Did you know the base requirements for receiving the state altering effects of binaural beats is two speakers?
One for your left ear. And one for your right ear.
That means you can listen to binaural beats with any pair of headphones/earphones? Yep - even the standard set that comes with your smartphone.
So why do you need to read any further?
Or you are an audiophile and want a true binaural beat sound experience.
In any case we're guessing if you have taken the time to search for the 'best headphones for binaural beats' then you are likely looking for a more in-depth review. And you are in the right place!
We've put together a list of factors you should consider when looking for your next pair of binaural beat. Such as what frequency range is suitable for listening to binaural beats? Which features are ideal for allowing the binaural beat to come through. What comfort factors should you look for (especially when trying to sleep). What is impedance and is it important?
For those that want to get straight to the business end, here is our short list of the best headphones for listening to binaural beats:
By the time you have finished reading this article, you should be confident in deciding which pair of headphones will be the right fit for you.
Features to look for (for an optimal binaural beat listening experience)
If you know a thing or two about binaural beats - you know it is all about frequencies.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a healthy, auditory system can detect tones in quiet frequencies ranging from 20 to 20,000 Hz.
When you are looking at the headphone specifications you want to ensure it covers the right frequency range.
Most headphones will cover this range as a standard. However, it is good to double check the details before you make your purchase.
You find that many professional headphones will cover a larger frequency range. The larger range means you can listen to ANY audio and you won't compromise sound quality.
When the main purpose is to experience a good quality binaural beat experience, you will want to go for headphones with the least amount of sound enhancements. This may sound counter-intuitive however the goal is to have the most neutral quality sound.
This means you want to stay away from the headphones that manipulates the audio. Including exaggerate the bass, or shaping the lower-mid ranges of the audio so that the music "sounds better". Many of the popular brands like Beats by Dr Dre or JBL use boosters to give the user a more entertaining listening experience. However, the coloring of the sound distracts from the primary purpose of listening to a binaural beat audio file.
So yes, you could use any headphones to listen to binaural beats. However, for a true experience, look for a pair of headphones that concentrates on delivering an authentic audio quality.
We regard comfort to be of high importance when deciding on your next pair of headphones. Especially if listening to binaural beats is one of your main reasons for your purchase.
When you are listening to binaural beats, you are doing so with a purpose. You may try to induce Beta waves for concentration and studying. Or you may try to promote a sense of calm and relaxation with Theta waves for sleep or meditation.
Whatever your purpose, you will probably listen to the binaural beat audio for an extended period.
If your headphones cause you discomfort, then it will disturb your state of alertness. Therefore defeating the primary purpose of wearing the headphones.
Comfort depends on personal preference. We all have different levels of tolerances. However, we have listed
When you settle down to listen to binaural beats, you want to be immersed in the experience.
The last thing you want is for an external noise to disturb your session. Or in the case of using binaural beats as an aid for sleep - wake you up!
Therefore we consider this to be one of the more important features to look for in your next purchase.
We have explored Noise-cancelling headphones in our sleep series and the differences between noise Isolating and noise cancelling headphones. Which one is right for you will depend on personal preference as each has their benefits and drawbacks. We encourage you to read further into it before making your decision.
What is Headphone Impedance (ohm)?
Have you ever looked at the headphones packaging and seen that it had a impedance of 25 ohms?
Did you think to yourself "That's great...but what exactly does it mean?"
Impedance is actually quite a technical subject so we're going to try break it down without scribbling complex equations on a whiteboard.
In terms of headphones all you need to know is:
This means headphones with higher impedance can deliver a better quality sound at higher levels without the risk of damaging the equipment.
However, this also depends on the equipment (specifically the amplifiers) that you are using to play your audio. If you are using a high quality DJ mixer, you want to be using headphones with high impedance. If you use a pair of headphones with low impedance, you risk blowing out the headphones.
This is not the case if you play the audio on your smartphone. You would be safe to use headphones with low impedance, even at the maximum volume.
What does this mean for you? It depends on the equipment you are using to play your binaural beat audio files. Generally speaking you are safe to choose any headphones around 25 ohms. This will provide a good quality sound without the risk of blowing out your headphones.
Best Headphones for Binaural Beats - Our Favorites
15 to 28,000 Hz
10 to 20,000 Hz
24 to 24,835 Hz
22 - 17,500 Hz
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x - Best for All-round superior performance.
The Audio-Technica range is a winner for both performance and style. Especially for the price tag when compared to other premium headphones.
The frequency range is extremely accommodating (15 Hz to 28,000 Hz), so you can use these headphones with almost any kind of audio.
At 38 Ohms, the impedance provides enough flexibility if you wanted to try these on some more technical equipment (with stronger amplifiers).
What is most essential is the true sound you receive from these headphones. The bass is a true bass and not exaggerated. This is ideal for allowing the binaural beats to work their magic.
If budget permits, you could even go for the ATH-M70x which offers a larger frequency range and more stylish external features. Having said that, you are well set with the ATH-M50x which features as our TOP PICK for the best headphones for binaural beats.
Sony MDR7506 Professional - Most Budget Friendly Pro Headphones
With a closed-ear design, you can expect the Sony MDR7506 headphones to deliver a well-balanced quality sound.
The noise-isolating features make it ideal for using these headphones indoors when you are trying to concentrate or relax with your binaural beats. However, as with most noise-isolating headphones, the overall weight is slightly heavier than their noise-cancelling alternatives.
Like the Audio-Technica, you can expect to receive to receive a neutral sound. The bass is balanced and although the range is not as high in the Sony MDR7506, this shouldn't any impact on your listening experience.
Overall, a very reliable runner-up in our Top List with a more attractive price tag.
Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) - Best Noise-cancelling Headphones for Sleeping
The Bose QuietComfort 35 is a great option for those who prefer a wireless headphone.
With a reputable brand, such as Bose, you can't really go wrong. The Bose QuietComfort offers a very decent range of 24 Hz to 24835 Hz. The headphones also have an impedance of 28 ohms, perfect for binaural beat listening.
If you plan on using your headphones for purposes other than binaural beats, like listening during your commute, then the Bose QuietComfort will be a suitable choice.
Another feature that makes these headphones mention-worthy in the best headphones for binaural beats is the noise cancelling abilities. Bose boast about their world-class noise cancelling technologies and many reviews have confirmed this to be their favorite feature. In addition, users have mentioned they are very happy with the comfort and feel of wearing the headphones. This is great to hear, given some noise-cancelling headphones can become too heavy and bulky with the added technology.
Whilst not being the cheapest pair of headphones around, you do get some added perks. Such as the ability to make/receive calls, and integration with voice control like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
All of the features above is why the Bose QuietComfort headphones has been crowned the best noise-cancelling headphones for sleeping.
Shure SE215-K Sound Isolating Earphones - Best Headphones for Laying in Bed
Headphones provides an immersive binaural beat listening experience, however trying to sleep with headphones is a completely different matter.
That is why we have included the Shure 215 SE215-K earphones for those who are specifically looking for the best headphones for laying in bed.
Even though the Shure SE215-K's don't provide the same impedance as their headphone counterparts, you won't be missing anything. It is safe to assume for bedroom use you will be using your smartphone/laptop , as opposed to state-of-the-art studio equipment.
The Shure earphones provide a clear and neutral listening experience. One of the key features we identified earlier as a must when listening to binaural beats.
The over ear design allows for a secure fit, reducing the chance of the earbud falling out. In addition, Shure provides three different sized sleeves for the earbuds giving more customization options.
However the main feature that makes these earphones shine is the noise isolation features. Users love the foam sleeves which mould to your ear shape. Not only are they comfortable, but the tight seal provides great noise isolating features. This together with the neutral sound, will set you up for the perfect binaural beat listening experience.
Each of the headphones in the Top List of Best Headphones for Binaural Beats have their unique appealing features. Depending on your intended uses, you may go for a good all-round headphone like the Audio-Techinica. Or if you want headphones that will provide the best noise-cancelling features, then opt for the Bose QuietComforts. Or if you are the best headphones for sleeping then you won't go wrong with the Shure SE215-K.
Rest assured if you choose any of the headphones from the list, you will enjoy an immersive binaural beat listening experience.
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