Best Budget Studio Headphones for Beginners

10 Best Budget Studio Headphones of 2019 | Reviews + Videos

Welcome to Blue Buzz Music!

Are you looking for the best budget studio headphones for beginners? Well, you are in luck. I’ve been producing and mixing for a few years now and know a thing or two about beginner studio headphones!

Picking a pair of budget studio headphones may seem simple, but it’s rarely is. You have to look at a ton of specs, frequency ranges, EQ, and a lot more. Luckily for you, I’ve already done that and put everything in a nice list format.

Trust me – you’ll learn a  lot!

The budget studio headphones for beginners in the list range from under $50 to over $200. This may not seem very budget, but sometimes it’s better to pay extra for quality. I’ve learned this the hard way!

Here are the top 5 picks of best beginner studio headphones for you.
The full list is just below!

Most Affordable
Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black
Most Durable
Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones
Top Pick
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black
Best For Monitoring
KRK KNS 8400 On-Ear Closed Back Circumaural Studio Monitor Headphones with Volume Control
Best For DJs
Sennheiser HD 25 PLUS Monitor Headphones
Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black
Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black
KRK KNS 8400 On-Ear Closed Back Circumaural Studio Monitor Headphones with Volume Control
Sennheiser HD 25 PLUS Monitor Headphones
Most Affordable
Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black
Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black
Most Durable
Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones
Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones
Top Pick
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black
Best For Monitoring
KRK KNS 8400 On-Ear Closed Back Circumaural Studio Monitor Headphones with Volume Control
KRK KNS 8400 On-Ear Closed Back Circumaural Studio Monitor Headphones with Volume Control
Best For DJs
Sennheiser HD 25 PLUS Monitor Headphones
Sennheiser HD 25 PLUS Monitor Headphones

Alright, let’s get to the list of best budget studio headphones for beginners!

1) Audio-Technica ATH-M20x

 Audio-Technica ATH-M20x - are they the best budget headphones for beginners?

Even though ATH-M20x are marketed as the low budget studio headphones for beginners, their built and sound quality are impressive considering how much you pay for them. If you are new to the world of music production, you should remember never to doubt Audio-Technica products – they are amazing!

Don’t let the low price trick you into thinking that they won’t be good enough for you and your goals. In the beginning, you won’t be able to tell a big difference between $1000s studio headphones and low budget studio headphones for beginners like ATH-M20x. You need time to train your ears and learn a lot about how music works first!

If you are looking for high-quality cheap studio headphones to start producing – Audio-Technica ATH-M20x will suit your needs the best!

They come with copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils and 40mm drivers which will deliver the highest-quality sound with little to no EQ added. Budget studio headphones’ impedance is only 47 ohms, which is a lot better than most other beginner studio headphones in this price range!

It comes with a cable attached to the left earcup, and you can easily use them not only when beatmaking and mixing, but also when listening to music on your phone! They are not collapsible, but it’s not a big deal unless you tour or perform at DJ gigs a lot.

For the price ATH-M20x are the best budget studio headphones for beginners!

Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black
  • Advanced build quality and engineering
  • 40 mm drivers with rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils
  • Tune for enhanced low-frequency performance
  • Circumaural design contours around the ears for excellent sound isolation in loud environments
  • Convenient single-side cable exit

2) Shure SRH440

Shure SRH440 - are they the best budget headphones for beginners?

If you are looking for a better alternative to ATH-M20x and you have some more cash, look at Audio-Technica’s main competitor Shure’s budget studio headphones. SRH440 is a perfect pair of headphones that is optimized for home and studio recordings!

If you are looking for a nice pair of studio headphones for beginners and ready to pay a small premium for comfort – you should really look into getting SRH440. Shure is the best when it comes to the durability of its products as well. You can use them extensively at your everyday DJ gigs or when touring and they’ll last longer than any other pair of budget studio headphones!

If you spend hours every day in your studio – invest in Shure SRH440’s comfort and durability!

Some producers may think that having comfortable budget headphones means having poor sound reproduction. Well, that’s not the case with Shure. You are promised an exceptional sound reproduction with little to no equalizing added to it. If you use your studio headphones for referencing – there is no better choice for the price.

They are collapsible and come with a bag to carry them around safely. The adapter that comes with these studio headphones for beginners is gold-plated. It will ensure the highest quality of the signal which is crucial while mixing and mastering! The drivers are 40mm which is perfect for beginner studio headphones. The cable is 10-foot and coiled which will save you from all the mess on your producer’s table!

SRH440 are the most comfortable low budget studio headphones with fantastic sound reproduction!

Shure SRH440 Professional Studio Headphones (Black)
  • Optimized for home and studio recording
  • Closed-back, circumaural collapsible design
  • Detachable, coiled cable
  • Includes SRH440, threaded 1/4" gold-plated adapter, carrying bag, and user guide
  • Provides exceptional sound reproduction and comfort

3) Audio-Technica ATH-M40x

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x - are they the best budget headphones for beginners?

These budget studio headphones will be a noticeable upgrade from ATH-M20x. Consider them if you have more disposable income! The size of drivers and impedance are identical, but there is so much more to that when picking a pair of studio headphones for beginners!

Have you ever heard of sound bleeding from your headphones? If not, I’ll explain real quick. When the sound escapes from the headphones because the sound isolation between your ears and headphones earcups is terrible, you are in trouble! When recording, your microphone can pick up the frequencies bleeding from your headphones and mess up your take. To sum up, bleeding is bad!

If you record at high volumes and don’t want your beginner studio headphones to bleed – pick ATH-M40x and forget about your worries!

The cable in these headphones is detachable. You actually get 2 cables – straight and coiled, and a patch to carry them around. Depending and what you are doing in the studio, both cables will come in incredibly handy, so make sure not to lose one!

Earcups now rotate 90 degrees so that you can listen to both the processed signal in your digital audio workstation and raw recording. Track monitoring has never been easier! If you are a DJ, you are in luck as well. Now you can listen to the actual gig performance and pick upcoming tracks simultaneously!

Don’t waste your time and money if need high-quality budget studio headphones for beginners with crystal clear sound – ATH-M40x are meant for you!

Sale
Audio-Technica ATHM40x Professional Monitor Headphones
  • Cutting-edge engineering and robust construction 40 mm drivers with rare earth magnets and copper-cl
  • Tuned flat for incredibly accurate sound monitoring across the entire frequency range
  • Circumaural design contours around the ears for excellent sound isolation in loud environments 90 de
  • Professional-grade earpad and headband material delivers more durability and comfort
  • Collapsible for space-saving portability Detachable cable (includes 1.2 m 3.0 m coiled cable and 3.0

4) Sennheiser HD280PRO

Sennheiser HD280PRO - are they the best budget headphones for beginners?

Designed by mighty Germans, HD280Pro beginner studio headphones have become one of the most popular in the studio headphones market among amateurs incredibly fast. If you are looking for the best quality headphones and you happen to be on a budget – make sure to look into HD280Pro studio headphones.

Sennheiser budget headphones offer you an extended frequency range and natural sound reproduction with minimal to no EQ. If you listen carefully, you may notice a slight lean to the warmer side of the sound spectrum. You don’t have to worry – our ears are actually used to the warmer rather than natural sound.

With natural sound reproduction and minimal EQ – HD280Pro budget headphones must be considered by every beginner!

The new model designed is a lot nicer and more comfortable. The developers upgraded the seal on the earcups so you can finally forget about bleeding! The attenuation of outside sounds is a whole 32 dB, which is identical to professional studio headphones which cost $500+.

HD280Pro is only 1.5 lbs and incredibly easy to travel with. You can connect the budget studio headphones for beginners to your phone, tablet, computer for music production, or beginner audio interface. And the customer support is always ready to help you if you ever have any issues.

Overall, Sennheiser HD280Pro are fantastic studio headphones for beginners who need quality natural sound reproduction for their mixes!

Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphone (new model)
  • Dynamic, closed-ear headphones.Weight w/o cable: 285 g. Ear coupling is circumaural
  • Lightweight and comfortable, ergonomic design, Cord Length - 3.3 - 9.8 feet Coiled
  • Extended frequency response and warm, natural sound reproduction. Nominal impedance - 64 Ω.Sound pressure level (SPL)- 113 dB
  • Around-the-ear design with padded ear cups - Dynamic, closed-ear headphones with up to 32 dB attenuation of outside sound. Frequency response (Headphones)- 8 - 25000 Hz
  • Ear pads, headband padding, and audio cord are easily replaceable, ensuring long life

5) Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x - are they the best budget headphones for beginners?

If you’ve ever looked into budget studio headphones for beginners, then you must’ve seen these pair of headphones. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a list of budget studio headphones without ATH-M50x mentioned at one point or another. They are simply a powerhouse of the beginner studio headphones world.

And you’ll see why. Even though they are not the cheapest on the list, you are getting the best bang for the buck here. Some producers compare ATH-M50x to the high-end Sony studio headphones. They are often praised for their accurate bass response because most headphones for beginners tend to equalize the lower end of the frequency range to make it sound more appealing.

If you are looking for crystal clarity for an extended frequency range – invest in ATH-M50x beginner studio headphones already!

Earcups shape fits your ears perfectly, and you can forget about your headphones bleeding and ruining your recording. They also rotate 90 degrees to ensure easy monitoring and referencing. The quality of the earpads and headband will ensure you feel comfortable throughout the long sessions of beatmaking, mixing, and mastering.

Moreover, you get two detachable cables, straight and coiled, which is handy if you don’t have a big home recording studio. When it comes to sound, Audio-Technica developers removed some frequencies on the high end that make your ears tired fast. You can’t even hear those frequencies properly but find your ears exhausted after an hour of work.

If you are looking for the best bang for the buck when it comes to budget studio headphones – ATH-M50x headphones are your best choice!

Sale
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones, Black
  • Critically acclaimed sonic performance praised by top audio engineers and pro audio reviewers
  • Proprietary 45 mm large-aperture drivers with rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils
  • Exceptional clarity throughout an extended frequency range, with deep, accurate bass response
  • Circumaural design contours around the ears for excellent sound isolation in loud environments
  • 90 swiveling earcups for easy, one-ear monitoring, professional-grade earpad and headband material delivers more durability and comfort. Detachable cable

You can also check out my full in-depth Audio-Technica ATH-M50x review to learn more about the studio headphones.

6) AKG K553 MKII

AKG K553 MKII - are they the best budget headphones for beginners?

AKG K553 budget studio headphones for beginners may seem a little more expensive than the headphones above, but you shouldn’t overlook them simply because of their price tag. With a small increase in price comes a tremendous improvement in sound quality and comfort as well!

With 50mm drivers and low impedance, they will make any music producer who values crystal clear sound to fall in love with them. The higher end is cut slightly to make the listening experience more pleasurable and prevent your ears from getting tired fast. You can work for 3+ hours and not even notice any signs of ear fatigue.

If you care about the quality of sound more than anything else – go for AKG K553 beginner studio headphones!

The built is of outstanding quality. They are made of metal and pseudo-leather, with a few elements made of plastic and plush. This is as comfortable as a set of budget studio headphones for beginners will ever get! Plastic may feel soft but it’s high-quality and durable, so expect AKG K553 to last you a while.

Earpads are large and will fit your ears perfectly. Even though the size may trick some producers into thinking that these budget closed-back headphones will bleed a lot because of a weak seal, there is nothing to worry about – you’ll never notice any bleeding with these beginner studio headphones! And the sound quality is astonishing – it feels like you are wearing a pair of open-backs!

If you are ready to spend a premium on AKG K553 studio headphones – this might be the best investment you’ll ever make!

AKG K553 MKII
  • Lightweight over-ear design advanced closed-back technology2 (50mm) transducer low impedance2d-axis fold-flat mechanism.Connectivity Technology: Wired
  • Excellent noise isolation on par with closed-back headphone designs
  • Performs well with virtually any headphone connection thanks to low impedance drivers
  • Folds flat for storage and transport

7) Shure SRH840

Shure SRH840 - are they the best budget headphones for beginners?

These beginner studio headphones are an upgrade from the lower budget studio headphones on this list – SRH440. Shure SRH840 may be a little more expensive but look at the quality increase! The sound fidelity and clarity of these studio headphones for beginners are incredible for the price! The bass response is very clear with little to no EQ applied at any point. This makes the response a lot colder and more desirable.

Because the lower bass frequencies aren’t “in your face,” you are able to hear mid and high frequencies a lot better. As a result, you’ll notice a considerable increase in easiness of your mixing sessions! SRH840 budget headphones for beginners are noise-cancelling. They can withstand up to 32 dB, so bleeding is the last thing you should be worried about.

Want a pair of studio headphones for under $200 that sounds better than some $500+ studio headphones – pick Shure SRH840.  

The number of details you can with SRH840 is fantastic. The colder response lets you focus better on often overlooked higher frequencies! The earcups and headband take a couple of sessions to get used to, but after that, you start loving them. SRH840 budget studio headphones are mostly made of plastic, plush, and pseudo-leather. As a result, they are light and very comfortable.

The cable is detachable and future-proof. If something ever happens to it, you can easily get a replacement for under $20 without having to get rid of the beginner studio headphones. You even get replacement ear pads for when yours wear off or rip after long hours of working in your studio.

SRH840 are durable, practical, and offer you outstanding sound quality – that’s all you need to start producing!

Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones
  • SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones feature a precisely tailored frequency response that delivers rich bass, clear mid-range and extended highs
  • Optimized for studio recording and critical listening
  • Closed-back, circumaural collapsible design
  • Detachable, coiled cable
  • Includes SRH840, threaded 1/4" gold-plated adapter, carrying bag, replacement ear pads, and user guide

8) Sony MDR7506

Sony MDR7506 - are they the best budget headphones for beginners?

Not a single list of budget studio headphones for beginners should ever exist without a pair of Sony headphones on it. MDR7506 are one of the best beginner headphones when it comes to sound quality and wide range frequency response. 40mm drivers provide a very cold and detailed response which is perfect for referencing and monitoring.

You won’t notice any bleeding even if the gain is cranked up high. Tested by many producers and sound engineer, MDR7506 studio headphones provide outstanding sound isolation in any studio environment. The frequency response is balanced around the lows, mids, and highs, so mixing sessions are going to be a breeze from now on.

If you want to go for the world famous brand known for its quality and durability – try Sony MDR7506, and you’ll never go back!

The headband is very comfortable and doesn’t push on your head too much, and the earcups can be adjusted to sit on your ears perfectly with ease. The cable design is great when it comes to preventing tangles and withstanding tugs.  If you plan on using your budget studio headphones for beginners extensively, the rugged built of Sony MDR7506 will be a great choice you won’t regret.

For a pair of closed-back beginner studio headphones, MDR7506 sound as good as some of the high-end open-back headphones you’d see on the market for $500+. You can’t expect the identical quality, but these Sony budget studio headphones for beginners go above and beyond to help you achieve your dreams of becoming a famous music producer!

For a pair of Sony studio headphones, you can’t find a better deal when it comes to sound quality and comfort!

Sale
Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone
  • Neodymium magnets and 40mm drivers for powerful, detailed sound
  • Closed-ear design provides comfort and outstanding reduction of external noises
  • 9.8-foot cord ends in gold-plated plug and it is not deatachable; 1/4-inch adapter included
  • Folds up for storage or travel in provided soft case
  • Frequency Response: 10Hz - 20 kHz

9) Sennheiser HD 25 Plus

Sennheiser HD 25 Plus - are they the best budget headphones for beginners?

These beginner studio headphones by Sennheiser were designed exclusively for mixing and monitoring in your studio. The harmonic distortion of HD 25 Plus is almost unnoticeable which is one of the lowest values I’ve seen in the budget studio headphones line of products.

The bass is rich, and the higher frequencies are crisp, which offers you a pleasant listening experience through your session. They are incredibly light and comfortable with nice padding on the headband for additional comfort. Oftentimes they are considered to be the industry standard in the DJ community due to their durability and flexibility.

Sennheiser HD 25 studio headphones are considered the “Industry Standard” of DJ headphones!

These beginner studio headphones are fantastic when it comes to noise-cancelling. They are suitable for DJ gigs at the clubs when very loud music is commonplace. HD 25 Plus budget studio headphones come with two cables and a bag to carry them in. Moreover, you are getting the second set of velour pads, so these studio headphones will last you a while!

The modular wiring and bass response are amazing. You’ll need to adjust these beginner headphones up to your preferences with an equalizer, but that should take you a minute or two at most. You’ll have to be careful with them as they aren’t as sturdy as other budget studio headphones on the list. Unless you abuse them – there is nothing to worry about for you!

If you are DJing, Sennheiser HD 25 studio headphones are a must-have!

Sennheiser HD 25 PLUS Monitor Headphones
  • High sensitivity due to lightweight aluminium voice coils
  • Capable of handling very high sound pressure levels
  • Very lightweight and comfortable, even if used for long periods of time
  • Tough, detachable, single-sided cable
  • Rotatable capsule for single-ear listening

10) KRK KNS8400

KRK KNS8400 - are they the best budget headphones for beginners?

KRK studio monitors are one of the most popular among producers, and you may notice them in almost every recording studio setup. Luckily, KNS8400 budget studio headphones for beginners also do an amazing job in audio referencing. They give you an excellent overview of the entire frequency range of the track with little to no EQ added.

KNS8400 beginner studio headphones were made with a goal in mind – to help producers get a clearer picture of their mix. Unlike many other headphones on the list, they are meant to be used in the studio when beatmaking, mixing, and mastering. The response is very cold which is exactly what you are looking for.

KRK KNS8400 headphones are the best for referencing and mixing and were developed to be used in recording studios all over the world!

The sound quality is important, but you should never overlook comfort either. Surprisingly for the price, KRK budget studio headphones’ developers put a lot of effort to make every studio session as enjoyable as possible! They introduced the acoustic memory foam that fits your ears perfectly and provides fantastic isolation and reproduction!

These beginner studio headphones have low impedance and large driver’s size and come with a gold plated adapter for superb signal quality. The headband does push on your head too much, so you shouldn’t worry about having to take them off every 10 minutes to rest. The cable is detachable, with in-line volume control – this should make your long mixing sessions a lot easier.

If you love quality studio headphones with crystal clear sound and don’t want to overpay for the brand name like Sony – invest in KRK KNS8400 and enjoy!

Sale
KRK KNS 8400 On-Ear Closed Back Circumaural Studio Monitor Headphones with Volume Control
  • Detachable in-line volume control
  • Voiced to remain true to the character of KRK's class leading studio monitors, developed with 25 years of years of experience in studio sound.
  • The latest reference quality frequency response for closed-back, circum-aural dynamic headphones.
  • Newly developed headphone acoustical system bringing a new level of headphone performance for the first time.
  • Utilizing the latest in acoustic memory foam technology this ensures class leading performance in both reproduction and isolation.

Things To Consider When Buying Budget Studio Headphones For Beginners

There are a few questions that are worth covering in order to help producers to pick the best pair of beginner studio headphones. Let’s go over them really quick!

What are studio headphones used for?

Studio Headphones are used mostly for beatmaking, recording, mixing, and mastering. When you need that extra crystal clarity to monitor the frequency range without any added EQ – you should look into studio headphones. They let you listen to the song or track the way producers intended it to be heard.

Budget studio headphones are not as mainstream as Beats, for example, because they are used mostly in the music producers and DJ communities. It’s simple as that!

What is the difference between monitor headphones and regular headphones?

Monitor headphones, more known as studio headphones, offer you a colder response with little to no equalization added to please listener’s ear. They are the best for beatmaking, mixing, and mastering of the track because the producer is able to see the clearer picture.

Regular headphones will often have bass frequencies boosted because that’s what people like to hear. The developers can also equalize the higher frequencies range to make the song sound more pleasant and warm than it originally is.

What headphones do professionals use?

Professionals use a variety of studio headphones depending on a number of factors such as budget, portability, durability, and more. If they tour, picking a pair of sturdy Shure studio headphones makes more sense than getting a high-end Sennheisers that may break along the way.

Nobody wants to waste their money, even producers who make a lot and do music full-time. Make sure to pick the one that suits your needs the most!

Are budget studio headphones good quality?

A lot of producers who are only starting believe that the quality of budget studio headphones for beginners must be bad because they tend to be affordable. Well, they are wrong. You don’t need a $1000+ pair of beginner studio headphones to start producing! Start small and upgrade once you actually feel the need to.

Budget beginner headphones offer outstanding quality for the price!

There is a high chance that at the beginning you won’t even notice the difference because your ears are not trained yet. Make sure to invest in high-quality sound packs and VST plugins for hip hop production and EDM instead of overpaying for studio headphones that you’ve seen Metro Boomin use once. Just my 2 cents.

How comfortable are budget studio headphones for beginners?

This depends on the brand, price, and durability of the studio headphones you’d pick. A lot of the times developers of beginner headphones have to save on materials to reduce the price. The most common example is replacing real leather with pseudo leather. Then the price can be reduced without headphones looking any different.

You will also notice how sometimes earpads of your budget studio headphones make your ears tired a lot faster because they are made of cheaper vinyl, but it will feel normal after a few sessions in the studio. If you don’t feel like paying an extra $200 for some extra comfort and would rather get to work, don’t worry about that.

Is headband padding of budget studio headphones comfortable?

Most of the time it is! The fundamental technology of headband padding on both premium and budget studio headphones is almost identical. The only difference is the lack of premium materials such as leather in most beginner studio headphones, but the core stays the same.

That’s why you shouldn’t worry much about whether headband padding feels comfortable or not. In 95% of cases, you’ll get an adequate level of comfort!

How does driver size affect headphones?

The size of the drivers in budget studio headphones defines the output power of the device. However, with studio headphones bigger doesn’t always mean better. They may be louder, but there are so many more factors to that! These days transducers are better than ever, and that’s one of the last things you should worry about.

Transparency is also a crucial factor that should be taken into consideration. Most studio headphones come with a nice neutral response already, so all you have to do is to EQ the noticeable spikes and dips which are usually present in the lower and higher ends of the frequency range.

Are the drivers in studio headphones any good?

Drivers in budget studio headphones for beginners offer fantastic clarity and definition. A lot of them are made specifically for mixing and monitoring already! The technology is so developed that the quality of the sound is rarely a significant issue anymore and big brands invest more money into their budget lines to lower the cost and attract new customers.

What cables do you need for studio headphones?

Usually, studio headphones of any sort come with a connection cable to plug them into your tablet, computer for music production, or audio interface. As a rule of thumb, the more expensive a set of studio headphones for beginners is the better the cable quality.

Most of the time, you wouldn’t want a set of budget studio headphones with a cable attached because as soon as the cable rips or gets damaged – you’ll have to throw the entire thing out. As soon as your cable for studio headphones is detachable – you can replace it, buy a longer one, and more. To put it shortly, studio headphones with detachable cables are future-proof!

What specs should you look at when buying studio headphones?

There are a few specs that you should know about when it comes to studio headphones. Instead of writing down what the driver sizes, impedance, and other things are, I’ve found a video that you should help you a ton. Check it out down below!

Conclusion: Best Budget Studio Headphones For Beginners

Beginner studio headphones on this list are developed by reputable brands. They are fantastic built quality and sound clarity. If you are looking for quality budget studio headphones for beginners – there is no better list to look at!

They are designed to be used in recording studios, so make sure to check them out if you are still building a music studio in your bedroom!

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Last update on 2019-05-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API