Spending around $200 on a set of studio headphones gets you into that performance sweet spot. In other words, you are getting the optimal bang for your buck. Anyone who has ever thought about setting up a studio of any kind will know that optimal bang for the buck is the way to go. Today we are going to show you our top picks for the top 8 best studio headphones under $200. Needless to say, some of these are among the best studio headphones, period. After we go through our picks, we will discuss what makes good studio headphones.
Top 8 Best Studio Headphones Under $200:
- One of the best looking designs out there.
- Features good padding in all the right places.
- Comes with very sensitive drivers capable of great transparency.
- The frame feels cheaper than it should.
Even though they are better known for their consumer headphones, Sennheiser is one of the few brands you can trust to deliver good performance no matter what. Sennhesier HD 380 PRO are a steal at the moment. You can get them fairly cheap which makes them one of the best bang for the buck deals today. Here are the details.
The entire design of these headphones is centered around a functional frame. These are closed back headphones which pack a perfect amount of padding where you need it the most. What really puts them apart from the others is their detail. We are talking flat response rate with a frequency range of 8Hz to 27kHz. T Hat is quite impressive.
- A lightweight design which really makes them comfortable.
- Great performance thanks to advanced drivers.
- Good materials and custom ear pads reduce fatigue.
- Open back design isn’t the optimal choice for studio use.
There is no arguing that AKG K702 are among the most popular studio headphones of our time. Their classic, simple and really efficient design makes is partially to blame. AKG went with a low profile frame which ultimately makes the entire setup very light. Naturally, the main thing is the performance. We are talking transparency that is hard to beat.
Here’s the thing tho. These are open back headphones. That on its own isn’t the best choice for mixing as you are getting that spatial dimensions. However, if you know how to compensate for that in your work flow, you’ll be treated with one of the best studio performances you can get. Also, the comfort is on a different level.
- Functional design with focused mainly on performance.
- Good hardware which is brings plenty of potential.
- Great overall performance with impressive definition and transparency.
- Not much to look at.
When it comes to studio headphones, Sony is in a unique position compared to the rest of the market. Unlike most other brands, Sony actually owns a music production division. That means that building a proper set of studio headphones comes down to consulting their top producers. One of the fruits of such efforts is the awesome Sony MDR-CD900ST.
You can tell that these were designed by professionals for professionals simply by looking at them. There are no tacky details nor flashy aesthetics. Instead, you get a simple but comfortable frame which is all about providing support to two impressive drivers within. In terms of performance, these are among the best you can get for this kind of money.
- Great design which looks good and offers great comfort.
- Features awesome hardware optimized for great detail and resolution.
- Good padding all over which prevents fatigue quite nicely.
- Higher entry price due to a preamp which is necessary.
What Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro series offer is something quite interesting. There are three different versions of these headphones, each optimized for a specific purpose and use. The ones we’ve chosen for this list are the 250 Ohm type. We believe that these offer the best performance out of the entire series, and allow you to experience your mix properly.
What this means is that you can expect great deal of clarity, detail and finesse as you work. However, you will have to get a proper preamp. The thing is, running a headphones preamp is just the part of the deal when you are setting up a studio anyway. Despite their higher entry price, these are more than worth it.
- Good and functional design which ensures decent comfort.
- Great performance with plenty of clarity.
- 50 hours of battery life means long work sessions.
- The frame isn’t very adjustable.
Many producers are still insisting that wireless technologies simply can’t match the audio quality of a simple cable. There is an argument to be made for both. The truth is that wireless headphones can come in quite handy if you value mobility. Noontec Hammo shows you just how much of an autonomy you can get in this particular price range.
Overall, these feature a good design with good padding all around and some 50 hours of battery life. That is actually pretty impressive considering that said battery has to power two fairly powerful drivers. The overall performance is good. You get the necessary transparency and good clarity across the entire range. For a wireless set, these are certainly quite attractive.
- A functional and ergonomic design which works great.
- Features good padding all around and good frame design.
- Pretty accurate drivers that have lots of headroom.
- Not the best looking set out there.
Audio Technica is a brand best known for their affordable. This fact doesn’t mean that Audio Technica is incapable of putting together premium headphones. On the contrary, they offer quite a number of awesome models which are competitive in this price range but which bring that same bang for the buck we are used to. That alone makes it interesting.
Audio Technica ATH-M50x have nailed that balance between functionality, performance and comfort. These are padded in all the right places while the mighty 45mm drivers offer all the precision you could need in a studio. Combined with two detachable cables and a hard shell case, this deal is just too good to ignore. Audio Technica a trustworthy choice for sure.
- Simple design that merges minimalism and functionality.
- Great overall performance with plenty of clarity.
- Good transparency across the entire frequency range.
- These feature 35mm drivers which is below average.
AKG’s more affordable models are every bit as respected as their more high end stuff. The K 240 MK II is a semi open set which combines the best of both worlds. The frame design and padding is similar to the rest of AKG series and is often copied by different brands. Overall, these offer quite a lot of transparency.
Hardware wise, these are falling behind the competition with their 35mm drivers. In reality that difference in driver size isn’t that noticeable during actual use. The clarity is great and so is the transparency. Sure, there is always room for improvement but these are quite decent all things considered. If you’re after a semi-open set, these are worth checking out.
- Optimal bang for the buck for those on a budget.
- Good performance with plenty of padding.
- Good, flat sound that is great for mixing.
- Not the best frame build and design.
KRK is a brand many are associating with studio monitoring speakers more than anything else. However, they also offer a decent set of studio headphones which follow that same KRK ideology when it comes to performance. KRK KNS 6400 are designed to deliver the maximum bang for the buck at a price point which is seeing a lot of competition.
Pulling that off is impressive on its own. What you get for your money is a set of headphones that feature good hardware and a fairly flat sound. The main drawback is the frame. It is comfortable thanks to all the padding, however it isn’t inspiring much confidence otherwise. It feels a bit cheap compared to what is out there.
Are $200 Studio Headphones A Good Place To Start?
Before we get into this subject any further, lets just quickly remember that one rule that is applicable to anything related to music tech. If you can get the higher end stuff, get it. It as simple as that. If you can afford a $500 set of headphones, do it. Especially if you are serious about doing music production in the long run. If those are out of the question for you at the moment, get the next best thing. Following that logic, $200 are a great place to start but so are $100 studio headphones.
What this particular segment offers is more range and better frequency response overall. You are looking at more dedicated designs such as the Beyerdynamic model we have shown you above. Some of these headphones will require a preamp in order to achieve their full potential while some are wireless. The idea is that you can choose the features you want or need at this price range and not feel limited in any way. In our opinion, that is the biggest advantage that $200 models have over $100 ones.
How Flat Are These Headphones?
This is where we tend to run into a some diversity. While an ideal set of headphones is always completely flat, in reality that’s hard to find. The good thing about the models listed above is that whatever bias they have, it isn’t too bad. In other words, even if some are bass heavy, or mid heavy, you will still be able to use them with great effect. On top of that, you can EQ them further if you need to. Models in this range are popular enough where you can find frequency response graphs which are accurate.
Features To Look For
Some of the best features to look for are good frame design. Hardware itself is more or less on point in this category. The key is finding a set of headphones you can wear for an extended period of time without suffering from fatigue. Some people like good padding, others prefer the AKG type headband design. On top of that, we would suggest looking into ear pads as well. Often overlooked, ear pad are your main point of contact with your headphones. If they don’t fit, don’t breathe well or are overall not working out for you, the headphones won’t do you much good.
If you can get yourself a $200 pair of studio headphones, you’re in a good place. These offer plenty of performance, clarity and overall transparency which is enough for both enthusiasts and professionals alike. The key is finding the a design that fits your needs the best. Models we have listed above are some of the best on the market. No matter which one you choose you won’t be disappointed. This segment is very flexible and diverse, which means that there’s a pair of cans out there for everyone.