To complete any audio work station, an essential and key component is a decent pair of headphones. Like in any other category, top-end products would perform and sound better than their price step-downs. This doesn’t imply that there aren’t some great options for cheap studio headphones.
Closed-back and Open Back headphones function differently just like a condenser and dynamic microphone. Closed-back offers you isolation and would usually accentuate the low frequencies whereas Open-back headphones give you a more natural reproduction of sound. Having multiple reference headphones is a good idea for a studio/ mixing environment, this would help you ensure there are no unwanted buzz or clicks in your production.
If you are looking for headphones for live applications, it would be wiser to go for in-ear monitors instead as most of these would have a difficult time reproducing low-end frequencies accurately in a loud environment.
These are our staff picks to help you choose your budget studio headphones to help you get started on your sonic journey.
1. Audio Technica ATH M20X
Japanese brand Audio-Technica has a wide range of products catering to enthusiast needs. A great example would be the ATH M20X which while being at a budget studio headphone price point offers quite a premium experience. Clean, Comfortable, and Cost Efficient.
- Lightweight but durable and robust in feel.
- Great frequency response range of 15Hz to 20kHz
- 40mm Drivers with rare-earth magnets.
- Closed-back design, for better sound isolation in loud environments.
- Single-side long cord making it easy to move around or for standing applications.
- Comfortable fit, making it easy to use them for longer periods.
- Crisp, clean audio. Lower frequencies don’t seem boosted.
- A padded headband and a swivel of 15°.
- Not collapsible making it difficult to transport and store.
- Slightly tighter fit due to the padded headband.
2. Behringer HPS 3000
Although being a German company, Behringer’s roots are originally Swiss and this gets translated into their good thought out product lines catering to a musician with any experience. The HPS 3000 is an option you could consider if you’re on a serious shoestring budget. Reversible cups also make it easy for single-ear use.
- Ultra-wide frequency response and dynamic range.
- Rugged headband construction.
- High-resolution sound reproduction.
- Comfortable and are par expectations for the price point.
- Even and Consistent sound reproduction.
- Frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz.
- A bit clunky to handle.
- Faux leather ear cuffs lack enough padding.
3. Tascam TH02-B
With proven experience in the audio recording and reproducing business, Tascam’s budget innovations are known the world over. The TH02-B is their Budget Studio Headphone offering.
- Foldable design for easy transport and storage.
- Closed-back design for a clean and isolated sound.
- Tightly stitched headband and ear cuffs for comfort.
- Low Sound leakage. Firm and comfortable fit.
- Overall decent audio reproduction.
- Noise isolation could be better.
- Build quality is somewhat mediocre.
- Not ideal for commuting.
4. AKG Pro Audio K92
AKG Acoustics is known to have an extensive product line for Studio applications. The K92s are their best offering in the budget studio headphone segment. The pricing truly goes to show how an accurate and decent audio experience does not have to be pricy.
- 40mm drivers with a frequency response of 16Hz to 20kHz.
- Closed-back design for better noise isolation.
- Self-adjusting headband for an accurate fit.
- Sound reproduction is good and consistent.
- Comfortable for long-duration usage.
- Gold trim does make it look more premium than it is.
- The plastic build does not feel too robust.
- Larger in size compared to others in this range.
5. Samson SR 950
From the United States, Samson Audio has innovated and dominated the professional audio space along with their sister concern Hartke. Their offerings in the budget/ home studio space have been on a rise to meet demands. The SR 950 is one such efficiently built comfortable pair yet cheap studio headphone in the market.
- 50mm Drivers and frequency response of 10Hz to 30kHz, 32Ω impedance.
- Self-adjusting headband for a perfect fit.
- Closed-back design for noise isolation.
- Lightweight materials, plush velour ear cuffs, and flat, adjustable headband.
- Excellent low-end frequency reproduction. Even mid and high range performance.
- Clarity and neutral nature of sound.
- Design is a bit modest and feels outdated.
All of the above are definitely great options for cheap studio headphones but for us the winner is the Audio Technica ATX M20X! Its outstanding sound quality and comfort make it our pick of the lot.
Don’t forget to check our other recommendations for your home studio here.