The vinyl boom has been growing in popularity for the past decade. That is due to the impressive sound records can produce if listened through the right equipment. An external set of speakers is the way to go for external listening, but what about headphones for music lovers?
Today, we will take a look at three headphones that will improve your listening experience while not forcing you to sell a kidney to pay for them. Despite the lower price, every option has unique features that make it stand out from the pack.
- Compared to some of the other big players in the audio industry, the Edifier H840 is a new kid on the block. Even so, their affordable speakers and headphones come with premium performance.
- Audio-Technica is a highly respected brand in the vinyl community, and the open-air ATH-AD700X sounds great. They are comfortable and come with a low price tag.
- The beautifully designed Sennheiser HD 599 looks good and sounds great. They come equipped with super-soft ear pads for hours of comfortable listening.
Who Should Get These
Great sounding headphones are a luxury because there are so many cheap options out there. Most people aren’t too picky, however. If they stumble upon a great set of headphones, they may never go back to the cheapos. In short, a nice pair of headphones is a worthwhile purchase for anyone who owns a record player and loves listening to their vinyl.
Best Headphones for Listening to Vinyl: What to Consider
When I was a newbie to headphones, there were a lot of different options that made my head spin. Every pair needs a few key elements that we’ll cover below. When looking for your ideal pair, be sure to consider those aspects before you put your money down.
As someone who has worn cheap headphones for most of their life, I can’t even count how many headaches I received due to headphone discomfort. Whether it was that the cups were too small to fit around my ears or the lack of proper cushioning, it was always something. When you look for great headphones, comfort is key.
Type: Open or Closed
The primary difference you need to know about open and closed-back headphones is that the closed-back style tends to block out background noise, while open-back headphones allow the noise around them to be present. That doesn’t mean all closed-back headphones are completely noise-canceling, but it tends to make a difference.
Before you decide on the brand, make sure you know whether or not you want your music to feel like it is in your head (close-backed) or if you want it to exist in the world around you (open-backed).
Noise-Canceling or Active Noise
You may think the idea of eliminating all noise except what’s coming from your headphones is what you want, but it’s not always ideal. To some, such as people who work in open spaces or frequent travelers looking to eliminate airplane noise, noise-canceling features are a lifesaver.
Many people, however, get disoriented by canceling all of the noise around them and often complain of headaches. Knowing which category you fall under will help you make your final decision.
Best Headphones for Listening to Vinyl: Our Picks
1. Edifier H840
You would be hard-pressed to find many complaints about Edifier’s products. The brand is known for its rich, warm sound, and their over-the-ear H840 headphones follow that trend. Not only that, but they cost much less than their competitors. These are lightweight and portable for those on the go. They provide hours of listening comfort due to their design and soft ear pads.
What We Like:
- With-mic option available for phone calls or virtual meetings
- Boasts a 6-foot cable cord for added portability
- Superb sound even at high volumes
What We Dislike:
- May be a little too delicate for some users
The AD700X’s are a worthwhile set of open-air headphones with the potential to either blow your socks off or soothe you to sleep with their diverse sound range. Their open-air quality helps take listeners out of their own heads and into the world around them. The sound comes from all angles without losing the nuance and clarity of the little things that you pick up on your favorite albums.
The design of these headphones leaves most competitors in the dust as well. The combination of power and sensitivity improves your vinyl listening experience no matter what type of music you enjoy. Combine that with the 3D wing supports that rest lightly on your head for added comfort and you have yourself a true listening experience.
What We Like:
- Combination of beauty and comfort
- Lightweight and tough for optimal transportation
- Included 1/4-inch adaptor connects to any turntable
What We Dislike:
- 3D wing supports could prove problematic for some head shapes
These beautiful ivory-colored headphones are top-notch in sound and quality. While they are the priciest option on our list, they still aren’t out of control. They come with both a 3m and 1.2m cable for different listening scenarios. The longer cable works well for comfortable turntable listening by offering excellent length and function.
Not only are these headphones beautiful, but they put out some serious sound. That is because they utilize Sennheiser’s own proprietary components like their Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement (E.A.R.) design alongside state-of-the-art aluminum coils that reduce distortion. The open-back design compliments the sounds around you and helps the music blend in nicely.
What We Like:
- Ear pad velour fabric offers extreme comfort
- Crisp, clear sound with perfectly balanced bass
- Differing cable lengths allow you to listen with these in several situations
What We Dislike:
- Without a folding option or travel case, these are hard to travel with
Useful Tips and Resources
If you’re anything like me, you have created a vinyl space somewhere in your house. It is almost like your vinyl set up is a decoration and conversation piece when friends come over. A clever way to add to that space is to install a nice place for your headphones to rest without the threat of breaking. Take a look at these affordable wall mounts (they come in a set of 2) that will further enhance your vinyl corner.
Listening to vinyl has added an element of pleasure for me ever since I began my music listening journey. Although I have young kids now and my wife isn’t always pleased with my music selection, I am still able to listen to my favorite albums at high volumes with headphones on. The devices have the ability to enhance your listening experience, but make sure you read up on the different types to find the ones that best fit your ears and budget.
Do you have a favorite pair of vinyl listening headphones that we missed? Let us know below!