When you're recording music, you should have a quality pair of studio headphones on hand. This gear is essential if you want to get an accurate idea of how your track sounds. Instead of relying on the pair of cheap earbuds you've had for years, you should consider investing in a quality product.
However, too often, musicians steer clear of this investment because they're afraid of breaking the bank.
We're here to show you that it's possible to purchase high-quality studio headphones at a reasonable price. Try for under $200! We have three top picks that are visually appealing, provide superior performance, and offer excellent overall value. In this guide, we cover everything you need to know about these products, including their sound, build quality, and materials used.
Check out our top three picks for the best studio headphones under 200 dollars.
Top 3 Studio Headphones Under $200
There are plenty of quality studio headphones on the market in a variety of price ranges. Here, we'll offer some affordable options for under $200. You'll be recording and mixing music like a pro, all while sticking to a reasonable budget.
- Stylish gray carbon finish
- Focuses on mid- and high-range notes
- Offers a tight grip on ears for maximum support
- Comes with 1/8" stereo plug and ¼" adapter
- The sound may be a little shallow in some instances
- Doesn't heavily focus on bass response
The Vic Firth Stereo Isolation headphones are an improved version of the brand's more popular product. This pair reduces outside noise by 25 dB, so you can play and listen to music at safe volume levels.
This pair of headphones has a built-in driver (50mm). The design delivers superior sound, including clean mid-range notes and clear high notes.
This Version 2 product from Vic Firth also offers comfort and style. The redesigned features include a padded headband so that you can wear them for hours on end with no discomfort. The ear cups grip the user's ears tightly, so there's no chance of them slipping off in the middle of a recording session.
If aesthetics are important to you, this product doesn't disappoint. It features a stylish gray carbon finish with the Vic Firth logo located on both ear pads.
You can get a lot of use from these headphones, as the integrated cable comes with a 1/8" stereo plug and a ¼" adapter. With adaptability, there's no need to have multiple pairs on hand. You can plug them into different amps and audio setups as you're on the go.
One flaw with these headphones is that they tend to pick up on the mid- and high-range notes rather than the bass notes. This issue isn't a big deal since your final mix won't be overwhelmed with too much bass. However, if you are going to be mixing tracks and brain-rattling bass notes, you may want to check out another product on our list.
- Frequency response: 20-20,000 Hz
- 50mm driver
- Noise reduction: 25 dB
- ¼" and 1/8" plugs
These headphones fit the price range of a new music enthusiast, and they work great for those with more ambitious goals, too. They are comfortable, functional, and a significant improvement from Vic Firth's earlier model. Check out their current price here.
- Wide range of frequencies
- Comfortable gel-filled ear pads
- Comes with an extra-long 9-foot replaceable stereo cord
- Built-in click track serves as a metronome
- Some users report discomfort after wearing them for a long time, but this is common with headphones that offer a high level of passive isolation.
The Studio Kans Wired Headphones are one of the industry's best-known isolation headphones. They feature a diverse bass range and superior treble clarity. In particular, drummers have found this product useful.
This pair has a slightly fuller frequency range of 15-25,000 Hz. You'll be able to hear sounds of various pitches, so you can listen to intricate sounds that can be difficult to pick up with cheaper headphones.
This product also looks particularly sleek. The silver headband with cushioning offers premium comfort. The ear pads boast a gel filling for optimal comfort.
Perhaps most impressively, these headphones feature a built-in click track that serves as a metronome. With these headphones in your arsenal, you can simultaneously stay on beat and listen to your tracks.
- Frequency response: 15-25,000 Hz
- Noise reduction: 29 dB
- ¼" stereo line-in jack
For the price range, the Studio Kans headphones offer superior comfort and versatility. They let you pick up a range of pitches and even serve as a metronome when you're recording your tracks. Check out their current price here.
- Comes with a convenient bag for carrying
- Effective noise isolation
- Good bass response
- Folding arm
- May not fit all ear sizes perfectly
The Yamaha Pro Audio HPH-MT5 deliver whole sounds that remain true to their source. Whether you are producing music at home or in a real studio, they will meet your needs.
This set produces crisp, low mechanical sounds. They enable a wide frequency range between 20 and 20,000 Hertz, so you'll be able to experience a variety of pitches comfortably.
While these headphones offer great sound, they are also convenient in several ways. For instance, they come with a carrying bag so you can easily take them with you as you travel. Plus, they have a folding arm for additional compactness.
If you like to multi-task as you're recording music, these headphones can help you remain productive. They feature moveable ear pads, which allow for monitoring with one ear at a time.
- Frequency response: 20-20,000 Hz
- 40mm custom drivers (with CCAW voice coils)
- 3mm cable and 6.3mm stereo plug adapter (standard)
- Weight: 250g
These headphones are lightweight so that you can wear them for hours on end with no discomfort. The adjustable slider length and 3-D arm pivot construction let you adjust them for maximal comfort. These headphones allow for versatile use, as the 3mm cable and 6.3mm plug adapter can plug into multiple kinds of devices. Check out their current price here.
Are $200 Studio Headphones a Good Place to Start?
Some music enthusiasts may hesitate to purchase a pair of studio headphones for under $200. A low price range like this often raises questions about the quality and durability of the product. However, when you go with the right brand, you can find a high-quality, long-lasting item.
If you have the money, more expensive pairs (upwards of $500 and more) can offer better sound and overall enhanced user experience. However, our under $200 recommendations are a fantastic starting point, especially if you plan to use them casually.
Features to Look for
With our lineup of the best studio headphones under $200, you have a variety of features to keep in mind. Before making a purchase, ensure that the pair you have in mind has all of the features you want. Some features to look out for include:
The plug that comes with your headphones is an essential component. Most ordinary headphones come with a 1/8" mini plug connection. However, your headphones will require a ¼" plug if you are planning on connecting them to a professional audio interface.
Before you purchase a product, make sure it is compatible with your current equipment. You can always get an adapter so you can hook up to professional gear.
Some musicians and mixers can put up with a shorter cable length. However, if you plan on moving around a lot in the studio, you may want to get headphones with a long cable length.
Around 4 feet is a standard length, but some headphones come with longer cables. You can also look into getting cord extensions, but these can be cumbersome to hook up every time. However, they grant you a lot more mobility as you're recording your musical creations.
If possible, try to avoid getting a rubber-coated cord. Cables made from this material tend to tangle easily and wear down more quickly than other kinds.
Some musicians may want wireless headphones. These are attractive because they're compact and portable. However, most wireless headphones use Bluetooth technology. Bluetooth headphones can distort sound because of issues with range or battery life. While these distortions are okay for casual use, they can affect the outcome of your recording.
Some users may be on the hunt for headphones that come with a detachable cable, which protects the longevity of the product. While this feature can be useful, the products we've reviewed have high-quality cables built to last for the long term. They shouldn't fray easily as long as you treat them with care. In most cases, a detachable cable isn't necessary for a good user experience.
One part of build quality has to deal with how the headphones fit on your ears. There are two models to keep in mind:
- Over-ear: Over-ear headphones feature cups that cover your ears completely. This type tends to be better at blocking out sound. They are also more comfortable, which is helpful if you plan on wearing them for hours at a time during long recording sessions.
- On-ears: On-ear headphones have pads that lay against your ears. These tend to be more compact and convenient to carry around with you. They're an excellent choice for a musician who's always on the go and traveling from studio to studio.
You'll also want to consider how these headphones feel when you wear them.
Padded headbands are desirable as they allow the headphones to sit comfortably on top of your head without digging into your scalp.
On-ear and over-ear headphones should both offer a significant amount of padding so you can wear them for long sessions. They also grip tightly so that they don't slide off in the middle of your recording and mixing sessions. Make sure the pair you get is adjustable so that they don't cause any pain or discomfort.
For studio headphones, you want a set built to last. Look out for cheap plastic components that connect the headband to the cups. These components will break more quickly than they should for the money you're spending.
The quality of sound is the most crucial factor to consider when selecting any headphones but especially ones for the studio. When you're listening to music, it's okay if portions of a track sound "colored," or different from the recorded version. However, when you're mixing a track, you need to have the clearest sound possible.
Some technical aspects that will ensure great sound include:
All headphones come with an impedance rating. This rating typically ranges from 8 to 600 ohms.
Headphones that have a higher impedance rating need more amplification. These models typically boast better materials and produce clearer sounds.
Most headphones with an impedance rating of 32 or higher are more than adequate for studio use. If you need your headphones to be compatible with a mobile phone or consumer-level device, consider getting a pair with an impedance rating of less than 32.
If you want to buy a pair that has a high impedance rating, make sure you have a dedicated power source on hand. If you don't have enough power, the headphones won't perform to their highest capacity. On the other hand, a pair that has a low impedance rating will use its full power to deliver high-quality sound.
Do you have particular sounds you are trying to create? You will likely want a pair of studio headphones that offers high sensitivity.
Sensitivity, measured in decibel level per volt, indicates how efficiently electrical signals converted into sound in the earpieces. The higher the sensitivity of your headphones, the more intricate sounds you'll achieve.
However, you need to be cautious about choosing a product with a high sensitivity measurement. If you use amplifiers along with your headphones, you may sustain damage to your hearing over time
Most sound experts recommend headphones that are no higher than 120 dB. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration advises against using headphones with a sensitivity of 85 dB or more for prolonged music sessions.
Open Back vs. Closed Back
Ideally, your studio headphones should have a closed back. The closed back feature eliminates other distracting sounds from your listening experience, like voices or other instruments in the studio.
However, open-back headphones may fit your needs in some circumstances. They allow air to pass through the cups, which creates a more realistic sound. Open-back headphones can be ideal for some of your mixing and mastering.
You may even need to invest in one pair of open back and one pair of closed-back headphones to meet your diverse needs in the studio.
Frequency, measured in hertz (Hz), determines the pitch of your music. Its upper limit is the treble sound, and its lower limit is the bass sound.
If you need to hear a wide range on the audio spectrum while mixing and recording, make sure your headphones have an adequate frequency response.
The average human can hear sounds that range from 20 to 20,000 Hz. A decent pair of studio headphones will be able to replicate sounds within this range. Some may even produce sounds outside of this range, which can be helpful if your music is incorporating particularly soft or loud noises.
A driver is the speaker unit in the headphones that produces sound by converting electrical signals into music. A larger driver will produce louder sounds.
When headphones have multiple drivers, they are better at handling a fuller frequency range and reducing distortion. While the size of the driver plays a role in sound quality, so does its material.
The most common driver types include dynamic, planar magnetic, and electrostatic drivers. Dynamic drivers are the cheapest and most popular, while electrostatic ones are rarer but provide benefits like distortion-free sound.
Ambient Noise Reduction
Outside sounds can distract from your recording experience. To filter out these noises, ensure your headphones have adequate ambient noise reduction.
Only closed-back headphones offer this solution, so keep this in mind when choosing which pair you are going to buy.
Typically, headphones can eliminate nearby sounds that range from 8 to 12dB. Some pairs can cut off higher sounds of up to 25dB.
Our top three picks for the best headphones under 200 offer an excellent starting point for both novice and professional music enthusiasts. These products provide the clarity and transparency you need for a pleasurable listening experience.
No matter what pair you purchase from our list, the headphones won't disappoint. The Yamaha Pro Audio may be better if you're looking for a product to take with you as you travel, while Studio Kan set is well-suited for those who need a higher frequency response. Our lineup of picks was intentionally diverse, so everyone can find the top headphones to suit their needs. Be sure to order yourself one of these pairs today!