For mixing, headphones can’t just spit out a good sound. They have to provide incredibly flat frequency response, excellent stereo imaging, and superior comfort for long mixing sessions.
While a lot of headphones reach for mixing gold, most miss. Whether it be through overpowered bass, lack of comfort, or other mishaps, a lot of headphones just don’t make the cut.
However, we compiled a list of the absolute best headphones for mixing, the ones that rise above the pitfalls of others and are used in studios around the world.
Here are the top 5 best headphones for mixing:
|Headphone||DT770 Pro||MDR-7506||HD280 Pro||SRH1840||HD 650|
|Frequency Response||5Hz – 35kHz||10Hz-20kHz||8Hz – 25kHz||10Hz – 30kHz||10Hz – 41kHz|
|Impedance||250 Ω||63 Ω||64 Ω||65 Ω||300 Ω|
Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro
The Beyerdynamic DT770 Pros are some of my favorite headphones of all time. While they aren’t the prettiest thing and don’t have a ton of bells and whistles, they simply sound fantastic.
The immediate thing that sticks out about the DT770 Pros is how comfortable they are. The velour earpads sit over the ear beautifully, providing one of the most comfortable pairs of headphones I’ve ever put on.
However, it’s all in the sound. Thankfully, the DT770s kill it in this category.
Across the spectrum, the headphones are incredibly flat, not flattering anything part of the music. While they don’t blow anyway in sound quality, they show everything that needs to be shown which is paramount for mixing.
At $199, the DT770s strike a beautiful balance in this list. They sit right in the middle in terms of price, and provide the best quality for the money, giving enough luxury to justify being slightly more expensive, all while staying relatively inexpensive overall.
|Frequency Response||5Hz – 35kHz|
|Impedance||32 Ω / 80 Ω / 250 Ω|
|Power Handling||100 mW|
|Cable Length||3.0 m (9.8 ft.) coiled cable|
The Sony MDR-7506s are the most inexpensive pair of headphones on this, but perhaps the most iconic. They’re cheap, they’re reliable, and they can be found just about anywhere.
A lot like NS-10s, the MDR-7506s certainly aren’t the best, but they are excellent for mixing. They don’t flatter anything, in fact, these cans sound pretty unflattering altogether.
The main reason I would consider the MDR-7506s is if you go to other studios often to mix. No matter where you are at, almost any studio will have a pair of MDR-7506s laying around.
If you learn them, you’ll almost never be in a situation when you can’t mix, even if you don’t have your personal pair on you.
Being the cheapest on this list, the MDR-7506s are not the best for mixing, by far. However, they are a super solid option for those looking to get an excellent pair of headphones for a low cost.
|Cable Length||9.8 ft|
Sennheiser HD280 Pro
There are not enough good things I could say about the Sennhesier HD280 Pros. These headphones are inexpensive, reliable, and absolutely excellent for mixing.
Across the frequency spectrum, the HD280 Pros stand with the best of them. The headphones are flat, exposing what needs to be exposed all while not sound too harsh.
The foldable design of the headphones makes them excellent for mixing on the go as well. This design coupled with some passive noise attenuation means you can mix in a variety of settings and still come out with a great result.
The only issue I’ve found with the HD280 Pros is a bit of an exaggerated stereo image. The sides seem to reach a little too far to the left and right, which can take a little bit of time to get used to.
Regardless, the HD280 Pros are about the same price as the MDR-7506s and are excellent in all settings. For the money, there is not a better pair of headphones for mixing you could find.
|Frequency Response||8Hz – 25kHz|
|Power Handling||500 mW|
|Cable Length||Coiled Cable (min. 1.3m / max. 3m)|
What would a good list be without some expensive indulgence? The Shure SRH1840s are, by far, the most expensive headphones on this list, but they are absolutely excellent.
The first thing that stands out about the SRH1840s is the depth of the sound. Upon first listen, these headphones justify their cost in the incredible amount of detail they offer.
In fact, these headphones are good not only for mixing but for mastering as well. The depth, stereo image, and detail are unmatched, justifying every penny of the $499 price tag.
This headphone features velour earpads like the DT770s, with memory foam on the inside. Calling this pair of cans comfortable would be an understatement. They float on your head, perfect for mixing (or mastering) for hours on end.
The low-end, mids, and high-end are all separate and accurate, with incredible amounts of detail at every place in the frequency spectrum.
Yes, they are insanely expensive, but they’re also insanely nice. The SRH1840s are exuberant luxury like no other headphones on this list. They’re $500, but they’re worth it.
|Frequency Response||10 Hz – 30 kHz|
|Power Handling||1000 mW|
|Cable Length||6.9 ft (2.1 m)|
Sennheiser HD 650
The Sennheiser HD 650s come in with the same expensive price tag as the Shure SRH1840s. However, I prefer them for mixing overall.
The high impedance, extended top-end, and ergonomic design lend the HD 650s to be one of the nice-sounding, and looking, pairs of headphones on the market.
The HD 650s take everything that makes the HD280 Pros great and turns it up. The response is flat, with incredible depth and stereo imaging.
While the SRH1840s sound amazing, with incredible detail and clarity, the HD 650s are just the pair for my tastes.
Either of these top-of-the-line headphones would work beautifully for mixing or mastering applications. However, the extended top of the HD 650s just gives a little extra bump for the price, making them the best pair of headphones for mixing
|Frequency Response||10Hz – 41kHz|
Mixing isn’t an easy thing to do, and mixing on headphones is even more difficult. Often, mixing on headphones is synonymous with traveling or not being in an ideal mixing environment.
Whatever the case, there is a lot of pressure put on a pair of headphones used for mixing.
All of these headphones will fill the use of mixing. Whether it’s for completing the mix, mastering, or even just referencing, every pair of headphones on this list will shine in their own right.
For reference, it’s hard to go wrong with pairs like the HD280 Pros or MDR-7506s. Both of these pairs are inexpensive, and while they don’t tell the whole story, they’re nice as a second opinion on the mix.
In the middle, the Beyerdynamic DT770s Pros provide a nice middle-ground for those who need to do a little referencing and a little mixing. The DT770s don’t have all of the extended features of the top-end, but they don’t fall into any of the pitfalls of the cheaper pairs.
For those who mix exclusively on headphones and rely on them heavily to produce the finished product, it’s hard to go wrong with the Shure SRH1840s or the Sennheiser HD 650s. Both of these pairs of headphones are expensive, but provide excellent quality and clarity, justifying every penny of the cost.
Overall, like many things with audio, it comes down to your needs. Regardless, any of the headphones on this list would be an excellent choice for mixing.