Playing guitar is a pastime that has become even more popular during the past couple of years. There’s no need to become an expert player to enjoy the guitar – just learning the chords and practicing moving between them can provide great satisfaction – but if you’re going electric, you’ll need an amplifier, and they can be very loud! With time to spare, many of those forced to remain at home during the pandemic has taken up a musical instrument, and the guitar is among the most popular.
This article will look at why people choose to play with headphones, and we’ll also talk about some of the recommended headphones on the market. So, why should you invest in a set of headphones?
Why Play with Headphones?
Put simply, if you want to practice and enjoy playing an electric guitar without disturbing your neighbors, a set of headphones plugged into your amp is a necessity. You may already have a bunch of Apple AirPods or Beats, and the title of this article asks whether that is sufficient for a guitar amplifier. There are many recommended models and brands to choose from at a wide range of prices. Let’s look at a few specialized examples and Apple’s options and see what verdict we can arrive at.
Apple or Other Brands?
Whether you are new to playing guitar or are an experienced guitarist, we aim to help you find the right pair of headphones for your budget. We’ve picked out a few from an excellent review so that you can get an idea of the differences between them. Let’s start with a model that often gets rated as the best for less than $100.
Sony MDR 7506
Sony has long been a name to trust in the audio equipment world, and this set of headphones – the MDR 7506 – is surprisingly great value for money. This is a ‘closed ear’ design – the cushions on the earpieces completely enclose the ears giving more precise sound and no interference – with 400mm drivers and neodymium magnets, a classy combination for headphones in this price range. With coiled cables and a choice of jacks, this one provides professional-level sound and is perfect for practicing or recording purposes.
A well-known brand in up-market audio equipment such as microphones and headphones, Sennheiser is an expert and producing finely tuned and quality products. The HD560 headphones are ideal for singers who play guitar, are light and beautifully made using quality and durable materials. Superb sound and an optimized magnet system, this is a set that can be used for all genres of music thanks to a detailed bass sound. Expect to pay around $400 for this truly excellent set of headphones.
The AKG K240 is now in its MKII form and remains popular with producers and studio users. A semi-open ear design means sound leakage, which is not a problem in production situations but might be if you are playing alongside other guitarists in a high-noise case. For practicing at home, however, this is a quality choice in terms of comfort and usability. If you’re producing your videos for YouTube, for example, they are perfectly compatible for use with a computer or even a smartphone. You will be surprised with the price, too, which is under $100.
Now to talk about Apple AirPod and Beats. These are great headphone solutions for everyday use, and if you have them lying around, by all means, give them a try with your guitar and amp. But remember that whereby the Apple products are designed for general use, each of the above – and many more in the review we looked at – are optimized for use with a guitar.
That means that you’ll hear the sound of your playing more accurately than with the non-optimized Apple products.
So, what do you need to think about when choosing your headphones for guitar use? Let’s close with a few tips.
Choosing the Right Headphones
If you enjoy music and playing guitar, a set of headphones can be a great addition to your equipment. If you also record your sessions or produce your songs, headphones become a necessity.
Here are a few tips that should help:
- Closed-ear designs block out background noise, while others will endure some interference.
- Set a budget that you can afford, as even in the few options above, some are remarkably affordable.
- Make sure you get a set with a compatible jack plug for your amplifier.
- Look for models with a suitable accessory pack, such as a hard carry case.
We hope this article has given you some idea of where to start looking for headphones, so happy hunting and enjoy your guitar.