Music Production Headphones

by Anders Johanson November 30, 2019 7 min read

Music Production Headphones

regular gym-goer, incorporating physical activity into your daily routine is important for overall health and well-being. It doesn't matter if you're not a fitness enthusiast, finding ways to stay active is crucial. Whether it's taking a brisk walk during your lunch break or participating in a recreational sport, any form of exercise counts. Remember to listen to your body and start with activities that you enjoy and can maintain. Don't be afraid to try new things and challenge yourself. The key is to make physical activity a habit and prioritize it in your daily life. So, even if gym workouts aren't your thing, make sure to find ways to keep moving and improve your overall fitness. music producerIf you have a love for music, it's likely that you possess a set of headphones. They are the go-to option for enjoying your favorite tunes while out and about or even in the comfort of your own home. For those who dream of making music themselves, a high-quality pair of headphones is absolutely vital. Alongside a trusty laptop, they are essentially the sole requirement.

The Significance of High-Quality Headphones in the Music Production Process

Just like any other musical equipment, headphones are not all created equal. It may be tempting to simply connect your cheap earphones to your laptop and start composing. However, you may find the results to be disappointing. If you choose a low-quality pair, the quality of your music will suffer. All it takes is a subpar pair of headphones to deceive you into thinking that your mix sounds complete. But when you listen to it on high-quality speakers or in a luxury car, you might realize that your hi-hats are too piercing and your low-end is mysteriously missing. Think of it like this: imagine standing in front of a massive Jackson Pollock painting that covers an entire wall. You have the whole room to yourself, and you can appreciate the artwork as a whole from the back of the room. Or you can walk up close and examine the intricate details, every brushstroke and texture. Now, imagine looking at the same painting on a smartphone with a highly compressed JPEG image. It's still the same painting, but the experience is completely different. A good pair of headphones allows you to immerse yourself in the room with the painting, while a poor pair is like trying to fully comprehend the painting from a low-resolution Google JPEG on an iPhone 5.

Why Investing in the Right Pair of Headphones Matters When it comes to producing high-quality music, having the right pair of headphones is crucial. Just like a musician wouldn't want to perform on stage with an inexpensive guitar that goes out of tune quickly, the same applies to headphones. However, the good news is that you don't have to spend a fortune to find a quality pair. There are plenty of affordable options available that can help your music thrive. What to Consider When Choosing Your Next Pair When shopping for headphones, there are a few important factors to take into consideration: Sound Quality: Look for headphones that offer excellent sound quality, as this will greatly impact the overall listening experience and the way your music is perceived. Comfort: Since you'll likely be wearing your headphones for extended periods, it's important to find a pair that offers a comfortable fit. Consider headphones with cushioned ear cups and an adjustable headband for added comfort. Durability: Investing in headphones that are built to last is essential. Choose a pair that is made with durable materials and has a solid construction, so they can withstand regular use without breaking easily. Style and Design: While not as important as sound quality and comfort, the style and design of the headphones can still be a factor to consider. Whether you prefer a sleek and modern look or a retro-inspired design, choose headphones that match your personal style. By keeping these factors in mind, you can find a pair of headphones that not only fits your budget but also enhances your music production and listening experience. So, don't skimp on your headphones - invest in quality and let your music flourish.

Headphone Equalizer

What qualities define a superior set of headphones? The foremost characteristic is control. Ideally, one desires a pair of headphones with the most neutral response attainable. This implies the absence of any amplifications or reductions in the high, mid, or low frequencies. Conceptualize it akin to a visual perspective EQ If there is no variation in frequency, then no adjustments have been made - if there have been adjustments, your song may have an increased emphasis on bass, treble, or mid-range. If there is no variation in frequency, then no alterations have been made - if alterations have occurred, your song may have a slightly heavier emphasis on bass, treble, or mid-range.



speakers, unaltered by any bias or coloration. Achieving a completely flat response in your audio system is crucial for achieving accurate and truthful sound reproduction. It allows you to hear the original signals as they were recorded or intended, without any added enhancements or alterations. By embracing a flat response, you can ensure that your mixes will be more accurate and faithful to the original source material. DAWThe sound you hear from your headphones remains unaltered, representing its actual quality. The distinguishing factor between different headphones' ability to reproduce music lies in their frequency response. As an illustration, let's consider purchasing a pair of headphones specifically designed for hip-hop. These headphones are likely to feature a substantial bass boost, enhancing the booming sensation. While this may satisfy the average listener seeking an enhanced "epic" sound experience, it poses a significant problem for music producers. Such headphones will mislead you into believing that your mixes have sufficient bass, leading to the inadvertent removal of low-end frequencies.

Having a wide frequency range in your headphones is crucial. If, for instance, frequencies below 100 Hz are completely blocked, a significant range of sub frequencies would pass unnoticed while you are working. This might lead you to augment the bass to compensate or even mix low frequencies in stereo instead of mono as you cannot perceive them. Therefore, seek a wide stereo frequency range in your headphones— the broader it is, the more advantageous— as it allows you to perceive a greater spectrum of sounds, enabling you to shape your audio accurately.

One more aspect to consider is comfort. Being music producers, we often spend countless hours in the studio, enduring considerable strain on both our eyes and ears. If we are using subpar equipment, it can exhaust us more quickly, leading to less efficient production.

One of the main considerations when choosing headphones is whether to go for open back or closed back design. Both options have their own advantages and it ultimately depends on your personal preference and specific needs. Open back headphones are designed with a perforated ear cup that allows sound to flow in and out freely. This design creates a more natural soundstage and spaciousness, giving the music a sense of depth. They also tend to have a more breathable and airy feel, which can be a great choice for long listening sessions. On the downside, open back headphones lack isolation and leak sound. This means that people around you can hear what you're listening to, and you can also hear external noises. This makes them less suitable for noisy environments or situations where privacy is important. Closed back headphones, on the other hand, are designed with a solid ear cup that provides excellent noise isolation. They block out external noises, allowing you to focus solely on your music. This makes them a great choice for commuting, working in a noisy office, or any situation where you need to block out distractions. Closed back headphones also have the advantage of preventing sound leakage, meaning that people around you won't hear what you're listening to. This can be especially important when listening to music with explicit lyrics or when you simply want to keep your music to yourself. However, closed back headphones tend to have a more intimate soundstage compared to open back headphones. They can sometimes feel a bit claustrophobic and lacking in spaciousness. In conclusion, the choice between open back and closed back headphones ultimately depends on your personal preferences and specific needs. If you prioritize natural soundstage and breathability, then open back headphones are a great option. On the other hand, if noise isolation and preventing sound leakage are more important to you, then closed back headphones are the way to go.

It is a given fact that when making a purchase decision for headphones to use in your production, we strongly suggest selecting over-the-ear headphones, and kindly refrain from opting for earbuds. Over-the-ear headphones are available in two variations: open back and closed back. It is essential to be aware of the disparities between these two options prior to selecting your own set, as they offer distinct advantages.

Closed back headphones are perfect for canceling out noise. With a plastic shell that covers your ears, they prevent any external sounds from entering or escaping the headphones. As a result, they typically offer a noise reduction of around 10dB. These headphones are particularly suitable for producers who need to record audio, such as vocals or acoustic instruments. The closed back design ensures that the sound stays contained, so when you're listening to your playback track and recording your own vocals, the playback won't leak into the vocal recording. Additionally, this type of headphone excels at isolating the sound you're listening to. If you reside in a noisy building or a loud environment, closed back headphones might be the right choice for you. They are the perfect design for immersing yourself in your music.

Contrary to closed back headphones, open back headphones function in a way that does not isolate sound. Instead, they allow sound to be released from the headphones through the perforated outer shell that surrounds the ear. While closed back headphones block out the external world, open back headphones immerse you in the surrounding environment. They offer a more authentic auditory experience by capturing the ambiance of your surroundings instead of confining you to a limited soundscape. Consequently, this grants you a heightened sense of spatial awareness which enhances the clarity of the audio signal for mixing purposes. When it comes to professional mixing engineers, they often prefer open back headphones for their tasks, while closed back headphones are commonly utilized in studio settings during recording sessions.

Both have their place for the contemporary world bedroom producerChoosing the right headphones for your needs can make a significant difference in your audio experience, but it ultimately comes down to the environment you are working in. If you have your own dedicated space and enjoy mixing your own songs, we suggest opting for open back headphones. These headphones provide a more natural and spacious sound, allowing you to accurately hear the intricacies of your music. On the other hand, if you share a room with others or frequently record audio, closed back headphones are a better choice. These headphones offer excellent noise isolation, preventing sound leakage and minimizing distractions. The decision between open back and closed back headphones ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. Consider your environment and usage to find the perfect fit for you.

Do you require a headphone amplifier? Do you necessitate a headphone amplifier?

When purchasing headphones, one important factor to consider is whether or not a separate amplifier is required. While having an amplifier or interface to enhance audio clarity and capacity is generally ideal, not all headphones necessitate the additional boost. Certain headphones have enough built-in gain and clarity, allowing you to simply plug them into your computer and begin working. However, there are headphones that will only deliver a portion of their potential without a separate amplifier or similar device. It's possible to find a fantastic pair of headphones within your budget, but if you have to buy additional equipment to use them properly, the overall cost can suddenly become too high. Prior to making your purchase, it's crucial to conduct thorough research.

Here’s a valuable tip for you: consider investing in a top-notch interface that will serve as the connection between your computer and your headphones. If you happen to be a Mac user, the Apogee One is a remarkable and cost-effective option. Not only does it provide exceptional audio quality, but it also enables you to both record and enjoy music.

Low Cost Quality Headphones 

The last aspect to consider is, of course, the cost. The price range for headphones can vary significantly, starting from $100 and going up to $10,000 (with some pairs even exceeding $100,000). Ideally, it would be great if you could afford the most expensive and highest quality headphones, but unfortunately, that's not always feasible within one's budget. Moreover, it's important to note that achieving a good mix doesn't necessarily require spending a significant amount of money.

In my perspective, the ultimate choice for music production would be the aforementioned headphones. Audio Technica ATH-M50Xmonitor headphones. These headphones are of exceptional quality, and myself along with numerous musician acquaintances can attest to their brilliance. With a price tag of just $150, these highly acclaimed headphones have garnered praise from renowned producers and engineers. The build materials are top-notch, providing unrivaled durability, while also offering a comfortable fit. And most importantly, the audio performance is simply outstanding. Additionally, these headphones are perfect for DJs.

Audio Technica ATH-M50X

However, these headphones do have some disadvantages. Over time, they may cause discomfort on the ears, which is a common issue among over-ear headphones. Additionally, they have a slight sound leakage and their frequency response is not completely flat.

With this statement, and at a cost of $150, these headphones are among the top options for music production within that price category. As a crucial component of any recording studio, these headphones are an excellent selection whether you are a newbie or a seasoned music producer.

Following are another pair we suggest: Sennheiser HD 280 Pro The headphones, which are approximately $50 more affordable, offer similar advantages. They are frequently compared to the Audio Technica headphones in various online platforms. Both options are sufficient and will meet all your requirements for producing high-quality music.

Nevertheless, both sets are designed as closed-back headphones. In case you are in search of open-back headphones, we can provide you with alternative suggestions. To begin with, the However, both pairs are closed back headphones. If you’re looking for a pair of open backs, we have other recommendations. To start, the Sennheiser HD 650Drop (formerly "MassDrop") has collaborated with Sennheiser to create a replica of the HD 650 headphones, which are renowned for their quality in mixing. These headphones, known as the are considered to be some of the best in the market. While the original HD 650 headphones can be quite expensive, the good news is that the collaboration has made it possible to purchase these headphones at a fraction of the price. For just $195, music enthusiasts can now enjoy the same high-quality sound and performance that the HD 650 headphones offer. Sennheiser HD 6XXThis headset has the potential to serve as your ultimate destination for all aspects of the mixing process. This headphone can be your one-stop-shop for all things mixing.

If you have the financial means, it is beneficial to possess both closed back and open back headphones to switch between. One pair can be used for recording and tracking, while the other pair can be used for mixing and sound design.

Closing Argument

Discovering the perfect set of headphones is a one-of-a-kind adventure. Online forums, customer reviews on Amazon, and informative articles like this one are available to assist you, but in the end, the decision lies in your hands, dear producer. If possible, visit your local music equipment store and sample a few options. Try playing one of your tracks, as well as a selection from your favorite artists. It is crucial to ensure that you appreciate the sound quality of both. Additionally, it wouldn't hurt to have a pair of portable headphones on hand, such as decent earbuds in the mid-range category. Even Apple's standard iPhone earbuds can serve this purpose. This way, you can reference your music on "standard" headphones too. If your mix only sounds impressive on high-end headphones, then your average listener may not be able to fully enjoy your music as intended. However, most importantly, keep in mind that music is an investment, and headphones are an indispensably valuable tool for any producer.

Anders Johanson
Anders Johanson

Also in News

Music Mixing Guide
The Indispensable Handbook for Music Mixing

by Anders Johanson January 30, 2021 12 min read

Read More
Free Drum Kits
The Top-notch Free Drum Kits for You Experience the Finest Free Drum Kits

by Anders Johanson January 30, 2021 11 min read

Read More
Delay Effects
When it comes to music production, incorporating delay effects can bring a unique and captivating element to your sound. Whether you're adding depth to vocals or creating rhythmic patterns on guitar, delay effects have the power to transform a simple track into a sonic masterpiece. From classic analog delays to modern digital plugins, there are countless options available to enhance your creativity. So, don't hesitate to experiment with different delay settings and techniques to elevate your music production game.

by Anders Johanson January 18, 2021 9 min read

Read More