Do you often get confused, looking at a wide variety of mixing and mastering products? Are you hunting for the best headphones for mixing and mastering? Headphones have been largely categorized into three major types, out of which over-ear headphones are mostly adopted for studio usage. Over-ear headphones feature closed and open back designs that offer remarkable frequency and impedance, making them an ideal choice for audio mixing.
Although closed-back headphones offer an isolated environment for working, their open back counterparts are mostly utilized for audio mastering and mixing because of natural sound production and rich bass, which might be exaggerated in the former products. This article takes into account the 15 best headphones for mixing and mastering, along with a detailed buying guide.
15 Best Headphones for Mixing and Mastering
- AKG K 701 Ultra Reference Class Stereo Headphone
- Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro Over-Ear Studio Headphone
- Shure SRH1840 Professional Open Back Headphones
- Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back Headphone
- AKG Q 701 Quincy Jones Headphones
- ADAM Audio Studio Pro SP-5 Closed-Back Headphones
- Focal Listen Pro Closed-Back Headphones
- Sennheiser HD 200 Professional Monitoring Headphone
- Audio-Technica ATH-M70X Closed-Back Headphones
- Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO Open Studio Headphones
- MAYERS AUSDOM Lightweight Over-Ear Headphones
- SoundWarrior SW-HP10s Headphones
- AKG Pro Audio K240 STUDIO Over-Ear Headphones
- OneOdio Wired Over-Ear Headphones
- Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Professional Headphones
1. AKG K 701 Ultra Reference Class Stereo Headphone
Rating: 4.4 / 5
AKG K 701 Ultra Reference Class Stereo Headphones are considered one of the best headphones for mixing and mastering. The product has a frequency response ranging between 10 Hz to 39.8 kHz. This frequency is ideal for mixing as it is well below the levels detected by the human ear. Hence, these headphones are a suitable choice for even frequency distribution.
The device falls under the category of open-back headphones and features air holes that allow sound to pass through. Therefore, keeping the volume under safe levels and preventing consumers’ eardrums from damage due to high audio levels. Furthermore, the product has a high impedance that is around 62 ohms and thus, requires more power to generate loud audio output.
This pair of headphones has a 3m long cable and 3.5mm long gold plated connector, which improves the quality and performance of the tool. In addition to this, the maximum power input of the tool is 200 MW. Moreover, the inclusion of the two-layered diaphragm and 6.3mm large adapter improve the accuracy and precision of the output device.
Along with this, the headband features a leather layer to provide a comfortable listening experience to the consumers. Additionally, the ear pads included are soft and cover the ear entirely, hence relieving the consumers from discomfort and pain caused by in-ear headphones.
[i2pc][i2pros] Replaceable earpads Accurate and precise Suitable for mixing 10 Hz to 39.8 kHz frequency Leather headband [/i2pros][i2cons] High impedance [/i2cons][/i2pc]
AKG K 701 Ultra Reference Class Stereo Headphones is a performance and cost-efficient product. The tool is comfortable and displays low-frequency levels, which prevent the consumer from physical damage. Moreover, the replaceable ear pads and leather headband are the prominent attributes of the tool.
2. Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro Over-Ear Studio Headphone
Rating: 4.4 / 5
Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro Over-Ear Studio Headphone is another remarkable tool included in the list. These headphones are highly admired by audiophiles and have an outstanding reputation for mixing applications. Likewise, the device is over-ear and, therefore, covers the user’s ear completely, leading to the provision of comfort.
Similar to their above-mentioned counterpart, the product also features a leather headband with soft ear-cushioning. Along with this, the tool is semi-open in design and has an impedance value of 250 ohms. Therefore, it requires a large power source to amplify the audio level. Furthermore, the bass of the headphone is amazing and is not bloated at all, leading to the generation of high quality and accurate audio mix.
The frequency of the tool is 5 to 35 Hz with a sound pressure level of 96 dB. Furthermore, the device is incorporated with a 6.35mm large adapter along with a 3.5mm wide mini-jack plug. However, the DT 880 pro headphones are expensive as compared to other market products and might cost a few more dollars than regular headphones.
[i2pc][i2pros] 5 to 35 Hz frequency Semi open-back design Perfect bass and frequency No bloating Softly padded headband [/i2pros][i2cons] Expensive 250-ohm impedance [/i2cons][/i2pc]
Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro Over-Ear Studio Headphones are a remarkable choice for mixing and mastering. The product is expensive yet worthy because of its unrivalled features. Moreover, the incredible bass, frequency, and sound pressure of the tool provide excellent accuracy and precision. However, the impedance of the product is high and requires high power.
3. Shure SRH1840 Professional Open Back Headphones
Rating: 4.4 / 5
Shure SRH1840 Professional Open Back Headphones are famous for their durability and efficiency. The tool is not only suitable for mixing but displays unrivaled performance in mastering as well. Integrated with amazing features, the product is an open back, over-ear in design, and has no concerns associated with high audio like their close back counterparts.
Another advantage of the particular product is the natural listening experience provided to the users that allows them to identify and analyze the stereo field. Apart from this, the device features rich bass and is integrated with neodynamic drivers that improve its abilities and properties. Besides this, the frequency of the tool ranges from 10 Hz to 30 kHz leading to fidelity and perfection.
Along with this, the stainless steel grills coupled with a cushioned headband and soft earpads enhance the comfort level for users. Eventually, leading to an overall reduction in the weight of the product and allowing consumers to use them for hours without any pain or irritation continuously. Additionally, the headphones are extremely compact and durable and are embedded with a detachable copper wire for protection against damage.
[i2pc][i2pros] Detachable Copper wire Durable and compact Suitable for mastering Lightweight and comfortable Neodynamic drivers [/i2pros][i2cons] Not suitable for live performance [/i2cons][/i2pc]
Shure SRH1840 Professional Open Back Headphones are versatile in nature and can be utilized for studio and live performance. However, they are mostly preferred for studio use because of their open-back design. In addition to this, the product is compact and comfortable in nature and is integrated with neodynamic drivers that improve the overall performance of the tool.
4. Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back Headphone
Rating: 4.7 / 5
Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back Headphones do not disappoint when it comes to mixing and mastering and are considered as one of the efficient headphones available in the market. The high-quality acoustic silk drivers installed in the product produce rich and versatile audio with frequencies ranging between 10 to 39 kHz. Therefore, it allows mixing engineers to mix at low sound levels with great precision.
In addition to this, the tool is embedded with lightweight aluminium coils and is renowned for even frequency distribution. Furthermore, the open-back design of the device allows for the exchange of sound, therefore, preventing health concerns. Powerful neodynamic drivers included in the product enhances its efficiency and allows for improved mixing.
Along with this, the highly optimized magnet system incorporated in the tool reduces modulation and harmonic distortion. Thus, leading to better results. However, the headphones are expensive and often termed as overpriced. But, if you want a performance-oriented product and do not hesitate to spare a few dollars, Sennheiser 650 HD is an ultimate recommendation.
[i2pc][i2pros] Neodynaimc Drivers Reduction in harmonic distortion Minimization of modular distortion Even frequency distribution Lightweight aluminium coils [/i2pros][i2cons] Small ear size [/i2cons][/i2pc]
Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back Headphones are renowned for being one of the best headphones for mixing and mastering. The tool displays even frequency distribution and is associated with a decrease in modulation distortion due to the presence of an optimized magnet system in the product. Moreover, neodynamic drivers embedded in the device enhance its performance and generate outstanding results.
5. AKG Q 701 Quincy Jones Headphones
Rating: 4.1 / 5
AKG Q 701 Quincy Jones Headphones are stylish yet comfortable products recognized around the world. The headphones are suitable for critical listening and are extremely versatile. Available with detachable cables, the tool is open back and does not block the external sound completely.
However, the product performs well in an isolated environment and is not suitable for usage in public places, especially for mixing. Along with this, the design of the tool is simple yet elegant and features circular ear cups and a self-adjusting headband. But, the product is bulky and is not recommended for daily usage because of the absence of a storage case.
Furthermore, the headphones are comfortable and are available with cushioned ear cups. Therefore, they do not put pressure on the user’s ears and head and reduce irritation after continuous usage. Apart from this, the tool heats very quickly, but the presence of air holes helps in the regulation of airflow, thus, preventing the overheating of the tool.
On the negative side, the headphones are not suitable for use during physical activities and sports and might slip off after a lot of movement. The bass of the tool is also amazing and becomes better with increasing frequency.
[i2pc][i2pros] Suitable for mixing Air Holes prevent overheating. Perfect for an isolated environment Comfortable and lightweight [/i2pros][i2cons] Bulky and lack portability [/i2cons][/i2pc]
AKG Q 701 Quincy Jones Headphones are an incredible tool suitable for mixing activities. However, the product is not recommended for daily usage due to a lack of portability and bulkiness. Apart from this, the headphones are comfortable and are manufactured with cushioned ear pads that reduce the pressure on consumers’ ears and head.
6. ADAM Audio Studio Pro SP-5 Closed-Back Headphones
Rating: 4 / 5
ADAM Audio Studio Pro SP-5 Closed-Back Headphones are manufactured under the ADAM Audio trademark and are well known for their top quality design and mastering capabilities. Furthermore, the tool is suitable for mixing and generates top-notch results for consumers. The tool is one of the best closed-back headphones available in the industry and falls under the category of over-ear headphones.
Along with this, the headphones feature Ultrasone’s S-LOGIC Plus technology. The technology places the sonic objects in specialized spatial fields. Therefore, it generates natural imaging, which allows consumers to mix effortlessly. Moreover, another prominent advantage of the technology is the reduction in sound pressure resulting in a remarkable decrease in-ear fatigue.
Besides the above-mentioned attributes, the device is incorporated with a decentralized driver that ensures the provision of audio to the outer ear before the inner ear or eardrum. Thus, providing a three-dimensional listening experience to the users.
The frequency of these headphones ranges between 8 Hz to 38 kHz, and the design of the product provides a perfect platform for acoustic isolation. Likewise, the innovative Ultra Low Emission technology decreases the magnetic radiation often created due to low frequency. Additionally, the metal shielding reduces the magnetic radiation up to 98%. Furthermore, it can also be used as an excellent gaming headset.
[i2pc][i2pros] 98% reduction in magnetic radiation Ultrasone’s S-LOGIC plus technology Reduction in sound pressure Perfect for mixing and mastering 3-dimensional listening experience [/i2pros][i2cons] Inflexible headband [/i2cons][/i2pc]
ADAM Audio Studio Pro SP-5 Closed-Back Headphones are elegant and modern style based product featuring a closed-back design. Therefore, the tool is suitable for mixing and mastering as it provides an isolated environment for users. Along with this, the tool is integrated with ultra-low emission technology and, therefore, is associated with low magnetic radiation.
7. Focal Listen Pro Closed-Back Headphones
Rating: 4.6 / 5
Focal Listen Pro Closed-Back Headphones are another product featuring a closed-back design and are an incredibly professional tool. Apart from this, the tool provides noise isolation and features smartphone compatibility making them versatile equipment around the market. Furthermore, the device is embedded with titanium drivers and displays little distortion. Hence, providing an amazing listening experience.
In addition to this, the frequency range of these headphones is around 5 Hz to 22 kHz, which is perfect for mastering and mixing. Moreover, high-density ear cups are sensitive to heat and are coated with microfiber. Thus, they must be used with great care. Apart from this, the headband is made up of silicone and provides ease of use and comfort to the users.
Therefore, it does not cause any irritation even after long periods of usage. Besides this, oxygen-free copper wires installed in the system enable consumers to use them with the smartphone. Similarly, the product is foldable and portable, as well. Therefore, they are admired by the majority of consumers.
However, despite these wonderful features, a major drawback associated with the device is sensitive to heat, which makes them heat quickly and may lead to concerns among consumers. Moreover, the continuous use of the tool might make it sweaty and slippery.
[i2pc][i2pros] Versatile Ideal for mixing and mastering Reduction in distortion Oxygen-free copper wires Noise Isolation [/i2pros][i2cons] Overheating and sweating [/i2cons][/i2pc]
Focal Listen Pro Closed-Back Headphones are a cost-effective tool and are versatile in nature. Featuring a typical closed-back design, the tool provides perfect isolation. Therefore, leading to the generation of the effortless audio mix. In addition to this, reduction in sound distortion and rich bass are other prominent features of the product. However, consumers often report issues of overheating.
8. Sennheiser HD 200 Professional Monitoring Headphone
Rating: 4.5 / 5
Sennheiser HD 200 Professional Monitoring Headphones are a budget and user-friendly tool present in the market. Embedded with extraordinary features and displaying sophisticated design, the product is ideal for mixing and mastering. Along with this, the device is closed back in nature and offers an isolated environment for listening and audio mastering.
Moreover, the tool is classified as over-ear headphones and covers the ears properly, leaving no room for irritation and pain. Incorporated with neodynamic drivers, the product ensures low-end punch sound with frequencies ranging between 20 Hz to 20kHz. Therefore, enabling users to analyze different types of frequencies critically.
Furthermore, the lightweight and cushioned headband and earpieces offer utmost comfort and reduce the pressure on the ears. Similarly, the tool is also perfect for live performance and usage, along with audio use because of the absence of air vents. The product is also an ideal choice for recording as they do not leak any sound. However, the device is thick but does not feel heavy at all.
However, there are no detachable cables available with the headphones, and the headband is not adjustable; hence it is suitable for people with smaller heads. Additionally, due to entrapment of pressure inside the tool, often false frequencies are generated, leading to performance issues.
[i2pc][i2pros] Suitable for live performance Reduction in-ear pressure Closed-back headphones Isolated Environment Lightweight and comfortable [/i2pros][i2cons] Absence of detachable Cables [/i2cons][/i2pc]
Sennheiser HD 200 Professional Monitoring Headphones are another model of closed-back headphones that are perfect for studio and live use. Moreover, the lightweight and soft nature of the tool reduce the pressure on ears and offer a comfortable environment for mixing and mastering. Therefore, these headphones are highly recommended for mixing engineers.
9. Audio-Technica ATH-M70X Closed-Back Headphones
Rating: 4.5 / 5
Audio-Technica ATH-M70X Closed-Back Headphones are yet another closed-back pair of headphones that are specifically designed for mixing. Loaded with neodynamic drivers, the tool is capable of generating a diverse range of frequencies without affecting the performance. In addition to this, the product is versatile and is suitable for mixing, recording, mastering, live performance, and other studio applications.
Furthermore, this pair of headphones is extremely durable and compact and does not get damaged easily. Apart from this, comfort and lightweight are other significant attributes of the ATH-M70x headphones. Consumers are able to detect the lowest frequencies in the audio as well because of the wide frequency range, which is around 5 Hz to 40 kHz.
Moreover, the plastic frame is sturdy and, when combined with an adjustable headband, provides amazing strength to the whole product. The inclusion of 3 different detachable and interchangeable cords enhance the quality of the tool, making it ideal for the majority of consumers.
Similar to their previously mentioned competitors, these headphones are also characterized by the creation of low-end frequencies, which might interfere with the bass response, leading to exaggerated results. You can find more here.
[i2pc][i2pros] Versatile Lightweight and Comfortable Interchangeable cords Diverse range of frequency Pocket Friendly [/i2pros][i2cons] Low-end frequency generation [/i2cons][/i2pc]
Audio-Technica ATH-M70X Closed-Back Headphones are a versatile product featuring exceptional attributes. Along with this, interchangeable cords and a wide range of frequencies are the prominent characteristics of the device, making it perfect for mixing and mastering. Moreover, the headphones are lighter on the pocket and are affordable.
10. Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO Open Studio Headphones
Rating: 4.7 / 5
Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO open Studio Headphones are one of the high-quality headphones around the world. These are the best headphones for mixing and mastering and are open back. Therefore, they do not prevent external sounds from reaching the consumer’s ears. The tool is specifically designed by Beyerdynamic for studio usage and enables users to analyze the frequencies while mixing critically.
Rich bass and the generation of three-dimensional sounds are other strong points of the device. Thus, these attributes lead to the production of accurate results in a wide spatial image. In addition to this, the frequency of these over-ear headphones ranges between 5 Hz to 35 kHz. A high power source is required to generate the audio because of the impedance of the tool, which is 250 ohms.
However, the connective cable of the tool is only 3.5mm long and does not add much to its performance. In terms of design, these headphones do not lag behind others on the list and are available with softly padded earpieces. Although the headband is rigid and difficult to adjust, on the whole, the product does not compromise the comfort at all.
[i2pc][i2pros] Ideal for mixing and mastering Soft and comfortable Accurate and balanced Three-dimensional audio Rich bass and wide frequency [/i2pros][i2cons] Rigid headband [/i2cons][/i2pc]
Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO open Studio Headphones are second to none in terms of quality and performance and are perfect for studio applications. Along with this, the three-dimensional audio generation and brilliant bass of the tool add five stars to its performance. Apart from this, DDT 990 headphones are comfortable despite their rigid headband and generate accurate audio with balanced tones.
11. MAYERS AUSDOM Lightweight Over-Ear Headphones
Rating: 4.2 / 5
MAYERS AUSDOM Lightweight Over-Ear Headphones are adjustable tools available with soundproof ear pads covered with a leather layer for a cosy and comfortable experience. The headband of the product can be adjusted depending on the user’s requirements. Furthermore, as the product is closed back in design, thus complete noise isolation is offered to the mixing engineering.
Therefore, allowing them to analyze various frequencies for efficient audio mixing critically. Along with this, the era pads fit perfectly around the ears, leaving no shallow spaces and hence reduce the pain and irritation caused by most headphones after using them for 5 to 8 hours continuously.
In addition to this, the 40mm drivers installed in the product provide high fidelity sound and generate deep bass. Likewise, the built-in handsfree and mic allow consumers to receive calls using the headphones and enhance the versatility of the product. Apart from this, the product is lightweight and is extremely portable, and is highly demanded in the market.
[i2pc][i2pros] Lightweight and portable Reduction in irritation Suitable for continuous use Suitable for mixing and mastering Versatile [/i2pros][i2cons] Overheating [/i2cons][/i2pc]
MAYERS AUSDOM Lightweight Over-Ear Headphones feature a closed-back design and are suitable for studio activities. The product is prone to overheating due to the absence of air vents but other than this is an extraordinary device for a variety of activities. Furthermore, the product can be used for long intervals without worrying about any damage to the ears.
12. SoundWarrior SW-HP10s Headphones
Rating: 4.8 / 5
SoundWarrior SW-HP10s Headphones fall under the category of closed-back headphones and are characterized by the absence of air vents. Hence, these tools trap the noise inside the ear pad and offer sound isolation. However, another concern linked with this feature is the overheating of the device, which occurs due to the entrapment of heat inside the system.
On the whole, the product is pretty decent and can be used for mixing and mastering. Also, the sensitivity of these headphones is 103 dB, with a frequency ranging between 20 Hz to 20 kHz. This frequency is good for the generation of a good mix. Similarly, the impedance of these headphones is only 40 ohms. Therefore, high audio can be produced even at low power sources.
The product itself is lightweight and does not feel bulky despite being sturdy and durable. Nevertheless, consumers can carry the device anywhere they want without worrying much about damaging the product. Therefore, the tool can be categorized as a portable device with exceptional features.
[i2pc][i2pros] Lightweight and portable Versatile and accurate Low impedance Ideal for mixing and mastering Noise Isolation [/i2pros][i2cons] Overheating [/i2cons][/i2pc]
SoundWarrior SW-HP10s Headphones are a lightweight and portable product designed for studio applications. The tool is versatile and generates accurate output. In addition to this, the device features low impedance, which allows them to produce loud audio at low power, making them an ideal choice for most consumers.
13. AKG Pro Audio K240 STUDIO Over-Ear Headphones
Rating: 4.6 / 5
AKG Pro Audio K240 STUDIO Over-Ear Headphones are another output device included in the list of best headphones for mixing and mastering. These headphones are highly recommended if you are hunting for critical listening and analysis tools at a fair price range. Embedded with the detachable mini 3.5 mm cable and 6.3 mm adapter, the tool features a semi-open style and hence, does not offer complete sound isolation.
Along with this, the product offers fine and detailed audio at varying frequencies and is an exceptional choice for mixing and mastering, as mentioned earlier. The high nodes are associated with outstanding speed resolution, and the product sounds completely natural. Furthermore, the bass is gentle and is precise, leaving no end for mistakes or bad performance.
Despite their low impedance, i.e., 55 ohms, the tool still requires a large power source to generate high audio. However, the headband has no padding or leather layer covering it. Contrary to this, the ear pads are well designed and cushioned, which makes them a suitable tool for reducing ear pressure.
[i2pc][i2pros] Cushioned ear pads Accurate and precise Gentle and rich bass Decent accessories [/i2pros][i2cons] Poor sound isolation[/i2cons][/i2pc]
AKG Pro Audio K240 STUDIO Over-Ear Headphones are a low priced, performance-oriented product integrated with amazing features. The tool is cozy and offers a critical listening experience. Its rich yet gentle bass provides incredible accuracy and is perfect for mixing and mastering. Designed specifically for professional studio use, these headphones are a true gem among their competitors.
14. OneOdio Wired Over-Ear Headphones
Rating: 4.5 / 5
OneOdio Wired Over-Ear Headphones are a cost-efficient tool with extraordinary characteristics. Available with remarkable additional accessories, including a carrying bag, and different cables enhance the demand of the product among consumers. Moreover, a wireless version of the device is also available to users and is incorporated with Bluetooth properties.
Although the product does not generate neutral tones, and the bass is a little bit exaggerated. Additionally, the treble is lacking in fine details. However, it is adequate for such an inexpensive product. Similarly, the absence of air vents imparts soundproof abilities to the tool.
The perfect isolated environment provides a fine platform for mixing and frequency analysis. However, if you want a professional touch to your output, especially for studio activities like mixing, mastering, and recording, using other specialized products is recommended.
OneOdio Fusion headphones do not utilize any memory foam in the earpads and might impart a little bit of pressure on your ears but are overall comfortable and hug the user’s ears tightly, leaving no empty space. In addition to this, the headband is adjustable and is lightweight. Hence, it does not feel bulky when worn. It can be used as a teaching headset as well.
[i2pc][i2pros] Lightweight and adjustable Adapter free technology Inexpensive Noise Isolation [/i2pros][i2cons] Exaggerated bass [/i2cons][/i2pc]
OneOdio Wired Over-Ear Headphone is a decent product for mixing and mastering. The tool is inexpensive and highly affordable. Along with this, the device is closed back and offers noise isolation for critical analysis. Moreover, the headband is adjustable and offers an enjoyable listening experience to the consumers without causing any pain over continuous use.
15. Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Professional Headphones
Rating: 4.6 / 5
Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Professional Headphones might be the last product on the list but do not lag behind their counterparts. Featuring high-quality advanced design, the tool surpasses others of its kind when it comes to mixing and mastering. Designed for studio activities and audio reproduction, the product is integrated with 40mm drivers that possess rare magnets and display copper-clad aluminum wire coils.
Closed-back and soundproof, the headphones provide an isolated environment for critical listening and frequency analysis. The 10 foot hard wired cable and 6.3mm adapter are other specifications of the device. Manufacturers claim that the device is tuned for low-frequency performance, hence generates aggressive bass than its rivals in the industry.
However, the sound is not a strong feature of the product, and the tool is not comparable to others of its kind like M50x and M40x. Additionally, M20x headphones are user friendly and are affordable as well due to their low priced nature. Furthermore, noise isolation and accuracy are other remarkable attributes of the product and make the tool a perfect choice for mixing and tracking.
[i2pc][i2pros] Budget and user friendly Suitable tracking and mixing Noise isolation and accuracy Comfortable and lightweight Adjustable headband [/i2pros][i2cons] Sound Issues [/i2cons][/i2pc]
Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Professional Headphones are an incredible tool for mixing and tracking. These headphones are closed back in design and offer outstanding noise isolation. Thus, they are perfect for critical listening and analyzing frequencies of various ranges. In addition to this, the headphone is budget-friendly and available at a reasonable price.
Factors to Consider While Looking for Best Headphones for Mixing and Mastering
Similar to a diverse range of headphones available in the market, there are a wide variety of factors as well that need to be carefully examined before setting out to purchase the best headphones for mixing and mastering. Mostly, open-back headphones are preferred for such purposes and are, therefore, highly demanded.
However, when it comes to buying the product, consumers have their own requirements; some favour the quality and durability of the product while others look for a reasonable price. No matter the choice, various factors that must never be overlooked in this regard are mentioned below.
Type of Headphone
Deciding the type of headphones you want is the most nerve-wracking and tiring procedure. In order to do so, one must have a complete understanding of the purpose of buying the headphone and other related requirements before choosing a suitable product. There are three major types of headphones that can be bought. That include in-ear headphones, also known as earphones, on-ear headphones, and over-ear headphones.
In-ear headphones are portable and lightest among all the types and are extremely compact in nature. However, they do not have exceptional sound quality compared to their counterparts. Apart from this, the second type is on-ear headphones. These headphones are placed on top of ears but do not cover them completely.
On-ear headphones are lightweight and do not overheat. But, they have their limitations and generally display poor noise isolation. In addition to this, they may lead to discomfort due to constant pressure on the consumer’s ears. The third and last kind are over-ear headphones and are characterized by completely covering the user’s ears.
Similarly, this type is the largest among all and is available in different versions, such as open back and closed-back headphones. Furthermore, excellent sound quality, outstanding isolation, and compactness are other prominent attributes of Over-ear headphones. The drawbacks of the product include overheating, less portability, and expensiveness.
Open-back or Closed-back
The second factor is to choose between close or open-back headphones. As mentioned earlier, open-back headphones are preferred over their counterparts because of acoustic transparency and reduction in pressure build-up. Additionally, such products are incorporated with air vents or holes that allow the air to pass through.
Thus, enabling consumers to hear sounds outside that of headphones. Thereby, generating an outstanding natural sound experience. However, the particular feature might also distract the users if used in a public place. If you are looking for a product for mixing and mastering, open-back headphones are an ideal choice.
Apart from this, closed-back headphones are another option and are associated with the absence of air holes and allow no external sound to pass through them. Hence, providing an incredible bass output. Moreover, these types of headphones are suitable for audio mixing and recording. But, compared to the open-back product, this version might feel unnatural to some consumers.
Impedance Matters a lot
The impedance of the headphones matters to a great extent. The impedance of the product is interlinked with the audio levels, and thus, the products with low impedance require less power to generate/ produce high audio levels and vice versa. Generally, the impedance reading between 16 to 32 ohms is suitable for most headphones and works fine with low amplification devices.
Similarly, high impedance level products such as those with 250 ohms reading require large power sources to generate high audio levels. They are not compatible with smartphones and other low amplification tools. Hence, the impedance of the product should be carefully considered before buying a new pair of headphones.
Drivers and Types
Another significant factor that contributes to the performance of the product is the drivers. These tools convert electrical signals into sound signals and generate sound pressure inside the headphones. Therefore, consumers must never neglect them while purchasing the product.
In addition to this, the drivers integrated into the device boost its feature and lead to the improvement of bass and treble. Thereby providing a remarkable listening experience to the users. Furthermore, drivers are classified into two major types, mainly balanced armature drivers and dynamic drivers.
The former is expensive and perform well in a specific frequency range, while the latter are relatively inexpensive and have better bass quality, which leads to better performance. Nevertheless, it is important to look for a tool with large drivers regardless of the type.
Do Not Neglect the Sound Profile
Having detailed knowledge about the sound profile and personal preference can lead to the selection of the best headphone devices. The sound profile is categorized into warm, bright, and neutral tones. Although all three types of headphones are available in the market, neutral sound-producing tools are rarely found and are expensive as well.
Moreover, neutral headphones produce natural sound and focus on the balance between both warm and bright tones. Therefore, these products are difficult to manufacture. Apart from this, the warm sounding headphones are associated with higher bass and vocal sounds.
Whereas bright sounding headphones generate high pitch sounds and are not suitable for audio recordings. Also, these headphones are not recommended for continuous use, as they might lead to headaches or fatigue.
The sensitivity of the Headphones
The sensitivity of the headphones does not impact the performance to a great extent but is important to some consumers. Hence, it should also be considered. Sensitivity refers to the average loudness of the headphone device. The general rule of thumb is to go for the headphones with a sensitivity ranging between 96 to 110 dB.
Products with sensitivity above the mentioned readings might lead to hearing issues and damage the ears, while tools below 96dB would produce too low sound. Eventually, leading to performance concerns and, therefore, would not be preferred by the majority of users. If you are looking for a quality and performance efficient tool, you should go for the average sensitivity range.
Wireless or Wired Headphones
Choosing between wired or wireless headphones is also an important decision, which later on leads to further major decisions like the price of the product and its features. As previously mentioned, all types of headphones use wires as a medium to transmit sound. In addition to this, wired headphones have better data handling abilities as compared to their wireless counterparts because of the utilization of analogous signals for generating and transmitting sound.
Furthermore, these tools do not depend on battery power and, thus, do not require any power source. This is one major advantage of wired headphones, as it provides relief from the hassle of repeatedly charging the device. However, their performance is also limited due to the tangling of wire and susceptibility to damage.
On the flip side, wireless headphones use Bluetooth technology to receive sound signals and have replaced their predecessors. These headphones do not require any cable and therefore are extremely portable. Along with this, consumers need not worry about the breakage or tangling of the wires. Similarly, they offer incredible sound generation abilities and have low latency.
But, despite the wonderful features, the drawbacks associated with these products include the repetitive charging and expensive nature of the tool. The average battery life of wireless headphones ranges from 6 to 18 hours maximum.
The latest version of these headphones is termed as true wireless headphones or earbuds, and these do not utilize any wire at all. Furthermore, they have remarkable battery life ranging from 5 to 8 hours of power from earbuds. Hence, these products have high market demand.
Design and Comfort
The design of the headphone is also a prominent factor and is directly related to the comfort level of consumers. Headphones that do not feel comfortable are not ideal products for purchase as they might lead to concerns in the future, especially when you are using them for around 5 to 8 hours in a day.
Mostly, headphones that utilize foam in their construction are recommended for use. Among the three major types of headphone devices, over-ear headphones are the most comfortable as they completely cover the user’s ear and do not cause any discomfort over your head. Besides this, it is advisable to look for products that utilize mesh or leather for covering the memory phone integrated into the headphone.
This not only improves the comfort level but also prevents the heat from damaging your skin after continuous usage of the product. Over-ears headphones are followed by in-ear headphones. Instead of the hard plastic or metal design, consumers should look for rubber tips as they provide relatively better bass output and prevent sound leakage.
Apart from this, certain high-quality products also feature a customized fit, which enhances the performance of the product enormously. Therefore, attention should be paid to the design of the product as it contributes greatly to its performance and quality.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best headphones for mixing?
Audio Technica ATH-M50x headphones are best for mixing, followed by Audio Technica ATH-AD900X and Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro Studio Headphones.
Are ATH M50x headphones good for mixing?
Yes, ATH M590x headphones are listed as one of the best devices for monitoring, personal listening, and mixing activities. Therefore, they are highly admired by audiophiles.
What should I look for when mixing headphones?
Headphones used for mixing purposes must have an accurate and precise frequency. Most suitable headphones in this regard include open back and semi-open back products.
Is it better to mix with headphones or monitors?
Mostly, monitors are used for mixing and mastering applications. However, headphones can also be used as an alternative. But, the output might not be as effective as that after using a monitor.
Are closed-back headphones good for mixing?
Closed-back headphones are perfect for mixing engineers as they do not allow any sound to pass through due to the absence of air vents or holes. Thus, these products allow for efficient mixing in an isolated environment.
What volume should I mix at with headphones?
The recommended audio for mixing is around 70dB to 85dB. Mixing at volume above the safe levels might lead to hearing loss or severe damage to hearing abilities.
Are beats pro good for mixing?
Beats pro is not good for mixing because of their low frequency and bass. Additionally, they have a short battery life and do not provide accurate output after mixing.
Are open-back headphones better for your ears?
Open-back headphones are integrated with air holes that allow the sound to escape from the product; therefore, keeping the volume in control and preventing damage to consumer’s hearing abilities.
Why is mixing on headphones bad?
Mixing on headphones leads to ear fatigue, especially at loud volume. As the drivers are located very close to the consumer’s ear, and a slight increase in the volume will affect the hearing of the user.
Why are monitors better than headphones?
Monitors allow mixing engineers to reverb the soundwaves in a natural acoustics environment, which is not possible with the help of headphones. Thus, leading to the generation of aggressive and loud audio.
There is a diverse range of products available in the market that offer great accuracy when it comes to mixing and mastering. The article took into account the 15 best headphones for mixing and mastering. Based on the analysis of the above-mentioned products, it can be concluded that the following products have surpassed their counterparts.
- AKG K 701 Ultra Reference Class Stereo Headphones because of their accuracy and replaceable ear pads.
- Shure SRH1840 Professional Open Back Headphones for their neodynamic drivers and reduction in modulation distortion.
- ADAM Audio Studio Pro SP-5 Closed-Back Headphones due to 98% reduction in magnetic radiation and 3-dimensional listening experience.
Therefore, they are highly recommended for those looking for outstanding mixing and mastering headphones.
Max AnthonyMainly Max Anthony is an athletics tutor & lives in Texas but that's not it. He's is also a music producer, content creator, record producer, writer, and session musician. He has been producing music and engineering at a lower level for over 5 years. His passions include quality music gear and that's what he loves to write about on HifiBeast. ( Shoot him an email now )
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