It’s a joy for every guitar player to crank up that guitar amp to nail their all-time classics. Perhaps, you might also turn your volume knob to the max to spot these culpable mistakes in your playback.
Not only will headphones keep your surroundings quiet, but they’ll also provide you with more private practice sessions where you can accurately notice the subtle nuances in your playing, like faulty bends and buzzing strings while muting.
Since not all headphones are created equal, you’ll need a designated pair of headphones for your amp to make your slick licks as clear as possible.
We’ve crafted this comprehensive guide to maximize the yield of your jamming sessions with the 9 best headphones for guitar amp.
Top 3 Headphones for Guitar
|Best Overall||Best Overall||Audio-Technica ATH-M50X||
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|Best Cheap||Best Cheap||Beyerdynamic DT-880 Pro Studio||
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|Budget Pick||Budget Pick||Sony MDR-7506||
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The 9 Best Headphones for Guitar Amp in 2020
1. Audio-Technica ATH-M50X – Best Overall
Audio reviewers keep praising the Audio-Technica ATH-M50X, and for all the right reasons. It delivers a real-time, accurate representation of your music without falsely enhancing any of your guitar’s frequencies or altering the bass. That’s why it remains a well-known pair of headphones among musicians year after year.
The frequency response spans across a 15 Hz-28 kHz range, which gives musicians a wider range of tunes to work with and more control over their equalizer settings.
The headphone’s impedance is not as impressive, though, sitting only at 38 ohms. This low input may not fit well with some studio-quality devices like high-end microphones. Nevertheless, it’s more than enough for all guitar amplifiers.
The Audio-Technica M50X keeps the bass response balanced across the board, emphasizing the mids and highs. However, guitarists who primarily play bass-heavy music might not appreciate this well-balanced profile, as they are looking for more pronounced, punchy bass.
When it comes to design, the headphones adopt an over-ear style that creates the perfect seal around your ears. The ear cups can swivel to 90 degrees, so you can take one side off, and maintain your awareness of your surroundings while mixing your favorite music.
For added value, the headphones offer a bunch of accessories at no extra cost. They come with three different cables, allowing you to change the length of your wired connection according to different settings, and a premium carry bag where you can store your headphones when not using them.
- Perfect ear seal with excellent ambient noise isolation
- Adjustable ear cups with 90-degree swivel
- Included extra cables and a carry bag
- Heavy footprint on the head
The Audio-Technica M50X is our top pick, primarily because it strikes a balance among bass, mid-range, and treble without causing distortion. This pair is a rare gem amid headphones with either punchy or poor bass.
2. Beyerdynamic DT-880 Pro Studio– Best For Studio Use
Some guitarists who frequently head for jamming rooms want a reliable pair for the task. That’s where the Beyerdynamic DT-880 Pro comes into play.
This multifunctional pair comes in a semi-open design, offering the most spatial soundstage effects and making you aware of the smallest details in your playback. It has a wide frequency response ranging from 5 Hz to 35 kHz.
The low 5 Hz frequency speaks for a deep and precise bass range, and, in turn, a more pronounced mid-range. But, due to a high 35 kHz, some tracks may sound hissy in the treble range when the volume is turned to the max.
What we strongly like about this pair is impedance. The 250-ohm impedance level is competent enough to meet the requirements for studio gear, and, of course, more than adequate for a guitar amp.
This pair’s headband is soft-padded and adjustable for added comfort. Moreover, it features soft ear cups that encompass your ears entirely. In addition to the headphones, the box includes a 3m coiled cable alongside a ¼” screw-on adapter, similar to what some of the best transcription headphones contain.
We didn’t like the undetachable cable and the overly emphasized treble range. Treble-heavy tunes may sound a bit hissy at max volume, but you can fix that by lowering it.
- Semi-open design
- Wide frequency response
- Excellent bass and mid ranges
- Powerful impedance for studio use and practice
- Comfortable ear cups
- Distorted highs
- Undetachable cable
The Beyerdynamic DT-880 Pro Studio is the master of impedance. You’ll enjoy keeping this pair with you, knowing it can ideally double as a studio-grade headphone with no compromises at all. Unfortunately, it would’ve been better with a maximum frequency value lower than 35 kHz.
3. Sony MDR-7506– Best Frequency Range
The 63-ohm Sony MDR-7506 has an impressive sound signature that stands out among other studio-grade or guitar amp headphones.
Like the Audio-Technica ATH-M50X, this pair features a closed-back design that reduces any sound leakage and creates a perfect seal around your ears. This dramatically limits the surrounding ambient noise and gets you immersed in your music.
However, it’s worth noting that the closed-back headphones don’t give a soundstage effect compared to the best open back headphones for gaming.
This pair supports frequencies ranging from 10 Hz to 28 kHz, exceeding that of Audio-Technica ATH-M50X. When it comes to the audio performance, the bass sounds deep and rich. The headphones do a great job of emphasizing the mids to deliver excellent overall audio fidelity.
Speaking of ergonomics, the pair features foldable earcups. However, they don’t swivel around the horizontal axis as with the Audio-Technica ATH-M50X. The attractive thing about these earcups is the reinforced neodymium magnets, which produce a crisper sound while using less power just like these best headphones for keyboard.
Our only complaint is that the treble sounds a bit hissy due to the wide frequency range supported by the headphones’ drivers. Additionally, the bass may come across as punchy for some guitarists.
- Expansive frequency range
- Closed back design with minimal audio leakage
- The over-ear design delivers decent noise isolation
- Included travel bag
- Non-detachable wired connection
- Hissy highs
The Sony MDR-7506 has a distinctive tonality that is pleasant to the ear with its wide frequency range. Despite its shortcomings, this pair is so versatile that it can double as a studio-grade headset if necessary, thanks to its high impedance level.
4. Edifier H850 Over-the-Ear Pro– Best Durability
With a closed-back design, the Edifier H850 dramatically prevents sound leakage. Like our Sony models, these are reinforced with a 40mm neodymium magnet for rich lows and clear highs. This leads us to the 20 Hz to 20 kHz frequency response, which falls in the middle of the spectrum compared to our previous top picks.
Although the bass range isn’t as deep as expected, lows are boosted to appeal to the ears of our seasoned djent players, thanks to the neodymium magnet drivers, and the mid range is pronounced in terms of not sounding too deep or too bright.
As for the overall frequency response, on electric guitars, ıt sounds decent. In contrast, on acoustic guitars, the mid notes kind of fade out in the background. This is due to the audio loop feedback produced by acoustic guitar pickups, altering the harmonic tonality when you play two harmonized notes.
The part where this pair shines is durability. Cheap as it is, Edifier shields the breakable parts in this pair with metal. It also has metal caps covering the rigid ear cups and surrounding the ear cups.
On top of that, you get a one-year warranty. Take my word; you won’t resort to the warranty since I numerously tossed this pair in my backpack, and it never failed me! I felt that the metal caps neutralized the shocks this pair was prone to.
Aside from being durable, the Edifier H850 caught me eyes due to its over-the-ear cups and closed-back architecture, a rare blend to find among tons of on-ear headphones. However, the tenacious grip of the ear cups accounts for the absence of any soundstage.
Moving on to comfort, the headband is padded with soft leather, and it’s adjustable for a perfect fit. The padded ear cups can turn inward for a flat fold. Additionally, the earpads are replaceable in case they’re worn out similar to these best headphones for video editing.
Although the design of the ear cups isolates you from the outside world, it’s still very restricting. Moreover, the price tag indicates that the pair suffers from mediocre stereo imaging.
- One-year warranty
- Maximum isolation
- Detachable cable
- Replaceable earpads
- Soft bass range at low volume
- Subpar stereo imaging
- Non-existent soundstage
The Edifier H850 Over-the-Ear Pro is the most durable pair of headphones at this price segment. With a moderate frequency response, sturdy build, and foldable design, these headphones are destined to be with you anywhere you go.
5. Samson SR 850–
Some guitarists just want a pair of headphones that sound as neutral as the original amp sound. The Samson SR 850 has it all, with some other features!
These headphones come in a semi-open design, offering room for a spatial sound experience. Thanks to a standard 10 Hz to 30 kHz frequency response, this pair delivers a neutral, flat sound. Combined with Samson’s proprietary 50mm drivers, the bass range promises deeper low notes.
These headphones also give off more realistic highs and mids. An entry-level pair like this is very impressive regarding tone neutrality. You’ll appreciate this later when you’re able to spot out separate instruments easily in the playback.
The Samson SR 850 has a 32-ohm impedance level, the ideal value for guitar amps. This lightweight model features a self-adjustable headband for a snug fit according to your ears’ position, and the ear cups are cushioned with soft velour for extra comfort.
Out of the box, this pair comes with an undetachable stock cable, as well as a ⅛” to ¼” screw-on adapter so you can plug your guitar.
Although this model promises durability since it’s been around for many years, the earpads aren’t replaceable in case they’re worn out, and due to the semi-open design, they don’t offer the best isolation. Moreover, what we wished these headphones would also feature is a detachable cable.
- Standard frequency response
- Perfect impedance for guitar amps
- 50mm drivers for warmer bass notes
- Self-adjustable headband
- Mediocre isolation
- Non-replaceable earpads
- Undetachable cable
The Samson SR850 is famous for delivering the most neutral tone, just like a stand-alone amp would. Instead of buying a generic pair with unknown impedance, these headphones are the absolute go-to for guitarists who crave an entry-level pair just to practice and notice every instrument in a playback.
6. AKG K240– Best Value For Money
The AKG K240 is your go-to pair of headphones that offer comparable audio performance and quality to its more expensive counterparts.
As opposed to our previous two picks, this pair comes with a semi-open design, known for a better 3D soundstage effect than the closed-back one. Consequently, this pair doesn’t trap the sound in the earcups area at the expense of a more spatial 3D experience.
It features a frequency range varying from 15 Hz to 25 kHz. So, this translates into emphasizing the mids and highs. On the other hand, the lows are a bit underwhelming. We also noticed that at high volume, the bass gets too punchy to our taste.
Speaking of comfort, these headphones come with a self-adjusting headband, so you won’t have to worry about an imperfect fit. The spacious earcups entirely engulf your ears for minimized frictions. Even if they wear out, the earpads are easily replaceable.
AKG packaged some goodies in the box. The headphones come with a detachable 3m cable and a 6.3mm screw-on adaptor for extra versatility.
When it comes to portability, AKG K240 has an average footprint when compared to other over-ear headphones. However, they’re not foldable, which can pose some inconvenience when you’re traveling with them. They will take extra room in your bag, and can be more subjected to wear and tear.
- Soundstage effect
- Clean mid and treble ranges
- Self-adjusting headband
- Earpads are detachable and replaceable
- Overemphasized bass at maximum volume
- Not foldable
With decent highs, mids, and extra comfort, the AKG K240 is our budget beast in the realm of headphones. When you consider what you get from this pair at a low price tag, you might condone its subpar portability.
7. Sony MDRV6– Best For Bass Guitar
How could we forget about an option for our bass players in action? The Sony MDRV6 is here to help bassists carry on with their practice sessions!
This pair features a circumaural design that fully seals against the head to prevent sound leakage and external noise. With a 5 Hz to 30 kHz frequency response, the bass range is clearly pronounced and deep, making it the optimal choice for bassists.
Although the frequency response gives somewhat awkward highs, the treble and mid ranges here are on point, since bass guitars downscale the high and mid signals to comply with the much clearer bass ones. So, you won’t hear any hissy high notes as you play.
Like its sibling, the Sony MDR-7506, this pair’s impedance is rated at 63 ohms. It can double as a pair for minimal studio use and has an adequate impedance level for an amp.
Before we move on to the comfort factor, we should explore a key feature of this pair: the CCAW voice coil. A CCAW coil is a copper-clad aluminum voice coil that enhances the movement of the sound transducers responsible for delivering crisper highs and deeper bass frequencies.
Like our runner up, this pair is reinforced with neodymium magnets for a detailed sound. The headband is adjustable, distributing weight between both ear cups. The ear cups are foldable, and their earpads are replaceable.
This pair comes with a 10-foot oxygen-free copper cord, which acts as a competent noise gate since bass guitars tend to emit redundant noise. It also comes with a ¼” screw-on adapter.
Among all these features, we wished the high-quality cord were detachable. Additionally, the earpads tend to wear out with use. It would’ve been a generous gesture to include earpads with the package, but they’re sold separately.
- Excellent isolation
- Powerful bass
- Moderate impedance level
- CCAW voice coil
- Foldable earcups
- Undetachable cord
- Earpads aren’t heavy-duty
Rejoice, bass players! With deep bass down to 5 Hz, the Sony MDRV6 is downright a loyal friend to every bassist in their practice sessions. Sony brags about its CCAW voice coil, which is a breakthrough in the world of headphones. We would recommend this pair for bassists with no hesitation.
8. Status Audio CB-1– Best Comfort
Are you aiming for a Petrucci-style 8-hour practice session without agonizing your ears? The Status Audio CB-1 is your loyal friend, where long sessions are concerned!
This pair features a closed-back construction, thus offering excellent noise isolation, which guarantees no sound leakage or any distracting noise whatsoever. It supports a narrower 15 Hz to 30 kHz frequency range. That’s the reason why the bass response is a little bit off here.
I wouldn’t have included this pair on our list if not for the 50mm drivers, which add depth to the bass notes. The mids sound warmer than they should be, and the highs are bright. Don’t worry if the bass range is a tad clumsy since this pair boasts decent stereo imaging, which is responsible for mixing low, mid, and high frequencies.
Rated at 32 ohms, the impedance level is the golden standard for a guitar amp. This pair is better reserved for audiophile use rather than advanced studio tasks.
Now to the key feature: comfort. This pair’s ergonomics is meant for added comfort. The over-the-ear design ensures that your ears are entirely encompassed for extra isolation. It features a padded, adjustable headband. The earpads are overstuffed with memory foam to reduce ear fatigue.
The box includes two 9-foot detachable cables, coiled and straight, and a ¼” screw-on adapter. The detachable cables support a custom locking mechanism that prevents them from accidental detaching.
If you’re a bass-head, you probably won’t like the bass range here because of the 15 Hz to 30 kHz frequency response.
- Comfortable for long sessions
- Noise isolation
- 50mm drivers
- Excellent stereo imaging
- 2 detachable cables w/ twist lock
- Mediocre bass response
With a warm tone and good ergonomics, the Status Audio CB-1 is a pinnacle of comfort. This pair will be your loyal companion as you progress further in your practice sessions. Although the bass range might not please some guitarists, the stereo imaging will provide a reasonable frequency mix.
9. Philips X2/27 Fidelio– Best High-Fidelity
The Philips X2/27 Fidelio is the solution for guitarists who look for a Hi-Fi playback to what they’re playing on the neck.
This pair is constructed in an acoustic open-back architecture, which sacrifices isolation for a spatial Hi-Fi audio experience. It has a frequency response ranging from 5 Hz to 40 kHz, making it the only pair with the most expansive frequency range on the list. Owing to an incredibly low 5 Hz, the bass response may sound explosive.
In contrast, you get pristine highs, and the mids are calibrated enough so that they wouldn’t give off warmer tones than usual. Thanks to the 50mm neodymium drivers, the dynamic range is enhanced for better stereo imaging.
This pair comes with a high-res audio feature on board, which filters out the unwanted noise from your playback. You can think of it as the noise gate pedal on your rig.
As for impedance, it’s rated as 30 ohms, which is adequate for a guitar amp. They’re good to function as studio-gear headphones, but not for extended periods.
The over-the-ear design means larger cups that can accommodate your ears. Additionally, the earpads are stuffed with memory foam for added comfort. The pair also features a self-adjustable hammock for a snug fit.
Alongside the headphones, you get a 3m detachable oxygen-free cable, and a ⅛” to ¼” screw-on adapter.
Despite an unparalleled Hi-Fi experience, the noise isolation here is practically non-existent due to the open-back design. Furthermore, the bass response is punchier than usual.
- Great Hi-Fi experience
- Wide frequency response
- High-res audio
- Self-adjustable hammock
- Detachable cable
- No noise isolation
- Punchy bass response
Although the Philips X2/27 Fidelio doesn’t feature any noise isolation, the open-back acoustic construction allows you to hear the beauty of your playback with an excellent Hi-Fi sound. It’s either Hi-Fi or noise isolation; you can’t have both at the same time!
What to Look for When Buying a Headphone for Guitar Amp
If you’re new to the scene of amp headphones, choosing the best headphone for guitar amp may still seem daunting for you, let alone that you may be lost in the variety of the list above.
Guitarists have different endeavors: some practice solo at home for long hours, whereas other factions hit jamming rooms for studio monitoring and mastering for an adrenaline rush before a gravy gig.
We’ve decided to back you up with some information so that your buying decision becomes based on knowledge. Below, I’ll introduce you to some factors worth considering before you opt for purchasing.
You’ve probably come across impedance numerous times in this guide. Simply put, you can think of impedance as an indicator of efficiency, and it’s measured by ohms.
The more the impedance level, the more power the audio source (an amp or a mixer) needs to fully benefit from your headphones’ capabilities, hence a much accurate sound.
So, low-impedance headphones function well with low-power audio sources, like phones. However, for a guitar amp, we’d recommend a 32-ohm impedance level as a minimum.
Like the Beyerdynamic DT-880 Pro, some headphones take it a step further with drivers powered by a 250-ohm impedance level. These can perfectly function as amp headphones or studio-grade ones. Still, pairs like this shine more in studio monitoring.
If you want a multifunctional pair that won’t let you down in studio sessions and practicing, opt for high-impedance headphones. Otherwise, the 32-ohm impedance is the standard for amp headphones.
When you’re practicing, you need to be aware of how every pick stroke sounds. So, you’d want to cut down both the sound leakage and the distracting noise from your surroundings. For that, we’d recommend closed-back headphones.
But, closed-back pairs lack authentic sound reproduction. Moreover, wearing them for extended periods may damage your ears in the long run because of the strict isolation.
On the other hand, open-back headphones generate a more realistic sound due to proper ventilation. Every note resonates as it should. Still, they offer little-to-no noise isolation since people around you can hear what you’re playing.
In case you’re practicing in a quiet room with no one near you, it’s advisable to buy open-back headphones since noise isolation will be of no use. However, if you’re practicing in a jamming room, you should go for a closed-back pair so that your playback won’t interfere with other instruments in the background.
Frequency response is the frequency range that the headphones can produce from the audio source. That’s why you need to buy designated headphones for your amp since generic headphones offer poor frequency responses.
The wider the frequency range, the more subtleties you can hear in your playback. Generally, a minimum of 15 Hz works fine with guitar amps. However, some headphones, like the Sony MDRV6, support frequencies ranging from a deep 5 Hz to a bright 30 kHz if you’re looking for more pronounced low tones.
Some pairs have ear cups reinforced with 50mm neodymium-magnet drivers, which contribute to better stereo imaging and sound reproduction. We’d highly recommend headphones with these drivers.
Not only should your headphones sound decent, but they also need to have a satisfying comfort level and loudness which can also be achieved by our tutorial on How To Make Headphones Louder.
The earpads shouldn’t cause abrasion if worn for a long time. Make sure the earpads are stuffed with comfortable fabrics like memory foam, for instance. For a perfect fit, we’d recommend an over-the-ear design since your ears will be enclosed with no friction. Some headphones come with replaceable ear pads in case they’re worn out or punctured.
Another part to consider is the headband. Adjustable headbands are the standard in this type of headphone. Some pairs feature self-adjustable headbands that cope with your head’s position.
Regarding ear cups, we’d go for ear cups that swivel inward. They’ll help you secure a flat fold on a desk, and they can easily be tossed in your bag without taking too much space like non-foldable pairs. However, if you’ll be practicing at home, stationary headphones will do fine.
We also like detachable cables. They’re not always necessary, but it’s still good to know that you can change the stock cable if it’s damaged or strongly pulled by accident. Some headphones feature a locking mechanism (like a twist lock) that prevents cables from being detached.
Practice makes perfect. With our top picks for the best headphones reviewed, you should never miss out on your precious practice sessions. And after acquiring some knowledge, you should be hitting the “buy” button with confidence.
I’d recommend the all-time classic Audio-Technica ATH-M50x for its balance among lows, mids, and highs, and their impedance level which is perfect for a guitar amp. It comes with 3 detachable cables for different scenarios.
The Beyerdynamic DT-800 Pro Studio is a champion, no doubt. Unlike the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, it can double as a studio-gear pair, and it presents excellent ergonomics. We placed it second on the list because of the hissing in treble-heavy songs. Other than that, it’s definitely worth the purchase.