We live in world of headphones. Who can forget the first time they opened up their first iPhone with the white headphones on the side. Headphones have become apart of the fabric of our lives.
You may or may not be old enough to remember the old walkman headphones (pictured below), but in the 80s, they were revolutionary. You couldn’t actually listen to music while you jogged or did any type of activity outside. Basically, the power was that you could take music with you. It totally changed the way people experienced music and were an onramp for the technology of the iPhone.
The only downside to the walkman was the audio technology was a little behind it’s forward idea. In those days, everyone lived it the analog world, which meant music could only be heard through an actual memory device that has the music in it, ala Tape.
The Walkman featured the cassette tape, which was a memory device that held the music. What would happen when you would start running hard with the Walkman, is that the cassette tape would begin to skip or stop playing! This made the idea of having the music more practical than actually experiencing it. It is amazing to look back and see how far technology has come.
Since we are accustomed to a better audio listening experience, we have to do our part in finding the best headphone options out there. This is the feature of today’s sidekick.
What Are The Advantages of Guitar Headphones
There is no question that a good pair of headphones will greatly benefit you as a musician. For starters, headphones allow you to practice an electronic instrument anytime you want.
I can remember my Dad when I was first learning how to play the acoustic guitar telling me nicely, “could you practice upstairs in your room… and close the door?”
That was his way of telling me, “you sound terrible.” I think we have all had some of the same experiences.
Not only do headphones allow you to practice anytime you want without disturbing others, but it also allows you to practice without them disturbing you.
Let’s face it, when you are first starting out - you get pretty self-conscious when you are practicing. When you are able to plug into your amp and plug in your headphones, you can practice all day and night without disturbing anyone or them disturbing you.
Owning a good pair of headphones helps you to be able to focus on better quality. Since you are isolating sound waves in your ears, you are able to hone in on special effects and other layering techniques you may be practicing.
How To Choose The Best Guitar Headphones
Since we understand the advantages of having a good pair of headphones, now it is important to learn how to choose the best. Basically, there are three main non-technical factors that will help you select the best:
One of the main factors in a good pair of headphones is comfort. You can love the sound quality all day, but if they are not comfortable, you won’t spend a lot of time practicing.
Headphones are broken into three main categories when identifying comfort and sound; open back, closed-ear or semi-closed. Open-back headphones do not seal completely, as sound passes both in and out of the ear. They possess a more natural sound and they typically are worn for longer periods of time because they are more comfortable than a closed-back pair.
If you are wanting the most comfortable option on your ears, then consider a headphone option that has open back framing.
Closed-back headphones seal completely around the ear. This allows for great sound isolation and noise cancelation. Different from the open back scenario, the sound is trapped into the ears. This makes an ideal choice for studio musicians or sound engineers because they work very well with tracking and prevent bleed through.
One of the downsides of closed-back headphones is the fact that because the ears are closed, heat and moisture cannot escape. This provides general discomfort and wear and tear over time.
The third factor in headphones’ durability, comfort, and isolation is if the phones are circumaural or supra-aural. In circumaural headphones, they don’t rest on our ear - they rest around your ear. These make for more comfortable headphones. They also seal very well for sound isolation.
On the opposite side, supra-aural headphones rest on your ear, not around your ear. They are not as comfortable but are much lighter. They also do not seal as well as the circumaural headphones.