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10 rules to buy the right headphones

Clever tips to find the right headphones for you.

Headphones are a quite peculiar piece of audio equipment and, in most cases, also essential.

Both for professional (live recordings)

…and nonprofessional reasons (flatmates that want to sleep).

In this guide we’ll show you which rules to follow to choose the right ones for you.

  • First, you should read our basic guide on how to choose proper audio equipment.

    We’ve laid out some rules to follow when choosing audio tools.

    You can find them at this link: 11 rules to buy the right audio gear.

  • It would better if they were foldable

    It’s almost impossible for headphones to always be left in your studio.

    For this reason it is strongly suggested to buy a foldable model.

    Foldable headphones.

    Foldable headphones.

    If you choose to buy rigid ones, you won’t be able to find suitable cases, and they’re going to be quite bulky.

  • They should be sturdy.

    As stated above, headphones rarely get left in the studio. To the contrary: they’re going to experience quite a lot of rock’n’roll, jumping from one head to another during your nights.

    So, try to pick models with a solid structure. Preferably, with replaceable ear cushions: they’re the part that’s most subject to wear and tear.

  • Headphones don’t have reliable frequency response graphs: only trust the listening test.

    It the most peculiar feature of headphones: their frequency response graphs cannot be interpreted.

    Therefore, you won’t be able to understand which are the most accurate ones by simply looking at those graphs.

    This is due to a particular method applied during their design: the imprinting of an HRTF in their frequency response.

    For those who wish to venture in the explanation of this topic, we’ve prepared this tutorial: *articolo*

  • Don’t buy headphones for the purpose of fixing sounds or mixing.

    Another consequence of the above point is that headphones, no matter their quality, are quite unreliable.

    Given the way they’re designed, linear headphones are almost impossible.

    Depending on the user, they’re going to be more or less linear.

    The proper way to use headphones is for monitoring. That is: sheer project supervision, with no particular demand for sound fidelity or audio editing.

    Experience is going to teach you what you can and what you cannot do with your headphones during audio editing.

  • Always try them out.

    Unfortunately, many headphones (high range ones too) do have a low sound quality.

    Which, in addition to the fact that their frequency response curve cannot be interpreted, makes the selection of a pair of reliable headphones quite empirical.

    There aren’t many scientific methods to declare which ones are the best: you have to try them out.

  • Do not expect isolation from external sounds.

    Even the most majestic headphones aren’t going to offer great isolation.

    So, get ready for some “audio intrusions” from outside.

    Headphones for drummers are the only exception, as they’re specifically designed to lower the dB of outer sounds.

  • Don’t worry about the cable.

    If it’s short you can buy an (extremely cheap) extension, if it’s too long you can simply keep it rolled up.

  • Pay attention to comfort.

    For short usage periods, no headphones show particular inconveniences.

    However, if you plan to wear them for many hours (a not so rare circumstance), be sure that they properly fit your head.

  • Good headphones aren’t flashy: they’re made to reproduce music, not to look cool.

    If the headphones you’re browsing are particularly flashy, it’s likely that their technical aspect has been overlooked: professional headphones are work tools. Their appearance is irrelevant.

    This trend is especially recurring in these last years, as headphones have also become a fashion accessory.

    But, if you’re reading this, your purpose is not to pretend, but to do.

If you want to know why this tutorial was made, you’ll find out more in this post:

Our first post.

And you got our entire website to see if we’re talking about something that we can do.

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