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Best budget studio headphones

Finding the best budget studio headphones can turn out to be a tedious task. You want to find a low priced pair of headphones while at the same time something with high quality. With so many options out there how do you find the right pair?

I have had the opportunity to use several pair of headphones over the last twenty years and have narrowed down what I think is most important factors when making a decision.

There’s a few things you’ll need to consider when deciding what certain headphones have to offer.

  • Frequency responce
  • Frequency range
  • open back headphones or wireless
  • purpose and use for studio headphones. Is it for gain balance? Checking your stereo range? Gaming? Or just listening to music?

Choosing the Best Budget Studio Headphones

Sennheiser HD 280 Pro

sennheiser hd280 budget headphones

The sennheiser HD 280 qualify as a solid professional pair of headphones. Perhaps one of the best studio headphones under 200 dollars. As soon as you put these around your head you’ll notice the intense sound isolation. With almost 3,000 positive reviews on Amazon you can be sure that your’e getting more that what you pay for.

In my own  experience with these I can assure you they are ready for serious producers and DJs alike. They have a full frequency range and plenty of bass. The hi end is crisp and they have plenty of volume headroom. The company Sennheiser specialize in studio monitor headphones as they produce a good variety of solid monitors for your ears.

They come at a price of around $99.00 which surprised me for the quality.  You can trust that from ear to ear you’re hearing accurate gain and frequency in sound. Some have suggested they are a bit colored in the high end. This could be good or bad in some cases. I’m also not a fan of the coil wiring type of wire. Overall, a good for close ear mixing. Excellent design and full isolation! A good choice for the best budget studio headphones.



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Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Headphones

best budget studio headphones athWith almost 5,000 positive reviews on amazon, it isn’t any surprise that the Audio Technica ATH come high recommended. And well with in the price range of basically anybody.  At only around $149.00 brand new, these critically acclaimed headphones have been found in some of the best studios here in Hollywood. They simply are one of the best studio headphones under 200 dollars. With great reason too.

These are considered a professional grade monitor headphones with a convenient detachable cable. They also have a good circumaural type of design for ear comfort as well as superb sound isolation . This is perfect for listening in loud places too!

The word on the street is that these are the best studio headphones under $200. And for very good reason. Over the past few years the ATH-M50X of continually come down in price despite their high demand. Overall excellent build quality and attention to detail. Very flexible and super portable design. You’ll notice that the biggest difference between the m50’s and the m50-x is the cabling.

They come out of the box with no cable attached at all. You’ll notice that there’s a 3.5 mill headphone jack on the left hand side.

They also have 90° swiveling earcups for seamless, one-ear headphone monitoring for DJs, and a professional-grade earpad and headband material to deliver more stability and ease as well as a bit of comfort.

Overall I give these a high rank for usability and comfort as well as superb sound quality. Good bass perception and a clean and full frequency rang across the audio spectrum. A solid choice for the best budget studio headphones.!

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Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone

Sony MDR budget headphonesMy favorite thing about the MDR7500 is the detail in its sound. We had the chance to mix down a few of my orchestral compositions using these. All of the instruments came through clear as day. Every single detail!

It’s made with a closed ear designed for comfort while the plug is standard and non detachable. Very portable in my opinion. They fold up nicely for storage in the provided soft case as well.

You’d mostly find these headphones in major news network studios as they are industry standard. I’ve also found that they are quite popular with gaming as well. This is probably due to an excellent Frequency Response of 10Hz – 20 kHz. More than your ears can probably hear!

These headphones are made of almost entirely plastic. This makes them super light weight. But at the same time not the most durable headphones on the market. Definitely priced fairly for the value though. They sound incredible for being made with something as cheap as plastic if you know what I mean.

When the Sony MDR7506 fold up they become super small. This is very useful for guys like myself who travel a lot. As far as ear padding goes, there are some better ones I found one amazon If you decide to replace the ones provided here.

Overall I’d say these are definitely good for the price. I mean they sound good even though they’re made pretty cheaply and aren’t the prettiest headphones out there. Plus they’re industry standard and have been around for some time. The Sony’s are certainly a good contender for the best budget studio headphones!

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AKG K240STUDIO Semi-Open Studio Headphones

akg k240 budget studio headphonesThe AKG K240s are a solid pair of professional grade  headphones on the cheaper end. Probably the best budget studio headphones on the market. Coming in at around $65.00, they are perhaps one of the lowest priced monitors for their sound. Of coarse theye don’t qualify as the best akg headphones. That doesn’t mean the aren’t a good work horse for you.

They have a semi open design with a 3 m replaceable cable. They’re very durable, flexible and most of all they sound pretty darn good and are well within a budget. Plenty of music has gotten added to tv simply from mixing on these. These are open back headphones which is pretty cool because it gives more of a natural way of hearing your sound. They aren’t too tight around your ears if you know what I mean. Lots ear breathing room which is more of a preference thing. Some people like it that way when hearing their music.

Because they lack the isolation found in some of the other headphones I’ve reviewed, they may not be the best akg headphones to track vocals do to the fact that you can hear the bleed quite clearly. Especially if your using a mic that pics up basically anything.

The AkG K240s are best suited for engineers and producers alike rather than tracking live audio like vocals. This is my own opinion. But I have found that they provide a nice and clean sound with good volume without clipping or distorting. Still, one of the best akg headphones for the money.

Cable and usability:

I also like the really long cable which is almost an essential for a guy like me. This is great because you can move quite the distance from your workstation without having to unplug it. Some may find this too long but all you need to do is put a sweet tie on it and you’ll be fine.

Also the cable is detachable which has been proven to be a better situation for most studio heads out there. This is probably due to cables shorting out sometimes. Being able to replace that cable is great.

Definitely good for the price. Certainly a professional grade pair of headphones well worth the small investment if you’re trying to find the best budget studio headphones.

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Best studio headphones under 200:

The Akg k240s, sennheiser HD 280, and the the ATH-M50X all qualify as the best studio headphones under 200 dollars. For the quality and frequency range, either of these will get the job done well for your home studio.


Mixing with headphones

I believe that a good pair of headphones are essential for any home studio. But as far as mixing goes, there are some dos and don’ts you might want to consider. First, never use headphones as your final mix on anything. Since studio headphones put you in kinda a isolated zone, a lot of the spaced needed to hear mixes properly are condensed. basically you’re getting a more in your face kinda feel when hearing this way.

That being said I have found that headphones are important for making final decisions in addition to those found with your studio monitors.

Using your headphones to hear your gain levels and reverb as well as stereo space. I’ve found somethings pop out like a soar thumb as far as gain levels when listening finally with headphones.

Mixing with headphones provides a lot of consistency too. Doesn’t matter what room you’re in or if you’re on a plane. Headphones provide an excellent amount of consistency in the balance of your mixes. In addition to this, your headphones provide excellent clarity in your mixes.

If you’re mixing with headphones as well as mixing with your studio monitors, then you are well on your way to create better mixes in your songs!


You may also like: The 5 Basic Things Needed In A Home Recording Studio

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