Best Headphones for Tracking [2022 Reviewed]

As an Amazon Associate ProRec.com earns from qualifying purchases. Any links that take you to products are affiliate links, and we may earn a commission if you make a purchase. We appreciate your support.

All text and image links lead to Amazon unless stated otherwise. All product scores are based on ProRec’s in-house scoring model

ThumbnailHeadphones for TrackingProRec ScorePrice
beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 80 Ohmbeyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 80 Ohm
9.5
Check Price on Amazon
Audio-Technica ATH-M70XAudio-Technica ATH-M70X
9.2
Check Price on Amazon
Sennheiser Professional HD 300 PROSennheiser Professional HD 300 PRO
7.3
Check Price on Amazon

Introduction

When choosing headphones for tracking, build quality and comfort are extremely important. You end up working in the studio for longer sessions when laying down multiple tracks. You want a pair of headphones that is more than just tolerable, something that will make your life easier so you can focus on the actual recording/production aspect.

Closed-back cans are always the preferred option for tracking. The challenge open backs present is that they do not have a barrier between the drivers and the outside environment. This leads to sound leakage which is then picked up by your mic, making its way into your recording. Isolation is key for tracking. You want your recording to be free from any outside noise.

For tracking, you don’t need headphones with a high level of accuracy. Your primary focus here is to keep the leakage to a minimum and have something that is lightweight with breathable earpads. A lot of people get away with cheaper headphones (sometimes even wireless) and some even track using earbuds with earmuff style protection. However, subpar equipment during long sessions can be a cause for discomfort and fatigue. A good pair of tracking headphones will do you a whole lot of good in the studio.

There is one caveat though, tracking headphones rarely ever double as mixing headphones. For mixing, you want the open design since it eliminates unnatural bass build-up and provides a wider soundstage. A good pair of tracking headphones may be used as a secondary reference for mixing, but there’s no one size fits all option here.

To sum it all up, good tracking headphones should be free of any sound bleed issues. You want to invest in a pair that will last you a while and is good to use for long hours. Something that doesn’t cause any ear fatigue and has good build quality so you’re not constantly babying it while you lay your tracks down.

Best Headphones for Tracking Reviews

All text and image links lead to Amazon unless stated otherwise. All product scores are based on ProRec’s in-house scoring model

Audio-Technica ATH-M70X
9.2/10ProRec Score
9.2Average Score
ProRec Score – ATH-M70X
Price to Performance
8.5
Sound Quality
9
Frequency Response
10
Comfort
9
Build Quality
9.5

The Audio-Technica ATH-M70X is a mid range pair made of high quality metal and plastic that give it a solid, premium feel without adding too much to its weight.

The ATH-M70X has a closed back design that reduces sound bleed and improves isolation. The headband and earpads are both covered in breathable and soft synthetic leather, making the pair comfortable for long sessions. The earcups can also swivel, making the pair portable as well as allowing single ear monitoring.

The unit features large 45 mm drivers that can reproduce frequencies ranging from 5 to 40,000 hz. The Impedance of these cans is rated at 35 ohms, so you’ll be able to use them without a DAC. A 3.5 mm port is located at the bottom of the left earcup and is used to connect the detachable cables that promote longevity.

In terms of sound quality, we found the ATH-M70X decently balanced with a slightly overemphasized high end. This slight bump at the treble range made the pair sound better at the cost of comfort as we felt that it made long sessions a bit fatiguing. The cans did a good job in all music genres we tested them in as they did a good job in reproducing all frequencies.

Low end was accurate but a bit restrained even for studio headphones. However, we were able to EQ the pair to add a little more punch to the bass which made it on par with our original expectations. As for the mids, they sounded precise and clear. Instruments and vocals were well represented with good separation which allowed us to tell the sounds apart. Soundstage was also wide and spacious, especially for a closed back pair. We found the ATH-M70X amazing for tracking as we were able to hear every little detail and felt that we weren’t missing anything from the mix.

The M70X improved in most areas compared to its predecessor the ATH-M60X. The new generation is clearly more comfortable. We also found it to be better built which should translate well into making the pair last longer. Both of these upgrades could be attributed to the use of premium materials, giving the pair a sturdy feel. The sound profile was the most dramatic change as the M60X had a noticeable dip at the mid range. This was fixed on the M70X which now has an overall flat signature making it usable for recording.

The differences between the two pairs extend further as their entire design was changed. The old cans had an on ear design which is notorious for providing poor isolation and comfort. The ATH-M70X opted for an over-ear design that reduces sound leakage and increases isolation and comfort. The M60X also didn’t have foldable or swiveling earcups which immensely affected their portability. However, this too was addressed in the newer pair.

Despite its good performance, the M70X still had some drawbacks we would like to see improved in the next iteration. While still perfectly usable for tracking, the signature could have been a little more flat at both the low and high end of the frequency range. Bass lacked some punch and the treble was a little too bright. However, considering that this pair is intended for recording, we can overlook that as bass is usually a little on the dead end in such pairs. Treble being slightly overemphasized also came in handy as it allowed us to hear more details in the mix.

We also would have liked to see deeper ear cups, we felt that they were a bit too shallow. If your ears are on the larger side, they would touch the drivers which could take some getting used to. Nonetheless, it isn’t that big of a deal as once you break the pair in you would no longer notice it.

All things considered, the ATH-M70X is a well rounded pair with a relatively flat and natural sound signature and sturdy build quality, meant to last you a long time. We recommend this pair as an excellent budget option for tracking.

Audio Technica ATH-M70X Benefits

Mid range was very detailed and balanced which made vocals and instruments pop

Build quality feels sturdy and long lasting due to the premium materials used

Detachable cables ensure that the pair won’t turn to e-waste as soon as the cable frays

Very wide frequency range which doesn’t leave any details on the table

Audio Technica ATH-M70X Drawbacks

The top end was a bit too bright which could cause some ear fatigue

Bass could have used some extra punch

Ear cups are too shallow which increases the pair’s break-in period

All text and image links lead to Amazon unless stated otherwise. All product scores are based on ProRec’s in-house scoring model

beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 80 Ohm
9.5/10ProRec Score
9.5Average Score
ProRec Score – DT 770 Pro
Price to Performance
10
Sound Quality
9.5
Frequency Response
9
Comfort
9
Build Quality
10

The beyerdynamic DT 770 pro is a budget pair of studio headphones that you can’t go wrong with. The pair features a classic design that is sturdy and well built. The frame is built from metal and the accents are made of high quality plastics.

The DT 770 pro uses a non-removable 10 foot long 3.5 mm cable for connectivity. As for its drivers they have a diameter of 45 mm which is on the larger side. These drivers provide the pair with a wide frequency response ranging from 5 to 35,000 Hz and an impedance of 80 ohms. This means that while the pair can be powered by most devices, audio will sound meager and slightly distorted without a DAC.

Isolation on this pair was amazing as they use a closed back design which eliminates most outside noise and sound leakage. The earcups also form a good seal which further improves their performance. Comfort was also great mostly due to the soft and breathable velour earpads.

As for the sound quality, the DT 770 pro delivered an overall flat and natural sound signature. Low end sounded immaculate and all the mixes came out just as we intended. We felt some lack of bass, however it was barely noticeable since only a minor section of the low end was affected. Mids were also excellent with an almost perfectly flat response across the board.

We felt that the high end was a mixed bag as it experienced a dip on the lower end and was slightly too bright at its top end. However, the variances were only technical and barely noticeable, especially after EQing the pair. Moving on to the sound stage, we found that it was decently wide which allowed us to locate each sound in the mix.

The beyerdynamic DT 770 pro succeeds the DT 250 and improves on it in many aspects. While both pairs boast 45 mm drivers, the 770 pro has a wider frequency response range of 5 to 35000 hz compared to the 250’s 10 to 30000 hz. Another upgrade was the cable which although was removable on the 250, it felt fragile and was proprietary which made finding a replacement difficult.

The build of the headphones was also upgraded as the 770 pro is mostly made from metal which feels more premium compared to the almost completely plastic build of the 250. If all these upgrades weren’t enough, the 770 pro also has a lower price than the older generation.

No pair of headphones is perfect and the DT 770 pro is no different. The cable is non removable which means that once it frays it will be difficult to replace. However, it is coiled and thick enough that we believe it won’t wear away throughout the pair’s life. Another issue we faced with the headphones was their rather heavy weight (almost 0.6 pounds). Nonetheless, we were able to overlook that since the pair was quite comfortable, perfect for long recording sessions. (mostly because of the soft headband and ear cups which provide a lot of support).

The bulkiness of the design can be a downside as it can make traveling with the pair a hassle. The DT 770 pro also has neither rotating nor folding hinges which further adds salt to the wound. However, being studio headphones first we didn’t expect the pair to be the most portable since it is designed to be used in a studio.

All in all, the DT 770 pro is an excellent pick for tracking. With its wide frequency response and accurate sound reproduction, we can guarantee that you won’t be missing any details while using this pair. We recommend the DT 770 pro as its solid build and audio quality can make it a staple in any studio.

beyerdynamic DT 770 pro benefits

Flat and natural sound signature across all frequencies which makes them perfect for studio use

Solid build quality that is mostly metal which means that the pair should last a long time

Long coiled cable means that you won’t feel strapped to your setup while working

The headphones were very comfortable even during long sessions due to their soft velour earpads

beyerdynamic DT 770 pro drawbacks

Nonreplaceable cable which could be annoying if it frays

Heavy weight of the pair could be annoying for some users

No folding or rotating hinges made traveling with the pair difficult

All text and image links lead to Amazon unless stated otherwise. All product scores are based on ProRec’s in-house scoring model

Sennheiser Professional HD 300 PRO
7.3/10ProRec Score
7.3Average Score
ProRec Score – HD 300 Pro
Price to Performance
7
Sound Quality
7
Frequency Response
7.5
Comfort
7
Build Quality
8

The Sennheiser Professional HD 300 Pro is a midrange pair of headphones that delivers a great listening experience. The build of the pair is composed of well finished plastics that feel premium while cutting down on the cost and weight of the headphones.

The HD 300 pro uses a closed back design which, combined with its tight seal, provides a maximum noise reduction of 32 dB. This level of isolation is considered top tier even for closed backs. The hinges are foldable and can also swivel which made packing the pair easy and using it for one ear monitoring possible. A stereo port is located on the right earcup and is used to connect the detachable 3.5 mm cable.

This pair features a decently wide frequency response ranging between 6 and 25,000 Hz. As for its impedance, it’s rated at 64 ohms which means that almost every mobile phone or computer will be able to drive it; however, it’s best to use a DAC for optimal results. The unit was also incredibly comfortable due to its viscoelastic earpads and soft headband.

Regarding sound quality, the unit demonstrated a fairly flat and natural sound signature. Bass was slightly boosted overall but it still sounded clear and we never felt that it got too muddy. Midrange sounded balanced with a slight underemphasis in the top mids. As for the treble range it was a bit too bright, however it never got uncomfortable and sounded good for the most part.

Audio was also very accurate especially after calibrating the pair. The pair also had excellent passive noise canceling which was useful when we used it for tracking. The left and right channel balance felt a bit inconsistent, but this was purely technical as we never felt it during actual use. Soundstage was also decent and had good separation, resulting in a very clear sound..

Compared to its predecessor the HD 280 Pro, the HD 300 Pro improves in most aspects. The build was almost completely overhauled across generations. For example, the headband on the 280 pro was too tight and got uncomfortable. This was eliminated in the new pair which we found to be very comfortable. Durability was also a major issue in the first iteration with many reports of the headband cracking shortly after starting to use the pair. This has also been addressed and thicker plastics are used in the 300s which makes us believe this pair will last much longer. 

Isolation was also improved as the newer generation has a better seal. This especially makes the 300 better for tracking. Connectivity was also upgraded as the 300s now have a removable cable which is perfect for the pair’s longevity. Audio quality is almost the same across the two generations however this isn’t an issue as it was already incredible.

In terms of drawbacks, we had some minor issues that could be improved upon. The sound signature of the pair has a slight boost at the low and high end which could drown out the mids. However, we felt that it was quite minor and went away completely post calibration.

We also felt that the unit’s headband was a bit too tight which got uncomfortable at times. Nonetheless, this helped with isolation and stretching out the pair overnight can easily fix it if it ever became unbearable. Additionally, we didn’t really like the all plastic build, it gave the headphones a cheap feel. However, we can overlook that since it allows the unit to be more affordable and lightweight. We also felt that the unit was built well enough that durability wasn’t an issue.

All things considered, the HD 300 Pro is an excellent pair of headphones for tracking. This is due to its unparalleled passive noise canceling and flat sound signature. We highly recommend picking up these cans as they deliver an amazing experience at a very great price.

Sennheiser HD 300 Pro benefits

Class leading passive noise canceling with a maximum noise reduction of 32 dB

Replaceable cable can increase the pair’s longevity

Foldable hinges made packing the pair easy and swiveling ear cups allow one ear monitoring

Relatively flat and balanced frequency response curve

Sennheiser HD 300 Pro drawbacks

Slightly overemphasized bass and treble

All plastic build makes the pair feel cheap

The pair fits a bit too tight which could be uncomfortable for some

Verdict

tracking headphones scoring model comparison

Based on our scoring model, you’ll find a large disparity between the highest and the lowest scoring headphones. By analyzing the charts further, you’ll see that there are at least 2 points of variance in each of the 5 categories. This was because of the HD 300 pro’s lower scores in any given category, while the ATH-M70X and DT 770 pro scored a lot higher, each leading in different categories. The highest variance between the two was in Price to Performance where the DT 770 led by 1.5 points, and in Frequency Response where the ATH-M70X led by only 1 point.

The DT 770 Pro outperformed the other two in 3 out of the 5 categories, and specifically the ATH-M70X in Sound Quality and Build Quality. The pair aced the Price to Performance metric as it had excellent performance while costing a fraction of the other 2 units. The DT770 and the ATH-M70X tied when it came to Comfort as both were amazing in that regard, ideal for long sessions. As for Frequency Response, the DT 770 came in second right behind the ATH-M70X. However, with only 1 point of variance, which is really negligible.

We would however like to mention that with only a 0.3 variance between their average scores, the ATH-M70X is actually a solid choice. Other than the Price to Performance category, the pair performed pretty much the same as the DT 770 Pro. With its wider Frequency Responce range you may find that the ATH-M70X has more accurate sound reproduction. Comfort was another highlight for the pair as it tied with the DT 770 pro making both suitable for extended use.

However, after a careful analysis, out of the three cans in this list, the beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro is the best pair of headphones for tracking with the highest average score of 9.5. With its wide frequency response range and amazing audio quality, the pair leaves nothing on the table in terms of sound reproduction. The unit also demonstrated excellent build quality which makes us believe the pair will last many years after your purchase. Additionally, the cans super comfortable, we could use them for hours on end without any discomfort. They also outperform the competition at nearly half the price. We highly recommend the DT 770 Pro as a solid investment for anyone looking to get a decent headphone for tracking!

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of Headphones are best for Tracking?

Closed back headphones are the go to for tracking since there is minimal leakage. This is crucial for recording as you want the mic to only pick up your voice or instrument. If you were to use open backs, the backing track would get picked up by the mic and ruin your mix.

Can I use the same Headphones for Tracking and Mixing?

While it is possible to use the same pair of headphones for both tracking and mixing, we don’t recommend it. Tracking requires good isolation through closed backs to reduce leakage. However, for mixing you’ll want to pick up open backs for their wider soundstage and reduced bass build up. Using your tracking headphones as a second reference while mixing can work however we do not recommend them as the primary reference.

How much should I pay for a good pair of Tracking Headphones?

Good tracking headphones can be found at a lot of different price points. Higher price will translate to higher audio and build quality in most cases. As such what you should pay is as much as you’re willing to invest keeping in mind that stretching your budget will almost always yield a better, longer lasting unit.

Will I need to upgrade my Headphones in the near future?

Most studio headphones are built to last a long time and have user replaceable parts which further increases their longevity. This means that unless your pair gets destroyed or you’re no longer satisfied with its audio quality, you won’t need to upgrade anytime soon.