Best Headphones To Use with a Guitar Amp
(Review Updated: 4 April 2018)
Although you may love the sound of your own music, you probably have neighbours or roommates who aren't exactly the biggest fans of guitar solos at 3am! Fortunately, guitar headphones have always been the answer to keeping our noise to ourselves, and there are specialised headphones for guitarists like yourself who want good quality sound without busting the budget.
Just like everything and anything on the market, there are different versions of the same product and all at different prices. But when it comes to headphones for a guitar amp, is it really justifiable to spend over $200?
Naturally, the more expensive you go the better quality sound you'll get, just like any other regular set of headphones. However, you don't necessarily have to spend hundreds of dollars either. There's a certain price point where anything over that is just brand name benefits and not really sound quality benefits. Generally, the best range is between $60 - $260, where anything under that will likely be followed by a better set soon afterwards.
Now, it's worth noting that choosing headphones for amps is very different from choosing regular headphones to listen to music with. Music has already been mastered and processed, whereas your own musical creations are not, and will be powering through your guitar headphones loudly and inconsistently, so a sturdy set that can handle the different frequencies and minimise distortion are a must.
That said here are our top four picks for the job:
Considering their critically acclaimed high performance and shining customer reviews (currently 4200+ reviews are written for the ATH-M50X) at its current price point, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50X is almost underpriced.
These widely praised guitar headphones offer great comfort and complete noise cancellation due to their closed back design. The ear cups can swivel 90 degrees for one-ear monitoring (great for you sound pros) and the cable is detachable, which is always a bonus.
The bass has just the right amount of punch and every range in between is bright and clear. The ATH-M50x has a frequency range between 15Hz and 28kHz, which is more than what you'd need even if it isn't the widest range available for guitar amp headphones. Impedance is at 38 ohms which covers most audio devices but will definitely sound it's best when plugged into an amp, which is...pretty much the point of getting them in the first place.
At a lower price range stands the Sony MDRV6 headphones. Again with over 2500 reviews at Amazon, the Sony MDRV6 has shining reviews and can be considered a perfect buy at its current price point (see full specs and price).
With a wide frequency response of 5 Hz - 30 kHz, the MDRV6 offers a full bodied sonic experience where your musical nuances won't be lost. It's actually a wider range than what many higher end headphones support!
The cable is 10ft long and non-detachable, which is perfect for guitarists who don't need to move around too much. The design allows for great noise cancellation to really immerse yourself in your music, and the impedance of 68 ohms means it's compatible with most audio devices but will really come alive when plugged into an amp.
The Sony MDRV6 may not be as pretty as the next headphones you'll see on this list, but they're certainly brilliant for the price.
Time to go a little higher on our price range for fancy!
These Sennheiser HD 598 headphones cost more than the Audio-Technica ATH-M50X and SONY MDRV6 and are indeed an audiophiles' dream.
Featuring velour covered ear cups and a light weight, they're ideal for long practice sessions and a sense of comfort that will make the extra dollars worth it. Their impedance is 50 ohms for a full sound experience when plugged into any audio device, and come equipped with a detachable 3m cable.
These open back headphones (which Sennheiser actually invented in the 60's) offer a more "authentic" experience where it will sound like the music is coming from all around you and not just between your ears (this is called 'open soundstage'). But this also means the noise cancellation isn't complete and will 'leak' sound. So if you prefer total immersion during practice sessions and don't want anyone hearing you play, then these may not be the right set for you.
The HD 598s boast a wide frequency range between 12Hz and 38.5kHz, so you’ll be able to hear all those rich sounds coming from your guitar. Note that the Sennheiser is for those looking for a consistent, balanced, and high quality sonic performance, so the bass isn’t the type to send thumping vibrations throughout your body. If that's what your head-banging self is looking for, then any other closed back headphones on this list would be a better choice.
Okay, now we're at the price peak, but hear us out. The Beyerdynamic DT 770 is arguably the best set of headphones for a guitar amp due to it's amazing frequency response of 5 Hz to 35 kHz for unbeatably clear sound and superb bass reproduction.
With snug velour earpads, impeccable noise cancellation, and up to 250 ohms in impedance for incredible amp performance, it's easy to see why these headphones have consistently made it to the top of every sound-savvy list.
The best part about this German-made set is that all the parts are replaceable, so you can keep them running for as long as possible without buying a totally new set. Half of the customer reviews are just raving about long they've had their Beyerdynamic's for! So yes, this is definitely a top choice for the best headphones to use with a guitar amp. You won't get a more realistic sound than with these bad boys, so choose wisely.
There are plenty more choices out there, but these are by far the most recommended by countless musicians like yourself, and who better to get genuine recommendations from than the those actually using them.
As for those of you still thinking "maybe I could get away with getting a cheaper set"... Nope. Bad guitar headphones will only result in lousy audio that will either make your guitar playing sound worse than it actually is. An even more dangerous risk is that it could make it sound better than it actually is, and that's not going to be a sweet surprise when you're finally on stage and hear the real deal.
So make the commitment to a good set of guitar headphones (any from this list will do) that will accurately channel your talent, last you a good few years, and most importantly, avoid any ruckus from the neighbors.