Hey everybody, this is a list of the best open-back headphones for mixing. I personally own a few of them and have listened to almost all of them. Everything you’ll find here is based on my personal knowledge and experience. I hope you’ll enjoy and learn from it.
Headphones Calibration Plugins: Sonarworks | Waves NX
I’m an avid Sennheiser user for years and they never let me down. This time is no different. I’m a big fan of value for money and these headphones bring a lot of value for a lot of money, but it’s definitely worth every penny! Sennheiser always delivers a classic design which a lot of people love. Sometimes you don’t want to sit at your computer with a spaceship on your head. When I listen to the HD600 I can’t help but think about the sound of the Yamaha NS10 monitors. It is very mid-range biased, clear and gives a very detailed sound. The low end is also very accurate but not too “out there”. You will need to use one of the plugins I’ve mentioned above on the master channel if you want them tailored exactly for your needs. But I believe that any headphones will need that. The HD600 feel amazing on the head. Clearly, it’s built for long sessions. The materials feel very natural on the skin and this is a very big factor in mixing headphones.
All you have to do is just mix one song completely on the K701 and then go listen to the mix on a few pairs of studio monitors and other headphones. You are going to be surprised at how little you want to change in your mix. This is a big deal guys. As for the design, I’m not a big fan of that double bow that AKG implements in all of their pro headphones but the grey color is captivating. Feels a little vintage. The price is not that attractive but like with the HD600, it is worth every penny. These didn’t feel like a studio reference headphones due to the fact that they just sound beautiful. I usually don’t trust beautiful things, always prefer the ugly truth. But AKG had an amazing achievement with these headphones, they sound beautiful and they are flat!
Ok, It’s like that: If you want a studio reference headphones for the smallest price, these are for you. I’m a heavy Audio-Technica user, especially when it comes to microphones. They are L.E.G.I.T and these headphones definitely meet the high standard of the company. “Value for money,” you ask? Value – lots. Money–well it’s very cheap!
You can work for long hours without even feeling like you have these headphones on your head. Happened to me. With the ATH-HD700X you’ll get an impressive amount of details across the whole spectrum. You won’t get a boomy low end but then again, I highly recommend one of the headphones calibration plugins mentioned above to avoid the lack of low-end information. It’s there, you just need to push it up a little bit.
Many say that this is the king of all mixing headphones. I partially agree with that. The Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro is a classic and considered to be an industry standard. They are built exactly like the DT 770 but with an open back design. The mix of grey and black is great and the headband is made out of metal which makes it more rigid and gives more confidence when handling. The DT990 are a bit on the larger side and is not designed with portability in mind. They have a consistent frequency response but like most open back designs they lack a little bit of sub bass. Nothing you can’t fix with a calibration plugin, though. The DT990 has a tendency to make you forget they are on your head after a while of using them. They will always give you a lot of details and very accurate special perception. They are not exactly flat in my opinion but once you know them well enough you can get very sweet results.
I’m an admitted Shure fan. I always feel like these headphones don’t get enough credit. Shure products have some sort of magic about them. These headphones are not different. The SRH1840 are very lightweight, that’s why they don’t need a lot of clamping force to hold them on your head. This design is very clean and simple and that is a good thing for all of us “head spaceships” haters. As expected, the SRH1840 deliver a breathtaking amount of details. The sound is very clean and flat across the whole spectrum. They are not bass heavy, just as studio reference headphones should be. The bass is definitely there and you can hear the different bass notes but if you know a thing or two about mixing you know that this is how it’s supposed to be.
The only thing I don’t like about this model is that it has a cable connection on each driver while most of them out these use only one connection going to the left driver. But it’s nothing you can’t live with. Bottom line – the Shure SRH1840 is a clear winner for me. The price is definitely up there but if you ask me, it’s completely worth it.