Each model of headphones has its own built-in equalization; brands tune their products to create specific sound signatures. This is why styles of music sometimes sound great on one set of phones, but horrible on another. These differences make it difficult to know what headphones are most likely to compliment your favorite style of music. Luckily, if you love heavy styles then we’ve already researched the market to find the best headphones for metal.
Metal isn’t as popular as rap and hip hop so you’re not going to find any special marketing campaigns to help you make your decision. To make the buying process easier we’ve developed this quick guide just for you. We’ll discuss the important aspects of rock and metal music, then provide several appropriate purchasing options. Finally we give you a detailed analysis of our favorite products. With our help you metal-heads will have no problem finding exactly what you need.
Things to Consider
- Sound Signature. Headphones have individual sound signatures. When you’re searching for the best headphones for metal you’re really looking for headphones with a particular sound.
Metal significantly emphasizes midrange frequencies. You find lots of vocals, piano, and synthesizers in metal music. And it tends to have lots of energy; that is to say the equalizer shows many spikes within the midrange.
Bass in metal songs is slightly elevated compared to something like rap. This helps bring out the sound of bass guitars and kick drums.
What you want is a set of headphones that flatters those details. The products we’ve found won’t say “made for metal” but we’ve made sure that their sound signature will compliment your musical taste.
- Style. The size and shape of your headphone choice influences how your music sounds. Closed-back headphones do a better job of isolating sound than the open-back style. The small holes in the housing of open-back headphones allow sound to escape, which is likely to bother those around you.
Closed-back headphones help music sound stronger and more intense than music listened through open-back cans. Which one you decide really depends on your preference and the type of metal you like.
The Guide to Metal Headphones Overview
Top Three Best Headphones for Metal Reviews
AKG K712 Pro are reference monitoring headphones that work really well for the casual listener.
The over-ear design of the earcups is comfortable and plush. They do have an open-back housing which lends itself to an extremely spacious experience, but may not be good to use around other people. Especially if you like your music loud.
The K712 offers good clarity. The details of things like vocals and instruments are really noticeable. Listening to music through these is nothing like listening with lower-level cheap headphones. Being reference monitors, these allow you to catch subtleties and hear the pieces exactly as the artists intended.
The overall equalization favors mid-high frequencies. What that means is that AKG’s K712 is best for genres like thrash metal and punk. That’s not to say that styles like heavy progressive with deep growls and double bass sound bad; they just have a different focus so you lose the details of their lower frequencies.
The AKG K712 Pro is accurate and spacious. They’re a great choice for higher toned metal.
Grado’s Prestige Series delivers top-of-the-class build and sound quality.
Despite their rather large appearance the SR325e is pretty lightweight and comfortable. We immediately noticed the earcups are much firmer than most other models of headphone. This seems to be an exclusive design of Grado products; they’re not uncomfortable, just different.
Their open-back construction gives them a very large sound stage. But you can tell by looking at the size of the plug that these are designed for home rather than mobile use.
The overall soundscape is superbly layered. Low frequency bass tones are dynamic and full. Higher frequencies are crisp without being brassy.
Bass notes can be independently distinguished instead of just being a loud shapeless boom. It perfectly accents even the most intricate vocals and instrumentation. The highs and lows work in harmony.
Grado Prestige Series SR325e is the perfect companion for diverse listeners who appreciate all the details. The superb balance makes them suitable for synth pop or even grindcore.
Shure has a long history of producing high-quality audio gear so we weren’t at all surprised to enjoy the SRH840.
The SRH840 are obviously well-built and sturdy; because of their closed-back design you should be okay using them in public places where noise may be a nuisance. That said, they are comfortable albeit a bit heavy for extended use.
The overall sound of these is very detailed and analytical. Recessed highs combined with moderate dynamic bass mesh well with dark metal. For closed-back headphones these produced a really nice airy soundstage.
Shure’s SRH840 proved to be the master of dark genres.