Headphones for Music Production - What Do You Think?
- 21 Nov, 2018
Headphones for music production play an important role when producing music. Music production headphones provide music producers with a greater level of detail than using low-quality studio monitors. They allow for efficient production under less than ideal control room circumstances.
Depending on your audio preference and how creative you are, headphones for producing music may vary in design and quality. Generally, you will have to come up with your own preferences after a series of experimentation along with bad mixes.
In this article, we seek to help you choose a working pair of headphones that will prove useful after your first recording.
Music Production Headphones
Great headphones and producing electronic music is what every music production needs. You will certainly appreciate the importance of the best headphones for producing music when you start recording in a home studio where you have to mix without disturbing the neighbors.
Music production or studio headphones are like monitor speakers in that they are engineered for the most accurate and least playback as possible, and there are a number of types and models designed for specific studio applications.
Some music producing headphones are meant to be as accurate as possible, while others are meant to provide maximum isolation. Using inferior headphones to mix can often result in mixes that are inaccurate when played back on speakers.
What To Look For In Headphones For Music Production
There are a number of attributes that you ought to look for in headphones for music production, and they include the following:
- Sound Isolation
This is the ability of headphones (closed back) to isolate the sound they generate from the outside sound or noise. This is a very useful attribute when recording or tracking music. As you record, you are able to hear music from your headsets while it is at the same time playing through your speakers.
- Natural Soundstage
A natural soundstage allows you to perceive the space and size of the music production. This is mostly achieved by using the open back or semi-open back headphones, which deliver a better bass and a listening experience that is more natural.
- Flat Frequency Response
Frequency response is a measurement of how headphones respond to audio signals. Audio frequencies are either reduced or exaggerated during recording and playback. So, you should look for headphones that are equally sensitive to all frequencies (a flat frequency response), creating a more accurate representation of the original audio source.
A flat frequency response produces the purest audio overall. But because recording focuses on voice, headphones that can pick up low-frequency noise are better compared to those that pick up a truly flat frequency response.
Good sound is hard to come by, and that is why anyone producing music would want to deal with almost accurate headphones. A good example is Bose headphones with making music; they provide more punch, more bass, and more excitement.
In reality, there are no truly accurate headphones. For instance, closed back headphones are known to provide the best sound isolation, making them ideal for recording and tracking. However, they are not the perfect choice for long duration use.
Different Types Of Headphones For Producing Music
Best music production headphones fall into three main categories: closed back, open back, and semi-open back headphones.
- Closed Back Headphones
Closed back design provides you with good headphones for music production beginner. Closed back headsets are basically the opposite of open back. The earpiece has a sealed backside that completely closes off the rear end of the speaker.
This produces little or no leakage even at high volumes while recording music, but makes playback sound a little less open and not as accurate as open back headphones.
The closed-back design aims to achieve maximum isolation between the sound produced by the headphones and the sound outside of them. This is important in recording situations when a minimum amount of headphone leakage is required.
Sound engineers and music producers can benefit greatly from the sonic detail provided by isolation, which allows them to pay close attention to minute details. This design is also useful in noisy environments, such as a busy studio.
The closed cup provides some design challenges as it means some sound reflects back to cause comb filtering. This design is normally unsuitable for long listening periods as the pressure applied to the head can cause some considerable discomfort.
Regardless of the few design setbacks closed back headsets are a valued addition to your studio. You should have at least one model.
- Open Back Headphones
The second type of headphones for music production is open back headsets. The outside cover of the earpiece is not sealed, allowing the backside of the speaker to push into the air. The openings ensure that the listener is able to hear the outside sound.
This particular design puts audio quality and comfort first, making it ideal for critical listening applications and long listening periods that mixing always requires. The openings at the back prevent comb filtering and so sound travels both ways easily with little isolation.
Open back headsets deliver a superior natural soundstage simply because they do not put emphasis on bass frequencies. They are good for mastering and mixing, but not the ideal choice for tracking or recording due to sound leakage.
For maximum comfort, most open back headphones have cushions bigger than the outer visible part of the ear. The headband usually applies little pressure to the head. Cushions on superior models are made from materials that absorb sweat yet dissipate heat for additional comfort.
- Semi-Open Back Headphones
The semi-open back design is a marriage between the two previous headphone designs, which is aimed at providing moderate isolation when needed. Supposedly, these headphones are engineered to provide the best of both worlds.
However, that is not usually the case, since they are technically open back headphones. They are referred to as semi-open because they feature cans that are partly opened instead of fully opened. They deliver the benefits of open back headphones and at the same time reduce the drawbacks.
The partly opened cans still allow for sound leakage. Therefore, they are not ideal for quiet recording or tracking, but they can be used to record vocals. They provide little isolation, and you will certainly have to use them in a quiet studio setting for effective mastering and mixing.
Considerations Before Purchasing
There are a number of things you have to take into consideration before you invest in the best music production headphones.
- Open Back or Closed Back
The choice between the two types of headphones relies on your intended use. As we mentioned earlier, these two headphones are completely different by design. The use of each corresponds to their individual designs.
Choose open back headsets for mixing and mastering because they deliver a superior bass and a more natural listening experience. Settle for closed back headsets for recording and tracking because no sound leaks out as they are designed to block sounds from everyone except the user.
- Wired or Wireless
There is no doubt that with the best wireless headphones for producing music you won't have to worry about the wires getting damaged. Even with the availability of Bluetooth headphones for music production on a budget, there is still the issue of poor sound quality.
Wired studio headphones have been and are still the favorites for music production. As much as you are confined to a single position when producing music, wired headsets are capable of amplifying sound, allowing you to attain high volume levels.
Music production is a serious business, which will most likely consume a great deal of time. Therefore, consider comfort as an important factor in the equation. You might have to wear them for a number of hours at a time.
Therefore, make sure they do not exert excessive pressure on the ears since this will make the headsets sweaty and uncomfortable. They may even slip off while you are recording. With that said, always settle for over-ear models for general monitoring.
You do not have to spend a great deal of money when buying music production headphones. There are cheap headphones for making music and gaming on the market that you can buy. All you have to do is search for the best combination of quality and price. Just don't settle for the poor quality models in the name of saving money.
There are two main uses of headphones for music production in the studio. One is as a secondary check while mixing or mastering, and the other is as a listening device during tracking or recording. Quality headphones are necessary for both of these purposes.
Studio headphones can be either closed back open back or semi-open back. Open back headphones tend to be lighter and most comfortable, but they are not capable of noise isolation, making them less ideal for the noisy environment.
If I were to record music today, I would settle for closed back headphones. Even though they tend to get hot and sweaty during extended recordings, I would rather break in between the production and not compromise sound isolation. But your final say depends on your personal preference and budget.