8 Best Flat Response Headphones (All Budgets)

What are the best headphones with a flat response for every budget?

Whether you’re a mixer, sound engineer, or music lover; Having headphones with a flat response is exceptionally high demand. When listening to a song, flat response headphones tend to sound the way the producer envisioned the listener to hear it. They have little to no audio manipulation amongst the frequencies or EQ. Better yet, they are also easier to EQ if you prefer. After extensive research, testing, and help with some friends in the audio industry; We narrowed it down to the top 8 flat response headphones on the market in every budget range.

In Short, Here Are The Best Headphones With A Flat Response For Every Budget

  • Sennheiser HD280PRO
  • Sennheiser HD 600
  • AKG K240STUDIO
  • Sennheiser HD 800 S
  • Status Audio CB-1
  • AKG K 701
  • Sony MDR7506 
  • Audio-Technica ATHM40x

1. Sennheiser HD280PRO

The Sennheiser HD280PRO is a lightweight and comfortable pair of noise-isolated headphones. It decreases outside noise by up to 32dB, which is extremely good. These headphones have high ratings for home-studios on a budget. Furthermore, they have high ratings from audiophiles, as well.

In terms of sound quality, the Sennheiser HD280PRO is fantastic. They are relatively flat with a minor spike in the lower bass. In my opinion, the slight bass spike provides more feeling to the music without muddiness or boominess. It has a flat frequency response and natural sound. If you’re just in need of buying noise-isolation headphones for enjoyment, the flat frequency response makes it easier to manipulate the sound in whichever way you prefer with a bit of equalizing.

To my head, these headphones are a bit tight at first. After about a week, the evened out quite nicely and became a comfortable fit. Like most headphones on this list, they make great ear muffs in the winter as well. The padding is soft and snugly fits the ears to keep them warm.

Check Amazon reviews for Sennheiser HD280PRO

Pros

  • Great sound quality
  • Covers the ear
  • Great noise-isolation (one of the best on this list)
  • High SPL of 113dB
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Heavy/annoying cord that comes with it
  • Over time, the foam of the cups erode

2. Sennheiser HD 600

The Sennheiser HD 600 is one of the top-tier audiophile-grade sounding headphones on the market. They aren’t the absolute highest-rated pair of headphones on the market for nothing. Their sound quality is nearly unbeatable. With a flat response, they are prized among mixers, audio engineers, gaming, and music lovers. They get their incredible transient response with its lightweight aluminum voice coils. With its Neodymium ferrous magnets, it has superior dynamics and sensitivity. 

These headphones are relatively comfortable. Probably not the comfiest on the market, but good enough to where I don’t have any complaints. For bigger heads, you may need to stretch the headband out a little bit. Directly out of the box, their clamping force may be a bit too much. Overall, I give it an 8 out of 10 for comfort. With a lightweight, marbled gloss finish, sturdy headband material, and incredibly durable earpads; These headphones have an overall excellent build quality. The only downside is it’s a bit more plasticky than I was expecting for headphones at this price. However, it’s tough plastic, and I don’t see longevity being an issue with this pair down the road. I give the build an overall 8.2 out of 10.

Considering these are open-back headphones, they do not provide noise-isolation. The earcups bleed audio at higher volumes, as well. Overall, these headphones are one of the kings for sound quality. You will be more than pleased with them if a flat response and great-sounding pair are your primary focus. Be sure to check out the flawless reviews below.

3. AKG K240STUDIO

The AKG K240STUDIO is one of the highest-rated affordable headphones on this list. They cover the entire ear but do not provide noise-isolation. Headphones with an open back that don’t offer noise-isolation like these do have their benefits in their own way. For example, you can be aware of your surroundings and hear people talk. Also, some people prefer the feeling of letting their ear breathe. However, I do not necessarily recommend these for live DJ mixing or traveling. Other people around you are also able to hear what you’re listening to if the volume is high. 

The sound quality is very clear and detailed. It provides a flat sound that is great for mixing audio. The AKG K240STUDIO does not overcompensate the bass end. Instead, the clear mids and highs offer more detail and brightness to the sound. In many cases, these headphones bring out some overlooked features in songs that are generally missed.

Overall, if you’re looking for non-bass heavy headphones that do not block out the outside environment noise at a low price, the AKG K240STUDIO is an excellent choice for you!

Check the Amazon Reviews AKG K240STUDIO

Pros

  • Great highs and mids
  • Flat and detailed sound for studio mixing

Cons

  • No sound-isolation
  • Poor bass

4. Sennheiser HD 800 S

The Sennheiser HD 800 S is the most expensive but most professional flat headphones on the market. In general, these are the most controversial headphones amongst users. Both groups of people take an extreme point of view. One group believes these are the absolute greatest headphones in the universe by far. The other group hates these headphones.

Primarily designed for pro-level music engineers, the sound quality is very pure with a flat response. It has a very surround sound that feels much wider than the overwhelming majority of headphones. These headphones are semi-comfortable. You may need to take a break every 2-3 hours to give your ears a rest. Overall, I give it a 6 out of 10 for comfort. Made out of tough plastic, these headphones are very lightweight and very durable. These headphones are built to last.

Overall, these headphones are designed for studio mixing at a pro-level. They have a flat frequency response and sound very pure. Be sure to check out the reviews below.

 5. Status Audio CB-1

The Status Audio CB-1 is one of the highest-rated and customer-reviewed headphones on this list. Furthermore, one of the top-rated headphones on the market. They cover the entire ear and provide decent noise-isolation. In my experience, these headphones provide decent but not the best noise-isolation on this list. However, they surely make up for it with incredible sound quality and stunning comfort. Not to forget, the price is below $70.

The Status Audio CB-1 produces accurate, clear, and excellent sound quality. You wouldn’t believe the low price once you use them. In terms of sound quality, many audiophiles and music producers say these headphones can stand-toe-to-toe with $200 headphones. I happen to agree with those statements, as well. There is no harshness in any of the frequencies while maintaining a clear and detailed sound.

Overall, if you’re looking for one of the most comfortable pairs of headphones with excellent sound quality below $70, I highly recommend the Status Audio CB-1!

See Amazon reviews for Status Audio CB-1

Pros

  • One of the most comfortable pair on this list
  • Covers the ear
  • Great sound quality
  • Flat frequency response
  • Great value
  • One of the highest-rated headphones on the market

Cons

  • Not the best noise-isolated headphones on this list
  • Made mostly of plastic

6. AKG K 701

Next up, here is another pair of high-fidelity reference headphones with a flat response. The AKG K 701 has a tremendous flat sound for the price. Something I highly appreciate is their ability to register the lower frequencies so accurately. You will be able to hear the detailed nuances in a very clear way with these headphones.

Sound engineers, mixers, gamers, and audiophiles love these for the price. Even listening to lower-quality recordings sounds better with them. These headphones provide little to no noise isolation. At high volumes, they leak a bit of audio.

In terms of comfort, these headphones are pretty good after broken in. Unfortunately, the break-in time is a bit longer than I would like. Afterward, they are great. The earpads are soft, and it fits nice and snug. However, the headband is the only thing that many people have a slight issue with considering the bumps.

You are easily able to wear these for extended periods until you need a break. Overall, I give the comfort an 8.2 out of 10. Made of robust plastic and a few metal parts, they have a good build quality. It doesn’t feel as tough as most headphones in this price range. However, they hold up exceptionally well for the overwhelming majority of users. Overall, I give the build an 8 out of 10.

7. Sony MDR7506 

The Sony MDR7506 is yet another great pair of affordable headphones that cover the ear. Across the board, these headphones have incredible ratings and reviews! Coming with the purchase of these headphones is a 9.8-foot coiled cord. A longer cable can be a benefit for some situations or an inconvenience for others. However, a shorter cord can be purchased separately.

It gets its clean and crisp sound with the 40 mm drivers and neodymium magnets. Not to forget, it’s entirely free from distortion no matter how loud you blast the volume. The audio is well balanced between the lows, mids, and the highs as the frequency response are from 10Hz to 20 kHz. Many producers, sound engineers, DJs, and just regular music listeners are delighted with the MDR7506.

Sony precisely customized the MDR7506 for incredible comfort that covers the entire ear. They are insulated with foam for great noise-isolation. The insulated ears are so well covered that many people even use these as earmuffs in the winter. However, this pair of earmuffs play incredibly bright music!

See Amazon reviews for Sony MDR7506

Pros
  • Great sound quality
  • Insulated ears for good noise-isolation
  • Affordable
  • Well-built for the low-price
  • Lasts longer than most headphones in this price range
Cons
  • Weak built pads. Must be replaced over time
  • After a while, the headphones slightly loses their grip on your head
  • If you prefer a shorter cord than 10 ft, it can be purchased separately

8. Audio-Technica ATHM40x

The Audio-Technica ATHM40x is an affordable pair of headphones that are excellent for DJs. They cover the entire ear producing great noise isolation. I personally like the option for my headphones to get louder than usual, depending on the environment. Fortunately, while some DJ headphones on the market are a bit more on the quiet side, this pair is naturally very loud. 

With a 40mm driver, the headphones give off incredible sound quality for the low price. The sound flat, meaning there is no audio manipulation. You can hear each individual instrument and frequency accurately. In terms of overall sound quality, the Audio-Technica ATHM40x is astounding. In many cases, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference if you compared them to headphones twice the price.

The Audio-Technica ATHM40x is also very well designed for the low-price, as well. They are durable and built to last while maintaining decent flexibility. To be clear, flexibility is a much more critical factor for live DJs than you would first think. During a performance, the headphones are consistently being thrown on, off, and one ear in and out. For that matter, this pair of DJ headphones luckily is flexible while maintaining its decent durability.

Overall, the Audio-Technica ATHM40x is a near-flawless choice of studio or DJ headphones for the low price. Be sure to check out the reviews on Amazon!

Pros

  • Great bang for the buck at an affordable price
  • Naturally loud headphones
  • Bluetooth capable
  • Great for DJ’s and studio use
  • Great build quality while maintaining its flexibility
  • Flat, accurate, and incredible sound quality (no sound manipulation)

Cons

  • Can peak with too much volume
  • Not as comfortable as other headphones at a higher price range
  • A few claims of weak hinges

Quick Recap

Here Are The Best Headphones With A Flat Response

  • Sennheiser HD280PRO
  • Sennheiser HD 600
  • AKG K240STUDIO
  • Sennheiser HD 800 S
  • Status Audio CB-1
  • AKG K 701
  • Sony MDR7506 
  • Audio-Technica ATHM40x

The 6 Things To Lookout For When Purchasing A Pair Of Headphones

1. Sound Quality

Especially for music listeners, the overall quality of sound is a massive factor in finding your perfect pair of headphones. There are various factors that impact a pair of headphones’ sound quality.

2. Comfort

The ability for headphones to remain comfortable for extended periods of time without itchiness, annoyance, pressure, or ear pain. Considering many people use headphones for commute, air travel, or work; Comfort is a vital factor.

3. Build Quality

What good are your amazingly sounding headphones if they break in a few months? The overall durability and longevity are crucial for any investment you make. Especially for those who need headphones for commute, it’s important they’re able to withstand vigorous traveling conditions consistently.

4. Noise Isolation/ Active Noise Cancelling

Don’t be confused between active noise cancelling and noise isolation headphones. They are both entirely different. Noise-cancelling technology is very unique. Unlike noise-isolating headphones, noise-cancelling headphones do not eradicate outside noise by physical insulation. Within the ear cups, they have a mini microphone that picks up the outside environmental noise. It then triggers a frequency entirely opposite to the outside ambient noise. Thus, canceling out most outside ambient sound.

5. Battery Life

Battery life is an overlooked subject when speaking about over-ear headphones. Obviously, the only headphones that have a battery life are those which are wireless. Many headphones on the market do not have wireless capabilities. But for those who do, a more extended battery life becomes a convenient factor.

6. Added Features

A few examples of added features headphones offer can be Bluetooth capabilities, built-in AI assistant, headphone controls, built-in microphone for phone calls, flexibility, rotatable ear cups, etc.

 

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