To help make your shopping experience as smooth as can be, this guide will take you through everything worth knowing when buying studio headphones.
What are studio headphones?
It’s important to understand what studio headphones actually are – this will help to ensure that you’re shopping for the right model. To help, we will compare studio headphones against DJ headphones, a popular rival.
There are some fairly obvious differences between DJ and studio headphones, meaning establishing what you need should be a piece of cake.
In short, DJ headphones are designed for the purpose of DJing; they feature a range of different technicalities that make mixing and performing hassle-free.
On the other hand, studio headphones are most commonly used for general use and in the studio. This is because they provide an accurate representation of the audio, allowing you to pick out any changes that need to be made (if in the studio). A lot of people prefer listening to music on studio headphones for this reason, as they provide an authentic experience.
Things to look for when buying studio headphones
If the above pointers have confirmed that you want to buy studio headphones, it’s time to get searching. While what you want from a pair of headphones comes down to personal preference, we highly recommend taking the following six areas into consideration.
Open, closed or semi-back
Simply saying that you want a “pair of studio headphones” won’t be enough to refine your search. There are many different types of headphones within this category that you must know about.
When looking for studio headphones, you will be faced with three options. These are:
- Open-back headphones
- Closed-back headphones
- Semi-open headphones
The choice you make will entirely depend on the listening experience you want. Let’s take a closer look at each type of headphone:
Open-Back: As you might have guessed by the name, open-back headphones are open at the back. This type of headphone is particularly ideal for studio use, as the open-back structure prevents any sound reflection from happening inside the headphones. As a result of this, you get a much clearer and more accurate frequency.
Closed-Back: The enclosure at the back of closed-back headphones is closed. Also referred to as “noise canceling headphones”, this type of headphone prevents any external noise from coming through. This allows you to truly focus on the music playing, whether it be for concentration purposes or monitoring vocals in the studio.
Semi-Open: When searching for studio headphones, you might also come across semi-open ones. This type of headphone is partially open at the back – they release sound pressure without bringing in too much external noise. For this reason, semi-open headphones are a great pair for everyday use. If in the studio, you can use them for both mixing and monitoring.
If you intend to use studio headphones when producing music, it’s wise to make sure that the model can offer exactly what you need. This tends to come down to:
We all work differently in the studio – some of us solely mix music, while some of us just monitor the final product. Understanding what you need the headphones for will help to refine your search.
We briefly touched on noise cancellation earlier in this guide, but let’s dive further into the specifics of it.
For most people listening to music leisurely, noise isolation is a must-have. Blocking outside noise, while preventing your own music from leaking, helps to provide a more enjoyable experience. For this reason, a closed-back design tends to be the most popular type of headphones. This is because the closed-back structure works in two ways, ensuring no noise gets in or leaks out.
For studio purposes, however, noise isolation isn’t always necessary. Open-back designs are favored when mixing as it doesn’t matter so much if noise leaks out. Once again, the choice will come down to your preferences and operations.
As a general rule of thumb, we recommend getting a pair of headphones that have a reasonable amount of isolation. This will help to provide a clear listening experience without getting distracted by external noises.
Accuracy is an incredibly important element to look for in studio headphones. Without accuracy, you won’t be able to create a professional-sounding mix!
Studio headphones work by delivering a flat frequency, which essentially means that the audio will sound exactly how it is. Look out for the flat frequency spectrum when shopping for headphones, as it might vary between makes. The flatter the frequency, the better the accuracy.
There’s nothing worse than purchasing a pair of headphones that break after the first use. It’s true what they say – if you buy cheap, you’ll buy twice!
While we’re not saying that you have to break the bank when purchasing studio headphones, it’s wise to make sure that they’re made from high-quality materials. While you should take care of the headphones no matter what, investing in a durable pair will ensure they last for years to come!
To assist with the above, always opt for reputable brands or models with excellent reviews.
As mentioned earlier, if you buy cheap, you’ll buy twice. If you have a budget in mind, stay true to this, but always check customer reviews before purchasing. Reviews provide the clearest insight into what to expect from the headphones!
Thanks to their popularity, there are plenty of studio headphones out there that won’t break the bank. But either way, they’re worth every penny.
It’s time to treat yourself!
With the above pointers in mind, you should have everything you need to make a solid purchase decision. Knowing what to look for in a pair of top-quality studio headphones will be sure to make the shopping experience an enjoyable one! Why not look through our list of greatest MCs of all time to test your new headphones?