best headphones for guitar amps

There it is: you’ve finally got a place to practice. You’re getting ready to jam, but its 3am and you don’t want to wake up the neighbors laying down licks. It’s time to make sure you’ve got the best headphones for your guitar amp.

The thing is, not just any pair of headphones is going to do and if you haven’t already set yourself up with a home recording studio then you’re not set up right just yet. There’s a lot of audiophile equipment out there, making it difficult for you to find the right set.

That’s where we’ve come in. We’ve found ten of the best pairs of headphones for practicing and recording around.

Take a look, then we’ll show you how to snag the ones which are right for what you’re doing.

1. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x – Best Headphones for the Amateur Guitarist

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

My rating: 4.5 Stars

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These headphones are perfectly functional, and since they’re slightly off-brand you’ll get quite a bit more than if you were to invest in a more expensive pair with a big name attached.

These come with a 38-ohm impedance and an extended frequency range which runs from 15hz to 28kHz. They’re also surprisingly comfortable, with none of our reviewers reporting any kind of discomfort even after hours with them on.

While they don’t have built-in noise cancellation, they’ll cup your ears and keep most outside sounds from interfering too much with your listening.

Best of all? These were also the best wireless headphones for guitar amps we found.

They can be purchased with a Bluetooth adapter to keep the wires out of your way while you’re practicing or recording. While they’ll reduce the sound quality a bit ran this way, they’ll still have shocking clarity for the price.

Things we liked

Bluetooth adapter can be purchased separately
Extended frequency range
Fit comfortably for long periods of time
Removable cord so you can replace it if damaged

Things we didn’t like

Some reviewers thought the stock pads clamped a bit tightly
When used with Bluetooth the headphones don’t report battery status

These are definitely our favorite for most people looking for a set of practice headphones for their guitar amp. If you’ve got the budget you may want something a little bit more high-end, however.

2. Sennheiser HD 598 Special Edition

Sennheiser HD 598 Special Edition

My rating: 4.6 Stars

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Open back headphones aren’t for everyone, but if you’re willing to reach a bit into your pocketbook then you’ll find these Sennheiser headphones are perfect for practice sessions as long as you keep the volume down.

These headphones have a 50-ohm impedance and have a range of 12hZ to 38.5kHz which puts them well outside of the range of normal hearing. That means you’re sure to get a great response when you’re using them.

While they’re wired only, they also come with the ability to be used both with standard headphone ports(3.5mm) and larger professional ports(6.3mm). Add in a two-year warranty and you’re on the right track.

They also provide a pretty open soundstage for regular listening due to their open back design. The drawback is, of course, that they can also get pretty loud for those around you.

Things we liked

The open-back design lets you hear around you while in use
Super wide sound frequency
Comes with an adapter so you can use them with any audio device
Exceptional sound performance for the price

Things we didn’t like

These definitely aren’t the best headphones if you’re trying to keep quiet in an enclosed area
The included cord is a bit long and cumbersome

If you’re in the market for open-backed practice headphones, however, then you’ll be impressed with the Sennheiser HD 598. Especially for the price.

3. Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro

beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO

My rating: 4.5 Stars

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If closed back is more your style, then these headphones from beyerdynamic will come in as a favorite. Our reviewers loved them and it was easy to see why after just a little bit of usage.

These come with a 90-ohm impedance and range from 5Hz to 35kHz. This range once again goes out of the normal human auditory spectrum but they’re clear enough you should be able to feel things at that point.

Since they’re a closed design they’re a great way to be able to shut out the outside world and focus in on what matters… your playing. They’ll also stay quiet even at slightly higher volumes.

All of the parts are replaceable as well, so you’ll be able to repair them in the future if you suffer a breakdown.

Most of our reviewers found them quite comfortable for extended sessions as well.

Things we liked

This pair of headphones does a great job at cutting out exterior sound
The ability to pick up parts is a major plus if you like them
Very comfortable for long sessions
Flat frequency curve to take true sound from amp

Things we didn’t like

Need some time to break in for most comfort
Doesn’t work well with smartphones/tablets due to high impedance

For the price, we feel these are the best closed-back headphones on the market as of this writing. Give them a shot, cut the world out, and get down to perfecting your next riff.

4. Philips X2/27 – Most Comfortable Headphones for Guitar Amp

Philips X2/27 Fidelio Over Ear Headphone

My rating: 4.4 Stars

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What these Philips headphones lack in sound quality, they make up for where it counts: they’re some of the most comfortable headphones we’ve ever seen.

This additional comfort is brought on by the mesh construction which makes them breathe quite easily and an excellently designed headband.

The sound clarity is good, but you’ll be missing out a little bit compared to our more expensive favorites. Most of the reviewers described the sound that issues forth as “warm” and “open.” They also isolate remarkably well, especially considering how comfortable they are.

Things we liked

Super comfortable, no reviewer had any complaints about wearing them for long periods
Sound quality is great
The clip for handling extra cord length is a nice touch
Super wide frequency range running from 5Hz to 40kHz

Things we didn’t like

They can be a little bit hard to find since they sell out quickly
Even though they’re comfortable they’re a bit heavy

The main thing that’ll make these stick out is undoubtedly the comfort, but these are all-around great for those working with their guitar at home.

5. AKG Q 701 Quincy Jones Signature

AKG Q 701 Quincy Jones Signature Reference

My rating: 4.3 Stars

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While most of our reviewers favored flat curves for their practice sessions, a couple made some noise about these headphones. We have to agree, if you’re looking to pick up a set that’s not flat then you’ll want to spring for the AKG Q 701.

The bass on these isn’t overbearing, while still being more responsive than most pairs without any modification. The highs are absolutely fantastic, and you’ll still be able to enjoy the mids without too much difficulty.

The 3-D foam over the ears is also pretty impressive, allowing them to conform to your ears and be comfortable for extended periods.

Things we liked

The sound is crystal clear with pronounced highs and lows
3-D foam in the ear cups makes for a great fit no matter what your ear shape
Extremely high build-quality overall
One of the most attractive designs we found

Things we didn’t like

Due to their size, they’re not very portable
These have some serious sound leakage due to their open back design

While most of our reviewers felt these were great for listening to music, a few of them preferred them for practicing purposes since they could leave the equalizers on their amp neutral. Pick them up if you want a dual use set of headphones.

6. Sennheiser HD 800 Reference Dynamic Headphone-Luxury Option

Sennheiser HD 800 Reference Dynamic Headphone

My rating: 5 Stars

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The truth is that the Sennheiser HD 800 is out of the price range for most people, but the overall quality is better than anything else we tested. Whether or not it’s worth a price which is three or four times that of any of the other sets is debatable, of course.

You’ll need some serious amp power to overcome these headphones since they run at a 300-ohm impedance, but the range simply can’t be beaten. There are two options, ranging from 6Hz to 51kHz or 14Hz to 44,100kHz depending on which you prefer.

With such a wide range and a flat frequency curve, you’ll be able to set up your sound pretty much however you like.

The real question is if it’s necessary for home practice? Not really, but for those with the great pitch they can be a valuable addition to a recording studio. Aspiring DJs may also want to look into them as a dual-use option.

Things we liked

The sound range on these simply blows away anything else we looked at.
The customizability of the way they work allows for you to record with perfect accuracy.
They’re super comfortable
They work very, very well for sound isolation

Things we didn’t like

The cost. They’re simply too much for many people to afford.

While the cost is extremely high, these really were the best we looked at as far as technical specifications and comfort go. Whether the cost is worth it is between you and your wallet.

7. Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear Headphones II

Bose SoundTrue around-ear headphones II

My rating: 4 Stars

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There are some really respectable budget headphones out there, as long as you’re not expecting them to keep up with studio headphones. The SoundTrue cost a little bit more than our reviewer’s favorite budget headphones but if you’re willing to spare the extra buck then you’ll be in good hands.

These are corded headphones, although you can remove the cord entirely for easier storage. They’re also quite comfortable, like all of our favorites. They also seal well, but you’ll still get a decent amount of outside noise.

The biggest advantage you’ll get over the AKG K240 is the build-quality. These headphones are tough and they’re obviously made to last when you compare them side by side.

Things we liked

The detachable cord and carrying case makes them quite portable
Hold noise in pretty well if you prefer to play at higher volumes
Sound quality is amazing for the price
Built tough, these can take a beating and keep going

Things we didn’t like

Make sure you get the right version for your device if you have Apple or Android gear
Headband plastic gets a bit uncomfortable after prolonged periods

If you’re in the market for budget headphones but worried about breaking some of the cheaper models we favor, then you should take a closer look at the Bose SoundTrue.

8. Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone

Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone

My rating: 4.3 Stars

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While they’re a bit much for listening to music at home, the MDR7506 excels at giving you a flat curve and keeping sounds both in and out. They’re also the cheapest pair of professional-quality headphones on the market.

They have their own set of problems, which we’ll cover in a minute, but you could spend three times this amount and still end up with worse sound quality.

The main issue is that they’re primarily used for voiceover work. That means they’re flat in order to return only a true sound, rather than a “good” one and that can take some getting used to once you pair it with the closed ear frames.

Things we liked

Noise isolation is much better than you’d expect from such a cheap pair, although there are better.
Coiled cable is extremely long
Fold up for easy storage
Surprisingly powerful

Things we didn’t like

Some reviewers didn’t like the almost complete lack of frequency curve
Headband isn’t all that comfortable, although it’s easily remedied

We’re fond of these. Our reviewers were mixed, but those who liked them really liked them for the isolation and flat frequency curve.

9. AKG K 240 – Best Budget Headphones for Guitar Amp

AKG K 240 Semi-Open Studio Headphones

My rating: 4 Stars

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While we wouldn’t recommend them for recording, these semi-open headphones pack a pretty good punch for your dollar. Just don’t expect to get studio-recording quality at this price.

This is a 55 ohm set, with a range that just about fits the usual human audio experience at 15Hz to 25kHz.

The most unfortunate part is that they’re missing some of the mids due to a U-shaped frequency curve, but they’re more than functional for the average at-home guitarist. They’ve also got a generous cord at around 9 feet which will let you keep rocking out.

Things we liked

While they do leak a little bit of sound, the design keeps most of it in for quiet sessions.
They come with a standard 3.5mm adapter which is great for specifically designed headphone amps.
Price is low for the quality
The cups are quite generous and they’re quite comfortable to wear

Things we didn’t like

The sound clarity really isn’t good enough for professionals
The build-quality is middling at best

For those on a tight budget, the AKG K240 is probably the best option available. Those who are going to record or need to shut out the world to play are going to need to invest some extra money, however.

10. Vox AMPHONEAC30 – Best Headphones Specifically for a Guitar Amp

VOX AMPHONEAC30 Active Guitar Headphones

My rating: 4 Stars

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While most of the headphones we looked at are quite efficient for practice, these headphones are specifically designed to replicate the AC30 tone, or “Marshall Sound” for the budding guitarist. Their lower price also makes them something of a bargain.

The idea here is that they reproduce the original tone of the fabled Vox AC30 amps through replication of the circuitry, and they do it all through analog means.

How close did they come to accomplishing this?

Pretty close, but not perfect. The main advantage you’ll get with these is that you can plug them directly into your guitar since the features of the amplifier are built directly into the phones themselves.

Things we liked

The classic design of the headphones is hard to beat
The built-in amplifier makes them amazingly portable
They come pretty close to replicating the classic Vox AC30 sound
The price is awesome for what you get

Things we didn’t like

The lower middle range is a little bit “off”
The cord seems pretty flimsy

If you’re looking for something affordable, which adds a classic sound to your day, then we recommend these. If you’ve got other designs with your amp or recording in mind, you may be better served with a different pair, however.

What You’re Looking For in Practice Headphones

best headphones for guitar amps

Not everyone who’s got some licks in their soul knows a whole lot about the technical aspect of their equipment. If you’re not quite caught up on headphone technology, then you’ll just want to make sure that you’ve got what you need to make your experience great.

Really, what you’re looking for in most cases is something that will act as a good monitor without waking up the neighbors.

1. Make Sure They’re Closed-Ear Headphones

Earbuds have come quite a ways since their inception, but you’re not going to want to use them as practice headphones.

The biggest problem you’ll run into with buds is the fact that they don’t provide as clean of sound. They’re also more uncomfortable to wear for an extended period of time, resulting in shorter practice sessions.

Whether you’re going with closed back headphones or not is going to be largely a personal decision. We had reviewers on both sides of the fence here, but most seemed to prefer the open-backed models.

2. Impedance is Actually an Important Quality

You’ll want to take a look at the manufacturer specifications for the amp you’re intending to use your headphones with and then match the impedance.

This will help keep the volume “true” for when you’re not jamming with headphones in. You can mismatch them but try to stay close for the best results.

3. Noise-Canceling Really isn’t Necessary … Unless You’re Working in a Studio

For the average person playing at home, this is just a way to add some extra expense to your headphones.

On the other hand, if you’re regularly recording and just using your headphones as a monitor, then you may want to spring for this feature to get rid of any white noise which might be going on in the room.

4. Frequency Range isn’t Always Stated in The Specifications, but It’s Pretty Important

The wider the better, since even if you can’t hear sounds in the infra and ultra-range you’ll be able to feel them.

As a general guideline, most are going to cover from 10Hz to 25KHz, which encompasses the normal human audio spectrum. Make sure these ranges are covered, but the more you have the better.

You may also be able to pick up the frequency curve of the headphones.

We’re going to let you in on a secret: “flat” curves are better for practice since there is no emphasis on bass and treble like you’ll find with standard “U-curve” headphones.

Many people describe them as “boring” or “flat” however, due to the emphasis of cheap headphones on pushing a U-shaped curve. Once you get the hang of things with a flat curve you’ll much more easily be able to dissect the sound.

You can always play with your equalizers on the amp if it’s too bad, and how you mix the final sound is largely up to personal taste and artistry.

Of course, comfortable is always better. This can vary from person to person, of course, but big padding generally makes for a much better experience overall. We’ve noted which ones our reviewers found to be the most comfortable, but it’s a personal thing.

5. Wireless Pairs are All Over The Market These Days, but It’s a Personal Choice

Bluetooth and other wireless technologies can certainly be more convenient in most cases, but the data transmitted can’t beat the quality of a wired pair of headphones.

For amateurs that’s fine, but for recording and studio usage you’ll want to stick with wires.

6. Price

Finally, the cost is always going to be a factor. Most of the best practice headphones are going to be over $100. We really don’t recommend going under $50 unless you’re truly on a micro-budget in this case: the electronics simply aren’t able to compete at that low of a point.

On the other hand, you also probably won’t have to drop a few hundred to get a decent set either. Avoid headphones where you’re just paying for the brand, you’re going to run into diminishing returns over around $300.

As long as all of the above is in order, then you’re on the right track to making sure you’ve got the right pair of headphones.

There really is something for everyone. If you’re going for a retro sound, then you’ll want to take a look at specialty headphones with a built-in amp, for instance.

How To Connect Headphones to a Guitar Amp

How to Connect Headphones to a Guitar Amp

Many of the smaller amps on the market these days come with an auxiliary jack that headphones can slot right into. If that’s the case for you, then you’re in luck.

On the other hand, if you don’t already have these present then you’ll want to look into picking up an adapter.

Their usage is straightforward enough: plug the headphones into the adapter then plug your adapter into your amp.

Keep in mind that amps without headphone adapters might need some fine-tuning to be safe for your ears, so try running them before you put them on to make sure.

Conclusion

If you’ve been looking to make sure you’ll have the best headphones for your guitar amp, then we hope we’ve guided you in the right direction. Instead of just guessing, make sure your headphones pass our test and you can rest assured you’ll be in good hands.

If you’re still undecided, give the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x a shot. They’re the perfect intersection of price and quality to get you started. You can take your guitar and practice now.

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