The best headphones for recording music will be defined as those with the most accurate frequency response and minimal harmonic distortion. Frequency response is important because it shows how accurately a set of headphones can reproduce sound, which can help you zero in on problem areas during mixing by making it easier to identify unwanted frequencies that need to be cut or boosted.
In general, there are two types of headphones: open-back and closed-back. Closed-back have plastic covers over their drivers that prevent outside noise from reaching your ears but at the expense of a less natural-sounding audio presentation. Open-back headphones don’t separate your ear from the driver so they have more air and provide a bigger soundstage – meaning audio feels like its surrounding you rather than being confined within the space of your head.
Open back headphones are generally preferred by audiophiles, but they do have their downsides. First, they leak sound so you can bother other people in the room with whatever it is you’re listening to (and if that’s the case, then you should read our article on noise cancelling headphones). Open-back models also reveal sounds like typing or creaking chairs that may not necessarily be part of the original mix and aren’t something you want leaking into your recording; however, these disturbances might actually help in certain cases because they give a truer representation of what you’ll hear when listening to your song in an environment with multiple sounds rather than just compressed audio through speakers.
When choosing open-backs for recording music, you should look for headphones that have a relatively flat frequency response that extends into high frequencies. The lower the bass is rolled off, the less chance there’ll be of low-end sounds masking higher-pitched instruments. At the same time however, it may actually be beneficial to cut the very lowest frequencies on open-back headphones because they don’t sound natural and can interfere with your mix at extreme levels.
With closed-back or in-ear headphones, harmonic distortion becomes more important since they make up for their weaker low end with boosted mid and high frequencies. Look for models with balanced levels across all ranges rather than heavy emphasis toward specific areas to ensure that the quality of sound remains faithful even when bass gets pushed up all the way.
Open-backs are best for mixing, but if you’re looking for a pair of headphones solely to record vocals (or an instrument like an acoustic guitar) then closed-back models can give you better isolation. It should be fairly easy to tell the difference between the two types because open-back headphones tend to feel lighter due to their lack of solid construction; they also don’t completely cover your ears and usually have grilles over their drivers.
Now that CopyAway has explained how best to choose recording headphones based on sound quality rather than convenience factors like portability or noise-canceling technology, let’s take a look at some models that stand out.
List Of Best Headphones For Recording Music:
- Focal Listen
- Sennheiser HD-206
- Sony MDR-7506
- Sennheiser HD-25
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
- Audio-Technica ATH-R70x.
- Beyerdynamic DT1770 PRO.
- Austrian Audio Hi-X65.
Focal Listen :
The Focal Listen are an excellent choice for anyone who wants their headphone amp to be adaptable enough to work with a variety of devices. They have a removable cable that can plug into either earcup, which means you’re not locked into using them in the way they were intended—you may want to flip the cable around depending on what side your audio interface or amp is on.
Their design is also very comfortable and isolates surprisingly well despite open-back construction, making them easy to wear for long periods without suffering fatigue even if you use them while recording vocals or acoustic instruments. The one big downside of these headphones is their high price tag, but if your budget is deep enough then you won’t find a better option.
– 3m replaceable cable with 3.5mm TRS connector
– Very comfortable and isolating despite open-back design
Sennheiser HD-206 :
The Sennheiser HD-206 are best suited for those who want something affordable and simple without any added features like inline controls or detachable cables. They’re not the best sounding headphones out there, but they do offer a surprisingly flat response and they also isolate fairly well—their noise isolation is actually comparable to many closed back models even though they utilize open-back construction; we suspect this has something to do with how the cups fit over the ears (more on this below).
Their soft earpads make them comfortable to wear for hours at a time, and their only major downfall is that they can’t be used while charging since there’s only one 3.5mm jack. The included cable is fairly long at 1.7 meters though, and it terminates in a gold-plated plug which ensures the best possible signal transfer even with high-impedance or low-output sources like tablets and smartphones.
– Non-detachable cable with 3.5mm TRS connector
– Ear cups swivel for single-ear listening or storage
Sony MDR-7506 :
The Sony MDR-7506 are best suited for recording music because of their great frequency response and extended highs; these headphones actually sound better than many more expensive models despite being priced affordably. Like Sennheiser’s HD-series, they also have swiveling earcups so you can wear them comfortably whether you’re on your right or left side. They also have a closed-back design, so they’re best used while recording vocals or acoustic instruments where isolation is important.
Their sound quality really shines through when you take them to a studio monitor system though, which makes sense because that’s what they were designed for in the first place. Don’t expect them to be versatile enough to work well with all devices though—their high impedance means they can be hard to drive without an amp, and their best use case scenario involves using them with nothing except a headphone amp or mixer/interface combo.
– 1.8m coiled cable with 3.5mm TRS connector
Sennheiser HD-25 :
The Sennheiser HD-25 are best suited for those who want a headphone model best suited for professional DJing rather than recording music. That’s not to say they’re bad for recording—in fact, their fairly flat response curve is perfect when it comes to making sure your vocal recordings or acoustic instruments sound natural when you play them back elsewhere. They also isolate fairly well thanks to the faux leather earpads which sit tightly around your ear canals; best of all, this material helps minimize sound coming in from outside so you don’t have to worry about an ambient mic picking up background noise while recording vocals.
The only downside with these headphones is that they lack a detachable cable, but that’s less of an issue if you already have a pair of cables lying around that you can use with them. We recommend either buying of our best bundles , where you can choose a best studio headphones and best XLR mic at the same time.
– 1.5m coiled cable with 3.5mm TRS connector
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are best suited for those who want a pair of best studio headphones that sound good even with the most budget audio sources, and offer some of the best isolation out there thanks to their closed earcup design. They’re best used while recording vocals or acoustic instruments where isolation is important.
These headphones come with two detachable cables which both terminate in gold-plated plugs so you can rest assured that your signal will always be transferred properly no matter what kind of source you use them with. The set also includes a ¼” adapter so they can be used on professional equipment—they’re even compatible with mixers and portable recorders if you need to buy an extra cable for this purpose.
Their best use case scenario however is to be plugged into a studio monitor system—they’re best paired with audio interfaces and even mixers, and they also sound best when driven by amplifiers like the best audio interface we’ve already mentioned (the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 in particular has an excellent DAC that’s built-in). Since they often work best used this way, you can read more about them on our best home recording studio article.
1.8m coiled cable with 3.5mm TRS connector
3m straight cable with 3.5mm TRRS connector
The Audio-Technica ATH-R70x are also best suited for home recording studios due to their excellent isolation, but are more expensive than the aforementioned pair of headphones. These are best used while recording vocals or acoustic instruments where isolation is important.
While they may lack other features like swiveling earcups or a detachable cable, what they do have is an exceptional sound quality which makes up for it—they’re even designed to mimic the natural response curve of your ear canals so you get better audio playback when listening back without them too. The only downside with these headphones that they’re not nearly as versatile as other options on this list since they require amplification for maximum sound quality; while you can still use them with a portable recorder, a mixer/recorder combo would be best suited for this.
– 1.8m coiled cable with 3.5mm TRS connector
Beyer dynamic DT1770 PRO:
The Beyer dynamic DT1770 PRO are best suited for those who want a pair of headphones that they can use to record their audio sources with, but also need a set of best studio headphones which have a closed back design—as such, these are best suited when recording drums or electric guitars.
These come with two detachable cables so you can plug in your audio source and a headphone amp simultaneously without having to swap the cable. As an added bonus, using both inputs at once lets you listen to playback (or live input) while tracking vocals or acoustic instruments at the same time. The only downside is that they don’t sound good when used outside of recording applications; because they’re closed-back headphones, this means their soundstage is rather poor, so they’re best used in a studio environment.
– 1.8m coiled cable with 6.3mm TRS connector
– 3m straight cable with 6.3mm TRRS connector
– best headphones for recording music – Great sound best suited for electric instruments & drums – Best closed back design best for noisy environments
Cons: – Poor sound
Austrian Audio Hi-X65:
The Austrian Audio Hi-X65 are best suited for those who want a pair of headphones that they can use to record their audio sources with, but also need a set of best studio headphones which have an open back design. These are best suited when recording vocals or acoustic instruments due to the fact that they offer an exceptional soundstage and do not cause any kind of bleeding between tracks—in other words, they’re very suitable for recording live bands since there’s no worry about them picking up sound from each other.
While these don’t come with any cables included, they do have two sets of connectors so you can plug in your audio source and headphone amp simultaneously without having to swap the cable; as such, it’s easy to set them up to use them while recording live. One downside is that due to their open back design, the soundstage isn’t nearly as good when used outside of a studio environment so they may not be suitable for everyone.
– 1.2m coiled cable with 6.3mm TRS connector
– 3m straight cable with 6.3mm TRRS connector
Conclusion Regarding Best Headphones For Recording Music:
In the end for best headphones for recording music you should have a decent set of best studio headphones that give you the best sound quality so you get a good representation of how your music might actually sound like performed live. You’ll want a pair of best closed back headphones if recording instruments where isolation is needed, best over-ear headphones for best soundstage, and best open back headphones otherwise. Of course, this is just for best headphones for recording music.