5 Best Studio Headphones for Mixing – Perfecting your Tracks

Best studio headphones for mixing

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Mixing with Studio Headphones can make or break your final sound output

Best Studio Headphones for Mixing

When it comes to making music, mixing is a different beast. Determining the final dynamics, volume levels, and effects can make or break the song, and deserve extra caution.

If you’re mixing with headphones, you’ll need spacious, open-back headphones. These models offer a natural output without piercing frequencies. Closed-backs are great for monitoring live recordings and reducing audio leaks, but open-back is where it’s at in terms of mixing.

One thing to point out, though. Open-back headphones require a quiet environment, and I’m guessing you work in one. In case you aren’t, I’ll bring out a closed-back option as well as just in case.

With that said, let’s check out some of the best studio headphones for mixing the 2022 market has to offer.

1: AKG Pro Audio K701

Editor’s Pick
AKG Pro Audio K701

Everything you need from a top-notch pair of mixing headphones, at the best possible price!

I don’t say this often but – wow! It’s not often that a set of headphones priced at under $500, or even under $400, delivers a premium performance of $1,000+ items. And this is one of those few instances.

We’re looking at a set of open-back headphones with a top-notch, modern design. As you put them on, the first thing you’ll notice is the exceptional comfort. Firstly, the device sports 3D foam pads. Then, the manufacturer has included genuine leather for the adjustable headband.

And finally, the sonic nature of the open-back headphones is that they cause less fatigue on the ears. The bottom line is: you can legitimately use these puppies for 8-10 hours without feeling like a truck ran you over.

Now, the big thing – the sound! The official specs include terms like “flat-wire coil” and “patented Verimotion diagrams.”

What this stuff delivers is one of the best treble departments, accompanied by booming basses and punchy middles. The word of the day here is “organic.” The output is by no means beefed-up, artificial, of “plastic” as they sometimes put it. It’s spacious, booming, and natural. Ideal for mixing.

After all, mixing is about getting a clear image of the sound output, all the sonic nooks and crannies, and working with them. And that’s exactly what AKG delivers, and then some!

What’s in the Box?

  • The headphones
  • Storage cradle
  • 1/4-inch plug
  • Stereo adapter – 1/4-inch to 1/8-inch
  • User manual

What we like (Pros)

  • Natural, booming sound, ideal for mixing.
  • Amazing price-quality ratio.
  • Durable, classy design.
  • Low ear fatigue, exceptional comfort

What we like less (Cons)

  • Slower customer service

2: Sennheiser HD 800 S

Premium Option
Sennheiser HD 800 S

The best of the best, for those who can afford it!

If you’re in that lucky position where money is not an issue, or you’re willing to spend some extra dollars to get the heap of the crop, I say check out the Sennheiser HD 800 S, the best premium mixing headphones out there.

So why should you spend so much money on a product like this? It’s simple. Getting all the gear you need to set up a room to sound as good as these headphones will cost you many times more.

If your work is a bit more complex and involves a multitude of instruments or plenty of panning, these headphones will rock your world.

Among many user comments, one particularly stood out: “It’s like using real studio monitors.” This is no mean feat when it comes to headphones and I tend to agree.

The sound is top-notch, amazingly accurate. The bass is forceful but constrained within proper limits, and the middles hit you hard. If I’m to get a bit nitpicky, the treble section could use a bit of extra constraint. The build quality is rock solid.

One thing to note about the premium headphones in general. You cannot buy a $1,500 pair expecting it to deliver a 300% better performance than the $500 model. What you can expect, though, is that extra 10% that to a true audiophile – or a studio engineer – will open up new sonic horizons and the way we see a recording. If that’s what you’re after, the HD 800 S is your winning ticket.

What’s in the Box?

  • The headphones
  • 6.35 mm plug
  • 3.5 mm plug
  • Microfiber cleaning cloth
  • User manual and booklet
  • USB with additional instructions

What we like (Pros)

  • The sound quality will open new sonic avenues for you. Trully exceptional.
  • High build quality, elegant design.
  • Actually on par with using studio monitors.
  • Low ear fatigue, exceptional comfort

What we like less (Cons)

  • Treble could use a bit more constraint

3: Samson SR850 Studio Headphones

Budget Pick
Samson SR850 Headphones

You’ll be surprised by what you can get for less than 50 bucks. These headphones are a great match for the studio and punch way above their weight.

We’ve explored the soaring heights of the premium domain, so let’s now see what the opposite side of the price spectrum can get you.

Well, you’ll be surprised – I know I was.

This pair from Samson beats some o the budget options by renowned industry names such as Sennheiser and Audio Technica by a mile. We just might be looking at the best set of mixing headphones under $200, yet they only cost below $50. Amazing!

So what makes the SR850 great. Sounds quality and design combined with stellar value for money, of course.

In the sonic department, the mids and treble frequencies are top-notch for the listed price. Mixing vocals and hi-hats, for example, will be a labor of love. The basses are solid, albeit nothing more than decent.

These are circular headphones, meaning you will have to rest your ears for a minute every few hours. Also, velour earpads! A rare sight on cheap headphones. For the listed price tag, the level of comfort is exceptional.

What’s in the Box?

  • The headphones
  • 6.35 mm plug
  • User manual

What we like (Pros)

  • Amazing middle and treble frequencies.
  • On par with $200 headphones at four times lower price.
  • Top value for money
  • Velour earpads

What we like less (Cons)

  • Bass frequencies aren’t the richest
  • Keep them in quiet surrounding like studio, not exactly for ourside use.

4: Sennheiser HD 599 Headphones

Best Value
Sennheiser HD 599 Studio Headphones

Top bang for the buck from the renowned manufacturer. The Sennheiser HD 599 (like the 598 before it, which is really the same driver and the 599 is the refreshed model) and 600 series have always been impressive with a nice open back experience. You can get them on sale from time to time for a really great deal. While they aren’t young, they sound superb.

If you want a safe option at an affordable price, I say look no further than the Sennheiser HD 599, the best value headphones for mixing the market can offer right now.

First off, the looks are a standout feature with this one, which is rare when it comes to budget-friendly options. I love the ivory finish, and the build quality is excellent. It’s plastic, but still high quality. The leather headband is a nice touch, and so are the velour pads. The plastic construction makes the product very light and exceptionally pleasant on the ears.

Before we talk about the sound, I want to point out a unique proposition these headphones offer: replacement parts are easy to find, and repairs are often a breeze. We are looking at a massive company, so replacements are readily available. The whole device was constructed so you can easily take the broken parts off by yourself and replace them – a big plus.

With that out of the way, the first thing I want to say about the sound quality is that the bass is above average. The way the low-end rolls out is something else. The upper bass frequencies are rich with warmth, delivering a smooth groove. The mids are slightly aggressive and punchier, and so is the treble; not necessarily a drawback for all users, and certainly a sonic trademark. If you’re into rock music, you’ll love these.

What’s in the Box?

  • The headphones
  • 6.35 mm plug
  • 6.35 mm to 3.5 mm adapter
  • User manual

What we like (Pros)

  • Rich bass.
  • Great for rock and guitar-driven music.
  • Exceptional value for money.
  • Great looks and design.

What we like less (Cons)

  • The slightly more aggressive mids and treble aren’t for everyone.

5: Audio-Technica ATH M50x Headphones for Studios

Also Consider
Audio-Technica ATH M50x

These ATH m50x are a closed back headphone and have been a best seller for years and years. It’s almost a cult classic headphone that, for the price, has kept music lovers engaged for years. As a studio headphone they are surprisingly popular and you’ll see these cans attached to plenty of home mixing set ups due to their versatility and comfort.

I said I would bring you a closed-back option just in case, and here we are with the Audio-Technica ATH M50x.

We are looking at a renowned set of headphones that, in my opinion, you cannot go wrong with. These are primarily studio audio monitoring headphones. What that means is production, including mixing.

Now, I said that the natural sound of the open-back models is more well-suited for mixing, but if you operate in a noisier surrounding or maybe have to check your mixes on the go, going closed-back might be your only solution.

Anyhow, the build quality here is solid, the looks are modern and elegant, while the sound is clear and highly detailed. The sonic textures are vibrant, which can work great but also cause fatigue faster. The bass is not too pronounced, the mids are also at standard levels, while the trebles are more powerful, possibly leading to ear fatigue after more extended sessions.

The comfort level is average but still more than enough for the listed price tag. Overall, this is a good product to have in your arsenal, with its own sonic signature.

What’s in the Box?

  • The headphones
  • Coiled 6.35 mm cable
  • Long 3.5 mm cable
  • Short 3.5 mm cable
  • Carrying case
  • User manual and locking guide

What we like (Pros)

  • Exceptionally clear audio.
  • Covers a wide array of genres.
  • Solid build.
  • Great, modern looks.

What we like less (Cons)

  • The stronger trebles and closed-back design cause ear fatigue faster.

Summing it up

So, if you have a quiet environment, then a nice pair of open-back studio headphones is going to make your mixing experience extra fruitful. There are plenty on this list that, based on your budget, will fit the bill.

If your environment is still a little noisy then something like the ATH-m50x, even at its budget price, is a good choice.

I hope this guide was helpful to you, stay safe guys!

A musician with over 2 decades of experience in studio recording. Audiophile, always in pursuit of the perfect set of headphones. King Crimson fan.

This post was last updated on 2023-09-28 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.

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