The Best Affordable Headphones for Bedroom Producers

One of the questions that gets asked time and time again in bedroom producer communities is this… what are the best affordable headphones for new producers. In this article I’ll give you my opinion, and ask you for yours. 

How Much do You Want to Spend?

The first thing to consider when looking for your first production headphones is your budget.  As this website is aimed at bedroom producers and DIY home studio fanatics I will assume you don’t have an infinite amount of money to spend and that you want to get the best value possible. Obviously, the more you spend, the better quality headphones you can buy. But you can get a pair which are more than good enough for producing and mixing without going bankrupt.

That said, if you buy dirt cheap headphones, you aren’t going to be doing yourself any favours. You need at least a certain level of quality, frequency range and accuracy to really hear what is going on in your production and be able to make good decisions. So you need to find that balance between quality and cost that’s going to allow you to make good music without making you very poor.

I believe that spending around £100-£150 will get you what you need to get started, at the lowest cost. There are two pairs of headphones in this range that I would recommend.

Sennheiser HD 380 Pro

Sennheiser HD 380 Pro Headphones

Currently going for just under a hundred quid, the Sennheiser HD 380 Pro Headphones are a great set of cans for the price. They are closed-back so great for recording too, though open-backs are preferred for accurate monitoring you will not be disappointed with the range and clarity of these.

Sennheiser HD 380 Pro Headphones prices

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Headphones

For around the same price (depending what deals are on) you can grab a pair of Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Headphones. These have very similar specs to the Sennheisers with a bit more high end and a bit less low, though nothing that makes one particularly any better than the other.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Headphones prices

But Which is Best?

In all honesty, there is very little difference between the two and whichever you choose will serve you well. The ATH-M50x are more popular recently and have a slightly flatter response curve. Though if you use correction software like SonarWorks headphone calibration that becomes irrelevant.  You can see below the difference, with the Sennheisers having a bit of a peak around 2.5khz which calibration smoothes out for you.

Sennheiser HD 380 Pro

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

What do You Think?

These two are my recommendations for the cheapest headphones that are good enough to use for bedroom producers and home studio people. If you are willing to spend more then you can definitely do better, but either of these is good to get you started.

What do you think? Do you prefer some other headphones in this price range? Do you think these are not suitable for any reason? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

10 thoughts on “The Best Affordable Headphones for Bedroom Producers

  1. I have the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 around ear headphones, they were a bit more pricey at £199 but look amazing, I can tell that they are better than my older cheaper AKG K77s, but I wouldn’t be able to tell you why exactly. Comfy too.

    1. Apologies folks for having mislead you slightly. My headphones are the Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Over Ear model, the Around Ear are probably better for recording with as they cancel out more noise, but are more expensive at £375 as opposed to £199. Although having said that, if it’s quieter recording situations or just for listening to your iPod, the Over ears are fine and also come with some Sennheiser in ear phones for free if you buy from the longest river in South America!

  2. I have the the senn 380 pros, I finally gave in and bought some yamaha hs8 monitors, I just couldn’t totally trust them for my final masters, I was surprised by how much different the hs8’s sound than the 380’s. the speaks give me a rock solid mix I can trust. The 380’s may still be the best headphones ,for the money i don’t really know, they fold up nice r comfortable.

    1. Ah… Monitors will always be more accurate than headphones, especially at this process range. However, you can use plugins like Waves NX and Sonatworks headphone correction to vastly improve the accuracy of your headphones for mixing.

  3. To be honest the only gear I have for mixing is my PC and the ATH-M50x (I won the last one in a raffle :v ) and they sound really nice. Obviously I don’t know how they’re acompared to other headphones (besides the crappy Genius one for general listening) or to monitors, but I tend to listen my mixes on mono (using on my Master a MONO button or a plugin), crappy headphones and crappy speakers (like the ones on laptops) so I can hear how those mixes are on environments that people usually listen to music on.

    Now, it would be awesome for me to buy the Reference 3 software to calibrate the ATH-M50x, but I’m too poor right now for that.

    1. It’s really interesting how much the Sonarworks calibration changes the sound of your headphones. When you turn it off again it’s kinda scary!

      Not sure if you’re already in the Plugin Deals group on Facebook? Someone shared a discount code on there a while ago… might still be valid. 😉

      https://www.facebook.com/groups/plugindeals/

  4. Today (using that ATH-M50X graphic) I put ReaEQ, abusing it’s “unlimited bands” to flatter the frequency response the best I could: The difference is huge. Then I trie listening to a mix I’m working on on crappy spearkers after some rebalancing and it sounds better.

    Thanks Stu, just by making this post I can listen and mix way better than before 😀

  5. I’ve got the Audio-Technica ATH-M20Xs and use the Sonarworks software. It does end to blow your head off when you bypass it.

    The M20Xs are nice if your cash is tight.

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