Best studio headphones For Under $500

When it comes to choosing studio headphones, there are 2 main categories to be aware of; “Closed Back” and “Open Back”.   We did our research and saved you the time and put together a list of 5 headphones from each category (in no particular order and based on the highest positive reviews from top US retailers).

Closed Back Headphones

These types of headphones have the ear cups closed, where they make a tight seal around your ear.  They are great for removing background noise in your environment but not good for mixing and mastering.  They could be good to use in a music studio for certain things, but are better off for regular music listeners or audiophiles.

  1. Shure SRH 1540 (4.7/5 stars – $500) – comparable to the legendary Sennheiser HD600 in quality.
  2. Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro (4.5/5 stars – $180) – excellent sound reproduction and very comfortable.
  3. Focal Spirit Professional (4.1/5 stars – $350) – sound great and very durable.
  4. Sennheiser HD 280 Pro (4.3/5 stars – $100) – these are extremely popular, primarily since they are affordable.
  5. Sony MDR-7506 (4.6/5 stars – $100) – slightly better comfort and sound quality than the HD 280.

Open Back Headphones

These types of headphones have the ear cups “opened” so you can hear both the music and whats going on around you.  This creates a very true sound and commonly used by audiophiles.  Most importantly, these are considered the best type for producers/engineers to use for mixing and mastering.

  1. Sennheiser HD600 (4.7/5 stars – $290-$425) – these headphones are considered STANDARD have been around for over 15 years and still among the best!  (don’t bother with HD650 or HD700)
  2. DT880 Pro (4.6/5 stars – $250) – these are more neutral sounding than the DT770 and DT990!
  3. AKG Q701 (4.4/5 stars – $225-$450) – there were created by Quincy Jones cause he liked the K701’s so much that it inspired him to launch his own headphone line!  But be careful, these should be made in Austria and NOT China.  There are lots of fakes out on eBay.
  4. AKG K240 (4.4/5 stars – $60) – very affordable and great beginner headphones.
  5. Shure SRH1840 (4.7/5 stars – $500) – ultra high end listening, loved by audiophiles.



Credit for research goes to and  Home Studio Basics.


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