Hi friend and Welcome!
Figuring out the best open back headphones for mixing is pretty easy once you get down to it. Before we get started in dissecting why, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you in this article
- The Sennheiser HD 600
- The Rest
- Final Word & Link to Official Review
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!
This is just about my favorite subject in the music production world. I thoroughly enjoy researching headphones, and being a producer myself I was looking for the absolute best open back, in terms of mixing. Closed back vs. Open back headphones.
I have been researching this very subject on and off for about a year and half. There are a few headphones that come up constantly throughout my searches, and one specifically that stands out above all.
The Sennheiser HD 600.
These puppies have been called just about everything good you can think of. They have been around since 1997 and are still considered the Gold Standard for mixing or otherwise. When you think about the headphone that all the others should be compared to, you think of the HD 600. It’s that benchmark standard that other cans strive to be but aren’t.
It’s the solution to your mixing woes. Why?
- Comfort. The HD 600’s sport velour ear padding and rest comfortably on your dome. Just be aware of the tight clamp to start. They take a bit of breaking in.
- Longevity. They’ve been around for two decades. That really says something, especially with the influx of headphones in the last few years. They are built to last. Like Duralast. Lol. No really though, each component of the 600 is replaceable and can be modified.
- Neutrality. Of course this goes without saying, but the HD 600’s are flat, neutral, and honest, which is exactly what we’re looking for in a mixing can.
- Amp friendly. Just about any amp will drive these quite well. I recommend the Magni/Modi combo to start. Great pairing. How to choose a headphone amp!
- Phenomenal mid-range. Seems like a lot of headphones get this wrong. Not the HD 600’s, as they render instrumentation wonderfully. The sound is clear and accurate rather than muddled and confusing.
- Soundstage. What is Soundstage? They give you that 3-d soundscape that open headphones are known for.
I know you came here for the best, but this article wouldn’t be complete in my mind without the runners up!
Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro. This comes in at a close second, and if you’re a bit strapped for cash is the next best thing. It’s got a cold, analytical sound and has been called “clinical.” The reason why it doesn’t get top spot is because of it’s sometimes harsh/sibilant treble range. What does Sibilant mean?
AKG K701. This headphone is just about the flattest around, but doesn’t nab gold because of it’s unnaturally wide soundstage, making the music seem distant and/or unrealistic. It’s bass response is also a bit too lean for some peoples taste, but it’s still a great can that has stood the test of time thus far. Check out:
- AKG K701 vs. K702
- AKG Q701 vs. K701. The Q701 does improve upon the weird soundstage issue with the K701, and has a slightly meatier bass. Definitely a noteworthy headphone.
- The best studio headphones for mixing (I review each of my top 3 here separately and on their own. So if you’re looking for an in depth review of all 3, check that out!)
Want to learn more about the best open back headphone for mixing?
Well that’s about it for today folks! I really hope you’ve enjoyed this short article and feel compelled to dig deeper into my site!
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark? Please let me know below or Contact me!!
What do you think about my Top picks? I would love to hear from you..
Until then.. all the best and God bless,