Unveiling the Best Headphones for Guitar Amps: Top Picks & Buying Guide

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Last updatedLast updated: May 28, 2024
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When it comes to immersing oneself in the world of music, particularly for guitarists, the quality of headphones matters greatly.

Whether you’re a music producer, a recording artist, or a hobbyist guitarist, headphones that sync perfectly with your guitar amp can drastically enhance your playing and listening experience. In this regard, it’s imperative to have a reliable guide to navigate the vast options available on the market. Our comprehensive guide aims to assist you in selecting the best headphones for a guitar amp that cater to your individual sound needs and preferences.


Audio-Technica ATH-M50xEditor’s Choice



  • Type: Closed-back dynamic
  • Driver Diameter: 45 mm
  • Frequency Response: 15 – 28,000 Hz
  • Maximum Input Power: 1,600 mW at 1 kHz
  • Sensitivity: 99 dB
  • Impedance: 38 ohms

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x is the crème de la crème in the realm of headphones for guitar amps. These headphones exhibit a closed-back design that offers fantastic isolation from external noise while playing your guitar. Sporting large-aperture 45mm drivers, they’re designed to provide extraordinary clarity throughout an extended frequency range. This ensures you get a deep, accurate bass response, a detailed mid-range, and clear highs that are crucial in capturing the full essence of your guitar’s tonal attributes.

Upon diving deeper into the ATH-M50x’s performance, you’ll notice how they deliver a balanced and accurate sound profile. The frequency response of these headphones ranges from 15Hz to 28kHz, making them perfect for guitarists who play a wide range of genres. This, coupled with an impressive impedance of 38 ohms, makes the ATH-M50x ideal for both low and high-gain guitar amps. Another characteristic worth noting is their high sensitivity (99 dB), meaning they can produce a loud output even with a small amplifier.

In terms of application, the ATH-M50x is incredibly versatile. Whether you’re a professional guitarist recording in the studio or an amateur enthusiast practicing late into the night, these headphones will serve you well. Their circumaural design provides an immersive listening experience, and they also offer one-ear monitoring thanks to the 90-degree swiveling ear cups, which are useful for DJs or live performers.

The ATH-M50x stands out in the market not just due to its excellent sound quality but also because of its user-friendly design and robust build. They come with a detachable cable and a foldable design for easy storage and portability. Made of professional-grade materials, they’re both comfortable for long-term use and durable enough to withstand the rigors of regular gigging or touring.

However, they do have a few minor shortcomings. For one, they might feel a bit tight on larger heads, and their soundstage is quite narrow due to the closed-back design. But overall, considering their price point, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x represents a perfect blend of quality, durability, and versatility, making them an excellent choice for any guitarist looking for the best headphones for guitar amps.

What do we love it for?

  • Excellent sound quality with clear bass, mids, and highs
  • High sensitivity for a loud output
  • Versatile with a 90-degree swiveling design
  • Durable build and comfortable for long-term use

What were we disappointed with?

  • Might feel tight on larger heads
  • The soundstage is quite narrow due to the closed-back design


Sennheiser HD 650Best for Studio Applications



  • Type: Open-back dynamic
  • Frequency Response: 10 – 39,500 Hz
  • THD (total harmonic distortion): <= 0.05%
  • Sensitivity: 103 dB at 1 kHz, 1 V
  • Impedance: 300 ohms

A close runner-up, the Sennheiser HD 650 is a top-notch choice for guitarists seeking superior sound reproduction. It’s the open-back counterpart of the ATH-M50x, providing an expansive soundstage and a natural, airy sound that guitar players will undoubtedly appreciate. Housing a high-quality titanium-silver finish and employing specially designed acoustic silk for precision damping over the entire frequency range, these headphones provide a natural sound that’s as close as possible to the original source.

When you delve into their performance characteristics, the HD 650s excel with their wide frequency response of 10Hz to 41kHz. This ensures you’ll hear every nuance of your guitar’s sound, from the deepest lows to the highest highs. Moreover, with an impedance of 300 ohms, they’re particularly well suited for high-gain amps and studio use where higher quality headphone amplifiers are usually available.

These headphones are a fantastic choice for guitarists who value the intimate experience of playing in a live environment. The open-back design lends itself to a spacious and immersive soundstage, simulating the feeling of playing in a room or on a stage. Additionally, the HD 650s are lauded for their remarkable transient response, reproducing the quick bursts of sound that are common in percussive and plucked string instruments.

One area where the Sennheiser HD 650 shines is in its comfort and build quality. Crafted with high-quality materials, including soft velour ear pads and a padded headband, these headphones are comfortable enough for long practice or recording sessions. Plus, they feature user-replaceable parts, meaning you can maintain their optimal performance for years to come.

However, the HD 650s are not without their drawbacks. Due to their open-back design, they don’t isolate sound well, which can be problematic in noisy environments. Also, they require a high-quality amplifier to sound their best due to their high impedance. But for guitarists looking for a high-fidelity listening experience with their guitar amps, the Sennheiser HD 650 is an excellent choice that’s well worth the investment.

What makes it stand out?

  • Wide frequency range for superior sound reproduction
  • High impedance ideal for high-gain amps
  • Comfortable design with user-replaceable parts
  • Excellent transient response

Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?

  • Poor sound isolation due to the open-back design
  • Require a high-quality amplifier to sound their best


Beyerdynamic DT 990 ProBest for Comfort



  • Type: Open-back dynamic
  • Frequency Response: 5 – 35,000 Hz
  • Nominal Sound Pressure Level: 96 dB
  • T.H.D: < 0.2%
  • Impedance: 250 ohms

Designed for professional mixing, mastering, and editing, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro is another excellent choice for guitarists. They feature an open-back design with a spacious, transparent sound with strong bass and treble, perfect for getting the most out of your guitar amp.

When it comes to performance, the DT 990 Pro impresses with its wide frequency response (5Hz to 35kHz) that accurately reproduces every detail of your guitar’s sound. With an impedance of 250 ohms, these headphones are ideal for studio use and high-gain guitar amps. Their spatial reproduction is excellent, allowing guitarists to accurately perceive their instrument’s placement within the mix.

The DT 990 Pro is well-suited for those who engage in long practice or recording sessions. The open-back design provides an immersive listening experience and reduces ear fatigue. Plus, the soft, adjustable, and replaceable velour ear pads and a padded headband ensure optimal wearing comfort.

Despite their impressive performance and comfort, the DT 990 Pro has a few cons. The boosted bass and treble may not be to everyone’s liking, and they might be too bright for guitarists who prefer a more balanced or warm sound. Furthermore, unlike other open-back headphones, they don’t offer much noise isolation. But if you’re a guitarist who prefers a transparent and detailed sound for critical listening, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro could be your best bet.

Why is it special?

  • Wide frequency response for detailed sound reproduction
  • High impedance ideal for studio use
  • Comfortable design for long sessions
  • Excellent spatial reproduction

What are the flaws?

  • Boosted bass and treble may not suit everyone
  • Poor noise isolation due to open-back design


AKG K240 StudioBest Budget-friendly Option



  • Type: Semi-open back
  • Frequency Response: 15 – 25,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 104 dB SPL/V
  • Max. Input Power: 200 mW
  • Rated Impedance: 55 ohms

The AKG K240 Studio headphones offer an excellent balance of quality sound reproduction and affordability, making them an excellent choice for guitarists on a budget. These semi-open headphones produce a solid bass response and clear mids and highs, offering a satisfying listening experience when paired with a guitar amp.

When evaluating their performance, the K240 Studio offers a frequency response from 15Hz to 25kHz, allowing you to hear your guitar’s tonal attributes in detail. Their impedance is a bit lower than some other models at 55 ohms, making them versatile for low- and high-gain guitar amps.

A notable feature of the K240 Studio is its semi-open design, which balances sound isolation and an open, spacious soundstage. This makes them a versatile choice for practicing, recording or performing in various environments.

Despite its budget-friendly price, the K240 Studio doesn’t compromise on comfort. Their self-adjusting headbands and thick over-ear cushions ensure comfortable use during long periods. Moreover, the durability and user-replaceable parts, such as the cable and ear pads, prolong their lifespan.

The AKG K240 Studio does have a couple of limitations, though. The bass response, while solid, may not be as deep or pronounced as some bass lovers might prefer. Plus, their build quality, while robust, doesn’t feel as premium as some other options on this list. Nevertheless, for the price, the AKG K240 Studio offers excellent value and balanced performance that will satisfy most guitarists.

Why is it special?

  • Good balance of sound quality and affordability
  • Semi-open design offers balanced soundstage and isolation
  • Comfortable for long periods of use
  • User-replaceable parts for extended lifespan

What are the flaws?

  • Bass response may not be as deep as some prefer
  • Build quality doesn’t feel as premium as some other options


Sony MDR7506Best for Professional Use



  • Type: Closed-back dynamic
  • Driver Size: 40 mm
  • Frequency Response: 10 – 20,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 106 dB/W/m
  • Impedance: 63 ohms

The Sony MDR7506 is a staple in the music production world, renowned for its clear and balanced sound reproduction. These closed-back headphones are perfect for guitarists who prefer an isolated listening experience and require accurate sound reproduction from their guitar amp.

Performance-wise, the MDR7506 offers a frequency response of 10Hz to 20kHz, which is more than adequate for capturing the full range of a guitar’s tonal output. With an impedance of 63 ohms, they’re well suited to various guitar amps.

For guitarists who engage in long practice or recording sessions, the MDR7506 ensures comfort. They have a lightweight design, and their closed-back nature also reduces ear fatigue by blocking out external noise. Their foldable design and sturdy carrying case make them easy to transport and store.

However, the MDR7506 isn’t without flaws. The closed-back design limits the soundstage, and the non-replaceable cable could potentially shorten its lifespan if the cable gets damaged. Also, some users might find the high frequencies a bit harsh. Nonetheless, the Sony MDR7506 remains a reliable choice for any guitarist seeking a professional and balanced sound at a reasonable price.

Why did it make our list?

  • Clear and balanced sound reproduction
  • Comfortable and lightweight design
  • Foldable for easy transportation
  • Durable with a sturdy carrying case

What is not ideal about it?

  • Limited soundstage due to closed-back design
  • Non-replaceable cable
  • High frequencies may be harsh for some users


Shure SRH840Best for Sound Precision



  • Type: Closed-back dynamic
  • Driver Size: 40 mm
  • Frequency Response: 5 – 25,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 102 dB/mW
  • Impedance: 44 ohms

The Shure SRH840 headphones are designed with professional audio engineers and musicians in mind, making them a great choice for guitarists. These closed-back headphones offer an accurate frequency response, comfortable design, and high build quality, ensuring a satisfying experience when paired with a guitar amp.

In terms of performance, the SRH840 delivers a frequency response of 5Hz to 25kHz, ensuring you capture your guitar’s full tonal range. With an impedance of 44 ohms, they’re suitable for use with various guitar amps.

The SRH840 delivers a balanced and neutral sound, which is perfect for guitarists who prefer an uncolored and realistic reproduction of their guitar’s sound. Moreover, the closed-back design provides excellent noise isolation, making them suitable for practicing in noisy environments.

Shure doesn’t skimp on comfort with the SRH840. The adjustable headband and the thick around-ear cushions ensure comfort during prolonged use. They also have a detachable cable and replacement ear pads, extending their longevity.

However, there are a couple of things to remember with the SRH840. Some users might find them a bit heavy, and their soundstage isn’t as wide due to the closed-back design. But if you value sound accuracy and isolation, the Shure SRH840 is a solid choice to consider.

What are our favorite features?

  • Accurate frequency response
  • Comfortable design for prolonged use
  • Excellent noise isolation
  • Comes with a detachable cable and replacement ear pads

What could be better?

  • Might feel heavy for some users
  • Limited soundstage due to the closed-back design


Focal Listen ProfessionalBest Mobility



  • Type: Closed-back dynamic
  • Driver Size: 40 mm
  • Frequency Response: 5 – 22,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 122 dB SPL @ 1kHz – / 1Vrms
  • Impedance: 32 ohms

The Focal Listen Professional headphones are a high-end option for guitarists who want the best sound quality from their guitar amp. These closed-back headphones are known for their excellent sound reproduction, comfortable design, and robust build quality.

In terms of performance, the Listen Professional offers a wide frequency response of 5Hz to 22kHz, ensuring a detailed and vibrant sound. Moreover, with an impedance of 32 ohms, they’re easy to drive even with low-gain guitar amps.

One standout feature of the Listen Professional is its innovative driver technology, which delivers a precise and dynamic sound. The closed-back design ensures good noise isolation, making them ideal for use in noisy environments or for recording purposes.

Comfort is another area where the Listen Professional excels. The memory foam ear pads provide excellent comfort during long sessions, and the adjustable headband ensures a good fit for all head sizes. Furthermore, their robust build quality and detachable cable ensure longevity.

On the downside, the Listen Professional headphones are a bit pricier than other options on this list. Also, while decent, their soundstage isn’t as wide as some open-back models. However, the Focal Listen Professional is a worthy investment if you’re looking for a high-end listening experience with your guitar amp.

What do we love it for?

  • Excellent sound reproduction
  • Comfortable design with memory foam ear pads
  • Good noise isolation
  • Robust build quality with a detachable cable

What were we disappointed with?

  • A bit pricey
  • Soundstage isn’t as wide as some open-back models

Things to Consider

A good pair of headphones can be a guitarist’s best friend when you’re trying to nail that perfect riff or chord progression. It’s a well-known fact that an amazing set of headphones can make a huge difference in sound quality and overall playing experience. So, what should you consider when choosing the best headphones for your guitar amp? Let’s delve into it.

Type of Headphones

There are two main types of headphones: closed-back and open-back.

Closed-Back Headphones: These are designed to isolate your ears from external noise, giving you a more immersive listening experience. They’re excellent for environments with much ambient noise, like crowded spaces or noisy rooms. One of the finest examples is the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x which offers exceptional noise isolation and is known for its detailed sound reproduction.

Open-Back Headphones: These headphones allow some sound to escape through the back of the ear cups, creating a more natural and open soundstage. They’re best used in quiet environments where you don’t need to worry about disturbing others. The Sennheiser HD 650, for instance, is an open-back headphone known for its outstanding sound quality and wide soundstage.

Sound Quality

The headphones’ driver size, impedance, and frequency response determine the sound quality. Larger drivers generally provide a better bass response, while impedance and frequency response can affect the overall sound quality and clarity.

Driver Size: The driver is the component that produces the sound. Larger drivers can often produce better, louder sounds, but this isn’t a hard and fast rule. It’s also essential to consider driver quality.

Impedance: This refers to the electrical resistance of the headphones. Headphones with higher impedance require more power to deliver high audio levels, so they’re typically paired with high-end amplifiers like those in professional recording studios. Lower impedance headphones, like the Sony MDR7506, are easier to drive and can be used with various devices, including portable ones.

Frequency Response: Frequency response is the range of frequencies that the headphones can produce. A wider frequency response can offer more detail in the music. However, the human ear can only hear within a specific range, so it’s crucial to consider the quality of the frequency response over the range.

Comfort and Fit

Comfort is paramount, especially for extended use. You don’t want headphones that feel like a vice on your head after an hour of use. Look for headphones with adjustable headbands and cushioned ear cups. The material of the ear cups also matters; some materials can cause overheating and discomfort over time. The Shure SRH840 is known for its comfort, thanks to its adjustable headband and replaceable ear pads.

Durability and Design

Durability is another critical factor to consider. Look for headphones that are made of high-quality materials and have strong construction. You don’t want to replace your headphones frequently due to poor quality.

The design of the headphones can also influence your decision. Some prefer a minimalist, sleek design, while others might want something more robust or flashy. The Focal Listen Professional, for example, offers a mix of excellent sound quality with a compact, easy-to-transport design.


Regarding headphones, the price often (but not always) correlates with quality. More expensive headphones tend to offer better sound quality, durability, and comfort. However, there are still many affordable options that offer great sound quality for their price. It’s essential to set a budget before you start shopping and try to find the best quality within that budget.



Yes, guitar amps generally sound good with headphones, but it also largely depends on the quality of the headphones and the amp. High-quality headphones can accurately reproduce the intricacies of the sound from the guitar amp, allowing you to hear every detail clearly. However, it’s important to note that the sound will be different than what you’d get from a speaker, as headphones provide a more intimate listening experience.

Technically, yes, you can use any pair of headphones with a guitar amp. However, not all headphones will provide the best sound quality. Headphones with a broader frequency range and lower impedance will often perform better with guitar amps. For example, the Sony MDR7506 has low impedance and wide frequency response, making it suitable for use with guitar amps.

Not necessarily. While there are headphones specifically designed for studio monitoring and musical instruments, any high-quality pair of headphones can be used with a guitar amp. It’s more about the specifications of the headphones – they should have a good frequency response, a suitable impedance level, and provide comfortable wear for long periods.

Matching your amp to your headphones involves considering the headphones’ impedance and the amp’s power. Headphones with high impedance (over 100 ohms) may require an amp with more power to drive them effectively. Conversely, headphones with low impedance (less than 50 ohms) can be driven by most amps, including portable devices. It’s also crucial to ensure the frequency response of the headphones matches the tone you want from your guitar.

Yes, amps can sound different through headphones. Headphones provide a different listening experience as they deliver sound directly into your ears, creating a more detailed and intimate soundstage. You may notice subtle nuances in the sound that you might not catch when using a traditional speaker. Moreover, open-back headphones like the Sennheiser HD 650 will offer a wider soundstage, making the sound more ambient and less direct than closed-back headphones.

Final Thoughts

Throughout our comprehensive exploration, we’ve discovered many impressive headphones suitable for use with a guitar amp. Among these, the Sennheiser HD 650, Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, and Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro are standout choices, each earning high marks for their superb audio fidelity, build quality, and overall value for money. The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, our Editor’s Choice, delivers unmatched sound detail and comfort, making it ideal for those seeking the best headphones for a guitar amp.

As we conclude, remember that the choice of headphones significantly influences your listening experience. Look out for crucial features such as impedance, frequency range, and comfort. More importantly, remember that your preference plays a significant role. So, consider these options, but let your personal preference guide you toward the best headphones for your guitar amp. Whether you’re an experienced guitarist or a beginner, the right set of headphones can enhance your music experience, providing you with countless hours of joy and satisfaction.

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