Vinyl has been making a comeback in the past decade or so and, much to the chagrin of baby boomers and grandparents trying their best to enter into the new era of technology, the records and turntables seem poised to stick around for the foreseeable future.
There has been a learning curve, however, in the fad of listening to records on turntables. A younger generation used to Bluetooth speakers and listening to music on the speaker of their phones and may not understand the warm, natural sound that comes from a vinyl record being played on a quality turntable with great speakers. They may also not realize how great vinyl can sound on headphones either.
It is not easy to find the best headphones for listening to vinyl. This article will assist you in learning more about quality headphone options, whether you are a new vinyl fan or an old-timer looking to upgrade your headphones. Let’s dive in.
- For a high-quality purchase and listening experience without the hefty price tag, try these GRADO SR60e headphones on for size. They give off a rich, warm vibe and even the highest form of audiophiles can’t deny the sound that comes from these unsuspecting ‘phones.
- Another set of headphones that won’t drain your wallet are the Sennheiser HD 599’s. These headphones are perfect for comfort through their extra soft ear cups, and they provide you with some added style with their sleek ivory finish.
- Another affordable headphone that comes with a few premium features is the Sennheiser HD 650’s.
- The closed-back Beyerdynamic DT 770’s give you the option to tune out most outside noise. While not technically noise canceling, these headphones give a greater focus on the music and are perfect for louder environments.
Who Should Get These?
The nice thing about quality headphones, especially if you plan on taking extra good care of them, is that they can last a lifetime. For anyone who loves music, the purchase of a great set of headphones gives you the chance to hear the music as it was mixed, edited, and experienced in the studio by the professionals.
When I have the time to myself, I love nothing more than to lose myself into a classic or new vinyl. I especially love isolating the noise through great headphones. If you’re nodding your head in agreement right now, then you will love the following models.
Best Headphones for Listening to Vinyl: Our Picks for 2020
1. GRADO SR60e
These headphones utilize cutting edge without sacrificing while their old school look and feel. Due to their price, which falls lower on the headphone pendulum, these are a great beginner pair. Even so, everyone can appreciate their quality. People claim to be able to pick up notes and sounds on albums they’ve listened to hundreds of times once they hear them through these headphones. That’s enough proof for me.
What We Like:
- Sleek, yet vintage, look
- Stellar sound quality
- Comfortable over-the-ear design
What We Dislike:
- While great for home listening, not that portable
- Not great for listening to records with heavier bass
These “cans” are marketed towards those looking for a “sophisticated” sound quality. What does that mean? It means a rich sound and smooth finish that floats in your ear for a more listening enjoyable experience. Their open-back listening doesn’t crowd or overwhelm your ears, providing you some flexibility to crank up the volume without feeling trapped by the sound.
What We Like:
- Extremely comfortable
- High sound quality, perfect for novice to professional listeners
- Great for cranking up the volume on your favorite record without bothering the neighbors
What We Dislike:
- A shortened cable makes it difficult to be too mobile while listening
From the same makers as the last pair we covered, the HD 650 models are a step up from the HD 599 in terms of value and quality. Their design is also a bit different, and their chord length is significantly longer than the HD 599. These headphones are perfectly balanced, lending to the most natural sound for any audiophile.
What we like:
- Sharp design
- Highly durable and dependable
- Two-year warranty
- Amazing sound quality and feel
What we dislike:
- High price point
After reviewing three open-backed pairs of headphones, we have to give some love to a closed-back pair. The Beyerdynamic DT 770’s produce high-quality sound while also being one of the best-constructed products on the market. Their cable is strong, which will lead to years of no breaks or cuts in sound, and they offer several different over-the-ear pads for optimal comfort.
What we like:
- Great isolation due to the closed-back.
- Eliminates outside noise
- Clean bass
- Comfortable, stylish design
What we dislike:
- Sound can be too bright for some
- Uncomfortable to those with larger ears
Useful Tips and Resources
While the headphones you use to listen to your vinyl play a huge part in the entire experience, it isn’t the only variable in getting the best sound possible. Vinyl records can be tricky, especially if a little dust gets on them. To ensure that your records are dust and debris free, investing in a vinyl record cleaning kit is a great idea.
This 4-in-1 cleaning kit from Big Fudge is a best seller online and cleans dust, dirt, and fingerprints off your vinyl without leaving any scratches. It comes with a fairly large cleaning solution guaranteed to last for several years, and they also offer a money-back guarantee just in case you aren’t fully satisfied. Suffice it to say they put their money where their mouth is and stand by their product. I haven’t had any complaints.
Listening to vinyl is an unbelievable experience if done right. The use of a good pair of “cans” can help teleport you back to a place and time and make it, unlike any other listening session. Put on your favorite album from your teenage years or college dorm room, and you’ll be transformed back through the music. Now go grab one of the headphones in this article and prepare to have your mind, body, and soul blown!
What kind of headphones have you used in the past? Let us know in the comments below!
Andreas is a freelance tech writer based in California. He works on a Mac in the office and lives with a PC and many old computer electronics at home. While he is not reading or writing, you’ll probably find him playing online games with friends.