It’s possible that long before you had thoughts of being a musician, you knew the value of a good pair of headphones. Young people love to go for the Beats by Dre while the older guys preferred Bose—which was once a celebrated brand.
But, when you start with the home studio thing, the professional in you begin to wonder which headphones will work best. In reality, it all boils down to why you need the headphones. If you do a lot of mixing, the open-back headphones are ideal. But, if you plan to record tracks in your home studio, closed-back headphones are perfect.
So, are you keen on getting the headphones on the market? If yes, keep reading this article to get the absolute best options available.
We took out time to check out a ton of headphones on the market, and we came up with four products that met our standards in durability, comfort, impedance, and versatility.
- If you want headphones that combine style, comfort, and quality, opt for the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro.
- If you can’t exceed your budget and you need a pair that can deliver studio-quality sound, go for the Samson SR850.
- Do you want a headphone that offers full and crisp sound from tiny speakers? Shure SRH1840 is a good option.
- Sennheiser HD 800 is ideal if you love a lightweight headphone that’s durable and incredibly comfortable.
Who Should Get This?
Headphones are vital when it comes to influencing a performance. If you’re a producer that spends a lot of time with vocalists, when you use headphones, you’ll notice how well they respond to what they hear in their cans.
Headphones also help you listen to mixes with more detail as it blocks out a lot of sounds—especially when you need to work in a noisy environment. It’s also a more affordable option compared to studio monitors. Headphones are quite portable if you love to work on the go. Headphones give you a level of privacy.
This function comes in handy when you’re unsure about how good a sound is—and you’re not ready to advertise your uncertainty to people around. You may not need this article if you’re looking for entry-level headphones.
Best Headphones for Home Studio: What to Consider in 2020?
Here’re are factors you should consider before buying the best headphones for your home studio:
Producers usually have stereo imaging issues when they are mixing with headphones. When this issue comes up, the stereo field sounds markedly wider compared to studio monitors. The reason why this comes up is that the left and right channels of the headphones sit on each side of our head.
Also, the center-panned mix elements sound like they’re between our ears on headphones. Thus, you have to consider this challenge when you’re establishing the stereo image on headphones.
One thing is sure: every headphone is unique, and they have a particular way of coloring the sound they reproduce. The coloration in question affects the way people perceive frequencies—which ultimately changes the way they mix.
So, you need to consider the frequency response of headphones before you buy one—because it goes a long way to affect the way you mix.
Crossfeed refers to an aural phenomenon. You may notice this issue if you go for bad headphones. As a result, the right and the left ear don’t blend—and your brain will see that something is missing—thus, you may dislike what you hear.
So, it’s best to look out for solid headphones that blend the left and right channels to a large extent.
Most studio headphones measure their specs in ohms—and the values are the impedance of the headphone. Thus, the higher the impedance value, the more power is needed by the headphones to produce volume.
It’s also a major factor behind the output limitations of amplifiers. A lower impedance headphone gives a larger load compared to high impedance headphones (which are usually limited by their amplifiers). So, ensure that you consider impedance values before you buy new studio headphones—because a poor choice can cause harm down the line.
The sensitivity of a headphone measures how efficiently earpieces can convert the electrical signal into sound. So, a higher sensitivity allows you to concentrate and edit the smallest details.
But, you have to note that a higher sensitivity could also damage your ears. Bear in mind the safety side of things when you’re considering the sensitivity levels in headphones.
A driver is essential when it comes to converting an electrical signal into sound. A driver unit is made up of a diaphragm, magnet, and voice coils. The size of the drivers is in millimeters, and it’s responsible for producing a powerful sound.
Thus, the bigger the driver unit, the bigger the sound it produces. Therefore, you can go for headphones with a more significant driver unit if you want a louder sound.
Ambient Noise Reduction
Sometimes, you could be trying to focus on your work, but outside sounds tend to interfere. In this case, you can opt for closed-back headphones because they help to cut off outside noise.
The headphones isolate the noise with their body—which is known as ambient noise reduction. Thus, keep this in mind when you’re choosing headphones for your home studio.
Best Headphones for Home Studio: Our Picks for 2020
The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro is an open back headphone that’s almost entirely plastic save for the metal band that suspends the earcups. The headphones are quite comfortable thanks to its memory foam padding wrapped in cloth that makes everything fluffy and plush.
Sadly, the build quality isn’t fantastic, but it’s quite easy for you to flex them to relatively regular angles. The sound quality of the headphone is decent for the price. The model may not give your music all the Beats treatment you desire—but it’s an enjoyable pair to have.
These open-back headphones aren’t ideal for commuters. However, if you love a higher amount of detail in your music and you’re not bothered about sacrificing some range, this pair will do your music justice. This model comes with an impedance of 250ohms—which may require you to push it with a decent amp.
What We Like:
- Decent soundstage
- It’s comfortable
- Neutral sound
- Great detail in mids and highs
What We Don’t Like:
- It lacks in deep bass
2. Samson SR850
The Samson SR850 is a semi-open back headphone that comes with an engaging style. The pads are relatively comfortable, but your ears may get sweaty underneath because it’s vinyl. But, we have to add that the full vinyl headband helps add both stability and comfort to the gadget.
When it comes to sound quality, we can say that it outweighs its price tag. And since it’s an open headphone, it has a very neutral sound to a great degree. The mid lows and highs are remarkably balanced with an impressive soundstage thanks to its open-back design. This headphone is a great starting point for anyone that wants to have a feel of what a high-end sound is all about.
What We Like:
- It’s very flexible
- Great sound quality
- It has good treble and bass
- Quality build
What We Don’t Like:
- The earpads are not so comfortable
The Shure SRH1840 is a fantastic headphone that has a relatedly mundane look that masks its superb sonic quality. It’s a good combination of comfort and refinement—with toe-tapping entertainment and agility on the side. The headphone is a delight to listen to, considering that you’ll be immersed in the way that the gadget delivers each note with enough insight and enthusiasm. The device can handle a lot of complex recordings without feeling strained at any point.
The device is nicely fluid with dynamics—which means that it can go loud easily without losing control while it allows quiet moments to retain depth. The headphone makes recording sounds as realistic as possible because the basslines are taut and agile. Plus, the treble has a natural shimmer.
What We Like:
- It’s quite comfortable
- Excellent detail and natural sounding
- It has a great sound
- Flexible build
What We Don’t Like:
- It’s expensive
The Sennheiser HD800 is a well-crafted headphone that has a sturdy build quality—that uses a lot of premium materials and metal in their design. The manufacture coated the open ear cups with suede-like padding that feels comfortable on the skin and enhances long listening sessions.
The snag is that the gadget is quite bulky and heavy. But, the headphone delivers a comfortable listening experience thanks to its sizeable spacious ear cups that aren’t too tight on the head. Since it’s an open-back headphone, they keep your ears relatively fresh during long listening sessions—because they don’t obstruct much airflow.
Unfortunately, the headphones don’t come in a case, and they aren’t practical to carry around. Even though the ear cups have a large surface area, they maintain their position during casual listening sessions or when you tilt your head.
What We Like:
- It has a good bass
- Supremely comfortable
- Tonal clarity
- It retains superb resolution and imaging
What We Don’t Like:
- It’s not so portable
Tips on How to Maintain Your Headphones
- When you finish using your headphones, ensure that you take simple precautions like taking off the end plug instead of yanking off the cable, and avoiding extreme temperatures—because it can affect the lifespan of your gadget.
- Check for dirt or damage on your gadget regularly—and give it a quick wipe after an extended period of use.
- Store your headphones in a clean and dry place after use or invest in a case—so that you won’t expose it to extreme temperatures.
After going through the comprehensive buying guide, you should be able to have a good idea on which headphone suits your home studio.
What do you think about our list? Which of the products do you want to start with now? You can post your comments and questions in the comments section below.
Jessica is the co-founder and content manager. She has been fascinated by the startup culture in Silicon Valley and she loves building things from zero to one. When she is not writing, she loves getting close to nature and shoot photos with her iPhone and Canon EOS 80D.