Best Cheap Studio Headphones under $100 (Really Budget In 2018)
Take a look around you. Whether you are in a public spot or in the privacy of your home, you will probably have a pair of headphones handy.
Music is the language of the soul, and there is no doubt that it makes us happy and more productive.
Headphones act as a primary component when it comes to listening to quality music without compromising on the bass and tone of the songs we listen to. They give us complete control over the audio environment.
If you have built your own studio or wish to do so in the future, then one of the first things you will need is a pair of high-quality studio headphones.
Problem is they usually come with a hefty price tag. Fortunately, you don’t have to break the bank and risk your budget to get started; you just have to look in the right places.
Today, there are countless types of headphones being marketed and it is a common misconception that they are all the same. Regular headphones are designed specifically for studio use and have a world of difference.
These types of headphones allow you to hear the sound in its most natural and detailed state.
To put it simply, studio headphones do not change the sounds originating from its source, unlike your regular recreational headphones that may play some frequencies at higher volumes that were intended by the artist.
Best Cheap Headphones Buying Guide
Studio headphones are primarily used for two purposes in music making: mixing and recording. During recording, high-quality studio headphones can actually ward off the sound coming out from the guide track; preventing it from leaking in the mic and thus spoiling the music that was recorded.
When mixing, there is one key principle to be aware of: under no conditions should an artist ever make adjustments to their personal mixes with the help of headphones. Your headphones will not demonstrate sufficient representation of sound phases or frequencies. Regardless of how expensive, even if the manufacturer ensures they bring the best studio headphones – it is wise to stay away from using them for mixing sounds.
When it comes to recoding with singers or recoding acoustic sounds, you need to rely on the best of the best in studio headphones.
Executing a mic through a monitor will create a loud feedback loop. Phase problems from the monitors can also hinder your recording.
This is precisely why will have to monitor the quality of the acoustic music through a reliable and feature-packed pair of headphones. Moreover, the range of headphones you use will differ based on your intended use.
Before buying studio headphones, you first you need to be very clear about why you need them.
Ask yourself: Do you only plan to use them to mix recordings or do you wish your musicians and vocalists to hear themselves? If the headphones are for you alone then go for the best one that you can afford. If they are for the musicians you record with – go for the ideal headphones.
What to look for in Studio Headphones?
You should expect your headphones to provide a true, clean and flawless reproduction of sound. They should also have a good frequency range so that the treble and bass responses can provide an outstanding sound quality.
Your headphones should be lightweight and durable. An adjustable headband is also particularly convenient. Studio headphones comes in closed-end cups and open-ended ear cups, but when it comes to perfect recoding – it is strongly advised that you go for closed-eared options.
Best Cheap Studio Headphones under $100 Reviews
1. TASCAM TH-02 Review
The comparatively even frequency response and EQ sensitivity of TASCAM TH-02 offers balanced and clear sound effects. The flawless mid-range, natural highs, and deep lows give these headphones a good edge. Both right and left ear-cups feature a complete 90-degree revolution and also have a folding design that allows users for easy and compact transportation. Not only are they suitable for studio use, but also for listening to casual music.
Many users were satisfied with the sound quality and even frequency response. They expressed how great the results are when they use these headphones for monitoring and recording vocals. The rotating and folding of the ear cups is also an admired feature along with the design.
- Driver diameter- 50 mm
- Type – Closed -Back
- Weight – 15 oz.
- Sensitivity – 98 dB ± 3dB
- Type of driver – dynamic
- Frequency response – 18 Hz to 22,000 Hz
- Impedance – 32 Ohms
- Cable – 3 m (9.8 feet) when extended fully
- Maximum input power – 600 mW.
2. Samson SR850 Review
The Samson SR850 brings you a semi-open-back design that is also affordable. A semi-open-back facilitates a superior stereo imaging and broader sound-stage. These headphones offer a rich, deep bass and broad frequency response with clean high. The 50 mm drivers provide low-end and deep resolution. The headband is also self-adjusting, which means it remains comfortable and secure for extended periods of time. They feature a gold adapter ranging from 1/8 inch to ¼ inch that comes in handy when you wish to shift between using them with consumer and studio gear.
The majority of the viewers claimed that the headphones were quite comfortable, and how they could wear them for long periods of time while editing, mixing, or referencing. Users also raved about their high-quality audio that is detailed and very clear.
Some customer reviews criticized the headphones’ design for their big size when it comes fitting. Some complained about the harsh trebles that the headset gave off when they listened to music with high frequencies.
- Driver diameter- 50 mm
- Type – semi-open
- Weight – 0.95 oz.
- Sensitivity – 98 dB
- Type of driver– dynamic
- Frequency response – 10 Hz to 30 kHz
- Impedance – 32 Ohms
- Cable – 3.5 mm (1/8 inch) with 3.5mm to 6.33 mm gold-plated adapter.
- Maximum input power – not specified.
- Magnet type – neodymium
3. AKG K240 Review
These semi-open headphones are designed specifically for studio use that involves mixing, playback, and sound mastering. They feature padded ear pads so that you will be able to use them for longer periods of time. The band is also self-adjusting, making it a suitable for anyone. The half-open design offers clear highs and a crisp bass. Their transducers deliver high levels of sound, a broad dynamic range, precise transfer signals, and good sensitivity. They provide more responsive and light transducers in comparison with other affordable alternatives.
The majority of the users were very satisfied with their purchase due to the high quality of sound. These headphones provide a very clean, flat, and even sound, along with an open soundstage. Their highs and mids are rich and they offer a low tight frequency response. The comparatively even frequency response makes also the headphones ideal for mixing, editing, and monitoring. In terms of their construction, a lot of users found them light-weight and comfortable. Many were also happy with the feature of a detachable cable.
On the other hand, some users pointed out that the headphones were not as loud as they had expected them to be owing to their high level of impedance. The half-open structure of the headphones also makes not the most suitable option for tracking or recording as they have low sound isolation.
- Driver diameter- 30 mm
- Type – half open
- Weight – 8.4 oz.
- Sensitivity – 104 dB SPL/V
- Driver type – not mentioned
- Frequency response – 15 Hz – 25000 kHz
- Impedance – 55 Ohms
- Cable – stereo plug cable – 3.5 mm with a 6.3mm screw-on adapter.
- Maximum input power – 200 mW.
If you are looking for a reasonably priced headphone for mastering and mixing then the AKG K240 is the option for you.
4. Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Review
The Audio-Technica ATH-M20x are closed-back monitor studio headphones constructed with pro-grade materials and a modern, beautiful design. They are a reasonable option that delivers tight-sealed ear cups with minimal bleeding for sound isolation. The round ear pads allow users to wear them for extended periods of time without any discomfort. With 40 mm neodymium magnet drivers, the headphones are able to deliver a precise frequency response that is suitable for both mixing and recording.
A lot of users put forward a positive feedback about the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x headphones due to their impressive features such as relatively flat frequency response and sound clarity for the given price point. There were zero instances of mid or bass range peaking reported. Some users also mentioned that the headphones deliver minimal leakage of sound when monitoring because of their above-average passive isolation. A lot of customers were also appreciative of the headphones’ sturdy cable and hard-wearing build. The fit can be easily adjusted depending on the preference of the user and is also significantly comfortable. Marc Henney, Jean Christophe Lamonagne, and Sam Vafael raved about the overall performance of the headphones’ mid-range. The also claimed that the response of frequency is practically flat, but a little overemphasized, which means that the general sound of the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x is a little mid-rangy.
However, some customers were not 100% satisfied especially because they felt the discomfort kick in after wearing them for long periods of time. Others were not so happy about the long cord and preferred a shorter one.
- Driver diameter- 40 mm
- Type – Closed at the back
- Weight – 6.7 oz.in absence of the connector and cable
- Sensitivity – 96 dB
- Type of driver – dynamic
- Frequency response level – 15 Hz – 20,000 kHz
- Impedance – 47 Ohms
- Cable – 3 m, straight and with left-side exit.
- Maximum input power – 700 mW at 1 kHz
All-in-all, the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x is a great choice, especially if what you are looking for is something effective for tracking and live monitoring, without straining your wallet.
5. Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphones Review
The Sennheiser HD280PRO Studio Headphones are Sennheiser’s most significant closed, around-the-ear headphones that are designed to exceed the user expectations in a professional environment. They feature an extremely superior construction in combination with the highest quality of sound, effective noise cancellation, and modular design. The unique design, in combination with rotating ear cups, delivers optimum flexibility in any application.
A lot of customers were happy with the headphones mainly because they are a comfortable wear, have high sound quality, and are compact and very durable. The headband padding, audio cord, and ear pads are easily replaceable, increasing the durability of the headphones. The sound produced is warm and neutral and the frequency response is extended.
The headphones are also widely compatible with iPod, MP3, and CD players along with mobile phones supporting a 3.5 mm jack plug. They also support the current generation of tablets, are compatible with component home stereos.
While the majority of users were satisfied, there were some who complained about the fit not being so great. Others complained about the issue of tightness to the ears because according to them the headphones constantly put pressure on the ears.
- Driver diameter- 40 mm
- Type – Closed –ear, around-the-ear design with padded ear cups.
- Sensitivity – 32 dB
- Driver type – dynamic
- Cable – 3.3 to 9.8 feet coiled cable
- High ambient noise cancellation
- Linear and precise sound reproduction
- Rotating and folding ear cups to help economize on space.
- Single-side and sturdy cable.
- Weight – 7.8 oz.
- Frequency response – 8 Hz – 25,000 Hz
- Impedance – 64 Ohms
- Maximum input power – 500 mW
- Transducer type – closed, dynamic
Overall, Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphones are a great product when it comes to the sound quality but you want to think twice about its comfort level if you are planning to wear it for long music sessions.