In this article we will take a look at the best headphones for producing music at home. In addition, if you are learning to sing and you want to record your singing, some good headphones are definitely a must.
For an aspiring producer, investing in equipment like production headphones and studio monitors, as well as digital audio workstation software is a must. With these, you can even start producing music without a studio.
Many famous producers have paved their way in the music world, starting at home, like Oak Felder. Whether recording in the studio or playing with tunes at home, you need the best headphones for producing. They can make all the difference when it comes to the quality of sound and vocals.
To help you find the perfect pair of headphones, we reviewed five products, curated a buyer's guide, and answered common questions related to headphones.
Best Headphones for Producing Music at Home
1. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones
Audio-Technica enjoys an excellent reputation in studios around the world, and they specialize in producing recording equipment for professional use. While an average listener might not know about them, those who work in the industry stand by their quality.
The ATH-M50x is no exception since it’s critically acclaimed as one of the best pairs of headphones for producing and engineering music.
The drivers in the ATH-M50x have a large aperture of 45mm. That, combined with copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils and rare earth magnets, gives it high-quality sound. With quality materials, it can deliver clear sound over an extensive range of frequencies.
If you work with bass a lot, this will deliver an accurate bass response.
These Audio-Technica headphones come with a detachable cable, but if you’re looking for a wireless headphone set, there’s a wireless version as well. Sound isolation is pretty good, too, thanks to the circumaural design contours. Not only do they block out noise, but they also sit on your ears comfortably. The earpads and the headband have thick padding for increased comfort, but that does not mean these are heavy, as they weigh only about 10 ounces.
With 98dB sensitivity, these are not too loud either, while the impedance is 38 ohms, which is pretty impressive.
What We Like
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x comes with two types of detachable wires that are pretty useful for a producer. One is a 1.2-3 meters coiled wire, whereas the other is a 1.2-meter straight wire.
These are comfortable to wear for long durations and will support a wide range of music genres. Whether you produce electronic music or work with instruments, this will provide equally great sound quality for both.
The ear cups can swivel a full 90 degrees, so you can move them during recording, without needing to take off the whole set.
What We Don’t Like
Although the ear cups have generous padding, they do not completely cover the ears. Thus, it would be difficult to call these over-the-ear headphones, as they are somewhere in the middle.
2. Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro Over-Ear Studio Headphones
Beyerdynamic is a German company that has been producing audio equipment for nearly a century, so you know you’re buying quality electronics. Innovation and quality are at the heart of their headphones, so the DT 770 Pro Over-Ear Headphones should make a great choice, especially if it’s your first one for producing music.
This particular model comes with four different impedances, with the highest impedance being 250 ohms.
The DT 770 Pro from Beyerdynamics is over-ear studio headphones that will completely engulf your ears, allowing it to cut out all outside noises completely. The sound quality is pretty good, so it's perfect for a producer or sound technician. You’ll hear an extremely detailed sound with 96dB sensitivity, making every beat distinct. These headphones are perfect for mixing because of the remarkably high impedance they offer. At 250 ohms, these easily qualify as professional headphones.
This product is a wired headphone with a three-meter long wire, and you can choose between two colors: black and gray. In terms of construction quality, you’re looking at a solid headphone set. Made from high-quality materials, the craftsmanship is quite visible. As for comfort, the velour earpads will feel like a feather once you wear them. Lastly, since they sit over the ears, they are quite comfortable.
What We Like
These are truly professional headphones with just the right balance of sensitivity, impedance, and robustness in terms of design. The isolation of ambient noises is comparable with some of the high-end headphones used in studios in LA. These are also one of the most comfortable headphones to wear since you would not even feel like you’re wearing them, thanks to the thick padding.
What We Don’t Like
These Beyerdynamics headphones exceed all the standards in terms of sound quality, but they are quite bulky. What makes them comfortable also makes them big, which means they take more space when you travel with them.
3. Tascam TH-03 Studio Headphones
Tascam is the company behind cassette home studio recorders. Based in California, this American company has cemented itself as a competitor to some of the best audio equipment producing companies around the world.
The Tascam TH-03 Studio Headphones is a budget-friendly alternative to otherwise costly headphones for music producers and engineers. These headphones are ideal for producers who are just starting from their home studio.
The Tascam headphones can deliver crisp and high-resolution sound and are particularly good with high bass response. The adjustable arms paired with heavy-padded ear cups and headband make for a very snug and comfortable fit. Featuring a 50mm neodymium driver, it delivers high-quality sound. The impedance in the TH-03 is 32 ohms, which is quite decent for the price.
You also get a screw-on ⅛ inch adapter for the ¼ inch audio jack. This little accessory makes it compatible with virtually every device except iPhones without the audio jack.
The frame of the headphones is stainless steel. It is sturdy and will last long, provided you use the product nicely.
The cable of these headphones is 9.8 feet, nearly three meters.
What We Like
Apart from all the technical features, the price of the TH-03 headphones is hard to ignore. You get a quality headphone set at a very reasonable price. Even though they are cheap, they do not look cheap at all. You can tell just by the looks that these are for professional use.
What We Don’t Like
These headphones are great if you want something cheap, but at the end of the day, you cannot compare them with more high-end options.
4. Sennheiser HD 25 Plus Monitor Headphones
Any list of best headphones of any kind cannot be complete without Sennheiser. The company remains a popular choice for producers, recording artists, and music aficionados alike. The Sennheiser HD 25 Plus Monitor Headphones delivers high-quality sound and is super comfortable to wear even for hours and hours. If you’re not restricted by budget, these headphones could give you a studio-like feel right at home too.
These headphones are great for equipment testing and studio monitoring because they are capable of handling very loud sounds. The maximum sound pressure for the HD 25 Plus is 120dB, which is higher than most normal headphones. While there are several variants of this product, the HD 25 Plus headphones come with detachable straight wire and coiled wire, which are both 10 feet long. The frequency response is quite wide, too, with a range of 16-22000 Hz. The Total Harmonic Distortion is equally impressive, coming in at less than 0.3%.
These closed headphones offer maximum sensitivity because of high-quality aluminum voice coils, and the overall construction is sturdy. The earcups are rotatable for single-ear listening, making it perfect for studio use. You also get a secondary pair of velour ear cups that ultimately prolong the life of this headphone set.
What We Like
These headphones are incredibly lightweight, weighing a mere five ounces without the detachable cable, so you would not feel a thing wearing these. Also, the padding on the ear cups and headband is pretty thick. It provides a nice cushioning for your ears and head. All these qualities make these the most comfortable headphones you will find in this price range.
What We Don’t Like
Even though the headphones are high-quality, the wire is plasticized and can tangle sometimes. The wire should be able to stay untangled at all times, though.
5. KAT Percussion KTUI26 Ultra Isolation Headphones
KAT Percussion is an American company producing electronic percussion instruments. They make a wide range of products, including those for producers, like the Kat Percussion KTUI26 Ultra Isolation Headphones. This particular headphone set is best if you’re looking for noise isolation. This is a common issue for home-based music producers as they do not have the luxury of a studio to be the first barrier to outside noises.
These headphones are capable of reducing outside noise by 26dB. This is a passive isolation product without the need for any batteries. As for the frequency range, it’s pretty wide, too (20-20,000). The jack on the wire is ⅛” stereo, but you also receive a ¼” adapter. In terms of comfort, the company used soft padding and provided adjustable headband so you can set it to sit snugly over your ears. Still, the headphones are lightweight and comfortable to wear for long periods. Lastly, the cord of these headphones is six feet long and attached.
What We Like
The noise isolation is a clear winner for these headphones by KAT Percussion. You will be able to cut out all outside noise to focus solely on the music you hear in the headphones.The overall quality of the headphones is good, especially considering these are not as expensive as the German brands. They also have some sort of a different look than most other professional production headphones, which is nice.
What We Don’t Like
The frame that connects the ear cups to the headband is quite thin. That could be made a bit thick and sturdier.
Since you’re buying the headphones for producing music, you have to pay extra attention to all the technicalities of the headphone set. These tend to be pricey, so you want the best headphones for music production that will ideally last for years. Here’s what you need to consider when buying production headphones:
Believe it or not, comfort may just be more important than the sound quality when it comes to using the headphones for production. Music production and engineering is a painstakingly, slow task; in fact, many producers are in the studio for hours on end, listening to sounds. It goes without saying that you need a comfortable pair of headphones to mix. It can be challenging to judge comfortability before actually wearing the headphones.
Generally speaking, you need over-ear headphones with generous ear pads and headband padding. Another important consideration when it comes to the comfort of wearing headphones is the weight. The lighter they are, the more comfortable they will be for your ears.
If you end up buying a heavy or uncomfortable set of headphones, you will get ear fatigue pretty quickly, and that would also have a negative impact on your production.
2. Size and Fit
Consider the size and fit of the headphones as an extension of their comfort. If they fit well, they will most likely be comfortable. All heads are different sizes, and even shapes, which makes it hard to produce standardized sizes, so most headphones have adjustable headbands. Never go for a fixed headband since that could be quite a gamble in terms of finding the perfect fit.
Generally, over-ear headphones are the best headphones for producing since they cover your ears entirely and offer good noise cancellation.
3. Sound Quality
Next to comfort is the sound quality of the music production headphones. There should be no compromise on quality, but that usually means shelling out a lot of money. The good news is you can find decent sound quality in affordable headphones, even for production purposes.
However, as a producer, you’re more interested in a flattened and natural response. Thus, you want high-resolution sound with a more linear response.
As for sensitivity and frequency response, that varies a lot, but if we’re talking minimums, you need at least 90dB sensitivity. For frequency response, the highest frequency should at least be 20,000.
The design of the headphones may not be the most important consideration, but you should still pay some attention to it. Closed ear headphones are best for production because they offer better sound isolation than open-back headphones. They also prevent sound leakage, so you hear every frequency. You will find most production and mixing headphones to have a closed design.
5. Wired or Wireless
This is a debate for all types of headphones, but it becomes even more important for production headphones. While you have both the options readily available, wired headphones are better for producers in general because you do not need a lag when using wireless headphones. Also, wired headphones offer better compatibility in the studio. Wired headphones are not without problems, either. The argument for wireless headphones is the same in this case: wires tend to tangle. You can resolve this problem with a single-side entry cord, and the construction of the cord can make all the difference.
Some braided cords do not tangle as easily as those plastic cords. Also, many of the headphones come with a coiled wire. If you want to avoid the tangling problem with a wire headphone set, go for the one that comes with a coiled wire too. The wire should be lengthy, at least a few meters. You need this length to have some freedom of movement around the studio.
1. Why Do Singers Wear Headphones When Recording?
Whenever you see a singer recording songs in the studio, they are always wearing headphones because they separate sounds from their vocals. Many singers listen to music while recording their vocals. If this music was to play on a speaker, the microphone would catch that too. They simply want the microphone to hear only their vocals when they first record for a song; it’s a common industry practice all over the world. Headphones are also used for monitoring sound. Singers can hear themselves singing in the headphones to monitor their vocals in real-time.
2. What Are Monitoring Headphones?
Monitoring headphones are a tad bit different from regular headphones as they are designed to be more accurate, delivering high-resolution sound. These usually sound different from regular headphones as they produce flat frequencies. These give the sound as it is, without any kind of distortion. This quality is necessary for monitoring sound in the studio. With a flat frequency response, you can hear the sound or vocals just how they are. That allows producers to direct recording artists or instrument players, and give them feedback.
Monitoring headphones also offer noise isolation. They cut out outside noise so that the listener can only hear the sounds coming from the recording room.
3. Can You Use Gaming Headphones for Music?
Yes, you can definitely use gaming headphones to listen to music, as they are just headphones at the end of the day. However, you have to keep in mind that gaming headphones are designed for gaming sounds. The sounds in video games can be deafening and unbalanced, so these headphones usually deliver sound without a harmony that you would find in a regular headphone set for music. Also, the design of gaming headphones is very elaborate, so these headphones are so attractive.
The gaming headphones always feature a microphone, which is not necessary if you’re just listening to music. They also have surround sound to take in all the sounds from the surroundings in a video game mission. While surely the experience of listening to music with gaming headphones would be a bit different, you can always use them for music. Similarly, you can also use your regular headphones for gaming.
4. Can You Mix and Master on Headphones?
Contrary to what many professionals say, you can mix and master on headphones; in fact, many producers do that and produce pretty good music. Headphones can give you the advantage of listening to tiny details that might go missing on speakers. Also, you do not disturb anyone if you’re using headphones, so those mixing at home usually prefer to do it with headphones.
5. Is It Better to Mix on Headphones or Monitors?
There are pros and cons to both headphones and monitors when it comes to mixing. Most professionals use both headphones and monitors to mix and master. Monitors allow you to hear sound with the so-called shadowing effect of the head. You also experience reflections of sound from walls and ceilings. On the other hand, mixing with headphones can allow you to hear more sensitive sounds; they may mix up in louder sounds when coming from the speakers.
You can work individually with either headphones or monitors, but for the best results, it’s better to use both the peripherals.
The best headphones for producing music do not have to be super expensive. You can get decent sound quality and noise isolation from something under a hundred bucks. That makes headphones better for producing and mixing music at home.
It’s best to buy headphones with a warranty because you cannot be completely sure until you have played something on them in your studio or home. If using at home, you want to focus on noise isolation, even more so than the sound quality.
As such, we highly recommend the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro Over-Ear Studio Headphones.