Thinking about being more serious when it comes to the music production? Are you a DJ or a video maker who needs headphones that sound nice, but are affordable? Or is it that you’re someone who would just like to enjoy music in a more realistic way? If you do fit in any of these categories, we can help you pick the best studio headphones under $100.
To assist you in your purchase, we have a list of 5 good-quality studio headphones that we considered to be the best ones currently available on the market. In this article, you will also read about the things you should look for in a good pair of headphones.
1. Audio-Technica ATH-M40x
- Nice quality of sound
- Good noise isolation
- Your ears will get warm if the headphones stay on your head longer
Getting into headphones for music production the ‘budget’ way could be great with the Audio Technica ATH-M40x studio monitor headphone. These professional headphones were designed to last and are sturdy and durable. They have a circumaural design, and the headband has a not-too-thick padding, but the headphones are pretty comfortable to wear. Furthermore, the earcups of the ATH-M40x can rotate at at 90° and this feature will enhance your professional monitoring strategies.
The AudioTechnica ATHM40x also has some nice features that make for its good quality of sound. These headphones have a frequency response that ranges from 15 to 24, 000 Hz and an impedance of 35 ohms. As you can notice, the frequency response is large and the impedance is low. This means that the headphones have the basics for a decent sound. Their 40 mm drivers offer a flat frequency range with the bass, mid-range, and treble frequencies all equally emphasized. Then, they isolate noise well with their circumaural design and are decent in keeping any noise away from your ears.
When it comes to their performance, the AudioTechnica ATHM40x professional are a real gem for their price. Being this cheap, these headphones sound well, and you’ll like them as an entry-level piece of audio gear. They don’t sound muddy or too intense, and the frequencies sound flat and well-balanced with the sound being pretty noise-free. Overall, there’s good audio quality, and you won’t regret wearing these headphones while DJing, or make a record in your recording studio.
The downside of these headphones is that their earpads don’t let a lot of air through. This means that your ears can get hot after using the headphones for longer periods of time. If that happens, take a break and take your headphones off, and the problem will be fixed quickly.
2. Sennheiser HD280PRO
- Good quality of sound
- Good noise isolation
- Replaceable padding on both headband and earcups
- Fixed cable
The Sennheiser HD280 PRO studio headphones can also get you a good bang for the buck. These budget headphones are very comfortable to wear even for longer periods of time. This is because of their nice ear cup and headband padding which is also replaceable in case it tears. The headphones also feature large-sized circumaural cups which can swivel forward for greater comfort and are very lightweight. The headphones are also collapsible, so you can fold them and take them with you without having to worry for them taking a lot of space.
Sennheiser is known for their nice-sounding gadgets, and the Sennheiser HD280PRO doesn’t fall behind the more expensive Sennheiser headphones. The headphones have a great frequency response range from 8 to 25,000Hz and a noise attenuation level of 32dB. The sound is balanced throughout the entire frequency range, and noises cannot mix with your music. Of course, these features enhance the overall performance of the HD280PRO.
At this price range, there is nothing to complain about when it comes to the performance of these headphones. They are one of the best budget headphones that you can get for your studio. They have a beautiful bass that nicely complements melodies from different music genres. The mid-range frequencies are detailed and natural-sounding. Furthermore, the treble won’t go harsh on your ears and irritate you with its sharpness. The sound also has a slight warmness to itself, so if you are into that, the HD280PRO could be a nice budget studio headphone model for you.
What is somehow disturbing about these headphones is that their cable is fixed. This means that the cable is not as easy to replace as detachable cable are. However, replacement or repair is still an option. Also, the Sennheiser has been known for the durability of their products, so this should not be an issue soon after your purchase.
3. AKG K240
- Good quality of sound with the sound being ‘spacious’
- Semi-open headphones
- Removable cable
- The cable is thin
The AKG K240 studio headphones to buy when you want to save some money and hear good-quality sounds. These headphones are designed as semi-open which means that they let through some ambient sound as well. Their earcups are quite large, and both them and the headband are properly padded. The headphones are comfortable to wear, and their clamping won’t squeeze your head. They are also self-adjustable and will fit the shape of your head in a comfortable way. The cable is also removable, so replacing it once it gets worn is a piece of cake.
Being a pair of studio headphones, the K240 also offer some nice studio-quality features. The headphones have a frequency response range that extends from 15 to 25, 000Hz. This frequency response is mainly flat with a slight increase in the higher frequencies. Their impedance is pretty low at only 55 ohms. Furthermore, the cups are circumaural, and they improve the overall sound quality of the headphones.
The AKG K240 studio headphones are also famous for their good performance. The well-balanced frequency response really shows once you use these headphones. The headphones have a nice, well-rounded bass that won’t take over the treble and the mid-range. The mid range is nice and strong, and it sounds accurate and natural. The higher frequencies are also well-balanced, even though there is some alteration going on when it comes to the highest ones of them. Since the K240 are semiopen studio headphones, the sound they produce is ‘spacious’ and detailed.
The cable on the AKG K240 is a bit thin and looks like it won’t be very resistant to impact. However, you can replace it if it gets damaged. Also, the cable getting damaged won’t be much of an issue if you use your headphones in a studio setting.
4. Shure SRH440
- Good quality of sound
- Large coiled cable that’s detachable
- Easily portable
- ¼ inch adapter
- The cable is too large and sturdy for its own good
The Shure SRH440 headphones are a well-rounded product that comes at an affordable price. These headphones have a padding that is more comfortable than the padding on some of the other headphones on the list. The padding is made of synthetic leather and plush foam, and it guarantees you long hours of comfortable usage. The earcups are very large and have closed backs. This means that the headphones are good for using outdoors, as well as inside a studio since they isolate noise well.
The Shure SRH440 closed back studio headphones are very portable since they are collapsible and durable. Their cable is also removable, so you won’t have to fear about not being able to easily replace it if it gets damaged. The earcups are also replaceable. In case you want to hook the headphones to different home studio equipment, you can use their ¼ inch adapter. Shure pays a lot of attention to how durable their gear is since they like their products to last. Therefore, the SRH440 are made of high-quality materials that will make sure your headphones last long.
The performance of the Shure SRH440 is greatly enhanced with the headphones’ low impedance of only 44 ohms. The frequency range is well-equalized and produces natural and precise sounds. The midrange is very clear and strong, which is typical for a lot of Shure’s headphones. The bass is not too loud, nor too weak, which some of you might find too generic. Also, the treble sounds good and it is not violent to your ears.
Something that might bother you when it comes to the Shure SRH440 closed back headphones is their cable. The cable is very long and it is hefty. Of course, this means that it is very durable. However, you might find it to be a bit hard to work with sometimes.
5. Sony MDR-7506
- Good quality of sound
- Neodymium magnets
- 40 mm drivers
- Large diaphragm
- The cable is fixed
The Sony MDR-7506 are another affordable option that brings some nice surprises for you. Their design features a nice, sturdy construction making sure that the headphones will have a long lifespan. There’s some nice padding on the earcups and the headband. Therefore, the headphones are very comfortable to wear and won’t make your head go in pain when you’re using them. The earcups can also swivel so to make your listening experience with the headphones better and to make them more compact for transportation.
These headphones feature 40 mm drivers that will make sure the sound you hear is strong and rich. The larger diaphragm and the neodymium magnets also improve the quality of sound. The headphones have a frequency response range from 10Hz to 20,000Hz and an impedance of 63 ohms. Their earcups are closed, and they successfully isolate the external noise. Furthermore, the headphones feature a 9.8 feet cord with a golden connector for a comfortable usage of the headphones. The design of the Sony MDR-7506 features a collapsible structure making them the perfect headphones to travel with or store.
The Sony MDR-7506 offer you a good, studio-quality sound. The low frequencies are pleasant and natural, and they are not too strong or too weak. The middle frequencies are detailed, accurate sound, and they are very clear. When it comes to the higher frequencies, they are not too intense. Even though it’s somewhat more accented than the middle frequencies and the bass, the treble remains very clear and precise.
Like in the case of some of the previous headphone models, the fixed cable is a bit of an issue when it comes to the Sony MDR7506 too. Of course, considering the durability of the MDR-7506, the cable will serve you well for quite a long time. However, if the cable does tear, you can get it repaired.
What to expect from studio headphones under $100
When looking for studio headphones, consider the following factors:
Type of studio headphones
There are studio headphones that are designed with their earcups closed, and others that have their cups semi-open or open. The closed-cup studio headphone tend to provide greater noise sound isolation than the headphones with semi-open or open cups. However, the headphones with semi-open or open earcups have their own advantages. This type of headphones sound ‘spacious’ and ‘open’, and they let you know about the background noise. Think about which type of studio headphones will suit your needs the most.
When buying studio headphones, choose a pair that will properly isolate the ambient noise. This is especially important for you to be able to correctly monitor your music. Also, it will save you from all of the distractions that might obstruct you from working.
How natural the frequencies on the headphones sound
Find a pair of headphones that will have a well-balanced frequency range. This means that the headphones need to have the bass, mid frequencies, and the treble neutral and natural-sounding. This will make your sound more accurate and professional.
Make sure that the headphones you buy are comfortable to wear. Check to see if their padding feels nice on your head and protects you from the pressure of the headphones. Also, look for headphones that have a padding made from materials that can easily ‘breathe.’ Headphones of this type will not let your ears get too warm after using them for a longer period of time.
Look for a pair of headphones that has earcups which can swivel. This way, you will have a pair of studio headphones which can adjust to the shape of your head.
The headphones that you buy should be sturdy enough to resist a lot of impacts. This feature will allow them to last longer and function properly. Also, you will be able to save some money that you will otherwise spend on buying new headphones or repairing the old ones.
In general, all of the studio headphones that we introduced you to in this article have all of the things you should expect from good, studio quality headphone.
Studio headphones are great to purchase if you want a pair of headphones with a good quality of sound. By buying headphones that are affordable and sound good, you will save you some money and have a pair that sounds good.
In order to have a better sonic experience, consider buying one of the studio headphones mentioned on our list. Furthermore, make sure that you pick the pair that will most suit your needs by following our guidelines on what to look for in $100 studio headphones. This way, you will get a good bang for the buck. If you’ve got more of a budget to work with, you may want to check out our Best Planar Magnetic Headphones of 2020 article.