You can’t produce good audio without having a suitable set of headphones to edit with
- You can't produce good audio without having a suitable set of headphones to edit with
- 1. Beyerdynamic DT-1990 Pro
- 2. Sennheiser HD280 Pro
- 3. Sony MDR7506 Audio Headphones
- 4. Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO (32 ohms) Audio Editing Headphones
- 5. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Mixing Headphones
- 6. Sony MDRV6 Studio Monitor Headphones
- 7. Sennheiser Pro Audio HD 300 PRO
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Headphones for Audio Editing
You need high-quality headphones to hear every subtle detail when editing audio. Luckily, there are many suitable options. The hard part is comparing headphones to find the best choice.
There are many factors to consider when looking for high-quality headphones. The drivers, impedance, design, and overall sound profile can dramatically impact your ability to edit audio.
While these sit a little more expensive than you’re thinking of going for it is impossible not to pick them as the best audio editing headphones on the market for less than $500. The sound production quality is so natural it’s hard to product a poor edit from these.
It’s rare that we stick with one brand for all recommendations but the DT 770 Pro are a staple of the editing and recording process of so many studios it’s impossible to recommend it as the more affordable option to the 1990-Pro headphones. Clear, natural sound for a much cheaper price. The differing ohms in each model give you options based on what you’re using as a source for these.
To help narrow your search, here are the seven best headphones for audio editing.
1. Beyerdynamic DT-1990 Pro
Many of you will already know these are one of my favorite headphones for any listening, not just for audio editing.
The Beyerdynamic DT-1990 Pro is a pair of professional-grade over-ear headphones with an open design. It comes with two three-meter detachable cables with mini-XLR connectors. One cable is straight while the other is coiled. The port for the cable is on one side of the headphones, keeping the cable out of the way.
The DT-1990 Pro headphones have an impedance of 250 ohms, helping to eliminate interference and deliver cleaner audio. However, the higher impedance also requires additional amplification. As with many high-end headphones, the audio output is too quiet without an external power source to amplify the sound.
The frequency response is 5 Hz to 40,000 Hz. The extended range is intended to offer more clarity for the higher frequency sounds, such as vocals and high notes.
With the DT-1990 Pro, you get to two sets of ear pads with separate sound characteristics. One pair of ear pads provide an analytical sound profile with rich mid-range sounds and precise bass. The other pair provides a balanced profile with a fuller sound and less detail in the mid and upper frequencies.
The DT-1990 Pro headphones come with a large price tag, which is justified by the high level of craftsmanship. Each pair is handcrafted in Germany using premium materials, including the high-resolution Tesla drivers and titanium-coated acoustic fabric.
The combination of design features and high-quality components helps deliver optimal sound reproduction for audio editing. You should be able to hear every nuance in your audio tracks, whether you are editing music or audio for film.
- Includes an open design to improve spatial sound reproduction
- Comes with two pairs of ear pads with separate sound profiles
- The 250 ohms impedance helps eliminate interference
- One of the more expensive options
- Requires external amplification for optimal sound and power
2. Sennheiser HD280 Pro
The relatively affordable Sennheiser HD280 Pro headphones may offer the best overall value. This pair of closed-ear headphones are lightweight, comfortable, and capable of producing high-fidelity audio without costing a fortune.
As with many audio editing headphones, the HD280 Pro has an extended frequency response to deliver a more natural sound. The frequency response is 8 Hz to 25,000 Hz, extending just beyond the limits of human hearing.
It also has an impedance of 64 ohms, filtering out DC and AC noise and increasing the warmth of the sound. However, you are likely to require an amplifier to hear the audio at suitable levels for audio editing.
The design includes padding on the headband and ear pads for increased comfort and sound isolation. The large over-ear pads drown out up to 32 dB of outside sound, allowing you to focus on your audio editing.
When not in use, the ear cups can rotate and the headband folds to save space and protect the headphones during storage or transport. The design is durable and convenient to wear, with a single-sided cable and adjustable, swiveling ear cups. The coiled cable is fixed to the left ear cup and extends up to 9.8 feet.
Overall, the Sennheiser HD280 Pro offers balanced, clear sound across the frequency range. The coiled cable may be a little annoying due to its size, but the headphones provide a great value for this price range.
- Affordable pair of professional-grade headphones
- High impedance helps filter out unwanted noise
- The large, padded ear pads block outside noise
- The coiled cable is heavy and may get in the way
- You will likely need an amplifier when editing audio
3. Sony MDR7506 Audio Headphones
The Sony MDR7506 headphones are another mid-range option with powerful, rich sound at an affordable price. It features 40-millimeter drivers and neodymium magnets with a frequency response of 10 Hz to 20 Khz.
While it may not offer an extended frequency range, it provides detailed sound for its price point. The ear pads include a large diaphragm and soft cushions to cover your ears and help block outside noise.
The headphones are foldable and feature rugged construction for increased durability. With proper care, these headphones may offer years of use. They even come with a soft storage case.
The cable is not detachable. It is a coiled cable with a 1/8-inch plug and a 1/4-inch adapter. When extended, the coil reaches 9.8 feet. The first couple of feet are straight while the rest of the cable is coiled, which may limit the inconvenience of a coiled cable.
The impedance is 63 ohms and the 40 mm drivers have a sensitivity of 106 decibels. The high impedance design helps deliver faithful sound reproduction, which is necessary for professional audio editing.
With the Sony MDR7506 headphones, you receive clean, clear sound without a lot of bass, making them ideal for any type of audio editing application.
- Budget pair of high-quality headphones
- Offers clean, natural sound
- The high impedance improves sound clarity
- Most applications will require an amplifier
- Does not offer an extended frequency response
4. Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO (32 ohms) Audio Editing Headphones
If you want a versatile pair of headphones that you can use with almost any amplifier or device, the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO may be the right fit. It has an impedance of 32 ohms, which should allow you to edit audio on a computer or laptop. However, the impedance is still high enough to eliminate noise on the line, which helps prevent a reduction in sound quality.
These things have been industry staples since forever. They are like the Shure SM58 of audio editing headphones. The sound signature is so nice for performing in the studio or for editing and mixing that for the price they are hard to ignore.
The DT 770 Pro headphones are intended for professional use and high-fi applications, including audio editing. They feature a closed headphone design with a focus on acoustic definition and spatial reproduction. The high frequencies are clear while the bass sounds are crisp. You get a very spacious, transparent sound without overpowering bass.
The clarity of the high frequencies comes from the extended frequency response of the headphones, with a range of 5 Hz to 35,000 Hz.
The DT 770 Pro headphones are wired with a one-side cable. The fixed, straight cable measures 1.6 meters and has a mini-jack plug and a 1/4-inch adapter. The cable is a little short compared to most pro headphones, but this may not be an issue for everyone.
The headphones are ruggedly constructed and designed to remain comfortable over long periods. They feature velour ear pads and an adjustable headband with a steel spring for a custom fit.
- Comfortable, durable design and construction
- Provides exceptional clarity and acoustic definition
- Comes with a straight cable instead of a coiled cable
- The cable is relatively short, measuring just 1.6 meters
- The cost is a little higher compared to other mid-range options
5. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Mixing Headphones
The ATH-M50X from Audio-Technica delivers clarity thanks to an extended frequency range and carefully designed acoustic architecture. Each ear contains a 45 mm large-aperture driver with copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils and rare earth magnets. The result is a clear sound profile across the entire frequency range, including the bass frequencies.
The design of the ATH-M50X headphones provides comfort and versatility. The headband and ear cups are adjustable to accommodate any size head. The ear cups also swivel 90-degrees, which is useful for one-ear monitoring.
The ATH-M50X uses detachable cables and comes with two. You get a coiled cable measuring 3.9 to 9.8 feet and a 3.9-foot straight cable.
The frequency response is 15 Hz to 28,000 Hz, which is comparable to other high-end headphones. The slightly extended range improves the accuracy of sound reproduction.
The sensitivity is 98 decibels and it has an impedance of 38 ohms. At high levels, without an amplifier, you are likely to experience distortion.
- Includes 90-degree swivel ear pads for one-ear monitoring
- Comes with a coiled cable and a straight cable
- Provides clear, crisp sound
- May require an amplifier to avoid distortion at high levels
- The faux leather on the ear pads may wear easily
6. Sony MDRV6 Studio Monitor Headphones
The Sony MDRV6 Studio Monitor headphones were the initial entry in Sony’s line of studio monitor headphones. The MDR-V6 quickly became the most popular model in the lineup, thanks to its accurate sound reproduction.
The quality of the sound comes from a pair of neodymium magnets and 40 mm drivers, along with a wide frequency response of 5 Hz to 30,000 Hz. The MDR-V6 headphones bring greater clarity across the frequency spectrum, from low bass sounds to high notes.
The headphones also feature large diaphragms and comfortable padded ear pads to reduce external noises. When not in use, the headphones fold for compact storage.
The adjustable headband is wide and padded to help distribute the weight of the headphones over a wider area. This reduces pressure on the top and sides of your head, allowing you to remain comfortable for hours.
The sound is well-balanced and tends to accentuate the bass. The mid and upper frequencies are less prominent, which may be an issue for detecting distortion during audio editing.
- The design is fully adjustable and comfortable
- The sound is well-balanced and accurate
- The padded ear pads help block outside sounds
- The bass sounds are prominent
- The MDR-V6 is becoming difficult to find
7. Sennheiser Pro Audio HD 300 PRO
The Sennheiser Pro Audio HD 300 Pro monitors are good headphones for editing live or in the studio. They are professional-grade headphones with a high-resolution acoustic system to provide more detail to mid-range sounds.
The design of the headphones allows for convenient storage, as the headband and ear pads fold easily. They are also adjustable and heavily padded for optimal comfort during long monitoring sessions.
The ear pads feature the standard closed-ear design to help isolate sound. It can effectively block outside noises while delivering crystal clear audio.
The impedance is 64 ohms, which is relatively common for a pair of affordable studio monitors. With the right amp, the sound is exceptionally accurate. The frequency response is 6 Hz to 25,000 Hz and it has a maximum sensitivity of 123 decibels.
The cable is one-sided, located at the bottom of the left ear pad. It uses detachable cables and comes with a 1.5-meter cable with a 3.5 mm jack and a 1/4-inch adapter.
The Sennheiser Pro Audio HD 300 Pro stands out for offering distortion-free, accurate sound at about half of the price of the typical high-end studio monitors.
- Provides great value for your money
- Delivers accurate, neutral sound for professional audio editing
- Uses detachable cables
- The provided cable is a little short
- Does not have an active guard for sounds above 110 decibels
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are struggling to choose the best headphones for sound editing, the answers to these frequently asked questions may help you with your decision.
What Size Drivers Are Best for Audio Editing?
Headphones typically come with 20 mm to 50 mm drivers. Larger drivers deliver more power and larger frequency response. However, a larger driver does not always provide better sound.
The quality of the sound depends largely on the design of the headphones and the components. The best headphones for mixing are typically tuned to deliver neutral, accurate sound. If the drivers are too large, they may emphasize the bass sounds, reducing the overall clarity of the mid-range sounds.
Ideally, you should look for headphones with 40 mm to 45 mm drivers.
What Impedance Level Should I Look for in Studio Monitors?
Studio monitors tend to have high impedance levels, which limits the flow of electricity through the drivers. By impeding more of the electrical audio signal, the headphones filter unwanted noise and interference that degrades sound quality.
The impedance may range from 8 to 600 ohms, depending on the headphones. The more affordable editing headphones tend to have an impedance of 32 to 64 ohms and some audio editing headphones between 300-600 ohms. At the lower end, you may use the headphones without an amp, but with potentially limited sound levels. At the higher end, you need to connect the headphones to an amp or DAC to increase the audio signal.
If you plan on editing on your laptop or computer with no additional audio gear, consider looking for headphones with an impedance of 32 ohms or less. For those using professional audio gear, consider getting headphones with at least 64 ohms impedance.
Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.
Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.
This post was last updated on 2023-09-26 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.