Skip to Content

Best Headphones for Guitar Amp Guide

Best Headphones for Guitar Amp Guide

Last week, I went to London’s famous Stompbox exhibition of the year. The most prestigious builders and bouquet one-man builders were showing off their pedal toys and having players give them a go, each in their booth with headphones for the guitar amp the pedals ran through. You went to one, played your favorite rig, then jumped to the other.

Every builder set a high standard for amps and pedals, but what made the difference was the cheapest and typically less appreciated part of the rig – the headphones.

Simply put, the companies with the Best Headphones for Guitar Amps were the ones who did more justice to the tone and had the players enjoy trying the pedals the most—this, and the fact that a few visitors were wise enough to bring their own pairs, inspired me to write this guitar headphone for your guitar amps that you can use for practicing, recording, or rehearsing. 

As a fellow guitarist, I promise not to bore you with irrelevant tech terms; I’ll get to the core of what you want to know without delving much into the audio engineering world.

Bottom Line Up-Front

Unlike headphones you might use to listen to music, good headphones for your guitar amp should offer more reliability and comfort, be as transparent as possible, and, most importantly, fit the setting where and when you’ll use them. Generally, good headphones for the guitar amp that translate will cost between $100 and $350. There are a few good options for a lower price and many premium ones if you truly want a studio do-it-all headphone.  Personally, I recommend buying headphones that are proportional to the amp’s price. If you truly invested in a great amp, it’s worth spending more on headphones to enjoy practicing and recording properly.

How Important are Headphones for the Guitar Amp?

The truth is that your rig could be top-notch, but you sound only as good as your speakers or, in this case, the headphones. 

In the same way that changing cabinets or impulse response will completely alter the guitar tone, or just like how your favorite record will sound completely dull in a pair of cheap earbuds, the choice of headphones is crucial for your new Fender Deluxe Reverb Reissue to sound crips and full when you can’t go use a cabinet.

We can get very techy here regarding headroom and frequencies, but if you are considering getting the best new delay pedal, think of headphones and consider the make or break of a relaxing one-hour late-night guitar-playing session.

Can’t You Just Use Your Everyday Headphones for Guitar Amps?

Not all pairs of headphones are ideal for use with a guitar amp. It’s always a matter of compromise between what sounds good and what best represents the guitar tone, which is not necessarily the same thing.

To avoid getting confused in the previous sentence, I mean that the headphones used to listen to music, like your earbuds, are made to ‘color’ the frequencies to make music sound more pleasant – ‘musician’ headphones used for making music typically tend to be a purer, rougher representation of the sound.

What to Look For In Guitar Amp Headphones?


Besides the obvious, which is not to spend more on your headphones than you spend on the amp if you only intend to use them for late-night practice purposes, you should look for the following. 

  • ‘Enough’ frequency range is needed to ensure the headphones can reproduce all guitar frequencies; if not, crank the bass all you wish, and you’ll only hear what your headphones can’t handle. 
  • An almost flat frequency response ensures that the headphones do not color the sound like most headphones for casual listening do. This is especially important in the studio or if you’re working on new guitar tones for your set, but it’s not as crucial as you might think. 
  • Comfort so that you don’t dread putting them on and, in the best-case scenario, forget that you have them on. An isolated and likely hot studio is not the best place to be with plastic cushions in your ears.
  • Practicality depending on the environment you want to use them. Consider if you need to be super quiet, if you use them backstage if they’re too big to carry.
  • Durability refers to how long the pair will last. It’s always best to go for something robust, preferably with a detachable cable, rather than throw the headphones if a cable goes bad.

You might already have taken out some options from the list, but there’s more where you can go wrong.

Don’t Fall the Technical Traps!

As with everything audio, it’s easy to fall for the charm or fear induced by technical words. Here are the main pitfalls for guitarists when choosing headphones.

Is Frequency Range Everything?

A guitar’s frequency range averages from 70hz to 15khz, yet the second number is not applicable in real life, as the guitar generally lives in the mid-range at 250hz to 4khz. However, having said that, two headphones with the same frequency range will not sound the same because the main goal is the quality of how those frequencies are transmitted, not the range.

So don’t give up on a good pair of well-built headphones just cause of a number. It’s the same as phones that use 128 pixels for the camera, but still, your camera with ¼ takes better pictures.

Open Back or Closed Back Headphones?

You will want closed-back headphones if you want to practice in silence, and open-back headphones if you want a more natural sound but are louder in the room. However, considering you will most likely use the headphones to practice or track instruments, the open-back’s ‘superior’ sound won’t make a difference.

Does Impedance OHM Make a Difference?


Higher-impedance headphones require more power to get a decent volume, but it’s unlikely an amp can’t power them. You will not need a headphone amp in front of the guitar amp, but just in case, anything up to 80 OHM can be powered even by your phone.

Sound-wise, a higher impedance will make close to 0 difference in most scenarios. Theoretically, higher impedance means more sensitivity and detail, yet this is very much debatable, like the tonewood on electric guitar guitars or the bridge on the sound.  In practice, the guitar’s high-end could sound slightly brighter but not more. 

Can You Use The Same Headphones For Guitar and Bass Amp?

If the headphones have a decent frequency response and a big enough driver, yes. Most pairs that are good enough to work for the guitar amp properly will work for a bass flawlessly.

When it comes to driver size, a big driver will just ensure that you get bass even at a low volume, not that you will feel bass more overall.

The Myth of ‘Flat’?

No headphones are entirely flat because our ears are not made to listen to the same frequencies. Some smart people created the Harman curve to represent ‘the best possible’ sound for headphones, clearly showing that the low-end and mid-range are boosted.

Studio-grade headphones tend to go flat, yet you don’t want to overspend for a curve to look like a flat line, as your ears won’t likely tell the difference. Plus, a good EQ and compressor pedal can fix that and do much more.

My Top Pics 

Now that you know what to look for, here’s what I recommend from personal experience. 

Beyer Dynamic DT 770 PRO – The Jack of All Trades

Beyer Dynamic DT 770 PRO

These are the jack-of-all-trade, almost industry headphones you’ll see in most studios – I call them the ‘sm-57′ of headphones, as they are reasonably priced, warm to the ears, robust, and extremely comfortable.

I’ve used these headphones for years to practice and record for hours. After a while, you truly forget you have them on due to the quality cushions and the warm mid-range and low-end that do not tire the ears, removing the harshness from guitars.

What I don’t like much is that they’re not quiet, even if they are closed back.

Yamaha HPH-MT7 Headphones – Value ‘Flatness’

Yamaha HPH-MT7 Headphones

Yamaha is legendary in making studio headphones and has successfully transferred that expertise into the world of headphones.

While most would buy these headphones as affordable mixing and tracking headphones due to their very close to flat frequency response, they’re great for getting a proper representation of the guitar tone, especially at this price range. 

The same’ flatness’ made me decide to go for the Beyer dynamics, though. They felt slightly too bright, especially on high notes, unless I spent some time EQ-ing.

Seinheiser HD600 – The For Guitarist/Producer

Seinheiser HD600

The Sennheiser HD600 are the most honest headphones you can find for your amp or amp for preparing your guitar tones for a session] and surely a great pair to practice with. Besides being great for a guitar amp, they also make excellent open-back headphones for everything in your home studio.

I was thrilled to learn they had removable connectors, but I wasn’t really happy when I found out they had 2 custom cables you could only get from Seinhiher.

Audio-Technica ATH-M20x  – Budget Alternative

Audio-Technica ATH-M20x

These headphones are far below the 100$ threshold, yet they could just be up there regarding sound quality. The drawback I felt was that they were not the most comfy compared to others here and arguably not as robust. – Handle them with some care, and you’ll be fine for practicing with a small, affordable amp.

Vic Firth SIH2 Stereo Isolation Headphones – For Noisy Environments

Vic Firth SIH2 Stereo Isolation Headphones

Typically, drummers pair on stages; they can be excellent for practicing guitar in the loudest environment – it sounds odd, but it is not – some of us practice in noisy backstages, others, like me, live on top of a pub, and that silence is so precious.

The Best Alternative – The Headphones Are  The Amp

Boss Waza-Air Wireless Personal Guitar Amplification System – Ultimate Practice Tool

These are not just headphones but an entire practice rig with an amp sim and effects you can control through your phone. You just need your guitar, the headphones, and the transmitter, and you’re good to practice from anywhere without an amp.

They are great but expensive. I only recommend them to musicians who need effects when practicing and are generally on the road.

How Far Should You Go For A Practice Tool?

I can’t recommend good headphones enough for delivering genuine, crisp, clean Fender tones and even the Van Halen punch and filth of a heavy 5150. Yet, I’m grateful I have a good pair because of the difference it made in my practice routine.

A good tone motivates all players to play more, so the headphones before sleep at 11 PM or 7 AM could be what gets you going.


Question: Should I Use Wireless Headphones For Guitar Amps or Multi-Effects Pedals?

Answer: Generally, it’s best to avoid wireless headphones for instruments due to latency issues. The only scenario I’d suggest is when you get a quality pair of in-ear monitoring headphones for the stage – a list of which I have ready for you.

Question: Can You Use The Guitar Amp With In-Ear Monitors?

Answer: You could, but the in-ear design is meant for the stage and is very comfortable and practical to practice for hours – the sound quality, on the other hand, could be good. 
There’s also more risk of damaging your ears compared to using big headphones that go around the ear.

Question: Is It Dangerous  To Play an Amp With Headphones?

Answer: It’s as harmful as listening to loud music through the same pair of headphones. Although guitarists always tend to be loud, it’s important to restrain yourself and keep the volume moderate.