The best headphones for music production are those that offer a flat frequency response, durability, and comfort for extended use. “Best” in this context can vary based on individual preferences, such as the desire for closed-back versus open-back designs or wired versus wireless configurations. Essential factors include accuracy in sound reproduction, isolation capabilities, and the headphone’s ability to handle a wide frequency range without distortion. Brands like Sennheiser, Audio-Technica, and Beyerdynamic have garnered recognition in the music production community for their reliable offerings. When selecting headphones, it’s crucial to consider the nuances of studio recording environments, the longevity of the product, and personal comfort preferences. By evaluating these factors, music producers can identify headphones that align best with their specific needs and working conditions.
Overview of the best headphones for music production
Here are the best headphones for music production:
1. Sennheiser HD 800S: These high-end, open-back headphones offer excellent sound quality and good comfort for long studio sessions.
2. Audio-Technica M50x: A popular budget option, these closed-back headphones are the best budget studio headphones.
3. Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro: This pair of closed-back headphones is one of the best studio headphones for mixing and studio monitoring.
4. Sony MDR-7506: These wired headphones are a popular choice for budget-conscious music producers and offer great sound quality and comfort.
5. Shure SRH840: These wired, closed-back headphones are a great choice for professional recording and mixing.
If you’re setting up a home studio, it’s crucial to have headphones that can deliver precise and accurate sound. Now keep in mind that there is no single best pair of headphones for music producers – everyone has different needs and preferences. But the headphones listed above are tried and true and come highly recommended by other producers and audiophiles.
Why Trust Indiloop?
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been producing music professionally for 8 years now, and I’ve gone through quite a few pairs of headphones. Over time, I’ve learned what to look for in a pair of headphones – and what to avoid. So whether you’re looking for closed-back or open-back headphones; wired or wireless; high-end or budget-friendly; I’ve got you covered.
My research process is also pretty rigorous. I scour tons of user reviews, Reddit threads, Youtube videos, and other websites to compile a database of detailed headphone specs. Then I use these specs to compare and contrast different headphones – filtering out the noise and only focusing on what matters most for music producers.
So, if you’re ready to dive in and find the right pair of headphones for your music production needs, keep reading!
Why even buy headphones for music production?
There are several reasons why it’s important to have good headphones for music production:
- Accuracy: When mixing and mastering music, it is important to have headphones that accurately reproduce the audio. This allows you to make precise mix decisions and ensures that your final product sounds good on a variety of playback systems.
- Isolation: In a studio setting, it is often necessary to block out external noise in order to focus on your work. Good headphones for music production should be able to provide a high level of isolation, which will help you concentrate on your work and avoid distractions.
- Comfort: If you are going to be wearing headphones for long periods of time, it is important that they are comfortable. This will help you stay focused and avoid fatigue.
- Durability: Quality headphones for music production should be able to withstand the wear and tear of regular use. Investing in a durable pair of headphones will save you money in the long run and ensure that you have reliable equipment for your work.
Overall, using studio headphones tailored for music production ensures that you capture every nuance and detail in your audio projects. You want to make sure you’re using top-notch equipment in your recording studio sessions.
What are the key factors to consider when choosing headphones for music production?
When choosing headphones for music production, there are several key factors you should consider. These factors include sound quality, comfort and fit, noise isolation, durability, and price.
Sound quality is an important factor to consider when choosing headphones for music production. The most important aspects of sound quality are frequency response, impedance, and driver size.
Frequency response is the range of frequencies that a headphone can reproduce. When it comes to producing music, it is important to have headphones that can accurately reproduce all the frequencies in the audio, from deep bass notes to high-pitched treble tones. Imagine trying to mix a bass-heavy track on headphones with a poor bass response – it would be nearly impossible!
Impedance is another important factor in sound quality. High-impedance headphones have a higher resistance and can more easily handle large volumes of power, while low-impedance headphones are more sensitive and are better suited for portable devices.
Impedance is important for headphones used in music production because it can affect the volume and clarity of the audio. Here are a few reasons why impedance is important:
- Power handling: Headphones with a higher impedance will require more power to produce the same volume as headphones with a lower impedance. This can be important if you are using headphones with an amplifier or with a device that does not have a powerful output, such as a smartphone.
- Clarity: Headphones with a lower impedance may be more susceptible to distortion at high volumes, which can affect the clarity of the audio. This can be particularly important for music production, where it is important to be able to hear the audio accurately.
- Compatibility with audio equipment: The impedance of headphones should be taken into consideration when choosing an amplifier or other music production equipment. If the impedance of the headphones is not compatible with the output of the equipment, it may affect the volume and clarity of the audio.
Driver size is also important for sound quality. Larger drivers are able to produce louder, more detailed audio with deeper bass tones. However, large drivers take up more space and can make headphones less portable and less comfortable to wear. This is important if you are a music producer because you need headphones that can produce high-quality audio for hours on end.
This may all seem complicated, but thankfully the headphones mentioned above have all of these factors taken into consideration.
Comfort and Fit
Comfort and fit is a key factor to consider when picking headphones for music production. Headphones that are uncomfortable can result in fatigue after long periods of use, leaving you unable to focus on your work. Here are a few aspects of comfort and fit to consider when choosing headphones:
- Ear Cup Design: The ear cups should fit the shape of your ears and should not cause discomfort or irritation.
- Cushioning: The ear cups should have comfortable padding and cushioning to reduce pressure on the ears.
- Headband Design: The headband should be flexible, lightweight, and well-padded to evenly distribute weight and prevent the headphones from slipping off your head during long periods of use.
Noise isolation is important for music production because it ensures that the audio you are listening to is not distorted or affected by outside noise. This allows you to focus on your work without being distracted or distracted by external sounds. There are two main types of noise isolation:
- Passive Noise Isolation: This type of noise isolation occurs when the headphones form an airtight seal around your ears, preventing sound from entering or exiting.
- Active Noise Cancellation: Active noise cancellation uses technology such as microphones and speakers to eliminate background noise. This creates a more focused listening experience and is particularly useful for reducing ambient noise from outside sources like traffic or office conversations.
Keep in mind that open-back headphones may not be the best choice if you need to focus on your work or stay focused in loud environments. They were not designed for noise isolation, but rather to allow some ambient sound to pass through.
Durability and Build Quality
Durability and build quality are important factors to consider when choosing headphones for music production. Quality materials used, construction, and warranty should be taken into account.
When choosing headphones for music production, it’s important to look for sturdy materials such as aluminum or plastic that can withstand the test of time. Metal frames are generally more durable and provide better protection for the drivers and components of the headphones.
In addition, it’s also important to look for a warranty that covers both parts and labor as this can help ensure that you won’t have to worry about replacing your headphones if they break or malfunction.
Price is an important factor to consider when choosing headphones for music production. For those on a budget, it’s important to know how much you should be willing to spend in order to get the best quality headphones.
Generally, a good rule of thumb is to budget around $200-$300 for professional-grade headphones. If you are looking for budget headphones that don’t break the bank, there are many options available that offer high-quality audio at a fraction of the cost.
Factors that will ultimately affect the price of your headphones for music production can include brand name, materials used, and additional features.
Top Picks for Best Headphones for Music Production
Sennheiser HD 800s
The Sennheiser HD800S is an open-back dynamic headphone that was released in 2015. It is known for its excellent soundstage and detailed sound, but some people may find it to be bright in the upper treble due to a peak in that region.
It is generally considered to be a comfortable headphone, though some users may find the pressure on the top of the headband to be a bit too much after extended use. It has a sturdy build but the detachable cables can be a bit difficult to plug in and unplug. The earpads are replaceable, but putting on aftermarket pads can be a bit challenging.
The sub-bass of the HD800S tends to roll off quickly, but it has a lush mid-range. In terms of objective sound, the HD800S has a relatively flat frequency response, with a slight dip at 2 kHz and a peak in the upper treble.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x is a pair of over-ear, closed-back headphones with dynamic drivers. It is praised for its solid build quality, with a mechanical design that allows it to fold flat and a sturdy feeling overall. It comes with three cables, one coiled cable and two straight, and has a single-entry connector with a locking mechanism.
The M50x is known for its good sound isolation and professional appearance, but some users may find the clamping force to be a bit intense, leading to decreased comfort. The ear pads are removable and can be replaced, but it’s important to note that this may affect the frequency response of the headphones.
In terms of sound quality, the M50x is known for its balanced and accurate sound, with a bass-heavy emphasis that some users may enjoy. Overall, the M50x is a great for those looking for a reliable pair of headphones with good sound quality and a professional appearance.
Personal anecdote: I’ve owned an M50x for many years and loved them.
Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro
The Beyerdynamic DT 770 is a closed-back dynamic driver headphone that is popular among audiophiles for its high-quality sound and relatively affordable price. It has a durable build, with metal components and a lightweight design, although the non-detachable cable may be a potential source of failure.
The DT 770 has a very comfortable fit, with soft velour ear pads and an adjustable headband. It has a bass-heavy sound signature with good clarity and detail. The DT 770 is available in three different impedance versions: 32 ohms, 80 ohms, and 250 ohms, which may affect its compatibility with certain types of audio equipment.
Overall, the DT 770 is a reliable and well-rounded headphone suitable for a wide range of music genres.
The Sony MDR-7506 is a pair of professional-grade monitoring headphones that are popular among audio engineers and music producers. They are known for their exceptional sound quality, clarity, and accuracy, and have been a trusted tool for professionals for nearly 30 years.
The 7506s are made mostly of plastic, which makes them lightweight but not the most durable headphones on the market. They come with a soft carrying case, but it’s not enough to protect them from damage. They have a compact, foldable design, but the ear cups do not swivel, which can be inconvenient when wearing them around the neck.
The ear cups have padding, but it is not very comfortable, and the headband can feel too tight on the head. The 7506s have a non-removable, thick and durable cable that ends in a 3.5mm connector with threading for the included quarter-inch adapter.
They have a relatively high impedance of 63 ohms and require a bit of amplification to reach their full potential. The sound quality of the 7506s is exceptional, with a flat and neutral frequency response that allows for accurate audio monitoring.
They have good bass, clear and detailed mids, and smooth highs. Overall, the Sony MDR-7506 is a good choice for professionals looking for a reliable and accurate pair of monitoring headphones, but they may not be the most comfortable or stylish option for everyday use.
The Shure SRH840 headphones are a closed-back, efficient pair of monitoring headphones. The speaker in the headphones is closer to the ear with the stock pads, but some users may find the stock pads to be uncomfortable after extended use.
The headphones also come with a coiled wire and can be folded for easy storage. The speaker in the headphones has a punchy low end and is capable of producing a clear sound. Some users have preferred the SRH840 headphones to the Audio-Technica M50x headphones, but it ultimately depends on personal preference.
What are the top 5 headphone brands recommended for music production?
Here are the top 5 headphone brands recommended for music production:
- Sennheiser: Sennheiser is a renowned brand known for its high-quality headphones. Their headphones offer accurate and detailed sound reproduction, making them suitable for critical listening and precise monitoring during music production.
- Audio-Technica: Audio-Technica produces a wide range of headphones that are well-regarded in the music production community. They are known for their balanced sound signature and durable build quality, making them popular among both amateurs and professionals.
- Beyerdynamic: Beyerdynamic is recognized for its premium headphones, which are often praised for their transparent and accurate sound reproduction. Their headphones provide a reliable reference for monitoring and are favored by many music producers.
- Shure: Shure is a well-regarded brand that offers headphones suitable for music production. Known for their reliability and durability, Shure headphones are favored by professionals in the industry.
- Sony: Sony has a strong presence in the headphone market and offers options that cater to music production needs. Their headphones are known for their accuracy, clarity, and comfortable fit, making them a popular choice among producers.
Are open-back or closed-back headphones more suitable for music production?
Open-back and closed-back headphones serve different purposes in music production, and the choice between them will depend on specific needs and preferences. Here are the characteristics and considerations for each:
Open-back headphones: Open-back headphones are designed with perforations or vents on the ear cups, allowing air and sound to pass through. They are known for their spacious and natural sound reproduction, as well as for providing a more immersive listening experience. Open-back headphones tend to have a wider soundstage and better accuracy in reproducing instrument separation, making them suitable for critical listening, mixing, and mastering. However, they typically have less isolation and sound leakage, which can be a concern in environments where external noise needs to be minimized or when recording audio.
Closed-back headphones: Closed-back headphones feature solid ear cups that block external sounds and isolate the listener from their surroundings. They are designed to keep the sound contained within the ear cups, resulting in a more focused and controlled listening experience. Closed-back headphones are often preferred for tracking, recording, and situations where noise isolation is important. They can provide a more pronounced bass response and are generally less affected by external noise interference. However, the soundstage may feel more confined, and the accuracy in reproducing subtle details and instrument separation may not be as precise as with open-back headphones.
What is the ideal impedance rating for headphones used in music production?
The ideal impedance rating for headphones used in music production will depend on the specific requirements and equipment being used. Impedance refers to the electrical resistance that headphones present to an audio source, typically measured in ohms.
In general, headphones with a moderate impedance rating between 32 to 80 ohms are commonly recommended for music production purposes. This impedance range is considered versatile and compatible with a wide range of audio interfaces, headphone amplifiers, and mobile devices, making them suitable for various studio setups.
Lower impedance headphones, such as those below 32 ohms, are often designed for portable devices and may not provide the same level of audio accuracy and clarity as higher impedance models. They may also be more susceptible to distortion if not properly driven by an appropriate audio source.
On the other hand, higher impedance headphones, typically above 80 ohms, may require dedicated headphone amplifiers to provide sufficient power and voltage to drive them effectively. These headphones are often favored by audiophiles and professionals seeking more refined sound reproduction, but they may not be as practical for all music production scenarios.
Are wireless headphones suitable for professional music production work?
Wireless headphones can have limited suitability for professional music production work, particularly when used in conjunction with reference tracks. However, it’s important to note that wired headphones are generally considered the superior choice for critical and precise monitoring tasks. Here are some key considerations when using wireless headphones in a professional music production context:
- Sound Quality: While wireless technology has improved, there is still a potential compromise in sound quality compared to wired headphones. Compression and latency issues in wireless transmission can affect the accuracy and fidelity of the audio signal, which is crucial for precise monitoring and critical listening in music production.
- Latency: Wireless headphones can introduce a slight delay or latency in the audio signal due to the transmission process. This latency can be problematic when working on tasks that require real-time monitoring, such as recording, tracking, or live performances. It’s essential to ensure minimal latency when using wireless headphones for professional applications.
- Reliability and Interference: Wireless headphones are susceptible to potential interference from other devices or wireless signals in the environment. This interference can introduce artifacts or disruptions in the audio signal, which is undesirable for accurate monitoring during music production. Ensuring a reliable wireless connection without interference is crucial for professional work.
- Battery Life and Charging: Wireless headphones rely on battery power, so considering the battery life and the need for regular recharging is important, especially during extended studio sessions or on-location work. Running out of battery power in the middle of a critical task can be inconvenient and disrupt the workflow.
Can you recommend headphones with a low total harmonic distortion (THD) for clean audio reproduction?
THD stands for Total Harmonic Distortion and is a measurement used to quantify the amount of distortion introduced into an audio signal by a device, such as headphones or audio equipment. The Sennheiser HD 660 S is highly regarded for its low THD levels. These open-back headphones provide a balanced sound signature and excellent detail retrieval, making them suitable for critical listening and clean audio reproduction.