How to Play Electric Guitar with Headphones
It is handy to play electric guitar with headphones whether you live in an apartment, want to play while you travel, or just want to have a late-night practice session.
You’ll be glad to know that there are plenty of good options to play electric guitar silently with headphones and keep a great tone.
Here we will explain the different ways to play the guitar through headphones and choose the one that works best for you.
Connect Your Headphones to Your Guitar Amp
Depending on the type of guitar amp you use, you may be able to connect any pair of headphones directly to the amp.
If your guitar amp has headphones out, you will most likely have to spend less than $10 to play the guitar through your amp headphones.
Almost all modern guitar amps come with a headphone jack:
The headphones jack can be found on the front panel of some guitar amplifiers, on the top of others, or the back of others. Connect your headphones to the headphones out jack, and you’re good to go.
The majority of modern amplifiers provide 3.5mm headphone jacks (1/8′′ standard headphone size), but some use 6.3mm (1/4′′) outputs (the same size as a guitar cable).
Typically, guitar amps have a headphone jack that looks like this:
If you want to connect your guitar amp to your headphones, you will need an adapter.
Connect to Your Computer Using an Audio Interface
This method is perfect for those who want to listen to music on headphones and record it quietly. It’s a hardware device that allows you to connect your electric guitar to your computer via USB (or Thunderbolt). Plug your guitar into one of the inputs, then plug your computer into the USB port. Depending on your interface and computer, you may need to download some drivers.
We typically recommend the Focusrite Scarlett Solo for beginners. This preamp has excellent build quality, and the sound quality is superb. In addition, there are enough ports to connect your guitar and an additional microphone simultaneously.
Once the interface is set up, you can record your guitar playing directly into your digital audio workstation (DAW).
You will also be able to plug your headphones directly into the audio interface, so you will be able to hear yourself play. Moreover, you will be able to listen to your computer audio simultaneously so that you can play along with backing tracks.
You will be playing electric guitar without an amplifier for this method. Instead, you’ll use a computer simulator. There are hundreds of free and paid guitar VST plug-ins available to simulate virtually any guitar amplifier and effects pedal on the planet. You can play and record right on your computer with these plug-ins and your headphones on. They integrate directly with any DAW.
Connect Your Guitar to Your Smartphone or Tablet
Having your electric guitar connected to a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet, is another convenient way to play through headphones. You will need a digital guitar interface designed for mobile devices to accomplish this. Your amp sims will be controlled through an application, like a VST plug-in.
Our recommendation is to use the iRig HD 2 interface if you’re using an iPhone or iPad. In terms of mobile devices, the iRig is one of the most familiar interfaces. It’s easy to use and portable. It also sounds excellent. You can download Positive Grid’s Jam Up Pro or Bias FX Mobile for guitar tones once you’ve connected your guitar to an iOS device. These amp simulator apps offer the same quality as the desktop VST plug-ins we discussed in our previous example, so these are our go-to apps. You can even record music directly from your mobile device using Garage Band.
You might consider the iRig UA guitar interface if you’re on an Android device. The iRig HD 2 is essentially the same thing but designed for Android. If you want guitar tones, you can use Amplitube for Android, free when you purchase the iRig.
Use a Multi-Effects Possessor
With digital effects processors, you can play the guitar with headphones through one device. The primary function of these units is to provide a high-quality simulation of amplifiers and effects pedals.
However, unlike VST plug-ins, this is a hardware device rather than software, and you do not require a computer to use it (though you can connect them to a computer for recording). Likewise, digital effects processors do not require you to connect them to a computer, smartphone, or any other external software. Depending on your device, the amp settings and effects can be adjusted right on the device with knobs and even foot pedals.
In terms of digital effects processors, they have many different ports such as audio output, USB, and headphone output. Consequently, you can hook them up to a PA system for live performances, connect them to a computer to record in your DAW, and even listen to music through headphones.
Although effects processors are on the pricey side in comparison to audio interfaces, there are some entry-level models available that are affordable. For example, I have been using the Line 6 Pod HD 500X digital effects processor for three years. This device has been very versatile, and I enjoyed using it. For example, floor units have pedals and buttons which allow you to switch between effects when stepping on them. Additionally, you can connect it to your computer and use it as an audio interface.
However, its best feature is that in addition to having a headphone jack, it also has an audio port that allows you to connect an external audio source and play MP3 files. In other words, you can plug your phone or laptop directly into the device and jam along to backing tracks while playing the guitar, and all of that can be heard through your headphones.
Connect Your Guitar to a Multi-Effects Pedal
The headphones output on most modern multi-effects units is expected. So in most cases, if you already use a multi-effects pedal, you have all the gear you need to play your electric guitar through headphones.
Multi-effects pedals with a large headphone output, such as the Line 6 Helix, will have one:
As you can see, this uses a 6.3mm (1/4 inch) output, so you would need an adapter, as we mentioned earlier, depending on the headphones you use. If your multi-effects pedal has some kind of amp modelling feature, it will probably have a headphones output.
The pedal may not have a ‘headphone’ option, but it should have the option to connect to an amplifier or mixer. The connector is usually labelled line out.
The following are advantages of using a multi-effects pedal with your guitar:
- You can choose from a wide range of tones and settings
- Portable compared to a guitar amplifier
- Recordings can be made by connecting to a PC/Mac
The following are disadvantages of using a multi-effects pedal with your guitar:
- It’s not as portable as the other options discussed in this guide
- Some multi-effects pedals do not have headphone outputs
- It is pretty expensive if you do not already own a multi-effects pedal
If you already own a multi-effects pedal, you may be able to use the output to practice or play in silence. Chances are, your pedal will have an appropriate output to use with headphones.
Buying one to play the guitar with headphones is not necessary if you already have a multi-effects pedal. However, one of the other options may be more suitable for you.
Connect Your Guitar to a Micro Guitar Amp
Small battery-powered guitar amps are becoming increasingly popular among guitarists on the go or who prefer to practice in silence.
These guitar amps have the advantage of being portable (depending on the model) and being played with or without headphones.
Most of the mini amps in the above guide can be easily connected to headphones for silent practice.
A few more options may suit you better if you are not interested in using the built-in speaker but only want to use headphones.
Its compact design makes it one of the most popular VOX AmPlug 2 amps for guitars.
Connect your headphones to the AmPlug before plugging the AmPlug directly into your guitar. Simple.
A variety of models are available to suit different types of playing styles. One of the most popular models is the AC-30 (shown above), but models are also blues, classic rock, clean, lead, brass, and metal.
The following are some advantages of connecting your guitar to a micro guitar amp:
- It is extremely portable
- No matter where you are, you can play with or without headphones
- There is no need for cables or adapters with VOX AmPlug
- There is no need for adapters
- The aux input can be used to jam along with music
The disadvantages of connecting your guitar to a micro guitar amp:
- The sound quality isn’t as good as other options
- Lack of control over guitar tones or effects
Best Headphones for Guitar Amps
Audio-Technica ATH M50x
- Critically acclaimed sonic performance praised by top audio engineers and pro audio reviewers
- Proprietary 45 millimeter large aperture drivers with rare earth magnets and copper clad aluminum wire voice coils
- Exceptional clarity throughout an extended frequency range with deep accurate bass response
- Circumaural design contours around the ears for excellent sound isolation in loud environments
- 90 degree swiveling earcups for easy one ear monitoring and professional grade earpad and headband material delivers more durability and comfort
The Audio-Technica ATH M50x headphones top our list of the best headphones for guitar amps. In addition, these studio monitor headphones are an Amazon’s Choice product for less than $170.
The earcups on these headphones can be rotated 90 degrees. They are wired headphones. In addition, they can be removed without any difficulty. In case you want to monitor the guitar sound with just one ear, you can do that. Additionally, switching back to using both earcups at once is very easy.
As a result of Audio-Technica’s circumaural design, the ATH M50x provides excellent isolation from loud sounds. So regardless of whether you’re recording or playing in anything but a quiet environment in the future, you won’t hear as much background noise. Additionally, these phones are widely regarded for their wide frequency range, which increases sound clarity and significantly improves bass guitar sound.
Aluminium wire voice coils and rare earth magnets are included in the proprietary large-aperture drivers. These drivers have a 45-millimetre diameter and aluminium wire voice coils with copper cladding. With all of this, Audio-Technica can deliver the kind of broad sonic range that you’d expect. In addition, several colours are available with the ATH M50x, including black, white, gunmetal, and blue.
In conclusion, we recommend the Audio Technica ATH M50x headphones as the best headphones for guitar amps. Whenever I practice and don’t want to disturb anyone with loud music, I plug these headphones in.
These headphones sound great, feel comfortable, and are an excellent value for the price.
- This is the best value on the list
- The sound quality is excellent for the price
- The headband and earpads are made of high-grade materials that will last for years.
- The best choice for DJing, tracking, mixing, and personal listening
- They can feel cheap because of their primary plastic construction
- Their flat response makes them ideal for mixing rather than everyday listening
Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro
- Closed over-ear headphones for professional mixing in the studio
- Perfect for studio recordings thanks to their pure and high-resolution sound
- The soft, circumaural and repalceable velour ear pads ensure high wearing comfort
- Hard-wearing, durable and robust workmanship Made in Germany
- Practical single-sided cable (3.0m coiled cable)
The next set of headphones is the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro. There are three ohms to choose from 32, 80, and 250 impressive ohms. They are more expensive than the ones from Audio-Technica (just over $200).
Designed and manufactured in Germany, Beyerdynamic claims these headphones offer a level of quality that adds to their robustness and durability. Even if you’re hard on headphones, the DT 770 Pro phones should hold up to everyday wear and tear. There is a good chance you will be using your headphones to power your guitar amp so that a durable design will come in handy.
The headphones are capable of delivering nominal sound pressure at a level of 96 decibels. They have a frequency response of 5 Hz to 32,000 Hz and utilize type-wired transmission. The single-sided cable is ideal for guitar amps, and it’s made to be regularly used in a studio or rehearsal space.
You’ll be able to wear these headphones for hours at a time because they have circumaural velour ear pads. If you wear them long enough, you won’t suffer from headaches. Thanks to the high-quality sound you get from these phones, they can also be used for stage recordings and studio recordings while keeping excellent clarity during the performance. Grey and black are the two colours available for the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro headphones.
The overall impression is that these are premium pairs of guitar amplifier headphones. These headphones offer excellent build quality and excellent audio quality.
The Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro headphones are the industry standard when it comes to long-lasting headphones.
- The price is good for the value
- Velour ear pads provide comfort
- 30 ohm, 80 ohms, and 250-ohm versions are available
- The spatial reproduction is excellent
- The sound quality is excellent
- The earpads may not be comfortable if you have more prominent ears (but can easily be replaced).
Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphones
- Neodymium magnets and 40 millimeter drivers for powerful, detailed sound
- Closed ear design provides comfort and outstanding reduction of external noises
- 9.8 foot cord ends in gold plated plug and it is not detachable; 1/4 inch adapter included
- Folds up for storage or travel in provided soft case
- Frequency Response: 10 Hertz to 20 kilohertz
The Sony MDR7506 professional large-diaphragm headphones will be a great choice if you’re a fan of Sony’s products. They make excellent guitar amp headphones at an affordable price. For under $100, you can get these headphones, or if you want to pay a bit more, you can get a professional case for them. That way, they will last even longer.
These stylish headphones come with a wired connection, so you can easily connect them to your guitar amp or other device and start listening. These headphones come with a closed-ear design and a snug fit so they won’t fall off your head when you’re nodding to the music. In addition to its professional design, sound, and feel, this model has a large diaphragm.
There is a benefit to these headphones in that they are very comfortable. It’s designed to fit your head comfortably; these visors are lightweight, unobtrusive, and are unobtrusive. In addition, you don’t get overheated with the earpads since they are soft and breathable.
If you use these headphones with your guitar amp, you won’t have any difficulty jamming for long periods at a time.
If you slip these phones on, you’ll be amazed at their frequency response, which ranges between 10 Hz and 20 kHz. There is a 63-ohm impedance on the phones. The cord measures 9.8 feet in length. The plug is also gold-plated so that you can use it in your amplifier for a long time.
You’ll enjoy improved detail and quality of sound with Sony’s 40-millimetre drivers and neodymium magnets. Also, you’ll notice that everything you hear has more power than when you use other headphones.
Although the audio quality isn’t as crisp and clear as some of the more expensive headphones on this list, they’re still decent enough considering their price.
- An excellent value for the price
- It is lightweight and comfortable
- Professional and clean appearance
- When not in use, it folds up for easy storage
- The carrying case is of high quality
- There are some issues with the audio quality
Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphone
- High ambient noise attenuation
- Accurate, linear sound reproduction
- Soft earpads for a comfortable fit
- Folding and rotating earcups for space-saving transport
- Tough, single-sided cable
If you want the industry standard for guitar amplifier headphones, then Sennheiser HD280PRO headphones are the best. These phones are affordable (under $120) and attractive. They make a good choice for those on a tight budget who still want good sound quality.
Compared to other headphones we’ve reviewed thus far, Sennheiser’s HD280PRO headphones come with a lot of padding. There is thick padding all around the headband, and the earpads are also plush. Over your ears, you’ll feel like you’ve got a pair of clouds covering you.
The first issue with these headphones was that the band felt tight at first if you have a big head. However, they stretch over time, so this isn’t a problem for long periods. Additionally, their earpads don’t allow much air to flow, which causes them to get warm over your ears.
In addition to their ergonomic comfort, these headphones are also lightweight. You may find yourself forgetting you are wearing them! Coiled cords that range in length from 3.3 feet to 9.8 feet are included. In addition, Sennheiser’s headphones come in a closed-ear style with circumaural ear coupling as well.
Nominal sound pressure of 113 decibels, a frequency response of 8 Hz to 25,000 Hz, and an impedance of 64 ohms characterize these around-the-ear headphones. Sennheiser describes the HD280PRO headphones as offering a natural and warm sound thanks to their extended frequency response.
- An excellent value for the price
- Top-notch sound quality
- It is lightweight
- It is foldable and easy to store
- If you have a large head, it may feel tight
- Almost all plastic construction feels cheap
Yamaha HPH-MT5 Monitor Headphones
- Delivering balanced sound with excellent resolution that stays faithful to the source, these headphones allow Reliable, high-quality monitoring
- Comfortable monitoring even during lengthy, extended sessions thanks to Ultra light weight 250 G Hardware
- Closed-back, circumaural design for excellent isolation
- 40 mm custom drivers with ccaw voice coils deliver a broad frequency range from 20 Hz to 20 kHz
- Convenient carrying Bag included
The Yamaha HPH-MT5 monitor headphones will become your new best friend in the studio thanks to their sleek and professional appearance. There are plenty of headphones available for guitar amps, but these are among the best. While they’re more expensive than the last set of phones we reviewed, you can still get them for under $175.
HPH-MT54 monitor headphones include a stereo plug adaptor that measures only 6.3 millimetres long. Closed-back headphones will block out external sounds, so you can close your eyes and concentrate on only what you are hearing. These headphones are circumaural as well.
These Yamaha headphones give you the option of customizing the fit, making them feel almost like your own. For instance, using a slider, you can adjust the length until these sit comfortably on your head. Further adjustment of the fit is also possible via a three-dimensional arm pivot. Even while wearing them for hours on end, your head will not hurt. Having fewer distractions allows you to focus more in the studio, allowing you to produce more.
Both the headband and ear pads of the HPH-MT54 headphones are covered in synthetic leather. The earpads are cushioned with low resistance material. Besides enhancing noise isolation, the pillow-like quality of the cushions also enhances your comfort. HPH-MT5W monitor headphones also feature 40-millimetre drivers for more accurate responses and solid frequency responses.
AKG K240 Professional Studio Headphones
- Professional studio headphones
- 3 m replaceable cable
- Audio Interface type: Stereo plug – 3.5mm (1/8-inch) with 6.3 mm (1/4”) screw-on adapter
The AKG K240 professional studio headphones are also available for your consideration. Despite their price tag of about $100, these over-ear headphones have tons of excellent equipment in a semi-open style.
Among such accessories is a three-meter cable with a convertible jack plug that can be used to connect your portable gear. By far, the most excellent feature of these phones is that they come with a mini amplifier from Knox Gear. There are four channels on this studio headphone amplifier, and it runs on 12 volts. You don’t have to worry about direct current power if you don’t have one. Of course, you also get a 12-volt DC power supply. How convenient!
The headband has a wide range of adjustments so you can fit it precisely to your head. A single-sided cable can even be connected to it. In addition, each ear is equipped with padding that should surround your ears and block out noise from the outside. As a result, these headphones are highly comfortable to wear.
There are a variety of uses for the AKG K240 headphones, from mastering to mixing to listening. With how comfortable and convenient they are, you’ll want to use them for hours. Thanks to their open design, they also have a clear sound of highs and a rumbling bass sound.
- Excellent budget headphones
- Includes a headphone amplifier
- Stylish and comfortable
- Mixing good
- Excellent dynamic range
- It’s not the best music for every day listening
- The build quality is not the best
Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones
- SRH840 Professional Monitoring Headphones feature a precisely tailored frequency response that delivers rich bass, clear mid-range and extended highs
- Optimized for studio recording and critical listening
- Closed-back, circumaural collapsible design
- Detachable, coiled cable
- Includes SRH840, threaded 1/4" gold-plated adapter, carrying bag, replacement ear pads, and user guide
Shure is a significant player in audio with their SRH840 professional monitoring headphones. Another of Amazon’s Choice picks for the best headphones to use with guitar amps. These headphones should fit most budgets without breaking the bank at less than $215.
In addition to being excellent headphones for guitar amps, the SRH840 also comes with everything you need to start listening and recording right away. Additionally, you receive a user guide, replacement ear pads, a carrying bag, and a 14-inch gold-plated threaded adapter. If you choose to use your cable, the coiled cable provided with the headphones can be detachable.
Shure’s headphones will lengthen your highs, boost your mids, and make your bass guitar sound more prominent. They’re perfect for critical listening and studio recording. It depends on the frequency response, which Shure says they tailor to make them sound more appealing. You should be able to get more than enough sound from these over-ear, DJ-style headphones no matter what genre of music you like to listen to.
Shure is well-regarded in the world of audio equipment, and these headphones live up to the brand’s reputation. With excellent sound quality, comfort, and durability, these headphones are a professional pair.
Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo Over-Ear Headphones
- 50mm neodymium drivers deliver full spectrum of sound
- 1.5m cable gives you freedom of movement for indoor use
- Comfortable double layered headband cushion, breathable ear cushion for longer wearing comfort
- Finishing of connector: gold-plated, acoustic system: open, Magnet type: neodymium
You might also be interested in the Philips SHP9500 HiFi precision stereo over-ear headphones. The frequency response of these speakers is 12 Hz to 35,000 Hz, and the impedance is 32 ohms. In addition, they have a speaker diameter of 50 millimetres, a sensitivity of 101 decibels, and a maximum power output of 200 watts.
A gold-plated finishing connector and an open style for better acoustics are also included. At first glance, the earpads don’t seem to be anything special but don’t sleep with them. The air headphones come with a thick but plush cushion that allows your head to breathe so that it does not sweat after wearing the headphones for a long time. Two layers of padding are even present on the headband to ensure optimal comfort. This is complemented by steel construction underneath.
If you use a headphone cable 1.5 meters or 4.9 feet long in the studio, you’ll have more flexibility. Music lovers will appreciate these headphones because they feature 50 millimetres, neodymium drivers. As a result, the sound they produce is breathtaking.
- The price was excellent for the value
- The headphones are very comfortable
- Lightweight and suitable for long sessions
- The audio quality isn’t the best
- Bass can sound tinny and weak
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are guitar amplifiers equipped with headphone jacks?
Most modern guitar amplifiers and modelling amps indeed have a dedicated headphone jack. Check for a label on the amp’s front that says “Phones” or “Headphones” on older guitar amplifiers.
2. How big is the headphone jack on a guitar amp?
Amplifiers for guitars use 1/4″ headphone jacks. Standard headphones use the 3.5mm or 1/8′′ jack. You can purchase a headphone adapter if you want to plug your headphones into a guitar amp.
3. Is it possible to plug headphones directly into my electric guitar?
Directly connecting your headphones to your guitar is not possible. Most electric guitars do not come equipped with an audio jack. Instead, it would help if you plugged your guitar into your amp and then plugged your headphones into the amp.
4. Is it possible to connect my guitar to Bluetooth headphones?
Connecting your guitar to a computer through a line-in jack or audio interface will allow you to connect your guitar to Bluetooth headphones. However, as a result of the latency issues with Bluetooth technology today, it is not practical.
5. Is it possible to play guitar and music through headphones at the same time?
You can connect an external audio source for MP3 files to many modelling amps and multi-effects pedals. Alternatively, you could connect your guitar to your computer with an audio interface and use your computer’s audio to play music and the guitar signal simultaneously. Listening to music and playing the guitar at the same time is possible with either of these methods.