There’s something charming about vinyl records and turntables, isn’t it? The music from a well-maintained vinyl record is the definition of heaven for audiophiles. However, you can’t always connect the turntable to headphones or play your favorite music loud enough for others to listen. Don’t worry; we’ve got the best headphones for vinyl covered right here.
Isn’t there enough space to set up the speakers? Do you like to listen to vinyl records when the world is silent and don’t want to disturb your family and neighbors? Do you want to enjoy the richness of the music from vinyl in all its glory?
What do you do in such instances? The answer is simple. Use headphones. Connect a pair to the vinyl recorder and play the tracks only for your ears.
Of course, you need high-quality headphones with Hi-Fi (high fidelity) sound for a wholesome experience. Also, most models cannot be directly connected to vinyl recorders. You’ll need to invest in an amplifier or a stereo receiver to act as the middleman.
Which are the best headphones for vinyl, and how do you buy them? Most importantly, how do you listen to a turntable using headphones? We have answers to all your questions and more.
This article is dedicated to headphones for vinyl records. We’ve tested a range of headphones by connecting them to vinyl recorders in different ways and shortlisted the top ten best headphones for vinyl. Shall we start reading?
Roundup of the Best Headphones for Vinyl
|Overall Best Headphones for Vinyl||Shure SRH1540 Premium Closed-Back Headphones|
|Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Vinyl Listening||Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Industry Leading Noise Canceling Over|
|Best Budget Vinyl Headphones||Akg K72 Closed-Back Studio Headphones|
|Most Comfortable Headphones for Vinyl Listening||Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 80 Ohm Over-Ear Studio Headphones|
|Vinyl Headphones with Best Soundstage||Sennheiser HD 560 S Over-the-Ear Audiophile Headphones|
|Vinyl Headphones with Best Noise Isolation||Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones|
|Most Durable Headphones for Vinyl||Sennheiser Pro Audio HD280PRO Headphones|
|Best Vinyl Headphones for Audiophiles||Meze 99 Classics Walnut Gold|
|Best Stereo Headphones for Vinyl||Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphones|
|Best High-End Headphones for Vinyl||Focal Elegia High-Fidelity Closed-Back Circum-Aural Headphones|
How to Listen to Vinyl With Headphones?
You can connect the headphones to the vinyl recorder through any of the following methods:
With Headphone Amplifier
This is the simplest of options that many audiophiles prefer. All you need is the best headphone amplifier that powers the drivers in the headphones to deliver their best. This is because the turntables aren’t strong enough to directly power the headphones and match the impedance of a headphone. Moreover, the headphone amplifier also works as a volume control device.
There are two ways to connect the headphone amplifier to the turntable.
- If the turntable has a built-in phono preamp, you simply connect the headphone amp to the turntable and then plug in the headphones to the amp.
- If the turntable doesn’t have the built-in preamp, you need to use an additional phono preamp to connect to the vinyl recorder and connect the headphone amplifier to this phono preamp.
Turntable (Wired and Wireless)
Well, you can also buy a turntable with a built-in headphone amplifier and a dedicated output point or the one that offers wireless headphone connectivity.
The wireless headphones use Bluetooth technology to connect the headphones to the turntable. That said, these models are not cost-effective and belong to the high-end range. If your vinyl recorder is in great shape but doesn’t have a built-in headphone amplifier, you can try the next option too.
Another super simple option is to use a stereo receiver with a built-in headphone amplifier and a dedicated output point.
Plug the turntable into the input point and the headphones to the output point in the stereo. That’s it. Do remember that a stereo receiver with a built-in headphone amplifier doesn’t deliver the same high-quality sound output as the headphone amplifier does.
Things to Consider When Looking for the Best Vinyl Headphones
How do you choose the best headphones for vinyl? Take a look at the below factors.
Noise-canceling headphones are always a worthy choice when connecting to vinyl recorders. Who wants the background noise to disturb you? None, right? While there are great wireless headphones with noise cancelation, you should opt for wired models. Bluetooth connectivity compresses the audio signal. You’ll notice that the sound quality has gone down. However, noise cancelation is a useful feature.
Amplifier/ Integrated Amplifier
The amplifier you buy should match the quality of the headphones. You need to check the headphone impedance, loudness, and sensitivity of the headphones and calculate the exact voltage requirements. Then buy the headphone amplifier that matches the requirements. A powerful amp can enhance the performance of the headphones.
Audiophiles prefer vinyl listening to CDs and DVDs because of the warmth in the output. However, this warmth will translate to headphones only if the headphones themselves are of good quality. The sound quality of the headphones determines your listening experience, especially if your turntable is a premium model.
Close/ Open Back Design
Should you buy open-back headphones or closed-back headphones? How good are over-the-ear headphones when connected to a vinyl recorder?
A closed-back earcups design reduces sound leakage through sound isolation. It enhances bass and directs the sounds into your ears. However, it is not as focused as the open-back models.
The drivers are left in the open in the open back design. This allows a wider sound stage and more natural-sounding music. That said, there will be sound leakage and background noise to deal with. If you play the vinyl in a relatively silent environment, the open-back design is a good choice.
The drivers are crucial parts of headphones or any audio output device. These are conical diaphragms with voice coils and magnets. The driver’s purpose is to convert the electrical signal to a sound signal and play the audio.
Headphones can have a single driver or multiple drivers. Multiple drivers cover a wider range of frequencies and deliver deeper, richer sound.
The frequency response of the headphones will be wider when it has multiple drivers. The type of drivers also matters when talking about sound quality.
Always choose headphones with adjustable headbands. These are comfortable, convenient, and enhance your listening experience. You don’t want to push a bigger headphone up the ears or try to ignore the pressure of a tighter headband.
Do you like the on-ear models or the ones with circumferential ear cup pads? Opt for the latter if sound isolation and comfort are important. The earpads don’t put too much pressure on the ears. This enables longer listening sessions. The on-ear models are enough if you are not particular about sound isolation.
Even though headphones don’t have a long warranty, try to buy a model with a minimum of six-months to one-year warranty period. This will give you some sort of protection against damaged parts.
Top 10 Headphones for Vinyl Records
The following are some of the best headphones for vinyl records available on the market:
1. Shure SRH1540 Premium Closed-Back Headphones
Overall Best Headphones for Vinyl
- Suitable for all music genres
- Stereo imaging
- 40 mm neodymium drivers
- The headband exerts pressure on the head sometimes
Shure SRH1540 headphones are the best overall headphones for vinyl recorders. This high-end model comes with several worthy features and wonderful sound quality. These headphones are robust, durable, and lightweight.
Firstly, the headphones are suitable for all music genres. We listened to the classics, rock, metal, jazz, etc., and noticed that the sound clarity is exceptional. We used an expensive headphone amp to connect these to the turntable, and that enhanced the experience.
Secondly, the closed-back design provides sound isolation. The notes are detailed, clean, and crisp. The bass isn’t heavy, but we could identify it. The headphones cut off background noise even without active noise cancelation. Kids playing in the same room didn’t affect our listening.
In conclusion, Shure SRH1540 Headphones have a beautiful and wide frequency response and are easy to drive. We tested a scratched vinyl, and the result was horrible. The headphones amplified the flaws, making it hard to listen for long. The headband can press into the head. We made some adjustments to work it around. The ear cups are fantastic, though. Try not to touch the cables when using the headphones. The slightest of movements affects the sound output. However, the durability, build quality, and frequency range are worth mentioning.
View on Amazon: Shure SRH1540 Premium Closed-Back Headphones
2. Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Industry Leading Noise Canceling Overhead Headphones
Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Vinyl Listening
- Excellent battery life
- Reliable Bluetooth connectivity
- Auto-pause functionality
- Extremely comfortable for continuous use
- Foldable and easily portable
- Somewhat expensive
Sony WH-1000XM4 are the best headphones for vinyl in the market with the noise-canceling feature, Bluetooth connectivity, and good battery life. These headphones are comfortable to use despite the bulkiness.
Firstly, the headphones look much like their previous model and have new attractive features. The multipoint Bluetooth connectivity is useful to connect the headphones to two devices at once. We tried the wireless turntable with this model, and the results were fab. However, connecting to more devices at once affected the sound quality.
Secondly, the headphones have an auto-pause feature. There’s a sensor on the inside of the left ear pad that detects when you remove the headphones and automatically pauses the music. We loved it until we didn’t. Confused? The headphones also automatically pause if you talk, chuckle, or make a sound. It’s annoying when we wanted to sing along.
Finally, Sony WH-1000XM4 has some lovely touch controls. Yeah, they don’t at times, but we had an issue only once. The noise-canceling is the best. We love it! What’s more, it plays the low frequencies with such clarity that we could detect every note. The headphones are lightweight and didn’t trouble us at all. No issues with the headband, even if the unit looks bulky.
View on Amazon: Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Industry Leading Noise Canceling Overhead Headphones
3. Akg K72 Closed-Back Studio Headphones
Best Budget Vinyl Headphones
- Budget-friendly headphones for vinyl
- Super comfortable
- Durable and sturdy
- The headband is not adjustable
- Mids can be better
Akg K72 are the best headphones for vinyl recorders within the budget. This model costs less than $50 and is worth the price. It is comfortable, sturdy, and lightweight. Cool, right?
Firstly, we admit to being surprised by the headphones. The sound quality is decent compared to other models in the same range. Connecting these to the turntable through a hi-fi headphone amp was more than enough. But yeah, the mids were horrible.
Secondly, the ear pads are nice and large. The headphones should fit well unless you have a huge head. The headband is non-adjustable. But the good news is that it stretches. We tried it with kids and adults for testing. No complaints about the headband digging into the head.
In conclusion, Akg K72 is a great deal if you aren’t a true audiophile. We like the build quality too. The headphones feel good in the hands. The cables need extra care, but so do the cables of all headphones. The neutral presentation isn’t exactly neutral. The difference is clear when we tried these immediately after listening to Sony. But it’s unfair to compare the models given the price difference.
View on Amazon: Akg K72 Closed-Back Studio Headphones
4. Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 80 Ohm Over-Ear Studio Headphones
Most Comfortable Headphones for Vinyl Listening
- Excellent audio reproduction
- Durable and long-lasting
- Earpads can be replaced for better comfort
- Good frequency response
- Audio leakage at high volume
Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO are the most comfortable and best headphones for vinyl listening. They come with ample padding and swappable ear pads. The headphones belong to mid-range pricing.
Firstly, the over-ear headphones have a solid metal frame and are highly durable. The headphones fell a couple of times and survived even though the ear cups are plastic. The padding seems to protect the ear cups. The headband is tight and keeps the headphones in place. However, one of us has a larger head, the band got too tight.
Secondly, the sound quality is a hit. We used the hi-fi headphone amp for this pair as well and got good results. The cable is three meters long, which is an advantage for vinyl listening. We didn’t have to sit close to the amp anymore.
To sum up, Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO plays mixed tracks to our satisfaction. The highs got more prominence than mids but keeping the volume a little low helped. Moreover, lower volume prevents leakage. The headphones have been designed for studio and home use, so they are perfect for vinyl recorders and affordable too. If you want a slightly higher version in terms of sound quality and comfort, we recommend checking the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Headphones.
View on Amazon: Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 80 Ohm Over-Ear Studio Headphones
5. Sennheiser HD 560 S Over-the-Ear Audiophile Headphones
Vinyl Headphones with Best Soundstage
- Solid design
- Stable fitting
- Detailed mids and highs
- Lovely neutral
- Audio leakage
- No controls on the unit
Sennheiser HD 560 S are the best headphones for vinyl with noteworthy sound staging and around-the-ear design. The stereo imaging and sound profile are a highlight of this model.
Firstly, the headphones deliver clean and neat sound output. The bass is decent, even though we can claim that it’s punchy or powerful. The headphones sound great with classical music. No kidding. We love the sound imaging of classical pieces from an almost scratch-free vinyl.
Secondly, the open-back design comes with an Ergonomic Acoustic Refinement (EAR) driver alignment that delivers better audio output. That said, we can’t ignore the audio leakage, no matter which volume we tried. Of course, we must admit that the headphones are comfortable and don’t move an inch.
To conclude, Sennheiser HD 560 S is also a mid-range headphone similar to the previous model. The build quality is worth mentioning. The headphones will last for a while. Make sure to use a hi-fi headphone amp to connect to the vinyl recorder. The headphones don’t deliver their best with the stereo receiver. The cable is detachable and is connected to the left earcup in case you want to use the headphones with other devices.
View on Amazon: Sennheiser HD 560 S Over-the-Ear Audiophile Headphones
6. Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones
Vinyl Headphones with Best Noise Isolation
- Lively and accurate sound output
- Stylish and good looking
- Solid build quality
- We did not experience any issues with these headphones
Audio-Technica ATH-M50X headphones have the best noise isolation for vinyl headphones and are just as stylish. The sound quality is more than worth the mid-range price.
Firstly, the headphones come in three colors and please aesthetic lovers. Want to look good listening to the headphones? Try these. That apart, we noticed that the sound staging is more than decent. There’s no neutral, but the sound quality and bass emphasis more than make up for it.
Secondly, we rotated the ear cups to fit the comfiest fit. That’s a plus even if the ear pads weren’t as plush as expected them to be. The build is good despite being made of plastic. We did drop them once (inadvertently), and they survived the fall.
In conclusion, Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Headphones come with three proprietary cords. It’s too bad that we couldn’t use the cords with other cables. There’s no active noise cancelation, but the noise isolation does the job well. These aren’t best by any means but are worth the budget. The tonal shape and noise isolation work well for electronic music lovers.
View on Amazon: Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Professional Studio Monitor Headphones
7. Sennheiser Pro Audio HD280PRO Headphones
Most Durable Headphones for Vinyl
- No audio leakage
- Extremely comfortable
- Easily affordable
- Durable and sturdy
- Not enough noise isolation
Sennheiser Pro Audio HD280PRO are the most durable headphones for vinyl with good build quality and affordable pricing. The headphones are suitable for listening to vinyl records and mixing tracks on the computer.
Firstly, the headphones are comfortable to wear, with and without glasses. That’s a huge plus, in our opinion. We find it annoying to adjust the glasses or the headphones often. Luckily, there’s no need to do that with this pair. Moreover, there’s enough padding on the ear cups. The headphones heat up when used for long, though.
Secondly, the cable is quite long. It allows us to relax near the turntable. But even the slightest brush of the cable against a surface sounds in our ears. Since the cable is connected to the left ear cup, we found a way to prevent the cable’s movement. It’ll take a few attempts but it should be done.
Finally, Sennheiser Pro Audio HD280PRO headphones have okayish noise isolation though we wanted a little more. The headphones have neutral mids. The low frequencies don’t make a mark. They aren’t nonexistent, just not impactful. The design isn’t great either. That said, we love that the headphones can last for a long time. They’ve been built to be durable and will continue to deliver decent audio for extended listening sessions.
View on Amazon: Sennheiser Pro Audio HD280PRO Headphones
8. Meze 99 Classics Walnut Gold
Best Vinyl Headphones for Audiophiles
- Deep bass
- Warm and smooth sound
- Great looks
- Feels comfortably heavy
- We did not experience any issues with these headphones
Meze 99 is one of the best vinyl headphones for audiophiles and covers the lows, mids, and highs with great care. The sounds are warm, clear, smooth, and wonderful to listen to.
Firstly, the headphones are super stylish with their aesthetic design that mixes antique and contemporary with ease. The combination of wood, metal, and plastic works surprisingly well. The headband is self-adjustable. We could feel the headphones sit snugly and stay put on our heads.
Secondly, the bass is beautiful. There’s no other word for it. The mids and high are just as clean and neat. We used a hi-fi headphone amplifier to connect to the vinyl, and the tracks just flowed into our ears. Obviously, we used new vinyl records first.
To conclude, Meze 99 Classics is a pair of classic headphones for music lovers. The best part is that the headphones deliver high-end audio quality for mid-range pricing. Even though the soundstage isn’t expansive, it doesn’t affect the listening experience. The closed-back design is one reason for this. But we adjusted the ear pads a wee bit to tweak things. High energy music doesn’t pump up as it should, but the classics are at their best.
View on Amazon: Meze 99 Classics Walnut Gold
9. Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphones
Best Stereo Headphones for Vinyl
- Noteworthy sound reproduction
- Lightweight model
- No audio leakage
- Solid cable
- Build quality could be better
Sony MDR7506 are the best stereo headphones for vinyl and are a lightweight model despite their bulky appearance. They work well when connected using the stereo receiver to the vinyl recorder.
Firstly, the audio quality is better than our expectations. The middle and high frequencies are more than good while the low frequencies are okay. The headphones are not for bass lovers. We like how the vocals are clear most of the time.
Secondly, the headphones are repairable. The manufacturer has provided a service manual just in case. We love that the model is affordable and can be repaired without costing us too much money. The cable is a definite advantage when you sit near the turntable to listen to the vinyl. It adds good weight and keeps the headphones in place.
To sum up, Sony MDR7506 is a decent pair of headphones with hits and misses. The noise isolation works better for high sounds, but it’s there. The headphones are made of plastic and don’t have much padding. While these aren’t uncomfortable, they aren’t the best for comfort either. The headphones are most suitable when listening at home, preferably at the desk or in a chair. That makes them a suitable and affordable choice for vinyl recorders.
View on Amazon: Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphones
10. Focal Elegia High-Fidelity Closed-Back Circum-Aural Headphones
Best High-End Headphones for Vinyl
- Good-looking design
- Worthy sound performance
- Consistent output quality
- Ambient noise proofing
- Not enough controls
Focal Elegia Headphones are the best headphones for vinyl in the high-end range and certainly look like one. The manufacturer has paid attention to aesthetics, quality, and sound reproduction.
Firstly, the headphones have a solid build and will last for a long time. The aluminum headband is flexible though it might feel a little tight on large heads. We love that the ear pads are thick and have memory foam padding. We had a comfortable listening experience.
Secondly, the sound quality is clean, spacious, and deep. The bass isn’t punchy but detailed and impactful, just the same. The highs are neat and distortion-free. We used an expensive headphone amplifier to match the impedance when connecting to the turntable. That further elevated the audio quality.
In conclusion, Focal Elegia Headphones come in a closed-back design that isolates noise and comes close to active noise cancelation. We know it can’t replace ANC but is a good alternative to consider. There is leakage when we turned the volume high, but even that was minimal. The accuracy of instrumental music is fabulous. We felt fully involved in the track right away. Moreover, the headphones come in a hard case and have removable cables. The cables are sturdy too. Worth the price, we say.
View on Amazon: Focal Elegia High-Fidelity Closed-Back Circum-Aural Headphones
Frequently Asked Questions About Vinyl Headphones
Vinyl listening is good with headphones if the vinyl and the turntable are in good condition. The headphones will enhance the subtle notes and deliver rich sound output. However, headphones also amplify the errors and can ruin your listening experience if the vinyl has scratches or the stylus is not new.
Vinyl headphones are headphones you use to listen to music from a vinyl recorder or a turntable. Over-the-ear models are a comfortable choice and deliver a more natural sound and a warm audio experience. You need a headphone amplifier or a stereo receiver to connect the headphones to the vinyl recorder.
We hope that you have acquired a better understanding of choosing headphones to listen to vinyl records. To be honest, we recommend Shure SRH1540 for its lightweight design and ability to perform well with all music genres. We also recommend Akg K72 for being comfortable and budget-friendly and Meze 99 Classics for style and warm audio output.
That said, take your time to compare the headphones and choose the one that fits your budget and requirements. Make sure to buy a high-fidelity headphone amplifier to match the impedance of the headphones and connect to the vinyl recorder. The quality of the amplifier affects the audio output of the headphones.
Want to discuss headphones with us? Drop a comment below!