Top 7 Best open-back headphones for Mixing & Mastering!

Best open-back headphones for Mixing & Mastering!
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In this article, we are looking at some of the best open-back studio headphones, which are perfect for musicians, audio engineers, and people involved in podcasting or video editing.

Open-back studio headphones, compared to closed-back headphones, have open or perforated earcups that let air in and out of the headphones.

It gives them a much wider sound stage and enhanced stereo imaging. This makes them perfect for referencing, mixing, and mastering music.

However, due to the open-back design, you will notice a lot of audio leaking out of them, making them not fit for audio monitoring tasks.

Related: Best Studio Headphones for recording vocals / tracking purposes.

Therefore, closed-back studio headphones prove much more reliable than open-back headphones for audio monitoring or tracking tasks such as recording vocals.

Best open-back studio headphones for Mixing & Mastering

Mixing on headphones is fun, but for that, you need quality studio headphones that will provide you with a surreal experience and accurate reproduction of audio.

1) Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro Studio Headphones

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro Open Studio Headphones

Product Features

  • Impedance – 250 ohms,
  • Straight 3m & coiled 5m,
  • 3.5 mm TRS Jack connector,
  • Cable Type – Non-detachable,
  • Type – open back headphones,
  • Frequency response – 5Hz – 40kHz.

click to view price of Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro on amazon

A Deeper Analysis

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro Studio Headphones top our list of best open-back studio headphones for mixing and mastering. They have superior sound quality, an alluring design, comfortable earcup, and headband cushioning.

I love how these studio headphones blend in with your home recording studio or office space smoothly and effortlessly. The all-black body with gray metal mesh design peeking through ear-cups makes these headphones stand out from their competitors.

Also read: Best studio headphones for mixing and mastering!

Best open-back headphones for Mixing & Mastering!

Most importantly, the sound signature of DT 1770 Pro headphones is flat and neutral. They sound exactly like professional studio headphones.

The highs are crisp and non-fatiguing, mids remain relatively flat, and lows remain deep and extended.

Not to forget, as these are open-back headphones, they offer an immersive sound stage. They do a great job creating the perfect stereo space to let you mix and master efficiently.

Another handy thing about these headphones is that they have replaceable parts. You can switch out different parts when required.

Additionally, the detachable cables allow you to change the cable according to your preference. This is a feature that I admire when working in different kinds of studios where I want various cable lengths.

All in all, I would recommend the DT 1990 to home producers who want to level up their mixing skills and to audio professional who want an effective listening option.

These headphones are the best in class, and for this budget, you don’t need to look anywhere else. Don’t forget to use a headphone amp when using these headphones. Otherwise, the sound quality will suffer.


  • Excellent build quality,
  • Extremely comfortable,
  • Exceptional sound quality.


  • During long studio sessions, the high-end can become ear tiring.

2) Shure SRH1840 Premium studio Headphones

Shure SRH1840 Premium Open-back Headphones

Product Features

  • Impedance – 65 ohms,
  • Straight 2m cable,
  • 3.5 mm TRS Jack connector,
  • Cable Type – Detachable,
  • Type – open back headphones,
  • Frequency response – 10Hz – 30kHz.

click to view price of Shure SRH1840 on amazon

A Deeper Analysis

The Shure SRH 1840 studio headphones are our choice of best open-back studio headphones under $500. These headphones offer an excellent value for money in this price segment.

The moment you take these studio-grade headphones out of the box, you can tell how light and well built they are. You can wear them for hours on end without facing any irritation and how they fit on your head.

Related: 32 vs 80 vs 250 Ohm Headphones

Furthermore, the velour earpad material keeps the earcups from heating up in your ears during long studio sessions. The earpad cushioning is very dense and comfortable.

Not to forget, the sound stage is very wide. The stereo width of these headphones lets you hear everything in great detail. And as for the sound signature, these are incredibly neutral headphones, making Shure stand out from their competitors.

Listening to different headphones, I can tell that Shure has one of the flattest sounding headphones. The highs remain emphasized, the mids remain highly detailed and flat, and the bass response is dim but covers a deep range.

I recommend the Shure SRH 1840 to people who need to monitor their mixes and masters with great attention to detail. They are also suitable for musicians, video editors, gamers, and podcasters. However, casual listening, they are very dull with dim bass response.


  • Robust build quality,
  • Appreciable comfort,
  • Frequency response remains highly flat and neutral.


  • The high price may spark a concern for some people.

3) Sennheiser HD 650 Headphones

Sennheiser HD 650
Best open-back headphones

Product Features

  • Straight 3m cable,
  • Impedance – 345 ohms,
  • 3.5 mm TRS Jack connector,
  • Cable Type – Detachable,
  • Type – open back headphones,
  • Frequency response – 10Hz – 41kHz.

click to view price of Sennheiser HD 650 on amazon

click to view price of Sennheiser HD 660S on amazon

A Deeper Analysis

The Sennheiser HD 650 headphones have been in the market for quite a while now and are still among the popular studio headphones.

Like most headphones, the headphones are mostly carved out of solid plastic and metal. The open-back casing consists of metal mesh and looks quite good on the oval ear-cups.

The HD 650 headphones are popular among audiophiles as well as home producers. These headphones offer accurate music reproduction as it was made in the studio. They have an extremely flat frequency response and may sound boring to people who use regular headphones.

Not to forget, comfort is an essential factor when wearing headphones for extended periods. I found the Sennheiser HD 650 studio headphones quite comfortable due to the outstanding earpad and headband cushions. Also, the clamping pressure is quite good, neither too tight nor too loose.

Due to the high impedance value, these headphones need proper amplification. I recommend using an audio interface or headphone amplifier.

If you are a home producer who wants to produce music and reference your mixes and masters casually, then you need to consider the Sennheiser HD 650 headphones.


  • Well build headphones,
  • Comfortable padding and cushioning,
  • Great sound quality and reproduction.


  • Not suitable for extreme bass lovers.

4) Audio-Technica ATH-R70x studio headphones

Audio-Technica ATH-R70x

Product Features

  • Impedance – 470 ohms,
  • Straight 3m cable,
  • Cable Type – Detachable,
  • 3.5 mm TRS Jack connector,
  • Type – open back headphones,
  • Frequency response – 5Hz – 40kHz.

click to view price of Audio-Technica ATH-R70x on amazon

A Deeper Analysis

The Audio-Technica ATH-R70x studio headphones face a lot of competition in the price bracket of $300-$400. These headphones look aesthetically pleasing to watch with an all-black design.

These headphones have a unique design with “wingsextending from each earcup. The build material does not look premium. But holding one in my hands, I can say that the ATH-R70x headphones are built solid and dependable.

Not to forget, the sound signature of these headphones is relatively flat, and it is pretty comparable to the Sennheiser’s tonal quality. The differences show up in lower mids and bass frequencies, where the ATH-R70X has a forwardness in lower mids and a bit recessed low-end response.

Best open-back headphones

Also, the headphones are comfortable enough to wear for long hours. However, in the beginning, you may feel awkward wearing these headphones as the wings press at a particular point of your head. But you’ll soon become habitual to that.

All in all, I would recommend the ATH-R70X studio headphones due to their balanced sound and tonal response. No matter how good these referencing headphones may be, there is a lot of competition with other competitive brands.


  • Durable build,
  • Neutral sound signature,
  • Moderate clamping force.


  • High impedance,
  • The design looks quite dated.

5) Beyerdynamic DT 900 PRO X Studio Headphones

Beyerdynamic DT 900 PRO X

Product Features

  • Impedance – 48 ohms,
  • straight 3m and coiled 3m cable,
  • Cable Type – Detachable,
  • 3.5 mm TRS Jack connector,
  • Type – open back headphones,
  • Frequency response – 5Hz – 40kHz.

click to view price of Beyerdynamic DT 900 PRO X on amazon

A Deeper Analysis

The Beyerdynamic DT 900 PRO X studio headphones offer a good upgrade from the budget category. You will find a lot of closed-back headphones in this price segment of under $300, but only a few open-backs are capable of being included in this list.

When you compare them with DT 990 Pro headphones, you will find that they have significantly louder volume levels. But, the issue that remains with open-back DT 990 pro x is that the bass is still not that punchy. They pack quite a boom but not that much for heavy bass genres; the sub-bass is lacking.

The DT 900 Pro X are neutral sounding, making them the right choice for mixing and mastering. They have an excellent treble response with recessed mids. You get a lot of clarity from these headphones and these headphones are trusted by the industry professionals.

Best open-back headphones

Not to forget, the comfort of these headphones is brilliant. You can squeeze good listening hours without getting uncomfortable or distracted by how they sit on your head. The earcup cushioning is also quite thick and sufficient.

All in all, I would recommend the Beyerdynamic DT 900 Pro X to anyone who has a good investing capacity but does not want to go too far for accurate sound reproduction, quality and comfort.


  • Attractive design,
  • Flat frequency response,
  • Provides high value for money.


  • The sound stage is not very immersive.

6) Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO Studio Headphones

Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO

Product Features

  • 3m coiled cable,
  • Impedance – 38 ohms,
  • Non-Detachable cable,
  • 3.5 mm TRS Jack connector,
  • Type – open back headphones,
  • Frequency response – 5Hz – 35kHz.

click to view price of Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO on amazon

A Deeper Analysis

When you look at the king of budget open-back studio headphones, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro headphones will find you there. These headphones are highly loved and widely used across the globe.

The design of the DT 990 Pro remains mostly plastic with adequate cushioning around earcups and the headband. Nonetheless, the headphones feel very comfortable and are suitable for wearing for long periods.

Best open-back headphones

Since these are open-back, the sound stage is much broader than most budget closed-back headphones like ATH-M50X or DT 770 Pro. This makes them great for referencing your audio mixes and masters.

The sound signature and frequency response remains relatively flat and balanced. A great thing about the sound signature is the non-sibilant highs with deep and extended bass. However, the low-mids are a bit boosted.

Lastly, the non-detachable cable may pose an issue for some users. If you break the cable, these headphones are as good as nothing. But, the good part here is that the cables are made up of good quality material.


  • Comfortable design,
  • A solid budget option,
  • Great sound reproduction for professional use.


  • The 250 ohm variant requires an external amp.

7) AKG Pro Audio K240 Studio Headphones

AKG Pro Audio K240

Product Features

  • Detachable cable,
  • cable length – 3m,
  • Impedance – 55 ohms,
  • 3.5 mm TRS Jack connector,
  • Type – Semi-open headphones,
  • Frequency response – 15Hz – 25kHz.

click to view price of AKG Pro Audio K240 on amazon

A Deeper Analysis

The AKG Pro K240 headphones are among the best cheap studio headphones you can buy on a lower budget. These headphones have proven their worth to musicians, sound engineers, video editors, and podcasters from time to time.

These studio headphones come with the same design as the AKG flagship models. The cushioning around the earcups is comfortable, making them suitable for long studio hours.

Now, let us see what the headphones offer in terms of sound quality and frequency response.

Firstly, the response across different ranges remains relatively flat. However, it dips significantly across the low-end spectrum making these headphones quieter in the bass.

Best open-back headphones

Narrow down the budget: Best studio headphones under $50!

Therefore, if you work heavily in mixing bass-heavy genres, I recommend staying away from them. You will not get enough bass to enjoy such genres.

Also, as these headphones are semi-open, you get a good sound stage involving you in a vast stereo space.

The AKG 240 headphones are durable and flexible to fit most face shapes. I also found the clamping force adequate and does not presses your head too tightly.

Lastly, they are not very portable and will take up some space if you want to carry them out of your studio space. I would have loved to see a foldable design.


  • Great highs and mids,
  • Secure comfortable fit,
  • Extremely light weight.


  • The bass may seem quiet to untrained ears.


In conclusion, not every studio headphone is built the same way.

Some offer a closed design that makes them practical for audio monitoring, while others provide an immersive sound signature.

This blog post covered and listed the best open-back studio headphones in each price segment.

However, if you want me to add any particular open-back studio headphones, do let me know in the comments.

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