Best Headphones for Bass Guitar Practice – Amp Friendly Options!

Author: Liam Plowman | Updated: | This post may contain affiliate links.

It’s not always easy to find the perfect pair of headphones for practicing the bass guitar.

It needs to have the correct low-end response so you can hear the entirety of your bass tone in all its glory, all while retaining the top-end clarity and sound staging required to be able to hear other sources of audio such as backing or click tracks.

So after trawling through everything that’s available, I’ve put together a list of 7 of the absolute best headphones for bassists that are going to serve you well whether you’re just practicing technique in the bedroom or rehearsing for your next big show.

Best Headphones for Bass Guitar Practice

1. Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2

Musicians have a tendency to dismiss Bluetooth headphones as their high latency made them difficult to practice with.

However, with the advent of Bluetooth 5.0 and Audio Technica’s low latency mode, we now have a pair of headphones perfectly suited for low-latency bass guitar practice.

These headphones also come with a detachable cable so on the off chance you happen to run the already generous 50-hour battery down, you can immediately swap to wired and continue practicing without any downtime.

If you’ve ever used Audio-Technica headphones before you’ll already be very familiar with the fit and feel of these headphones as they do little to break their tried and true formula.

The Audio Technica ATH-M50xBT2’s have a closed-back design which makes everything sound up front and personal.

While this does make the sound staging and spatial perception suffer a bit, from a practicing perspective it allowed me to hear every little detail (and mistake) with unforgiving clarity.

The earpads fully engulf your ears and have a non-breathable plastic finish which did start to make my ears feel pretty hot and sweaty after prolonged practice periods.

But they did stay firmly in place even when standing up or moving around, so if you like to move as you play these should be a top consideration.

They also have the typical Audio Technica collapsible design which allows them to be packed down in case you ever needed to travel with them.

Overall they are ideal for practicing bass guitar, but the comfort issues required me to take frequent breaks when having long practice sessions.

2. Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro

Unlike the very popular 990s which are designed for mixing/mastering purposes, the more affordable 770s are perfect for general studio work, recreational listening, and of course practicing your bass guitar.

The first thing I noticed about the Beyerdynamic DT 770s is how incredibly comfortable they are. 

The earpad material sits over your ears perfectly and is breathable enough to where you’ll have no problems with comfort or getting sweaty ears even during those long practice sessions. 

Beyerdynamic really knows how to nail it when it comes to fit and feel.

The closed-back earpads keep the sound up close and personal allowing you to hear all the details of your playing, and the bass response was more than adequate no matter how sub-heavy my tone was.

Something I appreciated a lot was that both the earpads and headband cover can be easily removed and replaced, so even as parts start to wear down it’s not going to require you to buy a whole new pair of headphones.

Unfortunately, there is no replaceable cable, so when that fails it’s going to be troublesome to fix.

While this issue has been addressed with the DT 700 Pro X models thanks to customer feedback, they come with a significantly increased price tag.

An important thing to consider with these headphones is their impedance. I recommend getting the 80 ohms version, because if you get the 250 ohms variant, you’ll likely need to purchase an additional headphone amplifier to get the volume you need from them, depending on what equipment you’re using to drive the headphones.

In case you’re curious to know more about the key differences, we’ve also published an article on 80 vs 250 ohm headphones.

At this price range, the DT 700s offer one of the clearest and most comfortable listening experiences around and are a personal favorite of mine.

3. Sennheiser HD 280 Pro

If you’re on a budget and affordability is of high concern to you, then the Sennheiser HD 280s should be a top consideration.

While there are certainly a few compromises when it comes to build quality as the plastic feels a bit flimsy and they don’t always feel secure on your head.

If all you’re doing is sitting still as you play, then they should be perfectly adequate.

In terms of sound, they are very well-balanced and do a good job of not leaning too heavily on any particular part of the frequency spectrum.

While the low bass presence is there, it does lack a bit on the clarity front and I found myself having to pull the bass out of my tone otherwise things tended to get a bit muddy.

As you’d expect at this price range, there isn’t too much going on with features, but it does have replaceable earcups and they can fold down in case you need to travel with them.

One thing that became very noticeable after prolonged sessions were how tightly the earpads hugged my ears. This not only made them sore, but they became incredibly hot and sweaty as the earpads use a non-breathable plastic cover.

You may find yourself needing to take frequent breaks to give your ears a breather. And remember to keep some tissues handy as those earpads are going to get pretty sweaty!

But the coiled cable is certainly a welcome addition at this price point. 

4. Sony MDR-7506

The MDR-7506s from Sony have been a staple of recording studios across the world as they offer some of the most balanced and clear audio for a ridiculously cheap price.

The ethos behind them is to be as simple and to the point as possible, offering a clear and professional sound without any bells and whistles to help keep the price as low as possible.

However, some aspects of the headphones do feel pretty cheap. For example, the headband adjustment tabs don’t feel particularly secure and the dustbin bag liner material in the earpads tends to flake off over time.

But the shape of the earpads does offer a bit more surface area which eases the pressure put on your head. I had no problem using them for longer practice sessions.

The audio quality, while not super clear, was well balanced and didn’t feel fatiguing at all. 

Like many other headphones in this price range, when I wanted to boost the bass the overall sound quickly muddied up, requiring me to have my tone a bit more mid-focused.

With that being said, the overall clarity was very serviceable, and they did a good job of blocking out external noise too which makes them a strong consideration if you have children or family members who like to make noise while you’re trying to practice.

5. AKG K240 Studio

Taking into account that these are also considered budget cans they perform exceptionally well!

The first thing you’ll notice is how wide and clear everything sounds, due to the semi-open back design it has increased sound staging performance and a very wide spatial image.

While this provides many benefits to your listening experience, it does mean a certain amount of sound is going to leak out into the room. 

So if you have family members nearby who might not enjoy your practice sessions, these headphones might not be the right choice for you.

Something I really liked about the design of the AKG 240s is their self-adjusting headband design which applies just the right amount of pressure to feel comfortable while remaining secure.

I have worn them for 3 to 4 hour-long sessions without any issues.

With that being said, the earpad material is a cheaper plastic that doesn’t let your ears breathe. So if, like me, you’re not a fan of getting hot and sweaty ears you may find yourself having to take frequent breaks anyway.

If you’re looking for a pair of headphones to use long-term these offer some great features when it comes to maintenance and replacement parts.

It has a detachable mini-xlr cable that can easily be replaced which is a feature usually reserved for more expensive headphones. 

Plus the earpads are also detachable so you don’t need to worry if they wear down over time.

6. V-MODA Crossfade 2

While not as established as brands such as Audio-Technica and Sennheiser, the positive reviews of the V-MODA Crossfade 2 speak for themselves.

While not designed specifically with musical instrument applications in mind, because of their overall robust build quality and solid audio features, they can do a great job in this application.

The Bluetooth battery comes in at a slightly lackluster 14 hours, but once the battery runs down you can immediately swap it over to a wired connection and continue playing while it charges.

But the main thing I noticed upon picking the V-MODA Crossfade 2 up is just how well they are built. 

They use a metal headband core which makes them feel like they’ll stand up to some abuse.

This, combined with the fact they can fold down makes them one of the best choices for anyone who travels often and wants to use their cans for recreational use too.

There is a mesh liner on the inner of the headband which feels great for long sessions, and the earpads' more oval shape was able to completely cover my ears without clamping down on them too hard and feeling uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, one issue I did run into was latency. Achieving an average of around 25 ms while in Bluetooth mode it was something I could just about accommodate, but any higher and it would make accurate practicing too difficult.

But as soon as you plug them in and go wired you really appreciate how good 0 ms playback is. So if latency is a big factor for you then there are better choices around.

7. Rode NTH-100 Professional

At first glance, the Rode NTH-100 Professional headphones look like a dream come true. But there are a few caveats you should be aware of.

First, let’s look at comfort and build quality. 

The earpads and headphones are made of a wonderfully spongy memory foam material that felt great and did a good job of staying comfortable during prolonged practice sessions.

The headphones feel pretty robust and secure and although much of the design is plastic, I’d have no concerns about it becoming damaged with the occasional drop.

The oval-shaped earpads engulf your entire ear meaning less pressure is placed on them and, despite being closed back, have a surprisingly good sound staging.

Not only that, but it has a detachable cable which makes it a very compelling prospect in this price range.

Unfortunately, there are a few downsides. Firstly, this cable is a proprietary Rode locking cable, which they claim is to protect against accidental tugs which might detach it.

In reality, this just means you can’t get an off the shelf mini-xlr to replace the cable once it breaks. Meaning you are obliged to source a new one from Rode which is even more troublesome than just re-soldering in a new replacement cable.

The second big downside is the overall sound and clarity. For detailed music listening these headphones struggle to present the whole musical picture clearly which can make practicing along with backing and jam tracks a challenge.

Buying Headphones for Bass Guitar - Key Factors

If you’re not already well-versed in headphone lingo it can be difficult to know which features you need and what you can do without.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common considerations you should make when shopping for your new headphones so you can make the most informed purchasing choice possible.

Open-back vs Semi-open vs Closed-back

One of the biggest decisions you should make early on is whether you want an open back or closed back pair of headphones.

Open back headphones are where the back part of the earpad has gaps built into it which allow the air and sound to pass out of the headphones and into the surrounding room.

This has a few benefits. Firstly, it reduces the pressure and air movement being pushed into your ears, which can make them more comfortable when listening for long periods.

Additionally, this more open sound gives a better sense of space and many consider it to produce more clarity and provide a superior listening experience.

However, this comes at the expense of sound isolation. You’re going to be able to hear more of what’s going on in your room, and anyone in the room is going to hear what you’re listening to.

This means you need to be in a specific kind of listening environment to make open-back headphones work.

Closed back headphones have a sealed earpad which helps keep the sound in, so you don’t bother those around you, and they stop sounds from outside from leaking in and bothering you while practicing.

But this does come at the expense of sound staging and spatial clarity in the audio.

Personally, I prefer closed back headphones for practicing as this is my time to make mistakes and sound bad in private and without judgment. 

So ensuring all my playing is just kept between me and my instrument is important.

There is also a third type called semi-open headphones which aims to strike a balance between the two. 

So for those who want a slightly better listening experience, but perhaps still don’t want to disturb people nearby, a semi-open can be a reasonable compromise.

Replaceable Cables

The cable is the single most common point of failure for most headphones, commonly breaking at the point where the cable connects to the earpad.

This has prompted manufacturers to utilize replaceable cables so that when they fail you can simply swap them out for a new one.

While it’s still possible to replace a non-detachable cable by opening the earpads up, de-soldering the old cable, and soldering a new one on, it’s a pretty troublesome process and can be costly if you get someone else to do it for you.


Having wireless Bluetooth connectivity can add a lot of convenience to your practice sessions, you can stand up and walk around as you play without the risk of stepping on the cable and yanking it out. 

Battery life on most Bluetooth headphones is pretty good these days and shouldn’t pose too much of an issue. 

The thing you need to watch out for as a musician is latency. When the latency is too high you’ll have a really hard time playing accurately along to music or with a metronome.

Try to only use Bluetooth 5.0 which has a higher data transfer rate and lower latency. Some companies like Audio Technica also have special low latency modes specifically designed to assist with live instrument playing.

Making the Right Choice

The low to mid price range of headphones is an extremely competitive space and companies fiercely battle to provide the best listening quality at the lowest price.

You should focus on identifying the specific features you’re looking for, whether you need your headphones to be wireless, have a detachable cable, or remain comfortable for long practice sessions.

Once you’ve outlined your criteria, you’ll have a far easier time finding the right headphones for your needs.

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About Liam Plowman

Liam is a British musician who specializes in all things guitar, audio, and gear. He was trained as a guitar technician at the Oxford Guitar Gallery and currently teaches at multiple music schools across the UK. Key skillset includes purchasing unnecessary guitar equipment and accumulating far too many plugins.

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