Studio headphones can be hard to choose with so many great options available. We’ll take you through the 6 best headphones for mixing and mastering in 2022, with something for those just starting out, and for the studio veteran looking for the best out there.
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Best Headphones for Mixing and Mastering in 2022
Headphones play a critical role when it comes to mixing and mastering our audio. While it’s fun to have big studio monitors and a sub to use when mixing and mastering, it’s JUST as important to check that our mixes and masters translate to car and headphone systems as well. Now more than ever, we are producing in our bedrooms, homes, planes, or hotel rooms, where headphones are the best or only option for critical listening.
Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro
It goes without saying that the Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro set the bar for studio headphones. They are a fantastic pair of professional grade headphones that don’t break the bank and their open-back design provides a very detailed and spacious sound quality. Made in Germany, they are made to last, and it’s not uncommon to see examples that have been in use for a decade or more.
Their closed back sibling, the DT-770, are another great option, especially if you’re trying to get work done in a less than ideal environment. Their closed back design blocks a good deal more outside noise than the DT-900, at the expense of the more spacious sound stage. These are very popular to use in the studio while tracking, so if you plan on doing a lot of recording, these may be a better pick.
Sennheiser HD 660S
The most recent iteration of a very prestigious lineage of headphones, the Sennheiser HD 660S delivers audiophile quality sound across the board. Compared to its older brother, the HD 650, The 660s have tack sharp detail without being fatiguing, and are super comfortable for extended mixing sessions. A nice step up from the DT990s, it comes at a premium price.
You can save a few dollars by going with the special Drop x Sennheiser HD 6XX collab. While based on the older HD650 design, they are a terrific value sometimes at nearly half the price of the 660s’.
The M50x’s exploded in popularity since their debut in 2014, and they are still a fantastic option today. The m50x’s are tuned a bit more “fun” than some of these other pairs. Their closed back design does a decent job isolating the outside world, while their treble and bass is tuned to sound deep and lively.
While not hyper accurate, these still work great for mixing, mastering, and every day listening. They fold up to make traveling with them easy, and because they are super efficient, they sound great plugged straight into your phone or laptop.
An industry standard, debuting in 1991, these are still hugely popular studio headphones today. The Sony MDR7506 are an absolute STEAL at their current price, often under $100, and are undoubtedly one of the best pairs of mixing and mastering headphones on a budget. These closed back cans sound great, they are lightweight and comfortable, and if you lose or break them on the road, you won’t be kicking yourself the rest of the tour.
These headphones are especially popular in the film and television/broadcasting. They also perform great for radio, and voiceover work as well, so if you’re working in any of those industries, these just might be your best bet.
Shure SRH1840 / SRH1540
Amongst the most expensive headphones listed here, the Shure SRH1840 are a phenomenal set of headphones. The open back design gives a wide open soundscape, the build quality is top notch, and the ear pads are absurdly comfortable. Their closed back sibling the Shure SRH1540 delivers in all the same ways, so if your use case calls for a closed back design, don’t hesitate to go with those if you’re looking for a premium offering.
These make for a great analytical listening experience, and bonus, they are so efficient that they sound great plugged into your laptop or phone, which makes checking mixes on the go very easy.
Sennheiser HD 800S
The Ferrari of mixing and mastering headphones, the Sennheiser HD 800S are something to experience. Their unique design is something out of the future, and the performance is out of this world too. The HD 800s are truly, audio perfection.
These are premium headphones that require both a premium source and amplification system. But you probably aren’t buying these if you don’t have those two covered already.
Pour yourself a drink, put these on, and cry audiofile tears of joy, hearing highs and lows you didn’t know existed before. Your mix never sounded so good.
So what’s the absolute best headphone for mixing and mastering in 2022?
Easy. The one that fits your budget!
TRUST us, get what makes sense for your wallet, and get on with making music, mixing and mastering your audio. Don’t get too bogged down on if you have the best or the most expensive gear. There are fantastic options at every price point, and if you pick one of the models listed above, you’ll be in good shape for years or decades to come.