Studio headphones are a necessity for those in the business of creating and mixing music.
They offer a higher level of quality when it comes to audio, as they are specifically designed for accuracy and bring every single sound to the fore so that the audio can be meticulously analyzed and flaws can be more easily detected.
Regular headphones just can’t do the job when it comes to this level of audio quality and detail, which is why studio headphones are an important element of music production and the entire process of making music in general.
Their unique nature does mean that studio headphones can sometimes be on the expensive side, and finding the right ones is not always easy.
This isn’t always the case, though, as there are various studio headphone brands that are reasonably priced but still offer the audio quality that is needed for a professional level of music production (as well as an excellent level of sound when it comes to pure musical enjoyment too!).
It can be hard to find the most affordable studio headphones, but we are here to help you out!
We have compiled a least of the best quality on-ear studio headphones that are incredibly affordable, with all of our picks falling under the $100 mark.
Let’s get started.
Best Studio Headphones For Under $100
OneOdio Studio Pro-10 Wired Over-Ear Headphone
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These headphones were made for the studio and studio settings in general, and whilst significantly cheaper than a fair amount of studio headphones on the market, the OneOdio brand offers brilliantly high sound quality for a professional level of audio.
The Studio Pro-10 headphones feature 50mmm neodymium drivers that provide dynamic sound and control to allow for a stronger audio experience.
As well as a powerful bass line, these headphones also offer clean treble- without the risk of distortion- and a clear midrange for a splendid overall quality.
Audio quality is of course the main element of a good pair of studio headphones, and the balanced sound profile makes this a winner.
Another important factor to consider is the comfort level. You can have the best sound quality in the world with a pair of studio headphones, but if they are uncomfortable or even painful to wear, any redeeming qualities will quickly be forgotten.
The Studio Pro-10 headphones are an exceptional choice as they provide maximum comfort as well as sound, designed specifically for long working sessions in the studio thanks to the super-soft, padded ear cushions.
The ear cups are also adjustable, able to swivel 90 degrees- both left and right- so that you can utilize the single-ear monitoring technique should you need to.
The headband of the headphones is also designed for comfort during extended use, with a stretchable and adjustable fit that lets you find the angle that fits your head perfectly.
For this reason, many users suggest that the headphones do not weigh on them during long hours in the studio.
The OneOdio Studio Pro-10 is also incredibly practical as they come readily equipped with 3.5mm and 6.35mm detachable spring cables, allowing for different uses with a wide range of devices that utilize either of these jack sizes.
These dual-duty cables mean that you shouldn’t have to spend quite as much time fiddling with adapters.
The combination of comfort, quality sound, and practicality make these headphones one of the best when it comes to affordable studio headphones.
- 50mmm neodymium drivers for strong bass and clear treble
- Detachable 3.5mm and 6.35mm cables
- well padded Soft ear cushions
- Very affordable
- A lightweight adjustable headband that makes them extremely comfortable
- Swiveling ear cups
- Designed to isolate sound
- Clear and balanced sound reproduction
- The swiveling nature of the ear cups is useful for music professionals, but some might find the feature a bit unstable
Click any of the links below to get yourself a pair
Also available on OneOdio.com
Audio-Technica ATH-M20X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones
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Another fantastic option when it comes to affordable studio headphones, the Audio Technica ATH-M50X has various features that make them one of the best studio headphone sets in general.
The circumaural design contour of the ear cups (which feature 15 degrees of swiveling in both directions) allows for top-tier sound isolation, which is a particularly important feature when working with music professionally.
Both the ear cups and the headband feature a durable and robust design as well, making for a strong and practical set of studio headphones.
In terms of sound quality, the Audio-Technica ATH M20X headphones are specifically created for studio tracking and mixing, enhanced for low-frequency performances with 40mm drivers that feature rare earth magnets as well as copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils.
The headphones utilize a 3m single-sided cable exit, and they come with a 6.3mm snap-on adapter, making for a convenient and comfortable set of headphones that offer a professional yet affordable audio experience.
- 40mm drivers for excellent sound quality
- 3m single-sided cable is incredibly convenient
- Swiveling ear cups
- Comfortable and soft ear cushions
- Very affordable
- A closed design keeps leakage to your mic to a minimum and isolates external sounds
- accurate sound reproduction
- Again, the swiveling ear cups might not be easy to keep stable if you aren’t used to them.
- Not foldable.
- Slightly strong clamping force
Also available on Audio-Technica.com
Tascam TH-02 Closed Back Studio Headphones
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A quality pair of over-ear headphones. Tascam TH-02 headphones are closed-backed and offer a wide range of features at an incredibly reasonable price.
The foldable nature of these headphones makes them a fantastic choice if you are looking for a pair of stereo headphones that can easily be transported.
Apart from being a set of great headphones for beginners, they are also a highly comfortable option thanks to the plush cushion ear pads, the tight stitching, and the padded headband.
The headphones are as stylish as they are comfortable as well, thanks to their dynamic closed-back design that is thoroughly contemporary, and they are an excellent fit for most head shapes.
The TH-02 headphones offer high sensitivity, frequency, and versatility in terms of sound, able to produce rich lows, mid-range, and crisp highs.
The overall audio quality is clear and concise, produced in a way that makes these particular headphones easy to use for both personal and professional use.
The TH-02’s also come with two handy snap-on adapters- one 3.5mm and one 6.3mm- as well as a cable measuring at 3m when it is fully extended.
- Soft ear pads
- Padded headband
- Tight stitching
- Closed-back design
- Crisp and clear sound
- Two snap-on adapters
- Very affordable and a good option for beginners
- No swiveling ear cup option, which might be a negative for those who utilize this feature with headphones
- A large headband reduces portability
Also available on Tascam.com
Sony MDR-7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphones
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The first thing that sticks out, outside of the price is the honest sound signature.
Sony’s take on stereo headphones falls just under the $100 mark, and they make for great value for money, utilizing high-quality audio and combining it with a lightweight and unobtrusive design to create one of the best pairs of stereo headphones that you can get for less than $100.
These headphones were designed for studio monitoring and audio mixing and as a result, have a professional sound, thanks to the use of 40mm drivers and a neodymium magnet.
Not only do they offer excellent power handling and detailed audio – with the perfect mix of lows, mid-ranges, and highs in terms of sound, but they also offer a wide frequency response range of 10Hz to 2kHz.
This makes for an incredibly professional level of sound reproduction, making these headphones perfect for professional music production.
The Sony MDR-7506 offers comfort as well as brilliant sound quality.
The closed-ear design is not only gentle on the ears, but it also makes for strong sound isolation to block out any irritating external noise if you are creating or mixing music or even if you are just trying to enjoy your tunes in peace and quiet.
A generously padded headband enhances the comfort level of the headphones whilst maintaining a stylish and modern design.
The headphones also have some very helpful accessories that come with them, such as a 9.8-foot gold-plated and coiled cord, a 3.5mm inch adapter, and a soft case that the headphones can easily be slotted into thanks to their foldable design.
Against popular opinion, I tried these headphones for casual listening and I must say I was quite impressed.
So you could technically use these for that purpose.
With fantastic sound quality, soft ear pads, a cushiony headband, and various accessories, these comfortable and professional headphones are surely some of the best that you can get for less than $100.
- The headphones come with accessories, including a compact traveling case
- Very affordable and great for music production
- Modern look and a great option for the music enthusiast
- Padded headband
- Closed ear design aids with sound isolation
- Neodymium magnet and 40mm drivers create incredible audio
- Frequency response between 10Hz and 20kHz
- Plush ear pads
- 9.8 ft. coiled cable Connection, 1/8″ Gold plated stereo jack plug, and 1/4″ adapter (6.35 mm)
- No option for single-ear monitoring due to no swiveling ear cups
Also available on Sony.com
AKG Pro Audio K240 Studio Over-Ear, Semi-Open, Professional Studio Headphones
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Sound Engineers and audio engineers alike love this one.
The AKG K240 brand is another excellent choice that won’t break your bank when it comes to studio headphones.
Designed for professional applications- including playback, mastering, and mixing (but also great for personal uses too)- this choice features advanced 30mm XXL transducers that utilize a semi-open design.
The representation of accurate sound in the final mix is not skewed due to the way in which the open design helps in the mastering of tracks.
The patented Varimotion diaphragms of the transducers make for a versatile and dynamically wide range when it comes to the audio quality of the headphones, with rich and solid bass, crisp and clear treble, and increased sensitivity.
This accuracy makes these headphones a popular choice when it comes to recording and production, as they allow for even the finest details to be heard with ease.
The self-adjusting headband of the headphones allows you to find the perfect fit to maintain comfort, whilst the soft, over-the-ear pads only emphasize this comfortable nature.
The AKG-K240 headphones come with a 3m replaceable cable as well as a convertible jack plug for quick and efficient connections to portable equipment- and a professional mini XLR connector.
- Adjustable headband
- Soft over the ear pads
- Comes with a cable, a convertible jack plug, and a mini XLR connector
- Semi-open design
- Very affordable
- Dynamic sound range, whilst also being fairly neutral
- High audio quality
- Not foldable
- A tiny amount of sound leakage
Also available on AKG.com.
Sennheiser Pro Audio HD 280PRO Headphones
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Built for critical listening and coming in at a little under $100, the Sennheiser HD-280 Pro headphones have some excellent features that make them fantastic value for money when it comes to stereo headphones.
These are a great choice and one of the best headphones for long-lasting music sessions due to the soft, fitting headband.
The closed, around-the-ear, circumaural ear cups (made from synthetic leatherette) are soft and comfortable for any lengthy studio sessions, whether you are recording, performing, mixing, or composing.
The ear cups can rotate and collapse too, allowing for the headphones to be transported easily and efficiently.
The headphones also have a robust and durable design, making these an option sure to stand the test of time.
When it comes to sound quality, the HD-280s feature an extended frequency response that makes for warm and natural audio with linear, accurate sound and high, ambient noise attenuation.
This aggressive noise isolation means that you can focus on your music without any outside interference.
Perfect for professional mixing- but still easily able to be used as personal headphones too-, the Sennheiser HD-280 Pro headphones are a great choice that won’t set you back too significantly when it comes to the cost.
- Comfortable ear pads and closed ear design
- Ergonomic design and also made for casual listening
- Very affordable
- Lightweight and comfortable headband
- Padded ear cups
- Natural and rich audio quality
- Strong noise-canceling nature
- Collapsible for travel
- No option of swiveling ear cups for single-ear monitoring.
Also available on Sennheiser.com
These are only a few of the options that are available to you when it comes to stereo headphones that are less than $100.
But how do you make the decision as to which are the best suited for you personally?
We have put together this handy buyer’s guide to help you on your way to making the choice that will benefit you the most.
Personal or Professional Use?
Studio headphones are what music professionals tend to use whilst they are performing a wide variety of tasks related to music production, such as mixing, recording, or performing.
This doesn’t mean that professionals are the only ones who use them, though, as some might want some particularly strong headphones for when they are working or just for personal use when listening to music.
It is best to consider what the exact purpose of your studio headphones will be before you make your purchase so that you can choose a pair that is best suited.
This is a highly important factor if you are deciding on a pair of studio headphones to work with on a professional level, as the chances are that your line of work involves being able to single out all the little details within the audio.
Combining the right mix of audio mixing and musical recordings is essential in the business of music, so if you need a pair of stereo headphones for professional reasons, opt for a pair that has the strongest clarity and highest definition when it comes to sound.
You might also want to check that the pair you select has a good level of sound cancellation properties if you want to use them professionally.
Studio sessions can be lengthy, so comfortable headphones are a must-have if you find yourself in the music profession.
Even if you pick a pair of headphones for personal use, comfort is still going to be an essential element to consider when choosing a pair of studio headphones.
Padding is the key when it comes to studio headphones, due to their tendency to be a little bulky.
Soft ear pads to protect your ears and a padded headband to decrease pressure on your head are commonly used to maintain some comfort with these kinds of headphones.
But if you need a bit more than that due to that aforementioned bulkiness, keep an eye out for studio headphones that offer adjustable ear pads and headbands as these let you tailor the headphones specifically to your head and ears.
Do not compromise on quality as well.
I would also make sure that I pick a set of headphones that have detachable cables as well.
Closed Back Or Open Back?
Studio headphones will usually come in either open-backed or closed-back form.
Both types will have large, over-the-ear ear cups, but whilst open-back headphone ear cups allow for the natural flow of air and sound, closed-backs offer isolation and cancellation in terms of noise.
This offers complete protection from the outside world and its various sounds, which could be perfect for intense mixing sessions that require a fair amount of focus, as it allows the wearer to hear every little intricate detail in the audio.
Closed-back studio headphones make low-end monitoring and balancing easier, compared to untreated room or studio monitors.
In addition, closed Back headphones are great for preventing outside noise from ruining your music.
On the other hand, open-backed headphones will typically be covered in mesh or vented in order to prevent a build-up of pressure due to the altering sound quality.
Open-backed headphones are also a great choice for mixing audio due to the natural accuracy that can be achieved with them.
One last thing to mention is that you may want to consider whether you like larger or smaller drivers.
Since a lot of music particularly in contemporary urban genres is bass-heavy, I reckon you should go for larger drivers due to their ability to reproduce bass response.
When it comes to frequency response, flat frequency response is acceptable because studio headphones are designed for critical listening, and for such activities as monitoring a track session.
So most headphones should operate in the 20Hz – 20 000 Hz frequency range.
Flat frequency response is important to set and compare sound levels so as to achieve accurate sound.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Studio and Regular Headphones?
The major difference between regular headphones and studio headphones is the sound quality and the materials that are used to make them.
Whilst regular headphones strive to add qualities to music that allow the listener to hear it in the best way possible- such as by adding a tone, studio headphones are all about achieving a natural and raw sound quality.
This allows for more intricate and professional work to be done on the audio when in a studio. In terms of materials, studio headphones will commonly be made with better quality materials that add strength and clarity.
High-end headphones will often utilize high-quality materials too, but studio headphones are guaranteed to have these kinds of well-made internal components.
This is also why studio headphones tend to be a little more expensive.
Can I use Studio Headphones for Gaming?
Whilst you can technically use studio headphones for gaming, it isn’t going to offer you the best gaming experience.
There are plenty of gaming headsets that offer immersive effects- such as surround sound, boosted bass, and particularly pitched treble – to amplify your game experience.
Studio headphones don’t offer a quality that is suitable to achieve this immersion in gaming, having a flat frequency response that is best suited for audio recording and mixing.
Even though you could game with a studio headset, you probably shouldn’t if you want to get the most out of your gaming session.
Are Studio Headphones Worth it?
Studio headphones are certainly worth it for those whose lives revolve around music, whether it is in a professional capacity or just as a hardcore music fan.
The clarity that studio headphones offer is perfect for music professionals, but also an excellent choice for music fans who want a slightly deeper experience when listening to their tunes.
Due to their expense, you might want to opt for regular headphones if you are the more casual kind of music fan.
That being said, if you can find some affordable studio headphones- like the ones we have talked about here- there is nothing stopping you from treating yourself to a pair and enjoying a richer and more natural tone of music!