Music producers are ditching expensive monitors, instead investing in headphones when producing music
This is because the best headphones can oftentimes bring so much more to the table than monitors can. The sound of the best headphones aren’t colored by the shape and treatment of the room you’re producing in. The best headphones don’t rely on one single listening position for optimal results…
But you should not treat all headphones the same. So let’s dive into our short list of the best headphones you, or the music producer in your life, needs to check out.
TL;DR – Best Headphones for Music Production
If you’re looking for the best all around headphones for your productions, then the Focal Listen Studio Headphones are the best option.
If you want a reliable, mid-tier pair of production headphones, then Beyer DT 700 Pro X should be your go to headphones.
Finally, the Sony MDR-7506 is our favorite entry-level headphones for newer producers.
Now let’s dive into the full list of the best headphones for music production…
Headphones for Music Production At A Glance
V-MODA CROSSFADE M-100
The Good: These headphones are durable and built to last. The inline remote and microphone are awesome quality of life and functionality additions.
The Bad: The price on these is a big deterrent for producers looking for approachable headphones for production.
The Bottom Line: Durable and with powerful bass response, these headphones have a strong appeal if you can afford it.
Focal Listen Studio Headphones
The Good: These headphones have exceptional comfort and noise-canceling isolation. These headphones lead selling point is they bring music to you.
The Bad: Competition is fierce at the Focal Listen’s price range and it can be hard to not feel buyers remorse if you’re not satisfied.
The Bottom Line: These headphone’s features allow your music to feel closer than ever before. This makes your mixes sound gorgeous (at least once they’re mixed well).
AKG K553 PRO STUDIO
The Good: The AKG headphones are well balanced and don’t color the signal running, giving you flat and predictable mixes.
The Bad: These headphones would be top-tier for us if they were more comfortable, but I cut more than one session short due to ear fatigue.
The Bottom Line: These have something for every producer at this price point. They are perfect for beginner to intermediate producers who don’t spend hours at a time in the studio.
The Good: These production headphones wrap your head like a glove where you think they will ALMOST fall off; except they never do.
The Bad: These headphones for music producers are on the bulky side, meaning using them on the go is not ideal.
The Bottom Line: The balance between design and durability pairs well with the clarity and dynamics which offers the most bang for your buck.
THE SAMSON Z45
The Good: A great pair of headphones for those dabbling both in the worlds of DJing and production at the same time.
The Bad: The quality of other production headphones beats the quality of these by a big amount.
The Bottom Line: Anything that is decent at everything is never good at something specific. You’ll need to upgrade to a dedicated production headphones if you get these as your music headphones.
NEUMANN NDH 20
The Good: The Neumann’s sound curve is flat and accurate throughout the important bands in the mix (one that targets and draws out vocals and lead synths).
The Bad: The punch of my drums and lead synths while using these headphones is noticeably affected when A/B testing against other models.
The Bottom Line: These headphones are perfect for analytical sound applications, such as editing and mixing vocals and post-production on non-music related projects.
TMA-2 STUDIO WIRELESS
The Good: The 80-hour battery life is the most impressive feat I have seen in the headphone world.
The Bad: These may not be the most well-rounded bluetooth headphones and other options at this price point may be better if your only focus is on the bluetooth functionality.
The Bottom Line: These headphones are a premier option for content makers wanting wireless headphones as their flat response pairs with crazy levels of portability to ensure you are never left without industry-standard audio monitoring.
Beyer DT 700 Pro X
The Good: The acceptable sound quality and high levels of isolation make this a great entry level headphone for music production.
The Bad: The bulky build (and price-point) make it unrealistic for many that this price point is being designed for.
The Bottom Line: Built to last, these durable headphones work well for music producers who move around in the studio a lot and can withstand the wear and tear of an active studio environment.
The Good: These headphones offer extreme quality output at a reasonable price. These are the perfect headphones for producers on a budget.
The Bad: These are entry level, all-purpose studio headphones; meaning serious music producers will find themselves upgrading to dedicated monitoring headphones within a few years or purchasing.
The Bottom Line: The Sony MDRs have become the standard for working with audio in the film, news, and music industries. This alone lets you know that they’re doing something right and that it’s worth your money.
Best Studio Headphones: Product Overview
V-MODA CROSSFADE M-100 AUDIOPHILE HEADPHONES
The Crossfade M-100’s are V-Moda’s entry points into the top-tier market for music producers.
These headphones have everything an industry-competitive set of cans needs. What sets this pair apart from many other music production headphones in the $250-300 price range is the sound quality they put out.
V-Moda takes their definition of ‘audiophile headphone’ with this model, and the quality is second to none. You’ll be working on your mixdowns and productions in the highest possible fidelity.
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The design and construction of these gives comfort and durability, meaning less ear fatigue and a better production experience.
Check out our full review here.
AKG K553 PRO STUDIO HEADPHONES
Next up on our list of entry level headphones for producers is the AKG K553s.
AKG is a heavy-hitting name in music production, and the K553s offer a lightweight, low maintenance option for music producers on the go.
The closed back, over-ear modeling offers for stellar listening, mixing, and mastering while their unique performance blends the line between noise-isolation and a spacious, dimensional sound.
Check out our full review here.
PIONEER HRM-7 HEADPHONES
Most know Pioneer as the standard for DJ and live performance gear. But that by no means discredits their ability for creating high-quality toys for the producer community as well.
And what makes these headphones so special is they offer a wide response range of almost any mid-tier production headphone on the market. We’re talking 5-40k Hz range, which is almost unheard of!
These headphones also shoot for an unobstructed sound, leaving you with a clear and accurate representation of the audio. This not only leads to better quality of sound, but also a more enjoyable listening experience.
Check out our full review here.
THE SAMSON Z45 PROFESSIONAL STUDIO HEADPHONES
The Samson Z45’s perfectly blend of DJ utility and producer functionality. If you’re one of the many artists who are splitting time between both then these are the models for you.
I say this, because the Z45s offer a nice, warm, and rich mid-range which many other headphones at this price point are lacking. This midrange is awesome for bass-heavy genres like DnB and dubstep. It’s all too easy to over-mix the sub frequencies if your listening environment or tools don’t help compensate for it.
The warming of this specific frequency band that the Z45’s adhere to draws the subtler sounds of the mix to the forefront of the project, allowing you to hear the most minute details of your project in crystalline clarity.
Read out full review here.
NEUMANN NDH 20 HEADPHONES
Neumann has been in the production world for some time, making the finest mid-tier microphones and monitors you could ask for. But years ago, they solidified their jump to the production world by introducing their NDH line of headphones.
These are predictable and clear, offering a flat frequency response for producers looking not to have their sound colored or affected like the previous headphones tend to do.
What makes these headphones stand out from the rest is Neumann’s emphasis on portability. Folding hinges, detachable cables, and a lightweight carrying case allow you to take these headphones on the go and produce wherever your heart desires.
Read out full review here.
TMA-2 STUDIO WIRELESS HEADPHONES
Knowing that Richie Hawtin and AIAIAI have worked on this makes it enough to pique any true producer-fanatic’s attention.
The W+ Link technology in these headphones are made for music production, and provide zero latency and lossless audio for the user. What W+ is is an audio codec that relies on a specific frequency band to send bluetooth audio at the highest possible level of quality.
This helps, because the wireless nature of these headphones means you can be moving around the studio, tweaking synths and dialing in guitar tunings using the headphones 80+ hours of battery life and never have to worry about delay, latency, or loss of quality in your work.
Read our full review here.
Senheiser has a reputation to uphold, and established its diamond-standard in the early 1990’s when it debuted the Orpheus model of headphones. These headphones sold, then, for a whopping $16k.
Well the company recently revamped the iconic model to be something better than it’s ever been….
The only problem is that it’s going to cost you close to $55k!
Okay, so this final option is a bit of a troll option. But I did say this is the Best Headphones For Music Production after all didn’t I?
Check out our full review of these headphones here.
Headphones for Music Production – Buying Guide
Every music producer needs something different from their headphones; there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer to which headphones are the best.
All we can discover is which headphones are best FOR YOU.
Which means that first you should define what exactly you are trying to get our of these headphones. Are you mixing audio for podcasts or mixed-media? Do you need warmer textures in your sounds when producing softer genres of house music like Nora En Pure? Some of you may be casual beat makers, only working for a few minutes each session. Others need the comfort of headphones that can stay on their head after an entire day’s work tracking in the studio.
The above guide has done it’s best to includes in information that will inform you which headphones suite your needs (whatever they may be).
This guide for music production headphones and gear is our continuous attempt to bring you, or the music producer in your life, the absolute highest and most actionable information for buying music production gear.
We scoured the internet, looking at as many. different sources as we could and the myriad reviews on each to create this definitive list.
We did our best to remain as unbiased as we could while at the same time giving you honest, actionable recommendations of each headphone on this list and to be honest we did a damn good job.
Headphones for Music Production – Honorable Mentions
Here are a few, fast, and easy recommendations you should check out as well in case nothing above suites your needs and desires in the studio.
We’ve even done some of the heavy lifting for you so that you can see the price. point, the specs, and some buzzwords that may help you make your decision fast and efficiently.
AKG K271 MKII – $255 / Closed-back, Dynamic / Comfortable, lightweight, and sound amazing with guitars
Status Audio CB-1 – $59 / Closed-back, Dynamic / Flat, natural, and affordable
Sennheiser HD 800 S – $1,599 / Open-back, Dynamic / Ideal for production-based audiophiles
Fostex TH900 MKII – $1,799 / Closed-back, Dynamic / Stylish, aesthetically pleasing, and operates on am magnetic driver.
AKG K812 – $1,665 / Open-back, Dynamic / highest-quality audio that warrants the price tag
Audeze LCD-XC – $1,299 / Closed-back, Planar Magnetic / Reputable brand that comes with stellar customer service
Stax SR-Lambda SR-507 – $747 / Open-back, Electronstatic / Synthetic leather pads offer extreme comfort at a medium-tier price
Audio-Technica ATH-R70x – $209 / Open-back, Planar Magnetic / Flat, quality response that’s received near-perfect reviews from thousands of producers