AKG K702 offer up a balanced, flat sound making one of the best headphones for mixing. They have an exceptional build quality for the price, featuring a real leather headband and thoughtful comfort and design touches. For these reasons we consider them to be the best choice when trying to achieve the perfect mix.

Perfecting your mix is one of the most critical stages of music production. Picking the right pair of headphones is one of the most important parts for successfully mixing your audio as the quality of sound can significantly alter the final product. If you don’t go for a quality pair of open-backed speakers, you might find yourself listening to a completely different track by the end of your mixing session.


Our #1 Pick AKG K702

  • Over-ear designmaximum wearing comfort for long work sessions

  • Sophisticated open technologyfor spacious and airy sound without compromise

  • Patented Varimotion two-layer diaphragmfor improved high-frequency range and better performance at low frequencies


Our #2 Pick Sennheiser HD 650

  • Specially designed acoustic silk ensures precision damping over the entire frequency range and helps to reduce THD to an incredible 0.05%

  • Improved frequency response is 10 – 39,500 Hz (-10 dB)

  • Hand-selected matched driver elements


Our #3 Pick Beyerdynamic DT 990

  • Open over-ear headphones, ideal for professional mixing, mastering and editing

  • Perfect for studio applications thanks to their transparent, spacious, strong bass and treble sound

  • The soft, circumaural and replaceable velour ear pads ensure high wearing comfort


Our #4 Pick Shure SRH1440

  • 40 mm neodymium drivers deliver full-range audio with rich, controlled bass

  • Open-back, circumaural design for exceptionally natural sound, wide stereo image, and increased depth of field

  • Impedance optimized for direct connection to wide range of portable audio devices


Our #5 Pick Audio Technica ATH-AD900X

  • Open-air Headphones Deliver Clear, Natural Vocal and Instrumental Reproduction.Connectivity Technology: Wired

  • Large-aperture 53mm Drivers and CCAW Voice Coils For Superior Sound Reproduction

  • No Sense Of Pressure On The Ears, Resulting In A Completely Natural Sensation


What To Look For When Buying Headphones For Mixing

The main type of headphones we’ll be looking at today is “Open-Backed”. We’ll get into exactly why this is important later on, but in order to get the end result, you will ideally need to use two different types of headphones, one for your recording and producing and another for your mixing. While closed-back headphones may get the job done in a pinch, if you are invested in creating the best possible track and can commit to purchasing two sets of headphones, this is the best way to ensure optimal results.

We’ll also be looking at comfort as well. It’s likely you’ll be wearing these for long periods at a time. You don’t want a pair made of cheap materials which could irritate you or a pair that needs constant adjustment for the best sound quality. For that reason, we’ll be paying special attention to build quality too.

Frequency Response

A good pair of mixing headphones will offer up a flat frequency response. Essentially, regular headphones are fighting to spice up your music so that it sounds the best as it can be. For example, Beats headphones are well known for cranking up the bass in their headphones and creating something that sounds nothing like the original mix at all. Now, whether this is a good thing or not is a discussion for another day, but for the sake of mixing this is something we’ll want to avoid.

The only way you’ll be able to the mix that you want on your track, is by hearing it in a way that is neutral as possible. The manufacturers in this list have gone through great trouble to ensure that this is the case because it certainly doesn’t come easy!

Decibels

As with all aspects of your music creation process, you’re going to want to pay special attention to how loud the music you’re listening to is as well. While the open back design which we recommend does mean more outside noises can get in, it’s important not to get carried away and crank up the volume to unsafe levels.

Your musical career will be far longer lived if you take the time to care for your hearing and look after your eardrums!

As a general rule, if you plan on mixing for around an hour or so, you don’t want to exceed 90-95db. If you’re unsure at just how loud this is, it’s about the equivalent to an electric lawnmower or the sound of an active chainsaw. Pretty loud as you can imagine!

If you value your music career, then try to avoid raising the volume above this level for any sustained period of time. Trust me, you’ll thank me when you’re older!

Physical Design

As briefly mentioned before, open-backed headphones are the ideal solution for mixing. The reason for this is due to the natural noises of the outside world. With close backed headphones, the only sound you can hear is that in your head. Unless you plan on your music only being heard through headphones, then you’re going to want to take into account all the various different devices that people will be listening to your music on.

With open backed headphones, they allow some regular outside sound to get into your mix as you listen back to it. It may not even be particularly noticeable at first, it’s more of a white noise if anything. These extra subtle tones, however, will give you allow you to account for a better average listening environment and get a much better average listening environment to mix to.

Our Top Picks In The Best For Headphones For Mixing Category


Our #1 Pick AKG K702

 COST


QUALITY


OUR VERDICT


PROS

✓ Great sound

✓ Very comfortable

✓ Lightweight

✓ Nice materials and good built quality

CONS

✘ Comes with no accessories 

Austrian brand AKG has always been well known for producing high quality products. The K702 model is no exception this rule. They have quickly made a name for themsevlves in the audiophile community for their amazing sound and fantastic build quality.

They are delivering precise musical articulation and a balanced sound that can’t be beaten. They provide great mid-range frequencies while ensuring the bass and treble are not over-represented, something which is absolutely essential for mixing. They have put a lot of effort into producing a flat frequency response here which hasn’t gone unnoticed by professionals and audio fanatics alike.

They are ergonomically shaped, thus very comfortable for long sessions. The ear cups are made of a soft velour fabric, the headband is genuine leather, the body is built of sturdy plastic with metal springs. The 10 ft. cord is detachable and can be replaced elongating product life – something which is always a welcome addition. Unfortunately, additional wires an adapters are sold separately for this model, however.

Overall, the exceptional build quality and ability to produce a fantastic flat frequency response make these our top pick in this category, sure to assist you in make the perfect mix every time.

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Our #2 Pick Sennheiser HD 650

 COST


QUALITY


OUR VERDICT


PROS

Amazing Performance

✓ Comfortable

✓ Replacable Cable

CONS

✘ Bit heavy

✘ Price

One of German brand Sennheiser’s very best products to date. Just by opening the packaging you can feel that this is something very special.

The sound in one word: amazing.  They provide rich audio with a flat frequency response essential for the perfect mix. Many users have noted their impressive ability to provide a good level of volume without sacrificing the open-backed design, something which you’ll be able to appreciate after a long mixing session with there being no need to raise the volume to an unsafe level.

They are very sturdy and well built, in fact, these are individually handmade in Ireland. They are lightweight using very tough plastic for the body of the speaker which surprisingly doesn’t look or feel cheap at all. The ear cushions use a comfortable foam which fit perfectly on the ears.

The only downside here is the price. They are definitely one of the pricier options in this list, although, for the premium audio quality and fantastic design, any professional audio mixer is sure not to regret this purchase.

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Our #3 Pick Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO

 COST


QUALITY


OUR VERDICT


PROS

✓ Great audio reproduction

✓ Sturdy Built

CONS

✘ Too Tight For Some Users

✘ Cable is not removable

✘ Mid-Bass Over represented

Beyerdynamic’s studio headphone is the open back version of their DT 770 which has a longstanding reputation as being an amazing set of headphones in the audiophile world.

While these are known to slightly boost midbass frequencies, on the whole, they offer a relatively flat frequency response enabling you to get the true mix that you’re after.

Built quality is decent. Sturdy plastic all over the housing and a metal core. A few users have complained that these do fit slightly too tight on larger heads, so if you fall into this category this may be something you’ll want to consider. The cable is also not removable which is slightly disappointing as if it becomes frayed or damaged over the years, it’s not going to be easy to replace without extra cost.

 

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Our #4 Pick Shure SRH1440

 COST


QUALITY


OUR VERDICT


PROS

✓ Bright and clear sound

✓ Comfortable

✓ Nice carrying case

CONS

✘ Bit oversized

✘ Restrictive Headband

With celebrity endorsements from Jennifer Lopez an AlunaGeorge, to name a few, Shure are dedicated to offering premium recording and mixing solutions.

This pair is a mid-level entry to their audio production line but certainly doesn’t skimp where it matters. They provide excellent sound performance. Crisp mids and highs, while offering flat low range frequencies, perfect for mixing.

The build quality is nice again opting for tough but not cheap feeling plastic. Unfortunately, that doesn’t leave much room for adjustments for different head shapes and sizes but the majority of users agree they are very comfortable. The ear cushions are velour like material that is great for ensuring they don’t cause your ears to become hot and sweaty during a long mix which is a welcome feature. They come with two double-entry detachable cables one both different sizes so you can pick the appropriate one for your particular mixing setup. They can also be replaced in case they break which is always a welcome feature

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Our #5 Pick Audio Technica ATH-AD900X

 COST


QUALITY


OUR VERDICT


PROS

✓ Interesting design

✓ Great Price

CONS

✘ Sound quality is bit lower than competitors

✘ Cable not removable

This pair of open back headphones have a so-called “3D wing” support design which aims to ensure maximum comfort for all users, regardless of how long you’re using them for. This is somewhat of a unique design compared to other options in this list and users say they are highly satisfied with the comfort levels that come with these heaphones.

Revealing airy sound with a great flat representation of all the frequencies, these are another fantastic option for mixing.

Some users found the sound to be a bit sibilant which could cause an issue when dealing which low level mixes, although, for the most part, this shouldn’t be an issue.

They are fairly comfortable with nice big ear cups, and the build quality is alright but doesn’t appear to be quite as premium as the other options featured in this list, although that’s a sacrifice that comes with their cheaper price point.

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Summary

AKG K702 balanced, flat sound makes them the perfect companion for your mix. Their premium design and materials mean they won’t cause unwanted fatigue to your head after a particularly long mixing session which will certainly be appreciated. Overall, these offer the perfect solution for mixing for both amateurs and professionals alike in our opinion.