Why buy headphones?
There are several reasons why it may be necessary to buy headphones to play the digital piano.
First of all, for the sound. Playing the piano with headphones gives the impression of playing in a concert hall, especially if you are in a room with poor acoustics. The sound and the specialization are simply completely different.
On the other hand, it is often to isolate oneself from the outside world. Whether you want silence because you are in a noisy room or you want to concentrate on playing or composing. One may also want to be quiet to play without fear of bad advice or fear of false notes.
Using good headphones will be a long-term investment to get the best out of your digital piano. In addition, all headphones can be reused to listen to music on your smartphone or your hi-fi system.
Here are the criteria you need to know to choose the right headphones for your digital piano.
Criteria to be taken into account
There are many things to look for in order not to make a mistake in your choice. Here are the main ones, and above all the essentials.
The shape of the headphones:
The headphones can be in-ear, supra-aural or circum-aural.
The first is the mobility helmet par excellence. Used by sportsmen and women and those who want to be discreet in the street. They are also called “headphones”. These are headphones that are inserted into the ear.
Supra-aural headphones are placed over the ears.
The circum-aural headphones are even bigger than the previous ones because they cover the ears completely.
When playing the piano, it is preferable to use the over-ear or circum-ear for comfort, ambience, sound quality and external noise.
This is an important point to consider. Even with good sound quality, some headphones are uncomfortable, which hinders listening and productivity. Playing for hours on end will require a good choice of headphones. Unfortunately, even with testing, you can only really know if the headphones are right for you after a few hours or days. The AKG headphones (AKG K240, K272, K702) seem to be very comfortable even when wearing glasses.
The power of the headphones:
High impedance headphones should be preferred, as although they can work with a digital piano, low impedance headphones are normally made to work with a low voltage audio source such as an MP3 player.
Low impedance = nomadic device; high impedance = mains connected device.
Good to know: using high impedance headphones on a mobile device would be a shame as they would not process the signal properly.
Open or closed?
These notions of open and closed headphones can be found on all on-ear and around-ear headphones. It is important to make the distinction before buying digital piano headphones.
Open headphones have a more spacious, more natural sound, but let in ambient noise. They are open to outside noise.
Closed headphones have a better bass response and do not let sound in and out of the headphones. They are ideal for isolation. DJs prefer these headphones for mixing.
Whether you are listening to music or playing the piano, it is advisable to use closed headphones.
Headphones are always equipped with a 3.5 mm jack while digital pianos have a 6.35 mm jack input. In order to make them compatible, an adapter must be purchased (see here an adapter for less than 7€).
While there are good quality headphones from £50 upwards, the functionality, brand and quality will generally increase with price. The ideal minimum budget is around €100.
Other criteria :
Bluethoot, wired or wireless: There are several technologies for wireless headsets. Infrared, radio or bluetooth headsets. The first two are used in the home to listen to music on a hi-fi system or with the television. They need to be connected to the sound source. Bluetooth technology is the most widely used nowadays because it allows for mobile use.
Active noise reduction: some high-end headphones have a feature called noise reduction. A microphone analyses external noise in real time and emits a sound of the same nature but inverted to erase it.
Look: The only criterion where we can’t objectively give you advice is design. There are many different looks to suit different tastes. The only advice we can give is not to base your choice on this aspect alone. Indeed, the most stylish helmets are rarely the best quality ones.
The best headphones
Here is a list of digital piano headphones that will appeal to a wide range of price points and features. There are several types of headphones on this list, so it’s up to you to decide which one is right for you based on the tips above.
Entry level: Samson SASR950, Tascam TH02, AKG K 240 MK II
Between €100 and €200: Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro, Sony MDR7506, Sennheiser HD-300 PRO, , Beyerdynamic DT-880, Shure SRH840, AKG K702
The TOP: Shure SE425, Shure SRH1540