may be at home, on the stereo or when sitting on your chair.
The Sennheiser HD 380 PRO has a great feel – ergonomically it’s almost similar to the HD 280s – but has key improvements. It has 54 Ohms impedance – and thus you’ll hear a full capability of sound in most devices.
Compared to the HD 280s, the HD 380 PRO is lighter and has a bigger ear cups – thus definitely more comfortable for your recording studio work.
Sennheiser HD 380 Pro has the IAR – a feature that aligns the headphones’ drives to your ear. This enables the audio to get directed into your ear canal. Therefore, you can simply turn the volume down and hence experience less fatigue – great for long mixing sessions or extended listening.
Also, the Sennheiser HD 380 Pro headphones can easily fold up flat and thus readily fit into your bag while traveling or when aiming to do on-the-go music production.
5. Shure SRH1840 Professional Open Back Headphones (Black)
This Shure SRH1840 comes with the 40mm drivers to provide accurate & balanced highs, smooth and bass. This is made possible by the incorporated neodymium magnets that offer between 10 Hz-30 kHz frequency response.
It has steel driver frames that are designed to prevent internal resonance, which will give you stable audio quality for different volumes. Also, its headband will allow you adjust the headphones positioning to get a great fit and snug.
Further, to encourage adequate airflow, the durable & lightweight (being 0.6 lb.) headphone come with an open-back ear-cup build that will allow highly natural audio. It has a 65-Ohm impedance that is designed to effectively connect to amplifiers to improve the audio quality. It has high-density cushions that greatly surround the ear and has slow-recovery foam for extra comfort. It’ll give you top accuracy, rich bass & detailed highs.