If you’re a video editor, you know how integral audio is to the overall message you deliver through your content. The optimum audio cues can make your videos more powerful and strike just the right chords with your audience.
For you to deliver a rich audio experience, you need a pair of dedicated headphones designed to give you a true representation of how your videos sound and allow you to precisely tweak your audio files to resonate the most with your viewers.
In this article, we will have a more in-depth look at some of the best headphones on the market that will change the way you implement audio in your content as a video editor and creator.
|Best Overall||Best Overall||Audio-Technica ATH-M50X||
|Best Cheap||Best Cheap||Sony WH1000XM3||
|Budget Pick||Budget Pick||Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro||
The 7 Best Headphones for Video Editing in 2020
1. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x – Best Overall
If you’re looking for a pair of monitoring headphones praised by audiophiles and remains a top pick among creators year after year, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x is the way to go.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x manages to deliver accurate reproduction of the audio source’s tonality, giving you, as a video editor, a down-to-earth playback of how your content actually sounds.
In addition to their crispness and accuracy, the headphones are designed with comfort in mind. They adopt an over-ear design with large padded cups that create a perfect seal around your ears. This enhances sound isolation, limiting the outside world noises and allows you to focus just on your audio.
The headband itself is flexible and can be adjusted to deliver the right fit. It’s also cushioned in order to keep a comfortable profile without applying too much pressure on the top of your head.
When you’re not using the headphones, the earpieces are collapsable, giving you a more portable form factor, making them perfect for video editors who want to take their content with them on the go.
The cherry on top is the implementation of a 3.5mm headphone jack that allows you to have a customizable wired connection according to your setting. Out of the box, the headphones come with three different cables; 1.2m and 3m straight cables, in addition to a 1.2m coiled one, giving you room to move around while keeping the wire cluttering to a minimum.
There is a locking mechanism in place to secure your wired connection and ensure the cable doesn’t snap out easily, but it comes with a downside. You can’t use any third-party cables, and you have to stick to the proprietary options Audio-Technica includes in the box.
- A balanced, rich audio experience
- Comfortable, over-ear design
- Removable wired connection
- Three different cables included in the box
- Audio cables use a proprietary locking mechanism
- Feels bulky on the head when used for extended periods
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x boasts a balanced package that puts sound quality front and center while retaining a foldable form factor that is perfect for travel. The support for removable cables gives you the versatility you need, whether you’re on your desk or moving around an open set.
2. Sony WH1000XM3– Best Active Noise Cancellation
At first glance, with its detachable wired connection, the Sony WH1000XM3 might have a similar vibe to the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, but beyond this similarity, it offers an entirely different experience.
Sony introduced this pair of headphones that are the best-in-class in terms of wireless, active noise cancelation. The headphones have built-in smart listening features, which serve to automatically control the noise cancellation level according to the ambient sound around you.
Wireless connectivity allows you to move freely without being restrained by your cable’s length and allows for a seamless switch between your devices. You’d appreciate noise cancellation when working in a busy area that can make you less focused on your audio.
Generally speaking, wireless headphones aren’t always accurate for video editing as they can lose some of the original track’s sound signals. This isn’t the case here, as Sony’s WH1000XM3 still maintains a robust wireless signal that minimizes latency.
Moreover, the headphones support wired connections as well to deliver a sound experience that meets industry standards.
They also come with quality-of-life features, like a 30-hour battery life suitable for all-day listening, touch controls on the ear cups for quick audio and volume control, a built-in microphone to take calls, and a voice assistant option allowing you to use voice commands.
None of the added functionality matters if the headphones aren’t accurate enough for video editing; that’s what we’re all here for in the first place. They deliver well-outlined mids and precise highs while keeping the bass balanced without getting too intensive. Such well-rounded tonality provides a true representation of your audio.
When it comes to the frequency range, the headphones have an impressive upper limit of 40,000 Hz. You’d be pleased to know that they keep their sensitivity over the whole vast frequency range, allowing you to discern all the background sounds while delivering clear dialogues.
- Comfortable, over-ear cups
- Sturdy build quality
- Foldable for excellent portability
- Included carry case
- Short USB-C charging cable
The Sony WH1000XM3 headphones offer a modern package with all the bells and whistles that make them the perfect daily drivers for listening to music or watching movies, thanks to their wireless design with active noise cancellation features. At the same time, they retain the core functionality of delivering a rich, accurate audio experience for professionals.
3. Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro– Best Impedance
Some creators believe the best representation of their work is achieved by testing how it sounds in a natural environment with some ambiance, not in a curated, sealed bubble that is rarely achievable on the consumers’ end.
If you don’t like the passive seal created by the over-ear headphones or the active noise-cancellation offered by others, then the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro with its semi-open design is for you. It might not appeal to everyone, but some professionals find the open approach more suitable for their workflow.
The ear cups’ semi-open design offers excellent spaciousness and enables neutral tone reproduction. Moreover, the headphones’ impedance sits at a whopping 250 ohms, making them perfect for studio use, whether you’re mixing, editing, or mastering.
At a premium price point comes a premium build quality. The headphones are handcrafted with each component carefully assembled and easily replaceable, adding a lot of value to consumers. Instead of replacing the whole headset, you can swap the damaged part, and you’re good to go!
In terms of sound quality, the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro allows you to spot even the finest background details in your audio. The mids and highs are a noticeable improvement over the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x and comparable to what Sony delivers with its WH1000XM3. This is especially important if your content leans heavily into vocals.
- Semi-open design
- High impedance, suitable for studio use
- Premium build quality
- Replaceable components
- Leans towards the pricy end of the market
If you’re looking for headphones with little to no noise cancellation, you’d be happy with what the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro offers. It is perfect for studio use, and its tonality is well-suited for creators who work with a lot of dialogue.
4. Philips Fidelio X2HR– Best High-Fidelity
Attention to detail is what sets creators apart. When it comes to video editing, some creators put much care into tweaking even the smallest audio cues that might go unnoticed in the background. Headphones that offer rich volume can give you more control over your content.
The Philips Fidelio X2HR features 50mm high-definition drivers that give you a robust volume, immersing you in your content. The headphones implement an open-back design approach for all its benefits, allowing enhanced spatial awareness and producing more neutral tones.
The department where the Philips Fidelio X2HR shines is the build quality. It integrates a breathable mesh design with a genuine leather headband, together with memory foam ear cups.
Like other entries on the list, the headphones implement a detachable wired connection through a 3.5mm headphone jack. It’s bundled with a 3.5 to 6.3mm screw-on adaptor that allows you to connect your headphones to various devices like amplifiers, electric guitars, mixing consoles, home theater devices, and many more.
The only downside to these headphones is the weight. It weighs around a pound, making it feel a little hefty, especially when you have it on for extended periods. Nevertheless, brilliant engineering makes the weight well-distributed, and the end result is not as bad as you might think for its on-paper weight.
- 50mm drivers for rich volume
- Comes with a 3.5 to 6.3mm adapter
- Gets uncomfortable with extended use
Meticulous video editors will appreciate the volume richness offered by the Philips Fidelio X2HR. The build quality, premium materials, and detachable wired connection all ensure that the overall package offers value while putting the high-end performance you’d expect front and center.
A pair of comfortable headphones can be a real game-changer in how you tackle big projects. The Sennheiser HD 569 allows you to work for longer sessions while forgetting that you even have the headphones on, thanks to its thoroughly padded headband that has become an industry standard.
The ear cups are exceptionally soft, and they go around your ears with their closed design. When it comes to build quality, the headphones don’t disappoint with their durable plastic body that can take a lot of beating.
The implementation of detachable cables is just on point here. The headphones support any 3.5mm cable, unlike the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, with its proprietary locking mechanism that requires you to buy dedicated cables.
Your mileage from the HD 569 could be different from mine. Unless you’re not hitting the jamming room for studio sessions or practicing an electric instrument at home, the Sennheiser HD 569 will remain your loyal friend. Otherwise, I wouldn’t count on it as a studio-grade pair, primarily because of the low 23-ohm impedance level.
The Sennheiser HD 569 has it all at your fingertips with built-in audio controls carved right into the included 3.5mm audio cable, giving you an intuitive way to control your media on the fly.
Video editors can overlook impedance, thanks to the headphones’ exceptional comfort that can inherently change the way their workflow goes. The Sennheiser HD 569 still shares some features with monitoring headphones regarding the acoustic design and unmatched instrument isolation.
- Soft, padded ear cups and headband
- Suitable for extended video editing sessions
- Balanced sound reproduction
- Low impedance
The Sennheiser HD 569 is the pinnacle of comfort in the realm of headphones. This pair enables you to be immersed in your content for hours, thanks to the strict closed-back design. The decent sound quality, affordable price, detachable wired connection all share in delivering an all-around package that succeeds in satisfying most video editors.
How to Choose Headphones for Video Editing
Open-Back vs. Closed-Back: The Ear Cup Battle
Ear cups come in two different styles. They can either be closed with an airtight seal or open, allowing ambient noise to pass through.
The open-back design delivers a spacious and airy sound that can deliver more neutral tones without echoes.
On the other hand, closed-back headphones create a perfect seal to keep ambient noise out, allowing you to be focused on your content and edit with precision. They are generally better at handling lower frequencies than their open counterparts.
Headphone Type: Understand the Target Audience of Each Pair
There are different headphones on the market, and the ones that aim at delivering the best listening experience are not necessarily well-suited for video editing and content creation. Even though consumer-grade headphones are advertised as being “tuned to perfection,” they can do the heavy lifting that video editing often requires. They mainly depend on refining the audio regardless of the genuineness of the sound generated by the magnetic drivers inside the ear cups.
Generally speaking, you’d want to pick a pair of monitoring headphones. Those tend to deliver the most authentic representation of your audio without alterations. Moreover, their frequency range is far more expansive than the traditional headphones that prioritize sound coloration instead of authentic stereo imaging.
Comfort: Never Compromise on It
You might put all your attention on the sound quality and overlook the comfort factor. Nevertheless, how the headphones fit your ears is as important as how they sound, especially for video editors who tend to spend more extended periods with their headphones on.
Over-ear headphones are the most comfortable as the ear cups are larger, and they sit around your ear lobes without pressing on them. If you want to go with an on-ear option, look for models with soft padding that are comfortable enough for you.
Before finalizing your purchase decision, we recommend giving your headphones a try and seeing if they work for you in terms of comfort and fit.
Connectivity: Good Ol’ Cables Win!
Think twice every time Bluetooth headphones tempt you to click the buy button. While the idea of having a wireless pair of headphones sounds enticing, you may change your mind when you know about this culprit: signal loss.
We’re not roasting Bluetooth headphones here, but signal loss is the norm when it comes to wireless connectivity. Inevitably, this virtual connection may become susceptible to minimal latency. I’d recommend Bluetooth pairs for video editors who work on the go.
Alternatively, if you’re one of these seasoned, virtuosic video editors who manage to nail every video essay they build from scratch, I’d recommend opting for wired headphones. In wired connections, the signal is trapped in the cable and goes back and forth between the audio source and the magnetic drivers, ensuring almost a non-existent latency potential.
Impedance: 32 Is the Standard
Impedance is the resistance to the electric current passing through the drivers measured in ohms. Without getting into jargon territory and being lost in the technicalities, how can the headphones’ impedance affect your purchase?
High-impedance headphones are well-suited for studio-like applications, where you’re connecting multiple devices or instruments. In contrast, 32-ohm models are the golden standard for delivering the best audio quality from a single input. They can efficiently generate sound from low-signal playback devices, like your PC’s sound module, for instance.
Accurate monitoring headphones can take your content to a whole new tier, enabling you to have full control over the audio layers you curate for your videos.
After an in-depth overview of the 5 best headphones for video editing, you should have an idea about which pair of headphones corresponds well to your workflow. Whether you’re looking for wired or wireless options, closed or open-back designs, our list comprises models that deliver high-end performance in a durable, comfortable form factor.