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Something people often ask online is “what are the best headphones for music production and beat making”? And should you even make music on headphones?
In this article, we’ll talk about making beats on headphones and what the best options are for people who make music on their computers using beat making software.
Headphone Beat Making or Nah?
The truth is, nothing beats the experience of making music with a good set of pro studio monitors (i.e. studio speakers) and a decent subwoofer.
But that’s not always possible.
If you’re first starting out producing music you may not have a lot of cash to spend on expensive studio monitors/speakers.
If you don’t live alone maybe you can’t bump that shit loud whenever you’d like.
And even if you have your own studio and an ill pair of Adam A7X‘s you want always want to test your mixes and beats/songs on different types of playback systems – studio monitors, home theater speakers, laptop speakers, car audio systems, headphones, etc.
So when you’re a producer headphones are an absolute must – regardless of your situation.
But what are the best ones for music producers?
The Best Headphones for Beat Makers and Music Producers
For the list below we’re going to assume one thing – you need headphones to compose beats. This list isn’t the best headphones for mixing and mastering.
It’s our take on the best headphones to make beats with.
1. KRK KNS-8400 Headphones
Our top pick is from the company KRK.
We’re big fans of KRK products. We use both their KNS-8400 headphones and their Rokit 8 studio monitors in our music making every single day.
When these headphones first came out I jumped at the chance to buy. They sound great and come at an affordable price.
Good bass response, nice brightness and top end.
Here’s what we love:
- Wide Frequency Response – 5Hz to 23kHz
- Low Distortion
- Great Stereo Imaging (Left/Right Separation)
- Good Noise Isolation and Sound Leakage Protection
- Extra-long, Detachable Cord w/ Volume Control
- Comfortable for Extended Period of Wear
2. Grado Prestige Series SR125e
These bad boys are our runner up pick – The Grado SR125e Prestige Headphones.
Grado is a company that’s not really known outside of pro audio and audiophile circles but they make one hell of a headphone.
I own a pair of the SR125’s and they sound spectacular. Decent bass response and a super-clear and bright top end. In some cases it may be too bright for some people, but is a great sound regardless.
These were recommended to me by a professional mix engineer when I asked him what to use to mix on headphones (before I purchased studio monitors) and I’ve always been happy with the purchase. So you can do a decent mix on these and still get into a vibe when producing/composing.
The only problem with them is they aren’t that comfortable to wear after an hour or so and they have an open-back design so the audio bleed is significant.
But here’s what we love:
- Great Frequency Response (20hz to 20kHz)
- Absorbs Vibrations to Provide Clearer Sound
- Neutral Sound
- High Sonic Detail (You Literally Hear EVERYTHING)
- Super Light Weight
- Nearly Distortion Free
3. Audio-Technica ATH-M50X
So we have to give an honorable mention to the Audio Technica ATH-M50X – a solid set of headphones great for music production.
These headphones sound great, but are not entirely flat/neutral sounding. Having said that they are still pretty well balanced and great for both all around use and studio work.
The M50X is the newer version of the older M50’s and they still get a lot of love from the audio community. It’s probably because of their signature (not neutral) sound. These headphones accentuate the top and bottom ends a bit, giving the sound a bit more hype.
This can be great if you’re making beats because you get a better vibe from the sound coming from the headphones. But it’s not the best set of headphones to try mixing on, unless you absolutely have to.
Either way, here’s what we love:
- Slightly Hyped Sound (good for some uses, not all uses)
- Great Frequency Response – 15Hz to 28kHz
- Super Comfortable to Wear
- Multi-use (DJing, Making Beats, Listening to Music)
Which Music Production Headphones Should You Buy?
I’m a little biased here – but I’d recommend going for the KRK KNS-8400 studio headphones.
The Grado’s may sound a little more neutral and clear, but the comfort level is important. I find the KRK’s much more comfortable to wear during extended periods of time.
And they sound great! I’ve done some mixing on them, but it wouldn’t be my first choice to mix music on these. I still prefer mixing on proper studio monitors and referencing the mix on a pair of headphones.
Either way, if you go for any of the 3 headphones we’ve listed above, you’ll be in good shape and won’t have to spend too much money either.