Finding the best studio headphones under $100 is getting easier with their prices dropping steadily as the years go by. These days, you can find a lot of studio headphones for quite cheap that also sound pretty good for their price.
This compilation of reviews of our top choices for the best under $100 headphones for studio use of 2021 aims to help you carefully choose the perfect ones to suit your music production needs without breaking the bank.
Before we get into these reviews, I would just like to say that for this price point, you will be able to find some decent headphones for casual listening, general studio use and mixing, but definitely not something for mastering songs.
Typically the cheaper headphones get, the worse their quality is as well as their flexibility and ability to be used for multiple purposes. You can master with all of these headphones, but if you want the utmost accuracy, you will need something quite a bit more expensive.
All of these headphones on this list (aside from where it is specifically stated otherwise) should be good for monitoring, recording audio, and mixing. Do not expect anything at a sound quality level of a several hundred thousand dollar studio, though.
Here are the best studio headphones under $100:
- Audio-Technica ATH-M40x
- Sennheiser HD 280 Pro
- Yamaha HPH-MT5
- PreSonus HD9
- AKG K240 Studio
- Koss Pro4AA
- Beyerdynamic DT 240 Pro
- Shure SRH440
- CAD Audio MH510
1. Audio-Technica ATH-M40x
The best studio headphones you can buy under $100
At a price of only around $100, the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x are closed-back headphones that feature many of the same benefits of its big brother version, the ATH-M50x.
With a padded headband for comfort and full-sized cups, the ATH-M40x demonstrates an impressive ability to cancel noise, while the 40 mm drivers provide a well-balanced audio profile for optimal performance. Though they are not the best when in noisier locations or outdoors, closed backing makes them a wonderful choice for a studio setting.
The convenience of 90-degree swiveling ear cups are a great feature for DJs and anyone who tend to prefer to monitor with one ear. Other convenient features include a folding design and carrying bag that make them perfect for portability. They also ship with two detachable cables – one straight and one coiled.
The frequency response of the ATH-M40x ranges from 15 to 24,000 Hz and is incredibly flat, especially when taking into consideration the bargain price you get them for.
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I would definitely recommend these headphones for anyone who is a serious music producer wanting to mix or monitor their tracks in the studio. For the features and sound quality that are provided at such a great cost, the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x headphones are a total must.
2. Sennheiser HD 280 Pro
A popular top choice under $100
With dynamic circumaural (closed around the ear) over ear cups for the best possible sound isolation, the HD 280 Pro is designed for durability with a collapse and swivel feature that makes them ideal for on the go musicians and DJs who prefer to monitor with one ear. They also provide the ability to fade high ambient noise that allows you to enjoy clear, accurate and linear audio tracks with natural, warm reproduced sound.
Because of their high frequency response range of 8 to 25,000 Hz and impeccable accuracy, the HD 280 Pro make great monitoring studio headphones. I would recommend them to be used by both professional music producers, DJs, and casual home listeners alike.
As far as the physical features go, these headphones have soft ear pads that are made with synthetic leatherette and the headphones as a whole are lightweight with a decently padded, self adjustable headband that provides ultimate comfort during extended use. Included with these headphones at purchase is a single side, detachable coiled cord which measures nearly ten feet.
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Sennheiser’s top-rated HD 280 Pro headphones are an amazing choice for absolutely anyone and for many different purposes.
3. Yamaha HPH-MT5
Good quality at a good price
The Yamaha HPH-MT5 is a solid choice whether you are only using them for casual listening or plan to use them to put final edits on a live mix or record in a studio professionally.
I recently ordered a pair to use as a backup for my Audio-Technica ATH-M20X’s. Weighing in at a measly half pound, these over ear studio headphones are insanely lightweight, making them astonishingly comfortable, plus have a padded headband for added comfort.
The reliable HPH-MT5 delivers a well-balanced sound profile with tiptop resolution that is consistent with the source and a frequency response range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Designed as closed-back as well as circumaural, they isolate sound and block out background noise decently well.
Upon using them, I found that these headphones sacrificed detail in the highs for more accurate imaging and more bass, but was pleased that the bass lacked the muddy sound that other headphones tend to possess.
|Image credit: Yamaha Check Price on Amazon||
They are not a super good pair of headphones for things like mixing and mastering, but for casual listening and recording in a studio the Yamaha HPH-MT5’s are quite nice. If you are an audiophile you may want to find another pair (check our best audiophile headphones article) if you care a lot about having an extremely accurate sound. Other than that, they are comfortable and easy to maintain.
4. PreSonus HD9
Music editor’s choice under $100
The PreSonus HD9 headphones have a comfortable closed, over ear design with circumaural padded ear cups in an acoustic design that enables you to listen to your favorite audio tracks with top-quality isolation and reduced headphone bleed.
With the provided two-way 180-degree cup rotation feature, these headphones are great for studio and at home DJs who prefer single ear listening. The headband is also well padded to reduce extended listening fatigue and has a collapse feature, giving you portability as well.
The frequency response ranges from 10 Hz to 26 kHz, making these some of the best studio headphones for monitoring and precise mixing due to the clean, accurate sound and bass response. When purchasing these headphones, you will receive a ten foot, straight and single sided cable and storage bag as well.
|Image credit: PreSonus Check Price on Amazon||
PreSonus’ newest model of headphones provides a clean and clear audio signal that does well in studio mixing sessions and plenty of other settings. Many users have been able to use them for long, extended periods of time, which I am sure will be an easy thing to do with how comfortable they are.
5. AKG K240 Studio
The best open-back design headphones under $100
As far as open-back design studio headphones go, the AKG K240 Studio are a good quality for the low price you are paying for them. In fact, they happen to be the best-selling headphones AKG offers for under $100.
The performance of the AKG K240s is reliable for basic mixing, composing, and monitoring, and are sufficient enough for those who are not as seasoned.
However, for simply mastering your audio tracks, the open design helps quite an exponential amount as compared to closed-back designed headphones. Headphone cups that are closed-back tend to sit a bit too close to your ears for you to get an accurate representation of the sound of the final mix, and therefore can be detrimental during the mixing process.
These headphones have a self-adjusting padded headband allowing you to fit them to your maximum comfort level. However, though the headband is padded, the padding is a bit thin which can cause slight discomfort during extended use sessions. Because of this flaw in the design, it has an advantage in that they are also lighter and more airy which helps during hot weather.
These AKGs are actually some of the lightest headphones you could have for studio use, weighing merely 8.5 ounces. The frequency response has a range of 15 to 25,000 Hz and delivers solid bass sound as well as incredibly balanced mids and highs.
If you have to work in an environment that is fairly noisy, the circumaural design of these headphones can isolate the audio track and reduce distractions from outside sources. Another feature of the open air design is the highly accurate dynamic XXL transducers which provide naturally open sound quality and makes the overall sound more life like and three dimensional to capture the emotional content of your soundtrack.
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If you want a pair of headphones that are made for mastering, get these, although you should keep in mind that a cheap (around $50) pair of studio headphones will not be as good for mastering as something in a more expensive price range.
6. Koss Pro4AA
A twist in legendary headphones
When recommending Koss Pro4AA studio headphones, it is important to note that these headphones will work excellently for both sound pros and casual listeners alike; they are, however, especially recommended with broadcasting and studio use in mind.
The design features include a standard setting design that incorporates performance improving technology and gives the excitement of the live performances we all love so much with every single track.
Made from steel for durability and given a generously padded rubber headband with adjustable slide bars to give you the optimal fit you desire, these headphones are built to last through wear and tear and provide comfort during extended audio sessions.
Closed ear, cushioned ear pad cups provide impressive isolation of audio and bass plus high sounds and low sounds both come in clear thanks to its 10 to 25,000 Hz frequency response range. These headphones also come equipped with a 10-foot coiled cable with single entry connections and includes mounting hardware for microphones.
|Image credit: Koss Check Price on Amazon||
Ideally, these headphones are good for using while recording in a studio as well as for monitoring if you are not analyzing the mix. They are more of an audiophile-type headphone set; the coloration will sound great to you, but in the studio it just does not give out accuracy when it comes to the mix. For that reason, you may find yourself having a mix that needs more tweaking when using a different pair of headphones.
7. Beyerdynamic DT 240 Pro
Meets the needs of all creatives
The Beyerdynamic DT 240 Pro has been designed to meet the needs of both professionals and creatives and comes recommended for professionals such as producers, filmmakers, those who enjoy podcasting, etc. who aim to derive the maximum quality from their equipment.
These impressive studio headphones provide maximum recording precision, defined treble, vivid midrange, and clean bass and thus ensures reliable reproduction at the studio level of a professional.
The design of the DT 240s is compact and over the ear including a collapsing headband thus making it a suitable option for busy producers and musicians who are frequently on the go while providing accurate studio quality performance in any environment.
The aforementioned feature also helps with isolation from high ambient noises and has minimal spill over effect making it for mobile monitor applications in loud environments eliminating distractions for you while simultaneously refraining from distracting those around you.
These headphones are also designed to endure those long and drawn out sessions plus includes a lightweight and ergonomic headband and comfortable ear pads so that you, too, can endure those extensive sessions. Designed to be sturdy and extensive wear resistant by using a spring steel headband and a reinforced cable making it ideal for all professional demands.
Powerful drivers ensure that you will have a high output volume on every single one of your devices, including laptops, cameras, and studio interfaces. The frequency response ranges from 5 to 35,000 Hz.
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These headphones from Beyerdynamic are sure to keep you making music for hours and hours. With their extreme durability and incredible sound, they’re sure to keep any user’s ears pleased no matter what they’re being used for.
8. Shure SRH440
The best under $100 headphones for mixing
The Shure SRH440 headphones have a special place in my heart, as they were my staple pair of headphones for the six years that I spent mixing in live settings.
From my experience with them, they are extremely comfortable to wear for long periods of time due to the padding on the cups and the headband and its ability to adjust size for the best possible fit. They provide a crystal clear sound from audio across an extensive range making them great for monitoring and accurate listening.
The power handling and sensitivity are all calibrated for use with professional audio devices such as mixing consoles, DJ mixers, and headphone amplifiers. Due to its closed-back, circumaural design it is excellent for audio isolation in busy, loud environments.
When I got them, they came packed with replaceable ear cup pads and a detachable coiled cable nearly ten feet long. The cable being detachable plus the replacement ear pads make them long lasting and highly durable, able to withstand the high demands I put them through.
The frequency response delivers highly accurate and crisp audio across an extended range of 10 Hz to 22 kHz and has the capability of professional grade sound reproduction and produces clear mids and highs.
My one complaint is that the cups fold up under the headphones and though this makes them highly portable, I found that the folding could get annoying as they do it pretty much any time you set them down.
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If you’re looking for headphones that are great for live audio purposes like recording in a studio, mixing live sessions, or DJing, these are the ones for you. They are extremely durable, comfortable, and don’t fatigue the ear at all.
9. CAD Audio MH510
NAMM Tec Award nominee
What impressed me the most about CAD Audio MH510 was that they could stand to compete against sound levels that give the audio a live concert experience. They’re extremely accurate in terms of audio output. The top notch passive noise reduction allows for excellent audio isolation.
They also pick up high notes with a great deal of accuracy along with the deep bass-y notes without higher frequencies growing tinny. They provide incredible extended lows, smooth mids and lifelike highs and have a frequency response range of 10 to 24,000 Hz.
I highly recommend these headphones for both studio playback or live playback for well seasoned performers. These headphones include a closed-back, over ear design with a padded, adjustable and collapsible headband for comfort and portability.
They come with one coiled 3.5-feet cable and another cable that is 10-feet long and straight. You also will receive two types of replaceable ear pads: one leatherette and the other being velvet for comfort even when doing extensive sessions that would typically cause ear fatigue.
|Image credit: CAD Audio Check Price on Amazon||
These are an audiophile’s dream. By providing the user with a lifelike audio representation, the headphones give an insanely detailed audio output. These would be great for audiophiles, but they are also probably the best headphones under $100 for people recording songs that have a lot of details because they pick up so many little nuances you may otherwise miss with other headphones.
Having a good pair of studio headphones is crucial when you are a producer, musician, audio engineer, or artist. You might need to look around a bit and try some out under your specific needs before purchasing to make sure they are a good fit. Do not be hasty with this process, as the headphones you use affect every aspect of your music – the recording, the mix, everything.
Good luck on your search for the perfect pair of studio headphones under $100.