I recently started playing guitar through my computer using guitar rig at home, and I must say I find it a bit difficult to not get distracted by the sound, as I usually play through some pretty nice gear otherwise.

As for now I have finally found a couple of settings that I like the tone in but have noticed that my headphones don't sound too great; so, now I'm looking to buy some better ones.

What should I look for in the headphones to make sure they don't distort the sound, even on higher volumes? Are there things to consider specifically for listening to guitar?

  • Are you looking for something that will make you sound better (:P) or more like what the guitar really sounds like? Specifically, flat frequency response like they use in studios or enhanced EQ like a set of Bose AE2 wrap arounds?
    – Jduv
    Mar 16, 2011 at 12:59
  • @JduV, I guess I don't know, that is sort of the question...(= I don't know what to look for, But I would like to get as close to the sound that my sound card sends out..
    – user399
    Mar 16, 2011 at 13:04
  • Alright, if no one else does I'll give it a go later tonight.
    – Jduv
    Mar 16, 2011 at 16:09
  • @Jduv, Well I was kind of waiting for you to answer...(=
    – user399
    Mar 16, 2011 at 17:21
  • Edited to not be a shopping recommendation question.
    – user28
    May 28, 2011 at 16:11

2 Answers 2


Most production houses use flat frequency response headphones to get the true, unequalized tone of the recorded track during post. This aids the engineer in equalizing / compressing / tweaking the track to his or her liking in isolation of outside forces. Regular audio or DJ headphones are usually designed to color the tone somewhat in order to boost bass frequencies, attenuate highs, and make whatever you are listening to generally pleasant to the human aural range. The problem with using these headsets with post-production is that it doesn't necessarily reflect the true sound of the waveform. So, if you did a car test it might sound like trash, where the headphones make it sound incredible. For simple instrument tracking and simple enjoyment, however, unless you are just unreasonably picky (we've all worked with those types) or obsessed with hearing your instrument exactly as played during the session any decent set of headphones should suffice. Personally I use an old set of Bose wrap arounds (not the crazy expensive QuietComfort type) for all my post-production and tracking work even though they are not flat frequency response--but I also make sure to do a car test and listen through a good pair of studio monitors as well. I like the way the Bose set sounds--it's very natural and tapers will with volume, but really any decent quality headset will do. Bose, Sony, Sennheiser, Shure, AKG, and others are all great picks and have models anywhere from $50 on up to $300. I think the Bose AE2 is a really good bang for your buck option, but take note that it's not flat frequency response.

In summary since it's for your own personal enjoyment I wouldn't worry much about getting the flattest frequency response, but if you plan use from the headset for other applications it's something to at least consider.

As far as your wireless request, I don't really know much about wireless headsets--but I can imagine that in addition to other problems, they suffer from a fidelity loss during the digital to analog conversion for the trip across the airwaves as @DrMayhem so eloquently points out. It's likely not a big deal if you are just doing tracking or simply playing along with your favorite song, but if you are planning on using them for any post-production work I'd probably stay away from wireless.

  • Great Answer, I guess I will stop looking for wireless and start looking for the flat response ones instead!
    – user399
    Mar 17, 2011 at 8:02
  • 4
    Only one comment: I would not lump Bose headphones in with "flat response" headphones. Heavily hyped mids in all Bose gear. Not at all good for mixing on.
    – Ian C.
    Mar 17, 2011 at 15:23
  • 4
    Bose are definitely NOT flat response. I didn't mean to give that impression. Fixing.
    – Jduv
    Mar 17, 2011 at 15:42
  • 2
    AKG makes good headsets too, so that's a great pick.
    – Jduv
    Mar 17, 2011 at 15:43
  • 1
    I use the Audio Technica ATH-M40fs headphones for tracking and overdubbing. They're the sort that cover your ear completely, so they'll screen out background noise well. They'll set you back around $55. A disadvantage is they they don't have a mini plug on the end, they use a full-sized jack, so you'll need an adapter cable, but they have extraordinarily flat response. Mar 17, 2011 at 16:28

I think part of the problem is that wireless headphones that provide the same quality are considerably more expensive than wired ones as the cheaper ones typically compress the sound, losing detail, often at the high end. Is wireless a must have?

Either way, I would recommend getting ones with as flat a response as you can, so you can POP whatever profile you like on using the computer.

Also, have you looked at your sound card. Well worth investing here if you want decent sound as good headphones will highlight any failings here.

  • I guess wireless aint a must, any suggestions on good ones?
    – user399
    Mar 16, 2011 at 17:22
  • Ah and the sound card part is solid...
    – user399
    Mar 16, 2011 at 17:26

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