Studio headphones are most useful when you are recording singing or an instrument using a microphone and need to prevent the sound from your speakers getting recorded onto the track you are recording on. They are also good for mixing when you are working in a studio with outside noise which can often be the case when you are working in a home recording studio.
Studio headphones are designed to be durable and have a good clear sound across a wide range of frequencies. You should always compare your recording and mix with external speakers or a reference track but using headphones can often help mixing because you eliminate problems caused by the acoustics of the room you are working in.
Choosing Headphones for Recording and Mixing
When you want to record or mix using headphones there are some things you will want to consider.
- Leakage - This is the amount of sound that escapes the headphones. Less leakage is better because it will help prevent the music being played in the headphones getting onto your recording track while you are recording singing or any other microphone based instrument.
- Noise Isolation - You want to hear what you are working on and not the noise outside. Noise isolation will help prevent outside noise from getting into the headphones.
- Comfort - When you are working for many hours recording and mixing music and audio you will need to have some headphones that are comfortable on your head and ears. Make sure the head band will fit your head size and is well padded so your ear can fit comfortably inside the cushion around the speakers.
- Durability - Build quality is important because you want to take them off and listen to external speakers as you mix. If the parts are easily broken then they may not be suitable for a recording studio. I find myself using headphones to record and mix often and poorly build headphones break easily when I'm using them a lot.
- Frequency Range - When you are using headphones for mixing you will want to have a variety of frequencies played. Make sure you can hear some high frequencies, some mid frequencies and some low frequencies.
Recommended Studio Headphones
You can choose headphones that suite you using my tips above but if you are still not sure then I highly recommend the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x because they are professional studio headphones at a reasonable price. These are good headphones for mixing and also make excellent headphones for recording because they are comfortable and have well padded speakers for sound isolation.