The future of music

10 Best Guitar Amp Headphones

December 29, 2023
best guitar amp headphones

Calling guitarists near and far.

Ready to purchase the one simple piece of tech that will take your playing into the stratosphere?

If improving at your craft is your aim, run, don’t walk, to the nearest music store. 

While your whole neighborhood doubtless knows about your skill, they don’t necessarily want to hear proof of it in the early morning hours.

A set of guitar amp headphones will let your unbridled creativity take hold – without getting the cops called.

Why You Need Guitar Amp Headphones

A high-quality pair of amp headphones will allow you more focused, productive, enjoyable practice and jamming time.

They will enable you to play when you feel like it, not just when the family is away at work.

Late-night inspiration has met its match with the selection we highlight below.

You can dish out some experimental riffs or try your hand at some classic chords without the prying ears of friends and neighbors dampening your confidence.

They will allow you to hone in on your playing quality so you can pick up on tonal inconsistencies and errant chords more easily.

Ultimately, this will make you a more insightful, incisive musician.

What’s the Difference Between Closed-Back and Open-Back Headphones?

A simple question with a simple answer.

It all comes down to how the ear cups are designed. 

With open-back headphones air passes from the rear of the speaker drivers, which prevents the unpleasant build-up of resonances and low frequencies.

This design allows for a more natural, less distorted sound.

One drawback is that the design allows external noise to bleed in.

We’re talking birds in the trees and your neighbor’s TV set.

On that note, this means that anyone within close proximity will also be able to hear your output as it comes seeping out the rear of the set.

Closed-back headphones don’t allow air to escape, so your sound will be less “true to form.”

Closed-back models will free you from the tyranny of ambient sound, bedroom acoustics, and traffic noises.

You’ll get stellar isolation, which means you can keep your experimental chords a secret from prying ears. 

Closed-back designs tend to exaggerate the low-frequency end of the spectrum.

This can be a frustration for some musicians but a non-issue for others.

We typically suggest closed-back headphones for urban residents or apartment dwellers, as they’ll offer you peak secrecy and discretion while you bash out some strange and groovy new sounds.

Best Budget-Friendly Guitar Amp Headphones 2023

1. AKG K240

AKG K240 Guitar Amp Headphones

Specifications

  • Price: $80 USD
  • Type: Over-ear, semi-open-back
  • Bluetooth: No
  • Amp modeling: No
  • Active noise canceling: No
  • Frequency response: 15Hz – 25 KHz

A budget-friendly pair with gold exterior features?

We vote yes.

You’ll get uncompromising value for your money with this sturdy, lightweight model, and you’ll get balanced sounds without auctioning off the farm.

While the sound quality is not quite as hi-fi or organic as some of the more expensive models, it is more than capable of becoming your new favorite practicing companion.

It supports frequencies between 15Hz to 28kHz, so you’ll get most of your needs covered.

The semi-open back design provides the spacious, buoyant sound of a traditional open-back model, without quite as much leakage or background ambient noise.

The self-adjusting headband means peak comfort, and the light body makes them a pinch for long and arduous practice sessions.

If you’re a newbie to the guitar tech world or want a basic pair of headphones for practice sessions, you’ve met your match. 

2. Vox VGH AC30

Vox VGH AC30 Guitar Amp Headphones

Specifications

  • Price: $100 USD
  • Type: Over-ear, closed-back
  • Bluetooth: No
  • Amp modeling: Yes
  • Active noise canceling: No
  • Frequency response: 20Hz – 20Khz

Who needs a guitar amp when you can get your hands on the VGH AC30, a savvy all-rounder with a tongue twister of a name?

They are nearly equivalent to the Vox amPlug, and offer the same comprehensive experience in a more practical, user-friendly way.

They come with a 40mm driver and offer warm and rich tones at the lower gain levels. 

While they can be a touch harsh at the higher gain levels with a pronounced bass, they do offer powerful features and reliable representation for guitarist newbies and pros alike.

You’ll get access to an impressive frequency range given the price point, and amp modeling to boot.

They offer basic guitar input, which is to be expected, but they also offer a separate line so you can play along with tracks while you practice.

The closed-back design means you can jam out and go wild in your room, living room, or even garden (why not?)

Best Mid-Range Guitar Amp Headphones 2023

3. Sony MDR-7506

Sony MDR-7506 Guitar Amp Headphones

Specifications

  • Price: $120 USD
  • Type: Circum-aural, closed-back
  • Bluetooth: No
  • Amp modeling: Yes
  • Active noise canceling: No
  • Frequency response: 5Hz – 22Khz

A reputable brand that offers great value and compelling quality.

This model offers the razor-sharp precision and transparent clarity of a much pricier pair.

These headphones have a pretty buzzy rep and have been on the scene since the nineties, which is basically the medieval ages where tech is concerned. 

They offer honest, organic tones so you can get a real-time, realistic representation.

The frequency response is flat with a small uptick in the mid and high range.

This means you’ll be able to pick up any harsh or discordant tones and correct course appropriately. 

The cozy adjustment bands and graded sliders make for long-term comfort, and the leather-like cups are supple and practical.

The cable is a wee bit heavy, but this won’t bog you down for medium-length sessions.

Allow us a moment of corniness: these affordable little gems will truly make your practice perfect. 

4. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Guitar Amp Headphones

Specifications

  • Price: $150 USD
  • Type: Over-ear, closed-back
  • Bluetooth: No
  • Amp modeling: No
  • Active noise canceling: No
  • Frequency response: 15Hz – 28KHz

Want out-of-this-world isolation and peak comfort?

Audio-Technica beckons.

Heck, these wonder workers are even foldable and have a removable cable.

They offer professional-level sound quality, and despite a subtle bass emphasis, you’ll get overall fidelity to your killer chords. 

Whether you muck around in the low frequencies, or hit the highest of notes, this model can make it happen, supporting frequencies between 15Hz and 28kHz. 

The whole spectrum is well-represented with approachable highs and contoured, rounded-out lows. 

The open top-end design delivers lush reverbs and delays.

Long story short, regardless of how ambitious your needs are, and how powerful your riffs are, these headphones won’t falter.

Considering their robustness, you’d think they might be unwieldy and complicated to use and wear.

Lies.

They offer hours of comfort, making them a durable companion for your musical flow states.

Oh, and they have Bluetooth compatibility, so you can truly grab them and go hit the road.  

5. Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro

Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro Guitar Amp Headphones

Specifications

  • Price: $140 USD
  • Type: Over-ear, open-back
  • Bluetooth: No
  • Amp modeling: No
  • Active noise canceling: No
  • Frequency response: 5 – 35KHz

With unparalleled, seamless frequency response, you can rely on these Beyerdynamic headphones to provide a blissful experience and microscopic accuracy.

They were originally designed for mixing, but they work wonders with a guitar amp, offering contoured, complex tones across the frequency spectrum.

The only drawback is the open-back design, which will make it harder to practice when you have roommates or if you do your best work in complete secrecy.  

The sound quality is capital “D” detailed, so you can fine-tune and perfect your tone and frequencies as you go.

Every nuance will be magnified, offering you real-time ear training.

The frequency response is on the flatter side, with a subtle de-emphasis in the sub-range.

The velour ear cushions offer maximum comfort and wearability.

If you produce and mix music, as well, you’ll kill two birds with one stone by investing in these.

They work miraculously with plug-ins and samplers, as well.

6. Shure SRH840A

Shure SRH840A Guitar Amp Headphones

Specifications

  • Price: $150
  • Type: Over-ear, closed-back
  • Bluetooth: No
  • Amp modeling: No
  • Active noise canceling: No
  • Frequency response: 5Hz – 25kHz

Just like being in an isolation booth!

These Shure headphones are akin to having a professional studio around your neck.

The result is well-articulated, detailed sound, with no distractions or ambient feedback.

These headphones will help you master tough chords or experimental new riffs without any external noise muddying the results.

Even better?

People can come and go while you practice in the living room – you won’t hear a thing, and neither will they.

The sophisticated design is eminently comfortable, and the miles-long cable allows you to meander about the house while you get in the flow.

While the sound is not as flat as some of the other sets we’ve reviewed here, the outcome is still hi-fidelity, sumptuous representation that allow you to hone in on the meat of your chords. 

Best Premium Guitar Amp Headphones 2023

7. Boss Waza-Air

Boss Waza-Air Guitar Amp Headphones

Specifications

  • Price: $350 USD
  • Type: Over-ear, closed-back
  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • Amp modeling: Yes
  • Active noise canceling: No
  • Frequency response: N/A

Ten-dimensional sounds (is that possible?), amp modeling, and a sleek and razor-sharp design.

That’s all in a day’s work for the Bozz Waza-Air headphones.

They deliver a shockingly realistic sound, so you can really drive down and hear your chords and melodies in action.

This makes adjustments and edits a pinch, and allows you to practice your most complex chords in peace and solitude. 

We can’t sing their praises enough when it comes to sheer dynamic sound quality.

The Waza-Airs are basically an amp in headphone form, and they will have you feeling like you are sitting right in front of an amp.

They feature advanced, space-age spatial technology – a veritable simulated sonic world.

It is basically like seeing a song in 3D.

It is based upon the Katana-amp series, so you can trust that it delivers tonal clarity and flawless sonic realism.

They are completely wireless and come with their own dedicated transmitter.

You can also edit and access 50 customizable effects through the Boss’ Tone Studio smartphone app.

They will provide about five hours of play-time when fully charged, ideal for insomniac sessions. A full rig on the go? Mais oui.

8. Sennheiser HD650

Sennheiser HD650 Guitar Amp Headphones

Specifications

  • Price: $400 USD
  • Type: Over-ear, open-back
  • Bluetooth: No
  • Amp modeling: No
  • Active noise canceling: No
  • Frequency response: 12Hz – 41Khz

Pure aesthetic style, pure fidelity, pure sonic flow state.

Check, check, check.

This model has low harmonic distortion, meaning true-to-form sonic tapestries – without fail.

The crystal clear quality allows you to gain expert insight.

They are microscopic in their ability to zero in on every nuance, quirk, and tone.

If precision is what you’re after, these are pretty unbeatable.

They are pricey, sure, but you are getting value for every penny you spend, as they are designed by committed (German) audio engineers.   

The massive ear pads provide peak comfort for marathon practice sessions, and the sturdy body makes the HD650’s ideal for travel, road trips, and busy lifestyles.

One consideration that might sway your choice is the open-back design.

This makes them trickier to use in domestic settings when you want to keep your practice sessions under wraps.

Tech snobs will love these.

They feature powerful neodymium magnet systems for minimum harmonic and intermodulation distortion and support a jaw-dropping frequency range of 10Hz to 41kHz.

9. Focal Listen Professional

Focal Listen Professional Guitar Amp Headphones

Specifications

  • Price: $300 USD
  • Type: Over-ear, closed-back
  • Bluetooth: No
  • Amp modeling: Yes
  • Active noise canceling: No
  • Frequency response: 5Hz – 22Khz

These guitar amp headphones offer superior isolation, allowing you to plug them in and practice to your heart’s content, whenever and wherever.

The isolation, paired with the superlative sound quality, means you get clarity, transparency, and precision with every tone and chord you dish out.

The punch of your riffs will blow you away. 

They are comfortable and sturdy, so you can take your time jamming out without a worry in the world.

The cups are made of a cushy memory foam material, so you’ll feel like you have an on-the-go professional studio.

The acoustic treatment quality doesn’t hurt, either.

The silicon headband can get sweaty, but you probably won’t notice until you take them off.

They offer fidelity for the full spectrum, with tight, crisp sub and bass.

These are ideal when you want to kick distortion and fuzzy feedback to the curb!

10. Neumann NDH 30 Open-back Studio Headphones

Neumann NDH 30 Open-back Studio Headphones

Specifications

  • Price: $650 USD
  • Type: Reference-grade open-back
  • Bluetooth: No
  • Amp modeling: Yes
  • Active noise canceling: No
  • Frequency range: 12 – 34,000 Hz

A studio-grade powerhouse that delivers spacious sonic purity and pristine tones.

The frequency response is excellent, and you’ll truly feel like you’ve walked into the most luxe and storied studio in your city just by throwing them on.

The sound is transparent, microscopically precise, nuanced, and robustly detailed.

You’ll have access to nearly the whole sonic spectrum, as they support a massive frequency range: between 12Hz and 34kHz.

The open-back will provide eye-opening spatial resolution and vibrant, spacious representation. 

The design is stunning, with an elegant, sleek aluminum body and hypnotically comfortable ear pads.

They are pricey, sure, but they’re basically the Ferrari of headphones and any producer or pro guitarist worth their salt will be more than familiar with the name.

The brand recognition alone makes them worth every penny. 

How to Choose the Best Guitar Amp Headphones

Close-back or open-back?

What suits you better?

Do you need complete isolation?

Do you have neighbors and roommates who are tired of hearing you practice?

That might rule out open-back headphones.

Do you practice in the garage or studio?

The spacious representation of open-back headphones might suit you just fine. 

Price point

If you’ve learned one thing today, it’s hopefully this: guitar amp headphones run the gamut from cheap to expensive.

If you are willing to pay more you can get pretty stunning fidelity and studio-grade quality.

These might be worth investing in, particularly if productive guitar practice is the center of your life and the key to your professional ambitions.

Wireless capacities

Is Bluetooth functionality important to you?

Do you want access to a companion app that can help you fine-tune your sound and add effects?

Do you prefer a lo-fi, no-frills pair that delivers the goods, old-school style?

This might be a make-or-break-it for you and a non-issue for someone else. 

Durability

Are you planning on taking your headphones on the road or stuffing them into your backpack?

You might need a pair that is foldable and sturdy so you can tote them around without fear.

If you plan on housing them on a desk or in a bedroom studio, you might not care if they fold or have a detachable cable.

Sound quality

Sure, we all want high quality.

But what does that mean for you?

Do you need transparent, crystal-clear representation, or do you prefer a set that can confidently support soaring highs and valley-deep lows?

Do you love a more aggressive, pronounced bass, or is that a total turn-off?

These considerations will be unique to you and your creative ambitions. 

Versatility

Are you using your headphones exclusively for practice?

Or are you planning on using them for mixing and producing via a plugin or sampler?

Do you want a pair that can double as a leisure set for casual listening?

What Type of Headphones Do You Need for a Guitar Amp?

Stop holding your breath – as long as your amp has a headphone jack, you can use basically any type of headphone set.

Go take a gander at your amp and ensure it has an audio jack before dropping your life’s savings on headphones.

Or better yet, if you’re in the market for an amp, forego ones without this functionality.

Most amps have a jack that is compatible with the smaller 3.5mm size (the size used for consumer-grade headphones for laptops and phones).

Others will feature a larger 6.35mm socket.

In that case, you may require a converter.

Most tube amps don’t come with headphone jacks, but modeling amps and solid-state amps typically do.

But why, you ask?

Well, tube amps have such a high output that they are, quite frankly, too hot to handle for most headphones.

You wouldn’t want your new investment fried after one go, would you? 

Do Guitar Amps Sound Good With Headphones?

This is a matter of the pairing itself.

If you pair a retro amp with headphones, you might end up uninspired, as the amp itself may not offer the seamless compatibility you’re looking for.

The results can be distorted, fuzzy, or crass, with unproductive feedback.

That won’t only frustrate you but won’t be conducive to your growth as a musician.

Luckily, most new amp models sound terrific with headphones and are designed to “translate” well, if you will.

You’ll get a pretty accurate representation of your sound, and you’ll be empowered to practice and experiment, thus improving your skill.

How We Chose the Best Guitar Amp Headphones

Brand recognition, popular and commercial reviews, and features win the day on this one.

We wanted to include high-quality models at a range of prices, but we didn’t want to cheap out on extra features.

In addition to sheer sound quality, we also considered durability, comfort, and value.

There are thousands of wonderful headphones on the market, but they are not all guitar-amp compatible.

We cut out the noise and focused exclusively on the headphones that have proven themselves to be up to the task.

We also wanted to ensure maximum practicality, so most of these headphones will allow you to practice at all hours of the day and night without alerting the town sheriff.

Amped Up

The time is now.

No more hesitation and no more excuses.

You can no longer use your roommate’s sleeping schedules as a convenient reason for why you can’t practice.

Guitar amp headphones are simple pieces of tech that can help you go from 2 hours of practice time a week to 20.

Your growth as a musician depends on it.

No pressure, though.

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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