There is nothing quite like plugging into your favorite guitar amp and blasting out a gut-wrenching solo.
Sadly, the only way most of us are going to reach 11 on our amp volume knob, is by using headphones? That is unless you’re about to play a packed football stadium? Let’s look at The Best Headphones For Guitar Amp.
With a lot of variations in technology and jargon, we need to whittle down the best headphones for electric guitar practice.
Don’t worry, I’ve done all the hard work for you. Read on to see our favorite picks.
How To I Choose The Best Headphones?
Firstly, we need to decide what you need them for. Let’s look at some ideas:
Are you uncomplicated? Do you need to plug in and practice, having a lead attached doesn’t bother you at all?
Will you be recording either at home or in a studio?
Maybe a wireless model suits you? So you can get up and roam around the bedroom behaving like you’re on stage, doing your best knee slide in front of the dog. We’ve all done it!
You might be an old school guitarist and you prefer shorter cables. You don’t lose any of that pure tone from your favorite amp.
If you’re going to spend your hard-earned money on a new top of the range Tweed Fender amplifier, why would you then buy a cheap pair of headphones to go with it?
Authority Guitar Best Tip
A wireless set of headphones for a guitarist may be a nice thought. But, you’ll always have to consider the thought of losing some immediacy, due to there being no physical connection. I couldn’t think of anything more annoying.
The guitar headphone market is biased towards the studio producer. So we need to be careful and explore what’s on offer to suit the needs of the home and bedroom guitarist.
Quick View: 6 We Loved
- OneOdio Wired Over-Ear Headphones Studio Monitor & Mixing DJ Stereo Headsets
- Vogek Professional DJ Headphones Mixing DJ Headset Protein Memory Foam Ear Pads
- AKG Pro Audio K240 STUDIO Over-Ear, Semi-Open, Professional Studio Headphones
- Tascam TH-02 Closed Back Studio Headphones, Black
- Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 32 Ohm Over-Ear Studio Headphones in Black.
- Status Audio CB-1 Closed Back Studio Monitor Headphones
Essential Factors To Look Out For? Take This Into Account:
I wouldn’t consider the ‘earbud’ headphones for guitar practice. The sound quality isn’t good enough. The ‘in-ear’ type headphones are more for the person on the move or in the gym. Not so for the guitarist who wants to hear every aspect of his/her new delay pedal.
The ‘on-ear over the head’ product, sit much more comfortably. Whether you’re bending over messing with your pedalboard or looking down at your fretboard. The on-ear headphones will stay on your head. This type of headphone is definitely more suited to us musicians. Obviously, they aren’t as portable as the earbuds but provide us with a much higher quality of sound. Just be aware, the cheaper models do allow sound to escape, which is not ideal whilst recording.
‘Bluetooth’ headphones really do look the part and can pump up the cost. Personally, I would be too concerned about the latency. Latency is the time it takes the signal to leave your guitar and be received by your headphones. Although we love wireless headphones for listening to music, there is no way I’d be buying any for guitar practice. Stay away people.
Technical Jargon-Terminology Made Simple: You Need To Know
I know it may be something we ignore, but let’s whittle down some of the jargon you may stumble upon when buying the best headphones for guitar practice. Let’s get educated, so we’ve got a better understanding of what these terms mean before purchase.
The general frequency range of a set of headphones is from 20Hz to 20,000Hz. This is also the absolute border range for the human ear. Our hearing is at its most sensitive between the 2000-5000 Hz frequency range.
Some headphones are advertised below 20Hz bass frequencies. These frequencies are generally ‘felt’ rather than ‘heard’. The frequencies above 20,000Hz, are not always audible, and depends on your age (maybe your dog can hear it).
If a manufacturer lists the ‘Frequency Response’ specifications as 20,000Hz, the top end sound is simply going to be clearer than a set of headphones with a 16,000Hz spec.
Keep an eye out for the Frequency Response specification.
Noise Isolation vs Active Noise Cancellation
Noise Isolation removes any extra ambient noise from the outside world. It’s simply a passive (physical) design to specifically block outside sounds.
The cheaper end of the headphone market uses this technology.
Active Noise Cancelling has an increased function that creates an obstruction. This produces an anti-noise signal, leaving you with only the music you’re listening to. It’s more of an active, electronic process. It requires power. Unlike physical Noise Isolation.
Soundstage And Imaging
Possibly the most interesting part of headphone technology. Soundstage and Imaging give the listener the chance to hear the location of the instruments. Take an orchestra for example. Soundstage gives you a wide spectrum of instruments and where they’re positioned in the mix. You can now locate the strings to the left and the violas in the middle. You can almost paint a picture in your mind of how the orchestra is set up and the difference In distance too. Pretty clever huh?
Music would be pretty dull without it, imagine all the music stacked in the middle of the mix.
Here’s a fascinating explanation on this topic:
Open vs Closed-Back Headphones
Open Back Headphones allow air to pass through them, unlike the closed back. This helps the music sound clearer and more natural. These are good for outdoor use. They may not last as long as the closed-back option, as moisture can build up and cause electronic faults.
From a guitarist’s point of view, there’s no harm in using the ‘open-back’ to practice in your bedroom. But if I were in a recording or studio scenario, I wouldn’t want to use them due to the sound leakage onto other tracks.
Closed Back Headphones are sealed around the ear. These feel a lot more snug. This type of product doesn’t allow outside noise to interfere with your music. Not as natural sounding as the open back phones, due to not letting any air in whatsoever. This can obviously cause hot, sweaty ears.
From a guitarist’s point of view, the closed-back model is perfect for studio use or public transport.
I have both types of products, open and closed. I use closed for gaming and guitar practice but I wouldn’t use them for a bike ride etc. That’s a bit on the dangerous side. On the other hand, my open back set of headphones sound the best for playing Spotify or Podcasts.
It’s all down to what you want to use them for.
What’s The Difference Between Flat/Neutral Response Headphones?
The output of the headphones reproduces the sound equally across the frequency spectrum. These types of headphones are generally ‘open-backed’. Which wouldn’t make them ideal for studio or home recording as I mentioned above.
Neutral Response headphones allow you to hear the music the way it was intended to sound. This type of headphone is ideal to highlight sound problems within a mix, mostly in studio scenarios. These are also ideal for the casual listener of Spotify etc.
Without going too far into electrical resistance, we need to understand the output impedance. Your headphones will need to correspond to the impedance level of your amplifier. This resistance is measured in Ohms.
It’s generally a good rule of thumb to ensure your headphone impedance is around x8 times more than your amplifier impedance.
So, here’s a perfect example:
Headphone Impedance=16 ohms
Amplifier Impedance=2 Ohms
If the difference is more than 8 times, you may have trouble hearing it. Any lower than 8 times and it won’t sound too good.
As we’re only looking at headphones for the bedroom guitarist. My advice would be to stick with 32 Ohm impedance headphones as a minimum. This is the standard, but if you need a pair for a studio session, then I’d go higher for sure.
If you’re going to be rehearsing for hours on end in your bedroom. Or slaving over a hot solo in the studio for hours on end. You’re going to need to factor in comfort. There’s only one way to test this. And that’s to get used to wearing them. You’ll soon know if your ears are getting shredded or the design doesn’t fit your head.
Stretch Them Out
Brand new headphones will probably be tight around your head. This can cause headaches and sweaty ears! Grab a few books and leave your new headphones clamped to them (a little wider than your head), and overnight this should eliminate this issue.
Guitar Amp Connections
Amplifiers in general come with a ’phones’ jack. These jacks are around 3.5mm or 6.3mm in diameter. Nearly all brands of headphones will fit into your amp.
It’s always a good idea to check your amp and measure the jack input.
On occasion, you may find a ‘Rec Out’ jack in place of the headphones jack. This is absolutely fine. You can get an adaptor (3.5mm to 6.3mm) for a very low cost that will allow you to listen to your instrument. Try routing your hand around in the junk draw, we’ve all got one in there.
Do I Need To Buy From A Big Brand Name?
Absolutely not, It’s far more important to know the specifications that suit your needs. That’s not to say big brands manufacture poor guitar practice headphones, I’m merely pointing out it’s better to know ‘what’ you are buying.
So after all this info, what are our best headphones for electric guitar?
Our Top Picks; The Best Headphones For Guitar Amp
Pros: Very Affordable, Huge Seller, Great Customer Service, 90 Degree Earcup Swivel, Removable Chords
Cons: Lack In Booming Heart Thumping Bass (If You Like That Kinda Thing)
The Oneodio phones are stunning value for money. After looking at the price I expected a low quality of sound. I was surprised to learn of all the superb features.
Added comfort soft padded ear cushion with noise isolation. Easily adjusted headband to ensure you get the most comfort. They even fit the biggest of heads!
The headphones fold up neatly to half the size and come with a neatly stored in the classy carry pouch. I noticed no squeaks or creaks when handling these. Coiled cord in 9.8ft stretched, so no worries when plugging into your amp and sitting back on your chair.
Standard 6.35mm plug and a 3.5mm plug included. A pretty attractive design of clear black matte plastic and glossy finish trims. The finish to me feels a bit cheap but that takes absolutely nothing away from the quality of sound. What are we expecting for this low price after all?
The Oneodio has a nice balance between deep bass and treble clarity. The bass drivers are smaller than other products on this list, so I liked that the bass wasn’t overpowering. It’s an accurate bass tone, not heavy. If you’re looking for the heart-thumping bass beats then these aren’t for you. The mids and treble tones ring true. I had no issue with sound whatsoever. The cups sit right the way over your ears, which again I really liked as they have to be comfortable for hours of guitar playing.
Impedance: 32 Ohms, Frequency Response: 20Hz-20KHz. So these sit perfectly into our practicing guitarist criteria. Comes In Black, Pink, And Light Blue.
For anyone on a lower budget, you’ll find it difficult to discover a better quality of headphones. Sound-wise, the Oneodio Pro 10 are right up there with the best in this price bracket. I must admit, I was surprised at the quality. You can see why they’re a big seller.
Pros: Very Comfortable, Strong Midrange Frequencies, Affordable, Coiled Cable Included, Comes With XLR Cable
Cons: Longevity Issues Down To Cheap Build
Once again, I’ve found another set of incredibly low priced headphones with a high quality of sound. Good enough for us guitarists anyway.
The Vogek Professional with a working musician/studio technician in mind. They come with a 6.6ft XLR cable which all musicians or singers will find handy. The pack also includes a section of coiled cable, just like the guitar ones Hendrix used. These are making a comeback, they’re strong and much more durable than the standard chord. Although they’re 13 inches only coiled. Remember these types of cables can be stretched without causing any damage (3 meters).
The headphone has a 2-in-1 plug that includes one standard-sized 3.5mm plug inside and one 6.35mm outside. It is very simple to switch plug, only to twist the biggest plug on or off.
The earmuffs are made of a ‘Protein Leather Memory Foam’, I’m not sure if they’re edible as yet, but try em. So they’ll ‘memorize’ the shape of your outer ear for maximum comfort. I didn’t find any leather on these headphones whatsoever, but I guess its a man-made leather. This is also a plus when working long sessions in the studio or bedroom.
They can be folded down into half the size and the earcups rotate 90 degrees. The ear padding is an inch thick and the adjustable headband is 3/4 inch thick. This really adds to the comfort factor.
The bass response and clarity was something that hit me straight away. The 50mm drivers are clear enough, but you won’t ‘feel’ that bass buzz with them. The Vogek Pro has strong midrange frequencies, it’s probably its best sound feature. The passive in-ear sound filtering system does enough to block out any outside noise.
Frequency: 20Hz-20kHz, 3.5-millimeter plug or quarter-inch plug (6.35mm)
Pros: Reputable 30 Year Seller, 1970s Look, Crisp and Detailed Sound, Insane Low Price, Value For Money
Cons: Lacks A Little On The Bass Depth
The AKG K240 Professional Headphones offer a high-quality reproduction of sound. Inaudible noise and distortion. A proven set of headphones, time and time again over the last 30 years has proved that buyers on the lower end of the budget can be guaranteed a ‘decent’ product.
The Nostalgic design Is straight from the 1970s, I love this. Generally, headphones arent much to look at but I really like the shiny black effect, gold rings, and headrail. The higher price models do have metal reinforced parts but the AKG K240 isn’t for traveling. They are made from plastic, but just the job for the studio or practicing guitarist. The cable and headphones use mini XLR connectors for perfect contact.
Guitarists take note. The semi-open design allows you to hear a little of the outside sound. I feel this helps when learning guitar and helps prevent your ears from getting hot. The bass is rolled off at the lower end, it’s gentle and accurate without vibrating you in your seat. If you’re looking for a thicker, heavier bass sound, these are not for you. That being said, these are ideal for the guitarist.
A brighter signature sound that is crisp and detailed. The clearest headphones of the lower-priced products. What else would you need when playing guitar?
Self-adjusting headband for optimum fit. The head strap has no padding, the ear cups also don’t have big soft pads. This isn’t a negative factor, they are surprisingly light and airy. They’re still very comfortable and didn’t upset my ears. At this point, I would say if you’re looking to buy headphones for recording purposes, the AKG K240 arent for you. After all, they are ‘semi leakage’. I feel there is too much of an escape of sound to be able to record cleanly. On the flip side, the light nature, the beautiful clear highs make these a favorite of mine to play your guitar through.
Frequency range: 15 Hz to 25,000 Hz. Low, 55 Ohm impedance, 35mm plug on one end and a mini XLR on the other that plugs into the headphones
Pros: Extremely Low Price, Great Looking Headphones, Surprisingly Good Overall Sound, Perfect For Everyday Use On All Devices, Big Seller
Cons: Sound Can Be A Bit Boomy and Flat
Tascam offers a really affordable product that looks modern and sleek in the presentation. The plush cushioned earpads offer 90degree rotation. The headband is also cushioned which gives you the most comfort for those long recording hours. The earpads and headpiece are tightly stitched although the material seems like there’s not a lot of play, with a lot of use these may wear down.
Although not made with the best quality plastics, the durability of the Tascam headphones is pretty good. They fold down into a nice bundle for transportation. They’re light and modern looking.
Surprisingly for the price the lows, mids are highs are at a standard I’d be happy with. This makes the Tascam comparable to the more expensive models in this price range. The bass sits way back in the mix but nothing to complain about. They provide a more balanced tonal quality needed for studio mixing or playing instruments. Quite a versatile headphone perfect for everyday use, you can’t complain about the price.
If you’re looking for a starter headphone for practicing guitar, this is definitely your best option.
Frequency response 18 Hz to 22 kHz, Snap-on (3.5mm) to (6.3mm) Adapter
Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 32 Ohm Over-Ear Studio Headphones in Black. Enclosed Design, Wired for Professional Sound in The Studio
Pros: Huge 5 Start Seller, Durable, Value For Money, Perfect For Studio/Guitar Recording, Incredible Soundstage, Comfortable
Cons: Boring Design
The Beyerdynamic DT 770 are closed-ear pro studio headphones. Superior high-resolution sound which makes them ideal for mixing down tracks or listening to every inch of your guitar sound. German-made, so they’re hard-wearing and durable. Remarkable acoustic definition. Detailed high frequencies and ultra-low bass-thumping definition. If you like your bass clarity, these are for you. Compared to the rest of the reviewed headphones I found the Beyerdynamic overall sound to be spacious and clear.
The cable is 3ms long, tangle-free, and fixed. That’s plenty for us musicians. A gold plated (gold painted!) stereo jack plug 3.5mm and 6.35mm adaptor. The soft velour earpads sit nicely onto your ears, not too tight, and can be replaced. The cups are also really big. Comes with a nice drawstring bag for transportation.
The Beyerdynamic doesn’t distort or leave you with a grainy, harsh-sounding guitar. If you like Soundstage, these are your next headphones. I loved listening to my rock tunes on these. It’s like having a band in surround sound in your head. A worthy inclusion to any music fan. They’re simply bigger and better.
I tried long and hard to find a fault with the DT770 Pro, and all I could find was: ‘the design is really boring’. But, if you’re like me, who cares what they look like, they sound fantastic. Worth every penny in my eyes.
Impedance: 250 Ohms, Frequency range: 5 – 35.000 Hz. Comes in an impressive range of 16, 32, 80 and 250 Ohms.
Pros: Superb Soundstage For The Price, Very Comfortable, Great For Studio And Guitar Use, Best Product Around The Mid Range Price Tag
Cons: A Touch On The Cumbersome Side
The thing that hit me first about the CB1s was the overstuffed, memory foam ear cups. I found them very nice on the ear. It felt like my head was being hugged but in a nice comforting way. Unlike any other ear cups in this review, I really could wear these for hours on end. That’s a major plus point in my eyes.
They come with two detachable cables (although the headphones aren’t wireless), one coiled and one straight. I’m a big fan of the coiled cable when playing guitar through headphones. They just seem to last longer although you may have to sit nearer your amp.
With large 50mm dynamic drivers, the detailed wide Soundstage was easily recognizable. The overall sound is warm but lacks the clarity of the Beyerdynamic above. The CB1’s are firmly in the mid-region of cost and they deserve to be. Although a clunky-looking headphone the sound is vastly larger and more enjoyable to listen to than the cheaper headphones.
The CB1’s offer a flat frequency response which is great when matching up to speakers in the studio. The clarity is distinctive for the price and the low end is crisp. A rich and balanced mid make these the best in the mid-priced review by far.
The strongest selling point for me was the quality and width of the Soundstage for the price, pretty impressive.
Winner: The Best Headphones For Guitar Amp
Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 32 Ohm Over-Ear Studio Headphones in Black. Enclosed Design, Wired for Professional Sound in The Studio
Although this isn’t a review for ‘the best headphones’, it’s the best headphones for the bedroom or studio guitarist. The Beyerdynamic DT 770 wins hands down.
As a guitarist of 25 years myself, I cannot see the logic in spending thousands on a guitar, amplifier, leads, and pedalboard only to buy a cheap pair of headphones to rehearse through. It wouldn’t be doing your amp any justice whatsoever. You spend hours on end practicing, so why not have the best product you can for your budget. If your budget is lower I have named 5 which are perfectly suitable, but if you want the best sound for pound for pound, then the Beyerdynamic is a league above and deserves the crown.
I hope you’ve found our article useful and a product that suits your needs.
Happy Jamming (: