Entering into another cool producer zone, this time, the control room focuses on monitoring. And yes, I know what ya`ll gonna say, we already touched that matter few months back. But, as you also are very aware of, every topic has its own scientific depth that, once opened, can be explored infinitely. Like the most far stellar bodies in our Universe. And while your mind strays in a virtually catapulted pod you have been just put on, let me refresh that memory back with today`s intriguing theme aimed at “Top 13 Closed-Back Headphones For Music Production”.
What`s There To Capture?
Top 13 closed-back headphones
Whether you`re on a budget or not, this will be a very suitable write-up to have. When producing, specially a wide-ranged genre like Hip Hop, it`s important to understand what`s your hearing system actually soaking in. I won`t get into the war zone and step on the wound of black and white forces leveling about which is better, speakers or headphones. This is not the debate neither an issue.
Every artist/producer, with enough skill and experience has its own pattern of work. And some will work exclusively on speaker monitors, while others majored on them headphones. Not to mention the silver lining here is a combination of multiple output sources. And the end result, (yes, that “in the car” dogma) will give you the final outcome. So it is really and truly with out a doubt that the way you master something that counts the most. You can do the job with the basic equipment and still manage to provide more than decent work.
Singers and live instrument players will benefit most from closed-back cans, just to make things clear and more specific. But this article`s lenses are mostly cleared for our producer team members.
Now, hanging on to these couple of hopefully motivational cuts, we can bravely cross over to the real deal here. Here are Top Best 13 Closed-Backed Headphones For Music Production.
13 – AKG K550
First pick in the Top 13 of the World`s Best Closed-Backed Headphones must be this pair. AKG`s K55 solution comes tightened up with highly accurate sound. They are flat-responsive, so no artificially warmed frequencies, that`s first best feature. But maybe little too much on that bass cut isn`t quite what you want when mixing Hip Hop.
Unless you have a dope pair of speaker monitor system with sub, but if you need a solid reference headphones with a decent price, K550 could be your right pick. Cuz` I mean, c`mon, Harman made this. 🙂
- sound mode – stereo
- minimum frequency response – 12Hz
- impedance – 32Ohm
- maximum frequency response – 28Khz
Price ~ $130
12 – Sure SRH 440
Sure`s SRH 440 is another great pick. And they come with even lower price then K550s. These professional studio headphones are optimized for home studio work and give exceptional sound experience through their top-notch precision. Don`t be fooled by the budget price, SRH440`s bring that crisp neat sound you so desperately need. And although not so comfortable on the ears for some, which is just as subjective as picking the right shoes, think this is the best pair of budget pro cans that you can find on the market today.
Here are their best features:
- 40mm neodymium driver optimized for reference monitoring and accurate listening
- Enhanced frequency response delivers accurate audio across an extended range
- Impedance and power handling optimized for performance with most pro and consumer audio devices
- Adjustable, collapsible headband provides comfort and portability
- 9.8-foot (3.0 m) coiled detachable cable
- Legendary Shure durability to withstand the rigors of everyday use
Price ~ $100
11 – M-Audio HDH50
Another great pair of hi-definition professional closed-back headphones is the one M-Audio confidently offers. The HDH50 is a solid studio-monitor ear system, that catches a range of 12Hz-24kHz and a 50mm drivers to impress your hearing shells. And with a Superman (or Supergirl 😉 ) steel armor, you can fly safe whenever your frequency range calls you.
- Studio-grade quality, tuning, and frequency response
- 50mm neodymium drivers provide critical audio detail
- Gunmetal aluminum and steel construction
- Closed-back design prevents sound from leaking in or out
- Around-the-ear padding remains comfortable during long sessions
Price ~ $140
10 – Ultrasone Pro 550
These highly-rated basically low-budget phones bring a supreme sound and quality. With a wide, pretty impressive frequency range and strong impedance, Ultrasone Pro 550`s will make your inside world sound like a real one. Natural surround sound will bring you comfort when in your studio and ease even in prolonged period of time.
Check out the main features:
- S-Logic Natural Surround Sound
- Dynamic principle
- Frequency range: 10-22,000 Hz
- Impedance 64 Ohms
- Sound pressure level: 102 dB
- MU Metal bufferboard, reduced field emissions in accordance with ULE (=Ultra Low Emission) standard
- Driver: 50 mm Mylar
- Weight: 295 g (without cord)
Price ~ $120
9 – Sony MDR-7520
If your budget is thick and couple of hundreds up is no biggie for your pocket, then you should definitely consider the next pair of closed-back studio headphones. Sony made an incredible reach to pick almost untouchable frequencies. Guess, it`s the main reason for the higher price. But on the user level compatibility, besides the usual boxiness that is a necessary side-effect of the closed-back caps, none could really be found. As always, Sony knows its powers.
- Frequency Range – 5Hz – 80kHz
- Impedance – 24 Ohms
- Sensitivity – 108dB
- Maximum Input Power – 4000mW
- Connectors – Gold-Plated 3.5mm Stereo Mini Plug with 1/4″ Adapter
- Cable Length – 9.8′ (2.97 m)
- Weight – 9.5 oz (269g)
Price ~ $300
8 – Fostex-TR-80
Fostex`s TR-80 comes as the next best candidate of supreme translated on ear sound. Nice isolation, comfortable and precise, TR-80`s keep up with the competitors just fine. You can wear these 2+ hrs easily and still feel fresh and ready, like you just started.
- Driver Diameter – 40mm
- Impedance – 80 ohms
- Sensitivity – 95 dB (at 1 kHz, 1 mW)
- Maximum Input Level – 100 mW
- Frequency Response – 5 Hz to 35 kHz
- Connector – Headphone: 1/8″ / 3.5 mm stereo mini plug
- Cable – Detachable Straight: 9.8′ / 3.0 m
Detachable Coiled: 9.8′ / 3.0 m
- Weight – 10.3 oz / 292.0 g
Price ~ $150
7 – Sony MDR-V6
Second closed-back headphones model from Sony and the fantastic quality sound comes in package with MDR-V6 series. These old classics have no expiration date so there`s no need to worry about them wearing you out. And with such affordable price, these cannot be missed out. One of the biggest pluses is a professional user feedback on them saying:
“I’m a studio engineer/producer/musician. I’ve had my MDR-V6 phones for over 20 years, and they still sound terrific.”
Wonder no more, if you need a decent pro can pair, Sony keeps you in sync.
- Frequency Range – 5 Hz – 30 kHz
- Impedance – 63 Ohms
- Sensitivity – 106 db SPL/mW
- Maximum Input Power – 1 Watt
- Connectors – 1 x Detachable Unimatch 1/4″ Stereo Adapter
1 x 1/8″ stereo Mini Plug
- Cable Length – 10′ (3 m) Coiled Cable
- Weight – 8.1 oz (230 g)
Price ~ $100
6 – Audeze LCD-XC
Ok, now this pair here is the beast among them closed-back headphone cans. Audeze LCD-XC not only comes with a super-power features, but also keeps its shield firmly attached thanks to his chunky price. But, let`s talk about that later. Let`s start the intimidation phase by showcasing its skills first. Bubinga wood and superior leather for the built body is just a tip of an iceberg.
Main superpower lies inside. Special soundwaves called “Patented Fazor Elements” help eliminate resonance that only trained ears can distinct. And that`s not all. There are also double-sided magnet rays that handle distortion. If that doesn`t buy you, maybe the rest of LCD-XC features will:
- Diaphragm – 6.17 square inches (39.8 square cm)
- Maximum Power – 15 W (for 200 ms)
- Optimal Range – 1 to 4 W
- SPL – > 130 dB with 15 W
- Frequency Response – 5 to 20,000 Hz, extension to 50,000 Hz
- Impedance – 20 Ω
- Efficiency – 95 dB / 1 mW
- Cable Length – 2.5 m (8.2 ft)
- Weight – 22.9 oz (650 g)
Price ~ $1,600
5 – Beyer Dynamic T 5 p
Audeze`s German brother may just be this next pair of super-assembled closed-back headphones. Beyer Dynamic T 5 p stands shoulder-to-shoulder with its diamond-class specs. T 5 p works on Tesla technology (transducers) and its hand-made. High-quality material brings not only durability make-up, but also keeps those unwanted frequencies in your hearing space. Here are the best features:
- impedance – 32 ohms
- frequency response – 5 – 50,000 Hz
- SPL – 102 dB
- cable & plug – 1.40 straight cable (double-sided), OCC 7N copper, textile braided, 3.5 mm jack plug with 6.35 mm jack adapter
Price ~ $800
4 – Ultrasone Pro 900
Ultrasone really knows how to kick your ear gut. And in the most positive way there could be imagined. The Pro 900 series of closed-back headphones holds S-Logic Natural Surround Sound and very affordable price giving the awesome specs rights here:
- S-Logic Natural Surround Sound Plus
- Dynamic principle, closed
- Frequency range 6-42,000Hz
- Impedance 40 ohm
- Sound pressure level 96 dB
- New 40 mm Titanium drivers
- S-Logic PLUS technology
- Ultra Low Emission MU-Metal shielding
- Ultra Soft Cable (USC-cable)
- Neutrik connectors
But, if you`re not into movie-like and similar production, then maybe you should think again about buying these. Because the bass seems to be rather fairly captured, so regardless fantastic mid and high range, reconsider your ultimate goals before dropping your dimes for still, very precise sounding Pro 900.
Price ~ $200
3 – Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7
When talking about headphones and professional music production, there`s one company name that you, under no circumstances, cannot skip. The Audio-Technica stands for the biggest leading company in its brand domain. And their proud is one hundred percent justified. With their hottest model of closed-back headphones, the ATH-MSR7 sonic container, they proved their status once again with highest rate.
Here are the main features:
- Driver Diameter – 45 mm
- Frequency Response – 5 to 40,000 Hz
- Maximum Input Power – 2,0000 mW
- Sensitivity – 100 dB/mW
- Impedance – 35 ohms
- Cable – Detachable 3.9′ (1.2 m) standard cable
Detachable 9.8′ (3.0 m) standard cable
Detachable 3.9′ (1.2 m) cable with in-line controls and microphone for smartphones
- Connector – /8″ (3.5 mm) gold-plated stereo mini plug
But they also slightly lack on that bass department regardless of their ultra-low frequency catch. At least that`s what couple of users have felt. But the choice is really always subjectively-dependable.
Price ~ $200
2 – Beyerdynamic DT 1170 Pro
Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro comes in second place of 13 best closed-back headphones with its own impression meter. These mid-priced cans scooped a pretty imposing user critiques. From its captivating force of displaying a fierce bass response, clear mid-range and sparkling high-end, DT 1770 Pro deserves this spot more than any of its rivals.
It`s great for vocal tracking, with strapping build, comfortable offering suit, and exquisite catch of frequency spectrum. And wait until you see the impedance number.
See the extended features list below:
- Driver Size – 45mm dynamic Tesla neodymium driver
- Frequency Response – 5Hz-40kHz
- Impedance – 250 ohms
- Cable Type – Single-sided, detachable cable
Price ~ $600
1 – Oppo PM-3
Surprisingly, at first place stands the model of closed-back headphones that is more than affordable considering its price against proven high-quality records within its consumers. This light-weighted wave keeper pilots with its own sound signature with the help of flat aluminium conductors.
A 7-layer magnetic driver provide stability when put under thermal stress or vibration. The biggest super-power of this elegant Sonic-Superhero is “phase coherence”. What this means is that most of dynamic drivers have phase irregularity that can disrupt the way our ears perceive sound. Oppo PM-3`s planar magnetic driver has a different diaphragm. It vibrates without delaying resonance.
And the Superman steel body keeps the wave world in order perfectly. It`s easy to fold and wear everywhere you go with its excellent portability mode. Crafted for mobile use too, the Oppo PM-3 is the best thing you will ever experience with closed-backed headphone integration.
- Impedance – 26 Ohm
- Sensitivity – 102 dB
- Clamping Pressure – 5 N
- Cables – 3 m detachable cable (3.5 mm with 6.35 mm adapter)
1.2 m detachable cable (3.5 mm)
- Cable Connectors – Output: 3.5 mm stereo jack
Input: 6.35 mm stereo jack, 3.5 mm stereo jack
- Weight (without cable) – 320 g (Black/White), 310 g (Cherry Red/Steel Blue)
- Driver Type – Planar Magnetic
- Driver Size (Round) – 55 mm diameter
- Magnet System – Symmetric push-pull neodymium
- Frequency Response
In Free-Field – 10 – 50,000 Hz
Max Input Power – 500 mW according to IEC 60268-7
- Pulse Max Input Power – 2 W
Price ~ $400
Find Your Match
No matter the above numbers, still we managed to present the best of the best 13 closed-back headphones in your face, ready to make your day. Whether you choose the cheaper or the most expensive model, it really depends on your hearing skills, and experience, need and final goal.
Maybe you`ll need an extra pair for a reference ones, or your first closed-back can deal, either way you won`t get wrong choosing any of these. But if your wallet allows it, then, first five spots could undoubtedly get you the desired result when producing your Hip Hop thing. Just, don`t forget that knowledge base switch. Happy buying!