Best Headphones for Digital Piano to Hear and to Feel the Music
Congratulations: you’ve got a digital piano. One of its best advantages is the possibility to play almost silently and not bother your family or neighbors. But for that, you need some good headphones. Let’s take a look at the best headphones for a digital piano, and their pros, and cons.
What should you look for in these models? First of all, you need good realistic sound, which is usually achieved in monitor headphones. Second, you may need acoustic transparency to hear what’s around. Third, instant response is crucial to hear yourself play in real-time. Finally, they should sit comfortably on your head. So, forget wireless ones, no matter how much you love your Beats or AirPods Max. Take DJ headphones that accent the bass and neglect precision with a pinch of salt (though I found some decent models). You need monitor headphones that don’t attenuate or amplify any part of the specter.
Are these headphones expensive? Of course, they cost more than a random pair from Walmart. But neither do they cost an arm and a leg. For a reasonable price, you can find your perfect headphones to enjoy all the nuances of your performance and never hide any wrong notes. As for me, Yamaha HPH-508 is the best headphones by a manufacturer who knows a thing or two about digital pianos. But there are always alternatives, by Yamaha itself or other vendors.
The Best Headphones for Digital Piano Reviews: Yamaha and Guests
- The Best Headphones for Digital Piano Reviews: Yamaha and Guests
- 1. Yamaha HPH-50B – the TOP Pick
- 2. Yamaha RH1C: Runner-Up
- 3. Roland RH-300: The Premium Pick
- 4. OneOdio Studio Pro-10: Great Value
- 5. Sony MDR7506: Time-Tested
- 6. Numark HF125: Not as DJ as It Might Seem
- 7. Moukey Studio Monitor Headphones: One and Only
- 8. Yamaha RH50A – Forget About Distractions
- 9. Tunical TNH-101 DJ Headphones – The Dark Horse
- 10. Yamaha HPH-MT5 – The Special Ones
- Buyers’ Guide, or What You Should Find in Your Headphones
- Let the Music Play in Your Ears
Let me start with a disclaimer. Before proceeding to the piano headphones reviews, here are some things shared by all of them. First, all of them are wired, and you already know why. Second, they are all on-ear or over-ear: there will be no in-ear models (though they are often recommended for drummers, but with pianos, it’s completely different). I will not highlight that in my reviews every time, so let’s acknowledge this and proceed.
1. Yamaha HPH-50B – the TOP Pick
- Swivel mechanism allows 90 degree turns to properly fit your ear angle
- Compact, fashionable design available in black or white to match your instrument
What’s great about the headphones for keyboard is that they don’t have to be as expensive as audiophile models. This Yamaha HPH-50B is just about $30-40 (the price may vary), but it’s a fantastic pair by a respectable brand that does its job well. It’s a pair with a well-balanced sound where neither the bass nor the treble can silence the rest. The mids are quite solid, but not at the expense of extremes.
As for construction, it’s a lightweight pair, within minutes, you stop feeling its weight. You can swivel them easily up to 90 degrees, making them comfortable on your head. Probably you won’t leave your seat while playing, but a 2 m cable is still a must to move freely. It comes with the 1/4” adapter for the original 3.5 mini jack. It sits well, though some might prefer the 6.3 to be the default connector.
The sound quality is more than decent, for monitoring both the keyboard and the mix. The stereo is great. The isolation is not: they don’t completely cover the ear, so external sounds come through. Still, they are not sold as studio or audiophile ones, and some sounds breaking out will not cause a problem.
- Good sound quality;
- Easily adjustable;
- Come with the adapter;
- Reasonable price.
- The isolation is not perfect.
2. Yamaha RH1C: Runner-Up
- Frequency Response 20 Hz - 20kHz
- Sensitivity 91 dB/mW
There is no wonder that the number two on my list is also by Yamaha. It’s also an on-ear pair, transparent in terms of sound, so you hear what’s going on around you. Great for home rehearsals when you don’t bother your family with these sounds but can hear them when the spouse or a child calls you.
These are rather about comfort than about quality, though. They are great for listening to your own exercising or improvising but not for mixing or recording in the booth. The isolation is not of that class. On the other hand, they have great foam cushions that sit perfectly. All the frequencies sound great, and they are capable of playing both loud and low sounds with good dynamic range.
Though this model has been around since 2004, it still does a good job. Human hearing hasn’t changed since. And, next to classics like Koss Porta Pro (sorry for comparing with a non-pro model, but these ones look just as street-styled), launched in 1984, this model is rather young.
- Good sound quality;
- Perfect dynamic range;
- Feel weightless;
- Easily adjustable;
- Very affordable.
- You will need a 6.3 adapter;
- Look non-professional.
3. Roland RH-300: The Premium Pick
- Optimized headphones with flat, accurate sound quality for the latest electronic digital musical instruments
- Newly developed 45mm driver with neodymium magnet offers full dynamic range and stable output, even on large input surges
Roland is just as famous a name in digital pianos and synths as Yamaha, so one can expect it to make great specialized headphones, and it does. RH-300 is a pair that costs seven times the price of HPH-50B, so is it expected to be seven times better than our top pick?
Well, about “seven times” it’s a certain exaggeration, but it’s indeed among the best headphones for a digital piano, and not only that. It’s not an on-ear, it’s an over-ear pair, providing solid acoustic noise canceling. The closed-back construction keeps all the music in and all the external sounds out.
As for the sound, these headphones are equipped with custom 45-mm drivers with neodymium magnets. The frequency range is even wider than a human ear can hear. The construction is heavier than on-ear models, but it sits so well you don’t notice the difference. Even a longer 3-meter cord contributes to the overall ease.
This model has also been around since 2007, and there is no need to upgrade if you got this pair. It’s built to last for decades.
- Great flat sound quality;
- Closed leakproof construction;
- High frequency range;
- Sturdy build.
- Non-detachable cable;
- Quite expensive.
4. OneOdio Studio Pro-10: Great Value
- BASS SOUND: Enjoy clear sound and comfort with the OneOdio Studio monitor headphones. Large, 50 millimeter speaker unit drivers combined with neodymium magnets; powerful bass, clear vocal, and crisp high tones form stereo sound
- BUILT TO STAY COMFORTABLE: The soft padded ear cushions are designed for monitor headphones comfort and noise isolation. The headband is adjustable and stretchable for you to find the desired angle you like to fit in
Have you ever heard this name before? A quick search showed that it’s a Hong Kong brand, well-known in some circles (like Taiwanese TakStar which sells quality imitations of brands like Beyerdynamic). This particular model is an antipode to the one by Roland, in terms of price: it’s the most affordable one on the list. Can we expect something good for this coffee money?
The first glance tells that this is not the type of headphones you’d name studio ones. The manufacturer highlights its great bass (which contradicts the idea of frequency-neutral studio monitors), and this is explained by its positioning as a DJ model. This is the exception I warned you about. So why are they here at all? Because the bass here is not so much raised as it is in, says, Beats by Dre. Here it is rather strong, punchy, but accurate.
The overall build is also good. What I appreciate in electronic keyboard headphones is a detachable cable, so, first, it’s harder to damage the device with sudden moves, and, second, you can easily connect a longer one if you need. It also comes with a bag and two cables: the red one (9.8 ft, 1/4 to 1/8) and the black one (1.2 ft, 1/4 to 1/4). Finally, there is a volume control wheel on the right ear: unnecessary but good. The best budget-friendly option, in short.
- Easy adjustment;
- Detachable cable;
- Good overall quality;
- Affordable price.
- May feel too tight;
- You may still need a 1/4 to 1/8 adapter.
5. Sony MDR7506: Time-Tested
- Neodymium magnets and 40 millimeter drivers for powerful, detailed sound
- Closed ear design provides comfort and outstanding reduction of external noises
While there are many models that have been around for over a decade, this one seems the oldest on the market on this list and yet great. Sony first released the MDR7506 in 1991! And they are still around with minimal modifications, proving that a great formula for headphones is the recipe for longevity.
What’s great about these headphones? First, a well-balanced sound (with treble a bit accentuated, but that’s forgivable). The drivers are able to play even the lowest frequencies at 10 Hz (hardly will you be able to hear them at all, but it grants you’ll hear the bass as low as you can). Second, a fantastically comfortable build. They sit on the head well, as if they’re not there at all, and getting used to them takes just minutes. Third, it’s fantastic durability in everything, from metal outer cups to leather muffs.
The 3-meter cable is coiled, which is especially comfortable when at the piano keyboard. The sound is clear, and the cups filter the noise.
- Good balanced sound quality;
- Soundproof cups;
- Coiled cable;
- Sit well on most heads;
- The treble is a bit accentuated;
- Non-detachable cable.
6. Numark HF125: Not as DJ as It Might Seem
- Monitoring Essential - Ultra light DJ headphones with 7 different independently-adjustable position settings caters for any mixing preference
- Superior Comfort – Lightweight design fused with a padded headband and ear cushions keep you focussed on what’s important – your mix
The brand that mostly produces DJ equipment has built its image upon this. So, should we treat Numark HF125 as DJ-only headphones? Indeed, they are rather a generic model than a DJ one. My DJ-ing friend did not take this model seriously at all, but his girlfriend was happy to wear it in the street. How do they perform with the keyboard?
The answer is: surprisingly well, given their on-ear design and more than the moderate price of about $15 (sorry, OneOdio, you are beaten). The DJ features there are limited to adjustable cups and a versatile connector. On the other hand, we have a decent pair of headphones by a known manufacturer, with good bass and easy to wear. For most situations, it’s all you need for using with a digital piano.
You need to treat them gentler than others, though. They seem too fragile for hardcore use, and if you pull them too strongly, you may damage the non-detachable cable, which is said to be its weakness of it. The price, though, allows for buying two or even three of these: maybe they are not the best headphones for piano, but, as long as they function, they do it well.
- Decent sound quality;
- Very affordable.
- The build lacks sturdiness;
- Non-detachable cable.
7. Moukey Studio Monitor Headphones: One and Only
- 🎧[High-quality Stereo Sound] Enjoy clear sound with the Moukey Dj stereo monitor headphones. Original high quality speaker starter imported from Japan; Clear vocal, powerful bass , and crisp treble form prime hi-fi sound.
- 🎧[Comfortable & Durable ]The earmuffs is made of great breathable sponge and soft leather, which are specifically designed for monitor headphones maximum comfort and noise isolation. The adjustable and stretchable headband of the headphone can accommodates your head. In case to make the headphones more durable, we provide one more pairs of earmuffs for you.
Have you ever heard about Moukey? Yes, it’s a company that manufactures audio equipment and musical instruments; I even heard about Moukey ukuleles. But so far, it seems that it’s one of the numerous Chinese factories that sell their goods on Amazon and Walmart under an ad hoc brand name. Okay, let it be Moukey (hard not to type Monkey).
As for this pair, this is a solid – probably even too solid! – a piece that weighs no less than 433 g (15 ounces). They don’t look like ones to spend hours with them on, but it turns out they sit well and are adjustable to some extent (not as much as DJ models, though). The materials look luxurious, the combination of black and blue looking gorgeous. The cups are excellent when it comes to cutting noise.
They come with two cables, one of them meant for studio work (3M, coiled, 3.5 to 6.3), and another with a mic (1.2 M, 3.5 to 3.5), which enables you to use them with a phone or a laptop. More than that, there is a jack socket on each cup, enabling you to connect them the way you like.
But where they shine is the sound. It’s powerful and balanced, and it really shows you the nuances of your manner, though the mids are somewhat suppressed. Being quite flat, it shows you the unvarnished music, no matter if you play or listen. Given its price, that’s under $30, it’s hard to expect more from such a model.
- Sturdy build;
- Rich bundle;
- Detachable cable;
- Adjustable cups and headband;
- Very affordable.
- Quite big;
- A little weak on mids.
8. Yamaha RH50A – Forget About Distractions
- RH50A stereo headphones are equipped with professional-quality elements that boast the impressive bass presence and clear treble response studio musicians demand
- The closed-ear, noise-reducing design features a coiled cord and a thickly padded, collapsible headband for lasting comfort and traveling convenience
And here comes Yamaha again. Unlike the previous ones, these headphones look like comfort at first sight. Though they are an over-ear option, they don’t even seem heavy (and there is no surprise they aren’t). The shape of the cups grants great noise protection. There is a long coiled cord, non-detachable but very reliable.
As for the sound, they are what you might expect from Yamaha, though maybe a little high on the treble and seriously bass-heavy. I wouldn’t recommend them for mixing, but they do their work to let you concentrate on the music you play, cutting you from any outside distraction. And when you’re not playing, they feel great for just listening to the music. They are a rather high-impedance pair, though, at 100 Ohm, so not any source will be able to pump it up. You may need a preamp, though the chance of total incompatibility is low.
Overall, it’s what you might expect from Yamaha for a modest price of $55 (and sometimes lower).
- Great build;
- Coiled cable;
- Good dynamic range;
- Serious old-school appearance.
- Demanding to the source;
- The sound is a bit V-shaped.
9. Tunical TNH-101 DJ Headphones – The Dark Horse
- PRO MIXING & MASTERING STEREO HEADPHONES | Versatile Stereo Headset for Various Professional Audio & Video Applications Including DJ Monitoring, Studio Recording, Tracking, Dubbing, Singing & More | Also Ideal for Listening to Music, Watching Movies, Gaming & Other Personal Use
- Headphones Contour Around the Entire Ear for Exceptional Sound Isolation, Reliable Noise Reduction & Unblemished Studio-Quality Sound in Any Environment | Adaptable 90° Swivel Styling Allows for Easy 1-Ear Monitoring
And again, there is a DJ model, with all its benefits like powerful sound, adjustable cups, long flexible cables (this one comes with two of them), and a carry pouch. This is all great, but how do these headphones by an unknown brand perform when it comes to playing live music?
Well, the response is just what you might need: immediate. It is crucial for DJ equipment as well, and this is a shared concern. The closed construction may accentuate the bass (for a DJ device, it isn’t necessarily bad, you understand), but it does a great job of keeping the noise outside and the music inside. The pads made of faux leather (in fact, most of them are) sat well on my ears, and the weight didn’t feel at all due to the well-designed headband.
The device comes with two cables, one of the coiled, and the 3.5 to 6.3 adapter. The case is far from premium as they claim but seems rather durable. Given the price that’s slightly over $32, it’s one of the best budget-friendly options.
- Very good noise protection;
- More than decent sound quality;
- Impressive accessories set;
- Rather hefty;
- The brand is unknown.
10. Yamaha HPH-MT5 – The Special Ones
- 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
Who had any doubt about the last one? It’s by Yamaha again, and this one even looks more expensive than others by this brand, with a branded headband, all-black body with a silver logo on cups, and foldable construction. The model is ultralight and thus good for long sessions when other models would start feeling heavy on the head. The earpads feel soft, with almost zero pressure. What I personally like is a detachable cable 3.5 – 3.5, with an adapter to connect it to a 6.3 socket.
Its sound is said to be more balanced than that of other Yamaha models on this list. But I did not feel much difference, maybe because I did not use them for listening to Hi-Res records, but just tried them with a piano. Yes, the response is immediate, and the sound is full, delivering the instruments as they should be.
Other models by Yamaha on the list are more affordable. But with this one, it feels so premium that the approximate $100 doesn’t seem like an overprice. It’s pleasant to touch, look at, and – the most important – to hear. That’s not to say that the other Yamaha models are no good. Just this one is somehow special… if you’re ready to pay for that.
- Great balanced sound;
- Premium quality of all the details;
- High adjustability;
- Feel extremely lightweight;
- Detachable cable.
- Rather expensive.
Buyers’ Guide, or What You Should Find in Your Headphones
I dare to remind you once more that the ones you use with your digital piano are not your usual consumer headphones, though they may do this job too. They should deliver you the music and deliver the others from the music you play. These are the jobs we need the candidates for, and so we rate their qualities.
What to look for in the best headphones for digital piano
When you choose the headphones for the digital piano, here are the parameters you should pay attention to.
- Sound. The quality matters, and here you should rather look at the monitor approach which implies the headphones don’t improve the sound. Consumer ones often V-shape the sound, cutting down the middles, and DJ headphones tend to accentuate the bass.
- Comfort. The right headphones should feel light (it doesn’t always correlate with the real weight), and they should be easy to adjust to your head shape. The cable should not restrain you, so you need a long enough (but not too long) cable. Coiled ones are great. Detachable ones are even better, as they are replaceable and less likely to get damaged.
- Extra features. Which? Extra cables, sockets on both cups, maybe a cable with a mic. They don’t impact the performance with the digital piano but are great outside of it.
Digital noise canceling may seem a good idea, but the experience shows it’s not. The problem is the phase artifacts they cause. They are inevitable because of the physical principles utilized by DNC. In short, the mic catches the outside noise and adds it in the counterphase to silence them. But this may also distort the music you intend to play. It’s okay with in-ear TWS systems that usually don’t let the music out because of their construction. But it doesn’t work as well with digital piano even if you play it alone. And it’s a complete nightmare if you try it with a band. Just don’t.
What headphone type to look for?
There are various types of headphones for electric pianos on the market, but only two types are recommended for use with digital pianos, and they are on-ear/over-ear. No in-ear ones as they don’t provide the pressure you need. Still, there are various types of them:
- Open-back. They are usually more accurate in terms of sound, but they reveal what you hear to anyone who’s close enough. It’s okay if you play alone. But if you use the phones to avoid bothering someone in your room… That’s no go.
- Closed-back. They provide the best noise cancellation. But the sound is not that natural, the bass being a bit amplified. Of course, it only matters if you want them for monitoring purposes. In terms of blocking both outside noise and the music you perform or listen to, these are better.
Why not Bluetooth headphones?
Just one word: latency. You will not hear yourself play in real time, but always with some delay. This makes Bluetooth headphones unusable for real-time monitoring.
It may seem a good idea to cut one more cord. But you can feel it with literally any Bluetooth audio interface: the latency is too long for real-time feedback. While there are wired solutions like ASIO over USB which help to reach almost zero latency, Bluetooth is not capable of providing it yet.
Even after these columns of text, there are questions to answer. Here is what you might want to ask about keyboard headphones after reading the reviews.
Can you use wireless headphones with a digital piano?
No, and the reason is the latency, as I’ve explained above. Any wireless headphones have a certain non-zero latency, and with musical instruments, you need instant response. So far, with wireless technologies, this is unreachable. Maybe in a couple of years, they will roll out a new standard: once it was considered impossible to reach zero latency on USB, and then Steinberg invented ASIO. So far, though, stay wired.
Do you need special headphones for keyboard?
Not that only select models are usable with them. But there are some requirements that provide the best experience. Again, forget about wireless models and ones with digital noise canceling. As you see, the models reviewed above are very diverse, from portable ones to nearly studio-class headphones and a pair of DJ ones. And all of them perform well.
How loud are digital pianos?
With everything electronic, the volume is adjustable. When it comes to purely acoustic properties, an acoustic piano is always louder because of real strings which a digital one lacks. You still hit the keys with your fingers and produce certain sounds, and they will be louder than tapping the keys on your laptop keyboard. So, you will make some noise anyway. But with good headphones, you won’t hear it, and those around you won’t hear the rest.
Does the impedance of the headphones for keyboard piano matter much?
It always matters, but with pianos, anything under 100 Ohms will do. I included models with various impediments to my list and almost never even mentioned it. But if you intend to use something with higher impedance for truer sound, get yourself a preamp that fits your favorite hi-Ohm pair.
Let the Music Play in Your Ears
When you have a digital piano, you need a good pair of headphones to hear it like it’s supposed to sound. Well, even if you prefer an item I didn’t list here, I’d be glad to know that my considerations helped you even a little bit. A good pair of headphones makes us closer to the musical truth.
Which headphones do you consider the best to use with digital instruments, in particular with a piano? Share your ideas, drop some names, and maybe tell us about your own experience. I’d like to read more comments here, to hear, argue, and learn!