10 Best Headphones for Music Production in 2022

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On the Move – If you’re always on the go, look for headphones that fold down or condense in size. While this may not seem like a big factor, it can really help keep your headphones of choice safe while running from one place to the next. It may be worth considering purchasing a pair for on the go use and another for use at the studio.

Kate Brunotts

Kate Brunotts FOR MUSIC CRITIC

Headphone for Music Production Buyers Guide

Are Headphones For Music Production Different to Regular Headphones?

Indeed they are regular headphones tend to enhance the audio quality in their own model-specific manner which is great for enjoying your favorite playlists. They typically boost the bass and treble frequencies but in a studio set authenticity is required.

Studio quality headphones will, therefore, offer what is known as a flat or linear frequency response with far better balance and accuracy. A studio set will typically have a more extensive frequency response monitoring and be able to work at a higher resolution for better fidelity and to be compatible with the resolutions used in DAW’s.

They will also be better equipped at handling a larger work-load and have a higher impedance as well as being low latency.

They are often more comfort and durability focused as well because working in a studio setting can demand more of a headphone set and longer hours from its wearer.

Usually, they are genuinely more comfortable but this is of course budget defendant as comfier materials tend to be more costly, though it helps to have a strong ergonomic design concept first and foremost.

Generally speaking, regular headphones are closed back in nature and aimed at personal private listening and studio sets will often be open-back to provide a spatial reference and be more conducive to critical listening.

Open-backed versus Closed?

This is arguably one of the most debated topics in the studio headphone industry, now as briefly suggested above you should really be mixing with speakers for a better representation but headphones are a useful production tool and a lot of work is done privately listening.

A closed-back design provides better isolation, so if you are looking for a set that a singer or musician can wear and live monitor whilst they record then closed back is the only way to go.

They provide a barrier between the outside world and the ears and have less sound leakage (top models with zero) if you are recording a vocal track you don’t want echos of the playback recorded in the background.

If you are editing or listening in a more analytical manner then you are going to need an open-backed set because they add an extra parameter to what you are listening to, creating a sound-image if you like known as spatial sound which is essential if you are critiquing and tweaking your work post-recording.

Now the argument is subjective as well as bound by practicality some people can’t stand the airier weaker if you like the sound that an open-backed set creates but it is undeniable that they provide a more natural reproduction that better matches your studio monitor output and accuracy is paramount for editing.

Cord Types

Though there are some exemplary wireless models emerging at the high-end of the professional market for music production realistically you need a direct input-output option to avoid issues such as latency/lag.

The biggest problem with cords is they tend to tangle because of the length required within a working a studio environment and a range of applications.

Their entry point also becomes a target area when it comes to long-term wear and tear because it takes the brunt of rough-handling which can result in them breaking.

Usually, it is better to consider a single-sided entry cord over a Y-leads, which arguably are less prone to tangling but double the entry points and therefore double the weak points increasing the potential for damage.

A detachable plug-in, pull-out cord system, of course, can eliminate the weak spot entirely, providing a stronger point of connection but it will of course still be affected by tangling if improperly handled.

The ways in which you can help reduce entanglement are to opt for a straight cord that has proofing or protection to aid in prevention. This is usually by employing an outer covering, sometimes woven textiles or synthetic plastics.

Some companies reinforce the cord by double-twisting or braiding instead. For studio use, many of us choose to go for a coiled cord because it generally tangles far less and it stretches to allow a good range of motion but immediately retracts and retains its original coiled and shortened length.

What to look for in a set of headphones for music production?

Hopefully, our opening section will have given you a pretty good idea of what to look for as it highlighted some very notable differences between regular headphones and headphones better suited to studio use. Technically speaking it really does depend on a hell of a lot on your set up and the level at which you are working.

Other factors which will weigh in are the intended use, as many producers actually have several sets of headphones for critical listening and switch between them regularly in the arduous editing, mixing, and engineering process but to summarize and help you prioritize here is a good rule of thumb.

High-resolution with a flattened/natural/linear response is paramount for analytical listening. Durability and comfort are just as vital as the audio reproduction so buy the best your budget can stretch to.

Ensure they provide an adequate level of comfort for those who have to spend hours editing in their DAWs. This includes full adjustability, breathable, plush cushioning and a padded low clamp pressure headband with good flexibility, swivel ear-cups, and low sound pressure levels.

If you are shopping on a smaller allocation, we have included sets here priced under twenty bucks but it is important to remember that low-end models cannot compete with the high-end.

Conclusion

Hopefully, our reviews will have highlighted some pretty impressive models available online which will make for a great addition to any home studio set-up.

We tried to include a good variety because there are many uses for headphones within the audio production process.

Trickle-down technology is bringing some impressive premium models down the chain to a more accessible price region so you really can get excellent value for money if you know what you are looking for.

Armed with the recommendations of our buyers guide section you should find the ideal model to suit your production requirements.

Expert Tip

You might want to head on over to our 10 Best Headphones for Mixing in 2022 article for a few more suggestions especially if you are shopping on a lower-budget as we have included a few bargain models which hold their own.

Did you Know

Some of the worlds best studio reference headphones being professionally used within the industry retail in the region of $30-40,000 like the V-Moda Crossfade M-100 priced at $40,000.

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