Which professional monitoring/mixing headphones should I buy?

Glad you found a pair, Isaac, but I thought I’d add to the thread just in case anyone else is considering the same question:

Dave Bode covered which monitors and headphones to use for high quality audio over on Envato Tuts+. It’s a free lesson from his course on advanced audio for video (which is a great course). The lesson also includes some monitor recommendations.

One surprising-affordable recommendation was the Monoprice 108323. These $20 headphones produce a really good-quality sound despite their low cost. I know it sounds too good to be true! But I often recommend them to Tuts+ instructors who do voice-over work and so far everybody is happy with them.

Myself, I use a BeyerDynamic DT880 for monitoring/mixing at the computer. They’re about $200. These are open-back headphones: this means sound escapes from the back of the speaker, and they aren’t acoustically closed like most DJ headphones. I’ve also used the Sony MDR-7506, and I find the DT880s much more relaxed and far less fatiguing. If it means you can work longer without getting tired, the extra $100 is totally worth it!

Also, for video people: if you’re recording out in the world I can’t recommend the Sennheiser HD-25 headphones enough for field recording. Worth every penny!


Hi @IsaacA , this time i agree with @jacksoncouse , beyer dynamic headphones are really great for your mixes , but I think that you shouldn’t work with your headphones all the time , because your ears are getting tired mouch faster compared to the monitors. When your ears are tired, you don’t hear a thing , and you’re making lot more mistakes then usual. Good luck dude !


The best advert of headphones for AJ authors :thumbsup: :smiley:

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Hello IsaacA,

I use HD25-1 II (currently sold as “HD25” for reduced prices). Not so good but not so bad. I start having pain on my ears after about 30 mins of use. I bought that model mainly because I can replace parts when it is broken.

As I imagine that AJ’s royalty free music reach to audiences listening on PC, smartphones or maybe TVs, I always compare the sound output on PC speaker as well. I don’t try on smartphones or TV because I do not have those. (btw did you know that AJ music are played as BGM at a certain airport?)

Some headphones / speakers or even environments have weakness in certain frequencies of sound, which is something to be kept in mind. Not all the end users have the best equipments to enjoy sound or music.

If I were you I would wait till I save more money because the budget of 100 USD limits choices. If I wanted to suppress impulse for buying anything, I would buy cheap SONY ear phones that sound okay but break in a year or so. I don’t mean that any expensive headphones or anything on amazon with good reviews are always good. With your own personal references taken into consideration my suggestion is to always try before purchase. The best is to buy what you really like to own even if it is slightly more expensive than the original budget.

Good luck on your search I hope that you will find the best headphones to you :wink:

I never knew AJ tracks were played at airports! But As for my budget, It’s true I eventually decided to spend more on ATH M50. Appreciate your feedback :slight_smile:

I missed your reply! Thanks for the insight! I’ll check the headphones too

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One more thing to think about when mixing with headphones, and it’s a big one, is the amp. The headphones are just one part of the equation. The quality of your headphone preamp matters just as much, if not more, for sound quality. The headphone amp in your computer is not high quality!

Here’s a great Tuts+ tutorial on how to mix with headphones that covers everything you need to know, including closed vs. open-back, amps, bass, and safety concerns.

I use a headphone amp from Schiit. They have a line of affordable, high-quality headphone amps.

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Beyerdynamic DT-880 PRO is a great choice! Using them more than 5 years

I use an M-Audio BX5 and AKG K141 Studio Headphones… great choice for me

I use HD600. For mixing you can’t go wrong with any open back headphones

Most of the professional studios use audio technica ATH M50x for monitoring when they record, so try to find them cheap on ebay, I also have them and they are fantastic!

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I’ll second that! The M50x are superb headphones for the price. I mix on them just as much as my monitors; in fact, half of my portfolio was mixed using only the headphones. Excellent build quality, comfortable to wear, removable cable with 2 extra lengths included, and just amazing overall value.

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Can confirm - the M50x are absolutely fantastic, both for mixing and enjoying music.

Looks like the M50x is really the popular choice! Thanks everyone for the feedback, you’re all so helpful!!

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I’ve got the same ATH-M50. I’ve got the first version without the detachable cable. They get used all the time at my studio and still work great, so build quality is really good.

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AKG 701. Quite expensive but does the job very well.
The only issue - bumps on headband. At the beginning it’s very annoying.
P.S. Ups, I missed the part of $100 budget.

A word about the “flatness” of the MDR-7506, if I may:

Otherwise, I agree that they are a superb pair of headphones with unbeatable value. But, as you said, they are not the best choice for mixing.

I’m using as headphones Sony MDR-7506. I have them since may 2016 and since then, started updating my exclusive song portfolio on AudioJungle, and I can definitely tell you that the sound has changed definitely.

Now my tracks sound more clear as in clarity of the instruments and also they stick together but sound cleaner, also my mid, mid-high to highs area is better defined, and the low end on these headphones goes down to 20 Hz which makes them a good choice for everything, you can clearly hear any dnb subbass or anything in that 40-50 Hz area. They also sound extremely flat. They were a reference in the audio business everywhere for the past 10 years, and they still worth 100 USD.

They are closed (not semi-open, or open), so they can be tricky for the first 2 weeks of working with them if you hadn’t have closed headphones before. It was for me anyways :slight_smile:

But they definitely can show you, in your mix, what sounds wrong. As well as having a flat response as in “what you hear is what you get”. Very flat. If you ask me, just a little bit more highs than what I’d loved to have, but not in the bad way, maybe it’s just my ears that say these highs have a slight metallic ring. But after 1 month I got used to their sound, listened to more stuff on them, and I got to know them better. So it’s a definite thing to have for your mastering.

Also, with time, get some good pair of speakers in the 800 USD range such as Adam A7X or Presonus R80. AudioJungle market can be very lucrative so you can afford these excellent speakers that I recommend at some point in the near future.

But yes, I strongly recommend the Sony MDR-7506 for preview, work and mastering in any professional studio, remember they’re great to show you “what’s wrong in your mix” which is definitely what you really want, to make sure your audio mix will sound well on almost everything.


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they’re not as flat as 600 USD headphones definitely, but they’ve been a choice in the music industry for the past 10 years, they’re great to discover “what’s wrong in your mix” and they cost only 100 USD.

Since the original poster said that he is low on cash while investigating possible reference headphones, and since one pair of these in your studio cannot hurt having, then all should be good.

Also do not look at other higher Sony headphones in the same category, which may sound more pumpy or have more bass, the others are not as flat as these ones.

Yes, I agree. They show you all the mid-range detail and help cleaning out the mix, as a second reference when you’re close to being done. All I was saying that I’d avoid using these as a main reference for creating a mix from scratch. But that’s just my 2 cents here, it might work out if one gets used to it and learns them inside-out by checking the mixes on other equipment.