When it comes to vinyl, headphones are not the first priority. However, the need to shut out the outer world and not to disturb anyone causes vinyl lovers to look for the best headphones for vinyl.
Such headphones must convey the sound equally (or, possibly, even better) as speakers do. For that, they must have solid composition and implement quality drivers and a crossover.
Best headphones for vinyl can use either dynamic drivers or magnet-driven ones. They can vary in detailing ability and dynamics, crossover preciseness and penetrative quality of the sound. And the cost varies, too.
The must-have feature of the best headphones for turntable is the compensation system. It accounts for dampening clicks, pops, the roughness of the old vinyl records and smoothing the overall performance.
The vinyl headphones also differ by a number of comfort options, like padding quality, ergonomics, weight distribution, etc. The models represented in current reviews combine the listed factors each in its own way delivering unique sound experience. Pick your best audiophile headphones for vinyl!
Headphones for Vinyl Reviews
Sennheiser HD280PRO: Best Headphone for Vinyl
These professional record player headphones offer significant value for a low price. Every detail is made and fitted with precision and feels like much more expensive competitors. The padding is very soft both around the ears and on a band and features ergonomic shape ensuring the most comfortable headphones positioning on a head.
The ear cups are of a closed type, with enhanced protection and efficient high-frequency noise cancelling effect. It means that no sound from the outside below 32 dB will be heard, while the enveloping warm performance of this model creates a true “sound-in-the-head” ambiance.
These vinyl headphones produce mellow enveloping sound reflecting all the warmth of the analog audio. They feature a vast frequency range starting from 8 Hz letting the listener hear the deep bass variations and precisely outlined highs. The midrange is wide and detailed, tending to deviate to the lower end. The bass is full and powerful, with the dynamic thump and smooth transitions.
- 64 Ohm impedance brings overload protection and fits for both home listening and DJ-ing and professional studio use.
- Replaceable parts make this model future proof.
- Lightweight with only 10.05 oz enables the no-wear extensive usage.
- The maximum volume isn’t too loud.
Koss Porta Pro: Clear Sound & Comfortable Fit
These portable headphones for vinyl listening date back to 1980s and still keep the charm of the time. Their design reminds the retro models, and the sound has a touch of the old-time warmth and fluidity.
The headphones are of the open type, so, the audiophile can keep awareness of the world around. At the same time, they deliver quite powerful audio signal with rich enwrapping bass and colorful midrange. The dynamic driver and copper voice coils ensure the depth and strength of the bass. Treble might seem a bit bright at upper volume; yet, it doesn’t lack detail and character. The sound is sharply precise at all frequency levels, while the covered range starts from 15 Hz and reaches 25 KHz.
This model allows adjusting ear cups fit and make them tighter or freer on the head. There is a special slider on a side of each cup that is easy to reach and manipulate. The unit is foldable and makes a good traveling option.
- Dynamic and natural authentic sound.
- Quality soft ads feel natural and do not heat the ears.
- Quick and easy headband adjustment.
- No integrated volume control.
- Metal headband might pull a hair when being adjusted.
Audio-Technica ATHM40x: Flat Performance & Rich Detailed Sound
These headphones were intended for professional studio usage; however, their no-color precise audio performance places them among the top pick for vinyl headphones.
The ear cups feature closed design and circumaural pad shape delivering complete separation from the outside world. The noise isolation level reaches 90 dB. The earcups can be rotated in both directions.
This model is tuned to convey the sound the way it was recorded, in full detail. It produces a thumpy yet accurate bass, vast midrange nuance, and confident sharp treble. The magnet driver design lets each instrument line to be heard distinctly while diffusing in the audio flow naturally and flowing with potent dynamics.
96 dB sensitivity doesn’t blow the mind; meanwhile, combined with the complete noise isolation, it does rock. There’s no need to wind up the volume too high for pop and classic compositions and even for most of the rock ones.
- Well-balanced sound throughout the whole frequency range.
- Nice-to-touch ergonomic padding.
- The cord is detachable for easier replacement / upgrade.
- Considerable clamping force, not fit for extensive wearing.
- Large size.
Grado SR80e: Diversity of Detail, Deep Potent Bass
The first thing to notice about these middle-class headphones is the accuracy and power of the audio they produce. The drivers have enhanced design and are protected by the metal casing. The headphones convey the sound just as it’s been recorded, without any traceable distortion, against the silent background. When on vinyl, the slightest groove damage or a tonearm skip is heard distinctly, while the overall capturing of details is very pleasing. Treble is pinpoint precise, the vocals are diverse and iridescent. Mids create a vast open stage and are complemented by the deep evolving bass. The headphones also produce solid well-outlined beats and do very well as DJ equipment.
The ear cushions are large, while the cups are open type. This adds to the variety of details and liveliness of sound. At the same time, dynamic lows do not cause fatigue and too much head buzz. Paired by the flat response, this model can definitely be recommended as vinyl headphones.
- Expansive colorful soundstage and precise rhythmic picture.
- Solid reliable build.
- On-ear padding design prevents listener’s the skin from getting warm.
- No environment isolation — others can hear the sound.
- No earcups adjustment options.
Edifier H650: Flexible Build, Fluid Performance
This budget-priced model reveals much more potential than suggested by the price tag. With only 3.2 oz and ergonomic on-ear design, it feels almost non-present and comfortable. The unique tri-fold engineer decision lets the headphones take minimal place near the tiniest turntables.
The ear cups are closed, and the large 40mm drivers create an immersing “music-in-the-head” impression. The headphones integrate noise canceling and isolating technologies letting keep the sound within the device without the slightest leakage.
The drivers are magnet-based and deliver clear flat sound with all the nuance inherent in the original record. The midrange is wide and dense. The bass might not be overly deep; yet, it holds the rhythm perfectly and conveys the beat precisely. Treble has a touch of brightness that doesn’t spoil the overall immersive experience.
- High sensitivity (103 dB) for loud listening.
- Stainless steel and strong plastic components fit seamlessly and feel durable.
- Not fit for big heads — provide too much tension.
- The cord is rather flimsy and gets twisted frequently.
beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO: Deep Bass, Durable Design
These professional studio headphones are able to pick the frequencies as low as 5 Hz and develop the sound flow through the range up to 35 KHz. Such diverse frequency response results in the authentic conveyance of vinyl warmth and tiniest details that are so much cherished by the fans of the analog sound.
The bass gets really low and dense, dynamic and unfolding throughout the playback. It comes thumpy but not boomy, creating an enveloping effect. The highs are transparent and detailed, relayed with accuracy and precision. The midrange brings a holistic sound picture, while subtly yet precisely differentiating each instrument and voice line.
The headphones have an open ear cup design additionally supporting the spacious bass and letting the listener be aware of the surrounding world. The padding is circumaural and feels solid yet soft against the ear due to velour coating.
- 250 Ohm impedance for distortion-less Hi-Fi sound.
- Typical for the byerdynamic sensitive transducers outline the audio peculiarity in real-time.
- Sturdy single-sided cable brings freedom of motion and doesn’t twist.
- Rather heavy design doesn’t allow the extensive wearing.
- At high volume, the high frequencies of the audio can leak to the environment.
BEHRINGER Slvr/Blk HPM1000: Hi-Fi Sound at Low Price
These low-cost headphones offer many options usually available at much more expensive models while featuring sturdy build and comfortable wear properties. Still, what makes them appear on the vinyl headphones list, is the packed engineering design providing a mix of technologies for the high fidelity sound.
The headphones convey the audio of minimal 20 Hz, where the accurate warm bass brings immersion and vibration. The treble reaches 20 KHz and is distinct and transparent.
It produces warmth and all the authentic detail required from vinyl playback. The sound is lively and catchy throughout the whole frequency range.
The headphones belong to the studio type and feature closed design. The ear pads are circumaural ensuring the immersive effect and noise cutting, and feel comfortable to the skin. They are good for longer listening.
- Hi-res capsules enhance the detailing and ensure distortion-free performance.
- High sensitivity of 110 dB allows getting the signal really loud.
- Flexible connection options (⅛ jack and ¼ adaptor).
- Rather big and heavy.
- No ear-wise adjustment.
How to Pick Headphones for a Record Player
If you are keen on listening to vinyl with headphones, choosing the right model will save time, funds and spare you the disappointment. Consider the following while choosing your best headphones for vinyl:
- Sound quality. The analog sound warmth and detail can be conveyed through a Hi-Fi device tailor-cut to produce clear and detailed audio. You might not be in need for an overly deep or boomy bass; yet, the vast frequency range will also ensure the precise sound recreation throughout the playback.
- Open / closed type. Depending on the environment, you might prefer open type headphones for vinyl listening to a closed one, or vice versa. If you choose the headphones for a new tint of the records’ listening in a silent environment, the open type might be a good pick. Such headphones create a vast open soundstage revealing all the nuance of the analog sound. Still, if you aim for outside noise blocking or keeping good relationship with other people, the closed cans are your optimal pick.
- Comfort. Choose between the circumaural and on-ear pads, different kinds of padding, adjustable headbands and earcups (position and pressure). This is especially valid for people with non-standard head size and / or shape.
- Price tag. The optimal vinyl headphones vary in price widely and represent budget, middle class, or high-end models. Consider the headphones’ performance, comfort and functions, and pick the very phones you need.
Connecting Headphones to a Turntable
Now that you’ve picked your model and are ready for listening to vinyl with headphones, here comes the issue of connecting the headphones. Three options are available:
- Direct connection. Some turntables feature a headphones jack and allow plugging the headphones’ cable directly. However, such connection in most cases won’t provide for volume / tone adjustment. Besides, the linear signal is too weak to be caught in full by the headphones, and the performance might differ from the optimal one.
- Connecting through the headphone amp. The dedicated headphones amplifier will boost the signal to just the level necessary to derive the most out of your vinyl records. Such amps often ensure a high-level sound quality and separation. Some of such devices offer an RCA output letting the user alternate speakers and headphones’ connection and compare the result.
- Connecting through the general / integrated amp. If you already have an AVR or a stereo receiver with the dedicated headphones jack, this might become a good solution for your listening to vinyl with headphones. Though the sound quality might be slightly thinner than with the dedicated headphones’ amp, such option is much more versatile, allowing to connect other acoustic gear and combine the sources.