Best Headphones For Studio Producers

Trying to figure out which are the best headphones for your home studio project? Here are some of the things you may want to consider before making your decision to purchase.

Are you a radio broadcaster, podcaster, musician, or studio producer who uses headphones on a daily basis?  Choosing the right phones is an important decision. As a professional radio broadcaster for 20 years, I can share my experience and hopefully save you some time and money. I've use numerous name brand headphones while working at hundreds of different studios throughout my career.


True Sound Replication

I have used a wide range of headphones (or "cans"as they're referred to in the industry). I've used inexpensive brands like Radio Shack's Realistic entry level phones to expensive Sennheisers and top of the line Audio-Technicas, they all "color" the source audio material you're listening to. This results in artificially boosting some frequencies or not representing some frequencies all together. Some of today's trendy headphones such as "Beats" add a frequency boost to pleasing frequencies. Yes it may sound better but can be misleading to a producer.  If you are looking for a pair of phones for studio work, one important factor is getting headphones that have a good representation of the source audio material. The reason is because you need to reference a true snapshot of the audio that your working on.  For example, if you have a boosted base response in your ear phones, when you send the same audio to a client or play back the audio on a different audio system, it will be lacking in that specific bass frequency.  In order to make the appropriate adjustments to your mix, a true translation of your audio is preferable. 

 

The Broadcast Professional Favorite

It's apparent to me that the go-to headphones for the broadcast environment (at least from my experience) are the Sony MDR (V-6) headphones.  I'm not saying they're the best, I'm not saying broadcasters don't use many other types of Headphones. I personally believe they are a great choice for professional level players.  They have a nice frequency response for both processed (broadcast compressed) and unprocessed programming.  They also stand up well in the studio for musicians who demand loud volumes and great isolation.  The Sony MDR (V-6) headphones phones run about $82 on Amazon Prime. I've also owned the Sony MDR-7506 series or a few more bucks. Both get good reviews and do the job for someone like me, who counts on them on a daily basis.

 

Money Saving Tips

The Sony MDR headphones last about a year (of continuous daily use) and may wear out by having the phone jack connector break or become un soldiered.  More often, the ear pads become old and brittle.  As a result, the black plastic flakes off on your face, the base response of the sound is reduced, and the isolation ability is impaired. Here's were you can save some money.  I came across a nice way to double (or even triple) the lifespan of these little beauties by simply replacing the plastic/vinyl covered foam pads that rest on your ears. The MDR replacement pads are extremely inexpensive and can transform these old Sony MDR series headphones to nearly brand new! For $7.00 on Amazon prime you can't go wrong.  They do take a little finagling to get on properly. You have to stretch one side without letting go of the opposite side.  You may feel like you might rip or tear the new vinyl but I've managed to install 4 replacement sets successfully with no problems. Knowing that these replacement pads are available may increase their potential value if you're considering purchasing these headphones phones.

 

Radio veterans “JAGGER AND KRISTI” hosting morning drive on LOCAL MEDIA Urban AC XHRM (MAGIC 92.5)/SAN DIEGO share their enthusiasm for the Sony MDR series headphones.