Nice one friend! Time to get headphones so that you can be walking on sunshine with KC and the sunshine band, or maybe it’s time to take the power back (RATM)? What are the unwritten rules about headphones? Well that’s a tough nut to crack.
It all depends on what purpose you’ve planned to use the headphones for. Are you planning on recording something on your own or are you a gamer with a passion for sound effects?
I have done my best to list different types of headphones to provide the best options for the various different scenarios.
Sitting in a studio requires some kickass headphones. Not kickass as in maximum output but rather with some certain specifics.
The purpose of studio headphones is to have a clear and defined idea about how the instruments sound while also being able to hear each instrument while they all are playing.
Studio headphones must be stereo with great range in hertz and panning exposure. Apart from hearing all possible sounds, you also need to be able to hear them coming from different directions since you probably want to pan at least some of the instruments on your track.
You want to find bass-reduced headphones or simply use headphones with a bass-reduction feature.
The bass-reduction feature allows you to experience the sound picture exactly as it will sound coming from most car stereos without a massive bass.
The PRO500MK2 from Audio-Technica cost £149 and are the headphones I recommend to use in the studio. It ranges from 10-30,000 Hz (hertz) and weigh only 290 grams.
These are over-ear headphones, meaning that the pads are around your ears rather than on your ears.
Over-ear headphones can be used for several hours while on-ear & in-ear headphones gives you pain shortly after you’ve started your recording/mixing session.
Headphones for Exercising
First of all, I feel a great need to inform you about the danger of listening to music while exercising, your ears actually become more sensitive towards loud noises as you are working out or have a high blood circulation.
Your eardrums can break easier simply because they become more sensitive from a work-out or other physical activities such as dancing or having sex.
Listening to music while having sex is nothing to worry about, what you should worry about is the work-out music.
Listening to loud music (regardless of genre) becomes more dangerous the harder you work out.
Also, over-ear & on-ear headphones actually make you warmer while working out; resulting in a shittier workout than necessary. Pick in-ear headphones.
I want to recommend the Momentum 2.0 IEi Headphones from Sennheiser for £64.99.
A majority of the people in the western parts of Europe are using (in my opinion) shitty everyday headphones.
I love and live for music and I could never imagine myself having bad sound experience in the majority of my life. Because that’s what everyday headphones are, the main source of music in your life.
You could easily use in-ear or on-ear headphones if you only use headphones for 15-60 minutes per day.
If you are using your headphones for hours or more – allow yourself the luxury of listening to real music from over-ear headphones with a proper panning experience.
I strongly recommend the AVC200 from Audio-Technica for only £30!
Trendy & Fashionable
I personally never cared about trendy and fashionable regarding music, I put all of my focus on quality and function.
There are a ton of cool headphones that attracts the eye, but the functionality of these headphones usually doesn’t reflect the level of trendiness.
However, Skullcandy is a brand that does a decent job at offering cool headphones at okay prices.
I recommend the Knockout model (€83.99) from Skullcandy as the Trendy headphones.
Headphones for Gamers
The typical gamer is “addicted” to more than one game, and the importance of audio/sound effects actually vary a lot when playing games online.
Many headphones fail to offer a 360 degree audio experience which results in a poorer gaming experience for the player.
In Counter-Strike for example, you need to hear if a player is moving behind you to the right or in front of you to the right. Shitty headphones only indicate if a player is to your right or left without any indication on if the opponent is in front or behind you.
You are in other words forced to use over-ear headphones if you want a fair chance of competing against the other players.
I recommend the gaming headset I’ve always used: M50xWH from Audio-Technica for £139.
Headphones can be extremely useful while travelling; it allows you to learn new languages through audio books, practice your drumming skills or to help you falling asleep on the bus/train/plane.
If you however plan to sleep on the way, make sure that you’ve prepared a playlist where the songs have a BPM of 40-70 depending on how fast your heart is beating while resting.
The headphones I’d like to recommend to you for travelling is the ANC70 from Audio-Technica (£149). These reduce environmental noise by up to 90%!