Hey hello!!

I'm looking for a good pair of headphones under $200 for mastering field recordings.

I was told that the Ultrasone Pro 550 and Audio-Technica ATH-M50 are very good options.

What do you guys use or recommend?

(I already own a Xone XD-40 and a Sony MDR-7506)

Thanks a lot..

5 Answers 5


Beyerdynamic 990'swould do the trick and should be in budget, they're open back so they sound pretty natural (the 770's are closed back and 880's are a semi open) and they're insanely comfortable to wear(feels like you're getting a head massage!) Although as a couple of people have said, its not really recommended to master on headphones, but if you are going to, then these puppies will do a good job!

  • I do confirm - DT 990 are a great choice.
    – jojeck
    Commented Aug 12, 2014 at 14:34

I dont use them for masting but LOVE my Sennheiser HD650 headphones!!


I highly recommend the M50s. I use them myself for recording and for causal music listening. Fantastic headphones with a very natural response.

However, I wouldn't recommend using headphones for mastering, that should be done on high quality speakers. Mastering on headphones wont give you an accurate representation of the sound as they give you a very isolated acoustic environment.

  • @Joseph Dutaillis thanks for replying.. the problem is that I only have a very small room with BX8's and 0 acoustic treatment. that's my I'm looking for headphones as an option.
    – Oski604
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 2:13
  • @Joseph "Mastering on headphones wont give you an accurate representation of the sound...". Unless of course one's mastering for headphone listening. Commented May 20, 2013 at 6:32
  • @Internet you're very right, of course. Commented May 21, 2013 at 7:09
  • @InternetHuman - everyone's headphones are different, so unless it's someone else using the same headphones as the ones you mastered on, maybe yes. And everyone's ear canals are different, so - not really.
    – georgi
    Commented May 21, 2013 at 13:43
  • @georgi Well with that attitude, nothing will ever offer an absolutely "accurate representation", except injecting straight audio data to our brains (but then again, our brains may behave differently as well!) ;) Commented Jun 4, 2013 at 10:39

The Audio Technica ATH-M50's are great headphones, but they grip your head like no tomorrow and after about an hour of wearing them, you'll be left feeling very uncomfortable.

Also, I would recommend looking into an open back headphone as closed backs leave the users with head aches, myself included.


You need an open / semi open pair of headphones. While its not very scientific, anything under $350 is usually not suitable for music mastering.

The best headphones I've had the opportunity to use for music mastering are the Shure 1440s. http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SRH1440

  • 1
    Remember that music mastering is NOT the same as sound effects mastering. : ) thanks for the recommendation!!
    – Oski604
    Commented Jul 5, 2013 at 4:19
  • Yep, that's why my specifically mentioned it. For sfx mastering, the best headphones are the ones you can use comfortably for hours and hours. Sfx are usually layered so much that mastering for sfx can be done a bit heavy handed and you're 'usually' safe. I really like my Shure 440s are super comfortable and are fairly accurate. However if I had the spare change, I'd get the beyerdynic dt770 pro sweetwater.com/store/detail/DT770pro
    – Sean
    Commented Jul 5, 2013 at 17:38

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