5 Best Headphones for Keyboardists – Full Frequency for Full Rich Playing

Best Headphones for Keyboardists

Make Life Click is reader-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. More details


MAKE LIFE CLICK
Best Headphones for Keyboardists
2024

Headphones are an invaluable piece of equipment for any musician, but especially so for a keyboardist.

Thanks to synthesizers, DAWs and other marvels of modern music-making, the keyboardist has control over an immense range of sounds from across the frequency range. 

While you could get away with just using whatever you have on hand, a proper pair of headphones will not only let you clearly monitor your playing but also help you enjoy what you’re hearing. 

With that in mind, here are some of our picks for the best headphones for keyboardists in 2023.

Best Headphones for Keyboardists Reviewed

editorspick

Sennheiser HD-25 Headphones

Editor’s Pick: The DJ’s headphone of choice feels right at home sitting at the keys.

4.5/5
Price Range: $$
Brand: Sennheiser
Sennheiser HD-25 Headphones

The Download

Purpose-built for professional AV applications, the Sennheiser HD-25 key ingredients make it just as useful for keyboardists as they have been for DJs and audio engineers for decades.

Thanks to a simple, user-repairable design and use of very strong plastics, the HD-25 has the potential to be one of the longest-lasting headphones you will own. Sennheiser’s commitment to providing replacement parts for them also helps quite a bit, so you’ll rarely (if ever) find yourself needing to buy an entirely new pair.

As one of the more established models from Sennheiser’s catalogue (the design is well over 30 years old), the HD25 also holds its ground in terms of sound quality. Its energetic U-shaped sound signature punches through the din of the band, and the better-than-most noise isolation reduces the need to turn the volume up to compensate.

The only downside for these otherwise excellent headphones, however, is their comfort. Its padding, while decent, doesn’t really compensate for the HD-25’s generally high clamping force. We can forgive this, though, as the clamp is needed to get a proper seal on your ears.

The Specs

  • Driver Type:  Single 40mm dynamic driver
  • Frequency Response:  16 – 22,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity:  120 dB / mW
  • Impedance:  70 Ohms
  • Weight:  140 grams (without cable)

Stuff I like

  • Purpose-built durability for the stage
  • Clear, engaging sound
  • Great isolation with the right fit
  • Every part is replaceable
  • Lightweight, foldable, and ultra-portable

Stuff I like less

  • Fit may not work for everyone
  • Small soundstage
  • Clamping force can be a bit strong
Overall Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars

What’s in the Box:

  • Sennheiser HD-25 headphones
  • 3.5mm to 6.3mm screw-on adapter
  • 1.5m straight cable
contender

Sony MDR-7506 Headphones

Contender: A studio staple for over 30 years with the performance to back it up.

4/5
Price Range: $
Brand: Sony
Sony MDR-7506 Headphones

The Download

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This seems to have been the trend for pro headphones, unlike the consumer headphone market that’s overrun by the doctrine of planned obsolescence.

Take the Sony MDR-7506 as an example. Initially released in 1991 (with an older version, the MDR-V6, coming out in 1985), it remains popular to this day thanks to a very well-balanced sound signature and an iconic form factor that few have imitated with any success.

Despite the long and non-removable cable, the MDR-7506 stays relatively compact thanks to its slim earcups and light weight. The build doesn’t inspire quite as much confidence as some of the other selections on this list, but it should still hold up to constant use.

While the 7506’s sound signature is quite excellent, sound signature isn’t everything. The 7506 is well-known for its very narrow soundstage, which takes away quite a bit from the immersive feel of other headphones. As these are intended for monitoring, though, this shouldn’t be a concern.

The Specs

  • Driver Type:  Single 40mm dynamic driver
  • Frequency Response:  10 – 20,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity:  106 dB / mW
  • Impedance:  63 Ohms
  • Weight:  230 grams (without cable)

Stuff I like

  • Light and sleek build
  • Well-balanced sound signature
  • Great passive isolation

Stuff I like less

  • Very narrow soundstage
  • Cable is non-removable
  • Not as comfortable as other options here
Overall Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

What’s in the Box:

  • Sony MDR-7506 headphones
  • 3.5mm to 6.3mm connector adapter
budgetpick

Shure SRH-440

Budget Pick: Budget mixing and monitoring headphones with excellent sound, but doesn’t quite hold up to heavy duty.

3.5/5
Price Range: $
Brand: Shure
Shure SRH 440

The Download

American pro audio manufacturer Shure is best known for their microphones (the SM58 and SM7B in particular), but their selection of monitoring headphones and earphones have been pretty well-received by the audiophile community.

The SRH-440 stands out among Shure’s lineup for its sound signature, which matched the ever-popular Harman tuning surprisingly closely for a headphone at just $100. While newer products have overtaken it over the years, this is still something worth praising for a headphone from 2009. 

Comfort and isolation are fairly average as far as over-ear studio headphones go, which may not be enough for especially loud environments but should work well for most people.

Despite a lot of praise about them being generally well-built, the SRH-440 has a known weak point in the headband just above the ear cups that outright snaps off over time.

While these headphones don’t necessarily need to be babied, keeping this weak point in mind is probably a good idea – maybe wrap the part in duct tape before anything happens.

The Specs

  • Driver Type:  Single 40mm dynamic driver
  • Frequency Response:  10 – 22,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity:  105 dB / mW
  • Impedance:  44 Ohms
  • Weight:  311 grams (without cable)

Stuff I like

  • Well-balanced sound
  • Mostly good durability
  • Manageable size and weight

Stuff I like less

  • Isolation isn’t the best
  • Included cable can be too long
  • Weak points on headband
Overall Rating: 3.5 / 5 Stars

What’s in the Box:

  • Shure SRH-440 headphones
  • Carrying pouch
  • 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter
premiumoption

Beyerdynamic DT1770 Pro Headphones

Premium Option: A high-end headphone with pro audio sensibilities, better suited to a studio than a stage.

4/5
Price Range: $$$
Brand: beyerdynamic
beyerdynamics DT 1770 Pro

The Download

The market for high-end headphones has changed quite a bit over the years. What was once the realm of pro-level tools has now been taken over by high-end luxury brands chasing form over function.

Thankfully this isn’t entirely the case just yet as Beyerdynamic and many well-established pro audio brands have come around to giving their legacy designs a fresh, premium makeover – the DT 1770 Pro being one of them.

This is part of Beyerdynamic’s new line of studio headphones, aimed as upgraded versions of their classic 3-digit headphone series.

At $500, they’re not for the thin of wallet but in return, you get one of the most refined iterations of the Beyerdynamic sound yet neutral and well-extended across the frequency range while also taming the notoriously sharp treble of the 770. 

Highly competent with a price tag to match, the DT 1770 Pro is a bold and bulky reference and monitoring solution for discerning keyboardists with the budget for it.

The Specs

  • Driver Type:  Single 50 mm dynamic driver
  • Frequency Response:  5 – 40,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity:  102 dB / mW
  • Impedance:  250 Ohms
  • Weight:  388 grams (without cable)

Stuff I like

  • Tough but luxurious
  • Highly refined sound signature
  • Decently wide sound stage

Stuff I like less

  • Heavy and bulky
  • Treble can still be fatiguing
  • Isolation isn’t the best
Overall Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

What’s in the Box:

  • Beyerdynamic DT1770 Pro headphones
  • 3m straight cable
  • 5m coiled cable
  • 1 pair of velour earpads
  • 1 pair of pleather earpads
  • Hard case
  • 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter
bestvalue

Sennheiser HD 280 Pro

Best Value: A broadcast monitor with the sound and toughness to be useful just about anywhere.

4/5
Price Range: $$
Brand: Sennheiser
Sennheiser HD 280 Pro

The Download

Sharing the same pro-audio roots as the HD-25, the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro is mainly used by AV crew hidden backstage, but its rugged performance makes it quite viable for performing keyboardists. 

The 280 Pro is very well-built with heavy-duty plastics and a well-reinforced steel headband. As these things tend to be, though, the headphones feel a lot heavier than they are because of their tight clamping force. 

Sound-wise they are comparable to the rest of the choices on our list. It’s well-balanced and is even a bit lean on the bass, but has a very closed-in soundstage similar to the Sony MDR-7506. 

They are exactly as you would expect of a studio monitor, and is definitely worthy of consideration especially if you find them on sale.

The Specs

  • Driver Type:  Single 40mm dynamic driver
  • Frequency Response:  8 – 25,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity:  113 dB / mW
  • Impedance:  64 Ohms
  • Weight:  285 grams (without cable)

Stuff I like

  • Great isolation
  • Throw-anywhere build quality
  • Smooth and lean sound

Stuff I like less

  • A bit light on the bass
  • Cramped soundstage
  • Strong clamping force
Overall Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

What’s in the Box:

  • Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones
  • 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter

What Makes the Best Headphones for Keyboardists?

You might have noticed from our list that all of the headphones we recommend are closed-studio headphones. This is no coincidence and should be no surprise.

As we noted, keyboardists (and musicians in general) need to be able to monitor themselves clearly in whatever environment they’re in, whether that is in a quiet studio or on a roaring stage. 

All of the headphones we’ve recommended meet this need by following a very specific formula of balanced sound, great isolation, and tough build quality. 

Even if you aren’t the kind to throw your headphones around, you’d still want a set that will last; pro audio headphones are so much better than consumer-grade ones at this thanks to an actual commitment to providing spare parts. (Try getting similar spares to fix your Sony XM3s, for example.)

Previous Models On This List

There are always new models emerging and we try to keep this list updated based on what’s currently on the market out there.

Shure SRH1540 BK is a set of phenomenally-sounding closed-back headphones. My only qualm with them is the lack of active noise cancellation technology.

Another model that used to be on this list is the Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7B, which is an all-rounder. These headphones sound great but for the price, there are now way better options.

The Technics EAH-A800-K is a great premium option that was previously on this list and it’s worth considering if you value pristine noise quality without shelling out thousands of dollars.

Another budget option is the Sennheiser Urbanite which offers good-quality sound at a bargain price.

Versatile and well-rounded, the Elecom HS-HP101 UNCBK is a set of excellent-sounding headphones also worth considering.

Conclusion

Keyboardists are versatile musicians, which is why the best headphones for keyboardists need to be as versatile as they are. 

The Sennheiser HD25 is our top pick by far as the only on-ear headphones that meet our requirements. Rugged but portable, they are invaluable for keyboardists on the move but will serve just about anyone really well.

All of our picks strike different but comparable balances between durability, reliability, comfort, and sound quality, and you can do no wrong choosing any one of them.

What you will take home, of course, is up to you.

A musician with over 2 decades of experience in studio recording. Audiophile, always in pursuit of the perfect set of headphones. King Crimson fan.

This post was last updated on 2024-02-23 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.


Helpful? Sign up and get more interesting posts like this. No Spam.

Get access to insights, deals, competitions and giveaways. Unsubscribe anytime.

* indicates required

1 thought on “5 Best Headphones for Keyboardists – Full Frequency for Full Rich Playing”

  1. Chosing best headphones was not easy. I read the whole article and found that it can be done on the basis of sound quality, price and some other features. makelifeclick is awesome love it.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.