Best Headphones for Guitar Amps – Play Anytime You Want
Plugging your guitar into an amp, turning the volume up, and belting out your favorite tune – it’s the definition of good times for most guitar players. But your neighbors and roommates might not find it so enjoyable, especially late at night. To keep on rocking, you will need a good pair of headphones.
Because you’re creating raw sounds from scratch, regular MP3 player earbuds won’t cut it. Instead, you need professional-grade headphones that will reproduce the sound with utmost precision.
With so many good models out there, it can be hard to make a choice. To narrow down your options, I’ve handpicked the five best guitar headphones.
Best Headphones for Guitar Amps - Rock the Night Away
If you’re looking for a great pair of headphones for your guitar amp, here are my top five picks.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x is probably THE most popular pair of professional headphones in recent years. It’s no surprise considering how well these closed-back headphones perform.
The mid-range is downright impressive, as is the extended bass. The treble is also really good, with no hissing or popping and little-to-no distortion.
Because there’s no open back, there’s also no soundstage effect, which might make the bass a bit low for some. On the flip side, the closed-back design prevents sound leakage, so other people in the same room as you can't hear what you're playing, even if they are right next to you.
Although the impedance of just 38 Ohms might seem low, it doesn’t affect this model’s performance. It supports frequencies between 15 Hz to 28 kHz, which makes them good for use on a guitar amp.
It's very compact because of its foldable design, which makes it very easy to carry around. As it's relatively light, the M50x is also ideal for extended periods of listening to music, as well as being a perfect companion for any guitar amp.
The packaging comes with three detachable cables: a 3m and a 1.2m straight, as well as a 3m coiled cable. You will also get a 1/4” screw-on adapter and a sleek black carry bag.
The MDR-7506 headphones from Sony sport a closed-back design and are thus very efficient at preventing sound leakage. At the same time, the lack of an open back means that the output sound isn’t particularly spacious. Still, with an impedance of 63 Ohms, this is a studio-grade model that performs rather well and doesn’t cost too much.
This model has an excellent mid-range frequency response with a stellar bass response to match. The only real issue with this model is the treble range. While it’s better than with most other models in the same price range, it may come off a bit hissy when listening to treble-heavy songs.
The ear cups boast large neodymium magnets and 40mm drivers to produce a crisp sound.
The headphones come with a 3m coiled cable that’s not detachable, as well as a 1/4” jack adapter. This is a foldable model, which means that you can collapse the cups inward to save storage space when you’re not using them. Also included in the packaging is a soft carry bag for easier transportation.
Sennheiser is a brand of choice for many audio professionals and for a good reason. Their headphones tend to perform well and the 598SR model is no exception. With an impedance of 50 Ohms and an open-back design, it can make your guitar sound crisper and more powerful than some other models on the market.
This model utilizes the patented EAR technology that directs signals straight to your ear, thus creating a surprisingly full sound. The aluminum coals ensure dynamic reproduction with low distortion. There’s still some distortion, but only when listening to bass-heavy tunes at the highest volume.
The frequency response is uniformly good across all three dynamic ranges. Mid-range frequencies stand out the most, but treble is just as good, and the bass is solid, though it might not be punchy enough for some. And because this is an open-back model, it also has a very good soundstage effect.
It comes with two detachable cables, one with a 1/4” and another with a 1/8” jack, as well as a 1/4” adapter.
4. AKG K240
While the K240 model from AKG is rather inexpensive, its performance is up to par with many less affordable models out there. These classically designed semi-open headphones have supersized transducers built using the proprietary Varimotion diaphragm. This ensures steady frequency response and allows for a more spatial soundstage effect.
When you put it to the test, you’ll find that the high-frequency treble range sounds surprisingly strong. The same applies to the mid-range, but not so much to the low-frequency bass range. The bass frequencies can get a bit overloaded, resulting in a sound that’s a tad too explosive. To avoid these audio spikes, you will need to keep the volume down.
At 55 Ohms, the impedance is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. But even though it’s not high enough to recommend this model for studio use, it is more than adequate for your guitar amp.
In addition to the headphones, the packaging also includes two replaceable and detachable cables. One is a 3m straight cable and the other is a 5m coiled cable. You also get a set of ear cup cushions and a convenient 1/8”-to-1/4” adapter.
The DT-880 Pro from Beyerdynamic is on the higher end of the spectrum in terms of price. As such, it might not be your first choice if you’re on a budget. But if you’re looking for multi-purpose headphones you’ll use for hours on end, this semi-open model might be a good investment.
These headphones have a very high impedance of 250 Ohms, which makes them great for studio use, too. The semi-open design allows for a very natural-sounding soundstage effect, resulting in a very immersive listening experience. On top of that, you get a very flat, faithful reproduction that highlights even the tiniest details in your playing.
Like the other four models on this list, the DT-880 Pro excels at mid ranges, but the bass and treble are also very good. There’s some hissing when listening to treble-heavy tracks, but it shouldn’t be a problem if you’re using it with your guitar amp.
This model comes with non-detachable 3m coiled cable and a 1/4” audio jack adapter. You also get a sturdy bag with a handle for easier transportation.
Things to Consider in a Guitar Amp Headphone
Dynamic Frequency Range
As I have explained above, you shouldn’t use regular headphones with your guitar amp. For the most part, the standard earphones you use to listen to music on your portable player have a very limited dynamic range. They are thus not equipped to reproduce the nuances in your playing.
When looking for a good pair of headphones for a guitar amp, you want a model that can give a highly accurate reproduction. To achieve that, it needs a wide-range frequency response. All five of my picks exceed the usual 20 kHz threshold, so each of them could be a good choice.
Impedance is another important thing to consider when buying headphones for your guitar amp. It’s an electrical unit that represents the relationship between resistance and reactance. To put it in simpler terms, low impedance headphones (below 25-30 Ohms) only work well with devices that have low amplification.
But because you’ll be using them with your guitar amp, you need headphones with high impedance. This helps prevent blowouts and ensures that there is no overloading when playing at higher frequencies. Moreover, high-impedance headphones also reproduce sound much more accurately, which is why they’re an essential part of studio and mixing equipment.
All five of my picks come from reputable manufacturers with decades-long experience in the field. They all have high impedance, ranging from 38 Ohms all the way up to 250 Ohms. Each of them has a wide frequency range from 20 Hz to 35 kHz.
So if you want a great pair of headphones to use with your guitar amp, any of these five models could be right for you. Choose the one you like the most and get ready to jam all night long without worrying about waking up your neighbors.