There are many different types of headphones out there.
In this video we discuss how to choose the best headphones for your needs.
If you are a DJ and queuing up the next track then you might want to choose closed-back headphones because they will isolate you from the sound of the club. This will allow you to concentrate on the incoming track. With closed-back headphones there won’t be excessive spillage from the headphones themselves. If you are recording vocals with a sensitive microphone then having closed-back headphones will prevent the backing track from spilling into the microphone.
The bass reproduction on closed-back headphones is more focused. This can result in their reproduction being unreliable and a bit boomy in some cases. The Beyerdynamic DT 100 have been the tracking headphones of choice for many many years. They sound a little bit midrangey, but they are still usable and look quite funky.
There are two types of closed-back headphones: On Ear and Over Ear. An example of On Ear headphones are the Sennheiser HD25. These are typically used by DJs as On Ear headphones provide more isolation. The trade off is that they’re not as comfortable for extended periods of time. Over Ear headphones on the other hand are more comfortable but provide less isolation.
This type of design isolates less offers a more open soundstage and more natural reproduction. They can not be used for tracking as they will spill into the microphone. They are commonly used for mixing, as they are comfortable for extended periods, and this is also where their better representation is most important and comes to the fore. For mixing and mastering ideally you still want to have a good pair of monitors and a decent sounding room, but if you cannot afford that then invest on a pair of these headphones. Even if you have a great set up, headphones are a great tool for referencing. We really like the Sennheiser HD650s, as well as the Beyerdyamic DT990s for checking our mixes.
In Ear Headphones
These provide the most isolation and are great for the stage. Professional in ear monitors are custom made to a mould of your ear to provide the best fit and comfort. Consumer ear buds like iPhone ones are a similar concept except they’re very loose fitting and don’t sound very good! You should double check your mixes on these however, as they are the most common playback system for consumers.
The last thing to point out about different models of headphones is their impedance. This is the effective resistance of the electrical circuit of the headphones. Therefore low impedance headphones have a low resistance, and require less power to drive them effectively. High impedance headphones require more power to drive, but typically are of higher quality.
We hope you found this article and video useful. We’d love to know what are your favourite headphones and why! Please add a comment below 🙂