Hi friend and Welcome!
The best closed back studio headphones? That’s a great question! Before we get into the specifics, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you in this article
- The K550 & Top 5
- Final Word
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!
7506 & M50
I’ve had an interesting history when it comes to headphones. My first pair was the Sony MDR 7506, a great headphone in it’s own right, and phenomenal for mixing. The V6 is very similar (pretty much identical actually), and I feel it’s the best headphone for mixing under $100.
My mixes improved dramatically with the 7506, but I felt compelled to move on to bigger and better things. This is where it gets a little murky. The Audio Technica ATH M50 was my second purchase, and I was immediately blown away by it’s sound. While the 7506 made me look at music in a different way, the M50 completely changed the way I perceived everything. Most closed back headphones lack sound-stage. The M50’s is surprisingly good for such a model. It’s not anywhere near as good as an open back, but it’s there and quite grand.
The M50’s get the “Studio Monitor” tag, but it’s a bit deceiving. They do well in studio for mixing, but are more for the casual consumer looking for audiophile quality in an affordable package. The M50 provides this in spades. It’s the perfect all around headphone, but can get slightly harsh in the treble range at times with music that places more emphasis on those frequencies. Overall though, it’s a purchase that you will likely never regret. I’ve had a pair since Jan. 2013 and they’re still solid as a rock. Just know that the ear-cups will need replacement after a couple years.
The third pair of studio headphones I purchased were the Sennheiser HD 280. While incredibly flat and neutral, they are really boring in my opinion. I could never get excited about any aspect of them. They are rock solid and durable, and pretty comfortable. The clamping force is a bit much for me however.
This leads me to my research.
The K550 & Top 5
While all of these options are good, none of them are the best. One day while researching I stumbled upon Metal571. We got to talking and he said that the AKG K550 is the best. Tyll over at Inner Fidelity also gives these very high marks as well, adding them to his Wall of Fame.
There really aren’t many closed back studio headphones around that are worth mentioning, which is why the K550 elevates above other offerings. My research lasted quite a long time before I finally landed on this.
My top 5 for mixing?
- AKG K550. AKG K550 headphone review. The best. Just be aware of the odd seal. You may have to play around with it to get the best fit.
- Sony MDR V6/7506. Sony MDR V6 vs. MDR 7506. The runner-up due to longevity, reliability, and overall extremely flat signature.
- Shure SRH440. Shure SRH 440 headphone Review. May be the flattest overall, but comfort and build issues hold this one back from the top spot.
- Audio Technica ATH M40x. Good sounding set of cans, and pretty flat/neutral. Build quality issues and lack of comfort hold this one back from top honors however.
- Sennheiser HD 280. Sennheiser HD 280 Pro Headphone Review. Extremely flat and honest, but too boring for the top spot.
Outside of these, there aren’t many closed back studio headphones you’ll come across. What makes the K550 the best out of these, is that they kind of function as an open back (great sound-stage/instrument separation, and clarity) while still giving you a seal which isolates sound out. An open back is more conducive to mixing because the sound has room to breathe, thus leaving you with a better idea of how accurate your mix really is.
I’m sure you’re itching to get to the actual review, so here it is!
Well my friend, that’s about it for today! Let me know what you think about the review! I hope you’ve come away with a better idea of what the best closed studio headphones are.
Questions? Comments? Requests? Do you feel I’ve missed the mark on something? Let me know below or Contact me! I would love to hear from you..
All the best and God bless,