These open back headphones deliver pro-level sound without the price

OneOdio's monitoring headphones are an affordable option for home studios and hi-res audio

OneOdio Monitor 80 headphones
(Image credit: OneOdio)

If like me you're a music maker as well as a music fan, you'll know that the best headphones for your home studio aren't necessarily going to be the same as the best true wireless earbuds for commuting or the best wireless headphones

That's because of two key factors. First of all, wireless headphones can be too laggy for real-time recording – it's not obvious when you're just listening, but when you're playing a precise guitar part the difference in timing can be enough to put you off your playing. And secondly, headphones designed for listening to other people's music can often flatter the sound – something that's lovely if you're a listener but the last thing you want when you're trying to mix or master with precision.

I can't remember exactly what I spent on my current set of monitoring headphones, a set of BeyerDynamic DT 770 Pros, but it was quite a lot. So it's interesting to see the new Monitor 80 headphones from OneOdio, which are considerably cheaper.

A lot of audio bang for your audio bucks

With a price tag of £99.99 on Amazon UK and $89.99 on Amazon US – a discount on the usual $119 US RRP – the OneOdio Monitor 80s are a lot cheaper than similarly specced cans from the usual big brands. But there don't appear to be any cut corners. 

Spec-wise you're looking at open-backed headphones with a nominal 250 ohm impedance, 100dB sensitivity ± 3dB, ≤1% distortion and a frequency range of 10Hz to 40KHz. That means they don't go quite as low as my BeyerDynamics – those are good all the way down to 5Hz – but unless you're doing serious sub-bass that's not a huge difference.

In addition to the headphones themselves you also get two cables – one 3.5mm to 3.5mm and one 6.35mm to 3.5mm coiled cable – and a choice of quarter-inch or 3.5mm jack plugs, so you don't need to hunt around for plug adaptors. There's also a protective case to keep your cans safe when you're out and about.

I can't stress the importance of good monitoring headphones enough, especially if like me you're making music in a flat where you just can't turn the big speakers up very often. With everyday headphones there's so much you miss when you're mixing, and that inevitably means more time returning to your mixes to try and fix the bits you didn't hear. £99 is still quite a lot of money for headphones, I know, but they'll pay for themselves in terms of how much time and frustration they'll save you.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (