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Buying Guide for the Best Studio Headphones under $300 

 July 15, 2020

By  Tariq Taylor

Buying Guide for the Best Studio Headphones under $300

 by  (Edit)

To all audiophiles making their first step towards their careers and hobbies, it can be quite the thrill find the best studio headphones. To add, you can still get a quality buy at budget price as you are about to see.

Hi there. We’ve all been there or at the very least had the experience of using a pair of headphones. Now when it comes to the studio, there is a whole other thrill and experience with them. The right pair of studio headphones can give you a fully immersive feel as you work on your music.

While there are many high-end studio headphones, there are also budget-priced options that will still impress you. You no longer have to compromise on your comfort, sound, impendence or any other technical specifications just because you do not want to break your bank to get it.

Comparison table

Image
Shure SRH440 Professional Studio Headphones, Enhanced Frequency...
Audio-Technica ATH-M70X Closed-Back Dynamic Professional Studio...
Focal Listen Professional Closed-Back Circul-aural Headphones,...
Beats Studio3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Headphones -...
Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR Over-Ear Open-Air Headphone 50mm...
beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro Over-Ear Studio Headphone
Product
Shure SRH440 Professional Studio Headphones, Enhanced Frequency...
Audio-Technica ATH-M70X Closed-Back Dynamic Professional Studio...
Focal Listen Professional Closed-Back Circul-aural Headphones,...
Beats Studio3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Headphones -...
Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR Over-Ear Open-Air Headphone 50mm...
beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro Over-Ear Studio Headphone
Image
Shure SRH440 Professional Studio Headphones, Enhanced Frequency...
Product
Shure SRH440 Professional Studio Headphones, Enhanced Frequency...
Image
Audio-Technica ATH-M70X Closed-Back Dynamic Professional Studio...
Product
Audio-Technica ATH-M70X Closed-Back Dynamic Professional Studio...
Image
Focal Listen Professional Closed-Back Circul-aural Headphones,...
Product
Focal Listen Professional Closed-Back Circul-aural Headphones,...
Image
Beats Studio3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Headphones -...
Product
Beats Studio3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Headphones -...
Image
Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR Over-Ear Open-Air Headphone 50mm...
Product
Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR Over-Ear Open-Air Headphone 50mm...
Image
beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro Over-Ear Studio Headphone
Product
beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro Over-Ear Studio Headphone

Best Studio Headphones under $300

Shure SRH940– Our top pick

This brand has been committed to the delivery of good quality audio gear for years and once again they have not disappointed with the SRH940.

Specs

  • 40mm neodymium drivers
  • Frequency response range is 10Hz- 20kHz
  • Comes with replaceable velour ear pads and replaceable detaching cables
  • Circumaural, closed-back design
  • Weighs 272g

Shure SRH940 has a lot going for it. First, it is engineered to deliver sonic excellence as well as great comfort. With sound sensitivity of 105dB and a frequency response range of 10Hz-20kHz, you are assured of a good fit for both home and studio use. It also features a well-padded headband for comfortable listening for long hours of use. It is also light in weight so you can easily move around with it.

To add, the optimized impedance of 42 Ohms means a phone can be plugged in and still record great audio reproduction. It is also sold as complete package with a zippered hard travel case to protect the headphones when not in use. You also get a detailed user’s guide with this pair. The only drawbacks with SRH940 are that the build is a tad flimsy and it is also not the top choice for mixing

Pros

  • Comfortable and stylishly designed
  • It is optimized to be powered by a smartphone (impedance)
  • Comes with an additional cable and ear pads as spares

Cons

  • It may not be the best for mixing

Verdict

While it might not be the best professional headphones for some, SRH940 still delivers on good quality audio reproduction, comfort and durability for the value it poses. This easily makes it our top pick.

 

Audio-Technica ATH70MX– Suitable for most professional audio tasks, such as tracking, mixing and even mastering

The M70x is all about performance and transparency. They kept it simple by using frames that are optimized for a comfort tailored fit for a wide range of users.

Specs

  • 90 degrees swivelling ear cups for one ear monitoring
  • Large aperture drivers finely tuned to remake extremely low and high frequency while sustaining perfect balance
  • Circumaural design that allows for excellent sound isolation
  • Frequency response range is 5Hz-40kHz

With ATH70MX, you get padding that is strictly applied tactically to where it is needed to reduce weight while still maintaining the sleek aesthetic. This design also helps it deliver on good sound isolation for the studio. The headbands are also comfortable and durable while the ear pads have plush padding.

ATH70MX also has cups designed to swing up to 90 degrees which is ideal for clients that have a preference for listening with one ear. You also get good sound isolation for two-ear monitoring which is really just the best of both worlds with the Audio Technica Ath70MX. To add, you get three cable options as well as a good pair of transducers sold with the package.

Pros

  • It is well-built and quite comfortable
  • Prominent design delivers on performance
  • Can be folded for easy storage and movement
  • Offers a very balanced and transparent sound

Cons

  • Not the best sound for casual listening because of its flat response

Verdict
Not every pair of headphones is considered to be good enough for mastering sessions like Audio Technica ATH70MX. It’s only deal breaker is that there is not much to look at in terms of aesthetics.

Focal Listen Pro– You get performance, a unique character and style with these studio headphones

If you have ever had a chance to explore the broad catalogue of higher end headphones, you must have bumped into Focal Listen Pro because of its glowing features like its closed-back design.

Specs

  • Circumaural design with a 5Hz-22KHz frequency response range
  • 40mm Mylar titanium drivers
  • Silicone lined headband

With Focal Listen Pro, you get impressive headroom that you simply cannot feel restricted by them even after long studio sessions.

Its closed-back design also makes it perfect for real time monitoring and mixing to be done while at use.

To add, Focal Listen Pro offers good sonic performance while still maintaining all through the mid-ranges to bass. Some of its accessories include its integrated remote control system and a microphone sold complete with the package. The only downer with Focal Listen Pro is that it could do with a little more padding to make it plush.

Pros

  • Easily one of the best looking headphones out there
  • Flat, transparent and overall accurate sound to it

Cons

  • Needs more padding on the headband

Verdict
While Focal Listen Pro does have its stellar features, you can consider other cheaper options that are just as well-designed. There are still many quality studio headphones that are sold at a fraction of their price.

 

Beats Studio– Wireless studio headphones that works with Bluetooth

While the Beats by Dre has received much a lot of flak from producers with good reason, you still cannot ignore that the Beats do offer a fairly decent way for users to experience decent audio in a wireless setup.

Specs

  • Up to 12 hour battery life while on full use (noise-isolation)
  • Bluetooth connectivity within a range of 30 feet
  • Dual-mode adaptive noise cancelling technology
  • Compatible with Android and IOS devices

Beats by Dre are known world all over for all kinds of reasons. First, the hardware itself is nothing too fancy but it does have a stylish frame with a nice finish. The headphones also have plush padding to offer good comfort for long periods of use.

Secondly, you can get at least 12 hours of battery life on full charge. You can stretch this to up to 40 hours when you use them without the noise cancellation technology. Nonetheless, you do get a timely reminder for you to recharge so that you are not inactive for too long. They are a good compromise for those who cannot be tied down to a single spot. Its wireless feature does come in handy for those studio sessions that just need you to be flexible. After all, we all know that one person who is always on the move no matter what.

Pros

  • Great looking set of studio headphones
  • Amply padded all around
  • 12 hour battery makes them functional

Cons

  • Not the optimal sound quality for professional use

Verdict

If you are wondering whether to consider Beats, the answer is yes. It would be quite ridiculous to pass on such a product as it ticks on the one major box (the price) while still meeting the sound needs of many.

 

Philips X2/27 Fidelio– Budget priced studio headphones with a deluxe design

The Philips brand does not only make superb household appliances as it really delivered in the professional audio scene with this beauty- Philips X2/27 Fidelio.

Specs

  • Powerful 50mm neodymium drivers
  • Wired technological connectivity
  • Replaceable deluxe memory foam ear pads
  • Frequency response range is 5Hz- 40kHZ

With this pair of studio headphones, you get a sleek yet comfortable design for the long sessions at the studio. 

They include a replaceable deluxe memory foam ear pads as well as a self-adjusting hammock type of headband. This guarantees a snug fit for all kind of users. To add, Philips Fidelio is covered with a breathable velour that keeps you cool at all times.

As for its sound, it offers low impedance that makes it easy to drive and work perfectly with a wide range of devices. From gaming to mixing, the sound reproduction from this headphone is nothing short of exquisite with many users utilizing them for a wide range of purposes.

Pros

  • Comfortable and durable build
  • Detachable cable for flexibility
  • Great for tracking in the studio as well as other scenarios

Cons

  • Not suitable for mixing mainly because it does not have a very transparent sound

Verdict

This pair of headphones is great for tracking, gaming as well as other casual listening needs. It also comes at a good price too making them worth considering.

Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro-When you want more power and versatility for listening to music outside of the studio

To say that this pair is superb for mixing and mastering is quite the understatement because they are highly reputable in the world of mixers of music equipment.

Specs

  • Powerful model packs an impedance of 250 Ohms.
  • Frequency response ranges from 5Hz to 35kHz
  • Nominal SPL has been set at 96 dB
  • Weighs 295g

For less than 300, you can get the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro that is jammed with premium quality features. 

First, it is comfortable for long periods of wear because of its soft and plush padded headband. It is also adjustable so that you get a snug fit with them. Secondly, DT 880 Pro is quite durable with its easily serviceable construction. All the parts are also easily replaceable in case they wear out.

To add, DT 800 is sold complete with accessories like a nylon carrying case and two cables. The only imperfection with them is that they do not have a full closed design. While it is jammed with powerful 250 Ohm’s, you do not get a fully immersive feel with them. Its wired technology can also be a tad disappointing for some.

Pros

  • Offers plenty of comfort
  • Efficient semi-open design
  • Performance offers optimal control over your mix

Cons

  • Fixed cable is rather out-dated

Verdict

If you are one to go for modern and stylishly designed headphones, these might not be it for you. They deliver on great sound but the frame can come across as overly simplistic for some users.

Factors to consider when buying Best Studio Headphones Under $300

Wired or Wireless?

This is usually the first thing you will notice when you start shopping for studio headphones shopping.
Generally, wired headphones can support up to 2,304 kbps while wireless headphones can only support a maximum of 768 kbps depending on output ratio and emitter of the device transmitting signals.
Audio quality also varies in that wired headphones are perceived to support a better quality of sound while wireless headphones easily have the best quality to transmit the audio but it all that boils down to the proximity of the device source. Also, if you are one to move around as you are working, wireless headphones are the better option.

Open or Closed?

Studio headphones are categorized either as closed backed or open backed. Closed back headphones are intentionally closed to ensure that the headphone drivers output sounds towards and away from your ears. They basically cut you off from the outside world and fully immerse you in your work to let you concentrate on your work. They also offer you the most isolation. The downside to such headphones is that they can harm your hearing if they are used over a long period of time.
Open back headphones on the other hand are open to the world as they do not block the sound going away from your ears. They also usually have significantly larger ear cups for your comfort. Nevertheless, it is important to note that they aren’t always ideal when you want to concentrate on your music, as you will be able to hear not only your music but everything else in and/ or around the room.

Many people usually prefer open-back headsets for studio mixing because they let the sound out as well as offer a natural tone that really matters when you are trying to critically listen to your music. They are also a good alternative to monitor speakers as they offer the same benefits but in a much more compact shape.

Sound

Mixing music is an art, and to fully capture the most raw and truest form of your sounds, you need a proper pair of headphones to do so. You cannot just toss in any pair of studio headphones for the job.
When it comes to mixing and mastering, you should opt for the least amount of build-up as possible so as to ensure you have a mix that is concise, accurate and clear.

Impedance

As far as studio headphones go, values are measured in ohms. Now, the impedance value of a pair of headphones will increase when there is more voltage at a specific current that is required to drive it therefore resulting to the loudness of the headphones at a given voltage to decrease. Simply put, the higher the impedance value, the greater power is needed to produce volume. Impedance also plays a key role behind output limitations of amplifiers, as they also have output impedance limiting the amount of power they can provide on amplifiers.

Comfort

When you would want to spend many hours in the studio to produce music, you will need a pair that offers enough comfort to keep your mind focused while applying minimal pressure on your head and ears. I cannot stress enough how important it is to get a pair that ticks all your boxes while still being comfortable for your own liking. For what you are willing to spend, your choice must ooze comfy. There is no option on this.

Sensitivity

Lastly, the thing you need to consider for studio headphones is how efficiently the earpieces convert the electrical signal into sound. It simply shows one how loud the sound will be when produced with a certain electrical drive level. It is especially important for musicians because they need to hear the small details while they record or mix their tracks.

Final Thoughts

This article has reviewed the best studio headphones that you can buy for less than $300. It has also listed the factors you should not ignore when looking for the best product for you. Ultimately, the pair that presents great sound quality in amazing clarity with a wide range of frequency is not too much to ask for on a bargain. Remember to deliberately factor in the checkpoints you ought to look out for while copping a pair like sound sensitivity and isolation so that you get the best value for your money.

Tariq Taylor


Price is the ultimate factor when deciding to purchase noise-canceling headphones, and while the above sentiments might be true Tariq Taylor is of the opinion that the merits of the soundproofing headphones are to be considered first. And that is the reason why he decided to come up with the comprehensive excerpts on soundproofing headphones. Tariq is a tech enthusiast and has been advocating for the production and use of quality tech gadgets, which includes the headphones. Tariq is married with one kid and has a massive collection of headphones that he reviews occasionally and also runs a forum where other tech experts converge to share ideas and discuss the challenges facing the tech industry.

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