What Are Headphones Used for in a Recording Studio?

It’s obvious why you need a mixer for a recording studio, and you kind of can’t go on without a computer or a pair of sturdy speakers on your shelf.

But what are headphones used for in a recording studio?

The speakers are already doing the audio-output task, so you shouldn’t have to pay for an extra pair of recording headphones. Right?

Well, it doesn’t work that way!

Why Do You Need Headphones in a Recording Studio?

You need headphones in your recording studio for two reasons: recording and mixing. Both tasks can’t be done without a pair of quality studio headphones. You’ll finish your piece, but it won’t sound as good as you’d like because the monitor speakers aren’t enough for audio.

Here’s a brief about the uses of headphones.


The recording is the most essential use for headphones in a studio. When you’re overdubbing, you have no choice but to use a pair of recording headphones, or else you’ll have a lot of bleed in your sound. Depending on studio monitors alone won’t help much.

Recording headphones are also useful for giving you accurate sounds in your home recording studio. In professional studios, the recorders usually have fully-fledged mixing rooms. So, the speakers replicate the sound without interfering with the vocals or source instrument. 

Of course, no home recording studio will have a dedicated mixing room. So home recorders need headphones for blocking out the instrument sound, so they can focus on the recording setup sounds only.


It’s generally not recommended to mix with your headphones only because they don’t offer much consistency. Many people agree that using quality studio monitors will result in more accurate sounds.

However, that’s only the case if you use closed-back headphones. Open-back headphones are ideal for mixing, and they provide accurate sounds because they allow air to pass in.

Plus, you may not have a choice but to use headphones for mixing. If you’re working at night, your neighbors won’t appreciate hearing your studio monitors going at their highest. In this case, a pair of open-back headphones will be your only savior.

Moreover, headphones will allow you to hear all the quiet parts of your recording piece easily. This way, no detail gets missed.

What Makes a Pair of Good Recording Headphones?

When choosing a pair of headphones for recording, you need to make sure they don’t leak sound out into your room. Otherwise, any sensitive mic will catch the sound that escapes. Needless to say, that can significantly affect the integrity of your sounds.

Your headphones should also be durable enough to handle recording for long hours. You’ll throw these headphones around a lot, and they’ll stay on your ears for more hours than they should. So they need to be sturdy enough to handle that.

Lastly, your studio headphones should only have the basic features that you need for recording. Try not to go looking for active noise cancellation or similar features. They’ll only get your headphones’ battery life shorter, and you don’t want anything that’ll distract you from recording.

Wrap Up

Headphones are mainly used for recording and mixing in a recording studio. They may not be vital for mixing, but they’re essential for the recording process. Remember to go for open-back headphones if you’re mixing and editing. Otherwise, a pair of closed-back ones will do.