You are finally going to buy a pair of headphones! Which ones will you pick? What kind of preferences do you have? I personally prefer using ear pads since I get pain in my ears if I use in-ear headphones for a few hours in a row. Some headphones have a massive bass while others are bass-reduced, why do people choose to use bass-reduced headphones? There are so many questions out there and I’ll try to answer them here in this article.
Price vs. Function
There are headphones from as low as £/$/€5 up to several hundred. In-ear headphones are usually cheaper and of less quality than the over-ear (headphones that cover your ears) but the in-ear headphones is the optimal choice when running or working out. Over-ear headphones will drastically increase the temperature of your body so it is no good option for a work-out. Owning a home studio, I know however that I would never manage to make music without over-ear headphones as they reduce the risk of sound pollution a lot compared to in-ear headphones. Prices for headphones vary a lot, so the best thing you can do is to find a decent brand which is not too established in the business. Beats by DRE is a perfect example of an overpriced product, as same quality can be found for much less money.
In-Ear or Ear-pad (on-ear) Headphones?
The in-ear headphones represent the mobiles in the digital era while ear-pads represent computers. The ear-pads are necessary for serious work while in-ear headphones are meant to be used “on-the-go”. The ear pads will be better than in-ear headphones in 95% of the times, so only get the in-ear headphones if you listen to music as a way to spend time. If you on the other hand need headphones for your home studio, you should definitely go for the ear pads that cover your ears without giving you pain. Also, you should use bass-reduced ear pad headphones for a reality-based sound picture in the studio. Using headphones with bass in a studio will not reflect the sound experience that people have in cars, mp3 players and mobile phones.
If you are planning to record or mix music tracks, you should check out the Studio-Technica headphones as they are made in great long-lasting quality while also being bass-reduced. The same quality headphones from other brands exceed the prices at Audio-Technica by far. Lots of brands market their headphones as studio headphones falsely, even if the headphones have increased bass – contrary to what studio headphones should have. The reason to why on-ear headphones are important in a studio is because the click (metronome) and other sound features from your headphones easily end up on your track otherwise. The bass can still be heard even if headphones are bass-reduced, but bass-reduced headphones allow you to experience the full sound picture rather than a blurry bassline with cheap treble.
Watch out for breathing holes in your headphones. Although it might be nice to have cooler ears, it’s not worth the potential risk of polluting recordings because of a comfortable factor. The studio requires 101% and which is impossible if you have sound pollution all over your tracks. However, breathing holes can be nice if you are a hobby listener who wants to use your on-ear headphones on a jog run. However, it’s important to know that your ears become more sensitive to sounds during exercise, so keep the volume down while running to extend the lifespan of your precious eardrums. Very few people are aware of the increased damage we can do to our ears while working out, respect your body and you’ll feel great.
Quality over Brand
There are numerous brands that produce and sell headphones worldwide, some have great products and some have a big brand. Bose, Sony, Panasonic and more are big brands who trust their brand value more than their product. If you want great noise cancelling studio headphones however, you should look at the Germans! Audio-Technica & Sennheiser are rocking the business with their offers and they are many times cheaper than the bigger commercialized brands out there such as Beat by DRE for example. By stepping away from the norm, you allow yourself to focus more on quality rather than investing in a specific brand. The quality of each brand varies widely, but you can however compare the specifics of every set of headphones. Most brands list the exact specifics of their headphones on the product description. You can compare the total range in hertz and the angle of the speakers, which is of great value for the home studio user when trying to pan the tracks.
The 5 best Noise Cancelling Headphones
It all depends on your budget, really. You can find decent headphones for a couple of coins in some cases while other brands and models cost more than a suit. If you have £100+ to spend on headphones, I strongly recommend Audio-Technica or Sennheiser as they can get you top notch studio quality headphones for that price while Beats by DRE only gives you bass. I personally use ATH-PRO500MK2 from Audio-Technica which is the one I will refer others to use too, I’ve had them for over a year without experiencing a single glitch or tear since then. The ATH-M40X & ATH-M30X models are also great products from Audio-Technica that I can strongly recommend. If you don’t like their headphones, check out the Sennheiser headphones: Any headphones from the HD PRO series.