Top 5 Headphones - Premium Headphones for Music Studios

Every time I put these headphones on I hear things that I’ve never heard before in my music. This is how music should sound! I have five premium headphones here today.

If you’re ready for a headphone upgrade for your studio this article will help you make your decision. And read until the end because some of these headphones are going to wow you. All of these headphones I was testing myself.

If you’re ready for a headphone upgrade for your studio this article will help you make your decision. And read until the end because some of these headphones are going to wow you. All of these headphones I was testing myself. 

The first headphones we’ll talk about are the Sennheiser HD600 and they are the cheapest headphones in this roundup at $299. These are super popular for studios and have a flatter response compared to the Sennheiser HD650s. So, how do they sound? The Sennheisers are going to force you to want to mix wider just because they don’t have the exciting stereo image of the Beyerdynamics and short headphones here. Sounds just kind of sat in the middle a lot more than the others kind of similar to the Neumann’s. But while the Neumann headphones sometimes lost the excitement the Sennheisers kept me interested. They sound excellent on good mixes like Billie Eilish’s “Ocean Eyes” and really give a balanced flat sound and that is where these headphones really shine – the balanced sound. Great for mixing. The Sennheiser’s build quality was relatively low compared to the competition but don’t forget these are the cheapest. But even cheaper headphones like the Beyerdynamic DT770 feel a little bit better in quality. But the Sennheisers are extremely comfortable especially with the oval cup shape. Some other headphones in this roundup are better in sound quality compared to these but the Sennheiser price reflects that. These are an excellent mixing upgrade if you’re on a tight budget.  

Alright next up I have the Shure SRH1840 headphones. These headphones surprise me the most! Get ready for a wide sound listening to Radiohead – the guitars flew from right to left and the stereo placement was awesome. I heard exactly how far each guitar was from the center, every vocal layer and ping pong in Billie Eilish’s “Bad Guy” was so distinct. From left to right, these headphones are a hundred dollars more than the Sennheisers. The quality took a serious jump too, but I sometimes felt like I lost the cohesiveness of the mix. I just get caught up in this separation. Individual sounds really stand out and lead vocals sit right in the center pushing the lead vocals right into my brain. It’s actually beautiful and the snare drum blew my hair back. Now the bass didn’t make my head shake, but it was super clear. Another set of headphones in this roundup won in the bass category. I’ll get to those later. The Shure headphones cable has a sticky feel kind of like the Sennheisers too. I don’t like it. I feel like I need to wash my hands after touching them. This may just be me though. Both the Sennheiser and the Shure headphones have two cables coming out of the headphones for left and right. I prefer a single cable. These are very lightweight headphones and extremely comfortable. They just floated on my head. They are soon becoming one of my favorite headphones out there and very close to sound, to the most expensive in this list. 

All right, before we get to the exciting Slate headphones, I want to check out the most expensive in this roundup. The Beyerdynamic DT1990 PRO headphones. But first I’m using a headphone AMP with these headphones and WOW does it make a difference. This is the Monolith THX headphone AMP and DAC. It features dual THX AAA 788 AMP modules and an AKM 4493 DAC. Pretty much awesomeness in a box for any set of headphones. Especially if they’re high impedance like the 250 ohm Beyerdynamics in this list. I tested this AMP with all my favorite headphones and it made every one of them better, clearer and no distortion. I highly recommend it. But check out other Monolith AMPs on Amazon.com. It’s a great brand.

All right the Beyerdynamic DT 1990s are the most expensive headphones in this roundup but they are the best! But keep an eye on Amazon, because I have seen these on Amazon for $499. The sound is classic Beyerdynamic. A little strong on the mids and highs but not harsh. Bass and mids are super exciting on these headphones. A serious level up from the DT770s and 990s. The clarity just jumps out at you. The bass is the clearest and purest of all these headphones. The slate headphones give you a good bass but definitely can’t reach the amount of clarity coming from the Beyerdynamics. Every time I put these headphones on, I hear things that I’ve never heard before in my music. This is how music should sound. The thing is that biodynamic already set the bar high with the 770s and the 990s. I love those, but I don’t think I can ever go back now. So, Beyerdynamic really pushes high hats hard and they can sometimes be piercing. If that bothers you, that’s the only caution I provide for these headphones. But honestly for me, it’s going to be hard to find a better set of headphones now. 

Needless to say the 1990s feel premium through and through. Every material has a handmade feel, metal on the sides, tight feel to everything – these are comfortable headphones, but I do wish the can was oval instead of round, I think it would fit my ears better. 

Okay let’s talk about the Slate VSX headphones. These and the Neumanns from this list are closed back. These are the newest headphones in this roundup and Slate is trying to do something unique with them. Giving you the ability to change the way they sound to mimic different listening environments like a PRO studio, the stereo in a car and even other popular headphones. So you have multiple reference points for listening to your mix. So does it work well? Yes, you definitely get a different sound and I was surprised at the results. Near the field, mid and far all have distinct sounds. I actually own the car in this picture, so I compared it with the sound as well. And Slate does a decent job when I tested the headphone emulations. I was quite surprised at how close Slate got them to the GT770s by Beyerdynamic. It was kind of hard to tell the difference. I was pretty happy. I think slate does something cool. It lets you hear different versions of your mix in your headphones with the touch of a button and I’m quite surprised at how much I like these. Now you need the software running to change the settings and I really wish it run on your whole computer system instead of as a plug-in, but even without the software these sound decent. Now it can’t beat the clarity of some of the others in this roundup but they are still good. Now, where they start falling apart, is the build quality. The quality feels very low. They feel like a generic set of headphones. The stitching on the ear cups looks uneven and the materials feel low quality and not durable. The ones I have even have a founders edition label on them. It’s a sticker and it’s already coming off straight out of the box. I think they have a decent product here but they’re not priced right. If these were $279 I would recommend them for sure. Now if money is not an issue for you, these are a decent set of emulating headphones. 

All right, last we’ve got the Neumann NDH20 headphones. The sound of these are the closest to my studio monitor experience with my Barefoot monitors. I know that’s saying a lot, but let me explain. These are really good at balancing your mix. They are closed back, so you can even use them for tracking vocals recording with a mic. Bass is warm and nothing is ever harsh. The stereo image wasn’t as good as the others. Not as clear as the open back headphones, particularly the Shure and Beyerdynamic ones. But I think the Neumanns are a closer representation to the final balanced mix. The Neumann build quality is outstanding – on par with the Beyerdynamic 1990s. Every material is top-notch. Everything you touch is premium. Even the screws. They’re heavy, sturdy and they feel so comfortable for long periods of time even though they’re quite heavy. If you’re looking for mixing headphones these are excellent and the build quality totally justifies the high price. 

So if you’re looking for my favorites from this list I would choose the Shure because of the great value to sound quality ratio and also the Beyerdynamics, because well… they just sound amazing!

Pro Studio Headphones – Over-Ear Closed-Back Professional Design for Recording and Monitoring (80 Ohm, Grey)

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