The Dos and Donts of using Headphones for Vocal Monitoring

If you’re a musician or sound engineer, using headphones for vocal monitoring is essential. They allow you to hear the nuances in your voice and the music you’re working on, and they can help you achieve a better mix.

We are supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no extra cost for you. Learn moreLast update on 1st December 2023 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

However, there are some dos and don’ts when it comes to using headphones for this purpose. Firstly, it’s important to choose the right type of headphones. Closed-back headphones are ideal for vocal monitoring as they block out external noise and prevent sound leakage.

Secondly, it’s crucial to set the volume at a safe level to avoid damaging your hearing. It’s also important not to rely solely on headphone monitoring as it can affect how you perceive sound in a live setting.

In this article, we’ll explore these dos and don’ts in more detail to help you get the most out of your headphone monitoring experience.

Choosing The Right Type Of Headphones

When choosing headphones for vocal monitoring, it’s important to choose the right type.

Closed-back headphones are ideal as they provide good isolation and prevent sound leakage.

On-ear or over-ear headphones are also a good choice as they cover the entire ear and provide better sound quality than in-ear headphones.

However, if you prefer in-ear headphones, make sure they have a good seal to prevent outside noise from interfering with your monitoring.

It’s also important to consider the frequency response of the headphones, as some may enhance certain frequencies while others may attenuate them.

Ultimately, it’s best to try out different types of headphones and choose the ones that best suit your needs and preferences.

Setting The Volume At A Safe Level

Just like choosing the right type of headphones, setting the volume at a safe level is equally important.

It’s like driving a car and ensuring you’re not speeding; you need to keep an eye on your speedometer just like how you need to pay attention to the volume of your headphones.

The general rule of thumb is that if someone next to you can hear what you’re listening to, then it’s too loud.

It’s recommended to keep the volume at around 60% or lower, especially if you’re monitoring vocals for extended periods.

Additionally, taking breaks every hour or so can also help prevent ear fatigue and potential hearing loss.

Remember, your ears are precious and deserve proper care and attention.

Avoiding Sound Leakage

To avoid sound leakage while using headphones for vocal monitoring, there are a few things you can do.

Firstly, make sure the headphones fit snugly over your ears and create a proper seal to prevent any sound from escaping.

Additionally, adjust the volume of your headphones so that it is not too loud, which can cause sound leakage.

It is also important to choose headphones with a closed-back design as they offer better isolation and reduce the amount of sound that escapes.

Lastly, be mindful of your surroundings and keep in mind that others may still be able to hear what you are listening to if the volume is too high or if the headphones are not properly sealed.

By following these tips, you can ensure that you are using your headphones for vocal monitoring without causing any disturbance to those around you.

Not Relying Solely On Headphone Monitoring

To ensure that sound leakage doesn’t occur, it’s important to follow certain practices when using headphones for vocal monitoring. However, relying solely on headphone monitoring can also lead to issues. It’s essential to keep in mind that headphones don’t provide an accurate representation of the sound, and other factors such as room acoustics can affect the quality of the recording. Therefore, it’s crucial to consider alternative methods of monitoring in addition to headphones.

Here are some dos and don’ts for using headphones for vocal monitoring:

By following these guidelines, you can achieve optimal results when using headphones for vocal monitoring. Remember that while they are a useful tool, they should not be relied upon entirely.

It’s important to incorporate other forms of monitoring into your recording process to ensure that you’re getting an accurate representation of the sound. Whether it’s through speaker monitors or reference tracks, taking a multifaceted approach will help you achieve the best possible results in your recordings without relying solely on headphone monitoring.

Preparing For A Live Setting

Preparing for a live setting is crucial to ensure a successful performance. This includes setting up your equipment, testing your sound, and making sure you have everything you need on stage. One important aspect of preparing for a live setting is choosing the right headphones for vocal monitoring. When selecting headphones for this purpose, it is important to consider factors such as noise isolation, comfort, and sound quality. In addition, there are certain dos and don’ts that should be followed when using headphones for vocal monitoring. To help you make the best decision, here is a table outlining some of the top headphone options for vocal monitoring based on these factors:

HeadphonesNoise IsolationComfortSound Quality
Shure SRH840 Professional Monitoring HeadphonesExcellentVery comfortable with memory foam padding and adjustable headbandHigh-quality bass response and clear midrange
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor HeadphonesGoodComfortable with swiveling earcups and padded headbandAccurate audio reproduction and deep bass response
Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro Closed-Back Over-Ear Studio HeadphonesGreat noise isolation with closed-back designSoft earpads and adjustable headband for comfort during long sessionsRich sound quality across all frequencies

By following these guidelines and recommendations, you can ensure that you are properly prepared for any live performance or recording session where vocal monitoring is required. With the right equipment in hand, you can focus on delivering your best performance without worrying about technical issues or discomfort.


In conclusion, using headphones for vocal monitoring can greatly enhance the quality of one’s singing experience. However, it is important to follow certain dos and don’ts to ensure that the headphones are being used effectively and safely.

Firstly, choosing the right type of headphones is crucial. Closed-back headphones are best for isolating sound and preventing sound leakage.

Secondly, setting the volume at a safe level is important to prevent hearing damage. It is recommended to keep the volume at or below 85 decibels.

Thirdly, avoiding sound leakage is essential when recording vocals in a studio setting. Sound leakage can affect the quality of the recording and cause interference with other tracks.

Additionally, it is important not to solely rely on headphone monitoring as this can lead to over-reliance on gear rather than developing one’s own skills.

In preparing for a live setting, it may be necessary to use in-ear monitors instead of traditional headphones. This allows for greater mobility while performing and reduces feedback issues.

Remembering these dos and don’ts will help ensure a successful vocal monitoring experience. So go ahead, put on those headphones and let your voice soar!