Buyer's Guides

Best Studio Headphones for Mixing & Recording in 2024

When it's time to hit the studio for recording or mixing, accuracy is key. The best studio headphones will help you hear every detail so you can perform at your best and craft the perfect finished recording. 

In tandem with your studio monitors, it's important to choose the right tool for each job. Whether it be a natural and airy-sounding set of open-back headphones for polishing your mix, or a comfy set of closed-back headphones for perfect isolation and clarity while tracking - choosing the right studio headphones can feel overwhelming.

There is an abundance of choice on the market to suit any budget or application, so grab yourself a coffee and buckle up as we curate the best studio headphones to suit any budget in 2024.

KRK KNS 8402

  • Detachable cable

  • Memory foam padding is delightfully comfy

KRK’s biggest contribution to the world of music and audio is their ever-popular Rokit monitors, especially popular in the world of bedroom studios that continue to grow. Their studio headphones, then, are very underrated and are a very pleasing product for their lower price point.

The KNS 8402s, a recently revamped version of the 8400s, are looking absolutely top-notch with metal-plated ear cups. But far beyond being mere studio headphone ear candy, they boast high-scoring sound on all fronts, especially a smooth frequency response in the highs, bass and nicely subtle lower and upper midranges. Thus, fantastic headphones for production, mixing and mastering, and kicking back for a listening session.


Sony MDR-7506

  • Still sounding epic after 35+ years

  • A truly industrious pair of studio headphones

One of the more vintage and storied names in this list, the Sony MDR series have been a firm favourite in recording and broadcast studios for decades. The latest iteration of this series, the MDR-7506, offers exceptional comfort, practicality, and value. If you’re reading this thinking that they’ll be mega uncomfy to wear because they’ve been around for a long time, fear not — these studio headphones are remarkably comfortable, even after a long studio session.

They’ll also supersize your ability to spot any flaws in your recordings, as opposed to them flying under the radar on an inferior pair. Best of all, with some smart shopping, they also can fit into the under £/$100 bracket. It’s almost unbelievable that such famous ‘phones are also so affordable. A big name product that always performs.



  • Great for avoiding audio leakage when recording

  • Auto-mute function is a great bonus

AKG is a name that holds great weight amongst headphone and microphone fraternities, and the K271 MKII slaps them right in the middle of the best studio headphones debate. These are a top choice for recording vocals due to their ability to produce a clear and well-defined monitor signal, but equally brilliant for music production, mixing and mastering, and also casual listening (for what it’s worth, I’m listening to music on a pair as I write this!).

If you shop carefully, you can get these studio headphones for around £100/$100, meaning they offer incredible value at this budget. These headphones are widely used in professional studios worldwide and are considered an essential tool by many an engineer. Additionally, they feature a practical auto-mute function that mutes the sound when the headphones are taken off, which is a lovely little feature. 

View more of the best headphones for recording vocals, here.


Røde NTH-100

  • Another strong all-rounder contender

  • The design shows great innovation

Don’t be mistaken in thinking you should only be shopping with Røde for microphones — the Australian tech wizards have been adding complementary products to their lines for several years now. And the NTH-100 places them firmly in the field of the best studio headphones, particularly for those on a budget between £100 and £200. All the more deeply impressive knowing this is the first pair of headphones they’ve created.

These studio headphones deliver well-tuned earcups with a natural fit, while the drivers offer a great balance of width and focus. And considering this is a debut product, the sound reproduction is outrageously faithful.


Focal Listen Professional

  • Solid and reliable sound, even at lower volumes

  • Distinctive aesthetic while being sturdy and comfy

Focal’s Listen Professional studio headphones are aptly titled; they’re brilliant for both casual listening as well as professional jobs. A name that’s avidly favoured by countless producers and engineers, these are some of the best all-rounder headphones you can get your hands on. The fit is a great balance between comfort and ensuring they stay on your noggin for long periods without discomfort.

Expect fantastic, balanced response and outstanding bass, mids and highs, all at a fantastic budget under £200 from some retailers. And they look brilliant, which always helps.


Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

  • Loved by DJs and producers alike

  • A great affordable option

‘X’ marks the spot — the M50x is a reissued model from Audio-Technica, with the ‘x’ signifying a new detachable cable. It’s just another reason Audio-Technica also chart highly in the best studio headphones story of the ages. Unlike a few of the listed competitors, these headphones are delightfully foldable and are also nice and light at just 285g.

Much beyond just being a fantastic budget headphones consideration, the sound levels are very good on all fronts. Enjoy great bottom-end and clear mids, and at just over £100/$100, you can enjoy this listening experience without doing your bank balance too much harm.


Mackie MP-240

  • Hard case is very handy

  • In-ears that could find a place in the studio

What are a pair of in-ear headphones doing in an article about the best studio headphones, I hear you cry? Because, as Bob Dylan likes to remind us, the times they are a-changing. So if over-ear headphones are not your bag, Mackie have delivered a smaller, more convenient product that is nonetheless studio-worthy. Some performers may simply prefer a set of in-ears for tracking. 

Knowing that in 2023, many music producers work on their projects on the go, in hotel rooms and in transit on trains and planes, this is where the incredible-sounding MP-240s could be the headphones for you. Unconventional though it my be, a good set of in-ear monitors are extremely portable for continuing work on the go. Can they replace a good set of closed or open-back studio headphones? Perhaps not, but they're a valid choice in some cases. 


Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X

  • Winning combination of comfort and excellent sound

  • Impressive isolation

If you’re looking for a truly high-end product so you feel confident in gloating that you own the best pair of studio headphones available, the DT 700 Pro X from Beyerdynamic might be the headphones you’re looking for. The earpads will mould to your head like a warm hug, and the STELLAR.45 transducer design delivers an outrageously fast sound response. Distortion, be gone!

It’s all in the details, and the fact that you have a choice of two cables in the box, and all other parts are easily replaceable, means it’s nice to know Beyerdynamic have your back should any mishaps take place. These studio headphones might be in the slightly higher price range here, but tests prove they are absolute winners in all use cases, whether they be music studio projects or casual enjoyment.


Sennheiser HD 400 Pro

  • Nice and comfy (not always the case with professional headphones)

  • Wide frequency response

One of the most professional-standard sets of studio headphones offered by the legendary German brand, Sennheiser’s HD 400 Pro are an excellent choice that all-too comfortably places them in the 2023 best headphones conversation. Exceptional clarity and balance, rather than too much treble that plagues many rivals.

Overblown bass is often an unfortunate characteristic of other closed-back headphones; the HD 400 Pro is all about natural airflow, as well as adding great overall comfort on the head that lasts for hours.


Audio-Technica M70x

  • Replaceable cords

  • Solid build

Audio-Technica are one of the most popular entry-level music production brands out there, and the M70x is touted as their flagship model. And while we’d never recommend you drop your headphones or swing them around the room, these studio headphones are so solidly built that they look like they could take a fair beating until they play their last note of music.

People often complain that closed-back style studio headphones produce too much bass. However, the M70x have a pleasing mid-focus, so you won’t be pounded with an overabundance of bass. All in all, more great tech from Audio-Technica.


Austrian Audio Hi-X65

  • One of the most distinct aesthetics on this list

  • Comfy fit and great sonic signature

After two stops in Slovenia in this list, we now trek north through the mountains into Austria. Austrian Audio might be relatively new to the studio headphones scene, but since releasing their Hi-X65 open-back headphones in 2021, they’ve been met with critical and commercial success.

The foldable design means you can take these with you everywhere and they have plenty of cabling options. But do they sound any good? Absolutely — neutral, balanced sound with very high levels of detail. Absolutely worth the mountain expedition.


OLLO Audio S4X Reference

  • Stunning wood aesthetic

  • Some of the best headphones we've heard in years

A relative newcomer, OLLO have taken the studio headphone market by storm. Sending sound waves to us from beautiful Slovenia amongst the Alps, those in the know largely agree OLLO Audio cans are some of the best studio headphones to hit the market in years.

The S4X are excellent studio headphones for critical listening when producing, mixing and mastering music. The classy, retro aesthetic meets this purpose in great style. Offering two stunning choices of headphones (more on that later), the S4X are OLLO Audio’s reference headphones. Beyond their lovely natural wooden look, also expect to get lost in the exact neutral and highly detailed sound reproduction you should be seeking in your studio headphones.


OLLO Audio S5X Immersive

  • For binaural/immersive mixing, OLLO knock it out of the park
  • Wooden ear cups look fantastic

Back to Slovenia now, where it turns out some of the best studio headphones are being made amongst the Alps. The S5X are superb-sounding reference class, open back, dynamic headphones with a flat frequency response for binaural/immersive mixing. 

The S5X Immersive headphones also feature improved drivers, and an ergonomic design. We love the trademark wooden ear cups — you can almost smell that Slovenian air coming down from the mountains.

The sound detail is quite unmatched, with exceptional instrument separation thanks to the midrange being pushed ever so slightly forwards. Couple this with fantastic dynamics and smooth treble, and you’ll love producing on these for hours on end.


Shure SRH1540

  • Light rather than bulky and heavy

  • Fantastic clarity and detail in sound

Can you trust Shure with being able to offer some of the best studio headphones? Sure you can — the American company has been in the pro audio game for decades now and their microphones have achieved legendary status. The SRH1540 are a pair of headphones for mixing, mastering production, and the rest that are worthy of the name.

These aren’t the most budget studio headphones on the list, but there’s a very good reason for that — these are hugely worth your consideration if you’re looking for a more premium pair. The soundstage is so impressive across the full spectrum, with warm bass and extended highs. The Alcantara leather earpads tick every comfort box also.


Beyerdynamic DT1770 PRO

  • As usual, formidable build quality from Beyerdynamic

  • Worth the price, if you can afford it

As you may have gathered at this point, Beyerdynamic have an extensive range of very good studio headphones. If you’re leaning towards the German brand but scratching your head with so many options, the DT1770 PRO should be in your sights if you have a higher budget and mixing music is your main priority.

The reason they’re so excellent for mixing? These headphones will reproduce every conceivable sound in your signal chain — no flaw or mistake is hiding when these ‘phones are on your head. They are a truly professional product, so absolutely worth a look if your budget is at the pro end of the spectrum.


AKG K712 Pro

  • Excellent sound from a classic pair of headphones reimagined

  • Fantastic build and comfort

Way back in the early 2000s, the Sennheiser HD 650, Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro, and AKG K701 were considered the go-to headphones for quality sound. Today, the AKG K712 Pro is a modernized version of the classic K701, boasting a similar physical design but with a different driver.

The build quality of the K712 Pro is exceptional, with all important mechanical parts made of metal or durable plastic. Like other AKG headphones, it features a suspended headband design, known as a "hammock," which provides a secure fit and distributes the weight of the headphone evenly on the wearer's head. With its open-back design, the K712 Pro delivers a relatively neutral mid-band from 80 Hz to 1100 Hz, which is essential for reproducing instrument fundamental tones in music.

Audeze MM-500

  • A product worthy of the man it is named after, Manny Marroquin

  • Californian excellence in terms of sound

You may have seen plenty of plugins named after music engineer legend Manny Marroquin, and now he enters the best studio headphones battlefield with these studio headphones, made in collaboration with Californian brand Audeze, who have been delivering brilliant audio results for over a decade.

The MM-500 delivers a weighty sound that is somehow still a realistic frequency response. Californian clarity in sound, if you will. If you want an engaged musical experience with your studio headphones, then look no further.


FAQ: What is the difference between studio headphones and regular headphones?

This is a very fair question — you may have a pair of headphones that look similar to the ones listed above, you love how they sound, and have even dabbled in making music with them.

But the simple answer is that studio headphones do something layman headphones do not, and that is to recreate the recorded sound as accurately as possible. Headphones for casual listening have a simple mission: they seek to make your listening experience as enjoyable as possible, meaning they will add warmth to the music or audio you stick on.

Studio headphones essentially do the opposite — if your music production or mix has any flaws, for example, the buzz of a compressor you didn’t spot earlier and other mistakes, these products will hold everything up to the light of day so you can spot them and deal with them. If your mix is bad, studio headphones will let you know unapologetically!

Hopefully, you will soon have your dream pair of studio headphones lovingly attached to your head. With such a wonderful range of products to suit whatever your budget might be, your dream pair of ‘phones await you.

Further reading:

Best budget studio monitors

Best studio monitors for any budget

how studio setup guide - everything you need to get started