Sennheiser HD-200 Pro
These affordable cans won’t break the bank but will also be a significant step up from earbuds or an old pair you have lying around. With a closed back for better sound isolation, they are lightweight enough to wear for long periods and come with a single cable and a jack adapter for use with mini or full size 1/4 inch headphone ports. The bass reproduction isn’t bad either.
Step things up a gear with these sleek but affordable headphones from audio specialists Pioneer.
Internally, dual air chambers improve airflow which helps to deliver an improved bass response, and a three-layer damping structure eliminates unwanted resonance for cleaner low to mid frequencies. The adjustable headband means they remain comfortable even during longer periods of wear.
Beyer DT770 Pro
The Beyer DT series are absolute workhorses in the studio world and offer an excellent balance of affordability and performance. If you’re serious about monitoring and testing mixes for phones, these are pretty hard to beat. Closed backed and with adjustable ear to speaker positioning, they have a 250 ohm impedance and a frequency response of 5Hz - 35kHz for a tremendously powerful bass response. A frequency range of 5Hz to 40kHz means you shouldn’t miss any detail in your music when listening with them.
Flare Audio Flares Pro 2
A bit out of left field but there are earbuds that are designed for pro music making as well as consumer listening. And after all, a lot of your listeners will be using earbuds too so it’s best to know how your music is going to sound on them. These support bluetooth but can also be wired, which is crucial for zero latency use when tracking or mixing. They have a brass body, stress tested cable and multiple tips to fit your ear canals. if your budget stretches they are well worth a try.
Sennheiser HD800 S
A huge leap here in terms of price - these are some serious cans. They are more for reference than recording since they use an open ear cup design for absolute sonic accuracy. With an astonishing frequency range of 4Hz - 51kHz, 300 ohm impedance and 0.02% total harmonic distortion (1KHz at 100dB) for uncoloured sound reproduction, they have huge 56mm drivers that direct sound to your ear drums at an angle. We can’t say these are an impulse purchase but you can never have monitoring that’s too good so if your budget stretches they are well worth investigating.