Top 10 Budget Studio Monitoring Headphones

by Shane Bracko 6,849 views0

Finding the best quality studio monitoring headphones can be tough in today’s saturated headphone market. Most are targeted towards music listeners and feature drivers that overcompensate bass and reduce mid-level frequencies, creating oversaturated waveforms and frequencies not normally present in well-balanced sound mixes.

This phenomenon known as “sound hype” has been prevalent in the music industry for some time. Sound hyping forces engineers to push out louder mixes than ever before, increasing distortion and reducing sound dynamics.

As a result, headphones have been produced to conform to this “sound hype” as well. Fortunately, there are still plenty of highly respected audio equipment manufacturers dedicated to producing sonically well-balanced headphone speakers. The following are 10 budget studio monitoring headphones that studios, music engineers, and musicians alike will appreciate.

10. Behringer HPS3000

Source: music-group.com.
Source: music-group.com.

The HPS3000s are equipped with exceptional high-resolution cobalt capsules that generate the widest frequency response and dynamic range for the price. Its closed-back headphones feature comfortable oval-shaped ear cups and a padded headband for reducing ear-fatigue.

  • MSRP: $29.99
  • Open/Closed: Closed
  • Driver Size: 40mm
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
  • Impedance: 32 ohms
  • Cable Length: 6’
  • Plug Size: 1/8” (1/4” Adapter Included)

9. Shure SRH440

Source: Shure.com.
Source: shure.com.

The SRH440 closed-back headphones are among the most popular headphones found in professional studios. The clarity and accurate sound reproduced by its neodymium magnets are sure to point you in the right direction sonically. The SRH440s are perfect for musicians looking for perfectly balanced sound isolation while laying down tracks in the studio.

  • MSRP: $125.00
  • Open/Closed: Closed
  • Driver Size: 40mm
  • Frequency Response: 10Hz-22kHz
  • Impedance: 44 ohms
  • Cable Length: 9.8’
  • Plug Size: 1/8” (1/4” Adapter Included)

8. Samson SR850

Source: Samsontech.com.
Source: samsontech.com.

The Samson SR950 provides a full range and clear sound at an affordable price. The SR950s manage to achieve clean highs with rich bass without overcompensating. Additionally, its semi-open design allows for low-end diffusion and stereo imaging for increased editing detail.

  • MSRP: $99.99
  • Open/Closed: Semi-open
  • Driver Size: 50mm
  • Frequency Response: 10Hz-30kHz
  • Impedance: 32 ohms
  • Cable Length: 8.3’
  • Plug Size: 1/8” (1/4” Adapter Included)

7. KRK KNS 8400

Source: krksys.com.
Source: krksys.com.

For audio professionals around the world, KRK is a name synonymous with the best in audio monitoring. The 8400s wide frequency range is natural and sonically articulate, allowing you to mix and record the same way you would with reference monitors.

  • MSRP: $249.99
  • Open/Closed: Closed
  • Driver Size: 40mm
  • Frequency Response: 5Hz-23kHz
  • Impedance: 36 ohms
  • Cable Length: 8.2’
  • Plug Size: 1/8” (1/4” Adapter Included)

6. Direct Sound EX-29

Source: extremeheadphones.com.

Extreme isolation is what you get with the Direct Sound EX-29 headphones. If you are a serious musician or engineer, the EX-29s will solve most isolation issues found in the studio. Direct Sound has managed to produce true high-fidelity speakers with passive noise reduction on an average of 29dBs. You’ll never have to worry about sound bleeding into your track while recording ever again.

  • MSRP: $189.95
  • Open/Closed: Closed
  • Driver Size: 40mm
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
  • Impedance: 32 ohms
  • Cable Length: 9’
  • Plug Size: 1/8” (1/4” Adapter Included)

5. Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro

Source: north-america.beyerdynamic.com.

The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro headphones manage to impress the harshest of critics. If you’re an audiophile with unique sonic tastes, the DT 770 Pro’s will provide the best translating headphones can offer. The power of the DT 770 Pro’s studio monitoring capabilities truly shine through during meticulous editing sessions.

  • MSRP: $299.00
  • Open/Closed: Closed
  • Driver Size: 45mm
  • Frequency Response: 5Hz-35kHz
  • Impedance: 250 ohms
  • Cable Length: 9.8’
  • Plug Size: 1/8” (1/4” Adapter Included)

4. AKG K240S

Source: akg.com.
Source: akg.com.

AKG really hit the mark when they created the K240 studio headphones. The striking balance of its dual conventional closed-back and open-back design is unparalleled. This feat, allows air to flow within the driver producing an unforgettable quality sound.

  • MSRP: $129.00
  • Open/Closed: Semi-open
  • Driver Size: 30mm
  • Frequency Response: 15Hz-25kHz
  • Impedance: 55 ohms
  • Cable Length: 9.8’
  • Plug Size: 1/8” (1/4” Adapter Included)

3. Sennheiser HD 280 Pro

Source: Sennheiser.com.
Source: sennheiser.com.

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pros are a reliable option for making critical mixing decisions. Not only do they provide superior isolation for recording, they’re also highly comfortable– even after long sessions. Its flat frequency response is crucial for EQ editing and translating between reference monitors.

  • MSRP: $99.95
  • Open/Closed: Closed
  • Driver Size: N/A
  • Frequency Response: 8Hz-25kHz
  • Impedance: 32 ohms
  • Cable Length: 9.8’
  • Plug Size: 1/8” (1/4” Adapter Included)

2. Sony MDR-7506

Source: Sony.com.
Source: sony.com.

Chances are you’ll spot a pair of Sony MDR-7506s in use at many studios around the world. Its affordable studio quality and isolation is hard to beat in the audio world. Not only does it sound amazing, but its sturdy construction can withstand abuse for years to come.

  • MSRP: $130.00
  • Open/Closed: Closed
  • Driver Size: 40mm
  • Frequency Response: 10Hz-20kHz
  • Impedance: 63 ohms
  • Cable Length: 9.8’
  • Plug Size: 1/8” (1/4” Adapter Included)

1. Audio Technica ATH-M50x

Source: audio-technica.com.
Source: audio-technica.com.

The Audio Technica ATH-M50xs simply offer more overall quality than any other headphone at its price point. The collapsible design and detachable auxiliary cord features stand out among all. The ATH-M50xs are capable of satisfying mixing, recording, and DJing needs with ease.

  • MSRP: $239.00
  • Open/Closed: Closed
  • Drive Size: 45mm
  • Frequency Response: 15Hz-28kHz
  • Impedance: 38 ohms
  • Cable Length: 9.8’, 3.9’
  • Plug Size: 1/8” (1/4” Adapter Included)

In short, beware of headphones that use “sound hype” overcompensation; what you are looking for are balanced monitors. When you do decide to invest in a pair of studio quality headphones, any pair on this list will definitely make for a sound investment.

 

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