The Best Studio Headphones

Best Headphones Under $100: Audio-Technica ATHM40x

The M40x is a solid choice, especially for the price they are selling for. If you have a small budget, these are the headphones you want. I recommend them!

Why we recommend the ATHM40x: The sound quality of the ATH40x is very good. They have good highs and a mostly nice low-end (the low-end can sometimes be a bit muddy).
Also the upgraded ATH40x come with more comfortable ear-cups and headband. The padding he was very soft and won’t press your ears.

What they could do to improve: Softer ear-pads. It is not uncommon for a lot of users to replace the earpads with high-quality ones. A popular choice are the Audio Technica MSR7 earpads.
But for most people, the original earpads will be just fine. I suggest you give the original earpads a try, you can always upgrade them later.

Compared to the competition: The ATH40x will probably last you a long time. But when compared with premium cans they do feel a bit cheap. You can tell the difference in build quality.
However, I can guarantee that you will forget the somewhat “cheap feel” once you hear those cans sing! For the price, their sound is really good!

Best Headphones Under $200: Beyerdynamic DT 770

It is no secret that the DT 770 equivalent with much higher-end headphones close to the $800 value.

WHY WE RECOMMEND THE DT 770: The Beyerdynamic DT 770 has outstanding sound quality! You will experience a clean and open but also a spacious and gorgeous sound.They are very durable and sturdy. They will last you a lifetime.

  • The pads and the leather band are easily replaceable and The replacement pads come in a variety of colors and different materials for you to choose from
  • Online there is a wide choice of materials and colors for you to choose from, meaning you can “pimp them up” according to your style and preference.

WHAT THEY COULD DO TO IMPROVE: Nothing that I could think of for the price.

COMPARED TO THE COMPETITION: The DT 770 comes with a natural and un-boosted low end that is accurate and precise; I didn’t experience muddy lows, which was occasionally the case with the ATHM40x.
The DT 770 also has a smaller lower frequency boost meaning the sound is flatter compared to the ATHM40x.

NOTE: The DT 770 come in three versions.

  1. The 32 Ohm version.
  2. The 250 Ohm version.
  3. The 600 Ohm version.
  • The main difference between the three versions of the DT 770 is their output signal level. 
  • For the 250 and the 600 Ohm versions, YOU NEED an external sound card or a headphone preamp to use them properly. If you don’t have one, the output signal (meaning their volume) will be very low. Typically the 250 & 600 Ohm versions are NOT recommended for listening to music on smartphones.
  • But the 32 Ohm version is “plug and play” and does work great with phones, tablets, and any other device. Also, you won’t need any additional hardware for it to work properly. 

Best Headphones Under $300: AKG K701

 Quincy Jones in partnership with AKG launched his signature headphones, the AKG Q701. As the name suggests, the Q701 was inspired by the K701.

WHY WE RECOMMEND THE AKG K701: The AKG K701 is an extremely well-crafted headphone. It is very durable, comfortable and gives you pristine audio quality. 
The K701’s strong point is that it faithfully reproduce every sound source without adding too much bass, mid’s or treble frequencies.

They are accurate and extremely balanced with a tight bass, a neutral coloring, superb imaging, no distortion, and a full natural dynamic range
I love them!

WHAT THEY COULD DO TO IMPROVE: Its not a deal-breaker but they could replace the chord with a detachable one. If this is something you cant live without then I recommend you purchase the AKG K702 instead.

The K701 & K702 are very similar. The main difference between them is that the K702 has a detachable cable and replaceable ear pads.

COMPARED TO THE COMPETITION: All four headphones on this page are great. But if I had to choose one set of cans, I would choose the AKG K701. I even like them better than the DT 770 covered above 👆.

NOTE: A word of caution. If your only exposure to music has been through colored headphones and over-compressed music such as the Beats by Dr. Dre then you might not like the K701’s. 

If you decide you want the K701 then give yourself a few days to get used to them. With these headphones, it’s not “all about that bass” but all about unique and crystal clear audio quality.