Best Headphones for Mixing and Mastering Reviews & Buying Guide

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For Mixing , mastering and music production in general we normally use studio monitors. But to have an intimate listening experience and fine tune the music, good quality studio headphones are the go to choice for many professionals. While there are several studio headphones in the market, it is essential to have access to high-quality headphones that can accurately reproduce the entire audio spectrum and provide a comfortable fit for extended listening sessions.

When selecting headphones for mixing and mastering, several key factors should be considered to ensure they meet the demands of these critical tasks. These factors include:

  1. Driver Size: Driver size refers to the diameter of the speaker element within the earcup. Larger drivers generally produce a fuller, more detailed sound, particularly in the low-frequency range. For mixing and mastering, a driver size of at least 30mm is recommended.
  2. Impedance: Impedance measures the electrical resistance of the headphones. Higher impedance headphones require more power to drive, typically necessitating a headphone amplifier. For mixing and mastering, a balanced impedance of around 32-80 ohms is ideal.
  3. Sensitivity: Sensitivity indicates the headphones’ ability to convert electrical signals into audible sound. Higher sensitivity headphones produce louder sound with less power, while lower sensitivity headphones may require more power to achieve the same volume. For mixing and mastering, a sensitivity of at least 90dB is recommended.

But with so many different headphones on the market, it can be tough to know which ones are the best for mixing and mastering. That’s why we’ve put together a Buying Guide, which will help you to choose the right headphones for your needs.

Best Headphones for Mixing and Mastering Table

Best Headphones for Mixing and Mastering Reviews

1. Sony Headphones for Mixing and Mastering

The Sony MDR7506 Professional Stereo Headphones aren’t just any pair of headphones; they’re a gateway to a world of exceptional sound quality. With neodymium magnets and 40mm drivers, these headphones transform your listening experience with powerful, detailed audio. Their wide frequency response, spanning from 10Hz to 20kHz, guarantees crystal-clear highs, present mids, and extended low-end, immersing you in your favorite music like never before.

The closed-ear design cocooning your ears provides a tranquil escape from external noise, making them ideal for both professional studio work and indulgent home listening sessions. What truly distinguishes these headphones is their adaptability, thanks to the Stereo Unimatch plug accommodating 1/4-inch and 1/8-inch applications.

The 9.8-foot coiled cord offers you room to move, and the included protective soft case keeps your audio sanctuary safe and portable. Featuring generous headband padding for comfort and rugged construction for durability, these headphones offer a reliable and enjoyable audio experience that will be appreciated by both music enthusiasts and professionals.

Features:

  • Type: Closed Back.
  • Driver Size: 40mm.
  • Impedance: 63 Ohms.
  • Frequency Response: 10Hz-20 kHz.
  • Sensitivity: 106 dB.
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm,6.5mm adapter.
  • Cable Length: 9.8ft.

Pros:

  • Excellent sound quality for the price.
  • Rugged and durable.
  • Widely used by professionals.

Cons:

  • Not the most stylish headphones.

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2. Beyerdynamic Headphones for Mixing and Mastering

Beyerdynamic Headphones for Mixing and MasteringBeyerdynamic presents the DT 990 PRO studio headphones, a true standout in the world of audiophile sound reproduction. These open-back, circumaural headphones are a benchmark in delivering unparalleled detail, clarity, and a spacious audio experience, making them a top choice for professional mixing, mastering, editing, and critical listening.

With their open-back design, they create an expansive soundscape, offering a three-dimensional sound reproduction that immerses you deep into your music. What sets them apart is the controlled bass and enhanced treble, ensuring an exceptionally detailed frequency response.

These headphones don’t just excel in audio quality; they also prioritize comfort with their sturdy steel headband and adjustable, soft ear cups, designed for extended wear. The single-sided cable adds convenience, preventing tangles and allowing for easy removal and adjustment.

Features:

  • Type: Open Back.
  • Impedance: 80 Ohms.
  • Frequency Response: 5Hz-35 kHz.
  • Sensitivity: 96 dB.
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm,6.5mm adapter.
  • Cable Length: 9.8ft.

Pros:

  • Spacious, detailed soundstage.
  • Comfortable fit for extended wear.
  • Durable construction.
  • Wide frequency response.
  • High sensitivity.
  • Replaceable ear pads.

Cons:

  • Non-removable cable can be a drawback for some users.

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3. Audio-Technica Headphones for Mixing and Mastering

Audio-Technica Headphones for Mixing and MasteringThe Audio-Technica ATH-M30x professional monitor headphones are your gateway to an unparalleled audio experience. Crafted with meticulous attention to detail, they offer exceptional sound clarity and isolation, making them perfect for various audio tasks, from studio tracking to mixing and field recording.

What sets these headphones apart is their uncompromising audio quality, featuring 40mm drivers with rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils, which result in a wide frequency response and remarkable detail. They are finely tuned for enhanced mid-range definition, faithfully reproducing the intricacies of your audio.

The ATH-M30x excels not only in sound but also in comfort and portability, thanks to their circumaural design, single-side cable exit, and collapsible structure. Whether you’re in a studio, on location, or simply enjoying music, these headphones offer versatility and professional-grade features that make them a must-have for any audio enthusiast.

Features:

  • Type: Closed Back.
  • Driver Size: 40mm.
  • Impedance: 47 Ohms.
  • Frequency Response: 15Hz-22 kHz.
  • Sensitivity: 96 dB.
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm,6.5mm adapter.
  • Cable Length: 9.8ft.

Pros:

  • Delivers exceptional audio clarity and detail.
  • Durable and well-built.
  • Isolate sound well, even in loud environments.

Cons:

  • The ear cups are a bit shallow and may not fit all ears comfortably.

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4. Sennheiser Headphones for Mixing and Mastering

Sennheiser Headphones for Mixing and MasteringSennheiser’s HD 599 Special Edition headphones represent the pinnacle of audiophile-grade sound and timeless design. These over-ear, open-back headphones deliver an audio experience like no other, boasting a spacious soundstage and incredibly detailed reproduction that caters to the discerning listener.

What truly sets them apart is Sennheiser’s proprietary transducer technology and the Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement (E.A.R) design, ensuring a balanced and natural sound with exceptional clarity and depth. The open-back design takes the immersion to the next level, enveloping you in your music’s heart.

Yet, the HD 599 SE headphones don’t just prioritize audio quality; they prioritize your comfort. Their lightweight build, velour-covered ear pads, and padded headband make extended listening sessions an absolute pleasure. What’s more, these headphones offer versatile connectivity with two detachable cables, catering to home entertainment systems and mobile devices alike.

Features:

  • Type: Closed Back.
  • Impedance: 47 Ohms.
  • Frequency Response: 15Hz-22 kHz.
  • Sensitivity: 96 dB.
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm,6.5mm adapter.
  • Cable Length: 9.8ft.

Pros:

  • Comfortable fit for extended wear.
  • Versatile connectivity for use with various devices.
  • Durable construction with high-quality materials.

Cons:

  • Non-removable ear pads limit customization options.

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5. PHILIPS Headphones for Mixing and Mastering

PHILIPS Headphones for Mixing and MasteringThe Philips Fidelio X2HR Over-Ear Headphones stand out for their Hi-Res Audio certification, offering an extended frequency response for a detailed listening experience. With 50mm high-definition neodymium drivers and an acoustic open-back design, these headphones deliver exceptional audio quality and a spacious soundstage.

Unique features include pre-tilted speaker plates for optimal sound delivery and a lightweight self-adjustable hammock for a comfortable fit. The memory foam ear-pads with velour finishing and genuine leather outer headband enhance long-wearing comfort, while double-layered earshells reduce resonance and vibration.

Additionally, a detachable oxygen-free cable, 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter, and cable management clip provide practicality. With a frequency range of 5 – 40,000 Hz, a sensitivity of 100 dB, and 30 Ohm impedance, these headphones cater to music lovers, audiophiles, and those who appreciate exceptional sound quality and comfort in home and studio settings.

Features:

  • Type: Open Back.
  • Driver Size: 50mm.
  • Impedance: 30 Ohms.
  • Frequency Response: 5Hz-40 kHz.
  • Sensitivity: 100 dB.
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm,6.5mm adapter.
  • Cable Length: 9.8ft.

Pros:

  • Unparalleled audio quality for music lovers and audiophiles.
  • Comfortable fit for extended listening sessions.
  • Durable construction for long-lasting use.
  • Versatile for home listening and studio use.

Cons:

  • Not as portable as closed-back headphones due to their open design.

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6. Shure Headphones for Mixing and Mastering

Shure Headphones for Mixing and MasteringThe Shure SRH440A Professional Studio Headphones offer an exceptional audio experience, characterized by unmatched audio clarity that brings out the true essence of your content. These headphones are designed for podcasting, recording, and mastering, delivering accurate audio reproduction across a wide frequency range.

What sets them apart is their transparent, natural sound signature that ensures precise audio quality. They’re not just about sound; comfort and durability are priorities, with an ultra-lightweight headband and adjustable earcups for extended listening sessions, as well as a sleek and durable design that can withstand constant use.

The unique feature lies in their optimization for professional audio applications, with enhanced frequency response, impedance, and power handling, ensuring compatibility with a variety of professional audio devices and excellent performance in recording and mixing environments. The Shure SRH440A headphones are the ideal choice for those seeking a combination of audio precision, comfort, and professional-grade features.

Features:

  • Type: Open Back.
  • Driver Size: 40mm.
  • Impedance: 40 Ohms.
  • Frequency Response: 10Hz-20 kHz.
  • Sensitivity: 97 dB.
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm,6.5mm adapter.
  • Cable Length: 9.8ft.

Pros:

  • Ideal for studio monitoring and critical listening.
  • Comfortable fit for extended listening sessions.
  • Durable construction that can withstand constant use.
  • Compatible with a wide range of professional audio devices.

Cons:

  • Not suitable for casual listening or everyday use.

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7. HIFIMAN Headphones for Mixing and Mastering

HIFIMAN Headphones for Mixing and MasteringHIFIMAN Sundara is a cutting-edge headphone masterpiece from the renowned brand HIFIMAN. Its unique feature lies in its newly developed diaphragm, which is a remarkable 80% thinner than its predecessors, resulting in a broader frequency response and an unparalleled level of detail in sound reproduction.

The Sundara combines superior audio technology with a sleek and stylish design, featuring a weight-spreading strap for ultimate comfort and a sumptuous matte black finish. Built to withstand the demands of urban life, the all-metal headband adds a robust touch to its beauty.

With a new 3.5mm headphone connector that enhances durability and a frequency response ranging from 6Hz to 75kHz, the Sundara offers an extraordinary listening experience. Whether you’re an audiophile seeking unparalleled sound quality or a fashion-conscious individual looking for a comfortable and elegant audio solution, the HIFIMAN Sundara is your perfect choice, a harmonious blend of beauty and cutting-edge technology.

Features:

  • Type: Open Back.
  • Impedance: 32 Ohms.
  • Frequency Response: 6Hz-75 kHz.
  • Sensitivity: 94 dB.
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm,6.5mm adapter.
  • Cable Length: 9.8ft.

Pros:

  • Excellent sound quality.
  • Comfortable and stylish design.
  • Durable construction.

Cons:

  • Not as isolating as some other headphones.

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Buying Guide for Best Headphones for Mixing and Mastering

1. Driver Size

The driver of a headphone is the miniature speaker responsible for converting electrical signals into audible sound. Its size, typically measured in millimeters, plays a significant role in determining the headphone’s frequency response and overall sound quality.

Larger drivers generally produce a broader range of frequencies, encompassing deep bass notes to crisp highs. However, larger drivers also tend to be heavier and less efficient, potentially compromising comfort and power consumption.

For mixing and mastering, a driver size of 40-50mm is often considered the sweet spot, striking a balance between frequency response and overall performance.

2. Impedance

Impedance, measured in ohms, represents the electrical resistance of the headphone’s driver. It directly affects the amount of power required to drive the headphone, influencing its overall volume and sound quality.

Low-impedance headphones, typically below 32 ohms, are generally more compatible with portable audio devices, such as smartphones and laptops. High-impedance headphones, typically above 50 ohms, require more powerful amplifiers to achieve optimal volume levels, but may offer superior sound quality and detail.

For mixing and mastering, a headphone with an impedance between 32 and 80 ohms is often recommended, providing a balance between compatibility and performance.

3. Sensitivity

Sensitivity, measured in decibels (dB/mW), indicates the headphone’s ability to convert electrical power into audible sound. A higher sensitivity rating means the headphone can produce a louder output for a given amount of power.

For mixing and mastering, a headphone with a sensitivity rating of at least 90dB/mW is generally recommended, ensuring sufficient volume levels for critical listening.

4. Frequency Response

Frequency response, measured in Hertz (Hz), encompasses the range of frequencies that the headphone can reproduce. A wider frequency response indicates a more comprehensive representation of the audio spectrum, allowing you to discern subtle sonic details.

For mixing and mastering, a headphone with a frequency response of at least 20Hz to 20kHz is typically recommended, covering the entire range of human hearing.

5. Cord Length

Cord length is a practical consideration, especially for studio environments where you may need to move around freely. A longer cord provides more flexibility,while a shorter cord reduces tangles and may enhance signal quality. Detachable cables allow for easy storage and can be replaced in case of damage.

For mixing and mastering, a cord length of at least 10 feet is often recommended, allowing for comfortable movement within the studio space.

6. Driver Type

The driver type is the heart of any headphone, responsible for converting electrical signals into sound waves. Different driver types offer distinct sonic characteristics, making them suitable for various applications.

  • Dynamic Drivers: The most common type, dynamic drivers utilize a moving coil and magnet to produce sound. They offer a wide frequency response and robust bass reproduction, making them well-suited for mixing and mastering.
  • Planar Magnetic Drivers: Planar magnetic drivers employ a flat diaphragm suspended between magnets. They deliver a detailed, accurate sound signature with excellent transient response, making them ideal for critical listening and mastering.
  • Electrostatic Drivers: Electrostatic drivers utilize a thin charged membrane to produce sound. They offer exceptional clarity and detail, but they are often more expensive and delicate.

7. Comfort and Fit

Comfort is paramount during extended mixing and mastering sessions. Ill-fitting headphones can cause fatigue and distractions, hindering your ability to focus on the audio.

  • Earcup Design: Over-ear headphones provide a comfortable fit and good sound isolation, while on-ear headphones are lighter and more portable.
  • Clamping Force: Headphones with excessive clamping force can cause discomfort over time. Look for headphones that offer a comfortable yet secure fit.
  • Earpad Material: Earpads made from breathable materials like velour or memory foam provide comfort and prevent overheating.

In some studio headphones we can swap the earcups, if they are not suitable for us

8. Form Factor

Headphones come in two primary forms: open-back and closed-back.

  • Open-Back Headphones: Open-back headphones provide a spacious, airy soundstage and allow for better airflow, preventing ear fatigue during extended use. However, they offer minimal sound isolation, making them unsuitable for noisy environments.
  • Closed-Back Headphones: Closed-back headphones offer superior sound isolation, blocking out external noise and allowing for focused listening. However, they may produce a slightly more “boxed-in” sound compared to open-back headphones.

9. Plug Size

Headphones come with various plug sizes, including 3.5mm, 6.35mm, and XLR.

  • 3.5mm Jack: The most common plug size, compatible with most portable audio devices and smartphones.
  • 6.35mm Jack: Also known as a 1/4-inch jack, often used in professional audio equipment.
  • XLR Connector: A balanced audio connection commonly found in studio environments.

10. Durability

Headphones used for mixing and mastering often undergo frequent use and handling. Durability is essential to ensure longevity and protect your investment.

  • Build Quality: Look for headphones constructed from high-quality materials like metal or reinforced plastics.
  • Warranty: Opt for headphones with a comprehensive warranty that covers manufacturing defects.

Best Headphones for Mixing and Mastering – FAQs

1. Is using headphones for mixing and mastering a preferable option?

Ans: In our opinion, using headphones is better for checking the quality of the music during mastering. They’re closer to your ears and block out room sounds, which helps you catch any issues and artifacts more effectively than using speakers.

2. At what volume should headphones be set during the mixing process?

Ans: The ideal listening level falls within the range of 70dB to 85dB. This is crucial regardless of your listening method, but it’s especially important when using headphones, as the headphone drivers are very close to your ears.

3. Is it possible to achieve professional-level mixing using headphones?

Ans: When you’re mixing, it’s best to use good studio monitors in a treated room. But if you’re in a room without acoustic treatment or need to mix quietly at night or on the go, headphones can be a good option.

4. Which is preferable for mixing, open or closed headphones?

Ans: Open-back headphones are typically favored for mixing because they offer a more accur ate representation of the original sound by not boosting low frequencies. They can be the most comfortable and productive choice, especially when mixing in a quiet studio for extended periods.

5. Is it suitable to use Bluetooth headphones for mixing?

Ans: While it’s feasible to complete certain music production tasks with Bluetooth headphones, the increased latency makes us advise against using them for recording live performances of any kind.

Conclusion

Choosing the right headphones for mixing and mastering is crucial for achieving professional-quality results. The headphones you select should provide accurate sound reproduction, a wide frequency range, and a comfortable fit for long listening sessions. After carefully considering each option, we recommend the following headphones for mixing and mastering:

  • Sony Headphones for Mixing and Mastering: These closed-back headphones offer a balanced sound signature with a slight emphasis on the midrange, making them ideal for identifying and correcting frequency imbalances in your mixes. They are also comfortable and lightweight, allowing you to wear them for extended periods without fatigue.



  • Audio-Technica Headphones for Mixing and Mastering: These closed-back headphones offer a clear and `punchy sound that is perfect for monitoring and mixing. They are also affordable and durable, making them a great choice for budget-minded audio engineers.



  • PHILIPS Headphones for Mixing and Mastering: These open-back headphones offer a wide soundstage and a clear, detailed sound that is perfect for critical listening. They are also comfortable and well-built, making them a good choice for both professional and home use.

Ultimately, the best headphones for mixing and mastering will depend on your individual needs and preferences. Consider your budget, the type of music you work with, and your listening environment when making your decision.

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