7 Best Headphones for Field Recording

Best Headphones for Field Recording

In the heart of the wilderness, where nature orchestrates its untamed symphonies, lies the unspoken challenge of the intrepid field recordist. Armed with a passion to capture the raw essence of the world, they face a relentless battle against the chaos of ambient noise. Each moment, fleeting and precious, hangs in delicate balance, demanding an elusive harmony of equipment and skill. As the ethereal soundscape unfolds, the quest for the best headphones for field recording becomes more than just a pursuit of audio fidelity, it becomes an odyssey to preserve the whispers of the earth.

From the rustling leaves to the distant calls of wildlife, the field recordist yearns for a portal to transcend the limitations of human hearing, to unmask the secrets hidden within every sonic layer. In this realm of sensory mastery, the right headphones can unlock the true potential of their craft, bridging the gap between the ordinary and the extraordinary.

Step into the shoes of these audial adventurers, and dive into a realm where the finest headphones become not just tools, but catalysts for storytelling and profound connection. Unravel the enigma of finding the perfect gear, and embark on a journey to commune with the very soul of sound itself.


Best Headphones for Field Recording

Image Product Price
sennheiser hd 280 pro Sennheiser hd 280 pro Check Price
Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO Check Price
Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Check Price
Sony MDR-7506 Sony MDR-7506 Check Price
beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro Check Price
Sennheiser HD 800 S Sennheiser HD 800 S Check Price
Shure SRH440 Shure SRH440 Check Price

Sennheiser hd 280 pro

sennheiser hd 280 pro
  • Type: Over-ear
  • Enclosure: Closed-Back
  • Wireless: No
  • Transducer: Dynamic
  • Weight: 285 grams (10 ounces)
  • Call/Music Control: No

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro 2016 are decent critical listening headphones, with durable build quality but a somewhat uncomfortable fit. They have a good audio reproduction that packs a lot of bass, and although they’re mostly made out of plastic, they feel durable enough to handle multiple drops without damage. Unfortunately, they’re rather tight on the head and make your ears very warm after a couple of hours of listening. They also won’t be the most versatile headphones to use outdoors.

Headphone Type: Circumoral (over-ear)

Closed-back design: Provides excellent noise isolation and prevents sound leakage.

Frequency Response: 8 Hz – 25 kHz: Wide frequency range for accurate audio reproduction.

Impedance: 64 ohms: Makes it suitable for use with a variety of audio devices, including mobile phones, laptops, and professional audio equipment.

Sensitivity: 102 dB SPL (1mW): Efficient drivers for loud and clear sound even at lower power levels.

Earpads and Headband: Padded with soft material for comfort during extended listening sessions.

Adjustable Headband: Ensures a secure and personalized fit.

Collapsible Design: Allows for easy storage and portability.

Cable: Non-detachable coiled cable with a 3.5mm (1/8″) connector, and it comes with a 1/4″ adapter for compatibility with professional audio gear.

Weight: Approx. 285 grams (10 ounces)

Noise Isolation: Closed-back design provides excellent noise isolation, making it suitable for studio and field recording applications.

Replaceable Earpads: The earpads can be replaced to extend the headphone’s lifespan.


  • Decent build quality.
  • Moderately comfortable.


  • Poor isolation.
  • Mid-range heavy audio reproduction.
  • Bulky, unstable design.
  • Bass delivery varies significantly across users. Sensitive to glasses.

Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO

Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO
  • Type: Over-ear
  • Enclosure: Closed-Back
  • Wireless: No
  • Transducer: Dynamic
  • Weight: 0.6 lbs
  • Call/Music Control: No
  • Coiled cable length: 3m

The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro are well-built, durable and great-sounding closed-back headphones. They deliver a well balanced audio reproduction with a near perfect mid-range and a great bass that doesn’t drown instruments and vocals. They’re a bit more versatile and have a slightly better Bass than the DT 990 PRO or DT 880 thanks to their closed-back design. However, they still leak a bit too much for quieter environments, and they’re somewhat cumbersome to carry on you if you don’t have a bag.

Sound Quality: The Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO headphones are known for their excellent sound quality. They offer a detailed and well-balanced sound signature with clear highs, rich mids, and a tight, controlled bass response.

Comfort: The DT 770 PRO features soft, replaceable velour ear pads that provide long-lasting comfort, making them suitable for extended listening sessions.

Isolation: With their closed-back design and robust ear cup construction, the DT 770 PRO provides excellent noise isolation, effectively reducing ambient noise and preventing sound leakage.

Durability: Beyerdynamic is known for its durable and reliable build quality. The DT 770 PRO is no exception, with rugged materials and a solid construction designed to withstand professional use.

Versatility: The headphones come in different impedance options (32 ohms, 80 ohms, and 250 ohms), making them suitable for use with a wide range of audio devices, including smartphones, audio interfaces, and studio equipment.

Professional Use: The DT 770 PRO headphones are widely used in professional studio settings, audio production, broadcasting, and critical listening applications due to their accurate and detailed sound reproduction.

Replaceable Parts: Many parts of the headphones, including the ear pads and cables, are replaceable, increasing their longevity and making them a reliable long-term investment.


  • Great Price for Performance.
  • Comfortable to Wear.
  • Built like a Tank.


  • V-Shaped Tuning Could be Harsh for Some.
  • Cable is Non-Dettachable.

Audio-Technica’s ATH-M50x

Audio-Technica ATH-M50
  • Connection Type: Stereo 3.5mm
  • Type: Closed-back dynamic
  • Driver Diameter: 45 mm
  • Frequency Response: 15 – 28,000 Hz
  • Maximum Input Power: 1,600 mW at 1 kHz
  • Sensitivity: 99 dB

Audio-Technica’s ATH-M50x headphones have been a go-to option for both home and pro studio users (as well as even some DJs) for years. The ATH-M50x headphones are available in black, silver, white, blue, or orange, which has some metallic highlights and the Audio-Technica logo across the top of the headband. The circumaural fit is secure and comfortable over long listening sessions, while the 90-degree swivel of each earcup enables effortless single-ear monitoring for DJs.

Sound Quality: The ATH-M50 is widely acclaimed for its accurate and balanced sound signature. The headphones offer a detailed and immersive listening experience, with a well-defined bass response, clear mids, and crisp highs. The soundstage is relatively wide for closed-back headphones, allowing users to perceive spatial cues in their audio.

Comfort: These headphones are designed with long listening sessions in mind. The ear cups feature plush padding covered with soft leather, providing a comfortable fit over extended periods. The adjustable headband ensures a secure and personalized fit for various head sizes.

Isolation: The closed-back design of the ATH-M50 offers effective noise isolation, blocking out external sounds and minimizing sound leakage, making them suitable for recording and critical listening tasks.

Durability: The ATH-M50 is built to withstand rigorous use. The headphones feature a sturdy construction with metal components, and the foldable design allows for easy storage and portability.

Professional Use: These headphones are well-regarded in the audio industry and are commonly used by musicians, sound engineers, and producers for mixing, monitoring, and mastering tasks.

Versatility: While the ATH-M50 is primarily targeted at professionals, it has gained popularity among casual listeners as well due to its excellent sound quality and overall performance. It can be easily driven by smartphones, laptops, and portable audio players.

Removable Cable: The detachable cable offers convenience, allowing users to replace it if it gets damaged or to choose between the straight and coiled cable options based on their preference.


  • Accurate bass depth and ideal high-frequency clarity
  • Comfortable, secure over-ear fit
  • Ships with three detachable cables of varying lengths.


  • Plastic-heavy build
  • Not for those seeking a modern (boosted) bass response.

Sony MDR-7506

Sony MDR-7506
  • Headphone Type: Dynamic, closed.
  • Magnet Type: Neodymium.
  • Driver Size: 40.0 mm.
  • Frequency Response: 10-20kHz.
  • Impedance: 63 Ohms.
  • Sensitivity: 106 dB/W/m.
  • Power Handling: 1,000mW.

The Sony MDR-7506 is a classic pair of closed-back professional headphones that has been a staple in the audio industry for many years. These headphones are well-regarded for their accuracy, durability, and comfortable design.

Sound Quality: The Sony MDR-7506 is known for its flat and accurate sound signature, making it an excellent choice for critical listening, studio monitoring, and audio production tasks. The headphones offer a well-balanced sound with clear midrange, detailed highs, and a controlled bass response.

Comfort: These headphones are designed with comfort in mind. The ear cups are well-padded, and the adjustable headband provides a snug fit without causing discomfort, even during extended wear.

Isolation: The closed-back design of the MDR-7506 provides good noise isolation, reducing external distractions and preventing sound leakage. This makes them suitable for use in recording studios and noisy environments.

Durability: The MDR-7506 is built to withstand daily professional use. The headphones feature a robust construction with metal components, ensuring they can handle rough handling and frequent transportation.

Professional Use: These headphones are widely used in professional audio and broadcasting industries. They have earned a reputation for their reliability and accuracy, making them a popular choice among sound engineers and broadcasters.

Portability: The foldable design and swiveling ear cups allow for easy storage and portability, making them convenient for on-the-go professionals.

Longevity: The MDR-7506 has stood the test of time, and many users report using them for several years without significant wear or degradation in sound quality.

Wide Compatibility: The 3.5mm stereo jack connector with a 1/4″ adapter ensures compatibility with a wide range of audio devices, including studio equipment, laptops, smartphones, and audio interfaces.


  • Great pedigree
  • Lightweight & comfortable
  • Well-balanced, precise sound


  • Leatherette feels a bit cheap
  • Heavy cord can be overlong in some situations

Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro

beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro
  • Type: Over-ear
  • Enclosure: Open-Back
  • Wireless: No
  • Transducer: Dynamic
  • Weight: 0.6 lbs
  • Call/Music Control: No

The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro are excellent neutral listing headphones. They reproduce a lot of detail in high-resolution tracks and have a clear and crisp sound quality with a spacious soundstage. They may sound a bit sharp at times, as the treble range is slightly too emphasized, but bass, instruments, and vocals are well-balanced and reproduced with high-fidelity. They deliver an excellent audio reproduction but their open-back design is not ideal for everyday casual use. They will leak a lot, even at low volumes and don’t block any ambient noise. They’re also a bit tight on the head.

Sound Quality: The DT 990 Pro is renowned for its exceptional sound signature. It boasts an impressive soundstage with an airy, detailed, and spacious presentation. The highs are sparkling and clear, the mids are well-defined, and the bass is precise and controlled. The balanced audio reproduction ensures an engaging and immersive listening experience.

Comfort: These headphones are designed with extended listening sessions in mind. The large, velour-covered ear pads provide a luxurious and comfortable fit, making them suitable for hours of fatigue-free use.

Open-back Design: The open-back design allows air and sound to flow freely in and out of the ear cups, creating a more natural and spacious soundstage. However, this design choice also means that sound leakage is a concern, and these headphones are best suited for quiet environments.

Build Quality: The DT 990 Pro is built to withstand regular use. The headphones feature durable construction, with metal components in the headband and robust plastic materials for the ear cups.

Professional Use: These headphones are well-regarded in professional audio and studio settings. Their accuracy and transparency make them an excellent choice for critical listening, mixing, and mastering tasks.

Replaceable Parts: Beyerdynamic offers replaceable ear pads and headband padding, ensuring that users can extend the life of their headphones and keep them in top condition over time.

Longevity: The DT 990 Pro has garnered a reputation for its durability and longevity, making it a reliable investment for audiophiles and professionals seeking long-term performance.


  • Sturdy and durable build.
  • Great, open audio reproduction.
  • Stable and well-padded.


  • Loud leakage, by design.
  • No isolation from ambient noise, by design.
  • Slightly tight on the head.

Sennheiser HD 800 S

Sennheiser HD 800 S
  • Design: Open-back, over-ear headphones
  • Driver Type: Dynamic
  • Driver Size: 56mm
  • Impedance: 300 ohms
  • Frequency Response: 4 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 102 dB SPL (1 kHz, 1Vrms)
  • Cable: Detachable
  • Connector: 4-pin XLR connector
  • Weight: 330 grams (without cable)

The Sennheiser HD 800 S stands at the pinnacle of audiophile headphones, offering an unrivaled listening experience. With their open-back design, these headphones provide an expansive and lifelike soundstage that transports you to the heart of your music. The 56mm Ring Radiator dynamic drivers ensure a remarkably neutral and reference-grade sound, capturing every nuance with stunning clarity. Despite their larger size, the HD 800 S boasts a comfortable fit, allowing you to indulge in prolonged listening sessions without discomfort. However, to unleash their full potential, it’s advisable to pair them with a high-quality amp and DAC, which may entail an additional investment on top of the already premium price tag of these exceptional headphones.

Open-Back Design: The open-back design allows for natural sound propagation and creates an expansive soundstage, providing an immersive and spacious listening experience.

56mm Ring Radiator Dynamic Drivers: Sennheiser’s unique 56mm Ring Radiator drivers are engineered to reduce distortion and provide detailed, transparent, and high-resolution audio reproduction.

Impedance and Sensitivity: The HD 800 S has an impedance of 300 ohms, requiring adequate power to drive efficiently. The sensitivity of 102 dB ensures that they can deliver sufficient volume even with low-power amplifiers.

Frequency Response: The headphones offer an impressive frequency response range of 4 Hz to 51 kHz, allowing them to reproduce a broad spectrum of audio frequencies with precision and accuracy.

Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): With a low THD of less than 0.02%, the HD 800 S maintains excellent audio clarity, keeping distortion levels to a minimum.

Detachable Cable: The headphones come with a detachable, high-quality braided OFC cable, allowing for easy replacement and customization.

4-pin XLR Connector: The HD 800 S features a 4-pin XLR connector, which is standard in balanced audio setups and provides improved audio performance and channel separation.


  • Sound quality
  • Illusion of space
  • Comfort
  • Removable cable
  • Easy to equalize


  • Price
  • Pad material glasses-unfriendly

Shure SRH440

Shure SRH440
  • Frequency Response: 10 to 22,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 1 kHz
  • Maximum Input Power: 500 mW
  • Cable: 3 m, (9.8 ft) coiled
  • Driver Size: 40 mm
  • Transducer Type: Dynamic, Neodymium magnet
  • Replacement Parts: Ear Cushions , Replacement Coil Cable

The Shure SRH440 is a popular pair of closed-back over-ear headphones that have earned a reputation for their reliable performance and affordability. These headphones are well-regarded among audio enthusiasts, musicians, and audio professionals for their accurate sound reproduction and durable build quality.

Sound Quality: The SRH440 is designed to provide a neutral and accurate sound signature. Its 40mm dynamic drivers deliver clear and detailed audio across the frequency range, making them suitable for critical listening and audio production tasks.

Comfort: The headphones feature an ergonomic design with cushioned ear cups and an adjustable headband, ensuring a comfortable fit even during extended use.

Closed-Back Design: The closed-back design offers effective noise isolation, reducing external distractions and preventing sound leakage, making them suitable for recording and monitoring in noisy environments.

Durability: Shure is known for its robust build quality, and the SRH440 is no exception. The headphones are built to withstand regular use, making them a reliable choice for everyday use or studio applications.

Detachable Cable: The SRH440 comes with a detachable coiled cable, providing convenience for storage and transportation. The cable is also replaceable, extending the life of the headphones.

Professional Use: These headphones are a popular choice among audio professionals, musicians, and recording engineers for studio monitoring, mixing, and mastering tasks.

Affordability: The SRH440 offers a compelling balance between price and performance, making it an accessible option for those seeking high-quality headphones without breaking the bank.


  • Mixing/reference staple.
  • Excellent sound isolation.
  • Preferred overall for flat, even response.
  • Bright in the treble, but not harsh. Maybe the best aspect of this can.
  • Folds nicely for portability.
  • Removable cable.


  • Build and comfort are both lacking.
  • Earpads will get hot and sweaty after a while. They are big enough but not deep enough. They are replaceable, however.
  • Hardly any headband padding.

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