Wait, why do I need headphones?
Headphones are essential for two main reasons, monitoring (listening to yourself while you’re recording along with any other tracks you may have in your project), and sound quality.
If you record using a microphone and monitor yourself without headphones you will likely get feedback. AHHH! Your microphone will be trying to listen to you then feed that sound into your speakers which will then be feeding that sound back into your microphone and then back into the speakers and on and on until you hear that horrible high pitched sound that makes everyone cover their ears and run for the hills! Additionally, even if you are able to avoid the feedback problem, if you try to record vocals on top of an existing guitar track for instance, you will hear the guitar track “bleeding” through in your vocal track because your microphone will be picking up the sound coming from your computer speakers as well as your voice. This makes editing your recording later very difficult because you won’t be able to separate those two sounds from each other.
Headphones help you hear the full fidelity of what you’re recording. Standard computer speakers don’t reproduce the full frequency spectrum that’s actually happening in the music you’re listening to, especially in the low-frequency range where instruments like bass and kick drums get most of their sound. You’ll notice if you listen to music on your computer speakers you will often hardly hear the bass at all.
Ok, I’m convinced. So what headphones should I use?
Earbuds are ok but suffer from a similar problem as computer speakers in terms of sound quality. You definitely want to AVOID BLUETOOTH! With Bluetooth there is an inherent delay or “latency” between the sound playing on your device and it registering in your headphones. This is ok for just listening, but when you are trying to sync your playing or singing with an existing track in your recording project it’s an absolute nightmare.
I recommend picking up a set of noise-canceling studio headphones (the ones with the foamy stuff that goes around your ears) that plug directly into your computer or audio interface. There are many out there that will work, but here are a couple of suggestions:
Want to Learn More About Recording at Home?
We’ve also got an overview on everything you may need to start recording your music at home. Check out the full blog here.