Updated: May 10, 2015
Guide to the Best Studio Headphones:Studio Headphones Review - The difference that a good set of studio headphones can make is phenomenal. They are necessary for artists to deliver their best performances; they are equally important for a recording engineer to deliver the best final, edited product. DJs need them to cue the next song without the crowd hearing music over music. Whatever the use, sound must be precise and quality has to be top notch. But how do you make sure that you get that? This guide will help you determine what to look for when buying studio headphones and how much you should pay for them.
How to Get the Professional Studio Headphones You Need - Picking up a pair of studio headphones is more complex than going to the box store to get earbuds for your mp3 player; while you expect quality there, the pros need to make sure their headphones can handle the jobs before them, whether in a club or in a recording studio. They need to be durable, have a good, closed construction to isolate you from ambient sound, and they need to have good sound. And ideally, they have a price tag you can afford. Here are some factors to consider before you make your purchase:
*If you need studio headphones, think about the size of your studio. It could be a large, professional (and pricy) studio or one that you set up in your home. In either case, you need headphones that suit your needs. Smaller, home studios need to have maximum isolation or you should buy noise cancellation headphones.
*Buy the best you can afford, whether your budget is a few hundred, a few thousand, or the sky's the limit. Use well-known brands like the ones we will discuss in a bit.
*Look at the specs. There are a few terms that you should know:
*Frequency response: this is simply the range of frequencies the headphones can accurately reproduce. Common is 8Hz to 25kHz for a good range.
*Diffuse field equalization: this is how the headphones flatten the frequency response, or more accurately, your perception of the frequency response. You can have free-field and diffuse-field equalization. Most indoor users opt for diffuse-field EQ because it accounts for room interference and such.
*Distortion: this is the percentage that shows how accurately your headphones reproduce sound. Look for distortion of 1% or less at maximum power.
*Sensitivity: this is the sound efficiency, which you will see given in dBs. Average is 100 dBs, while high is 130 dBs. Headphones with lower numbers need more power to sound as loud as those with higher numbers.
*Impedance: if you don't have an engineering degree, you're out of luck. This one gets complicated; impedance is the measurement of headphone load on an amp. Headphones with lower impedances can get loud enough even without a dedicated amp system. The Sennheiser HD 280Pro headphones, for instance, have an impedance of 64 ohms. Headphones that run on distribution amps, which can power multiple sets of headphones at once, can be rated up to 200 ohms. As this level increases, so does the power required to run them.
That takes care of the common specs you'll see. Now let's put them in context so you have a better idea of which are the best headphones for your needs. Choosing the Best Headphones - Remember, it is important to choose your studio headphones from reliable, top sources. Big names to keep an eye out for include: Denon, Sennheiser, Sony, Audio Technica, Shure, Koss, Grado, Ultrasone, and AKG. These companies have established reputations and make solid, reliable products. Let's take a look at their best models for each type of budget and needs. You can browse the best selling studio headphones here.