Audio is one of the most important components of a video. Films without solid audio mixes will punch audiences right out of immersion. Uploading a video before properly editing the sound can destroy your production value. To edit sound, you need an accurate representation of the audio, which is only possible with a pair of the best headphones for video editing.
FilmToolKit has done tons of research and read dozens of reviews in order to help you find the best headphones for video editing to fit your budget and needs. We’ve even put together a section at the bottom of the page to explain what different headphone specifications mean, and how you can interpret them to choose the best video editing headphones to suit your personal preferences.
Pro Tip: DON’T edit with Skullcandies, Beats, or any other similar headphones. We’ll explain why after our recommendations.
- 1 Best Headphones For Video Editing – Top 5
- 1.1 1. Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back Professional Headphones (Best Quality, Highest Price)
- 1.2 2. Sennheiser HD 598 Over-Ear Headphones (All Around Best Headphones for Editing)
- 1.3 3. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Monitor Headphones (Best Headphones For Movies – $100-150 Range)
- 1.4 4. Audio-Technica ATH-M30x Professional Monitor Headphones (Best Budget Headphones For Editing – $50 Range)
- 1.5 5. Sony MDRZX110 ZX Series Stereo Headphones (Best Cheap Headphones For Editing)
- 2 Features To Look For In Headphones For Video Editing
- 3 Some Final Thoughts
Best Headphones For Video Editing – Top 5
1. Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back Professional Headphones (Best Quality, Highest Price)
Very Important Note: These are a pair of High-Impedance 300 Ohm headphones. While they will still sound decent, they will be completely outperformed by even $100 headphones if you don’t have a proper amplifier like this one. If you are not interested in purchasing an amplifier, please skip down to option #2.
Sennheiser is a top-tier high end audio equipment manufacturer, and have headphones tuned to every price point. We believe the Sennheiser HD 650 are the best open-back editing headphones you’re going to be able to find without spending a ludicrous amount.
These headphones are intended for critical listening, and will provide a balanced sound profile across lows, mediums and highs. The sound is exceptionally natural and accurate, and these headphones will give you the capabilities of editing anything completely accurately. Yes, even Hollywood blockbusters.
So what exactly makes these expensive headphones worth it?
For starters, frequency response range is absolutely incredible at 10-39,500 Hz, the highest of any headphones we’ve recommended. That covers the entire gamut of “Hearable” frequencies, as well as many that you can’t hear, but can still feel. The open back design creates a soundscape that’s eerily close to how your audio will sound in a large space like a theater.
Like all of the high-end monitoring headphones we have on this list, the connecting cables are detachable. Not only that, they are made from special, highly conductive copper that’s reinforced with kevlar. This minimizes handling noise from things bumping into your cables.
Best of all, the HD 650 is backed by a 2 year international warranty if anything happens to go wrong with your headphones.
We could go on all day about the unique tech used to make these headphones premium, but it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense to you. What the general reviewers consensus is, is that these headphones are legendary, and the best in class for getting accurate sound.
If you feel like spending more or less money, we can confidently recommend all of the Sennheiser HD series headphones, as they are all held to the same high standard of quality.
2. Sennheiser HD 598 Over-Ear Headphones (All Around Best Headphones for Editing)
These headphones are relatively low impedance, and are the closest you’re going to get to the quality of the HD 650s without requiring an external amplifier. The 50 ohm impedance ensures you’ll be able to use it with every audio device, even phones, and the sound produced is incredibly accurate. For the $200-300 price range, these are some of the best headphones for editing you’ll be able to find.
These headphones also win our award for most comfortable and most stylish. Just look at those bad boys. If the Ivory colorway is too loud for your personal taste, there is also a black one available.
The ear cushions are lined with luxurious feeling velour, a very soft, comfortable material that will last much longer than the faux leather used on almost every other pair of headphones. These prevent the headphones from feeling like they’re clamped to your head, and many have said it can feel like they’re not even there.
The HD 598’s feature an open-backed design, allowing the sound to breathe, but leaking it into the room as well, so reserve these for editing in private studios. Of course, the 3 meter cable is completely detachable, includes a 3.5mm adapter.
Like the last pair of headphones, the 598’s are also backed by a 2 year international warranty when purchased from an authorized retailer like Amazon.
3. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Monitor Headphones (Best Headphones For Movies – $100-150 Range)
Right up there with Sennheiser, Audio-Technica is one of our favorite audio product manufacturers. Their ATH-M line of headphones are excellent choices for content creators of every caliber. We believe for the $100-150 price range, the ATH-M50x’s are the best headphones for video editing.
These are one of the most popular pairs of monitoring headphones on the market, and for good reason. Audio fidelity is clean, crisp, and most importantly, accurate. No artificial bass or treble boosting hardware here. They are closed back of course, so these are the best choice so far if you’re editing in a public or otherwise noisy environment.
The frequency response range hits everything you need and more, at 15-28,000 Hz. Reviewers are very impressed with the audio crispness and fidelity, and you are sure to get excellent sonic performance.
The 90° swiveling ear cups make it easy to monitor with only one ear, and the band and cushions remain comfortable, even after several hours of extended use.
Finally, there’s even three detachable cables to make transportation easy and to save you a heck of a lot of money if it ends up getting worn out. One is 10 feet, one is 4 feet, and there’s even a coiled cable! You’ll have a different cable for every situation, and plenty of spares if you accidentally rip any of them.
4. Audio-Technica ATH-M30x Professional Monitor Headphones (Best Budget Headphones For Editing – $50 Range)
If you are looking to spend around $50 on your headphones and want the best quality possible, the Audio Technica ATH-M30x are the best “budget” headphones for editing. For a fraction of the price of the other headphones, you’re still getting great amount of fidelity, and the build quality is great!
Despite it’s very cheap asking price, the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x still has a full frequency response range of 15-20,000. This is missing about 8,000 hz that are covered by the ATH-M50x, but unless you are doing paid professional work, it shouldn’t matter all too much.
So what else do you lose from the M50x by spending almost $100 less?
The cables are not detachable, the ear cups only swivel 15°, they have a lower sensitivity of 95.5 decibles, and the overall audio fidelity is a bit less strong. The max volume output is a little bit lower too, but all in all, these are still a solid pair of cans.
With all of that being said, reviewers are still very impressed with the audio quality and premium feel of these headphones. The outer shell materials are pretty much identical to the M50x, so they’ll be every bit as durable and last you for years.
5. Sony MDRZX110 ZX Series Stereo Headphones (Best Cheap Headphones For Editing)
Sony makes some excellent headphones that are definitely able to compete with all of our above options. They may have been beaten out in the other categories, but the MDRZX110 is an excellent niche pick that is the best in its class.
Somehow Sony has managed to pack a frequency response range of 12-22,000 into a cheap package. That’s a better range than some of the $100 headphones we looked at!
They have been praised for their comfort and well balanced sound. They definitely don’t feel as cheap as they are. The swivel design allow them to be easy to transport and wear, and the 90 degree angle cord helps it from getting ripped out of your devices.
There are a few drawbacks to purchasing a pair of headphones that costs less than 20 bucks. The cords are not detachable, and the audio fidelity will never reach that of the more expensive headphones we are recommending. Despite this, the headphones deliver an impressively rich sound, and many reviewers have stated that their pair has managed to last them for several years. If you’re not looking to spend very much money on your headphones, you will definitely not be disappointed with this pair.
Features To Look For In Headphones For Video Editing
Noise Cancelling. Not Even Once.
Now, for the average person, noise cancelling headphones are a premium luxury that most are willing to pay extra for. But you’re no average person. You’re a part of the audio/video editing elite! You should be avoiding noise cancelling headphones like the plague.
Noise cancelling features work by adjusting your sound to filter out background sounds. This is perfect for people trying to listen to stuff on a noisy flight, but is not so great when you’re meticulously editing a film. You need to hear the audio exactly as it is, not with a bunch of extra sound waves on top of it.
The movie theater doesn’t have noise cancelling speakers, so why would someone edit a film with noise cancelling headphones?
Note: Passive cancellation via insulation or other closed-back soundproofing is fine. That’s just isolating your ears.
Say NO To Bass Boost
Stop editing your videos with Beats by Dre. Heavily marketed headphones often appeal to EDM and Hip-Hop listeners by artificially boosting the low and high ends.
If you didn’t get the picture with our last piece of advice, you want headphones with a very flat sound profile. Bass boosted headphones might make everything inspire you to jump up and down, but they won’t give you the most accurate representation of the audio.
If you mix a video with bass boosting headphones, you might end up turning down the low-end. Then when you screen the video on flat-response speakers, there will be absolutely no low end at all.
Besides, if you want to listen to some heavy bass drops with your flat-response headphones, you can always adjust an EQ in the software.
Closed Back Vs Open Back
When it comes to headphones, you’re given a choice between a Closed-back design and an open-back design.
Closed-back headphones have a hard enclosure on the outer side of the headphone cups. This means that closed back designs will reduce noise coming in and going out, giving your ears a very focused, but narrow experience. This also means that there wont be any sound escaping to be picked up by your microphone, but we haven’t found that to be too much of a problem with any headphones unless you are blasting your volume.
Open-back headphones on the other hand allow sound to bleed out and for noise to come in. This might not sound like a great idea, but it actually gives your ears the sensation of having speakers further away from you, increasing your immersion. If you’re mixing for speakers, open-back headphones will give you a much more accurate sound representation. Some manufacturers have also claimed that this design helps keep your head cool if you have problems with your head getting hot.
Some high end headphones are capable of incorporating the best of both worlds, giving you isolation from your environment, but still with a structure that still allows your headphones to breathe.
Our Verdict: The best headphones are the ones that you can hear. If your work environment is a noisy office or otherwise public environment, closed back headphones are your best option. If you are fortunate enough to be editing in a private studio, or otherwise quiet environment, open backed headphones will give you the best reproduction of what will be heard on the speakers.
Frequency Response Range
Aside from listening to them directly, the frequency response range is just about the best way to measure the quality of headphones.
Our number one suggestion on our list has the highest frequency response range, at 10-39,500 Hz.
Although human hearing is typically regarded as between 20-20,000 Hz, it has been suggested by many that frequencies outside this range can still be recognized through other senses.
You’re going to at least want 20-20,000 as a bare minimum range if you’re doing high quality editing. Anything less will result in a loss of accuracy. We didn’t recommend anything lower than that.
In essence, A higher frequency response range is always better, albeit very marginally beyond 20,000 Hz.
What is Headphone Impedance?
This one is really important, and also pretty difficult to understand. We’ll try to simplify it.
Impedance is an indicator of how much power (in ohms) is required to drive a set of headphones. Average PCs and smartphones typically have difficulty driving headphones rated at 50 Ohms or higher.
Trying to power headphones without the proper amplification results in diminished volume and performance. Cheap lower impedance headphones can outperform expensive higher impedance ones if you don’t have an appropriate amplifier.
In this article, we primarily suggested low-impedance headphones to simplify the purchasing process. Modern technology has allowed low-impedance headphones to reach a remarkable peak in quality that will suffice for practically all video editing work. Purchasing and implementing an additional
Our top choice, however, was a high impedance model (300 ohms), that features a quantity of power and clarity simply not achievable with lower impedance headphones.
Basically, lower impedance headphones are definitely powerful enough for professional work, but if you want the best of the best, you’ll need to try headphones with 250+ ohms. You will need an amp for that.
General Build Quality and Comfort
Finally, you should consider the quality of the materials used, and the comfort level present in the reviews. Editing for a living often can mean being strapped in with your headphones for 8-12 hours at a time, so you better make sure they’re comfy.
We didn’t recommend any headphones that haven’t received praise for their comfort. Some of them are designed with comfort in mind, like the Sennheiser HD 598, but all of them have met a baseline standard for comfort and quality.
Make sure to check the reviews of whatever headphones you end up buying to make sure there isn’t a trend of them falling apart after a few months!
$400 is a lot of money to spend on a pair of headphones. Wires are cheap, and it would be a shame if your high-end headphones went to waste because you rolled over the wire with your chair.
If you’re not very careful with your gear, you’ll probably want to invest in a pair of headphones with a replaceable cable. The wire is the weakest part, and with a replaceable cord, you’ll only need to invest around $10 for a new one.
Some Final Thoughts
Although we only recommended a few brands, that’s not to say that those are your only options. Compared to most of the things that we typically reviewed, we found that there is a gigantic surplus in the variety of high quality headphones.
Sennheiser, AKG, Audio Technica, Sony, and Beyerdynamic all make very high quality headphones that will not let you down. Stay within those brands and you’ll be sure to have some of the best headphones for video editing.
Thanks for reading! If you have any other suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments.