The 6 Best Studio Headphones Under $500 (Reviewed 2024)

Investing in higher end studio equipment is a good way to ensure that your work environment is capable of keeping up with your skill. Despite being one of the smallest pieces of tech you can have in a studio, headphones are by far one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. Today we’re going to show you our picks for the top studio headphones at or below $500. This price range represents the high class of studio headphones. It’s also a place where you will find numerous models which are easily among the best studio headphones on the market.

Best Studio Headphones Under $500 :: Full 2024 Reviews



Beyerdynamic, a titan in the industry, impressed both sound engineers and producers when they initially brought out the DT 1990 PRO. Now with a long-held reputation as a being a staple for critical listeners, these headphones continue to impress with their sleek design and unique ability to compete with closed-back counterparts as an open-back.

As for sound quality, these give us a warm, detailed, and transparent audio experience, thanks to its 250-Ohm, 45-mm neodymium driver. One awesome feature of this headphone is the generous bundle of accessories, including two sets of ear pads (analytical and balanced) and both coiled and straight cables. Users rave about the impeccable build quality, comfortable fit, and the ability to customize their listening experience based on their needs. For us and many others in the industry, these are IT in terms of studio cans at this price point.

Frequently bought with the DT 1990 PRO



After covering a set of open-back cans from Beyerdynamic, it only made sense to cover the closed-back sibling as well – the DT 1770 PRO. The understated branding and clean look alone make it a compelling option considering today’s trends.

While some prefer the open-back 1990, those with proper DAC/amp combos swear by the 1770 when compared to other closed-backs at this price point. The soundstage offers a good sense of punch and slam, and most downsides can often be mitigated with EQ. Some of the absolute best headphones you can get at the moment for referencing or most other studio tasks for that matter.

Frequently bought with the DT 1770 PRO



Sennheiser, a brand that needs no introduction, released the HD 650 a number of years ago, — and it remains a top choice for producers and audiophiles who prefer their music smooth, refined, and with a hint of Irish charm.

Crafted in the Emerald Isle, the open-back design provides a crisp, detailed, and true-to-recording sound that’s clear throughout the frequency range. Often considered a reference for analytical listening, owning these seems like a right of passage for those breaking into the industry.

Frequently bought with the HD 650



With tasteful curves and alloy/magnesium ear cups, the MDR-Z7M2 headphones are a sight to behold. Yes, they’re priced slightly above our budget, but they make up for it in value and performance.

The sound signature is relaxed, perfect for extended listening sessions or long-haul flights. The plush ear pads seal well under the jaw, ensuring physical comfort for hours on end as well. While the MDR-Z7M2 may not be the top choice for those seeking excessive detail, the headphones still provide a substantial improvement in detail over the previous generation. Once broken in, the rumbling bass, great imaging, and wide frequency range mean these headphones will grow with you as your listening preferences evolve for years to come.



Introducing the DROP + Dan Clark Audio Aeon Closed X headphones, a collaboration that had both audiophiles and headphone enthusiasts buzzing. These headphones come with a distinguished design that remains functional, and similar to the DT 1990 Pros above, merges the best of both worlds: closed-back isolation and open-back soundstage.

Diving deeper into sound quality, these provide a warm and punchy signature with excellent power response, thanks to the V-Planar planar magnetic drivers. Accessories like the adjustable tuning pads and partially vented earpads allow users to customize their listening experience, making these headphones perfect for audiophiles and casual listeners alike. Comfortable, lightweight, and versatile, the Aeon is the ideal companion for extended listening, whether you’re hard at work or simply enjoying your favorite tracks.



HIFIMAN’s Edition XS, the major upgrade of the popular Edition X, brings in some modern sophistication with its stand-out egg-shaped ear cups. These affordably priced headphones don’t just deliver looks – they provide an incredible listening experience too.

Featuring Stealth Magnet Technology and the company’s NEO supernano Diaphragm, these will give you a wide, natural soundstage. They are lightweight and breathable, perfect for long listening sessions. Digging into reviews you’ll find long-term owners raving about the Edition XS for rock genres in particular. Although they can be used with just an iPhone, you’ll get the most out of them with a dedicated amp. When compared to the Fostex T60RP for instance, the Edition XS offers a more versatile, easy-going listening experience.

Are $500 Studio Headphones Worth The Investment in 2024?

If you do your research regarding studio gear and especially studio headphones, you will come to a conclusion that there are two types of people out there. On one hand you have those who are adamant about getting the most expensive gear they can find, while there are also those who preach that cheaper equipment can be every bit as good as the higher end stuff. If you are just getting into music production you might be left wondering which one of these two groups you should believe?

Here’s the deal. You should choose your equipment based on your needs. That may leave you with a $300 pair of studio headphones or a $500 one. Either way, you will have the necessary gear to get the job done. Now, there is a reason why $500 studio headphones cost as much as they do.

What Features To Expect And Look For In This Price Range?

When you are dropping this kind of money on headphones, chances are that you are expecting more than your average performance. Fortunately for all of us, headphones in this segment of the market definitely do deliver that and then some. However, if you are expecting some super cool features which make no real sense from a music production point of view, you will be disappointed. If you were to put a $100 pair of studio headphones next to a $500 pair, bring a person off the street and ask them to tell you which ones are better, chances are they’d have a hard time answering the question. Despite most of these looking quite awesome, they are all designed to offer best possible raw performance.


Comfort is a big factor when it comes to choosing your studio headphones. Remember, this is a tool you will sometimes have to wear for hours on end. Good padding, light frame designs and overall comfort is imperative. As you can probably tell, all of our picks meet these requirements. The main trick is to figure out which headphones fit your head shape the best. Unfortunately this isn’t something you can do without trying them on.


One of the reasons why higher end headphones cost so much is the hardware different brands choose to put inside these models. You are going to run into much more advanced driver designs which deliver impressive performance all around. Additionally, most of these headphones come with high impedance ratings as well as good power handling capabilities. This means that you might need to invest in an amp, but it also means that you can plug these headphones into any piece of professional studio gear and have them work flawlessly.

Different Designs

Even though we have seen a lot of different designs in the $300 price range, it isn’t until you reach this segment that you start running into truly refined open back, semi open and closed back designs. Each one has its perks, advantages and disadvantages. If you’re interested in learning more about them, check out our headphones guide. What matters the most is that you have quite a few choices in this segment. No matter which type of headphones you are looking for, you will find awesome models that bring some quite interesting solutions to the table. That, among other things discussed above, is the reason why investing in a high end set of cans is more than worth it.

Final Thoughts

Spending this kind of money on a pair of headphones is a big step for most new producers. However, the performance you get in return is well worth it. On top of that, you are going to end up with a very comfortable tool which will make your daily work so much easier. The models we have chosen for this list are definitely some of the best you can find out there. No matter which one you go with, you won’t be disappointed.