Want better sound? Try studio headphones

The Beyerdynamic DT 77 Pro studio headphones. Picture credit: www.pixabay.com/ rsunshine

The cool headphones that one sees in stores and on e-commerce platforms may not be that cool after all when it comes to the sound. That is because they are made to cater to the average listener who is not too concerned about sound quality.

Consumer grade headphones are built to boost certain frequencies. For example, the low frequencies are boosted so that the user hears punchy beats. This means that the listener is not hearing what was originally recorded, but it is a ‘coloured’ version of what was created in the studio. Manufacturers will perhaps market such a pair as one with more bass. Headphones with overamplified and boosted bass frequencies might sound great when you try them out at the store. However, the user is very likely to end up with listening fatigue after long hours of use of such a pair. If one buys a pair of headphones that have higher frequencies boosted, the result could be screechy sound that will again lead to listening fatigue.

Unless a buyer is prepared to spend a substantial amount of money, many headphones do not have a ‘flat’ and ‘uncoloured’ sound. Uncoloured sound is when the headphone does not add its own sound signature to the original audio recording.

One solution is to buy a pair of studio headphones, or studio monitoring headphones. These headphones are used in professional sound recording studios and some models are not very expensive. The popular brands are Sony, Beyerdynamic, Audio Technica, AKG, Sennheiser, Shure, among others.

With studio headphones, the sound will be very neutral and every flaw in the recording will show up. That said, studio headphones are more for use in recording studios and those who produce YouTube videos or podcasts. But if you are the one who likes to listen to music without any frequency boost, these are worth a try.

Studio headphones are generally built better than consumer ones because they will be put through a lot of use.

There is one point to note about studio headphones. Their impedance is generally higher than that of consumer headphones and some devices with low power output (like budget smartphones or tablets) may struggle with the sound output. The volume will have to be increased to get enough sound. If this is the case, a small headphone amplifier can be connected to the device and then the headphones. But if they are being used with a good desktop computer for instance, there should be no problem with insufficient power to drive the headphones.  

Studio headphones are of two kinds – open back and closed back. Since open back headphones allow air to enter the earpieces from the back, less pressure is created as compared to closed back headphones and this results in better sound. However, open back headphones tend to be more expensive.

Unless open back headphones are being used in a quite area or soundproof room, listening to them in a noisy environment is not the ideal thing because of the external noise that will enter from the open back of the earpiece.

In summary, studio headphones can give the user an audiophile listening experience though they are meant for recording studios and professional use. It is best to try one before buying. Also, they are built well and will definitely last longer than consumer headphones.

DH lists three budget studio headphones that are worth trying:

Sony MDR 7506

Headphone Type – Dynamic, Closed

Frequency Response – 10-20,000 Hz

Impedance – 63 Ohm

Plug Type – Gold plated, Stereo Unimatch plug 1/4" and 1/8"

Cord Length – 3 m

Weight – 230 g

Price (approx) – Rs 7,200

Audio Technica ATH-M50x

Headphone Type – Dynamic, Closed

Frequency Response – 15-28,000 Hz

Impedance – 38 Ohm

Plug Type – 6.3 mm (1/4") screw-on adapter

Interchangeable Cable Length Choice – 3 m coiled/ 3 m straight/ 1.2 m straight

Weight – 285 g, without cable and connector

Price (approx) – Rs 8,700

Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro

Headphone Type – Dynamic, Closed

Frequency Response – 5-35,000 Hz

Impedance – choice of 32/ 80/ 250 Ohm

Plug Type – Gold plated, Stereo plug (3.5 mm) and 1/4" adapter

Cord length

32 Ohm version – 1.6 m

80 Ohm version – 3 m

250 Ohm version – 3 m

Weight – 270 g, without cable

Price (approx)

32 Ohm version – Rs 12,700

80 Ohm version – Rs 14,200

250 Ohm version – Rs 14,200

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