If you’re a professional, an audiophile, or an audio enthusiast that has decided to look for studio headphones, we’re here to inform you that you’re heading in the right direction.
Even though studio headphones are known to be pricier than any other headphones type, they’re definitely worth it since they make a great investment. After all, they’re purchased for specific needs, and if you don’t know yours yet, no worries since you’ll find them out in this article.
What you’ll also find are 10 things you shouldn’t skip when searching for the best studio headphones. Even if you have no idea how to find the perfect studio headphones – this post is exactly what you’ll need to get yourself started.
Even you’re an audio professional, these tips will help you still to refresh your mind and pay close attention to everything when making such investment.
What’s the Difference Between Studio and Other Headphones?
If you aren’t sure what studio headphones stand for or what they’re best for ,it’s not that hard to understand. Basically, when you think best of the best headphones, you’re most of the time going to end up looking for studio headphones.
What’s so special about studio headphones is the ability to have sound signature suitable for different needs, most of the time studio needs – hence the name of the headphones. However, studio headphones are very versatile and can be used for many different needs since they offer high-quality sound.
The reason this type of headphones is used mostly in the studio is their ability of recording or mixing tapes, no matter the music genre.
On the other hand, other headphones types aren’t built with such precision of offering the special audio signature which makes them much more versatile, but not really a preferred choice for professional use.
Therefore, if you’ve already done a bit of research, you’d notice that studio headphones are only built and manufactured by only the best audio brands out there. You might’ve noticed the higher price point, but there’s a reason for that.
The precision and quality in build involved take a lot of time, effort, skills, material and man-hours. In the end, the product you get is definitely worth the price even before you test it out for all of their features.
If you consider such purchase and you have the needs for studio headphones they’re definitely going to pay off in the long run.
Should You Go for Studio Headphones?
If you don’t have a wife to justify your purchases too, there’s always a question or debate whether you should go for studio headphones and whether such investment is a wise choice for your needs, right? And believe us, most of us have been there at some point.
To be honest, most people get turned off when they face the price of quality studio headphones. However, if you look further than the price and you consider all the benefits, advantages, and use you’ll be able to get out of the headphones – you’ll easily come to the conclusion that the investment might pay off in the end.
Not all of us have a professional need for studio headphones, yet most of us would like to experience the best of the best when it comes to the audio quality, right?
If you’re thinking that you don’t have a need and therefore, you don’t “qualify” for the studio headphones or you find it an investment that won’t pay off in the long run – we have a bit of hope for you.
It’s not all that dark. Even if you had no intentions of using studio headphones professionally, using them to enjoy the audio quality they offer is still a very good reason. That’s why you’re still deciding whether you should go for studio headphones or settle with any other quality headphones, right?
In the end, once you go through this face of dilemma and you purchase studio headphones, we can guarantee you one. You’ll never look back and regret the decision (or investment) you’ve made.
If you do, we have some good news for you. Depending on where and how you purchase your studio headphones, you might have a 30-day money-back guarantee, but it’s something that can’t be seen often with studio headphones (since they offer incredible quality and long-lasting build).
Are Studio Headphones Hard to Find?
Studio headphones are not hard to find but it depends on where you’re looking for your next pair of studio headphones.
As studio headphones are mostly manufactured by some of the biggest and the best audio brands in the world, you can head straight away to some of their official websites and find studio headphones.
But you should be careful of where you’re looking for studio headphones. There are many upcoming brands that are trying to break themselves into the market and therefore they promote their headphones as “suitable for studio” headphones.
However, such headphones are far from the regular quality of the actual studio headphones. Therefore, you should do a lot of research on the product and even the brand you’re looking for purchase from. A good thing is that you can find a lot of honest product reviews on our site.
In order to find the best studio headphones that won’t only deliver the promised quality but won’t break your bank, you’ll need to pay attention to a lot of factors and things along the way.
And again, good for you since you’re here because this post is all about 10 things that you shouldn’t forget about when looking for studio headphones.
Also, we always like to go by our advice – if the offer is too good to be true, it’s probably not a real deal. But before we jump straight to 10 things you shouldn’t skip when searching for the best studio headphones – let’s touch on the price first so you can know exactly how much you’ll have to spend for such quality.
Average Price Range of Studio Headphones
Even though studio headphones are fairly “expensive” once you have a look at the initial price, if you don’t think of the benefits, advantage, and even the help they can bring to your or your business – they’ll simply be too expensive for you in any way.
On the other hand, it’s quite good to know that you can still find decent deals when shopping for studio headphones. By decent deals we mean the deals where you’ll pay just a bit under the official price (10-20% discounted), and yet the headphones will provide a lot more value than their market price is.
Of course, the price difference between studio headphones and consumer headphones can be huge, but there are many reasons for that. We also like to follow the rule – you get what you pay for, which is most of the times correct, especially when it comes down to the headphones.
Therefore, the average price of a quality pair of studio headphones is somewhere about $350 USD. Of course, that’s the average price, but the price can get a lot higher than that, and just a little bit less than that in some cases.
In the end, people who are ready to purchase studio headphones have a different mindset. They don’t care as much about the price as they care about the quality of the headphones and fulfilling their needs.
Of course, it’s never a bad idea to have a budget, but you should give yourself some financial freedom too.
If you believe you’re ready for the purchase, hang on just a bit more. We’ve listed top 10 things you shouldn’t skip when looking for studio headphones so you have everything covered and you don’t miss anything along the way.
10 Things to Consider Before You Get Your New Studio Headphones
When you think of studio headphones, your main goal is to find quality headphones. But how do you find quality? We think of quality as a combination of amazing audio + comfort, including features that improve the use of the headphones.
Therefore, these 10 things will help you find your next best studio headphones and make sure you don’t miss anything important.
1. Headphones Style (Open-Back VS Closed-Back)
If you aren’t familiar with the terms open or closed back, it’s fairly simple to understand. It refers to the design of studio headphones.
When studio headphones are completely closed at the back and don’t leak any sound or let in any surrounding sounds inside – we’re talking about the closed-back headphones.
On the other hand, open-back headphones provide less isolation since they let the sounds flow in and outside of the headphone cups. But don’t take this necessarily as a bad thing.
Open-back headphones are more suited for mastering the sound or mixing while closed-back headphones are perfect for in-door studio recording.
There’s even a “third-type” worth mentioning which is a combination of both styles. It’s called semi-open headphones style where some amount of sound is allowed to pass, but the headphones still provide a decent level of isolation.
2. On-Ear VS Over-Ear Headphones
These two types are referred to as circumaural and super-aural headphones, but they’re very well known as on-ear or over-ear headphones.
While most people mistake this to be related to open or closed back style, it doesn’t have any connection with it.
On-ear headphones don’t fully cover the ears yet just press on the ears to create as much isolation as possible. On the other hand, over-hear headphones fully snug the ears, enclosing the sound and isolating it fully from the outside sounds.
As you can probably guess it, on-ear headphones offer less noise cancelation but are sometimes a bit more comfortable to wear (especially on hot summer days).
Yet, it’s up to the personal preference of every individual and in fact, some people hate on-ear headphones and only stick to the over-ear headphones.
If you ask us, we’re a big fan of over-ear headphones, but we also love to use on-ear headphones for a number of different situations. We also believe that the intended use will help you determine which ones to go for.
3. Wireless or Wired
If your first thought that came to your mind when you’ve read this heading is to go for wireless, you should slow down as you might be rushing the decision.
Even though wireless headphones offer less hassle with the wires and definitely eliminate the possibility of tanling your wires ever again, they can sacrifice the audio quality.
If you didn’t know this by now, it’s true. And the reason wireless headphones might suffer some quality loss is the Bluetooth connectivity that has to occurr between the device and the headphones. While the most advanced brands are working to eliminating this to zero, it’s still something you should consider.
On the other hand, wired headphones will always have a wire to bother you, however, you’ll know that the wire will never impact the audio quality.
4. Driver Size & Type
The driver is considered to be the heart and soul of the headphones and there are different types of driver. Even their size matters, so after you’ve done handling the comfort part of your headphones choice, drivers should be the first thing on your list.
So obviously, the bigger the driver – the higher the volume headphones will have. However, bigger isn’t always the better since the sound quality might not be directly proportionate to driver size.
If that was the case, earphones would have the worst sound quality, right?
The bigger role that determines the quality of the audio is the material used to produce the driver and its specifications & features that determine the sound quality, and in some cases even preferred intended use.
Impedance is something that is often explained in a very technical way and that’s just one of the reasons people have a hard time understanding the importance of impedance.
However, what you need to know is that the impedance is directly related to sound quality. And the lower the impedance of the headphones is, the better the sound quality it will be able to produce when powered by less powerful devices.
Also, keep in mind that high impedance headphones will need a lot more powerful devices to produce a great & quality sound.
There is no bad impedance, but we recommend you to make a list of devices you’ll use the headphones with so you can determine the impedance level that will be right for your needs. Studio headphones are manufactured with different ranges of impedance, and therefore, it’s something you should pay attention to.
If you’ll use your studio headphones only to listen to tracks in the best quality possible, lower impedance would work great. However, if you’ll use studio headphones with more powerful devices you will use in your studio, you’ll need to make sure your impedance is a lot larger.
6. Frequency Response
You’ve probably heard about frequency response before or at least seen it if you’ve been doing headphones research since frequency response of headphones is almost always written under specifications.
Even before understanding what frequency response to go for, you should understand something else first.
Humans can hear frequencies between 20 Hz to 2 kHz. That’s something you should consider when looking for a quality pair of studio headphones.
Quality studio headphones should be able to effectively reproduce frequencies within this range. Some of the headphones might even offer a bit of an extended range which is a great thing, but definitely not necessary to have.
Since you won’t be able to hear the extended range of course, but it might be useful for musicians who are looking for the best precision possible.
While most people confuse sensitivity with something else, sensitivity is actually the ability to convert signals into sound using the power a device has to offer.
Even though not many people know, sensitivity is another factor that is almost always listed under the specifications of the headphones. The sensitivity is labeled in decibels, and for example, 90 dB is a magnitude of loudness that can be provided when connected to the power of 1 mW.
But what you should know is that the higher the sensitivity level is, the better the audio quality is going to be. However, even studio headphones won’t always be able to offer very high sensitivity, but it mostly depends on the signature it offers.
Not all audio signatures require high sensitivity and in fact, some headphones work better with lower sensitivity.
8. Noise Reduction
Now when you’ve taken care of both comfort and sound quality, noise reduction is something else you should never forget to consider.
Noise reduction is also known as noise cancellation and it’s getting very popular nowadays in almost all headphone types, and not only studio headphones.
If you didn’t already know, there is active and passive noise reduction. While passive noise reduction isn’t as efficient as active, it doesn’t require any additional power yet it solely relies on the build design and style.
On the other hand, active noise canceling requires additional power, but it’s totally worth it since it can eliminate up to 95% noise that surrounds you. If you plan to use the headphones only in-doors in a studio, passive noise cancellation is a great decision, however, if you plan to use headphones anywhere outdoors or in a crowded place – they’re highly recommended.
9. Sound Signature
There are plenty of sound signatures, and if you’re wondering what a sound signature is, it’s basically a way to describe the shape of the sound.
As weird as it might sound, once you get a hang of the signatures, you’ll be able to determine the sound type offered by the headphones.
For example, a V-shaped sound signature offers a lot of bass and a sparkling treble, and that is just some of the characteristics.
Here are a few most common sound signatures:
- Extra Bass
- Warm & Smooth
As you can notice, you can already guess the sound characteristics from each signature name. Depending on your needs, everyone will require a different sound signature.
One thing is for sure, there is no right or wrong sound signature. However, while some people might avoid flat sound signature, it might be really useful for people in a different music genre industry.
10. Maintenance & Storage
Studio headphones are a pricey investment, however, they’re an investment you’ll never regret. But what you might regret is not taking the proper care of the headphones.
While headphones don’t require a lot of maintenance, they require a lot of attention when it comes down to the storage.
Most popular manufacturers will include a carrying or protective case with the studio headphones, depending on the model, but it’s always good to have a case of your own. It’s not only necessary when traveling, but also when storing it in your home.
If you store headphones in a protective case, you won’t only eliminate the chance of accidentally damaging them but you will protect them from dust, debris, UV light, and any other factors.
However, a good clean here and there isn’t a bad idea. You want your headphones to last, right? It takes a bit of time, but it’s totally worth it to pay attention to your valuables.
One thing is for sure, you should never purchase studio headphones by winging it or simply a choice that isn’t backed up by facts and research – no matter how much money you have.
With the number of studio headphones available on the market, it’s probably going to take a bit of time to find the right studio headphones.
As you can see from our list of 10 things you should never skip when searching for studio headphones, it might seem a bit overwhelming or even complicated at first, but it’s fairly easy once you understand what you should look out for.
Knowing what your needs are and even a potential type of studio headphones will help you a lot along the way. We recommend going through these 10 things and creating a list where you will write down your needs or preferred choice.
This will help you narrow down your choice and find the perfect studio headphones that won’t only fit perfectly but will offer immersive sound quality that will bring joy to whatever your needs are.