5 Best Closed-Back Headphones For Studio Mixing and Mastering Under $550

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Best Studio Mixing and Mastering Headphones - MajorHiFi

Finding a proper headphone for mixing or mastering in the studio can be incredibly difficult. There are so many choices in headphones these days it can be nearly impossible for anyone to narrow it down to just a few choices. But the experts at MajorHiFi have you covered because we know headphones inside and out. Let’s take a look at the 5 best pairs of closed-back headphones for mixing and mastering between $200 and $550.

5 Best Closed-Back Headphones For Studio Mixing and Mastering Under $550

Audio Technica M70x – (Under $300)

Audio Technica M70x
Audio Technica M70x

BUY NOW – Audio Technica M70x
The Audio Technica M70x is an incredible headphone for the price. The M70x is a serious step up in the M-Series from the M-50x. It’s the most comfortable headphone in the series and features a frequency range of 5Hz to 40,000Hz. Built for critical listening in the studio, the M70x is an excellent closed-back headphone for mixing, mastering or even monitoring mixes.

In addition to the top-notch M70x headphone buyers get 3 detachable cables, a hard case and a soft case. Here’s a breakdown of the full features and specs for the M70x.

  • Proprietary 45 mm large-aperture drivers with rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils
  • Extended response accurately reproduces extreme low and high frequencies while maintaining perfect balance
  • Circumaural design contours around the ears for excellent sound isolation in loud environments
  • 90° swiveling earcups for easy, one-ear monitoring
  • Professional-grade earpads and headband provide excellent durability and comfort, and detach for easy replacement
  • Perfect for studio mixing and tracking, mastering and audio forensics
  • Fold-flat design for space-saving portability
  • Detachable cables (includes 1.2 m – 3.0 m coiled cable, 3.0 m straight cable and 1.2 m straight cable)
  • Impedance: 35 Ohms
  • Frequency Range: 5Hz to 40,0000Hz
  • Copper-clad aluminum voice wire
  • 2-year warranty

 

Sennheiser HD 380 Pro – (Under $150)

Sennheiser HD 380 Pro
Sennheiser HD 380 Pro

BUY NOW – Sennheiser HD 380 PRO Headphones
Sennheiser is well know for excellent studio quality microphones and headphones. The Sennheiser HD 380 Pro is an amazing buy at less than $150. This uber comfortable headphone is 54 Ohms and can push up to 100dB. The frequency response spans from 8Hz to 27,000Hz. It comes with a 3.2 foot coiled cable that extends up to 9.8 feet and includes a 1/4″ adapter.

The HD 380 Pro implements Sennheiser’s E.A.R. design (Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement) which directs the sound into the ear with amazing accuracy. Here’s a list of the features and specifications for the HD 380 Pro.

  • Closed, circumaural design for excellent passive attenuation of ambient noise (up to 32 dB)
  • Exceptionally lightweight and comfortable for extended listening
  • Replaceable single-sided, coiled cable with 1/8 inch (3.5mm) jack connector and screw type 1/4″ adapter
  • Reduced comb filter effects and distortion due to E.A.R. (Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement) and Duofol diaphragms
  • Slimline carrying case
  • Replaceable earpads
  • Impedence: 54 Ohms
  • Frequency response: 8Hz – 27,000Hz
  • 2-year warranty

 

Beyerdynamic DT 770 – (Under $200)

Beyerdynamic DT 770
Beyerdynamic DT 770

BUY NOW – Beyerdynamic DT 770
Beyerdynamic is well known for their studio and broadcast quality headphones and the DT 770 closed-back headphone is an industry standard for pro-audio mixing and mastering. You can get the DT 770 in 32 Ohm, 80 Ohm and 250 Ohm models and the frequency response spans from 5Hz to 35,000Hz. This incredibly comfortable over-ear circamaural headphone is designed for excellent isolation and long listening sessions. All the parts on this Beyerdynamic headphone are replaceable which makes it a worthwhile investment that will likely last a lifetime.

Here’s a list of the specs for the Beyerdynamic DT 770:

  • Transmission type Wired
  • Headphone design (operating principle) Closed
  • Headphone impedance 250 ohms
  • Headphone frequency response 5 – 35.000 Hz
  • Nominal sound pressure level 96 dB
  • Construction Circumaural (around the ear)
  • Cable & plug Coiled connecting cable with mini-jack plug (3.5 mm) & ¼“ adapter (6.35 mm)
  • Net weight without packaging 270 g

 

Ultrasone Pro 900 – (Under $550)

Ultrasone Pro 900 Studio Series Headphone
Ultrasone Pro 900

BUY NOW – Ultrasone Pro 900
Those who know Ultrasone headphones love them and those who have yet to discover them are soon to be Ultrasone fanatics. The Ultrasone Pro 900 is a dream come true for audio engineers that mix for many hours with headphones and demand the best possible sound. The frequency response on the Pro 900 headphone is 6Hz to 42,000Hz and has an impedance of 40 Ohms. If that’s not already enough to get your attention the super soft earpads and headband on the Pro 900 will definitely have you sold. The build and materials of the Ultrasone Pro 900 are second to none. The solid design and (included) carrying case make this another excellent headphone that will likely last you a lifetime.

Here’s the full specs on the Ultrasone Pro 900:

  • Principle: dynamic, closed
  • S-Logic® PLUS technology
  • ULE technology
  • Impedance: 40 Ohm
  • Driver/Driver size: Mylar/Titan, 40mm
  • Magnet: NdFeB
  • Frequency range: 6 – 42000 Hz
  • SPL: 96 dB
  • Weight (excl. cord): 295g

 

Focal Studio Professional – (Under $350)

Focal Spirit Professional Studio Headphone
Focal Spirit Professional

BUY NOW – Focal Spirit Professional
French company Focal is certainly not new to the audio industry. Their high-end sound systems have been a favorite of audiophiles for quite some time. Their line of headphones is now equally respected by audiophiles, musicians and audio engineers alike. The Focal Studio Professional headphone is designed specifically for use in the studio environment. This broadcast quality headphone is quickly becoming a favorite of audio engineers in studios worldwide. The durable design and premium comfort of this headphone makes it a great fit for any mixing or mastering engineer. The Focal Studio Professional headphone features titanium alloy transducers and has at 5Hz to 22,000Hz frequency response at 32 Ohms.

Here’s a list of the specs for the Focal Studio Professional:

  • Impedance 32 Ohms
  • Sensitivity 102dB SPL / 1mW @ 1kHz
  • THD <0,3% / 1 kHz / 100 dB SPL
  • Frequency response 5Hz – 22kHz
  • Driver matching 40mm (19/16″) ; Mylar/Titanium
  • Net weight 0.6lb (280g)

Summary

Whatever your budget and pro-audio needs, there’s a closed-back headphone for you. Any of these 5 headphones listed here will do you well in your home studio or top of the line recording facility. All these brands (Audio Technica, Sennheiser, Beyerdynamic, Ultrasone and Focal) make some of the finest headphones you’ll find anywhere and this list of the 5 best closed-back over-ear headphones is the perfect way to narrow down the choices and choose the perfect mixing or mastering headphone.

If you own one of these headphones and love how it works for you, comment in the forum below and let us know your favorite studio headphones and features.

  • Willa Porter

    I’m a bit surprised that the Audio Technica ATH-M70x as well as the Sennheiser HD 380 Pro made it to the list. They’re not usually the ones that are mentioned in articles about the best monitoring headphones. From what I’ve read and seen on
    lists of the best studio monitoring headphones
    , it’s almost always the Audio Technica ATH-M50x that’s included–and I would agree as I personally own these mixing headphones. As for the other one, I mostly see the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro and not the 380. I’ve never tried either of them so I don’t know how they sound or if there are any major differences, but I’d like to try them and compare one day.

    • MajorHiFi

      Willa,
      The ATH-M70x is far better than the ATH-M50x. I would actually not recommend the ATH-M50x to use for studio work because it has a bass boost, which is not what you want when mixing. The same goes for the V-moda Crossfade. While both are great headphones, they are not studio monitoring headphones. The ATH-M40x will have an even sound response and is far better for mixing than the ATH-M50x or Crossfade. The HD280 Pros are amazing, I have mixed with them for years.

      The reason that we did include the ATH-M70x and the HD 380 is that most similar list to this one, don’t include headphones at this price point. Stephen tried to keep the headphones evenly priced so that he could honestly and fairly compare them.
      -Ryan
      MajorHiFi