In today’s hi-tech world it can be difficult to determine what the best headphones for guitar amp really are. What should you look for, and what should you avoid? It always seems that there are far more questions then there are answers.
We can empathize with you.
This article is being written to help you better understand what is available in today’s market. We’ll take a closer look at various headphone designs as well as some of the more important features that go into a good pair of “cans.”
Making a selection isn’t as difficult as it may sound.
Not only will we discuss what’s better to use while practicing, but we’ll also take a closer look at wireless headphone technology. Open and closed designs shall be examined along with frequency, noise-cancelation, jack size, and more!
Things to Consider in the Best Headphones for Guitar Practice
There are quite a few design elements and features available to you. You’ll want to determine which of these will match your budget and needs when calculating what the best headphones for playing guitar are in your particular case.
Topics covered in this Buyer’s Guide include:
- Wireless Transducers
- Best Builds for Practicing with Electric Guitars
- Finding Good Prices
- Jack Size
- Frequency Range
- Closed and Open Backed Configurations
7 Key Features of the Headphones for Guitar Amp
Wireless Headphones for Guitar Practice
Wireless headphones for guitar amp have grown in accessibility and popularity in recent years. This type of technology allows users to wear these items without extra cables getting in the way. Lacking a need for chords also provides players with greater range than that found with hardwired units.
This isn’t all, however.
While most of the wireless technology has traditionally provided spotty range limits and sound quality, Bluetooth headphones for guitar amp have improved in the signals received from the amplifier. Outside interference is usually not a problem except with cheaper products.
Another nice feature with Bluetooth products is their ability to be used with other devices, such as phones if needed.
A lack of cables prevents them from dangling in your way while you’re playing and limits visual distractions, allowing your full concentration to remain on performing. Wireless devices are often more comfortable to wear as well. There won’t be a cable tugging on one or both ears while you practice.
These wireless units might be a good choice for casual practice sessions and are easily transportable. With that being said, studio and recording sessions will still benefit from wired sound quality.
Best Headphones for Electric Guitar Practice
All cans are not the same. If you’re looking for good headphones for electric guitar practice sessions, you’ll need to consider their impedance rating.
Impedance is described as the level of power needed by your ear speakers to work properly. It is measured in ohms and be broken down as follows:
- Below 30 ohms– can be used on low amplification devices such as MP3 players and phones.
- Above 30 ohms– can be used on higher amplification devices such as bass or guitar amplifiers.
Products with lower impedance are in danger of blowout when used with your amp. Higher rated transducers limit produce a richer sound with less white noise. High impedance devices will also generate more accurate sounds.
You will want to match the rating of your amp and ‘phones as closely as possible.
The best headphones for bass amp needs to be able to handle the low-end audible range without becoming muddy. Such features are often listed in the product description.
Build quality is another important consideration. If you will be wearing these things for hours on end, they need to be easy on your ears. Proper padding is important, along with an adjustable head strap for proper fitting.
Best Price on the Headphones for Guitar Amp Practice
Price ranges on a pair of ‘phones can range from under $50.00 USD to well over $1,000.00. Keeping that broad range in mind, it should be noted that often the higher prices can often reflect a brand name more than actual increases in performance.
If you are trying to get by on a limited budget, the best cheap headphones for guitar amp will cost between 50 and 100 bucks. Anything below this may not last long, requiring you to spend that saved money anyway. Good quality devices will cost musicians more than this, however.
While many potential customers may be drawn towards products from a particular manufacturer, we would recommend that you focus instead on what you are trying to get out of them.
- Do you want an average sound quality or a wider dynamic range?
- Will a built-in amp in the cans be a necessity?
- Are you looking for additional features included with the design?
- How important is the comfort and fit to you?
Once these features are determined, most players can find a good pair of cans in the 100-200 dollar range. Remember that you’ll see less pop per buck above 300.
Device Jack Size
While jack size won’t affect the sound quality of ‘phones, it will determine what type of devices they can be used on.
- 1/8 inch– (3 mm) jacks can plug into MP3 players, PCs, and phones.
- 1/4 inch– (6.35 mm) jacks can plug into devices such as amplifiers and stereos.
1/8 inch products will require an adaptor plug to convert into the proper size needed to plug into your amp. Conversely, 1/4 inch devices will need an adaptor plug to fit smaller audible items. The best 1/4 headphones will provide stereo (TRS) instead of mono (TS).
Most smaller practice amplifiers will come with an auxiliary jack for transducers. An adaptor is available for amps that lack this feature.
Noise cancellation on headphones for amp can be a nice feature, depending upon the level of monitoring that you need as well as the environment that you are practicing in. In normal circumstances for amateur players, this may not be required, but it could become critical during recording.
Limiting distracting noises is a straight-forward idea.
This feature helps to prevent ambient room noises from blending into sounds produced by your bass or guitar. A set of good headphones for guitar amp featuring noise-cancellation will also prevent sudden loud noises from distracting your listening as well. It will also help to prevent noise from leaking out of the cans.
Keep in mind that this feature comes at a higher price point. You will find yourself paying 250 – 300 dollars on the low end for noise-canceling products. Their actual necessity will determine if this increase in cost is justified.
Closed backed designs provide the best isolation and cancellation needed for critical listening.
Open backed provide less isolation but will usually offer musicians a bit more natural sound.
This feature may come in handy if you find yourself practicing in noisy places or during monitoring/recording.
Sounds coming out of your guitar amplifier headphones have not been mastered. This is why a wide range of frequency is important so that you are hearing all of the sounds being produced during your practice session.
Average human hearing ranges from 20Hz to 20Khz. so the best headphones for guitar playing should cover this spectrum as well. Increased sensitivity on the low end might be felt but not heard, while increases on the high end won’t be detectable at all.
Products with less range might produce crackling noises or distortion. Also, many cans are advertised as “flat” curved or “U” curved. While u-curved frequency ranges place emphasis on bass and treble, flat-curved ranges do not. This allows flat-curved units to shine in practice sessions.
Open or Close Backed Transducers?
This can be a matter of preference except for situations where exact monitoring is required. For most practice environments, the best guitar headphones are usually open cans. Closed ‘phones can be highly beneficial in some settings, especially recording sessions.
Close backed designs provide superior sound isolation when compared to open backed products. They will fit tightly on a musician’s head, preventing sound leaks as well. They may feel heavier due to this tightness though.
Open designs may not provide you with complete isolation, but you’ll hear a more natural sound. Others near you will hear the bass or guitar playing due to some sound leaking. They are more comfortable, making these good headphones for guitar practice sessions that are longer in nature.
|Product||Cord/Wireless||Jack Size||Noise-Cancelling||Frequency Range||Open or Closed-Backed|
|Audio-Technica ATH-M50x||Comes both with cords or in a wireless version||3.5mm (but comes with 6.3mm stereo adaptors)||Circumaural design closes off your ears from outside noise||15-28,000 Hz.||Closed-backed|
|Sony MDR7506||Corded. Comes with a 9.8-foot cord||3.5 mm, though a 6.33 mm (1/4-inch) adaptor is also included||Cancels out noise with a closed-ear design||10-20,000 Hz||Closed-backed|
|Sennheiser HD 598||Corded. Comes with one 9.8 foot cord and one 3.9 foot cord||9.8 foot cord comes with a 6.33 mm jack and 3.9 foot cord comes with a 3.5 mm jack||Uses Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement technology to channel sound into your ears and is also closed-backed||10-28,000 Hz for the closed-backed version, and 12-38,500 Hz for the open-backed version||Open or Closed-Backed|
|AKG K240STUDIO||Corded||3.5 mm jack, but also has a 6.33 mm screw-on stereo jack adaptor||semi-open backed construction aims for a balance between noise-cancelling ability and an organic sound||15-25,000 Hz||Semi-open|
|AKG K44||Corded. Cord is detachable.||3.5 mm jack, but also has a 6.33 mm screw-on stereo jack adaptor||Semi-closed design and ear padding cancels out noise||18-20,000 Hz||Semi-closed|
Top 5 Headphones for Guitar Amps
Here, we will be discussing five examples of the best headphones for guitar amps. Any guitar player, no matter what his skill level, needs to spend plenty of time practicing, whether to improve his skills or to maintain them. But if you’re practicing alone, the explosive noise from an amplifier might cause a disturbance. Having a good pair of headphones to plug into your amp will therefore allow you to be able to listen to your own playing without disturbing anyone else. Since we seek to help you, let’s get down to business and discuss five of the best headphones that can be plugged into your amp. Along the way, we’ll be going through five of the crucial features of each pair of headphones: whether they have a cord or are wireless; jack size; noise-cancelling ability; frequency range; and whether they are open or close-backed.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x – Best Headphones for Guitar Amps
Audio-Technica’s reputation for producing exquisite quality headphones that deliver crisp and clear audio to the wearer shines forth with each product, and the ATH-M50x is an exemplary case of that tradition. Although these headphones are suitable for everything from casual music listening to professional studio use for DJs and music technicians, they can also serve as excellent headphones for electric guitar practice.
Among the many features boasted by this exceptional pair are:
- Cord/Wireless:These headphones come in both corded and wireless versions. The corded version comes with multiple detachable cables, which range in length from 1.2 m (3.9 feet) to 3 m (9.8 feet).
- Jack Size:5 mm, but includes 6.3 mm stereo plug adaptors.
- Noise-Cancelling:The circumaural design of these headphones closes off your ears from outside noise and cancels out noise, even from loud environments.
- Frequency Range:15-28,000 Hz.
- Open or Closed-Backed:These are close-backed headphones, meaning that they are sealed completely around the back, only allowing sound to come out from where it can directly reach your ear. This provides a great deal of insulation from outside noise.
- come with a wide variety of cables and other accessories
- excellent audio quality and noise-cancelling ability
- fit comfortably around your ears
- can be easily folded for portability or swiveled and twisted 90 degrees to allow you to listen with just one ear, if necessary
Verdict: You are not likely to find guitar practice headphones that offer more impressive audio quality, versatility and overall high-caliber design than these. They receive our sincerest recommendation.
Sony MDR7506 – Best Headphones for Electric Guitar
Sony’s MDR7506 headphones come with neodymium magnets and 40mm drivers to deliver powerful, crisp and full-bodied sound that makes them ideal for a wide range of uses. They function spectacularly as headphones for your amplifier when you play electric guitar, but are just as good in recording studios or for any kind of music mixing or sound engineering. Anyone seeking high-quality sound will be impressed by these headphones.
This pair’s salient features include:
- Cord/Wirless:Comes with a 9.8 foot cord
- Jack Size:5 mm, though a 6.33 mm (1/4-inch) adaptor is also included
- Noise-Cancelling:The closed-ear design snugly cups around your ear and cancels out a great deal of external noise, giving you an immersive experience.
- Frequency Range:10-20,000 Hz.
- Open or Closed-Backed:Close backed.
- very comfortable and designed for extended use
- comes with an adaptor for stereos and/or amps
- comes with a carrying bad and also an optional case
- Neodymium magnet and 40 mm drivers deliver professional-quality sound
- the cable is not detachable, so you’ll be stuck with it
- some have complained that one or the other ear sometimes goes dead after a few months of use
Verdict: Though the cable can provide some annoyance and encumbrance to those who may need to move around, as long as you’re just sitting still and practicing, these are great headphones for your electric guitar. We recommend them.
Sennheiser HD 598 – Best Headphones for Bass Guitar Amp
The typical 6-string electric guitar is not the only kind of guitar out there that plugs into an amp. Bass players need a little bit of love, too. They also need a good pair of headphones to accompany them as they practice. To all of the bass players, therefore: Sennheiser has you covered, for with the HD 598, they may well have just produced the best headphones for bass guitar practice.
This excellent pair’s outstanding features include:
- Cord/Wirless: Comes with two cords: one 9.8 foot cord and one 3.9 foot cord.
- Jack Size:The 9.8 foot cord comes with a 6.33 mm (1/4-inch) jack, and the 3.9 foot cord comes with a 3.5 mm jack.
- Noise-Cancelling:Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement (E.A.R.) Technology channels sound directly into your ears. In addition to this, the close-backed version of these headphones cancels out external noise exceptionally well.
- Frequency Range:10-28,000 Hz for the closed-backed version, and 12-38,500 Hz for the open-backed version.
- Open or Closed-Backed:Comes in both opened-back and closed-back versions.
- compatible with an enormous range of audio devices, including computers, phones, stereos and, of course, guitar amps
- comes with different cords with different jack sizes
- both closed-back and opened-back versions provide exceptional noise-cancelling ability, audio quality and balance between each ear
- padded leather headband and ear padding gives extreme comfort
- expensive (especially the closed-back version)
Verdict: The full-bodied audio quality that these headphones provide will let you hear your playing – particularly if you’re a bass player – fantastically clearly. Provided that you’re willing to pay the admittedly steep price for this pair, we recommend it.
AKG K240STUDIO – Best Headphones for Recording Guitar
AKG’s K240STUDIO headphones provide you with professional-quality sound receptivity and a dynamic range that make them a dream come true for all seeking to produce clean, crisp and polished recordings. Put simply, there are just about the best headphones for recording guitar that you can hope to find. AKG has maintained a stupendous reputation in the audio recording industry since its founding in 1947, and the K240STUDIO’s phenomenal design clearly demonstrate why.
Some its salient features include:
- Cord/Wireless:Comes with a detachable cable.
- Jack Size:Comes with the 3.5 mm jack, but also has a 6.33 mm screw-on stereo jack adaptor.
- Noise-Cancelling:Large transducers give the sound a more lifelike feel, while the semi-open backed construction aims for a balance between noise-cancelling ability and an organic sound.
- Frequency Range:15-25,000 Hz.
- Open or Closed-Backed:These headphones are semi-open, meaning that they combine the features of open-backed and closed-backed headphones. They balance the sealing and insulating ability of closed-back headphones with the ability to produce a more “natural” sound common to open-backed headphones.
- relatively cheap, as far as professional-grade headphones go
- diaphragm delivers both a solid and powerful bass, as well as well-balanced mid and high sounds
- balances noise-cancelling with naturalness of sound very well
- fantastic sound and recording quality
- may bleed some sound because they are semi-open
Verdict: The K240STUDIO headphones are committed to recording and sound quality above everything else. Once you are ready to move beyond simply practicing your guitar playing and want to venture into recording what you play, know that these headphones are just about second to none.
AKG K44 – Best Guitar Practice Headphones
AKG’s K44 headphones are another excellent model produce by that august and reputable company. They emphasize outside noise-cancelling and the production of realistic and organic sound dynamics. All things considered, they are good headphones for guitar practice. However, with that said, you should be aware that this particular model has been discontinued by AKG and is now only possible to acquire at a rather high price.
It’s main features include:
- Cord/Wireless:Comes with a detachable cable.
- Jack Size:Comes with the 3.5 mm jack, but also has a 6.33 mm screw-on stereo jack adaptor.
- Noise-Cancelling:Because the headphones are semi-closed (see below), they cancel out a substantial amount of noise, and the copious padding on the ear pads only adds to this effect.
- Frequency Range:18-20,000 Hz.
- Open or Closed-Backed:These headphones are semi-closed, meaning that they combine the features of open-backed and closed-backed headphones, though with slightly more of a slant towards the outside noise cancelling ability of closed-backed headphones.
- he circumaural design gives great comfort to your ears and isolates them so that the sound streams directly into your ears
- has large transducer and a Variation technology, giving both a more lifelike and natural sound and broader dynamics
- the ear pads are self-adjusting and comfortable
- semi-closed design blocks out a lot of noise while still preventing the sound from appearing artificial
- this model has been discontinued
Verdict: All things, considered, this is a fine pair of headphones. However, the model has been discontinued by AKG, making it almost impossible to find without having to pay a hefty price. If, for whatever reason, you insist on having this specific model, go ahead and track it down; however, similar, newer and easier-to-find models are now available, so we strongly suggest opting for them instead.
Popular Questions About the Best Headphones for Guitar Amp Use
Now that we’ve had a good look at some of the best guitar amp headphones on offer, we’d like to give you some further useful information. We’ve primarily focused here on discussing the best headphones around for those looking to plug an electric guitar into their amp and rock out, but there’s also the question of acoustic guitars and the best amps and headphones for them, so we’d like to turn to that now.
What is the best acoustic guitar amplifier?
Now that you’ve had a good review of the best headphones to plug into your guitar amp, you may also want to know what sort of amp is best, particularly for acoustic guitars. As with any other product, what counts as the “best” acoustic guitar amplifier really depends on what you need, meaning that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. For example, there are two types of amps: tube amps and solid-state amps. Tube amps are more expensive, but also deliver a thicker, richer and more organic and dynamic tone.
Amp power is also a significant variable. For home practice, 20 watts should be sufficient, with 50 watts being suitable for smaller venues and 100 watts being best for larger ones.
Some amps also feature multiple channels letting you plug in multiple instruments or microphone. For solitary practice, this is not necessary, but it might be if you plan on performing live.
You also may or may not want an amp that offers all sorts of sound effects, like reverb and delay. These options are also available on acoustic amps.
What the “best” acoustic amp is for you will depend on how you think about all of the above factors.
Now that we’ve discussed what we think are some of the best headphones for use with a guitar amp, the time has come to draw things to a final conclusion. Which of the headphones that we’ve discussed is the absolute best of the best? In answer to that question, we must unequivocally declare that, for its extraordinary combination of versatility, noise-cancelling ability and power to deliver unmatched and professional-grade audio quality, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x stands in a class by itself.
However, the other products we’ve discussed are all excellent in their own right, including:
- the Sony MDR7506
- the Sennheiser HD 598
- the AKG K240STUDIO;and
- the AKG K44
We strongly encourage you to check them all out, as they all differ in their specs. The only way to find out exactly which headphones are best for you as you plug in and begin practicing your guitar playing is to try them all out. Have a look, and may you get the most out of what you find as you play.