When producing your own music, whether in your home or in a professional recording studio, it’s important to have the proper equipment that will allow you to monitor audio as accurately as possible. While studio monitors are great, having a solid pair of studio headphones give you more flexibility and ease of use. Luckily for us, there are a lot of budget studio headphones nowadays that are affordable and work great!
To help you out, we’ve put together a list for our picks of the 5 best budget studio headphones under 100 dollars. I put in an extensive amount of research to make sure that each pair of headphones we recommend is high-quality, affordable, and can be useful for music producers of any skill level. Do keep in mind that these are going to be entry-level studio headphones and of course in terms of quality, you will get what you pay for.
Table of Contents
- 1 1. Audio-Technica ATHM40x
- 2 2. Sennheiser HD280PRO
- 3 3. Sony MDR7506
- 4 4. Status Audio CB-1
- 5 5. AKG K240STUDIO
- 6 Final Thoughts
- 7 More Articles to Read:
The ATHM40x from Audio-Technica is one of the best studio headphones available under the 100 dollar price range. They’ve been very popular since it was first introduced, being the choice for the first “serious” go-to pair of studio headphones for many musicians and music producers.
Overall, the ATHM40x has a slick and professional design that will show everyone that you take your music production seriously. At first glance, you might forget that these are budget studio headphones just because of its asthetics. You will notice that these studio headphones have a good amount of padding. This isn’t is the most important feature to have, however, it does ensure in covering a wide variety of preferences for users.
The ear cups are fully adjustable, meaning you can rotate them however you want to and leave them in any angle you prefer. Each ear cup can swivel up to 90 degrees, allowing for easy one-ear monitoring. With such a versatile pair of headphones, you’ll be able to listen to music, mix a track, or even do a live set as a DJ.
These studio headphones come standard with two transducers with proper voice coils. In terms of its frequency response range, it’s not as deep as some of the other competitors, which is completely fine. Sensitivity wise, the M40x offers 98dB of Sound Pressure Level (SPL) with a normal impedance set at 35 Ohms. If you ever need to use them on the go with a portable device, you’ll be able to.
These headphones also ship with two sets of cables, both around 10 feet long in length with the major difference between the two is that one is coiled. The coiled cable has a default length of 4 feet, but you can stretch out up to 10 feet when needed.
The last feature we want to talk about is padding. Audio Technica made sure that the padding was very comfortable and long-lasting. They provide a good seal for your ears and are comfortable enough to use for longer mixing sessions.
The performance of these studio headphones is impressive, especially considering the price range it falls under. You will find that the sound is ideal for mixing as it is transparent and neutral. Like we already have mentioned, the ATHM40x doesn’t dig as deep as other models on the market, however, the level of definition you get from these budget studio headphones is surprising in this price range.
Some of the performance and range was sacrificed for more versatility, being able to use these headphones both in the studio and on the road. Overall, the performance you get from the ATHM40x headphones is one of the best you can find when shopping for something affordable.
Audio Technica really put together a great set of budget studio headphones that looks professional and works like it too. Even years after it’s initial release, the ATHM40x remains on the top as some of the best budget studio headphones under 100 dollars. Competitors are starting to catch up, but the reputation established by these headphones is going to be hard to beat.
Sennheiser is known for being one of the best manufactures of headphones in the music world. While it might not be one of their flagship models, the Sennheiser HD280 PRO is definitely one of the best budget studio headphones available under 100 dollars.
Sennheiser did an excellent job designing these headphones. The HD280 PRO is a fully closed-back pair of studio headphones with a pretty standard design. Both cups truly enclose the ears, providing users with a firm seal when using.
These headphones don’t come with a lot of padding like other models. You will find that it has two thick pads on the inner section of the headband. The quality of the padding is very nice, being soft and comfortable for your ears. Even though these headphones are, for the most part, made of plastic, the build quality of the HD280 PRO is top-notch, Sennheiser standard.
The Sennheiser HD280 PRO studio headphones are rocking a very capable pair of drivers. Frequency range starts at 8Hz and ends at 25kHz, giving users a wide range to work with. It’s the same for volume, where we have 113dB of SPL at a normal impedance of 64 Ohms.
You can easily swap out both the ear pads and the padding on the headband, allowing you to extend the life and comfort of these headphones. They come with a coiled cable that measures between 3.3 feet, coiled in length and can extend up to 9 feet. All of these great features show that these headphones are versatile and can be used in your studio for a long time.
These are excellent headphones to use when mixing music in the studio. They have a nice flat frequency response and a great frequency range. You might notice some minor changes in sound within a couple of dB, but other than that, these headphones are fairly transparent. To top that all off, the noise reduction on these headphones are impressive, maintaining Sennheiser’s reputation for making great closed-back headphones.
The padding provided on the HD280 PRO help make these headphones comfortable for extended use. Something that is common on most affordable headphones is a sweating issue with the padding. If this type of issue occurs, we would definitely recommend you swapping the earpad after some time.
Sennheiser succeeds again with their affordable set of studio headphones, the HD280 PRO. These headphones are excellent to work with when mixing music in the studio. Overall, they have a nice flat response that shows a lot of detail in the audio you are listening to. For a pair of studio headphones under 100 dollars, you can’t go wrong with the Sennheiser HD280 PROs.
3. Sony MDR7506
Sony makes it onto our list with their MDR7506 professional headphones, a classic industry standard for reference headphones since they were introduced in 1991. Even after all these years, these headphones are being utilized by musicians, music producers, and other forms of content creators everywhere.
The MDR7506 headphones are lightweight and designed to be comfortable to use for extended periods of time. Its highly effective closed-ear design provides both comfort and a reduction of external noises. They don’t completely isolate sound, but the padding does a good job at stopping sound leakage. Great for recording purposes so your microphone doesn’t pick up any sound from your headphones.
The headband is comfortable as well, but you might notice that it starts to lose its tension over time. Its 9.8 feet long coiled cable is connected directly to the headphones, so make sure to take care of them. We found that the cable is pretty heavy, something that might require getting used to. Sony did make each cable bend point reinforced with additional rubber, ensuring that your cables are protected and can potentially last longer. These large diaphragm headphones have an overall rugged construction that’s proven to be reliable for years to come.
Like we’ve already mentioned, these headphones have a coiled cable connected directly to the headphones that can extend up to 9.8 feet in length. These headphones are foldable making them much easier for storage after use or for traveling.
The MDR7506s have a frequency range that starts at 10Hz and goes all the way to 20Khz. The impedance is at 63 ohms, so these headphones do require a bit of juice to power, however, they should work fine with portable devices such as your smartphone or tablet.
The MDR7506 studio headphones deliver a powerful, detailed sound. Bass isn’t heavy at all but produces a comfortable amount of low frequencies. Sound is well-balanced all-around, especially in the upper mids and highs.
These headphones deliver a flat sound that’s natural and accurate, important for mixing music. They perform extremely well in studio settings, allowing you to hear subtle sounds in music so you can make accurate adjustments to your mix.
It’s obvious that these headphones really shine in their mids and highs. The tone is bright, but not harsh in any way. If you’re someone who needs a lot of bass, this might not be the best option for you at this price range. Overall, the MDR7506s are excellent for music production.
After taking a closer look at these headphones, its no wonder that the MDR7506s have remained the industry-standard for decades. Many musicians, music producers, and content creators swear by these headphones for their performance, old school design, and of course their affordable price. Definitely a great upgrade from regular consumer models for those who are looking into music production.
As we wind down on our list, one of the pairs that have gotten attention from both casual and professional music producers is the Status Audio CB-1 studio headphones. While they do look basic in terms of their design, their high-end sound quality and affordable price are more than enough reasons to check it out.
We’ll start off by saying the obvious, in terms of design, there’s nothing extraordinarily game-changing with the CB-1s. The fact that there’s no obvious branding on either the headband or cups might make these headphones look a little generic. Other than that, it has a clean design with gold detailing that helps these headphones stand out a little more.
A lot of plastic was used to put together the CB-1s in order to keep prices low, however, the build quality is fairly rugged. These headphones are completely foldable as well, great for space-saving and traveling. The well-padded headband is adjustable and very flexible. You will also find that the over-ear cups are well padded and stuffed with memory foam. They have soft leather outers too, all for a very secure fit.
Status Audio used a lot of plastic to design these headphones in the efforts of keeping the price low for people, however, we found that the overall build is fairly rugged. You can definitely expect these headphones to handle a lot of use.
These headphones come with two detachable cables, one straight cable and one coiled. This gives you some options to work with and effectively adjust to your space. As expected, you also get a 1/4″ jack adapter inside the box.
In terms of tech, the CB-1s feature two 50mm drivers that provide a responsive sound, with an impedance of 32 ohms. This ensures that you can easily use these studio headphones with smaller portable devices such as smartphones or tablets. Last but not least, the frequency response is 15Hz to 30kHz.
The first thing we want to talk about is the surprising amount of detail these budget studio headphones are capable of displaying. There is a flat frequency response, leading to a balanced sound. Trebles are crisp, mids are smooth, and there’s a great amount of punch at the low end that makes the bass powerful.
The closed-back design does block out a bit of sound bleed, but just keep in mind that these headphones aren’t designed to be dedicated to noise-isolating/canceling.
Overall, the CB-1 studio headphones from Status Audio are great for those trying to save money while still having high-quality monitoring for music production. While the design is nothing special, the comfort is excellent, the sound is natural and the performance is very impressive considering the price tag.
It can be tough to stand out in an already saturated market of budget studio headphones, however, that doesn’t stop the K240 Studios from the Austrian brand, AKG from making it onto our list. They’ve got a nice aesthetic look and perform extremely well.
For an affordable budget set of studio headphones, the K240 Studios stand out for their stylish look. It’s got a nice black and gold color scheme that is slick in design. The headband is non-twisting and self-adjustable, fitting snugly onto your ears. It’s flexibility also allows for single-ear listening.
The over-ear cups offer soft leather cushions and a “gimbal-type suspension.” This allows the cups to conform to your ear size and shape comfortably. For such an affordable pair of headphones, the K240 Studios build quality feels rugged and durable. They’re definitely designed to handle longer studio sessions.
These studio headphones utilize a detachable 3-meter input cable for easy replacement if ever necessary. This cable is made of 99.99% oxygen-free copper and has gold plated plugs on both ends, maximizing signal transfer.
These headphones also feature advanced XXL transducers with Varimotion diaphragms. Varimotion diaphragms are thinner and more elastic on the outside edges. This essentially leads to a more powerful bass response. At the same time, the center of the diaphragm is thicker and less resonant, producing more accurate mids and crisper highs.
The frequency response range is 15Hz to 25kHz and has an impedance of 55 ohms. These headphones do require a bit of juice because of this, however, they can still be easily used with a smartphone or portable device.
AKG delivers with the K240 Studio headphones. They offer an impressively flat response with a bass that has great a punch but isn’t too overpowering. The K240 studios really shine with beautiful mids and highs.
Something to keep in mind is that the semi-open-back design does lead to a more natural and open sound, but expect the typical sound bleed you would get from this style of headphones. If you want the best quality from these headphones, make sure to use them in a quiet environment.
I couldn’t be happier with the price tag on this outstanding pair of studio headphones. The specs, design, and components that the K240 Studios offers are amazing for the price. They might not be the most ideal pair of headphones to travel with, but they definitely shine when working at home or a studio setting.
There are so many options to choose from when it comes to monitoring for music producing. Thankfully, there’s a wide variety of budget studio headphone options to choose from for those that are trying to save money or just getting started. We hope our list of recommendations helps you find the best studio headphones that fit your needs for the time being. Happy mixing!