Studio Headphones Buying Guide

Studio headphones are designed to reveal any flaws in the captured sound. They are not meant to make the sound pleasing, but rather to provide an unfiltered window into the recording so that the sound engineer can make the necessary changes during production.

High-quality studio headphones are an essential part of any studio setup. Along with your monitors, you have access to two points of reference. This ensures that you can make accurate and confident decisions as you work. Studio headphones are most often used for general use and in the studio. The reason for this is that they provide an accurate reproduction of the audio signal and allow you to see any changes that need to be made (when you are in the studio).

Many people prefer listening to music with studio headphones for this reason, as they provide an authentic experience. These headphones often provide a detailed and rich listening experience that is also great for recreational use. Even though many headphones look similar at first glance, there are some differences between the average models and the top-of-the-line models.

Factors to Consider Before Buying a Studio Headphone


If you use the headphones professionally, the headphones are prone to wear and tear due to the constant handing back and forth. Therefore, when choosing your headphones, pay attention to whether the various parts can be easily replaced. This will save you from buying a completely new pair of headphones if the fault is only in a small area that can be easily repaired. The headphones should also be sturdy enough to withstand constant pulling and minor drops.


You can expect to wear these headphones for long periods of time, so you should not compromise on comfort. Make sure that the ear cups and headband are sufficiently padded so that there is not too much pressure on the ears and head. However, this comes at a price. You should expect your ears to get a little hot after wearing them for a while.

Wired or Wireless

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology has become a popular means of pairing devices wirelessly and provides an excellent alternative to wired connections. But if you are buying headphones for studio use we recommend the wired ones. In fact, all of the studio headphones are wired only allowing you to detach the cable.

The reason for this is that most of the pro studio equipment has been designed to work with wires and you may, therefore, have compatibility issues with wireless connections. Besides, wireless transmission compresses the signals, which can result in poorer sound quality. Finally, if you use them in the studio, you probably won’t move around much, so you won’t have to worry about inconveniences that come with cables.

Open, Closed or Semi-Back

Simply saying that you are looking for a “studio headphone” is not enough to refine your search. There are many different types of headphones in this category that you need to know about.

  • Open-Back

As the name suggests, open-back headphones are open at the back. This type of headphones is especially suitable for studio use, because the open back prevents the sound from being reflected inside the headphones. This gives you a much clearer and more accurate frequency.

  • Closed-Back

In closed headphones, the housing is closed at the back. This type of headphones, also known as “noise-canceling headphones”, prevent outside noise from penetrating to the outside. This allows you to concentrate fully on the music, whether for concentration purposes or for listening to vocals in the studio.

  • Semi-Open

When searching for studio headphones, you may also come across semi-open headphones. This type of headphones is partially open at the back – they let the sound pressure out without letting too much outside noise in. For this reason, semi-open headphones are ideal for everyday use. In the studio, you can use them for both mixing and monitoring.

Noise Cancellation

Headphones may sound good in a quiet environment, but what happens to the sound quality when outside noise is added? Well, the quality of the music can deteriorate drastically if outside noise is allowed to reach your ears. This is where noise cancellation technology comes into play. Simply put, noise cancellation technology prevents unwanted sounds from the environment from entering the ears. There are two types of noise cancellation in headphones, namely passive and active noise cancellation.

Passive Noise-Cancelling

As the name implies, passive noise cancellation uses passive or non-electronic components to suppress sounds that might reach the ear. Sound-absorbing material and a closed design are used in the earcups to eliminate ambient noise.

This type of noise cancellation works well in eliminating high frequencies, but not very well when it comes to low frequencies. For this reason, noise from jet engines in aircraft cannot be blocked with this technology.

Active Noise Cancelling and Transparency Mode

Unlike passive designs, active noise cancellation uses electronics to eliminate ambient noise. For this purpose, microphones are used together with digital signal processors to eliminate noise. This technique works well in the low and mid frequency ranges. Depending on the placement of the microphone, there are three types of active noise cancellation technologies.

  • Feedforward Active Noise Cancellation

In this case, the microphone is located on the outside of the headphones. Therefore, it picks up noise from the outside, which is then removed by the digital signal processor to provide the user with a clean sound.

  • Feedback Active Noise Cancellation

Here the microphone is located inside the ear cups. With this design, the microphone gets better noise resolution, but there may be a degradation of the lower frequencies of the music.

  • Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation

In this case, there are two microphones inside the headphones. One on the inside and one on the outside. This design provides the best noise cancellation among all designs.

Most headphones with active noise cancellation also offer a transparency mode. This feature is the exact opposite of noise cancellation and helps the user to perceive the surroundings. Moreover, active noise cancellation is mainly used in headphones with batteries, because the energy of the headphone jack is not enough to operate this function. So if you can’t do without active noise cancellation, wireless headphones are probably the best choice.

Technical Specifications Details

Frequency Response

The standard frequency range that a human can hear is between 20 Hz and 2 kHz. Therefore, a good pair of headphones should be able to effectively reproduce frequencies within this range. Some can also offer an extended range, which is a great thing.

Size of the Driver

The larger the driver, the higher the volume. However, it would be wrong to assume that the sound quality is directly proportional to the size of the driver, because then the headphones would have the worst sound quality, right? Even though the size of the driver is something to consider when buying headphones, the material the driver is made of plays a bigger role in determining the sound quality.


To explain impedance, we may have to get into some technical jargon that will only confuse you more, so here’s what you need to know to make it as simple as possible. The lower the impedance of a pair of headphones, the better their sound quality, even when driven by less powerful equipment. Headphones with high impedance require more power to achieve high sound quality.


This refers to how well a pair of headphones is able to convert electrical signals into sound with the power supplied to it. For example, if a pair of headphones is rated at 90 dB, this is the volume it will achieve when supplied with 1 mW of power. The higher the sensitivity, the better the sound.

On-ear or Over-ear headphones?

Another important factor is whether the headphones should sit over or on the ears.

Circumaural Headphones

The ear cups of circumaural headphones also known as over-ear headphones – enclose your ears. As a result, circumaural headphones have larger drivers and are therefore more voluminous than ear-cupping headphones. And, of course, the larger driver size delivers more volume – making them the preferred choice for music production compared to over-ear headphones.

Supra-Aural Headphones

In contrast, the ear cups of supra-aural headphones sit on the ears. Supra-aural headphones, also called on-ear headphones, are more compact than circumaural headphones and are easier to transport. However, due to the smaller size of the drivers, they are not particularly suitable as studio headphones. In addition, the noise isolation is not particularly good.

Now that you know about the different types of headphones and their purposes, it’s time to move on to some more specific things. These include frequency response, noise isolation, sensitivity, comfort, and durability. Oh, and we’ll also talk about a little something called impedance.

Noise Isolation

With headphones, it is always important that the ear pads fit snugly against the skin when reproducing bass. For this reason, the ear pads need to fit snugly against the ears. If you search the internet for studio headphones, you’ll be hard pressed to find an accurate indication of how well the headphones isolate sound. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to the material of the ear pads. Faux leather is one of the most popular materials, as it provides excellent sound isolation, just like real leather.

However, there are headphones with ear pads made of different materials. Some materials are better for noise isolation and bass response, while other materials are more comfortable and therefore feel better against the skin. Also, materials like faux leather can lose their structural integrity over time. As a result, they are not suitable for sound isolation or comfort.


There are so many different categories of studio headphones. But they all have one thing in common. They provide you with the best possible sound to achieve your goals. Studio headphones are designed to reveal any flaws in the captured sound. They are not meant to make the sound pleasing, but rather to provide an unfiltered window into the recording so that the sound engineer can make the necessary changes during production.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!


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