Buying the best headphones for video editing is a must, because quality sound is what sets apart good video from great. High-end headphones cost a little more, but they'll provide you with clear, tonally-neutral audio, so you won't miss the tiniest detail in your sound editing.
When you're using the best video editing software, you certainly don't want to use the kind of headphones aimed for mass-market music listening, because they tend to up either the bass or treble. In contrast, proper studio headphones (which are also referred to as call monitors, reference headphones, or professional headphones) give equal weighting to bass, midrange and treble frequencies, giving you a balanced reproduction that will help you to check quality, syncing and levels more professionally. They're also better at sealing out background noise.
• See also Best wireless earbuds
A quality set of cans will be useful if you're capturing footage, too. When you're shooting on location with the best video cameras and pro quality external microphones, for instance, decent headphones will help you monitor your audio accurately. And that means you'll have less work to do correcting mistakes, disturbances and anomalies in post.
Below, we list the best headphones for video editing on the market today. If you're not sure which to choose, though, first read How to choose the best headphones for video editing.
The best headphones for video editing in 2023
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We'll keep this simple. The Beyerdynamic DT 770 PROs are the absolute best headphones for video editing available today.
They come in three variants, each with a different impedance: 32 ohms, 80 ohms, and 250 ohms. Put very simply, the lower the impedance (ohms rating), the easier the headphones are to drive.
The 32-ohm DT 770 PROs are therefore perfectly at home being plugged into a camera, phone, or laptop and should sound great, whereas higher impedance headphones are designed for use with a dedicated headphone amp or professional studio equipment and will otherwise sound too quiet if plugged into a mobile device, even if driven at max volume.
A lower impedance can result in greater bass prevalence, but the 32-ohm DT 770 PROs have been tuned to sound the same as the higher impedance versions and are still designed as pro reference headphones, so shouldn't color your audio with excessive bass; a trait you can find with more fashion-focused consumer cans. The closed-back earcups and leatherette earpads are designed to produce a tighter bass response, and they help to isolate your ears from outside noise.(opens in new tab)
Suffering from sore ears? Comfort is a key factor to the versatility of the Listen Pros. The earcups are made from memory foam, which is designed to provide comfort for long editing stints, plus it forms a circumaural design, meaning the headphones seal around your ears for optimal sound isolation. Focal has also carefully tuned the grip of the headband to be a balanced compromise between comfort and maintaining a good earcup seal.
More broadly the Listen Professionals have, as the name suggests, been designed to be great for both recreational listening and also pro monitoring duties. To this end they've been tuned to produce a clear, transparent soundstage without artificially boosting any bass, midrange or treble, while still making music tracks sound dynamic. The Listen Professional's 32-ohm impedance means they should sound great when plugged into everything from an iPhone to a high-end headphone amp. An included rigid carry case, 5m cable, 1.4m cable and a 3.5mm-to-1/4-inch jack converter complete the package.(opens in new tab)
Usually we'd recommend the simple, unbiased sound quality of reference/monitor headphones for video editing, but the Nuraphone goes one better: these cans are designed to give you a personalized, customizable listening experience.
And don't go thinking this is just a fancy way of marketing a graphic equalizer. The effect is achieved via the companion Nura app for iOS and Android, which guides you through an advanced profiling process to help set up your optimal soundstage. Just be sure to sit yourself in a silent space to get the best profiling accuracy.
The headphones then send a signal from the speaker driver and a tiny microphone inside measures the shape of your ear canal by calculating the time it takes for the signal to bounce back. The Nuraphones can then determine the strengths and weaknesses of your hearing and tune the sound to compensate: wow! And the tech doesn't stop there.
Sound isolation is achieved not just by ANC (active noise cancellation), but also Tesla venting, whereby the speaker drivers effectively pump air through the earcups when they vibrate to help keep your ears cool. The only potential issues with the Nuraphone are the in-ear portion of the earcups, which helps improve isolation and reduce sound leakage, but it inevitably results in a more invasive earcup design than conventional reference headphones.(opens in new tab)
With their over-ear, closed back design, the ATG-M50x headphones have the ideal earcup profile for periods of extended wear, while also helping to isolate your ears from outside noise. The only downside with this level of comfort is slightly reduced portability, as these are bulkier headphones more designed for home use than on location. That said, they have swivelling earcup yokes (the brackets connecting the earcups to headband), so can be folded flat for a slimmer profile when not in use.
You can also plug these headphones into cameras or mobile devices when on the go, as a 38-ohm impedance means they can be driven by pretty much any audio source; no additional amplification necessary.
The 45mm drivers feature neodymium magnets and are capable of a respectable 15-28,000Hz frequency response. The sound is also tuned for a flat response, meaning no one section of the frequency range is intentionally or unintentionally boosted, which should make for a more biased sound profile: headphones for video editing should provide a neutral soundscape.(opens in new tab)
Want an affordable pair of headphones that'll work just as well when you're out recording as they will in the edit suite? Then these are a great option.
The earphones can pivot to fold flat (relative to the headband) making them easier to slip into your kit bag. A metal-reinforced headband and aluminium yokes further enhance the rugged, go-anywhere ethos of the DT 240 PROs. The size of the ear cups is also smaller than with most pro headphones, which is great if you're after max portability, but those with larger lugholes (and we're not just talking Spock size here) may find them slightly scrunched up inside the earcups, which could get uncomfortable for longer editing sessions.
The leatherette earcup padding and closed design is also a recipe for possible heat build-up. Even so, these are still great all-round, all-location headphones from a respected brand. Factor their wide 5-35,000Hz frequency response and the DT 240 PROs look like quite a bargain for the money.(opens in new tab)
Sony's MDR-7500-series headphones are designed for pro studio use, and the entry-level MDR-7506 has developed quite a reputation. 40mm Neodymium drivers are capable of a respectable 10-20,000Hz frequency response, while their 63-ohm impedance means these cans should sound great whether plugged into a laptop , or high-end studio equipment.
The headphones are supplied with a soft carry pouch, and the earcups will even fold up into the headband for more compact transportation. We also like the large, over-ear closed earcups, which are elongated to help them surround most ear sizes and they should help keep outside noise from leaking in.
The HD 300 PROs aren't cheap, but they are very well specced. Their 123dB max sound pressure means they're also loud at max volume: good for checking for unwanted subtle background noise in your recordings. That said, to reach their max volume, you may need to be listing through a dedicated amplifier, as the 64-ohm impedance of the HD 300 PROs makes them slightly harder to drive than most of the other headphones on this list.
Even so, they can still be used with camera equipment or a laptop and should produce reasonable volume. As with many monitor headphones, the HD 300 PROs use a closed-back, over-ear earcup design that encloses your ears with the aim of increasing long-term comfort and passive noise cancellation. Even if you're blessed with big ears, these Sennheisers should still enclose them with space to spare, as the earcups are generously large. The headband also allows the earcups to fold inward for a more streamlined profile when not in use.(opens in new tab)
The WH-1000XM4s aren't designed as reference studio monitors, which is why they're not higher up this list. But their wide 4-40,000Hz frequency response is very respectable. And there's a lot of other good things on offer besides, such as advanced active noise cancellation. This may not be vital when editing in a quiet studio, but could be a neat trick for masking background traffic noise on location, or if you need to edit while on a plane.
The closed earcup design and leatherette pads help add some extra passive noise cancellation for good measure, and overall these cans are lightweight and comfortable. You're free to move while filming or editing thanks to the wireless Bluetooth connection giving up to 10m of range, while the built-in USB-rechargeable battery is said to be good for up to 30 hours runtime.
There's also a 3.5mm wired connection that enables you to use the headphones even if the battery is flat, or should you need to connect to traditional Hi-Fi equipment. A ‘Speak to Chat’ feature lets you talk to someone while the headphones are still on your head. The Ambient Sound Control feature automatically feeds in background noise should you want to know what's going on around you. And you can tune the sound profile to suit your taste using the bundled app.
How to choose the best headphones for video editing
Not sure which are the best headphones for your specific needs? Along with price and budget, your decision will generally come down to a number of key questions, which we answer below.
What frequence response do headphones need for video editing?
Frequence response conveys the breadth of tones that the headphone drivers are able to produce, from the lowest bass notes to the highest treble frequencies. The human ear can usually hear a range from 20Hz up to 20,000Hz (or 20kHz), so a pair of headphones that at least covers this range is a must for video editing. Most boast an even wider response range though, which at the low/bass end can be beneficial, because while you may not be able to hear these frequencies, it is possible to feel them.
Are low or high impedance headphones better for video editing?
Measured in ohms, and symbolized as Ω, this quantifies how easily the speaker drivers are to 'drive' – vibrate – sound waves into your ear. Headphones with a low impedance (below 50 ohms) are easy to drive and don't require additional sound amplification above and beyond what your camera or laptop can produce. High impedance headphones are designed for use with a dedicated headphone amp or pro studio equipment, otherwise they can sound too quiet. On our list, we're only recommending low impedance models to ensure maximum device compatibility.
Are wired or wireless headphones better for video editing?
The best headphones for video editing are generally those that use a traditional corded connection to your device, usually via a good old 3.5mm headphone jack. This ensures the best possible audio fidelity with no risk of degradation or dropout due to wireless interference. More expensive headphones may have the option to unplug the headphone cord from the earcup, so you can swap it out for shorter, longer, straight or coiled cables.
What headphone design is best for video editing?
When you're editing video for long periods, comfortable earcups are a must. For this reason studio headphones don't tend to use an in-ear, earbud design, and instead are generally classified as 'on-ear' or 'over-ear'.
On-ear headphones are less common in the studio sector. These earcups rest flat on the surface of your ear, which can be fine for shorter periods, but could cause fatigue after a while.
Over-ear cups – also called circumaural – solve this by adding a thicker perimeter ring of padding around the cup so it sits around your ear, rather than on it. It's a more comfortable solution for long editing stints, and also creates a seal around each ear to seal out background noise - a feature called noise isolation, or passive noise reduction.
Then there's the choice between open-back and closed-back earcups. Closed back are more common in the reference headphone market, as they help to further isolate sound. Open-back earcups will have a vented exterior casing to allow some sound to escape. This can create a wider, airier sound profile, but it also means others around you can hear the audio leakage, and in the worst case it could end up being recorded as background noise by a very sensitive mic.
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