Everything You Need To Know About Studio Monitor Headphones

Everything You Need To Know About Studio Monitor Headphones

In this age of modern technology, technological gadgets' progress and development are incredibly fast. Headphones alone have an immense variety of colors, shapes, designs, features, and quality. It doesn't matter whether you're visiting the home page of an online store or a physical shop, the variety in the choices presented to you is far too great to ignore.

Some of the countless variations of headphones include in-ear and on-ear headphones, active noise cancellation pairs, and wired or wireless headphones, etc. Even though they are differentiated based on the standard of quality they offer, most of them are very suitable to be used in homes.

Besides the usual kinds of headphones showcased in most of the stores, there’s another kind of headphones called “monitor headphones” or only “monitors.” A regular user may not see the difference since they all look the same. However, they are quite different in the way they sound despite their similar appearance. These headphones are also quite expensive as compared to the standard pairs of headphones. Whether or not this price variation indicates the better quality or if they’re even worth the expense depends on how well they perform.

Monoprice Premium Hi-Fi Affordable Studio Headphones
Monoprice Affordable Studio Monitor Headphones | Source: Monoprice

1. Monitor Headphones

Monitor headphones aren’t your usual, run-of-the-mill headphones used for mundane tasks like listening to music or attending calls, etc. Rather they are specifically designed to be used by music professionals such as DJs and sound engineers etc. in the studios. They help you manage the song’s quality, which makes them utterly important for the recording process.

Using high-quality materials alone isn’t enough to ensure the superiority of the sound being produced. However, monitor headphones are known for creating sounds having linear amplitude-frequency features. Consequently, the sound not distorted, and the various frequencies are in sync with each other no matter how high or low the volume is.

On the other hand, normal headphones tend to enhance the sound created by adding bass and higher frequencies, etc. This ends up negatively affecting the clarity of the sound. Monitor headphones, however, are specifically made to attain the real side, or else, songs recorded in the studios won’t sound so good when played through speakers. For this purpose, DJs prefer to use headphones as monitor headphones help them consider all the variations in the sounds as they mix them.

Besides, just because headphones are designed to be used in the studios, it does not make them unfit to be used domestically for entertainment. Even so, a person who is used to using ordinary headphones might not appreciate the quality of sound these headphones offer.

Furthermore, the higher costs of monitor headphones can also render them unfit to be used at homes. Who would buy a pair of super-expensive headphones that don’t even sound right when they can easily get their hands on normal headphones at a lesser price? Monitor headphones aren’t typically inexpensive, and if you find a pair that is, chances are it isn’t meant for professional use and has only been named so by the seller for reasons irrelevant to the nature of the headphones.

Another drawback of monitor headphones lies in the heaviness of their weight in addition to their higher prices. This heaviness in weight is due to the dynamic emitter used in them. There isn’t much information available about the inside of the case. Monitors of the highest quality often made of metal covered by synthetic leather or such other soft material. There are monitors made of plastic as well. This makes them extra strong, reliable, and long-lasting but also uncomfortable to be used for longer periods.

AKG K712 Studio Headphones - Perks of Studio Monitor Headphones
AKG K712 Studio Headphones - Perks of Studio Monitor Headphones | Source: AKG

2. Perks Of Using Monitor Headphones

Despite all their apparent flaws, some of their features make monitor headphones fit for domestic use. Some of the perks of having monitors for your personal use are given as under:

Sound Quality

  • If you’re recording sounds, whether it’s your voice or an instrument’s sound, you would want to listen to the original sound with zero distortion or embellishment. Only the monitor headphones can offer the highest level of sound quality in this regard.

Sound Isolation

  • The sound isolation level varies based on the kind of headphones being used, i.e., open headphones with gaps in the earpads or closed pairs without any spaces. 

The level of sound isolation chosen varies from musician to musician based on their individual preferences, i.e., while one musician wants to listen to how his original voice sounds, another might be interested in hearing how the music sounds paired with his voice.

Moreover, the speakers’ music should not get recorded by the microphone when recording a certain sound. Another point to remember is that active noise cancellation is not a feature generally offered by monitor headphones.

Mono-Channel Headphones

  • Some monitor headphones, although quite unpopular, come with the special feature of including a single channel. This allows them to listen to their actual voice or the sound of the instrument they play through one ear and the music with the other one.

Comfortability

  • Comfortability is a basic must-have for monitor headphones since sound recordings can be exhaustingly long and could go on for hours. An uncomfortable pair of monitors will only frustrate the musician and end up negatively affecting the quality of his performance.

 Dependability

  • Because the headphones are used ceaselessly throughout the day, they are required to be dependable and capable of being used for longer periods without compromising the sound quality.

Hence, monitors are specifically meant to be used on a professional level no matter which of their features you look at. The soundproofing is the only feature that can be of any use in a domestic setting. Not many people are interested in the details of the sound spectrum.

However, if you are a budding musician or plan to join the industry anytime soon and practice at home, these headphones will be perfect for you. Additionally, you can directly connect them to any kind of sound equipment, including a DJ remote control and a sound amplifier thanks to their standard-sized diameter jack, i.e., 6.3 mm.

Audio Technica ATH-M50X - Studio Monitor Worth Buying
Audio Technica ATH-M50X - Studio Headphones Worth Buying | Source: AKG

3. Monitor Headphones Worthy Of Being Bought

Closed monitor headphones are more suitable if you’re not going to be using them professionally. You must make it a point to test all the features offered before going ahead with the purchase.

3.1 Audio-Technica ATH-M50

These headphones offer a higher level of sensitivity, which has a major effect on the sound volume. They are highly ergonomic and comfortable. The folding design of these headphones makes them even more convenient, and the sound they create is very similar to the linear frequency response. These qualities make the Audio-Technica ATH-M50 suitable for both domestic and professional use. It does not matter where you use them, i.e., on a busy road, in the airplane or on the train, it won’t affect the sound’s quality in any way. The good news is that these headphones aren’t very demanding when it comes to a sound source’s power, i.e., even a simple MP3 player like the Cowon will be good enough.

3.2 Fostex T50 RP

The Fostex T50 RP offer sounds with zero distortion. All the frequencies operate under physics laws, i.e., neither is the bass too deep nor is the high spectrum too reverberant. Although these headphones are meant to be used in a studio, they could also be used by people who prefer to listen to real sounds in high quality. Even though these monitors’ earpads are half-closed, it has little to no effect on their soundproofing features.

3.3 The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro

 

These headphones are generally used for examining the recorded sounds to look for portions of the spectrum that have been over-represented. This means that these headphones are great for use at home as they provide a clear demonstration of ultra-high frequencies as well as bass. Additionally, the soundproofing features offered by this model are also quite satisfactory. Moreover, they provide you with two different versions having varying resistance values for different working situations.

 

3.4 Sony MDR-1R

This model can be considered one of the most suitable pair of monitor headphones for domestic use. You can even use them outdoors. They’re compact, comfortable, and very light in weight. Their sound isolation feature is quite impressive and allows you to experience a high-quality sound even in noisy environments.

3.5 German Maestro 450

These headphones may not be very impressive in terms of sound quality, but they are quite convenient. The earpads of these headphones are made of plastic and are quite light in weight. These headphones can rest firmly over your head and fit right in.

Hence, although mainly designed to be used for both professional and non-professional recordings, the monitor headphones can also be used domestically. Users, however, need to be huge fans of natural, analytical sound. Otherwise, despite their exceptional quality, they won’t be of much use.

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