Some audiophiles think that flat or neutral-sounding headphones are the only way to listen to music as it allows you to hear the music exactly as the artist recorded it with no emphasis on any of the frequencies.
Alternatively, some audio enthusiasts will recommend that you get a certain type of headphone for specific types of music, which can make quite a lot of difference.
With these, you look for headphones that either emphasise or recess certain frequencies to make the most of that genre. For example, hip hop and R&B will certainly sound better when you listen to them on headphones that have a more emphasized low end, while pop requires more energetic headphones that pay attention to highs, too.
So, what kind of headphones would you get if you primarily listen to rock and metal, and should you even get a dedicated pair?
Well, yes, a dedicated pair will get you a sound that’s better suited to those two genres.
However, you will also need to factor in your own personal preferences and the sub-genres you mainly listen to. For me, I can be quite sensitive to highs, even if a genre favours this, I don't really want headphones that add you much sparkle. Similarly, alternative rock has a different sound profile to punk or grindcore.
Best Headphones For Metal And Rock
What you should be going for are balanced headphones that don’t compromise in any way, something akin to reference headphones that you would use for monitoring.
Some bass emphasis is fine but you don't want too much as the bass form drums can muddy up the vocals.
We want the mid-range to be fairly flat/balanced so that instruments and vocals are heard with great clarity and detail.
The treble should be clean but not too bright, and for me, this is the frequency with the most subjective preference. You want to find a balance of the increased detail of the highs without it being overly bright.
And while there are a lot of options out there, you don’t need to spend an exorbitant amount of money to enjoy.
Best Headphones For Metal & Rock Review Guide
Below we’ve got a few pairs that are all great for rock and metal, so read on to see which you should go for.
Audio-Technica ATH-M60x: Check Price On Amazon
Audio-Technica is an extremely well-known brand in the audio world, with many people recommending the M50x as the go-to reference headphone for people on a budget.
However, we would recommend the M60x, which is slightly more compact and comes with an on-ear design.
Even though they aren’t as portable, they sound rather good and neutral, which is exactly where you want to be.
The design, if you’ve ever looked at the ATH-M lineup, is an obvious departure from everything else.
You now have a thin headband that has metal hinges to improve durability and quality. This also has the effect of giving the headphones a slightly more modern design. The other headphones in the range did look a bit outdated, honestly.
The earcups are on-ear instead of over-ear, but they have plenty of padding so comfort is no issue here.
The design is in-line with the others, but not everyone will like the fact that they don’t cover the ear, and for some, they might just be plain uncomfortable.
Where they excel, especially compared to the others in the range, is the actual fit – many people complain that the other models are too tight, but that’s not the case with the M60x, which makes them great for extended listening sessions.
Last but not least, the sound is pretty great. The ATH-M60x comes with excellent frequency response, and there’s nothing that’s lacking.
Bass, especially the mid-bass that you’ll feel with guitars and drums, is excellent, and so are the mids and the high end, too.
Everything feels well composed and accurate, and the soundstage is pretty great. Overall, an excellent choice for people who don’t mind the on-ear design.
- Excellent build quality
- Terrific and well-balanced sound
- Plush, comfortable earcups
- The on-ear design might not be for everyone
- Not foldable for travel
Marshall Monitor II A.N.C: Check Price On Amazon
Best Wireless Headphones For Metal And Rock
The older best of list recommends the Marshall Monitor Bluetooth, but this has since been superseded by the Marshall Monitor II ANC. As the name suggests, these now have active noise cancelling.
When it comes to listening and enjoying music, you will find that many audio enthusiasts advise against Bluetooth or any other kind of wireless audio transmission.
The reasoning is simple – wireless technology introduces compression, which impacts the sound. But that’s not always the case, and that impact is oftentimes minimized.
Such is the case with the Marshall Monitor II ANC headphones, which do use Bluetooth but still manage to sound surprisingly good in various scenarios.
The design of the Monitor headphones is unmistakably Marshall. From the prominent logo to the white and gold accents, and especially the leather-like surface, which has become somewhat of a trademark for them.
Aside from this, they look pretty nice. The headband is also thick and surprisingly comfortable, and so are the earpads.
Speaking of the earpads, they’re removable, so you can clean them (or replace them down the line) when necessary. The arms adjustment mechanism is pretty neatly hidden inside the headband, a small touch we loved.
The headphones have an app which allows you to customise the EQ. The default sound is the Marshall sound which does have some emphasis on the higher frequencies. The bass is not over-emphasised while still having enough presence to make the most of the drums.
Add to this convenience features like the gold control knob on the left earcup, and the 30 hours of battery life, and you’re looking at an excellent pair of headphones.
- Bluetooth connectivity with aptX
- Active noise cancelling
- Excellent design
- Strong sound
- Slightly smaller earcups
AKG K240: Check Price On Amazon
Best Semi-Open Headphones For Metal And Rock
A lot of people tend to associate AKG with high quality, but expensive headphones.
Most of their models are neutral and are great if you want to use them as reference headphones, and that applies to the K240, too.
Where the K240 excel, however, is the price to performance ratio, as they’re very wallet-friendly without compromising on any critical features.
Now, those price savings have to come from somewhere, and in the case of the K240, it’s the build quality.
Make no mistake, they’re made to be very sturdy and durable, and with little care, they’ll last you a good while.
However, they’re made of plastic, which might be a big no for some. They do come with a detachable cable that goes to one side of the headphones, which allows you to replace it if something goes wrong.
The black and gold design does give them a sleek, premium feel, which many people love.
Where AKG didn’t compromise is sound quality. The K240 is a semi-open back pair of headphones, which will take away some of the isolation, and some music will leak out.
But the tradeoff is worth it – you get a very wide soundstage and excellent clarity, especially in the mids and highs.
The bass is strong, but in no way is it overpowering, which is exactly where you want to be for rock and metal music.
The K240 is a pair of headphones that you can wear for hours on end, without them becoming fatiguing.
Add to this the tremendous sound quality, and you should be giving them a closer look if you don’t mind the plastic build.
- Stiff and sturdy build
- Very well balanced sound
- Extremely comfortable
- The plastic build feels cheap
- The semi-open design might not be for everyone
Beyerdynamic DT 240 PRO: Check Price On Amazon
Best Budget Headphones For Metal And Rock
Beyerdynamic is a household name in the audio world, known for excellent headphones like the DT770 Pro, for example, or the high-end DT 1990.
However, they also have some more reasonably priced headphones which are more suited towards the general consumer, such as the DT 240 Pro.
This is a compact pair of headphones that come with a balanced sound excellent passive noise isolation.
To begin with, when we say the design is compact, we really mean it. Even though these are over-ear headphones, they’re sized like an on-ear, with a flat, compact earcup design and a slim profile on the headband.
The padding, both on the headband and the earcups themselves, will exceed your expectations.
This is a pair of headphones that you can easily wear for hours, and when you’re done, just fold them flat and put them in your storage bag.
Moving on, the headphones sound clear and crisp. There is a slight emphasis on the low end, but not too much, so you get a balanced sound that’s overall very smooth and enjoyable to listen to.
Beyerdynamic made these as a pair of headphones for the general consumer instead of a pair for critical listening, but the sound reproduction is still excellent.
Overall, the DT 240 Pro is a budget Beyerdynamic model that’s a great pick for rock and metal music.
It’s balanced, it’s smooth, and it allows both the instruments and the vocals to sound very clear. Add to this the comfort you get, and you’ve got yourself a great pair of headphones.
- Compact, foldable design
- Excellent sound reproduction
- Very comfortable headband and earcups
- Carrying bag isn’t particularly well made
- The cable could be better
Sony MDR-V6 (Discontinued) or Sony MDR-7506: Check Price On Amazon
Best Headphones For Metal And Rock
Even though they were introduced all the way back in 1985 as an entry-level model in the lineup, the MDR-V6 still stands strong and are some of the best headphones for rock and metal. However, these have been discontinued, you can still get them used on eBay, but due to their popularity the price of them is quite high.
You are much better off getting the the 7506 as it’s almost the same exact headphone.
The first thing you’ll notice is the design. It’s vintage, with a slim headband, and a rather slim padding on the earcups.
And while with this, you might expect subpar comfort, the MDR-7506 is the exact opposite.
They feel good on the head and you’ll be able to wear them for extended listening sessions without any fatigue.
The only drawback here might be the coiled cable, which is somewhat heavy and unwieldy. It’s is also non-removable, so you might want to be careful with it.
The headphones can be folded down into a nice, compact design and then put in the protective carrying pouch that Sony provides. This makes them a nice choice for travelling, too.
When it comes to the sound, the MDR-7506 are some of the most balanced headphones you can find.
There’s a very spacious soundstage, and everything is just silky smooth. They aren’t at all fatiguing to listen to, and when combined with the comfort you get with them, they are an excellent pick for extended listening sessions.
The sound isolation is excellent as well, and while they don’t have any active noise cancelling, the earcups and the way they fit do a great job of isolating the environment.
This allows you to focus on your music, and enjoy it the way it’s meant to be enjoyed.
- Foldable, vintage design
- Very smooth and well-balanced sound
- Great price
- Vintage looks might not appeal to everyone
- The headband is slim and might not be that comfortable for some
Conclusion – what are the Best Headphones for Metal and Rock?
If you’re looking for the overall winner, we would recommend the Sony MDR-7506 headphones for one simple reason – they’re the most “complete” of all.
Even though the design may not be everyone’s cup of tea, there’s no denying that they aren’t lacking anything in terms of comfort, sound quality, and build quality.
They’re the complete package, which is exactly where you want to be when you’re looking at the best headphones for metal and rock.
I am a UK tech blogger and have been in the industry for over 10 years now, running Mighty Gadget and its sister sites and contributing to other sites around the web. I am passionate about all tech, including mobile, wearables, and home automation. I am also a fitness fanatic, so I cover as much fitness tech as possible.