Whether you’re a recording artist, a producer, a mastering engineer, or a session musician, it’s guaranteed that you’ll want good, cheap studio headphones.
With so many different options out there, it can be hard to choose a pair. This article breaks down the 10 best cheap studio headphones under $50 that are worth buying in 2021.
To be frank, in the $50 and under price range, you won’t find something top of the line. Keep this in mind. Most “good” headphones start at at least $80, but there are definitely some decent options if you’re on a tight budget and not looking to get extremely high quality headphones.
Top 10 Best Cheap Studio Headphones
Here are the 10 best cheap studio headphones under $50:
- Audio Technica ATH-M20X
- Edifier H840
- Samson SR850
- Sennheiser HD 202 II
- LyxPro HAS-10
- OneOdio Pro-10
- PreSonus HD7
- AKG K72
- Behringer HPS3000
- Koss UR20
Audio Technica ATH-M20x
I have used these headphones myself, and for being only $50, they are extremely nice. I’ve used much more expensive headphones than these ones, and I honestly prefer these over the more expensive ones.
They feature over-ear cups that swivel over a range of 15°, a padded headband, and a 3 foot side-exiting cord.
The M20x boasts a great frequency response range from 15 to 20k Hz. The frequency response is flat, there’s no boosted bass, and everything is clear.
Using them myself, they’re very comfortable to wear, although they can be a bit tight if you wear glasses.
These are definitely the best affordable studio headphones for mixing songs. I recommend them especially for bedroom producers.
I used them for exactly that, but I also have used them for live sound engineering and other bigger scale audio purposes and they definitely hold their own against higher priced headphones.
Edifier isn’t a well known brand, but their headphones definitely keep up with the other better sounding headphones on this list considering they’re second.
The H840 is another pair that has over the ear cups, and the material on them is soft leather so they’re extra comfortable. The headband is reinforced with steel to make it very sturdy.
The cord on this one is 6.5 feet so you’ll have plenty of room if you need to navigate through your music studio or recording room while still using the headphones.
These headphones are also foldable for portability purposes. The headphones have a flat frequency response and a range of 20 to 20k Hz.
For as cheap as these headphones are, they’re surprisingly good. If you’re on a major budget but don’t want to compromise quality, these are the best inexpensive studio headphones for that.
I’d say that these would probably be best for recording, mixing, or working outside of a studio setting.
The Samson SR850 headphones are another excellent choice for good budget studio headphones. These ones are over ear headphones, but also have open backs, which allows for the appropriate amount of bleed for stereo imaging, and also prevents fatigue when listening.
The SR850s have a self adjusting headband so you don’t have to worry about messing with it much.
These headphones also have a response range from 10 Hz to 30k Hz so you’ll definitely be able to detect harsh frequencies with them. The frequency response is really flat and the low end of these headphones is very smooth.
These headphones are definitely the best open back option for under $50. They’re most ideal for mixing or listening to music because of their wide frequency response range. If you’re a producer or mastering engineer, these are a great cheap alternative to something expensive.
Sennheiser HD 202 II
These are another pair of headphones that I’ve used, mainly for mixing and listening to music, and while they’re decent, they’re definitely not for everyone.
The sound quality is great, the bass is extremely clean. These have a frequency response range of 18 Hz to 18k Hz which makes them a great option for mixing. The HD 202 IIs also have a 10 foot cable and are an over ear model.
My only gripe with them is that the design isn’t very flexible; a lot of the design features can be seen as both pros or cons depending on who you’re talking to.
The ear cups are removable, which is something that I don’t prefer because for me it makes it harder to use them, but it comes in handy for DJs. The headband isn’t too flexible (although it is expandable), but it makes for a snug fitting pair of headphones.
Because these headphones are another pair that has such a wide frequency range, these are ideal for mixing or mastering, but they’re small enough that you could easily use them for casual listening as well.
The LyxPro HAS-10s are quite similar to the Audio Technica ATH-M20xs in terms of design. However, the frequency response range is even wider than the M20xs, with the HAS-10s having a range of 10 to 26k Hz.
They have a closed back design so there’s little to no bleed, and overall there is just a really balanced sound with great detail replication. The expandable headband is padded with foam and leather, and the ear cups are padded with leather as well.
The ear cups rotate 180 degrees which allows for one-eared listening, and they aren’t removable unlike the Sennheiser HD 202 IIs.
These headphones would be best for mixing, mastering, as well as recording because of their closed back design and accuracy. They’re bulkier which makes them less ideal for everyday portable listening.
The OneOdio Pro-10 headphones are cheap but they also bring something to the table that no other headphones do: a dual input. Each ear cup has an input that you can use to plug into from different sources.
Because of this system, you can also daisy chain multiple pairs of these headphones to each other, which can come in handy in studio situations where you’re recording multiple people at the same time.
The cord for these headphones is almost 10 feet long. Aside from this, the Pro-10s have an excellent frequency response from 20 to 20k Hz.
Their padded headband and ear cups are extremely comfortable and the headband is extendable, as well as foldable for travel purposes.
These are perfect for mixing or mastering because of the split signal dual inputs. They’d be useful for referencing one track while mixing another. I definitely recommend these and might get some myself.
The HD7s are another semi open back pair of headphones that are good quality for being under $50. These have a frequency response range of 10 Hz to 30k Hz and have a natural, warm, clear sound.
The semi open sound chamber allows for deep, punchy basses while maintaining accurate midrange and crisp highs.
This pair of headphones has a sling type headband, so there’s no padding, but it automatically adjusts to the wearer’s head so it should fit snugly enough to be comfortable.
The HD7s are extremely lightweight, yet still durable. They also come with a detachable cable.
The PreSonus HD7s are a great option for producing and recording in the studio, although I wouldn’t recommend them for mastering because of the bass end giving it not enough of a flat response. Overall though, this is a great option.
The K72s by AKG are a lightweight and comfortable option that offers closed back cups for maximum isolation.
Its 40mm drivers ensure that you’ll be able to hear even the slightest detail in your mixes, and the frequency range is from 16 to 20k Hz.
This is another pair of headphones that have an automatically adjusting headband, so again, it’s comfortable to wear for long periods of time, yet flexible enough to not hurt your head while wearing it.
AKG is a more well known company, so the quality of these headphones is quite good, even if they are cheap.
If you need to mix, master, produce, record… these headphones are a solid option for you. Again, just a cheap option that still has amazing accuracy for the price.
Behringer is a classic. The HPS3000s boast an ultra wide frequency response and dynamic range, and the capsules in these things are made from cobalt, which makes them extremely accurate for the price.
The ear cups are oval shaped which are different from most of the other headphones on this list, and they’re also reversible for single ear listening.
The headband of these headphones is padded, and the ear cups have a decent amount of padding as well, but they’re not padded so much so that it makes them heavy.
This model is surprisingly great for the price, although I wouldn’t suggest it for listening to extremely detailed mixes or use it for mastering.
The Koss UR20s are easily the cheapest pair of headphones on this list, but that doesn’t mean they’re bad quality. The UR20s feature over the ear cups with a frequency range of 18 to 24k Hz.
The cups are very big so if you have big ears or a big head in general these would probably be good for you. The large cups do a great job at isolating the sound that comes out of these. The bass is strong in these headphones but not so much that it’s too much.
The UR20s are very durable yet lightweight, due to the flexible sling style headband, although they’re not as comfortable as something with more padding.
I’d say that these headphones would be best for a recording artist in the studio. They’re not extremely well suited for someone who would be mixing or mastering, but they’ll do just fine if you need to use a pair to listen to a track while recording.
In conclusion, these are all of the best cheap studio headphones under $50 that I would consider to be worth buying in 2021.
It can be hard to find a pair that keeps up with the quality of today’s standards, but these options are all astounding for their price range.