Picking the best headphones for a guitar amp might feel like you’re walking blindfolded. With so many options out there, and factors to consider, the task can seem daunting. But don’t worry; finding the perfect match isn’t as hard as it seems.
Whether you’re a seasoned musician or just starting out, a good pair of headphones can take your guitar practice, recording, or gig experience from ordinary to extraordinary! In this guide, we’ve put together a list of the best headphones for guitar amps in 2023.
You can transform your personal jam sessions into an intimate concert experience or record like a pro without disturbing the whole neighborhood at 2 am. So, get ready and dive into the world of high-quality audio. This guide won’t just improve your knowledge of headphones for guitar amps, but it’ll also make your buying decision a breeze (or a rock-out session)!
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x is a trusted choice for those who appreciate good sound quality in a headphone that is versatile enough for casual listening, recording, and even podcasting. The wired headphone is outfitted with swiveling ear cups and a foldable design that is easy to carry around. The ATH-M50x is a well-received product because of its sound quality, comfort, durability, and its timeless appeal.
- Superior sound quality, with a studio-style sound profile that follows a house curve.
- Versatile use for casual listening, recording audio, and podcasting.
- Swiveling and foldable design for easy transport and storage.
- Comfortable fit, even for prolonged use.
- Comes with three removable cables for different uses.
- Durable construction that can withstand regular use.
The ATH-M50x is a moderately priced wired headphone. The value it offers in terms of sound quality, comfort, and durability makes it a good investment for audio enthusiasts. It is also worth noting that replacement cables for the ATH-M50x are available and cost around $20 USD.
The ATH-M50x is a delight for those seeking a neutral sound profile. The sound quality is impressive, with 45mm drivers delivering powerful and clear audio, and the bass is tight and controlled without overpowering the overall sound. The headphones also offer good isolation, blocking out external sounds to provide a more immersive listening experience.
However, the ATH-M50x may not be the perfect fit for everyone. One of the drawbacks is its proprietary cable connection, which can be inconvenient for some users. The ear padding can feel stiff and squeaky, which can be a discomfort for others. It also builds up heat after prolonged use, making it less ideal for intense activities.
For people who prefer more bass in their music, the ATH-M50x’s bass can be a bit subdued compared to the target curve. It’s also worth noting that the headphones do not have active noise cancellation, which can be a setback in environments with heavy bass or loud noise.
The ATH-M50x headphones do not offer features like a built-in microphone or wireless connectivity, which can be a deal-breaker for some. However, it’s worth mentioning that the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2, the Bluetooth version of these headphones, does offer these features.
Overall, the ATH-M50x is a versatile, reliable, and well-built headphone that offers excellent sound reproduction, making it suitable for critical listening and everyday use. However, its suitability for specific situations and preferences may vary. It’s always important to consider individual needs and preferences when choosing a headphone.
The Boss Waza-Air is a wireless guitar headphone amplifier system that has garnered positive reviews for its innovative design and high-quality performance. It aims to deliver a realistic “amp-in-room” experience for guitar players via wireless over-ear headphones and a transmitter that plugs directly into the guitar’s output socket. It features a gyro sensor, five amp types, and over 50 customizable effects, which can be edited through the Boss Tone Studio app. The headphones also allow for music streaming through Bluetooth connectivity.
- Provides a realistic amp experience
- Wireless design for freedom of movement
- High-quality sound with a variety of effects
- Easy customization via an intuitive phone app
- Robust build quality and comfortable to wear
- Good battery life, with up to 5 hours for the headphones and up to 12 hours for the transmitter
The pricing of the Boss Waza-Air has been a subject of debate, with some customers finding it a bit steep for its features. Nevertheless, many agree that the value it offers, especially considering its innovative features and the immersive practice experience it provides, justifies the cost.
The Boss Waza-Air offers outstanding sound quality and is very enjoyable to use. The fact that it serves as a regular Bluetooth headset and offers excellent isolation in noisy environments is highly appealing. It’s especially useful for those who need to practice without disturbing others, such as people living in apartments or those with young families.
Despite these advantages, there are a few minor drawbacks. For instance, there are occasional Bluetooth connectivity issues, and the lack of a visible battery level indicator can be inconvenient. The gyroscope feature, while innovative, has been found to have some calibration issues, causing drift that can be disorientating. The headphones are smaller than expected, which can be surprising, albeit they remain comfortable to wear. Additionally, while the app allows for customization and offers a good selection of simulations, some users have encountered problems with connectivity and occasional dropouts. Lastly, the price tag, although justifiable for some, may be considered steep by others, especially considering some of the limitations such as the lack of a case.
However, regardless of the drawbacks, many still regard the Boss Waza-Air as a quality product that provides a convenient and immersive practice experience.
The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro is a classic pair of headphones beloved by both audio producers and music enthusiasts. Recognized for its impressive sound quality and comfort, this headphone is available at a reasonable price point. The DT 990 Pro has a robust build, with its plastic construction backed by a metal band and yoke, ensuring stability and durability. Despite its robust design, comfort is not compromised thanks to its large velour-wrapped ear pads and lightweight build.
The DT 990 Pro operates on a 250Ω impedance, necessitating an external amplifier for optimum performance. However, the heavy coiled cable, which is not removable, might limit its portability. The sound quality is a standout feature of these headphones. They offer a well-balanced frequency response with emphasis on the low and high ends, ensuring clear and detailed midrange output. This makes them a suitable choice for both gaming and music production. Also, their open-back design enhances the soundstage and spatial cues but comes with the downside of not blocking out external noise.
- Outstanding sound quality with a balanced frequency response
- Comfortable to wear for long durations due to the large velour-wrapped ear pads
- Durable build combining plastic and metal components
- Offers an expansive soundstage due to its open-back design
- Suitable for gaming and music production
The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro, a long-standing player in the market, is available for around $160. This price is considered reasonable given its blend of comfort, durability, and exceptional sound quality.
While the DT 990 Pro stands as a popular choice among audiophiles, there are both merits and demerits to consider. On the bright side, the DT 990 Pro exhibits a wide and precise soundstage, making it an excellent choice for gaming. It also boasts a robustness that assures longevity, which is a valuable trait for budget-conscious gamers.
However, the DT 990 Pro isn’t without its flaws. It can be a bit tight on the head during long listening sessions. There are certain areas in its frequency response that could be better, and it has high distortion levels at higher volumes. The highs can be sharp, which might be off-putting for some, especially those sensitive to treble. The headphones require significant EQ adjustments to achieve a satisfactory sound, but it’s worth noting that the treble still retains some harshness even with EQ.
Furthermore, the DT 990 Pro’s open-back design means it does not isolate noise well and tends to leak sound. This makes them less suitable for use in shared spaces or in loud environments.
Despite these cons, with the right adjustments, the DT 990 Pro can still provide an enjoyable listening experience. It offers a good value for gamers willing to invest time in tweaking the sound to their preferences. For those prioritizing sound quality and comfort, the DT 990 Pro is an option worth considering.
The Shure SRH840A is a contemporary, updated version of Shure’s studio headphones, known for their comfort and durability. Designed with a closed-back and equipped with 40mm neodymium dynamic drivers, these headphones are not only stylish but also highly functional. They are tailormade for recording, monitoring, and podcasting, making them an all-rounder for music-making and content creation.
- Detailed and pleasing sound quality
- Great isolation suitable for recording and podcasting
- Comfortable for long periods of use
- Good build quality with a sleek appearance
- Comes with exchangeable cables, a threaded adapter, and a carrying pouch
- Suitable for tracking vocals in audio production
- Improved build quality compared to predecessor, the SRH840
- Suitable for both professional and casual use
The Shure SRH840A headphones offer a good price-performance ratio. They provide excellent sound quality, comfort, and durability, making them a valuable choice for professionals and audiophiles who prioritize these qualities.
In terms of the Shure SRH840A’s pros, they deliver a warm, powerful sound profile with clear midrange detail, especially for guitar music. The headphones provide good isolation and high wearing comfort, making them ideal for monitoring vocal and guitar recordings. They are also suitable as hi-fi headphones due to their wide-ranging treble reproduction.
Despite their numerous pros, the Shure SRH840A headphones do have a few cons. Some frequencies, particularly in the upper presence range and around 10 kHz, lack emphasis. The cable jack on the side of the cup is slightly recessed, making it slightly awkward to insert the cable. Additionally, the step mechanism for adjusting the ear cups may loosen over time.
Although the Shure SRH840A headphones are not the best choice for musicians or those needing precise frequency response for mastering or mixing, they are a decent option for content creators and general use. The headphones offer a design refresh with a lower-profile headband and a slicker overall presentation compared to their predecessor, making them better looking. However, it is important to note that these headphones are a wired-only option.
The AKG K240 Studio headphones are a trusted pair that offers high-quality sound at an affordable price. They have been a staple in the audio industry for over three decades. Designed with a semi-open construction, these headphones allow accurate sound reproduction. However, they may lack in the sub-bass response department when compared to other options in the market. Despite the plastic build, which raises questions about the durability, the K240 Studio is lightweight and features a comfortable suspension headband.
- Affordable yet high-quality sound.
- Semi-open design allows for accurate sound reproduction.
- Lightweight with a comfortable suspension headband.
- Excels in vocal sound reproduction.
- Comes with a mini-XLR to 3.5mm cable and a 1/4-inch adapter.
- Available in both 55 Ohm and 600 Ohm versions.
- Offers a natural and organic sound, especially with instruments and vocals.
The AKG K240 Studio headphones are priced at roughly $85, proving that you don’t have to break the bank for high-quality sound.
The K240 Studio headphones have their strengths and weaknesses. On the bright side, they provide an excellent sound-to-cost ratio, making them ideal for those on a tight budget who prioritize sound quality. They are particularly adept at reproducing vocals and instrumental tracks, providing a clean, clear sound across all frequencies. But the bass can be a little lean.
While their semi-open design allows for a more realistic perception of sound, it is not ideal for portable use due to sound leakage. These headphones would be best used in quiet environments where the high-quality sound can be fully appreciated.
Comfort is decent with the self-adjusting headband and lightweight design, but the shallow faux leather ear cups might cause some discomfort after extended use. While the headphones do come with a mini-XLR to 3.5mm cable, some have reported breakage after a few months, thereby bringing the long-term durability into question.
In terms of genres, it performs well with classic rock, doo-wop, soul, oldies, jazz, and classical music. However, for genres like hip-hop, indie, pop, metal, and hard rock, the lean bass and relaxed treble might not deliver the impact and weight needed.
Overall, the AKG K240 Studio headphones are a solid choice for those looking for a detailed and natural sound. They may not be perfect, but they certainly hold their own when it comes to delivering high-quality sound at an affordable price.
The Sennheiser HD 650, a popular choice among audiophiles, delivers exceptional sound quality and comfortable design. Lauded for over 20 years, it’s a stalwart in the industry. Being an open-backed headphone, it offers a reference quality sound signature with tight bass, clear midrange, and smooth treble. The headphones are designed with comfort in mind, featuring generous soft padding on the ear cups and headband and offering good swivel in the ear cups for long listening sessions.
With a replaceable cable and a detachable 3-meter cable that comes with a 1/4 inch plug and a short adapter cable for a 3.5mm jack, it’s user-friendly. However, due to an impedance of 300 ohms and a sensitivity of 103dB/1Vrms, it requires more power to drive properly and is best used with a dedicated headphone amplifier.
- Exceptional Sound Quality: Delivers tight, well-defined bass, clear and detailed midrange, and smooth, detailed treble.
- Comfortable Design: Lightweight with generous soft padding on the ear cups and headband, providing comfort for long listening sessions.
- User Replaceable Cable: Comes with a detachable 3-meter cable with a 1/4 inch plug and a short adapter cable for a 3.5mm jack.
- High Impedance and Sensitivity: Has an impedance of 300 ohms and a sensitivity of 103dB/1Vrms, which ensures robust sound quality.
- Durable: With replaceable parts, it ensures longevity.
The Sennheiser HD 650 headphones are typically priced around $500, although they can sometimes be found for less.
The HD650 excels in delivering accurate sound due to the open-back design, with deep bass response and excellent high-frequency response. It’s known for its mid-range and vocal performance, with superb separation and detail. The highs are well-mannered and not overly bright. The bass detail depends on the amplification, but it is typically not overpowering. The imaging is excellent, with good left-right separation.
The soundstage, however, is not very wide, which might be a drawback for some, especially for gaming. The headphones perform best with a dedicated headphone amplifier due to their high impedance and sensitivity. Despite these minor issues, they are often recommended for their comfort, sound quality, and durability. They offer a smooth and detailed sound and are a great value for the price. Some might find the sound a bit dull or veiled at times, and the bulky adapter could be considered a minor drawback. Despite these, the HD650 remains a top-notch choice for those seeking accurate sound reproduction.
The Focal Listen Professional is a closed-back headphone offering a powerful, bass-heavy sound experience without sacrificing the detailed mid-range and treble. Its low-end is controlled and impactful, yet does not overpower the other frequencies. These headphones are comfortable and durable, designed for extended use, and don’t require a separate amplifier for efficient use. They also come with a soft carrying case, inline remote with microphone, and an airplane adapter. With their clear and lively sound and balanced bass response, these headphones are suitable for a variety of genres, including rock, hip-hop, indie, pop, and EDM.
- Powerful and controlled low-end
- Detailed mid-range and treble
- Comfortable and durable for long usage
- Does not require a separate amplifier
- Includes a soft carrying case, inline remote with microphone, and airplane adapter
- Suitable for a variety of music genres
The Focal Listen Pro headphones are renowned for their performance, comfort, durability, and bass-heavy sound. Making them a worthwhile investment.
In my view, the Focal Listen Professional headphones have a lot going for them. Their sound quality, particularly the bass, is impressive. They provide a clear and lively sound with a near-perfect balance in the bass. They are comfortable to wear over extended periods of time and they come with a soft carrying case, making them portable. Another advantage is that they can be driven by the smartphone headphone outputs, eliminating the need for a separate amplifier.
However, they do have their shortcomings. There is a slight issue with the treble and mid-range, with some hiss and a papery character present. Although this doesn’t significantly affect the overall sound quality, it might be noticeable for audiophiles.
When comparing them to the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, it’s clear that both headphones have their unique strengths. The ATH-M50x headphones are known for their accurate and detailed sound reproduction across the entire frequency range, and they come with three detachable cables. But, they may feel a bit too close to the ears for longer listening sessions.
In conclusion, while the Focal Listen Professional headphones have some minor flaws, these are outweighed by their strengths. However, the higher price compared to similar options may deter some potential buyers.
The Sony MDR-7506 is a reliable and affordable pair of professional headphones. Renowned among audio professionals, these headphones have been popular since their release in 1991. Known for their solid sound quality, sturdy build, and vintage design, the MDR-7506 serves as a standard in professional audio.
- Quality sound: Offering a perceptually neutral sound signature, the MDR-7506 excels in reproducing vocals and instruments with clarity and detail.
- Durability: Built to last, the MDR-7506 exhibits a sturdy construction with user-replaceable parts like ear cups and the headband.
- Comfort: The wide headband distributes weight well, suitable for extended use, and the foldable design enhances portability.
- Affordability: Known for offering professional sound quality at an affordable price, the MDR-7506 provides excellent value for money.
The Sony MDR-7506 headphones are currently priced at roughly $100
I found the Sony MDR-7506 to be a fantastic pair of monitoring headphones that offer great detail and accuracy. They have a mostly plastic build but are pretty sturdy, offering plenty of stretch. The ear cups, which are slightly angled forward, can swivel to adjust to your ears. The headband has padding for comfort and works well if you wear glasses.
The sound quality is impressive. The headphones have a neutral sound signature with a slight emphasis on the upper mid and higher frequencies. The highs are crystal clear, making the vocals and sounds come through neatly. The mids are clean and well separated, and the lows offer punchy bass without overpowering the other frequencies. They allow for strong instrument separation and a decent sound stage.
However, there are a few potential drawbacks. The headphones may not be the most comfortable for long listening sessions. The design is not particularly stylish, but it is functional. The cable is non-detachable, which could be an issue for some. The sound quality, while excellent for studio referencing and critical listening, may not provide a balanced sound for general listening.
In all, while the Sony MDR-7506 may not have all the bells and whistles of more expensive headphones, they certainly deliver on their main purpose and have stood the test of time in the industry.
Picking the right headphones for your guitar amp is a decision that’ll greatly affect your playing experience. You’ll need to think about several factors. One key factor is the type of headphone amp you’ve got, as it can influence the performance and sound quality you’ll get from your headphones. A headphone amp is a low-powered amplifier that boosts the low voltage audio signal from a source like a smartphone, computer, or rack component, to a level that can power the speakers inside the headphones. This can be particularly useful if your current setup doesn’t have a built-in headphone jack, or if you’ve got high impedance headphones that your existing audio system can’t play loud enough.
Headphone amps come in different sizes, from large home audio components to small portable ones. They also differ in their input options, with some having analog-only inputs, computer audio inputs, or multiple audio inputs. The type of amp you choose should be based on the audio source you’ll be plugging into it. For instance, high-end tube output sections or pure class A amps are recommended for analog-only types, while for amps with digital audio inputs, you should consider the quality of the digital-to-analog converter (DAC).
Another important factor when choosing a headphone amp for your guitar is the impedance of your headphones. Lower impedance headphones might not need an amp, while higher impedance headphones will probably benefit from one. So, it’s important to check the impedance rating of your headphones before deciding if an amp is necessary.
Next, comfort and durability are key when choosing headphones for your guitar amp. Look for headphones with padding and adjustable headbands to ensure a comfortable fit. Also, the build quality and materials used can greatly affect the durability of the headphones.
Lastly, don’t overlook the sound quality of the headphones. High-quality headphones will provide a clear, detailed sound, enhancing your overall playing experience. Some recommended headphones for guitar amps include the Audio-Technica ATH-M50, Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro, Sony MDR-7506, and the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro, among others. These headphones offer different features and price ranges to suit different needs.
The relationship between guitar amps and headphones is becoming more significant in today’s music production and practice. Traditional guitar amps have always been linked with live performances, mainly focusing on amplification and volume. But, with tech advancements, headphone connectivity in guitar amps is becoming more common, giving you more flexibility to practice silently, record directly, and explore tonal nuances without disturbing others.
The quality of the headphone amplifier or output stage in a guitar amp can really shape the sound when you’re playing through headphones. It’s important to match the impedance between the headphones and the headphone amplifier for the best sound quality. Mismatched impedance can lead to reduced volume, loss of tonal clarity, and distortion. So, you’ll want to make sure the impedance of your headphones matches the output of the amplifier for the best sound quality and volume levels.
Also, the quality and design of the headphone amplifier circuitry can affect the sound quality and overall performance when you’re using headphones with a guitar amp. Tonal transparency, which means accurately reproducing the true voice of the guitar without significant alterations or coloration, is also really important. This, along with advancements in digital technology, like the development of modeling amplifiers, opens up new possibilities for you to explore various sounds and tones. This highlights the importance of choosing quality headphones for a guitar amp, which can change the way you practice, record, and perform.
Choosing the best headphones for your guitar amp isn’t just about weighing up professional recommendations or personal opinions. It’s about finding a balance between what you need and the wide range of options out there.
In this guide, we’ve looked at various headphones that work well with guitar amps, each with their own strengths and minor weaknesses. It’s clear that each product offers something different, designed to meet specific user preferences and needs.
Take the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, for example. It offers a balance of sound quality, comfort, and durability. The Boss Waza-Air, on the other hand, provides an innovative wireless solution if you’re after an immersive practice experience. The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro is a classic choice for its sound quality and comfort, while the Shure SRH840A might appeal to you if you’re a content creator, thanks to its detailed sound and good isolation.
If you’re on a budget but still want high-quality sound, the AKG K240 Studio could be a good fit. The Sennheiser HD 650 is a top-tier pick for audiophiles who want a comfortable design and excellent sound. The Focal Listen Professional is a higher-end option that delivers powerful bass-heavy sound, while the Sony MDR-7506 is a trusted and affordable professional headphone.
When you’re picking out headphones for your guitar amp, you’ll want to think about sound quality, comfort, durability, and price. But don’t forget about your own listening preferences and needs. Each of the headphones we’ve looked at has its own unique advantages and might be better suited to certain music genres.