Using a pair of headphones for your mobile device or for everyday use can have a stark difference with using headphones for your home studio. Both devices are different and hence, will need a different set of accessories. Headphones come in a variety of styles and configurations, so it can become overwhelming to pick the right pair. Here’s what you need to know when shopping for headphones for home recording.
Purpose of Operation
One of the basic things you need to do before picking quality headphones is to determine the purpose that you will be using them for. Do you need them for monitoring and mastering beats and sounds? Do you need them solely for mixing alone? Or do you need them for DJing? The purpose of your headphones will help you pick the most ideal type to get the most optimal results. Some use headphones for mixing purposes only whereas others may use them for both producing and mixing.
This factor usually refers to the design of the headphones which is divided into 3: open back, semi-open back, and closed-back. Depending on what you choose, the individual types can provide varying levels of comfort in each use.
Headphones whose backs are open allow outside noises to come in which will in turn release the sounds in the headphones. This can create pressure to achieve a more natural sound, so the headphones are ideal for mixing as no wave reflection will be present inside. They are not recommended for recording as any sound coming from the headphones will be picked up by the mic.
- Semi-Open Back
This is in between the open and closed back headphones. Semi-open back have backs that are partially open so they are not as noisy as compared to open-back headphones. They can support both monitoring and mixing as sound pressure is released. For recording vocals and mixing sounds, semi-open back headphones are a recommended choice. You also get to save money because semi-open back headphones serve two purposes.
Closed-back headphones have an enclosure which make them ideal for monitoring, especially by vocalists. They better prevent noises as compared to open-back headphones. In vocal rooms, they make use of condenser mics that are highly sensitive to sound. These mics capture the sound coming from open-back headphones. Instead of using this combo, you can simply stick to closed-back headphones for a dual-purpose pair.
Noise isolation is a highly critical component of mixing projects. A great pair of studio headphones should isolate noise from both the inside and outside. Most studio headphones come with foam which is an effective material to block out external noises as well as leaking sounds that can be captured by the mic.
This factor relates to the reliability of the headphones in terms of the sound production on a certain frequency. A frequency response that is wider will has more treble or bass that will be picked up by the headphones. This means you may also need to consider an amplifier. This is not something that always need to be considered because some studio mixers should already have a built-in amp.