Headsets serve a surprising number of different purposes. For most, they are just a way to enjoy more detailed and accurate listening without having to fill the room with sound. For others, on the other hand, headphones are an analytical tool. Cans of a certain quality can be used to study the mix of a track or even dissect the arrangement of instruments in a recording room.
Here are our choices for the best reference headphones.
1. Sennheiser HD 650
The Sennheiser HD 650 has an open-back design, offering more natural sound at the expense of listening privacy.
2. Audeze LCD-1 Audiophile Headphones
Although Audeze produces some of the most high-end planar headphones on the market, their high-end headphones can cost more than the rental of 40 hours of professional studio time. That’s why I have no qualms about saying that their entry-level Audeze LCD-1 headphones are more than accurate as a reference tool for artists recording at home.
3. AKG 702 Reference-Class Headphones
AKG 702 earphones are known for delivering faithful sound at a low price, so our search for the best, most affordable audiophile earphones led us straight to the high-end of their signature QJ sound series.
5. Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro
The German company Beyerdynamic presents the DT 770 Pro, a remake of one of their most profitable classic model pairs. The 770 Pro is made from durable materials and offers many quality details, right down to its gold-plated 3.5 mm cylinder. I especially liked the velvet ear cushions and the simple but effective adjustable headband.
6. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
The ATH-M50x is Audio-Technica’s most popular M-Series headphones, offering true studio monitor sound at a fairly reasonable price. The M50x offers both durability and comfort in its design, with a blend of soft padding and rugged plastics making up its compact design. The earcups fold, rotate and swivel 180°, making it a highly portable option that’s perfect for the DJ. In many ways, they are comparable to the Samson Z55.