Headphone for Guitar: How to Choose A Good Pair

By Monica | Gear

Jun 21
headphones for guitar

We are accustomed to playing the guitar without any assistive tool. Even a basic acoustic guitar can already be enough for our daily practice and performances.

However, the advent of technology has changed the landscape. There are a lot of assistive tools that can improve and simplify the art of playing the guitar. From stompboxes down to amps, everything that you need to exploit the instrument is there.

But if you are an avid guitar player, you will certainly need to get a set of specialized headphones. The item significantly benefits your endeavor, especially recording applications. It also allows you to listen keenly to the overall sound of your instrument--if it does come with irregularities or imperfection.

Now, a lot of people are looking for the best headphones for guitar. I was overwhelmed by the fact that a lot of searches today involve this device. Now, there are a lot of guides that you can see on the internet today on how to choose a guitar headphone. But in here, I made things a lot straightforward and specific. Check them out now!


Headphone for Guitar Buying Guide

Assess your Applications

It is improper to get a guitar headphone without knowing your intended application first. After all, the headphones that you can see on the market today are varied. Not all of them are suitable to perform a specific role or task. For instance, if your goal is to track a sound in the studio, you are going to need a separate headphone for that. That's the same thing if you are tweaking or monitoring a live mix.

You have to get those headphones that are labeled for guitar applications. That would essentially narrow your options, which in turn, lessens the burden of the selection process.

Defining Some Terminologies

There are various terms that are commonly encountered whenever you are shopping for headphones. It is pretty crucial that you can gain familiarity with them so that you can establish your criteria or preferences.

Supra-aural and Circumaural

Without going too technical, we can always define the terms "supra-aural" and "circumaural." Circumaural is basically "around the ear" while supra-aural means "above the ear." If you can put these things in the perspective of headphones, they would indicate the earcup design. The earcup, by the way, is the specialized cushion that is placed between the drivers of the headphone and the ear. Today, most of the professional guitar headphones have a circumaural design. It is quite difficult to find high-grade supra-aural headphones these days.

Open-back and Closed-back

I bet that some of you are already familiar with these terms. Headphones nowadays can be classified under these two terminologies. You can always say that a headphone is either open or closed.

When a headphone is labeled is closed, this means that its cover prevents the sound from leaking out. It is a good choice for noise isolation. However, it is susceptible to trapping pressure, which causes a fake transmission of low frequencies. Many recording professionals are fine dealing with these low frequencies. However, they would not take a closed headphone whenever they want to do the critical or focused listening.Open-back headphones are the ideal choice for critical listening.

One of the reasons for this is the balanced set of frequencies that they produce. Of course, you can expect that they have less noise isolation. However, I have seen open-back headphones that have integrated effective noise isolation features. But then again, you have to be ready for their price.

To ensure that you can get the best of both worlds, you can always opt for semi-open-back guitar headphones. They are extremely affordable and provides frequency balance, without compromising the noise isolation capability. Tracking applications would certainly benefit from them.

Application: Recording

If you want to use the headphone for recording, you might need to get semi-open-back headphones or closed-back headphones. Furthermore, it is necessary that you crank up the mix monitor if you are tracking your amp inside the recording room. This would enable you to hear your guitar easily.

It is true that semi-open-back guitar headphones are not prone to bleeding in the microphone. However, I still recommend using close-back gears due to their effective isolation.

If you are playing with an acoustic guitar, you need to make things simple and efficient. You have to pair them with closed-back headphones. Otherwise, you will experience too much bleeding in the microphone.

Application: Monitoring and Mixing

When you are tracking a sound, it is great if you can have a nice set of reference guitar headphones. The design of the latter would be open-back headphone. It is the necessary device that helps you indicate some of the problems in the sound such as buzzing and humming due to the hardware problems. Furthermore, open-back headphone ensures that you can refine the details of your recorded sound. They allow you to spot various irregularities.

Guitar headphones also aid you to listen to your mix while isolating the ambient sound of your room. To make things simple, a high-quality headphone will allow you to hear the frequencies as clearly as possible. In the long run, it will help you cut down your flaws.


In a sense, choosing the best headphones for guitar will eventually change your game and efficiency. They are not just there to make things a lot cooler for you. Instead, they are your formidable option if you want to maximize the potential of your instrument. It doesn't matter if you want to record or track some sounds. There are guitar headphones that work for you ideally.

Before I end, let me emphasize to you that we are living in the modern era. All of us have access to necessary devices such as iPods and tablets. Therefore, it is essential that you can also get a standard earphone on your rig. These standard earphones have a single driver. They will allow you to listen to the sound of your final mix the way other people can hear them.

If you have some questions or suggestions, feel free to ask me in the comment section below!


About the Author

Hi everyone! Im Monica and I am an avid lover of guitars and everything in-between. My current profession is not really music-related. It is quite discouraging but I just don't want to drop my zeal--especially not to guitars! I created GuitarTrance.Com so that I can keep up with my hobby. Of course, I want to engage with the community as well! Hope we can all get along!