Creative, DIY, Hardware, Music

Choosing the Right Headphones for Home Recording

Headphones and Microphone

If you are an aspiring singer who is just getting started with at-home track recording, you might be wondering whether studio headphones are really necessary or will regular headphones suffice.

It’s actually one of the most common questions most people have when they start recording at home. While there are a variety of different headphones for your mobile phone or casual use, headphones for home recording have certain requirements.

Types of Headphones

As mentioned, there are various types of headphones available, but we are going to focus on headphones for music production. There are 3 specific types of headphones you will need for specific purposes: closed-back headphones, open-back headphones, and semi-open-back headphones. These are called studio headphones because they are generally used in recording studios. Alongside this decision, you need to decide if you’re wanting wired or wireless headphones. Luckily, whether you’re looking for wired and wireless Sony headphones or for another brand, most major companies offer both so you’re not restricted when looking.

Closed-back Headphones

The closed-back headphones are usually used in studios. They have a solid earcup that keeps the sound from escaping and blocks outside noise. Closed-back headphones are ideal for artists who are recording. Using this type of headphone prevents the guide track they are listening to from leaking into the active microphone.

Sound isolation is also beneficial as it allows you to focus on very small details that would go undetected if they were not isolated. Finally, closed-back headphones are advantageous when you’re listening in a noisy recording room or any other place.

Open-back Headphones

Open-back headphones, as the name suggests, have open backs as they are designed to let outside noise in and leak the sounds produced within them. This, in turn, can create pressure and sound that is more natural to the ears.

Since there’s no presence of wave reflection in open-back headphones, they are ideal for mixing and mastering. However, they’re not the best choice for recording because the sound leaking from the headphones will be picked up by the hot mic.

Semi-open Headphones

Semi-open-back headphones offer a compromise between noisy open-back and isolated closed-back headphones. Their backs are partly open, so they can also leak sound pressure, but they are not that noisy compared with open-back headphones. This makes them great for mixing sounds as well.

Also, they are not completely sealed and shut off like closed-back headphones either. They offer decent isolation, so they can also be used for recording vocals, but not as good as closed-back headphones. So if you want to save money, you can get the best of both worlds with semi-open-back headphones.

How to Choose the Right Headphones

When choosing the right studio headphones, you’ll need to consider a few things, such as the frequency it delivers and how much sound isolation it offers.

Proper Isolation

The key to producing a clean recording is proper isolation. This means that sound should not escape into the recording room when you use the headphones. When the lead track escapes from the headphones into the recording room, an active microphone picks it up together with the desired signal.

This can be problematic, especially when you edit your recording. For this reason, you will be leaning towards using closed-back headphones.

Because closed-back headphones are more reliable when it comes to sound isolation, musicians use them in order to record their song without distractions.

However, if you’re going to create audio using only electronic sources like synths, samples, loops, and beats, or you’re editing, mixing as well as mastering pre-recorded material, then you will need a different headphone. This is why there are open and semi-open studio headphones!

Sound Response

Headphones used for music production respond with flat frequency, which means the music or audio being played doesn’t have a bass boost. There are also no changes to the track’s various frequencies. This allows you to spot any inconsistencies and errors in your song so you can make the necessary corrections and adjustments.

However, regular headphones do not offer this important feature. They are typically in a certain limited range of frequency and amplify higher frequencies and/or bass. This makes the undesirable sound in the recordings undetectable.

Although regular headphones can work for casual listeners, they are deemed to be detrimental when producing music, as it’s important to hear the audio transparently in order to make the right adjustments and corrections when mixing. When it comes to mixing and mastering, an open-back headphone is what you’d go for.

Durability and Comfort

If you are spending more time recording in your studio, you may want to think about the comfort the headphones have to offer.

Open-back headphones are the most comfortable to use for longer sessions because of their ability to release sound from within; however, they’re not ideal for recording. So when you use closed-back headphones, make sure you take a breather between sessions to avoid eardrum damage.

Another thing to consider is durability. Since most studio headphones are costly, you will want them to last long. It’s best to research the brand first before forking out your money.

The Bottom Line

Now you know why artists wear studio headphones during their recording sessions, we hope this article has shed some light and has provided a good kickstart when choosing the right music production headphones.


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