Best Headphones for Guitar Players
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There are a lot of reasons why a guitar player would want to acquire a nice set of headphones. Recording and practicing are the two main ones that come to mind. Especially nowadays with how many great practice amps are being made, more and more people are likely to have a headphone jack on their amp. Even if you are just looking to get a better listening experience when playing along with your favorite tracks, upgrading your headphones is not a bad idea.
I want to point out that this list is only going to include headphones starting a $69 and up. There are some decent headphones in the sub-$50 range, but in my opinion, the added quality of sound you get with what’s listed below is well worth the cost. And with that in mind, let’s jump right into it.
AKG K240 Studio – $69.00
Any time someone I know is looking for an affordable set of headphones for practicing guitar, I always recommend K240s. These AKGs are great sound quality for what you’re paying, and they really do check off all the other boxes as well. First off, these are very comfortable. I know this may not be a major factor for everyone out there, but it should be. There is nothing worse than a set of headphones that literally hurt to wear for more than a few minutes. And with the K240s most people are going to find that you can wear them comfortably for as long as you like.
These are semi-open back headphones. Meaning these are great for being able to hear your guitar if you are planning using them while listening to other audio (while not also monitoring your amp). This is super advantageous for recording or trying to play along with a song. The semi-open design helps to make these headphones versatile.
As far as the specifics of the sound quality, I would say that these really do the best in the mids to upper mids. The low end is a little lacking, but definitely not a deal breaker considering the price point. All together these AKGs are a wonderful choice for $69.
Sony MDR-7506 – $99.95
This offering from Sony is one that you likely have seen somewhere before. The MDR-7506s have been around for quite some time now and many consider them an industry standard. While this Sony model is an all-around solid headphone, it really shines as an affordable monitoring headphone. So, if you are primarily looking for something to aid in recording your guitar, these are great for how much you pay. Though I will note some people don’t love these for mixing, so if that is your sole intent maybe try something else (or preferably use reference monitors).
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x – $149.00
Audio-Technica does a great job of producing affordable yet really quality stuff across the board. On the headphone side of things, their M50x is a perfect representation of that excellent price/performance ratio. Yet again, we have a headphone that works really well for a number of different things. Whether you are using them for monitoring or just listening to music they will get the job done. Furthermore, these are the only headphones on this list that I would really recommend for mixing. While these are not the flattest headphones you will ever hear, a lot of people mix on these and get great results. And the fact that they are not entirely neutral is what helps make these a more versatile pair of headphones.
These are pretty comfortable to wear for extended listening, though some will not love the breathability. But, for being closed back they are pretty much what you would expect. I might not recommend these for several hours on end, though I don’t suspect that this will be an issue for most.
The sound quality here, as previously stated, is leaning towards flat but is definitely more colored then something like reference monitors. The M50xs have a solid mid-range (nice for guitars) and adequate bass for most applications. The highs are tame enough and again, work well for monitoring.
Boss WazaAir – $399.99
The Waza-Air headphones are in a different class than any of the other options on this list. Boss has designed these to be the perfect sounding set of headphones for guitarists. But WazaAirs are much more than just a really quality set of headphones. This product is meant to give you the nearest experience to playing a real amp that you can acquire with a set of headphones. In fact, Boss is marketing these as a ‘headphone amp’. And truth be told, it deserves this branding. Anyone who has tried these will tell you it is an experience quite different from anything else on the market. While no one is claiming this is 100% the same as being in the room with a real amp, it is about as close as you can get using headphones.
The included app lets you change the position of the amp in the room via 3D algorithms in order to add to the immersion. Furthermore, there are settings for surround, stage and static environments that all are meant to emulate specific sonic situations.
On top of the amazing experience of getting close to the feeling like you’re playing through a real amp, these headphones also have a couple other things going for them. First off, they’re wireless. This is obviously a big deal if you are trying to achieve that “real” experience. But this feature is also just a super convenient thing to have regardless. And don’t worry, latency with these is not an issue.
The other main thing to point out with the WazaAir is that you have access to some really great amps and effects. It includes 5 amp types and 50 different effects all taken from Boss’s Katana amps. These amps/effects add a whole other level of tonal control to take the overall experience up a notch.
If you are looking to get the ultimate practice, travel, or home guitar playing experience from headphones, Boss has made a really great product for you.