Headphones represent an integral part of the recording, production, and mixing processes. As they allow users to review their mixes in isolation and come in handy for producers, engineers, and musicians who find themselves on the road quite frequently.
When most people think of headphones, it may be tempting to simply use your iPhone earbuds or a pair of crappy headphones in order to gauge the quality of your mixes and recordings.
But the honest truth is that those headphones can only offer a very distorted and unrealistic acoustic image of what your recording actually sounds like.
Talking About Ohms And Impedance Ratings
To be honest, it took me awhile to really gain a solid understanding of what ohms and impedance really mean in regard to electronics, but the basic premise can be summed up per the following guidelines:
1. Whenever someone talks about the “power” of a particular audio device, what they are actually referring to are the watt and ohm ratings.
These are interdependent specifications that describe the ability for any particular device to output an audio signal at varying levels over a certain period of time.
2. What impedance refers to specifically is the ohm rating of a device, which determines how much power is actually needed to drive the device.
The higher the ohm rating, the more power is needed, but the payoff is that you’ll have access to a higher-quality and more natural, accurate-sounding signal than if you were to use a device with a lower impedance.
As such, headphones with high impedance’s of 150 ohms and above require the use of a headphone amplifier (which can be found in high-quality audio interfaces). But your mixes and productions will benefit far more with the additional accuracy and sound quality.
5 Best Studio Headphones
|AKG K 240 Studio||$71.99||Amazon|
|Beyer Dynamic DT 770 PRO||$179.99||Amazon|
|Sennheiser HD 380 Pro||$144.95||Amazon|
With that being said, I’ve compiled a list of high-quality headphones that are low-cost and highly useful for a variety of audio and recording applications in which precision and detail-oriented decisions are a must:
1. Shure SRH440
Which is a definite must for sessions that often go on for hours at a time.
Also noteworthy are the isolation, closed-back design, easily adjustable headband, and detachable 10-foot cord that make wearing the SRH440’s a seamless and enjoyable experience!
2. AKG K 240 Studio
While known for their lack of durability in certain cases, the AKG K 240’s are nonetheless recognized for their high-fidelity and particular usefulness when used with otherwise weak headphone amplifiers, which makes them an ideal choice for low budget setups.
Features include an acoustically tuned venting structure and a very accurate dynamic transducer that’s made possible by the semi-open air design.
3. Audio-Technica ATH-M50 (Coiled Cable)
Besides providing outstanding isolation and comfort with state-of-the-art padding and an adjustable headband, the Audio-Tecnica ATH-M50 headphones also feature a collapsible design, which allows for easy portability and access in any situation where you have to get to work at a moment’s notice.
In terms of overall sound quality, the proprietary 45mm large-aperture drivers outfitted with neodymium magnet systems and closed-back cushioned earcup design ensure an optimally balanced frequency response and high-fidelity performance, no matter if you’re on stage, in the studio, or heading to your next gig!
4. Beyer Dynamic DT 770 PRO
Designed specifically for critical listening applications where quality results are an absolute must, the Beyer Dynamic DT 770’s are a powerful set of headphones that often exceed users’ expectations and blow away the competition.
Key features include a frequency of 5 Hz to 35 kHz and an ohm rating of 250 ohms.
Also included is a custom closed-ear design that’s tailored specifically for maximum comfort and performance.
5. Sennheiser HD 380 Pro
Featuring a design that allows for a whopping 32 dB of noise attenuation as well as Sennheiser’s proprietary “Eargonomic Acoustic Refinement” technology (which channels audio directly into your ears) the lightweight, compact, and collapsible Sennheiser HD 380 Pro headphones are sure to make an excellent addition to any serious engineer or producer’s arsenal.
Also included are a carrying case and a 2-year warranty that covers easily replaceable parts.
What Should I Get?
If you’re still unconvinced as to what headphones you should get, the easiest thing to do is head over to your nearest music store and ask if you can try out that store’s selection of headphones.
Bring along your favorite songs or reference mixes, and you’ll be able to easily determine which headphones suit you best.