Headphones may be overlooked when people think about what equipment is needed to make music recordings happen, but they are an important part of the recording studio. In a recording session, artists may want to use headphones to hear their voice or other parts of the arrangement. The headphone mix may affect their performance, so it’s important that you have good headphones to help the artist hear clearly and perform their best.
DT 770 PRO by beyerdynamic
These crazy-comfortable closed-back headphones may be the very best on the market in their price range (or perhaps in general). They fit around the ears tightly but comfortably. Their clarity is amazing – if you solo a vocal, it’s like you are standing right in front of them. There is also a semi-open back model called the DT 880 PRO, and a fully-open back for critical listening and mastering called the DT 990 PRO. Price: $299
K240 Studio by AKG
The K240s are semi-open studio headphones that also have very comfortable pads. These headphones are very light while wearing (240g). The cable that comes included is a mini-XLR to 1/8th inch adapter, allowing for very easy cable replacement. Price: $149
HD 280 PRO by Sennheiser
Sennheiser makes a great set of headphones that isolate very well. This is important for recording. If you are trying to record a quiet, intimate vocal, you don’t need the music leaking out of their headphones and being recorded into the vocal track. The solid construction doesn’t hinder comfort and helps durability. This pair of headphones are built with closed construction. Price: $99
SRH240A by Shure
The SRH240A headphones are a rugged set of closed headphones. This more affordable pair is comfortable and isolating; again, perfect for recording with minimal bleed, and also great for music listening. Price: $75
Other Tips for Choosing Headphones
When choosing a pair of headphones for music recording, keep in mind your needs. Will you be mixing with them? Make sure they are comfortable and honest sounding. Will you be using them for artists to be monitoring while recording? Choose a pair that are closed and isolating. Before listening and trying them out, make a mix of music you are very familiar with. Listen to what the high end, low end, and mids sound like. Make sure the headphones replicate each well.
Have you established a recording studio? What type of headphones do you prefer to use, and why?
See also: Recording Music: Pros and Cons of Creating a Home Studio, Recording Music: Essential Equipment for a Home Studio, Music Recording Equipment: The Best Microphones, Music Recording Equipment: Digital Audio Workstations.