So you’ve decided to start making beats! Congratulations. It’s an exciting time. There is so much to learn, take in and adapt to. But ultimately, there’s nothing so rewarding as finishing a track, made up of your original sounds, arrangement and mixing.
Yet not every dance music producer has the luxury of a sit down studio with a pair of studio monitor speakers (link to studio monitor speaker blogs). Some people can produce wicked beats using nothing more than a laptop and a pair of headphones. But what exactly, is the right sort of headphones for producing dance music? Let’s take a closer look.
Why Standard Headphones Won’t Cut It
You need a special pair of headphones for producing. While you could get away with producing music on a pair of DJ headphones or street headphones, we wouldn’t recommend it. This is because these types of headphones are designed to boost certain frequencies. In particular, they tend to have more emphasis on the low end, or bass. This means that your tracks will come out too bass heavy and muddy. You want to aim for a pair of headphones that gives you a nice even and flat signal response.
What’s Your Budget?
This is an important part of the decision. How much you have in the bank to spend on your dance music production headphones will determine what you get. For those concerned about spending lots of money, you can still pick up a decent set of cans. The Audio Technica ATH-M40x is one option. While they don’t have a perfect flat response, they are suitable for those starting out or those looking to save some money.
For those with a bit more to spend, we recommend the AIAIAI TMA-2 headphones (see featured image above). These boutique headphones are now available to be custom-tailored to your preferences. Although the company does offer “presets”. The TMA-2 Monitor presets are the best for audio production. These offer a nice, flat response and are comfortable to wear, making them perfect for production.
For those with cash to splash, we would go with the AKG K712 Pro. They offer maximum amounts of comfort for those long studio sessions, an open-ear system that gives a great stereo-width, great low-end response and decent high-end monitoring as well.
Try Before You Buy
If you have the option of checking out some local music or DJ stores, take your laptop along with you and try out some different headphones before you commit to buying anything. That way, you’ll be able to notice how they feel on you, and how they sound. If you produce using a desktop computer, just bounce out some of your unmixed tracks and take them along on your smartphone. Then you can hear how your mix is really sounding, and make the most informed decision! Enjoy making those beats.