What do competent studio monitors and headphones for video editing have in common? – They offer a natural soundstage and neutral response that may not be as preferable for other applications such as gaming, watching movies, and listening to bass heavy music.
Why is that important? – Because without good headphones, you won’t be able to hear imperfections in your audio tracks. Most importantly, imperfections pertaining to dialogue scenes.
If you want to become a more successful video editor, consider trying one of the following headphones and decide for yourself how big the difference is between regular speakers, earbuds, gaming headsets, and real mixing headphones.
6 Best Video Editing Headphones for Dialogue-Heavy Scenes
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As monitoring headphones, the ATH-M50x’s will give you a very true rendition of your mix by blending all the sounds together, not filtering background noise, and not enhancing any specific frequencies. The bass responsiveness is good but not enhanced.
The headphones boast a circumaural design. This means that the pads sit around the ear lobes instead of on them for better sound isolation. This gives the headphones some merit for use in loud environments, such as a movie set or a large office space.
You can also do one-ear monitoring if you prefer, although for most video editing tasks it’s best to just focus on the mix and nothing else. The headband is adjustable and well-padded, which adds to the level of comfort.
It’s also important to note that the ATH-M50x comes with a detachable cable. This will allow you to replace the standard cable with another cable. If you need to get the range of movement you require on your desk, for example.
2. Sony MDR7506
These headphones aren’t the new kids on the block, not by a longshot. But if you’re really in the market for mixing and video editing headphones, the Sony MDR7506 headphones are tried and tested.
They sound great for mixing thanks to a good blend of sound isolation, balanced soundstage, and neutral response. Definitely not for bassheads but really impressive in most forms of audio production.
The headphones are made of plastic, which doesn’t do a lot for their durability. On the other hand, they are lighter than most monitoring headphones, which is great if you’re going to keep them on for long hours.
The earpads are wide and fit well around the ear lobes. The headband has decent padding and is smooth to adjust for pressure. The sound does tend to emphasize mids and highs a bit. Still, it’s not enough to give you an inaccurate rendition of your mix.
Besides, the slight emphasis on the midrange may give you an edge when working on videos with lots of dialogue.
The Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro headphones offer an interesting alternative to most monitoring headphones. They have a semi-open design which facilitates natural background noise blending into your mix. Not everyone might like this but many professionals swear by the accuracy of the DT 880 Pro headphones.
The velour earpads and soft padding on the headband make these headphones very comfortable. Just want you need for a long editing session. The build quality is also impressive, though to be expected at this price point.
As is the case with most mid to high-end headphones, the DT 880 Pro does a good job of letting you spot imperfections in the mix. The soundstage is balanced for the most part but there’s also a noticeable improvement, at least when compared to past models, in the midrange and higher registers.
That’s important when dealing with lots of dialogue.
The Sennheiser HD 569 headphones feature a closed-back design and one of the most comfortable headbands in the industry. Hands down, near perfect padding that will take the pressure off your head whether you’re working indoors or outdoors.
Featuring large earcups that fit over ears, these headphones meet most comfort criteria that video editors seek out. The build quality is not too shabby either. The plastic is quite rugged and performs well in stressful situations.
Having detachable cables can also be considered a big advantage as you could use the headphones in any type of office or set.
It’s important to note that these aren’t exactly monitoring headphones. They’re mostly designed for music lovers and gamers, to a certain degree. That being said, with all the ergonomic acoustic refinement of the HD 569 headphones, they still share many of the same properties of good monitoring headphones, such as noise isolation, earpad design, and an expansive soundstage.
The Status Audio CB-1 headphones pose a few intriguing questions. As monitoring headphones, they should be among the first options on anyone’s list. And yet, some video editors don’t give them the benefit of the doubt because of the off-brand.
With that in mind, note that the CB-1s use 50mm drivers which can deliver a powerful yet neutral sound. They also come with detachable cables, which is always convenient. The earpads are big but so is padding.
Unfortunately, this means that you might not be able to go around your ear lobes with them. And yet, the amount of cushioning provides some good sound isolation and enough comfort that you can wear these headphones for at least a few hours.
The build quality may not be the best as to be expected at this price point. But again, the convenience may compensate. The CB-1 headphones are collapsible and thus very comfortable to carry and store if you have a small office or studio.
6. Edifier H840
The China-based Edifier is perhaps the best example of a manufacturer that knows how to deliver quality gear at budget-friendly or entry-level prices.
The H840 headphones only feature 40mm drivers. However, they will still deliver a flat reproduction of your mix so that you can easily spot imperfections that need adjusting. While the drivers may not be high-end, combined with the impressive acoustic properties and solid noise isolation properties, they will deliver a neutral soundstage.
Build quality-wise, the H840 is neither here nor there. You can ask for too much from entry-level headphones. However, you can still rest assured that the comfort requirements will be met. The earpads are large enough to go around most people’s ear lobes and the padding is soft.
Monitoring Headphones offer A High Standard of Quality
When you’re editing videos, you want to make sure that you get an accurate representation of your mix. It doesn’t matter how many different instruments, ambient sounds, and background noises there are.
Monitoring headphones are the perfect substitute for reference monitors, which are generally expensive to buy and set up and can take up a lot of space.
It’s also worth pointing out that noise-cancelling headphones may not be ideal for all video editing jobs. Most professional video editors will prefer a natural and well-balanced sound than the filtered sound of noise-cancelling headphones.
Comfort Can Come in Second but Never Last
Obviously, you want to avoid hurting your ears if you sit in front of the screen for hours at a time. Circumaural headphones tend to be the most comfortable. That’s because the pads are larger and also cover your earlobes without putting pressure on them.
Of course, other headphones can also be ok if the padding is soft enough and if you can adjust the fit comfortably. You can also reduce some of the pressure by adjusting the headband, which would on the particular headphones.
Does Connectivity Matter?
Yes, it does. While Bluetooth headphones may offer the most convenience, they won’t always give you the best sound. Less signal is lost when using a traditional cable connection. And, remember that accuracy is everything to a video editor.
But this doesn’t mean that any old cable will do. If you can get headphones with detachable cables then you might also want to invest in a high-end aftermarket cable. Most factory cables are quite flimsy and may not prevent interference that well.
Also, by having a detachable cable feature, you’re also able to master the length. Set your own boundaries for your range of motion whether you’re working on a set or in an office, indoors or outside.
It Takes More than a 4K Screen to Edit Videos like a Pro
By now you should have all the information you need to get the best headphones for video editing, according to your budget and personal preferences.
All headphones reviewed in this article are more or less built to help studio producers. Since the same properties are needed in video editing, now’s the time to pick the headphones that fit your head, satisfy your need for comfort, and are revealing enough to help you hear any inconsistencies in your mix.