How to Choose the Right Studio Headphones?
- 21 Nov, 2018
Imagine your favorite song. Maybe you like a hot EDM track, bumping with bass. Maybe rock' n' roll is more your taste, with sweet guitar riffs and drum solos. Or perhaps you just enjoy the classics-Bach to Bachman Turner Overdrive and everything in between.
No matter how you spin it, you should be allowed to ENJOY your music. Much like eating good, healthy food and getting exercise, music is fuel for the soul. It can make us cry with sorrow or leap with joy as we dance. Certain songs remind us of the good times.
It' s time to stop with cheap headphones and get a good pair of studio ones - here is how to choose the right studio headphones.
Why Do You Need Studio Headphones?
First, they are super comfortable. Second, they provide what is known as isolation. Isolation means that sounds that don' t belong stay out, so you can enjoy more of the good sounds bumping from your phone or MP3 player. They are also built to withstand lots of wear and tear.
But What' s the Difference? Studio Vs. Consumer Headphones
- Sound quality
Studio headphones are for audiophiles and people who appreciate sound, perhaps from working in a recording or sound studio of some sort. Studio headphones are built to provide the listener an exact measure of what they are hearing, so they can work with it.
There is no unwarranted boost in any frequency on these headphones-you won't get any bass boost, for example. They look bulky and even a little silly at times while being worn.
Meanwhile, consumer headphones are for people who just want to hear music their own way. These headphones come in funky, fun colors, don' t have any wires exposed (in some cases) and can be synced with phones and other devices for taking calls or listening.
If you are just looking for a simple, easy and convenient way to listen to your music, a consumer-style pair of headphones will suffice.
Okay, That' s Great...But What Should I Choose?
It all depends upon what you will be using your headphones for. If you will be using your headphones for general use, like gaming, background music, or working out, consumer headphones will be the way to go. They will feel comfortable and sit closely to your head, plus you get a super-sleek design that looks cool to wear, even if you' re not listening to anything!
If you love headphones that have features, like Bluetooth or other wireless connections, or will enable you to take phone calls and do other things, then consumer-grade headphones are definitely for you. If you don' t want to hear audio in its raw-sounding state or hear what a poorly-mixed track sounds like, stick with consumers. They are good for everyday use.
Now onto studio headphones. If you' re the type of listener who knows about sound, music, and wants a really AUTHENTIC experience-bad and good mixing, and all the other wonderful things that happen with recorded music-go with these headphones.
You hear it all, the good and the bad. This is the most neutral way to hear your favorite tunes-meaning things like no bass boost, background noises, and even some awkward-sounding edits. If you are an audio engineer or an audiophile in general, you will really love these.
Don' t be swayed, though. It' s not a bad thing! You will become more critical in how you perceive and receive the audio. Plus, these tend to be really competitively priced.
What Do I Need to Think About?
When it comes to choosing the right pair of studio headphones, there are some things for you to think about. They are:
- Do I want open or closed-back headphones?
- Do I want the type of sound that offers more or less flat frequency?
- Do I want a durable product? Better yet, does it matter?
- How much can I spend?
- Are these comfortable enough for me?
Open and closed back headphones can make a huge difference in how you hear your music. Open back headphones allow the air around you to pass through the ear cups to the speaker part of the headphones. In this way, no pressure builds up, and no echoes are heard inside the headphones. This is a trait of high-end, pricey headphones-it just sounds good all around.
You will also hear what' s going on around you, and other people will hear what you' re listening too, also. Furthermore, these are a bit more fragile.
Buy Open-Back Headphones If:
- You want to listen critically
- You are listening in a private place like a home or private office
- You have high-quality sound files you want to hear.
Don' t Buy Them If:
- You commute on a public transport method
- You want to block outside noise
- You want to listen in a public place
Closed back headphones will warm your ears and let no sound out. You might hear some echoes in bass notes, but only if you have a trained ear. These are great for listening in public areas. Buy them if:
- You are listening at work
- You are listening in public
- You are recording or mixing sounds/audio
Don' t buy them if you care about it getting hot around your ears.
Now, onto the frequency end of things. Studio headphones make it, so you are hearing EXACTLY the audio as it was mixed. There are no boosts in any frequency regions.
This means that if you hear songs and they don' t sound like they do on the radio or otherwise, it' s because your studio headphones are picking up mistakes in the mixing and microphone process. You are hearing audio in a very different state than others with regular consumer headphones hear it.
Studio headphones are made for work. That is, they are made to be tough and stand up to heavy wear and tear typical of audio engineers and musicians at work. They are built for strength, not style. Get these if you know you need durability. And because people use them for work and professional sound services, you know these are built for comfort-some folks wear them for hours a day. You can even roll over them in your chair, and the cables won't be crushed! Bear in mind that these headphones are built for work-not style. These won' t look as cool as your buddy' s consumer headphones. If you care about how you look while wearing them, you might want to reconsider.
Pricing on these headphones are very competitive. Consumer headphones tend to stay rather static. Meanwhile, studio headphones are based on older schematics whose final products have already earned their companies a profit.
Therefore, they end up cheaper-and provide you that authentic audio sound. Prices change weekly for these devices-so check each day and buy on a day that works for you.
There are also different brands that you need to consider as you choose your headphones. When it comes to studio names, look for Sony, Beyerdynamic, Shure, Pioneer, Fostex or Audio-Technica. These are only a few of the names you might see. Each and every one of these headphones are great in their own way, and they will afford you that cool studio sound.
So, What Do You Recommend?
We've got three choices here that we've narrowed down. They're all great, and we' re sure at least one will fit your budget.
1 Sony MDR 7506 Closed-back Headphones-$99
If you want focused listening and professional quality, these are the headphones of choice. They' re loved by thousands and provide superb sound isolation. You will be able to wear them for long periods of time, thanks to the soft ear cups.
No sound will leak out to others, or microphones, for that matter-and they can withstand lots of use and abuse. Musicians, recording engineers and people who love music agree-these are great! The closed-ear design will give you the best bass response you ever heard and will get rid of any outside noise. You can wear these things for hours-they fit right over your ears and won't bother you at all. The frequency response is 10KHZ to 20 KHZ-ensuring that you hear exactly what' s on the recording. They even fold up for easy carry and storage. They also come with a case for safekeeping.
2 Beats Studio Headphones, $199
Here is a studio headphone that blends style and versatility into one package. These over the ear headphones will help cancel noises around you, and they fold up for easy carrying. You can even make cell phone calls with them. The sound truly cannot be beat, and thousands of satisfied customers speaks for itself. You will avoid external sounds while the headphones respond to your individual fitting needs-essentially, they are like a custom pair of headphones that mold right to your head. Glasses-wearers might consider making this purchase. The headphones pivot as you move, so if you' re looking over a mixing board or monitoring your computer during mixing, you can freely keep an eye on everything. These headphones also charge quickly and offer hours of playback for only a few minutes of charging.
3 Samson SR-850 Semi Open Back Studio Reference Headphones-$30
Here is a great way to get amazing sound quality and monitoring for a great price! Whether you are mixing, an audio enthusiast, or an everyday person looking to enjoy some really nice sound, these are the headphones you want. They're comfortable and the sound reproduction is strong for perfectly mixed tracks! You get a nice open-ear design that will actually enhance the listening environment ambience. This allows for the appropriate amount of bleed, ensuring better stereo imaging. You get a wider dynamic range and perfect sound reproduction so that your final mixes are flawless pieces you can feel confident in. The fit is comfortable and adjustable for hours of work or listening. Open-ear design will ensure that your ears do not feel fatigue during long sessions.
Closing It Up
Hopefully, this guide has given you some insight on how to choose the right studio headphones. It' s going to be a listening experience like no other. If you need some studio headphones for mixing, don' t just go with any old thing that fits on your head. Do some research, ask some friends, and get a pair that is going to make YOU happy. You have to wear them to hear everything-make it great! Even if you' re listening for fun, make sure you choose a pair that' s good quality and feels good. Get ready for a listening experience like you've never heard before. Do you think you can handle the sounds?