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.
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!
Alright, let’s get to the list of best budget studio headphones for beginners!
1) Audio-Technica ATH-M20x
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!
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.
2) Shure SRH440
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!
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!
3) Audio-Technica ATH-M40x
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!
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!
4) Sennheiser HD280PRO
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.
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.
5) Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
Check out Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Review.
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.
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.
6) AKG K553 MKII
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.
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!
7) Shure SRH840
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.
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.
8) Sony MDR7506
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.
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!
9) Sennheiser HD 25 Plus
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.
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!
10) KRK KNS8400
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.
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.
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.
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 2019-11-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API