Best Headphones For Music Production
The Best Headphones For Music Production. There are a lot of things always hanging open, waiting to be answered. Starting from, what most think of as an easy job, so let`s call it a simple composition, to more complex actions like mixdown and mastering sessions, even though you apply rules you learn, they often step out of the ordinary school book and demand your personal feel and touch as your knowledge gets wider in experience.
Questions, Questions, Questions
How much compression to put where or what combination on sounds can sometimes take forever, as you can always DO MORE. As for the equipment, well, even though there is no golden rule there either, and it all depends on your level of knowledge, still, you have to scratch under couple of different types (virtual or physical) to get that real feel and know the difference. But none of the other things matters much if you don`t have your monitoring tool. Speakers are crucial, but even without any professional ones, you can still benefit from at least a good pair of studio monitor headphones.
And here also you can choose from a Universe wide range of products not just based on your needs but also based on your current budget. But, when talking about some top-notch gear, you really have to dig deep and pick the best from the best. The top ten list was based on the pro-engineer`s opinions and takes a pretty serious and safe approach in constructing a final decision for the adequate over ear monitor kit.
Down To 10
Without further explanation, here are ten best headphones for music production bottom to top:
10 – AKG Q701
With extremely accurate sound and transparency, providing sharp highs and flat bass response the Q701 from AKG provide a pro sound for a higher budget. With 105 db of sensitivity, 62 ohms impedance and an envious frequency range of 10hz-39kHz, these phones serve their class well. If you think spending over 200 bucks for flat-wire voice-coil technology coming with them is too much, read the specs again.
9 – SONY MDRV 6
Sony surprised us with their architecture on MDRV 6 series. They patched a 40 mm driver to a 106 db sensitivity and 63 ohms impedance and a neodymium magnet with impressive 5Hz of bottom catch and as high as 30 kHz of air border. Adding a 10′ oxygen free copper and super-impressive price under 100$, is something you must at least try owning as a serious producer.
8 – AUDIO TECHNICA ATH-M30
A slightly better version are babies from Audio Technica, the legendary hi-tech provider who built a pair of headphones in a range between 60 and 150$ on Amazon and are processed to fit your engineer`s ears perfectly. Closed-backed, 11′ oxygen free copper cable, gold-plated stereo 1/8″ (3.5 mm) connector and 1/4″ (6.3 mm) adapter, neodymium magnet, 40 mm driver, offering light and soft comfort to your ear shells is something that is not strange to the ATH family.
And even though the frequency response is equal to the human hearing range (20 Hz- 20kHz), the ATH-M30 serve impressively with 100 db of sensitivity, and 65 ohms of impedance, which is more that enough said. Their maximum power input is 1,600mW at 1 kHz, delivering strong when transforming digital sounds into analogue. His newer model M30x is coming up nicely on the market too, but still dragging behind it`s older brother.
7 – SENNHEINSER HD-380
Germans are known for their bee-like work ethic and it
s no surprise they aren`t lacking in distributing the high-end music equipment too. Their popular Sennheinser series have been collecting the adors from millions of fans around the world and there is rather a studio that didn`t own them. When talking about specifics, the HD-380 model they build deserves the 7th spot fully.
Up to 32 db of noise reduction and ergonomic acoustic refinement and Duofol diaphragms, HD-380`s bring excellency with perfect 54 ohms of impedance, 110 db of sensitivity, and a magnificent 8Hz-27kHz of frequency range. Max. power input is 500 mW which is decent counting the great impedance and sensitivity characteristics and there is no doubt that a price range od 150$ is more that affordable for this type of professionally done piece.
6 – AUDIO TECHNICA ATH-M40X
According to Japan, music business and tech are inseparable so guys from Audio Technica definitely lead the world in best possible equipment for high sound quality deliverance. The ATH-M40x and newer model M50x can both sit in this spot, for they provide wonderful service with a slight variations between two models.
M40x is a cheaper model ranging from 70-150$, while M50x comes for a bit more bucks as a newer version (between 150 and 250) and they are pretty much the same, except M50x has a bit higher impedance, 38 versus 35 oms in M40x, meaning it will need to be fed with more power from the amplifier to get to that complete needed sound.
As for the sensitivity, it`s basically the same about 99 db with M50x and 98 with M40x and even though they catch the same low end, dipping to 15 hz, the M50x own a fewer frequencies at a higher spectrum topping the 28 kHz opposite to M40x which goes to “only” 24 kHz. M50x has shown a better bass productivity, although for some experts it seems like too much boost. At the end, if you have a well trained ears, it all depends on your final goal. But we can all agree on the supremacy of both M40x and M50x when music production keeps asking for high maintenance.
5 – AUDIO TECHNICA M30X
Oh but wait, you thought the Audio Technica M-Era is over? No, we just started. Like I mentioned earlier, the Japan holds the throne on these matter. At no. 5 is their M-30x series model, which can, on the first specs, seem a bit odd, especially taking into consideration that the offer the same driver size of 40 mm, a moderate range of 15-22 kHz, 1300 mW of max. power input and 47 ohms of impedance. But, even with less pure bass distribution, they are imposing on the open-sound feel of a relatively closed-back designed phones.
So for a more natural sound, and lesser dynamics M30x are an excellent choice only for ones who don
t always need just a thick bass and that booming sound coming out of their headphone monitors. Another "why" of a deserving no. 5 spot is the price that comes considering this awesome characteristics and an excellent mid-range definition, that is a low check of 60 bucks! So, if you`re not into EDM and Hip Hop music production, I recommend you grab these babies, even as a reference picks to a M50xs, because you will not be disappointed.
4 – AKG K240
For those of you who are natural sound, analogue-minded nerds pleaders, the AKG has a nice match for your ears. The K240s has integrated semi-opened air design and highly accurate dynamic transducer for that open, natural sonic feel. Impedance of 55 ohms, 104 db of sensitivity, 200 mW of maximum power input and a range of 15 Hz – 25 kHz should be more than enough with respect to it`s super-low affordable price of only 63$ at Amazon.
Having in mind that the AKG team is known for their focus on the mids rather than the lows, the AKG K240 are one of the most affordable headphones, maybe better used for referencing than an actual active monitoring while mixing and mastering, but still, one is for sure, they can reveal that mid and high detail where you missed on your main set. For nly 63 bucks, this deserves a medal for great offer.
3 – Audio Technica ATH-M50
Getting back to the ATH
s, bronze medal goes to the M50 model, scrapping it`s waves with of course neodymium 45 mm driver, 99 db of sensitivity and 38 ohms of impedance. Maximum power input is 1,600mW at 1 kHz, they are closed-backed designed for maximum isolation and give a deep, accurate bass with balanced sound in overall picture. And a very good price of 150 dollars found on Amazon can confirm the well deserved bronze puff.
2 – SONY- MDR7506
In between the ATH reign stands proudly their biggest opponent, Sony with their MDR7506 long and hard-to-remember model name, presenting it`s monitoring gadget with 9.8 ft coiled oxygen free copper cable and standard 40 mm driver. MDR7506 10 hz- 20 kHz frequency range and 106 db of sensitivity at 63 ohms of impedance for a closed-ear construction.
With a super-high testing rate of 8.3 by the experts, considering the about 70-80$ price, these can be your top score budget pick. Although a bit flatter response, which will maybe in time leave you frequently unsatisfied, making you want more out of them, the key play here is the price considering it`s given quality, which is a definite top seller win.
Well the flat response of the bass can actually be the plus, if you don`t want to start your production on a already amplified lows, making your bottom even more unnatural and harder to fix in the EQ.
The 40 mm driver with 10 Hz-20 kHz of frequency spectrum, 106 db of sensitivity and 63 ohms of impedance give these a clear image sonically and otherwise.
1 – AUDIO TECHNICA ATH-M50X
Of course the definite winner is already many time mentioned ATH-M50x model, with detachable cables (inc. 1.2 m – 3.0 m coiled cable, 3.0 m straight cable and 1.2 m straight cable), gold-plated stereo 1/8″ (3.5 mm) connector with strain relief and pro screw-on 1/4″ (6.3 mm) adapter.
Neodymium magnet, 45 mm driver, frequency catch of 15 Hz to 28 kHz, a 99 db of sensitivity, 38 ohms of impedance and 1,600mW at 1 kHz, M50X`s have a 90° swivel close-backed ear cups for one-ear monitoring.
At about the same price as a twin-sister M50, the X owner grabs that golden plate with 150$ bit range for exceptional sound production.
Another thing I want to add before closing this up is, taking aside the top ten list constructed by the pros, this is my personal choice of studio monitor headphones that overcome the battle between the undoubtedly awesome specifications versus lowest possible budget for pro-sound gear.
My first mixing headphones, that I plan on using for a very long time are Samson`s SR850. Do not get distracted by the very low price of $50, hell I even found them for as lowr as 30e out of the store, because these ones have flawless reproduction of sonic image. With SR850 you get 50 mm driver size, 10 hz to 30 kHz of frequency range, 32 ohms of impedance and some of the clearest mids and highs, with also a pretty clean bass response.
And even though they are semi-open, you cannot get more natural sounding with also a good monitoring environment for your studio sessions. So no matter your budget, try couple of these really extraordinary headphones and don`t let the price range ruin your final decision. After all, if you really do care about your art, you will only want the best for yourself, and we all know, the best has never been only about the lavishness of life.