So, you’ve looked into upgrading your earbuds to headphones, or maybe you’re ready to go pro as a music producer searching for the best headphones for a home recording studio and have decided the brand you like most is Sennheiser for Mixing, Mastering, and Listening.
That’s an excellent choice because not only are they the highest-rated, but they are considered by most in the industry to have many models which are “the standard.” I’m not going to get too technical with all the statistics because what really matters is how closely they reproduce the sounds you’re hearing. If you want a more in-depth look at individual models, there will be links available for each one below.
They have quite a few models meant for everyday listening that are easily affordable.
They start at everyday listening and range all the way up to Professional Studio Headphones for the experienced producer.
The assortment of mid-range sets that are comparable with what is offered by many other companies, with one great exception. No matter which brand you compare them to, nothing seems to come close to their quality when you finally caress your eardrums with them.
What are you going to be using your headphones for?
Are you listening to music on your phone? On a Hi-Fi? Are you watching TV on your tablet, laptop, or PC? Or are you in the studio? If so, are you in front of the microphone or producing, mixing, or mastering?
Either way, they most likely have a set that fits your needs. I use earbuds with my phone, and they even have those too. So, how do you figure out what you need? Having been a music producer for over twenty-one years I’ve obviously had plenty of time to test most of them out.
First, you’ll need to decide what you need them for most. If you only need something so that you’re not disrupting others while you consume your daily dose of entertainment, there’s a wide assortment of closed-back models. Regardless of which one you pick, you are most likely going to enjoy your experience with them.
Then you’ll need to decide on a budget. If you’re a novice producer, you might not want to jump on a pair of HD 800 S’s, unless it’s truly your dream to be an engineer, and you can afford it. If you’re just listening to audiobooks or something like that, their low-end sets are plenty enough.
Also, if you record vocals at home, or you and/or your band are making a new album, you’ll need closed-back models so that the mic doesn’t pick them up. If you are just making beats or mixing and/or masterings
Everyday Listening and Vocalists
At the low end for everyday listening, there is the Sennheiser HD 206s These are great for anyone, even kids. They are tough but flexible and lightweight. I use mine for running on the treadmill because I’d rather drop them than my more expensive ones.
The top end for daily listening is Sennheiser HD 280 Pros These are the ones you see in all those professional podcasts, and they are exceptional for your avid listener.
They’re comfortable enough for an hours-long binge-watching session and rugged enough for daily use. The cushion is soft yet firm and the sound these puppies make rival’s professional studio headphones.
One thing a lot of people realize is extra cost doesn’t always equate to quality.
That being said, just like microphones, there’s a range where the price continues going up, the sound quality produced stops going up in clarity, and isn’t worth the extra cost. So, average equipment can’t pick up the difference and untrained ears won’t even notice the difference anyway.
That gold-plated mic seems like it would make your tracks amazing, but not if you aren’t trained well enough to use it correctly. It’s not worth it if you aren’t going to use it for what it’s meant for.
Serious Studio Producers Need a Set of These.
Do you crank out those beats? If you said yes to any of those, you need a quality closed-back headset. Believe me, it can make a world of difference.
Besides several sets of studio monitor speakers, I use several pairs of headphones in the studio. I have my vocal recording set which has closed backs (Sennheiser HD 280 Pro), my beat production set (Sennheiser HD 600 Pro), and my mixing and mastering set (Sennheiser HD 800 S) which both have open backs. I also use earbuds in the studio but that’s more for testing out a mix and listening to the final mastered version.
Anyway, If you spend countless hours producing tracks or recording vocals you’re going to want more than the 280 Pros. You’re in luck because you can get one of the best choices on the market, the Sennheiser HD 600 Pro series offers a few models, all of them are amazing.
I’ve read all the reviews on the HD 650s and HD 660s and I don’t know if I need to upgrade from my HD 600s, but if you’re lacking a studio set, they’re probably something to start with, so that’s something to think about.
Sennheiser HD 25s are great for most applications, but where they shine is in the DJ booth. If you are a student or need an all-in-one pair, these are it. Granted, there are better production sets available, but these are probably the most useful for all-around applications and easily the best pick for anyone who needs them for multiple uses. A must-have for high-end sound at a low-end price.
Mixing And Mastering
So, you need more than your average meager beat maker, producer, or vocalist. Your engineering skills can’t be held back by the lack of decent professional studio monitoring headphones.
That’s why you need a set from the HD 700s or the HD 800s series, but do they make that much of a difference?
After that, nobody listening to your mixes will even be able to hear it as you do.
So, instead of longing for those gold-plated headphones, just get yourself a nice pair you’ll actually appreciate, and most of all, use. If you go with either the Sennheiser HD 800 S Reference, or the Sennheiser HD 820 Reference, you will be surprised by their unexpected boost in the level of audio quality.
Do You Need More Than One Set of Sennheiser HD Headphones?
Most likely not unless you’re a producer, but remember, you don’t have to jump in on the most expensive pair if you aren’t ready yet. Those are reserved for the big dogs, but if you put in the time you’ll need them sooner than later. Obviously, if you’re not a DJ you probably aren’t going to go with the HD 25s.
So, is there an all-around pair you can use for all the above? The simple answer is yes and no. If I were to pick only one set to use for everything outside of the Sennheiser HD 25s, If there are no budget constraints and you’re just creating beats or working on tracks after the vocals or instruments are recorded, I’d go with the Sennheiser HD 650s. However, if you’re recording on a microphone or have less than 2 years of producing experience, go with the Sennheiser HD 280 Pros.
As I said before, you may be a producer who actually would get some use out of several sets. If you make a search, you’ll find that there are several pairs you might need to get your mixes completed. That’s why I have them.
I don’t want to risk my babies out in the world, but I want that crisp, ear-filling sound to go with me wherever I go. So, I have those too. At the end of the day, my final mixes wouldn’t be what they are if I didn’t invest in the headphones that allow me to do the job the best I can.
Here’s a secret. I bought the 206s’ first then worked my way up to the Sennheiser HD 800 S Reference set over several years. That way as you advanced your mixing skills and actually need a better set of Coconuts. I’m sure it’ll be just the same for many others.
If this information helped, or if there’s anything else like questions or even typo corrections feel free to leave a comment below. If you’d like to contact me directly, my personal Email is email@example.com.
4 thoughts on “Best Headphones for a Home Recording Studio”
My impression on Sennheiser is great and I know that they are one of the best in the industry, but I thought that all of their products were expensive. I currently use Audio Technica Headphones (ATH-SR30BT) and Earphones (ATH-CKS770X BK) but when one of them breaks, I’ll definitely purchase a Sennheiser as its replacement just so I can try it. Have you tried headphones from Audio Technica?
Hope to hear from you, and Thanks for sharing.
They do have some extremely expensive models available but some are as low as $44. I got my 206’s for like $25 refurbished. My first pair of studio headphones were AT’s. I can’t remember the exact ones because that was like 22 years ago. They were great but they just got worn out being passed around by 7 rappers who didn’t appreciate the equipment available to them. I probably would have stayed with them had my girlfriend not got me a pair of Sennheisers for that next Birthday. I also had a spare set of Beats Studio Pros but the 280s I replaced them with have been my favorite and they were only like $77 dollars refurbished. By the way, thanks for your input, I appreciate it. Have a good one.
I have a friend who is a dj and has his own studio. I am not sure if the headphones he is using are up to standard so I will be sure to share this article with him. Maybe he will realize that there are better headphones out there for his business. Thank you for this article, it was a great read
Yeah, the HD 25s are a great choice for DJs, and if he’s doing production too, the 280s are a great transitional pair. I probably use my HD 280s the most. It does make a huge difference, especially when mixing. It can also make a difference if he’s using an interface or DAC to amp them babies up to pro levels. I saw (heard) an immediately noticeable difference as soon as I upgraded.
I wish your buddy luck in the music biz. It’s tough. And, I wish you luck in your endeavors too.