The 5 Best Headphones for Guitar Amps

I think we can all agree that little is more satisfying than plugging in your guitar, cranking up your amp, and driving it as hard as you can. But there are often other considerations to be made that can sometimes preclude you from letting it rip. Maybe it's neighbors or roommates, maybe it's the time of day or night, or maybe you're just looking for an accurate representation of how your guitar signal would sound directly into an interface for recording. Whatever the case may be, you need to pick up some headphones.

When looking for headphones for your guitar or bass amp, however, not just any pair will do. You'll want to search for cans that promise a natural, flat response without exaggerated bass, as you'll want to hear a totally undistorted representation of your instrument signal. Below, we've gathered a list of five of our favorite pairs across a variety of price points that promise to deliver just that.

What is it? What makes it cool? What does it cost?
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Best bang for your buck. $106-$125
Sony MDR-7506 Studio Headphones Most neutral response. $40-$100
AKG K240 Studio Headphones Best budget option. $44-70
Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO Available in multiple impedances. $100-180
Sennheiser HD 650 Reference Headphones Capable of more than you'd expect. $250-$500
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

Audio-Technica's ATH-M50x headphones are some of the most celebrated when it comes to high-quality, closed-back headphones at a good price. Supporting frequencies between 15 Hz and 28 kHz, they're a solid pair for use with a guitar amp and provide listeners with an impressive mid-range and extended bass response.

The ATH-M50x headphones are also foldable and feature three detachable cables—a three-meter- and a 1.2-meter-long straight cable and a three-meter-long coiled cable—which makes them extra portable if you're interested in picking up a pair of headphones for use outside of your guitar amp. You also get a screw-on quarter-inch adapter and a carrying case.


Sony MDR-7506

Sony's MDR-7506 Studio Headphones are another popular choice among home recording engineers, DJs, and and broadcast professionals for their strong isolation, exceptional sound quality, and comfortable design.

With a frequency response range of 10Hz to 20kHz, the MDR-7506s provide listeners with a really neutral, flat response for the kind of accurate monitoring you're looking for when plugging into a guitar amp. Well-constructed, sturdy, and comfortable for long periods of time, the MDR-7506s are also foldable like the Audio-Technica ATH-M50Xs and come with a quarter-inch adapter.


AKG K240

The AKG K240 Studio Headphones are the most affordable option on our list, chosen because of how much they accomplish despite their price tag. The semi-open design of the K240s makes for a very natural sound without as much room noise bleed you'd get from a pair of fully open-back headphones.

Unlike a lot of commercial headphones, the bass response isn't particularly over-exaggerated and the mids are clear and detailed. The K240s are a great choice for players who are looking to pick up a pair of cans dedicated to guitar or bass practice without spending more than $50.


Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO

The Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO headphones have become a standard in recording, mixing, and casual listening among engineers and musicians over their 30-year history. While the response isn't is flat as what you'd get with the MDR-7506s, for example, the DT 770 PROs are still super well-balanced and clear.

With a range of available impedances, the extreme-isolation "M" model, and an optional limiter, there's a set of DT 770 PROs for every application. With its crisp highs, deep lows, and precise mids, the DT 770s are a great choice for guitar practice and you can be confident using them to track your instrument when you're ready to start recording, too. Hand-built in Germany, the quality of the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PROs can't be beat.


Sennheiser HD 650

The Sennheiser HD 650s are the only pair of open-back headphones that we've included on this list. By design, open-back headphones can provide listeners with more detail and natural clarity than you'd get with a closed-back pair, but keep in mind that you'll also be able to hear any noises in the room as well. So while they can make for great home studio or practice headphones, the HD 650s likely won't replace your casual listening pair.

Because of their natural clarity and accurate monitoring, open-back headphones are studio monitoring favorites and can get a bit pricey fairly quickly. These Sennheiser HD 650s are right in the mid-range category, capturing a lot of the characteristics of the higher-end options at a more comfortable price point.


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