Why Are Headphones Used In Recording Studio (Things You Need to Know!)

Studio headphone is an invaluable tool not only for a musician but for a sound engineer as well. In fact, many sound engineers can tell you that headphones are their most important tool in the studio. Why? Headphones allow you to hear every little nuance in the recording and help you to identify and eliminate noises that are not wanted in the recording.

Why Are Headphones Used In Recording Studio

Now let us discuss in detail why headphones are used in the recording studio and what headphones to use. 

To Create A More Focused Sound

The ear is very sensitive to a sound of 50 to 60 decibels, so the sense of hearing will distort the sound when the volume is more than that. The ear can also detect frequency levels up to 20,000-25,000 Hz. In fact, you can feel it with your ears but not hear it. Therefore using headphones will eliminate most of the sound from the outside environment and will create a more focused sound, and you can listen to every note you play or record.

When we use headphones, we can’t hear a sound that is not good enough, so we need to be careful with every noise present in recording, including footsteps, people talking, window banging.

To Reduce A Noise Floor

When we use headphones than speakers, we can reduce a noise floor which is normally referred to as hiss. It happens due to electrical signals in the equipment. The closer your ear is to the sound source, the smaller the noise floor becomes.

To Monitor The Recording

When we use headphones, it is possible to monitor the recording; listen to the recording, and make adjustments. If you need to listen and make adjustments to fix problems in the recording, you hear with your ears but not with speakers to use headphones as your feedback. When someone talks in a microphone, it may be hard for him/her to hear you unless he/she uses headphones, so it gives you a better chance for communication.

To Reduce Feedback Noise

When a microphone is placed close to the speaker, it will produce a feedback noise called screeches or screeches. It happens when a microphone is placed too close to the speaker and picks up some of the speaker system’s sound. This also occurs when the speakers are not properly isolated from each other. Therefore using headphones will help you to avoid feedback noises or screeches.

To Separate The Recording From External Noises

When we use headphones, we can listen to the recording without any external noises, including people talking, footsteps, and so on. The signal from a headphone is very clean and clear. It is very important to use headphones when we make recordings in a small environment like the studio.

That is why you will see singers using headphones while recording because of the great noise filter that the headphones can bring. Even for the music producer, it is important to use headphones when he/she want to listen carefully to the recording.

To Mix Project Files With Headphones

To get better results, you need to listen carefully and identify all noises, such as background noises that are not supposed to be used in the recording and eliminate them. That is why some sound engineers put up some headphone knobs while mixing and turning down the volume with their own skill.

Used To Monitor Levels

When you need to monitor levels while recording a track, you should use headphones to hear each and every detail of the recording. It is possible to monitor audio levels with studio speakers, but it can be hard to listen to the sound details as compared to a good headphone.

Also, when one instrument in a recording clip is louder than other instruments, they compete with each other and make it difficult for a sound engineer to monitor level during recording sessions, so headphone is the best option.

Best 5 Headphones For Recording Studios (2021)

There are many studio headphones in the market today that are both good for mixing and recording. Here are 5 of the best studio headphones:

  1. Audio-Technica ATH-M40X Professional Studio Monitor Over-ear Headphones

The Audio-Technica ATH-M40X Professional Studio Monitor Over-ear Headphones is one of the best headphones for studios right now. I like their design. The headband is well padded and very flexible. The ear cushions are thick yet soft. The headphones are foldable and can be easily put into the included pouch for easy traveling. Do not let their size fool you, though. These headphones produce excellent sound for the price range, and these are great for tracking instruments since they have a very flat response making them especially useful for mixing.

The Audio-Technica ATH-M40X professional monitor headphones are engineered to be flat across the frequency range (15 – 24,000 Hz ) with low impedance and high-efficiency drivers. Their high-quality parts and assembly ensure long-lasting performance.

Main Features:

  • Perfect For Studio And Live – Audio-Technica ATH-M50X headphones are the perfect choice for studio tracking and mixing, as well as live applications. The closed-back circumaural design contours around the ears for excellent sound isolation in loud environments.
  • Best Sound Isolation – The proprietary 45-millimeter large-aperture drivers with rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils deliver exceptional clarity throughout an extended frequency range with deep, accurate bass response.
  • 90 Degree Swiveling Earcups – Circumaural design contours around the ears for excellent sound isolation in loud environments. 90 degree swiveling earcups for easy one-ear monitoring and professional grade earpad cushions ensure long-lasting comfort during extended listening sessions.
  1. Sennheiser Hd-280 Pro Studio Monitor Folding Headphone

The HD 280 PRO is the top model in the Sennheiser HD-Series and is the headphone of many professionals’ choices. The headphone’s rugged construction provides an extremely reliable and sturdy design, with a unique folding mechanism for easy transportation. Its velour ear pads are particularly soft and pleasant to the touch, and its lightweight design guarantees maximum wearing comfort.

Main Features:

  • High Ambient Noise Attenuation: The HD 280 Pro headphones are equipped with a proprietary, highly efficient dynamic noise canceling system that reduces ambient noise levels reaching the earcup by up to 32 dB. This means that you can enjoy your music at lower volumes and benefit from improved speech intelligibility.
  • Accurate Linear Sound Reproduction – The HD 280 Pro’s sound is natural and balanced. Its frequency response extends from 8 Hz – 25,000Hz, covering the whole range of bass notes, drums, vocals, and other instruments in this range. Treble sounds are reproduced without harshness or stridency. Midrange frequencies are clear and undistorted even at high listening levels.
  • Soft Earpads -The soft earpads ensure that wearing the headphones for extended periods is comfortable and pleasant. They also prevent audio leakage so that only you can enjoy your music at a volume level of your choosing.
  1. Sony MDR-7506 On-Ear Professional Headphones

The Sony MDR-7506 is one of the best studio headphones, widely considered the best all-purpose headphones globally.

Sony MDR-7506 On-Ear Professional Headphones is a high-end professional headphone that has been designed for durable and comfortable performance. It has been powered by a Neodymium magnet which can deliver vibrant and detailed sound quality. It comes with a 40 mm dynamic driver unit with a frequency response of 10 to 20,000 Hz. The headphones are available in black color and have a closed-back design which provides superior noise isolation.

Main features:

  • 40mm Driver Unit – These large diaphragms, foldable headphones are equipped with 40mm driver units. The powerful neodymium magnets and 40-millimeter drivers for powerful, detailed sound to your music.
  • Closed-Ear Design – Closed ear design provides comfort and an outstanding reduction of external noises. It’s ideal for use in any environment such as airplanes, trains, or buses.
  • Folding Construction – Foldable construction makes it easy to store and carry wherever you go. It comes with a soft carrying pouch so you can take them anywhere without having to worry about damaging them while on the move.
  • Stereo Unimatch Plug – Gold plated stereo unimatch plug is not detachable; 1/4 inch adapter included so you can use these headphones with any device that has a headphone jack!
  1. Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro

Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO is the closed circumaural headphone for studio recordings which offers a natural, balanced sound reproduction and is characterized by high wearing comfort. The soft, circumaural ear pads ensure long-wearing comfort. The single-sided cable with its 3 m coiled section simplifies handling compared to conventional cables.

The Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO has been developed in cooperation with the German Technical University (TU) in Berlin and guarantees optimum transmission of sound signals without distortion or interference. They are, therefore, ideally suited for music producers in their music mixing project. 

Main Features:

  • Great Sound Volume  – The Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO headphones are equipped with a powerful neodymium magnet system. This allows them to reproduce sound in high quality and at an impressive volume level.
  • Top-notch ImpulseResponse – Due to its closed design, the DT 770 PRO provides excellent impulse response. This means that you will be able to enjoy the music as the artist intended it.
  • Extreme comfort – The soft padded headband construction of these headphones makes wearing them comfortable and easy for long periods of time. You can easily wear them during extended listening sessions or while working on your mixes without experiencing any discomfort or fatigue.
  1. Sennheiser HD 800 Reference Studio Headphones

The Sennheiser USA HD800 Reference acoustic monitor is a professional stereo headphone that reproduces the sound with accuracy, power and musicality; excellent for mixing of any kind. Enjoy deep basses and precise high frequencies with less ambient noise – delivered by innovative technology to produce a perfect listening experience in or outside of the studio. 

They are built-to-order headphones that perform surprisingly well. They were explicitly designed after hours of research and development, experiencing many trials until they offered a product worthy of its price point. You’ll be able to feel the craftsmanship through each wear that these headphones.

Main features:

  • Reference-grade Audiophile Sound Quality – The most advanced headphones in the world, HD 800 S is the only reference class headphone system that allows you to experience and enjoy true high definition sound.
  • Open Earcup – For a natural sound experience with no sonic coloration and an open feeling for your ears.
  • Ring Radiator Transducers – 56mm ring radiator transducers are the largest drivers ever used in dynamic headphones. A specially developed diaphragm made of a unique aluminum/magnesium alloy enables them to achieve an extremely low mass. This results in fast and precise movement with minimal distortion, even at maximum volume levels.
  • Innovative Absorber Technology – Reduces unwanted frequency response peaks allowing all the music nuances to become audible.

Final Thoughts On Why Are Headphones Used In Recording Studio

The main reason why a sound engineer should use headphones instead of speakers is that they have a wide range of frequency responses compared to speakers. This helps you hear more accurately what you are recording or listening to without clipping here and there.

So, if you want to produce good quality music, you should have a good quality sound system with a good pair of headphones. 

Jacob Miller

Hi, I'm Jacob Miller, and welcome to AudioOver, a platform designed to help aspiring music producers create music from home. With a musical background inspired by my award-winning father, I've been passionate about music since I was young.

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