Best Headphones for Mixing in 2021

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Best Headphones for Mixing in 2021

Looking for the best headphones for mixing? Spending long hours in the studio can be a pretty daunting task. As can finding a headset with low latency, high quality and minimal discomfort.

In this review guide, we have compared 10 music producer and sound engineer style headphones for both comfort and sound quality. We have a range of prices to suit all budgets to ensure there is something for everyone ranging from $500 headphones to under $100 options.

Editor’s Quick note: Our review guide to choosing the “Best Headphones for Mixing” was updated on May 5, 2021.

We’ve also compiled a list of the best features to look out for in a pair of studio headphones. This is so you can venture forth into the real world and still have a reasonable idea of what to look for without picking from a list.

Top 10 Best Studio Headphones for Mixing

1. Sony WH-1000XM4 (Overall winner)

An excellent solution for audio engineers looking for mixing and mastering headphones with some versatility.

image of the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones with white background

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Bluetooth: 5.0
  • Type: Over-ear, stereo
  • Enclosure: Closed Back
  • Wireless: Hybrid – Wireless + Optional 3.5mm Jack
  • Noise Cancelling: Dual Noise Sensor Technology
  • Charging: 10 mins of charge = 5 hours of use
  • Mic and Controls: Integrated mic, touch sensor controls
  • Transducer: Dynamic
  • Colors: Black
  • Waterproof: No
  • Weight: 8.96 ounces
  • Battery time: 30 Hours
  • Price: Typically under $300 although prices can vary on Amazon (buy link) – Checked May 6, 2021

Our take: These WH-1000XM4 headphones are some of the best mixing headphones under 300 dollars. They have an incredibly long battery life, a rapid charging time and overall outstanding audio quality. The option to plug directly in to an audio jack is perfect for routing sound directly through an audio interface – completely eliminating latency for live playback.

These highly dynamic headphones can also be paired over Bluetooth, allowing you to use them for your home cinema system or video game console if you wish. If you’re looking for wireless studio headphones but don’t want to be constrained by wires I’d pick these in a heartbeat.

Feel free to read the full Sony WH-1000XM4 review.

Pros

  • Solid Battery Life
  • Fast Charging Time
  • Excellent Sound Quality
  • Can Plug In Directly
  • Integrated Mic Allows For Calls When In Wireless Mode

Cons

  • Can Be Fairly Loud
  • Touch Controls Can Be Janky

Our Rating:

9.7 / 10

An unbeatable deal in terms of value for money. You effectively get two products in one (wired studio headphones + recreational Bluetooth headphones.)

 

2. Beyerdynamic Dt 770 Pro 250 Ohms (Runner-up)

Among the best studio headphones under 200 dollars. No sound leakage with excellent bass/sub bass tones.pair of black headphones, the Beyerdynamic Dt 770 Pro 250 Ohms headphones

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Bluetooth: None
  • Type: Over Ears
  • Enclosure: Closed Back
  • Wireless: None, Exclusively wired.
  • Noise Cancelling: Acoustic
  • Charging: No need
  • Mic and Controls: None
  • Transducer: Dynamic
  • Colors: Gray OR Black
  • Waterproof: No
  • Weight: 10.2 ounces
  • Battery time: Infinite (Wired)
  • Price: Under 200$ although prices vary on Amazon (buy link) – Checked May 6, 2021

Our take: If you’re looking for headphones to live exclusively in your recording studio, this is a solid choice. You can look forward to incredibly low latency with unbeatable impulse response. All bass and sub bass tones are delivered with crisp, clear detail. Allowing for mixing and mastering with a high degree of accuracy. Higher end frequencies are also incredibly easy to isolate and dial in on – making EQ work a great deal easier. They’re also highly comfortable with solid spatial reproduction.

It ships with a choice of 3 different cables. A 32 Ohm 1.6m straight cable, an 80 Ohm 3m straight cable and a 250 ohm coiled cable.

Pros

  • Perfect for home studio use
  • Great frequency range
  • Ear cups provide excellent acoustic noise cancellation
  • Excellent alternative to the Beyerdynamic dt 990 series
  • Excellent alternative to the Beyerdynamic dt 880 pro series
  • Sturdy

Cons

  • No wireless functionality
  • High frequencies can be a little sharp

Our Rating:

9.7 / 10

Sturdy, studio recording headphones that remain highly comfortable whilst still remaining sturdy with a great frequency range.

 

3. LyxPro HAS-10 (Best Budget headphones)

The LyxPro HAS-10 sit among the best headphones for mixing under 100 dollars.

LyxPro HAS-10 headphones, black

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Bluetooth: None
  • Type: Over Ears
  • Enclosure: Closed Back
  • Wireless: Exclusively wired (optional detachable capable)
  • Noise Cancelling: Acoustic
  • Charging: No need
  • Mic and Controls: None
  • Transducer: Dynamic
  • Colors: Black
  • Waterproof: No
  • Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Battery time: Infinite (wired)
  • Price: Under 100$ although prices vary on Amazon (buy link) – Checked May 6, 2021

Our take: The 45mm magnetic neodymium drivers featured in this device allow you to achieve high levels of volume without annoying crackles and distortion. They also work towards achieving an excellent 10Hz-26kHz frequency response range – making accurate mixing and mastering that much easier.

They’re the cheapest headphones on this list, so naturally you shouldn’t expect the same level of quality or sturdiness as say the Beyerdynamic DT 770 pro. But if your price range exists solely in the sub-100 dollar category, these are realistically your best choice.

The lower pricing point seems to have had no impact on the overall comfort of the headphone. With the leather ear cups being perfectly suited to longer term use.

Pros

  • Studio quality sound on a budget
  • Comfortable design
  • Modest frequency response
  • Good studio headphones with isolation (great for office use too)

Cons

  • Far more likely to break
  • Take a while to “break in”

Our Rating:

9.7 / 10

If you’re looking for a pair of studio headphones but you’re operating on a fairly restrictive budget, these are a no-brainer.

 

4. Shure SRH1540 (Premium headphones for mixing)

If you’re looking for a lightweight and hyper-sturdy alternative to studio monitors with excellent bass response and and a larger soundstage, I’d consider these.

Shure SRH1540 Premium Closed-Back Headphones

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Bluetooth: None
  • Type: Over ears
  • Enclosure: Closed back headphones
  • Wireless: Not Applicable (Fully Wired)
  • Noise Cancelling: Fully Acoustic
  • Charging: Not Applicable (Fully Wired)
  • Mic and Controls: Neither present
  • Transducer: Dynamic
  • Colors: Black
  • Waterproof: No
  • Weight: 15.8 ounces
  • Battery time: Not Applicable (Fully Wired)
  • Price: Under 500$ although prices vary on Amazon (buy link) – Checked May 6, 2021

Our take: 40mm neodymium drivers are present, allowing this device to deliver a massive soundstage, with solid bass tones and crystal clear high notes.

The closed back ear pads provide great isolation with minimal sound leakage. They also deliver a great deal of acoustic noise cancellation without compromising on comfort over longer periods of time. They don’t ever need to be broken in – just plug and play.

Sturdiness is always an issue with headphones, which is probably why these were built from carbon fiber and aircraft aluminum alloy. They’re noticeably lightweight, despite this you’re unlikely to encounter issues with wear and tear.

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Incredibly sturdy
  • Great bass tones
  • Music quality sound is good with these

Cons

  • Carrying case is a little bulky
  • Headband often needs readjusted

Our Rating:

9.4 / 10

Some of our favorite studio headphones under 300. Excellent for mixing and mastering, with an unbeatable ability to deliver crystal clear bass/sub bass tones alongside softer highs.

 

5. Philips Fidelio x2hr

These headphones rank among the best headphones for mixing and mastering under 200 dollars.

Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR Over-Ear Open-Air Headphone 50mm Drivers- Black

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Bluetooth: Non Applicable
  • Type: Over ears
  • Enclosure: Open Back
  • Wireless: Wired without transmitter
  • Noise Cancelling: Fully Acoustic
  • Charging: Non Applicable (Fully Wired)
  • Mic and Controls: No Mic, No Controls
  • Transducer: Dynamic
  • Colors: Fully Black
  • Waterproof: No
  • Weight: 13.44 ounces
  • Battery time: Non Applicable (Fully Wired)
  • Price: Under 200$ although prices vary on Amazon (buy link) – Checked May 6, 2021

Our take: The acoustic open back architecture of these studio headphones really allow you to fully capture the most natural sounding bass frequencies possible. Anything you hear whilst mixing and mastering with this headset can be replicated fully with a pair of studio monitors and a moderately sized room.

500mm Neodymium drivers are present too, which deliver a gigantic sound stage that perfectly replicate most acoustic environments you could potentially find your tunes in.

The earpads are highly ergonomic, built out of memory foam that’s entirely replaceable. The leather headband is also expertly crafted with the express purpose of delivering hours of studio use.

This means you can always enjoy a comfortable listening environment

Pros

  • Memory Foam Ear Shells Are Comfortable And Replaceable
  • Massive Sound Stage
  • Authentic Leather Headband
  • Detachable 3.5mm Jack
  • Impressive sound quality
  • Good headphones for recording vocals

Cons

  • Bass is somewhat muddy
  • Mid range frequencies can be slightly muffled

Our Rating:

9.7 / 10

These headphones are incredibly ergonomic, with replaceable memory foam ear pads and an authentic leather headband. However their frequency range does leave a little to be desired.

 

6. GRADO SR225e

Some of the best headphones for music production provided you have the budget. The open back design works in conjunction with excellent bass response for perfect mixing and mastering.

GRADO SR225e headphones, black

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Bluetooth: Not Applicable
  • Type: Over ear
  • Enclosure: Closed Back
  • Wireless: Not Applicable
  • Noise Cancelling: Fully Acoustic
  • Charging:  Not Applicable (Fully Wired)
  • Mic and Controls: No Integrated Mic, No Touch Controls
  • Transducer: Dynamic
  • Colors: Black
  • Waterproof: Not Present
  • Weight: 9.92 ounces
  • Battery time: Not Applicable (Fully Wired)
  • Price: Under 500$ although prices vary on Amazon (buy link) – Checked May 6, 2021

Our take: The Grado SR225E headphones provide an excellent level of frequency separation and an indescribably large soundstage. The level of detail is so accurate that you’ll be able to home in on individual cymbal beats amongst a plethora of loud bass and mid tones. We highly recommend these to anyone who’s serious about tweaking their sound to perfect.

These provide a massive benefit over the SR-325 models, which can be a little bit more expensive. The 325s are a little bit too bright for most people, so the listening fatigue can rack up fairly quickly and cause issues further into production.

Pros

  • Manufactured authentically at home in Brooklyn.
  • Solid bass response
  • Excellent for use as reference headphones
  • Super comfortable ear pads
  • Very sturdy
  • Studio quality headphones for mixing any genre

Cons

  • Sits in an incredibly high price range
  • Small design verges into the territory of “on ear” rather than “over ear”

Our Rating:

9.7 / 10

An excellent choice for anyone who’s concerned with accurate frequency response of bass response. The only main complaint is that the ergonomics leave something to be desired.

 

7. AKG K 701

An incredible set of studio headphones for mixing and mastering that sit in a fairly modest price range.

AKG K 701 over-head headphones, silver

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Bluetooth: Not Applicable (Fully Wired)
  • Type: Over Ear
  • Enclosure: Closed Back
  • Wireless: Not Applicable (Fully Wired)
  • Noise Cancelling: add info
  • Charging: Not Applicable (Fully Wired)
  • Mic and Controls: Not Present
  • Transducer:  Dynamic
  • Colors: Always Grey
  • Waterproof: No
  • Weight: 53.92 ounces
  • Battery time: Not Applicable (Fully Wired)
  • Price: Under 300$ although prices vary on Amazon (buy link) – Checked May 6, 2021

Our take: I’d say these headphones comfortable slot into the niche of “audiophile headphones”. Even if you’re not planning on using them for mixing and mastering, they provide an amazing level of sound quality that’s difficult to contest – especially amongst more generic consumer headphones.

They provide an excellent frequency response, delivering crisp bass tones and highs that aren’t particularly piercing. The only major complaint I have is that the sound quality does seem to be somewhat erratic. Almost as if it differs between session usage.

Pros

  • Solid sound reproduction
  • Comfortable Ear Pads
  • Among the best closed back headphones for comfort
  • Good frequency response

Cons

  • Poor Low End
  • Sound Quality Can Be Erratic

Our Rating:

9.4 / 10

Legitimately some of the best headphones for mixing and mastering under $300. Just be wary of fake replicas sold under inauthentic sellers on amazon.


 

8. Sennheiser Pxc 550-II

Another fantastic pair of headphones by Sennheiser worth their weight in gold with a crisp sound profile for the serious audiophile.

Sennheiser Pxc 550-II headphones

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.0
  • Type: Over Ear
  • Enclosure: Closed Back
  • Wireless: Hybrid Wireless
  • Noise Cancelling: Adaptive Noise Cancellation
  • Charging: Rapid Charge
  • Mic and Controls: Single touch access to voice assistants, full touch control
  • Transducer: Dynamic
  • Colors: Fully Black
  • Waterproof: Not Present
  • Weight: 16 ounces
  • Battery time: 30 Hours Of Active Use
  • Price: Under 400$ although prices vary on Amazon (buy link) – Checked May 6, 2021

Our take: If you’re looking for a set of fully wireless headphones for production, these are a solid choice. You can plug them directly into your sound driver and the sub 50ms delay will allow you to produce tracks live, alongside your metronome or pre-programmed percussive instruments. In terms of sound quality, they’re comparable to the beyerdynamic dt 990 series. Primarily because the beyerdynamic dt 990 series exists in a similar price bracket and delivers a comparable level of sound quality.

Overall, they’re comfortable and provide a modest/large soundstage which will allow you to replicate most listening environments with a high level of accuracy.

Pros

  • Best studio headphones for anyone pursuing an exclusively wireless design
  • Modest frequency response and bass response
  • Ear pads/ear cups are super comfortable
  • Headband is comfortably padded too
  • Support a wide range of Bluetooth devices
  • Hybrid wireless design
  • High-rated Sennheiser studio headphones

Cons

  • Not the most competitively priced on the headphone market
  • Outperformed by a lot of cheaper models

Our Rating:

9.2 / 10

These lightweight and highly comfortable headphones provide a great level of audio quality and a low level of latency. However, there’s definitely a handful of models that sit further down the price range that can outperform them.

 

9. Akg k701 Headphones

An admirable choice for studio monitor headphones. Well designed, super aesthetic and highly comfortable.

Akg k701 Headphones, white

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Bluetooth: Exclusively Wired
  • Type: Over Ear Tech
  • Enclosure: Closed Back
  • Wireless: Not Applicable (Exclusively Wired)
  • Noise Cancelling: Fully Acoustic
  • Charging: Not Applicable (Exclusively Wired)
  • Mic and Controls: No Integrated Mic, No Integrated Controls
  • Transducer: Dynamic
  • Colors: Black, White or Orange
  • Waterproof: No
  • Weight: 8.32 Ounces
  • Battery time: Not Applicable (Exclusively Wired)
  • Price: Under 500$ although prices vary on Amazon (buy link) – Checked May 6, 2021

Our take: The AKG Pro Audio K701 series are a nice choice for anyone who’s series about their studio headphones. Flat wire voice coil technology allows for highly accurate vocal reproduction in-studio. This coil technology also actively works towards providing a high level of accuracy during immediate/transient playback.

If you’re frequently tracking live audio and you’re concerned about latency or accuracy, these headphones are worth a serious consideration.

The two-layer diaphragm reproduction hardware is patented by Varimotion. It’s patented for good reason, too. It provides astronomically clear highs and a high level of accuracy with bass response – making these headphones optimal for mixing and mastering. Even for beginners.

Pros

  • Self adjusting padded leather ear cups (super comfortable)
  • Great studio headphones for mixing
  • Adjustable leather headband
  • Voice coil tech is great for mixing vocals

Cons

  • Little bit too expensive for the level of quality (poor cost per benefit ratio)
  • Some of the components are made in China, despite assembly being advertised as Australian

Our Rating:

9.3 / 10

Light, comfortable, durable, with good battery life and better quality of sound than other bone conduction headphones. 

 

10. Samson SR850

If you’re shopping around for studio reference headphones that cost less than 100 dollars, these are unbeatable.

Samson SR850 headphones, black

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Bluetooth: Exclusively Wired
  • Type: Over Ear
  • Enclosure: Open Back
  • Wireless: Not Applicable (Exclusively Wired)
  • Noise Cancelling: Exclusively Acoustic
  • Charging: Not Applicable (Exclusively Wired)
  • Mic and Controls: Not Present
  • Transducer: Dynamic
  • Colors: Black
  • Waterproof: No
  • Weight: 9.73 ounces
  • Battery time: Not Applicable (Exclusively Wired)
  • Price: Under 100$ although prices vary on Amazon (buy link) – Checked May 6, 2021

Our take: Anyone operating on a budget should seriously consider this headset. I could happily mumble on about the incredibly comfortable ear cups, the adjustable head strap and the overall great feel of these headphones, but that honestly wouldn’t be doing them justice.

They have a frequency response that sits in the 10Hz – 30kHz range. Which, considering the pricing point, is incredibly impressive. They’re exclusively wired and come with a gold plated, highly conductive 3.5mm jack. This enhanced level of conductivity stamps out latency with such efficiency that you’ll be able to track live instruments without flinching.

Pros

  • Low latency
  • Great cost per benefit ratio
  • Gold plated electronics
  • Neodymium drivers
  • Crisp highs and lows
  • Very sturdy, especially for the price range

Cons

  • Need to be “broken in” before they’re comfortable
  • Will quickly become replaceable as you mature as an engineer

Our Rating:

9.7 / 10

If you’re new to audio engineering, these headphones will be a perfect fit. However, you should expect to quickly outgrow them. We only really recommend these if you’re new to production and you’re operating on a limited budget.

These are the best music production headphones ONLY if you’re new to the game.

 

11. KRK KNS 8400

Among the best headphones for mixing under 150 dollars. Studio monitor quality at a fraction of the normal price.

KRK KNS 8400 On-Ear Closed Back Circumaural Studio Monitor Headphones

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Bluetooth: Exclusively Wired
  • Type: Over Ear
  • Enclosure: Closed Back
  • Wireless: Not Applicable (Fully Wired)
  • Noise Cancelling: Fully Acoustic
  • Charging: Not Applicable (Fully Wired)
  • Mic And Controls: No Mic Or Touch Controls Present
  • Transducer: Dynamic (Neodymium)
  • Colors: Only Black
  • Waterproof: No
  • Weight: 8.2 ounces
  • Battery Time: Not Applicable (Fully Wired)
  • Price: Under 150$ although prices vary on Amazon (buy link) – Checked May 6, 2021

Our Take: If you’re looking for headphones with a high degree of utility, you probably wont have to look any further than the KRK KNS 8400. These headphones ship with a massive feature list, so much so that it’s pretty difficult to summarise succintly.

The 40mm neodymium drivers make for excellent space reproduction when you’re listening to audio playback. These drivers are fed directly from the 2.5mm low latency oxygen-free copper wiring. This wiring set up will ensure you never experience enough latency to throw off your rhythym, even when you’re tracking live.

The memory foam ear cushions are also totally replacable and super comfortable.

Pros:

  • Massive feature list
  • Ships with soft carry case
  • Foldable/adustable enclosure for the drivers
  • Really comfortable
  • Sturdy and professional headphones
  • Built from high quality materials

Cons:

  • Bass tones are somewhat flat

Our Rating:

9.6 / 10

These expertly engineered closed back headphones combine highly ergonomic, comfortable design elements along with a highly accurate, wide frequency response and overall excellent utility.

 

Considerations Choosing the best Mixing and Mastering Headphones

Choosing the best studio headphones for your home/professional use can be a little bit tricky. We’ve compiled a list of some of the more important considerations to factor in when browsing for a decent pair. This list assumes that you’re relatively new to the production niche so some of the answers may be a little basic.

What are the main types of studio headphones?

This question is worthy of an article in its own right. So we’ll try to keep the answer fairly succinct. There are quite a few different types of studio headphones, all of them fulfill certain roles so the best studio headphones for you are realistically the ones that help you achieve whatever your goal as a music producer is.

Open Back Headphones

These best simulate more natural acoustic environments. They don’t over pronounce bass frequencies like other styles of headphone do. These are commonly used for mixing and mastering the final product.

Check out Reddit for more on “Why are open back headphones better for mixing than closed?“.

Closed Back Headphones

These provide the greatest level of noise cancellation and as such can be used to fine tune frequencies and produce great sounds within a closed environment.

Semi-Open Back Headphones

The stated goal of these headphones is to produce a sort of hybrid between the above two styles of cans.

There are also three variations of the above headphones.

  • Wireless – Fully wireless headphones with no cabled inputs. (High Latency)
  • Wired – Exclusively cabled headphones with no wireless functionality. (Low Latency)
  • Hybrid – Headphones that offer both. (High Latency)

Battery Life

If you’re not mixing live, then you might have opted for wireless headphones. These can be a real great asset as long as you pick a headset that can hold a charge for a while. Not many people are producing music for longer than 5-8 hours at a time, so anything above this is fine.

Noise Cancellation

This is a feature that’s absolutely crucial for sound production. Mixing and mastering is impossible if you’re unable to effectively filter out background frequencies to focus on your tunes.

You’re unlikely to need active noise cancellation for studio use, but having the option never hurts.

Controls

Simple, easy to interface with controls are vital. Power/Volume are the bare minimum, but some headphones offer programmable touch controls on the side panels.

Microphone

Integrated microphones will be largely useless for tracking vocals for most genres (unless you’re using a vocoder). But it doesn’t hurt to have one if you’re planning on using your headset to receive/conduct phone calls too.

Generally speaking, if you’re planning on tracking vocals or recording instruments with a microphone, you should purchase a stand alone mic. Cardioid condenser microphones offer an excellent frequency range and can be used for multiple purposes.

Cabled Backup / Wireless Functionality

Exclusively cabled and exclusively wireless headsets both have their benefits and drawbacks. If you’re producing music live you’re going to want a cabled backup so that you can effectively eliminate latency. If you’re mixing and mastering samples or pre-recorded audio/MIDI then this won’t be as necessary.

Be aware though – you shouldn’t expect to obtain the same level of sound quality without a wired/cabled back up.

Comfortable Fit

This is a major consideration for anyone who’s spending considerable hours in the studio. It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing open back or closed back headphones – poor ergonomics will always result in chaffing and discomfort after a long enough period of time.

Sound Quality

This is a no-brainer. You’re going to want a headset that’s capable of delivering you high quality audio across a diverse array of frequencies. Normally frequencies in the 20-20,000hz range.

Water Resistance

Since you’re operating out of a studio that is presumably indoors, this isn’t really something you should get too hung up on. Lower levels of water resistance can actually be convenient when it comes to filtering out sweat – but it is highly unlikely you’re going to need anything extreme.

If you’re worried about your headphones getting wet during transportation you can easily pick up a waterproof carrying case or rucksack online. Just make sure they’re well padded before you bag them up.

Build Quality

This is one of the more critical factors for anyone who’s shopping on a budget. Generally speaking, higher quality builds such as the beyerdynamic dt 990 pro or the shure srh1840 are going to hold up over longer periods of time.

But if you’re operating on limited purchasing power, you should pay very close attention to user reviews when it comes to breakages. Cheaper headphones have a tendency to fall apart very quickly. Often times it can often prove to be cheaper to just pay an extra 50 dollars instead of constantly having to replace your current set.

Keep an eye out for sturdier materials, these are generally a solid indicator of build quality:

  • Carbon Fiber
  • Leather
  • Aircraft Aluminum

Also note that whilst gold may be used for its excellent conductivity – it’s highly malleable and prone to breaking.

FAQ

Are headphones good for mixing?

Yes. Headphones are incredibly important for mixing for a handful of different reasons. They allow you to filter out background noise and effectively “hone in” on specific frequencies with a greater deal of accuracy.

They also allow you to experience your music at higher levels of volume – which is perfect for home studio work. If you’re mixing at home it’s unlikely you’re living in an area where you have free reign to crank up the volume to 11 every time you want to EQ an instrument.

Are noise Cancelling headphones good for mixing?

Noise cancellation and sound isolation are incredibly important qualities to have in a headphone for anyone who’s mixing and mastering.

Poor acoustic isolation will result in sound leakage. This is when the audio from your headphones leaks “out” into the outside world. If you’re working around other people it can be a little bit distracting. It can also be a tad embarrassing subjecting other people to your unfinished work.

Headphones with poor acoustic isolation also generally have poor noise cancellation – as sound travels both ways. Poor noise cancellation at its worst will make it very difficult for your to isolate frequencies and perform any other tasks that require concentration. Miniscule things like the background hum of your workstation can throw you off when you’re seriously in the zone.

Is it better to mix with headphones or speakers?

As we’ve stated above, headphones deliver an array of benefits that can’t be matched by studio monitors or speakers. With that in mind, you shouldn’t be confined to either. Odds are, people are going to be enjoying your content across a wide array of listening devices, not just consumer headphones. Especially if you’re producing something that’s commercially successful (which is normally the goal).

Interesting read about mixing headphones vs studio monitors

So it’s important to ensure that your content sounds excellent on both. Mixing on both will also allow you to identify various “quirks” and issues with your sound that you wouldn’t have picked up on beforehand.

What headphones do sound engineers use?

The answer to this question is unfortunately a lot more vague than we’d like. Competent sound/audio engineers use a wide variety of headphones. Some even arbitrarily jump between using studio monitors and closed back/open back headphones in order to capture the widest range of sound stages possible before they release a track to the general public.

Can You Mix In Headphones? Closed vs Open Back for the Best Sound

The most commonly used studio headphones for mixing can include:

  • The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro series
  • The Sennheiser hd 650 series (and all Sennheiser hd 650 derivatives)
  • The Sennheiser HD280 series
  • Most of the headphones mentioned in the list above
  • Most headphones with a solid frequency response and a comfortable headband/ear cups
  • The sony mdr 7506 series

Should I Pick My Headphones Based On Genre?

This really depends on how heavily you want to optimize your music. It’s important to remember that up until the last 20 or so years, audio equipment was effectively “one size fits all”. Yes, it’s true that the frequency response of some headphones/monitors will allow you to more accurately EQ music in your respective genre. But this level of optimization isn’t entirely necessary. Especially if you’re good at what you do.

Rose Annemarie
Rose loves to review products and has been doing so for years. Now she focuses on headphones and tech products.

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