We believe that music is essential. That’s why we’re presenting Facebook watch parties this Spring and live performances in Crested Butte this summer.
When listening to virtual performances, the simplest listening improvement you can make is to use headphones. A great pair of headphones costs little in comparison to speakers, and you don’t have to worry about environmental noise or the acoustic of your room as you would external audio.
We can simplistically think of headphones as belonging to three broad categories: open-back, closed-back, and in-ear. Each of the three types is what it sounds like it should be.
Open-back designs have an open design that allows air to reach the headphone driver, which generally provides for a less colored sound. However, with open back headphones, you hear all of the external sounds of your environment, and sound leaks out, too, so everyone around you will hear, to some extent, the content you’re hearing.
Closed-back headphones are more isolating but have a tendency to be a bit less natural sounding (with exceptions). But, they also seal out more of the external world. In-ear monitors seal out even more sound, but have a tendency to sound even more unnatural and can be uncomfortable for some. (Also note that Apple’s earbuds are not in-ear monitors; they sport a combination of all of the worst attributes – an unsealed design that leaks sound, a tinny sound, etc.)
Here are a few recommendations at various price levels. Remember to use these links so that Amazon can donate to CBMF a (VERY) small percentage of your purchase.
Audio Technica ATH- M20X
The least expensive of Audio Technica’s line of closed-back headphones shares the familial sound – an exciting boost of bass and treble. They’re not flat but they are enjoyable to use casually.
Upgrade: Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT Wireless Bluetooth
Sennheiser HD 25
Classic headphones that are near indestructible. The on-ear design can be uncomfortable for long listening sessions.
Sony 7520 (not available on Amazon)
These are my favorite headphones and the monitoring I’ll be using to record performances this summer. They’re closed back but yet somehow are the most accurate and uncolored headphones I’ve used.
The model in-ear monitor; flat, clear sound and comfortable insertion. (The cord is subject to microphonics.)
Sennheiser HD 600
Another classic headphone (open-back) that have a relaxed and un-hyped sound.
Dr. Erik Christian Peterson