There’s a big difference between regular consumer headphones and the ones used for music production. Popular consumer headphones are designed for entertainment while headphones used for production are designed to analyze music. They’re used during the mixing and mastering process for creating music. The best headphones for music production generate the most accurate sound reproduction possible.
This brief guide will help you select the best gear whether you’re a veteran in the studio, or just starting out. We’ll review a couple important characteristics of professional headphones, share the six best ones, then discuss the top three in detail.
Considerations for Music Production Headphones
- Frequency Balance. Headphones used in music production have what’s called a flat frequency balance. They don’t have extreme bass, or other alterations to the audio.
Flat frequency balance means that the headphones are tuned so that none of the tones sound more important than the others.
Novelty tuned headphones are fun to listen to but not useful in the studio. In the studio you need to be able to hear any distortions, cracking, and under-your-breath noises so that you can correct them before the final product is released.
- Comfort. It’s not uncommon to spend many hours in a studio creating and editing audio so make sure that your headphones can keep up with those long sessions.
Headphones with features such as extra cushioning and adjustability are good choices. Lots of professional headphones are equipped with replaceable cushioning on the earcups and headband to extend the life of your unit.
The Guide to the Top Headphones for Music Production
Three Best Headphones for Music Production
Audio-Technica’s update of the remarkably popular M50 continues to impress us. Everything that made the ATH-M50x great for the studio also makes it perfect for music production.
Audio-Technica puts comfort in the forefront by completely rethinking the design of the earcups. They’re contoured to better match the curves of your head. It seems like a small revision but has a huge impact during long listening sessions. The shape does indeed fit better causing less head fatigue.
Mobile production is common practice so Audio-Technica made sure the M50x could keep up. Its cables are detachable for easy transport, but even better, are the different sized cables that address included in the box. You can mix your audio at home, switch cables and check your work on your smartphone. Super cool.
In using the ATH-M50x we do find the reference-quality frequency response we expect for critical listening. The bass accents perfectly; it’s got weight and punch. Midrange and treble are wide and clear. Treble highlights without sounding brassy or frill. Taken together, that means the ATH-M50x is good at producing any genre audio.
If you’re in the market for professional sound that can work with you anywhere then the ATH-M50x by Audio-Technica is just what you need. Obviously the sound is awesome but they’re also comfortable and amazingly versatile.
Sony’s entry-priced MDR7506 performs just as well as more expensive competitors.
The sound signature has a killer balance for monitoring audio. The bass doesn’t boom excessively and midrange tones are more pronounced than most commercial headphones. It’s really easy to hear imperfections and artifacts.
Sony’s MDR7506 closed-ear design adequately isolates sound. The ATH-M50x does a bit better job because of their larger size but the difference is negligible.
MDR7506 by Sony stands out as a budget-friendly option for producers. It gets the job done without cutting into your wallet.
With a focus on comfort and easy listening, the DT770 Pro by Beyerdynamic proves to be our most luxurious headphone used for music production.
Beyerdynamic knows that being comfortable during long sessions isn’t an option; it’s a necessity. The DT770 Pro comes with velour covering the earpads and headband. It’s a nice touch to an often overlooked feature. Our ears didn’t get sweaty causing the set to move. And the around-the-ear earcups sit firmly as well.
The DT770 Pro offers great sound reproduction and range. Beyerdynamic smoothly balanced the bass and midtones making these exceptional for hip hop or R&B producers. Vocals are clear and dynamic; sopranos are just as articulate and strong as baritones.
These isolate noise well so you shouldn’t encounter any problems working around noise. Outside noise won’t interfere with your work; and you work won’t won’t impose on the people around you.
Overall, Beyerdynamic created the DT770 Pro as a well-constructed piece of equipment sure to last you awhile.