The Best Headphones to Use With Practice Amps

by Rob Garland

When choosing headphones to use with practice amplifiers the main requirement is that the headphones give an accurate representation of the instrument being played. Closed-back headphones give a larger sonic representation as they isolate external noise whereas open back headphones may sound thin when used with a practice amp. Another factor to consider is comfort, as the headphones will most likely be worn for long periods of time. Be aware of the type of jack required for the headphones to work with your practice amp.

AKG K-271 MK II Headphones

AKG's K-271 MK II are close-backed headphones, a feature which reduce external background noise. They cover the ear completely and use a sealing mechanism to keep out unwanted sound. The headphones offer an automatic on-and-off switch in the headband so as they are placed on your head they automatically switch on and turn off when removed. The MK II features "Varimotion" drivers which AKG claim "produce a more-accurate aural reproduction." As they are closed backed they may cause the person wearing them to feel hot over an extended period of time.

Sennheiser HD-428 Headphones

Sennheiser's HD-428 headphones limit sound leakage due to their closed design. The size and the soft material that fits over the ears increases comfort. Other features include neodymium magnets for a stereo output with enhanced bass and an optimized design for use with portable devices such as mp3 players and practice amps. The closed design may cause the person wearing them to feel stifled over long practice sessions.

Ultrasone HFI-580 Headphones

Ultrasone's HFI-580 headphones feature comfortable soft leather ear pads that completely cover the ears. They use "Ultrasone's S-Logic Natural Surround Sound Plus technology" which pushes the sound out instead of directly to the eardrum and subsequently produces a closer representation of listening to music through speakers and less like the sound usually associated with headphones. The closed-back design ensures an isolated listening experience without sound leakage but may cause the person wearing them to feel cut off from the room. Bass frequencies are extremely enhanced which may not be suitable for listening to certain genres of music but could work as an advantage when using a practice amp.

Alessandro MS-1 Headphones

Alessandro's MS-1 headphones offer a tight bass response and balanced mid-range and treble sounds without being too bright sounding. Unlike the pads that completely cover the ears that many other headphones utilize this model has two adjustable pads connected by a leather strap that sits on the head. No pressure is exerted and therefore they are extremely comfortable and can be worn for long periods of time. The MS-1 headphones are not closed, meaning the speaker is exposed and sound will leak out. This may reduce the quality of the sound coming from the practice amp and make the instrument sound thin. However the open back means the person wearing them will not feel stifled or cut off from the room.

Visit An Electronics Retailer

Reading descriptions and reviews of headphones is helpful but each person hears sound differently. Take the practice amp to an electronic retailer and test the listed headphones to guarantee the best results.

About the Author

Originally from the United Kingdom, now based in Los Angeles, Rob Garland has been a writer and musician since 1989. He has a book published by Cherry Lane and his articles have appeared in "Guitarist" magazine and "Guitar One" magazine. He has a Bachelor of Arts in film/social sciences from Canterbury University.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Headphones image by Tim Pulatov from