7 Best Headphones for Mixing and Mastering

best headphones for mixing and mastering
best headphones for mixing and mastering

As an audio engineer and music producer, having the right headphones is crucial for mixing and mastering. After testing numerous models, I’ve selected 7 of the top best headphones for mixing and mastering, critical listening and audio work.

Best headphones for mixing and mastering

Lets put a deeper look below and see what different companies offers us:

Best Value



Rating: 3 out of 5.

The ATH-M50x are closed-back studio headphones with excellent sound isolation. They have a balanced sound profile perfect for mixing and mastering.

Best Value



Rating: 3 out of 5.

The MDR-7506 are affordable closed-back headphones with a neutral frequency response. A studio standard for over 30 years.

Best Value



Rating: 3 out of 5.

A great budget option, the ATH-M20x reproduce audio accurately considering their low price point.

Best Value


HD 800 S

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The HD 800 S are open-back audiophile headphones with incredibly realistic spacious sound.

Best Value


Edition XS

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Lightweight open-back headphones with impressive clarity and detail across the frequency spectrum.

Best Value


DT 990 PRO

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The DT 990 PRO are open-back studio headphones with a wide spacious soundstage. Great for mixing.

Best Value


HD 681

Rating: 3 out of 5.

For those on a tight budget, the HD 681 offer good sound quality for the price.

When mixing and mastering music, you need headphones that reproduce audio accurately and reveal all the details in a mix. This allows you to make precise equalization, compression, panning and other adjustments to get your tracks sounding their absolute best.

I’ve compiled this list of the best headphones for mixing and mastering after extensive testing and critical listening. My criteria included neutral sound reproduction, comfort during long sessions, build quality, and overall value.

These 7 headphones excel in these areas and are reliable tools for any audio engineer or music producer. From budget models to high-end audiophile headphones, this list has options to suit any studio setup and budget.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are my top choice for closed-back, best headphones for mixing and mastering. Their excellent isolation makes them ideal for tracking and overdubbing. The sound is neutral with tight bass and clear extended highs. The closed earcup design provides good passive noise isolation so you can focus on your mix.

These headphones are comfortable even during marathon mixing sessions thanks to the padded earcups and headband. Audio-Technica redesigned the headband on the M50x models for added durability.

Overall, the ATH-M50x provide outstanding performance for the price. They are a modern classic and staple in studios across the world.

  • Accurate, neutral sound
  • Excellent noise isolation
  • Durable and premium build
  • Detachable cables
  • Comfortable for long sessions
  • Good value for price
  • Pleather earpads can get hot
  • Not as spacious sounding as open-back
  • Clamping force may be tight for some

  • Closed-back dynamic headphones
  • 45mm large-aperture drivers
  • Rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils
  • 15-28,000 Hz frequency response
  • 99 dB sensitivity
  • 38 ohm impedance
  • 90° swiveling earcups
  • Detachable cables (coiled, straight, and short)
  • Professional grade headband and earpads
  • Collapsible for transport and storage
  • Transducer type: dynamic
  • Driver size: 45 mm
  • Magnet: neodymium
  • Frequency response: 15 – 28,000 Hz
  • Maximum input power: 1,600 mW
  • Sensitivity: 99 dB
  • Impedance: 38 ohms
  • Weight: 285 g
  • Cable: 1.2 m – 3.0 m coiled, 3.0 m straight
  • Connector: 3.5 mm and 6.3 mm with screw-on adapter
  • Earcup type: closed-back circumaural
  • Earpad material: professional grade
  • Headband: professional grade

Sound Quality: With 45mm large-aperture drivers and rare earth magnets, the ATH-M50x deliver excellent sound across the spectrum. The bass has nice sub-bass extension down to 15 Hz along with tight defined mid-bass punch. The mids sound smooth and clear. And the highs extend up to 28 kHz for pristine sparkling treble without harshness. The sound is neutral with just a slight lift in the lows and highs.

Comfort: The professional-grade earpads provide plenty of cushioning along with just the right clamping force. My ears never feel pinched. And the padded headband prevents any hot spots, allowing me to mix for hours. The 90 degree swiveling earcups also help create a customized, comfortable fit.

Build Quality: The M50x are constructed from high quality materials including metal hinges, reinforced headband, and removable cables. The earcups and headband feel very durable and can easily withstand regular use. While mainly plastic, the construction avoids any flimsy or fragile parts.

Value: Considering the impressive audio reproduction, comfort, and durable build, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x deliver exceptional value. At their typical street price, they outclass most headphones in their price bracket. For your primary mixing and tracking headphones, the M50x are a smart investment.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Review:

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x exemplify everything needed for professional studio monitoring on a budget. Their neutral yet musical sound makes them ideal for mixing and mastering.

I find the M50x reveal just the right amount of detail without becoming overly analytical. The extended 15 Hz – 28 kHz frequency response ensures you hear everything in your mixes.

The closed-back design provides excellent isolation. This allows you to monitor at lower volumes and avoids sound bleed issues when tracking instruments and vocals. Leakage is minimal even at louder volumes.

In terms of comfort, the M50x perform well thanks to the professional grade earpads and headband. The earcups offer just the right clamping pressure for a secure fit without feeling too tight. I’m able to wear them for hours at a time without any ear pain or fatigue.

Considering their reasonable price point, the Audio-Technica M50x should be standard equipment for any home or project studio. Their neutral sound, isolation, and durable build make them reliable tools for critical listening, these really are best headphones for mixing and mastering.

Warranty and Service

Audio-Technica provides a 1 year limited warranty covering defects in materials and workmanship. Proof of purchase is required along with a return authorization number. The headphones must be sent to an authorized service center for evaluation and repair if deemed necessary.

User Review

“Neutral sound perfect for mixing – highs, mids and lows all come through cleanly.”

Sony MDR-7506

Sony’s MDR-7506 have attained legendary status in the recording studio. They have been an industry standard for over 30 years thanks to their affordable price, comfortable fit, and neutral, balanced sound.

The MDR-7506 allow you to work on mixes for hours makeing it best headphones for mixing and mastering, thanks to the comfortable padded earcups and adjustable headband. The sound has a slight emphasis on the low and high ends but generally remains accurate for mixing.

While not as detailed as more expensive models, the MDR-7506 get the job done well for their low price. These tried-and-true closed-back headphones deserve a spot in any studio.

  • Affordable price
  • Balanced sound
  • Industry standard
  • Reliable and durable
  • Foldable design
  • Comfortable earpads
  • All plastic build feels cheap
  • Earpads wear out over time
  • Highs and lows slightly emphasized
  • Tight clamping force
  • Non-detachable coiled cable

  • Closed-back dynamic headphones
  • 40mm drivers
  • Neodymium magnets
  • 10 Hz – 20 kHz frequency response
  • 106 dB sensitivity
  • 63 ohm impedance
  • Oxygen-free copper cord
  • Gold connectors
  • Foldable design
  • Replaceable earpads
  • Transducer: dynamic
  • Driver unit: 40 mm, PET diaphragm
  • Frequency response: 10 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Sensitivity: 106 dB/mW
  • Impedance: 63 ohms
  • Rated power capacity: 1,000 mW
  • Max. input power: 1,000 mW
  • Cord type: oxygen-free copper, 10 feet
  • Plug: gold plated 3.5 mm and 6.3 mm adapter
  • Weight: 224 g w/o cable
  • Earcup type: closed-back
  • Earpads: replaceable

Sound Quality: With 40mm PET drivers and neodymium magnets, the MDR-7506 deliver solid audio reproduction for the price. The sound leans slightly hyped in the lows and highs but generally maintains good neutrality for the cost. The bass extension reaches down to 10 Hz and remains tight. The highs sound detailed without harsh spikes.

Comfort: The MDR-7506 offer decent comfort for longer mixing sessions courtesy of the padded headband and swiveling earcups. The synthetic leather earpads provide moderate noise isolation as well. The clamping force exerts a bit of pressure but not enough to cause pain.

Build Quality: Being all plastic in construction, the MDR-7506 don’t feel like premium headphones. But the plastics are high grade and built to withstand years of use. Sony didn’t cut corners here, so you can expect them to hold up. The non-detachable coiled cable also feels plenty durable.

Value: Given their reputation for reliable performance over decades and affordable cost, the Sony MDR-7506 provide tremendous value. While not the most refined headphones sonically or aesthetically, their neutral sound and proven longevity make them a smart buy.

Sony MDR-7506 Review:

As iconic recording headphones, the Sony MDR-7506 have earned their status through decades of reliable performance. Their neutral sound reproduction makes them ideal for mixing and mastering, especially considering the affordable price.

The MDR-7506 have a smooth frequency response that reveals subtleties in your mixes without excessive hyping of frequencies. The closed earcup design also provides solid isolation for tracking and mixing.

In terms of comfort, the MDR-7506 perform decently thanks to the padded headband and swiveling earcups. The overall plastic construction feels a bit cheap, but Sony built them to last through years of studio use. Durablity is one of the reason to make it best headphones for mixing and mastering.

For studio engineers on a tight budget, the Sony MDR-7506 remain an excellent choice. While not perfect, their transparent sound and durable build justify their popularity year after year.

Warranty and Service

Sony offers a 1 year limited warranty that covers parts and labor repairs due to manufacturing faults. The headphones must be sent to an authorized Sony repair center after acquiring a return authorization. Original receipt is required as proof of purchase along with a purchase date.

User Review

“Nice accurate sound especially for the affordable price.”

Audio-Technica ATH-M20x

As an even more affordable alternative from Audio-Technica, the ATH-M20x perform very well for critical listening and mixing. They have a neutral sound profile that, while not as detailed as the M50x, provide honest frequency reproduction.

For their low price point, the sound quality is truly impressive. Like all Audio-Technica headphones, they are built to last with high quality materials.

The ATH-M20x are an excellent budget pick for those looking for faithful audio reproduction without excessive hyped frequencies making it best headphones for mixing and mastering.

  • Extremely affordable
  • Surprisingly good sound for price
  • Neutral frequency response
  • Comfortable fit
  • Collapsible design
  • Non-detachable cable
  • Tight clamping force
  • All plastic build
  • Bass lacks full impact
  • No accessories or case included

  • Closed-back dynamic headphones
  • 40mm drivers
  • Rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils
  • 15 – 20,000 Hz frequency response
  • 96 dB sensitivity
  • 47 ohm impedance
  • Straight single-side cable
  • 90° swiveling earcups
  • Collapsible design
  • Transducer: dynamic
  • Driver: 40 mm
  • Frequency response: 15 – 20,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 96 dB
  • Impedance: 47 ohms
  • Maximum input power: 700 mW
  • Weight: 190 g w/o cable
  • Cable: 1.2 m – 3.0 m straight
  • Connector: 3.5 mm
  • Earcup: closed-back
  • Earpad: replaceable
  • Accessories included: 6.3 mm adapter

Sound Quality: With 40mm drivers, the ATH-M20x deliver surprisingly balanced and detailed audio for budget headphones. The bass lacks really deep sub-bass but has decent mid-bass punch. The midrange and highs sound quite clear and neutral considering the price. While not overly spacious, the sound overall outperforms other headphones in this range.

Comfort: The earcups and headband offer synthetic leather padding that lets the M20x sit fairly comfortably on the head. The clamping force is snug but not excessive for most. Most listeners should be able to wear them for a couple of hours without issue. They’re more comfortable than similarly priced models.

Build Quality: Constructed entirely from plastic, the M20x feel decent but not substantial. The hinges and sliders work smoothly without cracking but probably won’t last decades. As is typical for budget headphones, durability takes a backseat to cost savings. But the M20x should hold up fine for home use.

Value: At their affordable price point, the ATH-M20x deliver genuine value for money. While all compromises were made in build quality and materials, the audio reproduction punches far above their class. For budget home recording and mixing, the M20x are a smart buy.

Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Review:

As the budget model in Audio-Technica’s M-Series, the ATH-M20x are best headphones for mixing and mastering as they reproduce audio surprisingly well at a very affordable price point. They deliver a balanced, neutral sound that easily outpaces other headphones in their price range.

Considering their low cost, the clarity and detail are really remarkable. The ATH-M20x have the same 40mm drivers as the more expensive M50x, just tuned with slightly less emphasis on bass and treble frequencies. The midrange sounds clear and balanced.

In terms of comfort, the M20x perform decently thanks to the swiveling earcups and padded headband. The clamping force is somewhat tight but expected at this price.

While all plastic in construction, the ATH-M20x feel solid enough for regular use. The non-removable cable is an unfortunate compromise. Overall, for budget home recording and mixing, the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x are an excellent choice that punches above their class.

Warranty and Service

The ATH-M20x are covered by a 1 year limited warranty from Audio-Technica, similar to the M50x. It covers defects in materials and workmanship with service done by authorized repair centers after obtaining a return authorization number. Proof of purchase is required.

User Review

“Great neutral sound reproduction for budget phones.”

Sennheiser HD 800 S

For my pick of high-end open-back headphones, the Sennheiser HD 800 S are hard to beat. Their expansive soundstage and exceptional detail reveal every nuance in a mix making it best headphones for mixing and mastering.

No compromise was made in designing the HD 800 S. The transducer technology delivers silky smooth highs and tight, articulate bass. The open design makes the stereo image more natural and spacious sounding.

Comfort is also top-notch thanks to the lightweight build and luxuriously padded headband and earcups. Yes, the price tag is hefty, but for hearing every detail in your mixes, the HD 800 S are unmatched.

  • Spacious, speaker-like sound
  • Unmatched detail across spectrum
  • Silky smooth treble
  • Tight accurate bass
  • Extremely comfortable fit
  • Superb engineering and build quality
  • Extremely expensive
  • Requires proper amping
  • Can be too analytical for some
  • Soundstage not ideal for tracking

  • Open-back dynamic headphones
  • 56mm ring radiator transducers
  • Lightweight aluminum voice coils
  • 4 – 51,000 Hz frequency response
  • 102 dB sensitivity
  • 300 ohm impedance
  • Kevlar reinforced OFC cable
  • Absorber tuned chambers
  • Rotating earcups
  • Replaceable earpads
  • Transducer principle: dynamic, open
  • Frequency response: 4 – 51,000 Hz (-10dB)
  • Nominal impedance: 300 ohms
  • Sound pressure level: 102 dB
  • Approx. weight: 330 g
  • Magnet system: neodymium, N45
  • Throat diameter: 58 mm
  • Ear coupling: circumaural, open
  • Earpads: replaceable

Sound Quality: With hand selected matched drivers in acoustically tuned enclosures, the HD 800 S achieve breathtaking sound reproduction with silky highs, tight lows, and a massive soundstage. Every detail in a mix comes through with lifelike clarity. The sense of space is unmatched. These are simply reference-level headphones.

Comfort: The earcups are generously padded with a microfiber material that prevents heat buildup. The headband is also luxuriously padded on both sides. Along with the lightweight build, the HD 800 S can be worn for many hours without fatigue setting in. They disappear on your head.

Build Quality: Constructed in Germany from aircraft-grade aluminum and high tech polymers, the HD 800 S exude quality in every aspect. The detachable cable connects solidly with custom locking ports. Expect these headphones to last through decades of use. They are built without compromise.

Value: Yes, the HD 800 S demand a premium price. But their peerless performance and craftsmanship make them worth the investment for professionals demanding the best. If your mixes sound perfect through the HD 800 S, they will translate extremely well on any system.

Sennheiser HD 800 S Review:

When only the best will do, the Sennheiser HD 800 S deliver audiophile reference-level performance for both mixing and personal listening. Their open spacious soundstage and crystal clear details are unmatched.

The HD 800 S produce an incredibly natural tonal balance with silky smooth treble and tight articulate bass. Every subtle resonance and texture comes through with lifelike realism. The sense of space is immediately noticeable with remarkable instrument separation.

In terms of comfort, the HD 800 S are also top-tier thanks to the lightweight build and luxuriously padded headband and earcups. The open design prevents any heat buildup so I’m able to wear them for hours on end.

Yes, the Sennheiser HD 800 S command a premium price, but for hearing every nuance in your mixes, they are impossible to beat. This is the pinnacle of headphone engineering making them best headphones for mixing and mastering.

Warranty and Service

The HD 800 S come with a 2 year global warranty that covers defects from manufacturing. Sennheiser requires the headphones to be sent to an authorized service partner for evaluation and repairs after getting an RMA number. The original receipt must be included to prove date of purchase.

User Review

“Absolutely amazing soundstage, detail and imaging.”

HiFiMan Edition XS

HiFiMan’s Edition XS headphones pack impressive performance into a lightweight, compact and stylish package. Weighing only 250g, they are extremely comfortable for long sessions thats make them best headphones for mixing and mastering.

The Edition XS have an open-back design that creates an immersive, natural soundstage. The planar magnetic drivers result in pristine clarity throughout the frequency range.

For their reasonable price, the Edition XS compete well with more expensive flagship models in terms of sound reproduction and comfort. If you want top quality open-back headphones without going broke, these deserve serious consideration.

  • Impressive clarity and detail
  • Open spacious sound
  • Excellent value for a planar headphone
  • Very comfortable and lightweight
  • A bit lightweight feeling
  • Needs amp for full dynamics
  • Pleather earpads can get hot
  • Clamping a bit loose

  • Open-back planar magnetic headphones
  • Nanometer grade diaphragm
  • Custom planar drivers
  • 20 – 20,000 Hz frequency response
  • 90 dB sensitivity
  • 25 ohm impedance
  • Detachable cable and connectors
  • Ear pads and headband padding
  • Lightweight (250g)
  • Type: over-ear open back
  • Transducer type: planar magnetic
  • Impedance: 25 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 90 dB
  • Frequency response: 20Hz – 20 kHz
  • Maximum power input: 1W
  • Weight: 250g
  • Connectors: 3.5mm, 6.35mm
  • Earpad material: high-quality velour
  • Cable: 1.5m premium 7N OCC

Sound Quality: With advanced planar magnetic drivers, the Edition XS exhibit stunning clarity across the spectrum along with precise imaging. The bass digs deep yet remains tightly controlled. The midrange has realistic texture and body. And the treble is effortlessly smooth and detailed. The soundstage also impresses with dimensionality.

Comfort: Thanks to the lightweight build and plush earpads, the Edition XS are comfortable for multi-hour listening sessions. The earpads could use slightly more filling and clamping force for a more secure fit. But overall they sit on the head perfectly for long-term mixing.

Build Quality: While mainly plastic, the Edition XS feel solid in hand thanks to quality construction. All the moving parts operate smoothly while the detachable cables click in firmly. They may not look luxurious but the Edition XS appear durable enough for regular use.

Value: Considering their advanced planar magnetic drivers and open, detailed sound reproduction, the Edition XS deliver strong value for money. While not as premium feeling as costlier planar models, the Edition XS compete sonically with headphones twice their price.

HiFiMan Edition XS Review:

The HiFiMan Edition XS may not be a household name, but their performance rivals premium audiophile headphones. The Edition XS produce scintillating clarity and detail across the frequency spectrum thanks to their advanced planar magnetic drivers.

They create an immersive open soundstage that makes mixing a delightful experience. The transient response is extremely quick with tight punchy bass and sparkling highs.

Considering their reasonable price compared to some planar models, the Edition XS really shine in terms of value. While not the last word in construction luxury, they still feel solid enough for regular use.

If you want to experience planar magnetic sound without breaking the bank, the HiFiMan Edition XS will not disappoint you and the main reason to make it best headphones for mixing and mastering. Their spacious, lively and crisp sound make them excellent performers for mixing and mastering.

Warranty and Service

HiFiMan provides a standard 1 year limited warranty covering manufacturing faults for the Edition XS. Service and repairs are handled via authorized HiFiMan service centers after getting an RMA number approved. Proof of purchase must be supplied when sending in the headphones.

User Review

“Love the spacious detailed planar magnetic sound.”

Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO

For studio recording and mixing on a budget, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO shine. Their open spacious sound makes them ideal for mixing where you need to hear the stereo field clearly.

The comfortable velour earpads allow you to wear them for hours without fatigue. Beyerdynamic constructed the DT 990 PRO with high quality materials for maximum durability.

While they lean slightly towards boosted bass and treble frequencies, their open detailed sound makes them great reference headphones, especially considering the reasonable price. For proper mixing, I recommend checking the final mix on other systems. These properties make it best headphones for mixing and mastering.

  • Spacious open sound
  • Detailed sounding
  • Comfortable velour earpads
  • Affordable price for open-back
  • Durable and repairable
  • Piercing treble for some
  • Requires amping for bass
  • Mostly plastic build
  • Non-detachable cable

  • Open-back dynamic headphones
  • High-resolution drivers
  • Diffuse field equalization
  • 5 – 35,000 Hz frequency response
  • 96 dB sensitivity
  • 250 ohm impedance
  • Single-sided coiled cable
  • Soft velour earpads
  • Flexible headband
  • Made in Germany
  • Transducer type: dynamic, open
  • Operating principle: circumaural
  • Frequency response: 5 – 35,000 Hz
  • Nominal impedance: 250 ohms
  • Sound pressure level: 96 dB
  • Construction: single-sided cable
  • Headband: padded split leather
  • Earcups: circumaural (around the ear)
  • Earpads: replaceable velour
  • Weight without cable: 270 g

Sound Quality: Equipped with high-resolution drivers, the DT 990 PRO produce open spacious sound with sparkling treble and powerful bass. The bass has nice sub-bass extension while the highs reveal subtle details without harshness. The midrange sounds a bit recessed but generally has a transparent tone. Soundstage width and depth both impress.

Comfort: The soft velour earpads are specially designed for long sessions. Along with the flexible split headband, the DT 990 PRO stay comfortable for mixing over many hours. The open design prevents heat buildup as well. The earpads can feel a bit itchy initially but adjust over time.

Build Quality: Built predominantly from durable plastics, the DT 990 PRO feel sturdy and substantial for regular use. The non-detachable cable is thick and reinforced at key points. While not the last word in refined luxury, the DT 990 PRO seem reliable for years of studio work.

Value: For their reasonable price considering the spacious open sound and comfy design, the DT 990 PRO offer solid value for money. They easily outclass most closed-back headphones in the same price tier in terms of mixing performance and long-term comfort.

Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO Review:

With an open spacious sound perfect for mixing, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO have become studio staples. Their comfortable design and detailed sound reproduction excel at revealing the intricacies of your mixes.

The DT 990 PRO produce a clear and airy presentation with sparkling highs and tight bass. The semi-open earcup design creates an expansive soundstage. While they lean slightly bright in the treble range, the overall tonal balance suits mixing well.

In terms of comfort, the soft replaceable velour earpads and padded headband make the DT 990 PRO suitable for extended use. The mostly plastic construction feels solid enough for regular studio duty.

For an open-back headphone at this price point, the DT 990 PRO are hard to beat. Their transparent sound and cozy fit make them best headphones for mixing and mastering. Its also a smart choice for home and project studio engineers.

Warranty and Service

Beyerdynamic warranties the DT 990 Pro against defects in materials and workmanship for 2 years from original purchase date. To obtain service, customers must contact Beyerdynamic support to troubleshoot issues and acquire a return authorization number before sending the headphones in.

User Review

“Spacious, open sound perfect for mixing.”

Superlux HD 681

If you’re on an ultra-tight budget, the Superlux HD 681 provide quite decent sound for very little money. They have a semi-open design that creates a nice sense of space and air for the price.

The high frequencies and midrange are well balanced with good clarity. Where they fall a bit short is bass reproduction, lacking full low end impact.

But for basic home recording and mixing for almost no money, the HD 681 get the job done making it best headphones for mixing and mastering. Just be sure to cross check on other headphones and speakers to confirm your low end is balanced.

  • Extremely affordable
  • Decent open sound for price
  • Detachable cable
  • Good entry-level headphone
  • All plastic build and headband
  • Treble can be harsh
  • Bass lacks impact
  • Uncomfortable for long sessions
  • No accessories included

  • Semi-open dynamic headphones
  • 50mm neodymium drivers
  • CCAW voice coils
  • 10 – 30,000 Hz frequency response
  • 98 dB sensitivity
  • 32 ohm impedance
  • Detachable cable and connectors
  • Padded headband
  • Rotatable earcups
  • Type: semi-open dynamic
  • Driver diameter: 50mm, neodymium
  • Frequency response: 10 – 30,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 98 dB ± 3dB
  • Impedance: 32 ohms
  • Rated power: 200mW
  • Connector: 3.5mm gold-plated
  • Cord: 2.5m dual 6N-OFC
  • Weight: 222g
  • Headband: padded, adjustable
  • Earpads: velvet replaceable

Sound Quality: With 50mm neodymium drivers, the HD 681 can reproduce audio with decent clarity in the midrange and highs considering the ultra-low price point. They lack really deep bass or sparkling treble extension but sound reasonably balanced overall. The semi-open design provides a nice sense of space as well.

Comfort: With minimal padding on the headband and earpads, the HD 681 become uncomfortable over longer listening sessions. The earpads and skeletal headband put more pressure on the ears and head than preferable for extended mixing. These are really designed more for casual brief listening.

Build Quality: As expected for the cost, the HD 681 are built from lightweight all plastic components. The hinges and sliders work smoothly but don’t inspire confidence in their long term durability with regular use. Handle with care and they can last.

Value: While seriously underperforming more costly audiophile headphones, the Superlux HD 681 deliver meaningful value at their tiny price point. If your budget is extremely constrained, they provide a usable stopgap solution for mixing and tracking. Just manage expectations accordingly.

Superlux HD 681 Review:

As an ultra-budget headphone, expectations for the Superlux HD 681 should be tempered. But within their limitations, they reproduce audio reasonably well for critical listening applications.

The HD 681 produce a fairly open and balanced sound, especially considering their super low price tag. The clarity is decent throughout the midrange and highs, though they lack truly crisp detail and bass impact.

In terms of comfort and construction, corners were clearly cut. The mostly plastic build feels a bit flimsy. And the earpads and headband offer minimal padding. So longer mixing sessions can become fatiguing.

Going in with realistic expectations, the Superlux HD 681 can serve as capable budget mixing headphones. Just be prepared to cross check your mixes on other systems to confirm your low end is accurate. Overall, not bad for the price.

Warranty and Service

Superlux offers a 1 year limited warranty covering manufacturing defects on the HD 681. To obtain service, customers must email Superlux support to get an RMA approved prior to shipping the headphones to an authorized repair center. Proof of purchase is required.

User Opinions

“Decent sound for the ultra-low price.”


This roundup covers some of the top headphones currently available for critical music listening and audio work like mixing and mastering. Models from budget picks to high-end audiophile headphones were included to suit different studio needs and budgets.

For a closed-back headphone with excellent audio reproduction and comfort, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x remain my top pick. Their accurate, balanced sound, noise isolation and durable build make them perfect for professional studio use.

On the open-back side, if your budget allows, the Sennheiser HD 800 S represent the pinnacle of performance. Their expansive soundstage, sublime clarity across the spectrum and long-term comfort are unmatched.

But excellent models exist at lower price points as well. The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro and HiFiMan Edition XS both deliver premium open sound at reasonable prices. And the legendary Sony MDR-7506 still impress with their transparent sound considering the low cost.

Whatever your budget and application – mixing, mastering, tracking – this roundup provides solid headphone choices to suit home studios and working professionals. Your mixes will certainly benefit from quality reference headphones that reveal every nuance.

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