Best Headphones for Mixing & Mastering (Buying Guide)

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Professionals all over the world know the importance of good headphones to use in any recording studio, and that’s because headphones, different types of them, play one f the main roles in music studios. Considering the fact that any of you guys are here, you probably know the importance as well.

I will be writing this article with professionals in mind, especially those that need headphones for mixing and mastering mostly. You will be able to find the top five best headphones for mixing and mastering, and they all come from super-professional brands that are in charge of bringing you headphones and some other devices as well.

Let’s get right to the best headphones for mixing and mastering so you don’t waste any more time!

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
The Affordable
Sony MDR7506
Sony MDR7506
10
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The Premium
Shure SRH1840
Shure SRH1840
9
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The Versatile
SENNHEISER HD 599
SENNHEISER HD 599
8.5
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The Challenger
Audio-Technica ATH-M50X
Audio-Technica ATH-M50X
8.8
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The All-Embracing
Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro
Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro
8.6
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The Top 5 Best Headphones for Mixing & Mastering

5. Sony MDR7506 – The Affordable

Sony always knows how to deal with professionals, and here in Sony MDR7506 they added a quite simple design, which is not eye-catching, but it is the comfort that may catch your attention. The earcups and the headband of these studio headphones are adjustable in order to fit any type of head.

You may all know that professional headphones are mostly wired, and these ones are no exception. They work with a 9.8-foot-long cable that ends up on a gold-plated 3.5mm plug which makes them available to get connected with any type of device that you may be using.

When we move on to the audio quality, they sound like Sony! What does that mean? Well, Sony’s sound devices all sound amazing, and the Sony MDR7506 is one of them. The sound comes at you on its highest quality, while working perfectly on mids and highs, but for the lows, I would say that they are solid. Owning a closed-back design, these headphones are able to reduce the noises that may bother you while mixing or mastering. If you want balanced sound or natural sound from a pair of mixing headphones, this is a great buy.

Key Specifications

Type: Closed-Back
Drivers: 40mm
SPL: 106 dB/mW
Impedance: 63 ohms
Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 20 kHz
Weight: 8 ounces
Dimensions: 9.7 x 7.4 x 3.6 inches
Color Choices: Black

Why Should You Buy It?
If you are a sound professional but don’t want to spend too much money on studio headphones, the Sony MDR7560 studio headphones are to look for because as listed, they are the cheapest headphones when compared to the other ones in this article.

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4. Shure SRH1840 – The Premium

Moving on to another well-known brand is Shure, with their amazing SRH1840 studio headphones which provide you with amazing comfort, even if you choose to use them all day long. There are the headband and the earcups which are adjustable as well, and most importantly, they are lightweight.

For connectivity, the Shure SRH1840 studio headphones work with a 6.9-foot cable, which is again a gold plated 3.5mm jack and includes connectors of MMCX kind. What deserves to be mentioned here is that these studio headphones also own a 6.35mm threaded adapter for connectivity.

Coming at their most important feature, the audio quality! These studio headphones are able to provide you with good sound in general. However, when considering the low, mid, and high frequencies of the sound, you will notice that highs and lows are brought in an impressive way. The bass comes at you with exceptional clarity, meanwhile the high frequencies of sound come smooth enough to be called perfect.

These are definitely one of my favorite open back headphones for mixing and mastering.

Key Specifications

Type: Open-Back Headphones
Drivers: 40mm
SPL: 96 dB
Impedance: 65 ohms
Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 30 kHz
Weight: 11.6 ounces
Dimensions: 11.26 x 10.43 x 6.57 inches
Color Choices: Black

Why Should You Buy It?
Differing from the headphones previously mentioned, the Shure SRH1840 are pricier, and in fact, the most expensive studio headphones mentioned in this article. If money is not your concern, then you should go for them!

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3. SENNHEISER HD 599 – The Versatile

Sennheiser is in charge of whatever a professional may need, and here it comes bringing to you guys some of the most versatile headphones, the Sennheiser HD 599. They are studio headphones that include super-premium materials in order to be made, and they are definitely the ones that could last for many years of usage. They are comfortable as well, having super soft ear cups, ear pads and a soft headband.

As you may already know, the Sennheiser HD 599 are wired headphones, just like the ones I already mentioned above. They work with a 3-meter detachable cable that owns the 6.3mm jack, and also the other cable that they work with is 1 meter, again detachable, that owns the 3.5mm jack. All in all, the connectivity is similar to many other headphones, and it is strong enough to work with different devices.

The sound is made for audiophiles! These studio headphones can deliver you perfect sound while dealing with every frequency of sound in the best way possible. Every low, every mid, and every high frequency is brought clearly and you guys will notice them just on first use.

Key Specifications

Type: Open-Back Headphones
Drivers: 38mm
SPL: 106 dB
Impedance: 50 ohms
Frequency Response: 12 Hz – 38.5 kHz
Weight: 8.8 ounces
Dimensions: 8.1 x 3.95 x 10.25 inches
Color Choices: Ivory

Why Should You Buy It?
Sennheiser has amazing headphones in general that are used for many things, and I would gladly say that these ones, the HD 599 are the most adaptable ones that you can find, and if you need studio headphones for different uses, take a look at these ones.

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2. Audio-Technica ATH-M50X – The Challenger

Everybody once in their life has heard about the brand Audio Technica, which is mentioned by many different professionals in the world of sound. The Audio Technica ATH-M50X studio headphones are indeed one of the first choices for mixing and mastering. They are strong enough to last for a lifetime period, meanwhile, they are comfortable to be used whenever and wherever you may want.

Being wired, the connection of these studio headphones is quite sturdy, and they work with not only one but three detachable cables! The first one is a 1.2-meter coiled cable, the second one is 3.0 meters long, and it is straight, meanwhile, the third one is 1.2 meters long, and it is again straight. All of the cables work with a 6.3mm adapter and can be plugged into different devices that you may own or use.

The detailed sound that you will listen to with these studio headphones definitely cannot be listened to in any other type of headphones. Every frequency of sound, from the low ones to the highest will sound super-clear as you will be able to listen to the sound that you have never listened to before.

Key Specifications

Type: Closed-Back
Drivers: 45mm
SPL: 98 dB
Impedance: 38 ohms
Frequency Response: 15 Hz – 28 kHz
Weight: 10.1 ounces
Dimensions: 11.4 x 10 x 4.1 inches
Color Choices: Black, Gun Metal, White, and Orange

Why Should You Buy It?
The sound quality of these headphones is indeed one of a kind! In case you are a person that wants to listen to the sound in the most detailed way possible, then the ATH-M50X should come first to your mind.

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1. Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro – The All-Embracing

Here we came to the last headphones for mixing and mastering which come from the powerful brand Beyerdynamic, and they are specifically made for this type of need. The headphones have a quite basic look in general, they are small and lightweight, and can easily become your best friend wherever you may go. The comfort that these headphones provide you with is impressive as well.

The DT 990 Pro mastering headphones own an attached single-sided 3.0m coiled cable, which should be connected to any device that accepts its 3.5mm plug. By the way, while we are here, I would like to mention that the connection that these mixing headphones own is great, even though I think that there should have been the 6.3mm one too.

The sound quality is the part that makes these mastering headphones shine and makes them available for professional use. Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro headphones are one of those headphones that you can notice in every professional ear since they provide you with studio quality sound. The frequency range of the sound is quite wide as it covers everything that you may need. A powerful sound in some powerful headphones!

If you’re looking for a pair of reference headphones that have very comfortable ear cups, offer accurate sound reproduction for critical listening, then i’d recommend you these over ear headphones. These are definitely some of the best studio headphones out there.

Key Specifications

Type: Open-Back Headphones
Drivers: 45mm
SPL: 99 dB
Impedance: 250 ohms
Frequency Response: 5 Hz – 35 kHz
Weight: 8.8 ounces
Dimensions: 8.7 x 4.7 x 9.1 inches
Color Choices: Gray and Black

Why Should You Buy It?
These all-embracing headphones from Beyerdynamic are the best overall types of professional headphones that you guys can find on the nowadays market. They will do the job in a perfect way as they are known specifically for mixing and mastering. The best studio headphones for sure.

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Buying Guide

It is important to know that there are some important things or some important factors that you guys should consider before the process of purchasing some new headphones for mixing and mastering. Those factors are:

Design

When I say design, I am not talking about the way that the headphones look but instead, you should be more concerned about the type of the headphones, just as I mentioned in the key specifications of all the headphones in this article. You should have an idea whether you want to choose open-back or closed-back headphones.

Comfort

Mixing and mastering won’t last 2 minutes, and that’s why you should find out more about the comfort that the headphones you are about to purchase provide you with. The headphones that I mentioned in this article are all comfortable, so I don’t think that you will have any problem with this part.

If for some reason you can’t wear headphones, you can also look at a pair of studio monitors.

Connectivity

While working in a recording studio, you will have different devices in front of you, starting from computers as the most basic ones. If the headphones cannot get connected to those devices, they are basically trash. That’s why you should check out how can they get connected and check out their cables or connectors.

Sound Quality

Professionalism requires a professional and professionals need good sound quality! That’s why, whenever in need of new headphones, just like for mixing and mastering, one of the most important things that should be checked is the sound quality in general, while having in mind the frequency ranges that the headphones work at.


Open-Back vs. Closed-Back Headphones – Which Headphones Sound Better?

Both of these types of headphones are great, and as I always say choosing between them is all based on your own preferences, so it doesn’t mean that you should choose one type before the other.

Now, a thing that should be mentioned is that closed-back headphones have better noise isolation meanwhile in open-back ones there is air passing through the ear cups. Anyways, that doesn’t mean that open-back ones don’t sound good.

Both types of headphones tend to be used by professionals which means that their sound quality is on top!


Final Words

Coming through the end of this article, I would like to mention again to you guys that all five headphones that I mentioned would be great purchases for you, and they will do a great job and will help you during mixing and mastering.

I am finishing this article with only one hope: To help you find the best headphones for mixing and mastering!


Further Reading

As you can notice, I mentioned different types of headphones in this article, and there are open-back and closed-back ones, as they are great to be used by professionals in the field of sound.

Well, coming to this section, I would like to introduce you guys to some of the best open-back headphones under 100 and under 200, so you can look for them based on a budget. Since I mentioned closed-back ones as well, there are some great closed-back headphones under $500, which I think are amazing.

Even though I didn’t mention the brand Philips in this article, you should know that there are some great headphones from them too. For example, you can check out Philips Fidelio X2HR vs. Philips SHP9500, or Philips SHP9500 compared to Philips SHP9600.

If you ever felt like headphones are giving you headaches, then I would say that I have a solution for you, even though I am not a doctor. Check out my article regarding “Do headphones cause headaches?

Have fun!

Whether you’re looking for information on audio equipment, looking to learn more about how things work in the music field, or looking for reviews of products, we got you covered!

 
 
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