Play in perfect privacy – without compromising on sound quality – with our pick of the best headphones for guitar amps in 2020.
The Best Headphones for Guitar Amp
Best overall: Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
“There’s little the M50x can’t do – gaming, production, and, of course, guitar practice sessions.“
Best mid-range: Sennheiser HD280PRO
“What they lack in comfort, the HD280 Pro headphones make up in sound quality”
Flattest sound profile: Yamaha HPH-MT7
“If you want to hear your guitar exactly as it naturally sounds, pick this Yamaha”
Most reliable: Sony MDR7506
“Built like a tank, the MDR7506 is a classic headphone that works in any setting”
Regular readers might know this, but for the rest of you, here’s a disclosure: before I started electronic music production, I was a guitarist. I was never particularly good at it – I have a stronger knack for technical stuff than sheer virtuosity – but I have spent enough time with the instrument to know its ins and outs.
Growing up, I had to share a room with my big brother. Practicing the guitar meant either playing so softly that it was barely audible. Or plugging the guitar into an amp with headphones. I obviously chose the latter.
Guitar headphones are a necessity for a lot of us. You don’t always have the luxury of turning up the volume and playing all through the night. Some of us practice late at night. Some others share rooms with others. A guitar headphone makes it possible to keep practicing without the neighbors calling the cops on you.
But not every headphone works equally well with guitar amps. Most commercial headphones add too much “color” to the output. Most modern ones are particularly guilty of turning up the bass and treble. Practice using these headphone and you’ll barely hear the all-important meaty mids.
What you need are headphones with a flattish sound profile – something that will help you hear the entire audio spectrum, not just base and treble frequencies. And since you’ll be wearing them for hours, you also want these headphones to be comfortable. And of course, you should be able to plug them into your guitar amp easily (i.e. 1/4″ audio-in preferred).
Keeping this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the best headphones for guitar amp you can buy right now.
The 8 Best Headphones for Guitar Amp
Here are my picks for the best guitar headphones for different budgets and needs:
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x is the first option on this roundup and the best overall headphones for a guitar amp. Plugging your guitar into an amp, turning the volume up, and singing your best music is a paradise for most guitar players. And if you want to have a good time without waking up the neighbors, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x is the best headphones to accompany your playing.
The design is compact, and the headphones are foldable. Hence, they are fairly easy to carry around. Since it is also lightweight, you can listen to music for extended periods without feeling the strain on your ears.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x is arguably the most popular pair of headphones, and for good reason. Many users have remarked on the overall performance of these headphones. They come with a closed-back design that ensures that you hear the best tunes from your guitar.
Another impressive feature is the mid-range. It is very impressive and is well complemented by the extended bass. Additionally, the treble on these headphones is pretty good. During testing, we did not observe any popping or hissing. Distortion was also very low.
The closed-back design ensures minimal sound leakage. Thus, people in the same room with you would likely have no idea you are listening to music.
While it comes with an impedance of just 38 Ohms, we observed that this did not affect the performance. It is a versatile model that supports different frequencies, and it excellent for use on a guitar amp.
What I don’t like:
Overall, these are excellent headphones that you will likely have a great time using. However, it does come with downsides. Something that we observed is the relatively narrow soundstage. This is likely a result of the closed-back design. Because of the relatively poor soundstage, the bass is somewhat low.
Best Multipurpose Headphones: Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro
Beyerdynamic is one of the most popular manufacturers of headphones in the world. Their headphones are renowned for their sturdy construction and robust sound reproduction. They also come in 32, 80, and up to 250 ohms. Well, the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro continues this tradition. These 32 ohms headphones might come at a relatively high price, but they are certainly worth it.
The headphones come with an excellent frequency range that reproduces sound almost impeccable. The frequency range of 5 Hz aids this sound reproduction to 35 kHz. Therefore, they are compatible with a lot of players, including your guitars. If you are playing with a guitar amp, we recommend the 32Ohms model to give excellent value for money.
Due to the range, every note that comes out from the headphones sounds great. They feel articulate and are highly defined. While others might lack punch and clarity, that is not the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro case.
With these headphones, you will enjoy impressive sounds because of the unbelievable noise isolation and zero bleeds. While there are other models in the Beyerdynamic line, the 770 Pro stands out and is excellent for any professional guitarist.
What I don’t like
There are, of course, some downsides. For one, unlike our top pick, these headphones lack that compact, foldable factor. Thus it can be a hassle carrying it around. Another thing I did not like is that the cable length of 5 meters is quite short. Compare that length to the 10-meter length found in the Audio-Technica model we reviewed.
Best Mid-Range Guitar Headphones: Sennheiser HD280PRO
Up next are headphones from another reputable brand. I love Sennheiser’s headphones as these were the first brand I bought, and it lasted for several years without any issues. This particular model is the go-to option when choosing headphones for guitar amps. The Sennheiser HD280PRO headphones are relatively cheap, but still, deliver sound performance that rivals even more expensive models. The mid-range on these headphones is the industry standard and is the best on this roundup.
It comes with a lovely, comfortable design. There is plenty of padding on the model, which makes it comfortable and lightweight. The headband also enjoys this padded treatment, as well as the ear pads. Wearing these headphones is very comfortable and is almost like wearing clouds on our ears.
Apart from the ergonomic design, another thing I love about these headphones is the weight. It might look like a pair of heavy headphones, but they are so lightweight you would forget you have them on. Additionally, the 9.8 feet long cable means you have plenty of leeway when using these headphones with your guitar amp. Lastly, in terms of design, the headphones come in a closed-ear design and circumaural ear coupling.
Performance-wise, these are excellent headphones. The frequency response and sound pressure result in headphones that deliver some of the best sounds. You will enjoy the natural and warm sound that emanates from these headphones.
What I don’t like
Overall, they are highly comfortable. However, I noticed that the first time I wore them, they felt super tight. However, the headband responsible for this loosens over time. Another flaw is that they get warm because of poor breathability.
Best High-End Headphones: Sennheiser HD 660S Open Back
The Sennheiser HD 660S headphones are impressive open-back listening headphones that are great for guitar amps. They come with several nice features, including good audio reproduction and comfortable design.
The headphones come with impressive bass performance. From my testing, the bass is excellent, punchy, and hits all the notes well. The treble is also of similar quality. Considering that these are high-end headphones, it isn’t too surprising that it sounds so great.
The appearance is appealing and indicates the premium price. It comes with a black matte finish. Inside, the oval cups are padded with soft, comfortable fabric. While they might not exactly turn heads, anyone that sees them will realize that they are not your average, run-of-the-mill headphones. The open design is very breathable. Therefore, you can wear these for hours on end without feeling hot around the ears. While it is made of plastic, the plastic here does not feel cheap at all.
Sennheiser has included useful accessories like adapters and cables.
In terms of performance, the Sennheiser HD 660S offers, among other things, excellent soundstage. It sounds very expansive and gives you impressive performance that is better than even closed-back headphones of a similar price.
What I don’t like
While the open-back design makes the Sennheiser HD 660S very breathable and comfortable to wear over long sessions, the downside is that they are rubbish if you want to block noise. They also leak a lot of sounds, so people around you will hear whatever you are listening to. However, if you are using them in a quiet room, then you will love the sound quality.
Best Budget Guitar Headphones: AKG K240
The AKG K240 headphones come at a low price and are the most affordable on this roundup. Despite the low price, it is impressive in many areas. In fact, some of its performance metrics rival those of more expensive models.
The first thing you’ll notice about the headphones is the classic design. The semi-open design comes with supersized transducers. This feature, coupled with the Varimotion diaphragm from AKG, results in a pair of headphones that give steady frequency response and an unbelievable soundstage.
During my test, I thoroughly enjoyed the strong treble range from the model. The midrange is even more impressive. However, it falters in the low-frequency range.
The 55 Ohms impedance isn’t designed for studio use, but it is certainly more than enough for a guitar amp. Inside the package, there is a pair of detachable cables. You can choose between the 3 m straight and 5 m coiled cable. You also get an adapter.
What I don’t like
Sound performance isn’t terrible on these headphones. However, the build screams ‘cheap’. It doesn’t feel solid. Additionally, I observed that the bass is somewhat explosive, especially when the volume is turned up.
Flattest Sound Profile: Yamaha HPH-MT7
With the Yamaha HPH-MT7, Yamaha brings an incredible monitoring pair of headphones to the market for the professional player. There are several reasons why I love these headphones.
First, although it is super accurate as a studio monitor, it still comes with a build and performance that makes it a great choice for casual listeners or DJs at live shows. At its core, these bad boys are made for DAWS and mixing, although they also deliver near-impeccable performance as guitar amp headphones. From all the headphones I reviewed, the Yamaha HPH-MT7 gives the best flattest sound profile.
The design is what you’d expect from Yamaha. It comes with a closed-back design and leather earcups. It is also lightweight and has plenty of padding to improve your comfort. Despite the leather earcups, it has enough space for your ears. Many big headphones often feel warm after some hours, but I did not experience that with these headphones. If you move around while listening to music, the snug fit of the headphones ensures that they don’t fall off.
They reproduce your music accurately and do not add too much ‘flavor’ to the original sound.
Because of the over-ear design, they provide impressive noise isolation. Therefore, you don’t have to turn it to the highest volume, except you are in a pretty loud environment.
What I don’t like
These are excellent headphones without much to complain about. Nevertheless, there is a flaw. The cable is fixed. Therefore, if anything happens to the cable, you might have to change the headphones.
Most Comfortable: AKG Pro Audio K553
This is a pair of headphones that get all the basics right – something that only a few headphones can boast of. At first glance, it might not seem like much. It looks bland and flat. However, hold it in your hands and wear it over your ears, and you’ll understand why it is so highly rated.
It comes with a highly comfortable design and is hands-down one of the most comfortable headphones money can buy. The large 50 mm drivers in the earcups make them large and ensure they cover your ears comfortably. The headphone also has the earcups swiveling around 90 degrees, which makes the lie flat when not in use. If you aren’t comfortable with the earpads, you can remove them and replace them with the memory foam earcups included in the package. The headband doesn’t feel too tight, and since it is made of aluminum, will last for a long time.
I love the excellent design of the 6.3 mm connector of the headphone.
Performance-wise, it gives an impressive sound stage and stereo separation, which is usually found in more expensive headphones. Even though it is a closed-back headphone, it still offers better soundstage than some open-back models.
What I don’t like
The cable is simply too long for comfort. It easily tangles and can be a pain to manage.
Most Reliable: Sony MDR7506
The MDR-7506 is one of the oldest headphones on this list. Yet it continues to top the sales charts simply because of its reliability and versatility. While other headphones might break or vary in their output, the MDR7506 has retained the same sound signature all these years.
The Sony MDR-7506 has a nice closed-back design that ensures minimal sound leakage as you play your music. The compact design is also foldable. Thus, you can save space and keep them out of the way when they are not in use. Sony has also provided a soft carry case to keep them in.
It has a sound impedance of 63 ohms, which is excellent because it makes it good for studio use and, of course, guitar amp. Despite the impressive technical specifications, it is quite affordable. The 40 mm drivers and large neodymium magnets ensure that the sound produced is clear and expansive.
One of the best things about this unit is that the mid-range frequency response is one of the best at this price range.
There is a 3-meter coiled cable that cannot be removed and a jack adapter to offer some versatility.
What I don’t like
While the closed-back design reduces sound leakage, it doesn’t help with output. Additionally, the treble range is somewhat disappointing, even though it is better than several other models in the same price category.
Over to You
A good guitar headphone makes all the difference during long practice sessions. Hopefully, this guide will help you zero-in on the best headphones for your guitar amp.
For more recommendations and advice, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.
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