People spend hours and hours, days, weeks and months, even, choosing just the right digital piano, and yet the headphones they use to hear that piano are often given no consideration at all.
And yet the right headphones can make all the difference, letting you appreciate what your piano is really capable of, hear, judge and improve your own playing, technique and interpretation, and have so much more fun and enjoyment.
So let’s have an in-depth look at the best headphones for digital pianos, with recommendations and reviews of several different choices of various types and at various price levels.
I know that when I say ‘in-depth’ I might scare a few people away, so here is a list of a few of my top choices:
- Best Headphones for Digital Pianos Overall Austrian Audio Hi-X55 Closed-Back Over-Ear Headphones
- Best Earphones for Digital Pianos Overall Shure SE535LTD Professional Studio In-Ear Monitor Headphones
- Best Over-Ear Headphones for Pianos – Budget Choice MuveAcoustics Over Ear Wired Studio Headphones
- Best In-Ear Earphone for Pianos – Budget Choice 1MORE Piston Fit in-Ear Earphones
- Special Consideration – Wonderful Portable Headphones for Digital Pianos Koss Porta Pro On Ear Open-Back Portable Headphones
Why Upgrade Your Digital Piano Headphones?
Most people use their everyday headphones while playing their digital pianos, or – worse yet – the cheap headphones that may have been included with the piano, and they may never really hear what their piano is capable of – or, for that matter, what they themselves are capable of.
But when they get a really good pair of headphones, ones that are truly optimal for digital pianos, people are amazed at how much more they hear – the voices, the actual complexity of polyphony, the digital effects and filters, the velocity and dynamic expressivity, attack and decay, and so much more.
And even more importantly for some of us, the right headphones for digital pianos will let you hear much more clearly and honestly how well you are playing, so that you can learn, improve and grow as a musician – and so you can appreciate how well you’re already doing!
What to Look For in the Best Headphones for Pianos
Any headphones will work just fine for digital pianos, but I have found that certain of them are revealing at much higher levels, and offer real and accurate feedback of how we are playing, the effects and voices we are using and the overall sound of our piano.
It’s best to stay away from most of the popular models of headphones, which often have such strong enhancements to bass, treble, dynamics and spatial reality that they are kind of the opposite of what I just described, and will always give us a false and distorted sense of how we and our piano sound.
But not all headphones are like this, and not even all the headphones from the biggest brands. Regardless of who makes them, or how much you spend, there are certain key qualities you want in the best digital piano headphones:
As tempting as it is to get headphones that make our Casio sound like a hybrid concert grand, it really is better to get a pair that lets us know how our sound and playing really are, for better or for worse, allowing us to not just become better pianists, but better hear and choose voices, effects and digital processing and bring our sound, our composing and our understanding to new levels.
Closely related to accuracy, here I mean the clear, complete and accurate reproduction of everything – attack and delay, timing, fingering and execution, dynamics and subtle expressivity, tonality, color and tonal interaction and so much more. Poor headphones hold us back on so many levels, while good piano headphones reveal things we didn’t even know were happening in our playing.
Some headphones are so highly resolving and so brutally honest that they end up sounding harsh and unmusical, and can often discourage us in our practice and playing. Somehow, though, the best headphones for keyboards (much like the best audiophile headphones) can show us absolutely everything with total neutrality and still have a beauty and musicality which is a joy to hear, and which actually encourages us keeps us going, while making long practice sessions easier and a lot more pleasant.
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice! And so your best choice for digital piano headphones will not only have the kind of sound that encourages us and keeps us going, as they also reveal and teach, but a physical comfort that allows us to practice – or just joyously play – as long as we want.
With all this and other considerations in mind, I have compiled a list of the very best headphones for digital pianos on the market today.
This list will include both in-ear and on-ear or over-ear choices at three different price levels – Budget, Affordable and Premium. These are all wired headphones, to ensure they will work with any and all pianos out there, but in the Bonus Section at the end of this article I will also take a quick look at some of the best Bluetooth wireless headphones for digital pianos.
I know a lot of people will be surprised that I haven’t included some obvious choices, especially headphones from Yamaha and Roland. I do think the Roland RH-5 and Roland RH-A7, for instance, are decent headphones for the money, and I definitely recommend them for Roland or any other pianos, and I can say the same for the Yamaha HPH-50B and Yamaha HPH-MT5, which are even a bit better than the Rolands.
But for the money you can do a lot better – the Koss Porta Pro and the Sennheiser HD300 Pro, as similarly priced examples, have better, more balanced and accurate sound, are better made and are more suited for digital pianos. But more about these two great choices in a bit.
Now let’s dive right in, with the best digital piano headphones for 2023!
The Best Headphones for Digital Pianos: A Speakergy Buyer’s Guide
Best In-Ear Headphones for Digital Piano – Budget
I should warn you that my budget choice for the best headphones for pianos are really, really budget headphones. In both cases, in-ear and on-ear, they cost no more than 20 bucks!
And yeah, some people might be put off by such a cheap choice, but in the case of the 1More Piston Fit earphones there is nothing cheap here at all. In terms of fit and finish these are pretty, well made headphones with superior finish, material quality and durability, and the design, comfort and even their engineering is absolutely first-rate.
But the sound is where the 1More Piston Fit really shine. They are, to be sure, a bit bass heavy compared to the mid-priced Shure in-ear earphones I’m recommending below, but it is a nice bass boost that never bloats or overwhelms the all-important mids, and gives the Piston Fit a beautifully warm overall sonic signature.
The mids and highs are so detailed, so palpable and realistic, that you can get a clear and accurate picture of all of your piano’s voices, effects and mods, as well as all of the nuances and interpretative aspects of your playing. But, amazingly for this low, low price level, the sound, while so very revealing, is never overly bright, and never exhibits even a trace of harshness or strain, even at higher dynamic levels.
A very low distortion, accurate and revealing pair of in-ear headphones that are supremely comfortable to wear and sound so very beautiful, the 1More Piston Fit have become the go-to as super-cheap ‘beater’ backup / commuter headphones for musicians, audiophiles and music lovers, but are high enough in quality that they make a lovely primary pair for anybody on a budget, and one of the best inexpensive headphones you can get for digital pianos.
All that said, if you love the 1More sound, or just want the most comfortable, accurate and revealing headphones for the money, but can’t quite get over the too-cheap price tag of the Pistons, by all means consider the 1MORE Triple Driver High Resolution Earphones instead. They are about fifty bucks more, a near-perfect pair of headphones for pianos, and are also widely considered among the best values in audio today.
Best Over-Ear Headphones for Digital Piano – Budget
- Best foldable On-Ear Headphones : Enjoy the...
- Immersive Sound : Experience music and gaming...
- Convenient Communication : With a built-in...
- Comfortable Fit : Our Impulse Wired...
- Versatile Usage : These headphones are...
As advertised, my on-ear choice for best digital piano headphones are also dirt cheap, and also surprisingly tough, nice looking and comfortable.
The MuveAcoustics studio headphones are also stunningly good sounding for their price – so amazing that you simply won’t believe they are less than twenty bucks. In fact, not only do they make a brilliant upgrade from the cheapo headphones some digital pianos or dealers may throw in, they are good enough for even the most expressive and powerful high end pianos.
Even the slightest changes in attack, decay or level, in voicing or effect, come through with clarity and accuracy, allowing you to fine-tune your compositions and playing with real effectiveness, and the admirably flat and neutral sound signature of the MuveAcoustics headphones lets you accurately judge left/right hand balances, as well as your overall sound.
Whether you are an advanced pianist or a brand new student, or anywhere in-between, the MuveAcoustics studio headphones will serve you beautifully. Yes, ultimately something like the Sennheiser HD280 Pro, which we’ll look at below, is even more accurate and has better balance and clarity, but they are around five times the price, and at this level nothing comes close to the MuveAcoustics!
Before we move on, I want to very briefly mention one of my favorite headphones in the world, which also proves to be a fantastic budget choice for digital pianos – the Koss Porta Pro On Ear Open-Back Portable Headphones.
The Porta-Pro are very light and comfortable, foldable and ultra-portable, and have an amazingly honest and open sound that brings out everything, while still maintaining an easy, effortless and wonderfully musical quality. Deep bass, shimmering highs and lightning fast dynamic response characterize these wonderful headphones, and make them a really fine choice for digital pianos, and especially for portable use.
A real classic among audiophiles and music lovers, the Koss Porta Pro have been made continuously for almost 40 years now, and are still better than pretty much anything at their level. If you don’t need the noise seal of closed-back headphones, these definitely should be on your short list.
Best In-Ear Headphones for Digital Piano – Affordable
- ROAD-TESTED BY PRO MUSICIANS - The SE215...
- STRIKING FULL-RANGE SOUND from a single,...
- CUSTOMIZED FIT - Includes three sizes (S, M,...
- SOUND ISOLATING TECHNOLOGY - Blocks up to 37...
- SECURE, OVER-THE-EAR DESIGN - Wireform fit...
I think I choose and recommend these Shure headphones so often for the same reasons so many professional musicians choose and recommend them – they are bright, clear and incredibly detailed, with awesome bass and a rich musicality throughout, smooth and non-fatiguing even after hours of playing, exceptionally comfortable and superb at noise-blocking.
While all of these qualities are just what a gigging musician wants and needs, and the SE215 are without question the best affordable on-stage headphones available today, the same factors make them wonderful for any other setting – studio, practice sessions and home use.
I think especially that last application – using the Shure SE215 as personal home-use headphones for digital pianos – is especially appealing, because of how they so beautifully combine real comfort and low sound leakage, supremely beautiful, rich and dynamic sound, and an essentially reference-level accuracy and transparency that reveals everything, warts and all, and is essential for the most productive practice and really moving your playing to the next level.
Because ultimately the Shure SE215 are so honest and neutral that you can hear what you can improve as well as what you are already doing right, and so beautiful sounding that they encourage you to continue, while making playing a real joy.
A great inexpensive pair of in-ear headphones that has been a perennial favorite for musicians at all levels, the Shure SE215 in-ear monitors are the perfect earphones for digital pianos at this price, and ones that will last for years and years.
Best Over-Ear Headphones for Digital Piano – Affordable
- High ambient noise attenuation
- Accurate, linear sound reproduction
- Soft earpads for a comfortable fit
- Folding and rotating earcups for space-saving...
- Tough, single-sided cable
In this competitive mid-range category, I know a lot of people would recommend certain long-time favorites, like the Sony MDR-7506 Studio Headphones, or even the popular Audio-Technica ATH-M30x, and I have to say either would be among the best piano headphones at this level, with bright, clear sound that really reveals everything.
But for about the same money I personally would much rather have the Sennheiser HD280 Pro headphones, which are actually a bit more accurate and revealing, and will really clearly reproduce not just all of your piano’s sounds and effects but the nuances of your playing, to a pretty much unrivaled extent at this price level.
And the Sennheiser HD280 Pro have a rich, warm and musical sound which the AT and Sony don’t – the two latter choices can sound a bit too bright over time, and even for people who aren’t necessarily sensitive to brightness in audio they end up being somewhat aggressive and fatiguing, especially for long practice sessions.
But the HD280 Pro are about as far from aggressive as you could imagine, and this in concert with their exceptional neutrality and accuracy means that you can not only play or practice for hours and hours, but your sessions will always be more revealing and productive on many levels.
A nicely made and durable pair of studio headphones that have beautiful sound, and for my money offer the most accurate picture for the money of what you and your instrument are doing, the Sennheiser HD280 Pro are an amazing value, and the best mid-priced piano headphones I know.
Best In-Ear Headphones for Digital Piano – Premium
- SOUND ISOLATING TECHNOLOGY - Own your audio...
- Enjoy the most immersive listening experience...
- CUSTOMIZED FIT - Includes three sizes (S, M,...
- SECURE, OVER-THE-EAR DESIGN - Wireform fit...
- STRIKING FULL-RANGE SOUND - Full range sound...
Ok, maybe I’m being a little boring, or predictable, in choosing the same company for both my mid-priced and premium recommendations for best in-ear monitors for digital piano, but really that’s just how good Shure stereo earphones are – and if you still don’t believe it, just ask the countless professional musicians all around the world who use Shure.
Of course a lot of pros instead choose the startlingly bright and revealing, and superbly made, Westone Audio Pro X30 Wired Earbuds, as well as the whole X series, and I have spent a lot of time listening to the Westones, but ultimately they are a bit too energetic to my ears, too intense, and a bit exhausting for long sessions.
But the Shure 535 are smooth as the day is long, with such a warm, open and transparent sound and no strain, glare or harshness whatsoever, and make long practice sessions, hours and hours playing or composing, or the endless and directionless journeys of exploration we can so easily fall into with good pianos, all an absolute joy.
The Shure SE535 in-ear monitors are also paragons of neutrality, with one of the flattest frequency response profiles I’ve ever heard and a tonality which is pure and not affected or altered in any way. This, combined with their incredible resolution of the tiniest details, make the 535 suitable for the finest pianos and the top professional pianists – and make them a perfect choice as well for the most demanding sound engineers and audiophiles.
Dynamic expressivity, detail and clarity, phase coherence, extension and flatness of frequency response, energy and timing – all is at the very highest level with the Shure SE535LTD in-ear professional monitors, which are pure reference headphones at a still affordable price. They are also built like little tanks, incredibly comfortable, totally secure in your ears and among the very best for passive noise isolation.
All things considered, it is easy to understand why the Shure SE535 have become such a popular and beloved pair of headphones for some of the world’s top keyboard players and pianists, and among the most widely used and highly respected professional in-ear monitors made today. Not cheap, but a supreme value – and believe me, you can spend much, much more and get a lot less!
Best Over-Ear Headphones for Digital Piano – Premium
I can easily recommend much (much, much) more expensive products for the premium category of best piano headphones – the Sennheiser HD820 reference headphones, for about five times the price, are IMHO the very best headphones for digital piano you can get – a stunning pair of headphones which has become the standard for the best studios and sound professionals and musicians of all types playing at the very highest levels.
So yes, if you are that serious, or that good, or you aspire to be, the 820 are the obvious choice, and are a pair of headphones you will never regret investing in, and will use and love your whole life.
But for so many of us the ‘premium’ price level arrives a bit sooner, and even a pair of headphones that costs over just 300 dollars is an extraordinary luxury and a big and serious investment – which is why I am so thrilled to have found the Austrian Audio Hi-X55 over-ear wired headphones, which will give you more joy, more quality and more usefulness than anything else I know at this price level.
The X55 headphones are incredibly luxurious in terms of fit and finish, and are, like the 820s, built for a lifetime of use. They are also among the most comfortable headphones I’ve ever used, and can be worn for hours and hours without even noticing them. Factor in the exceptionally low distortion sound, which is so relaxed, open and effortless, and you have a pair of headphones which can be used as long as you want, with the lowest levels of fatigue imaginable.
And the sound is – well, this is a very, very competitive price level, with superb products from Sennheiser, AKG, beyerdynamic, Focal and a lot more, but none of them have such an indescribable complement of transparency, speed, resolution and retrieval of detail, accuracy and neutrality, dynamic and micro-dynamic expression that I find with the Austrian Audio Hi-X55.
And none of them have such disarmingly lovely sound.
I have used the Austrian Audio X55 extensively with electric pianos, guitars, mixing boards and normal music listening, and am always stunned by the way every single nuance, every change in dynamics, whether enormous or barely perceptible, every shade or shift of tonal color, and even those incredibly important – and difficult to reproduce – elements of space and time come through with such clarity and immediacy.
The Austrian Audio Hi-X55 are a bright headphone, with enormous presence in mids and high frequencies, but with incredible bass extension and power as well, and yet while they can really portray the bite, the ring and the palpable pressure of the best digital and electric pianos with an almost startling realism and power, the 55s are also amazingly musical, and utterly without glare, strain or fatigue.
I started this somewhat lengthy mini-review by saying that if you are at the very top level you should just get the Sennheiser HD820 reference headphones and be done with it, but the more that I reflect on my time with the Austrian Audio Hi-X55, which are also pure and true reference monitors, I realize that the same thing applies.
But not just that – I can comfortably say that if you are at the top of your game, or working to get there, if you are an advanced amateur pianist who wants to hear everything you’re doing with unparalleled accuracy, or even if you are a beginner who just wants the most beautifully made and most beautiful sounding headphones at this level, the Austrian Audio Hi-X55 are simply superb in every way.
Bonus Section: What About the Best Bluetooth Headphones for Digital Pianos?
All of my recommendations in the main section of this buyer’s guide for headphones for digital pianos are wired, because all digital pianos will have a headphone jack and so any and all of the above choices will work perfectly.
That said, more and more we are seeing digital pianos with inbuilt Bluetooth wireless capabilities as well, and although this hasn’t happened as quickly as we might have expected, if you are purchasing a new keyboard or digital piano there is at least a pretty good chance you can use wireless headphones with it as well as wired ones.
So I thought it might be helpful to close this article with at least a quick glance at the Bluetooth wireless headphones I think are best suited for digital pianos, at the same three price levels – budget, mid-range and premium – I included above.
In each case I will only offer a very brief comment on each pick, but rest assured that each of these headphones offer just what we want and need for our piano playing – fast, open and transparent sound, brightness and detail without any harsh or fatiguing quality, real dynamic expressiveness, and an overall neutral and honest quality that combines with beautiful musicality.
Best Bluetooth Wireless Headphones for Digital Pianos
Budget – In-Ear
TOZO T10 Bluetooth 5.3 Wireless Earbuds – I’m a little suspicious of super-cheap headphones that have sold a gazillion units and have stellar ratings, but the Tozo T10 are the real deal – bright, warm and musical, with amazing resolution of detail and dynamics and fantastic tech. Plus, they are supremely comfortable!
- [ORIGX Acoustic Technology] The professional...
- [Bluetooth 5.3] Features with the advanced...
- [One Step Ppairing] Simply take 2 headsets...
- [IPX8 Waterproof] Earbuds and charging case...
- [Charge on the Go] The TOZO T10 Earbuds offer...
Budget – Over-Ear
JLab Studio Pro Bluetooth Wireless Over-Ear Headphones – I’ve never really found truly flat and neutral Bluetooth headphones at the lower price levels, but the super-comfortable JLab – when set to their Balanced EQ setting, at least – are close, have a surprisingly open, detailed and even expressive sound and are great for piano students.
Mid-Price – In-Ear
Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus True Wireless Earphones – a bit pricey for the mid-priced range, the M&D are true premium ‘buds, with astonishing resolution and ruler-flat frequency response, revealing every aspect of your playing, good and bad, and presenting it with disarming tonal beauty.
Mid-Price – Over-Ear
AKG N60NC Wireless Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headphones – so many mid-priced wireless headphones have too much bass, hyped high frequencies, spatial enhancement and other inaccuracies, but the AKG 60s are pure, clear and honest, and perfect for digital pianos.
- Compact, foldable design : Flat and foldable,...
- Active Noise Cancellation: Whether you’re...
- Long-lasting battery: Get 15 hours of...
- AKG signature sound : AKG has devoted decades...
Premium – In-Ear
beyerdynamic Free BYRD Bluetooth TWS in-Ear Headphones – compared to the usual suspects – Bose, JBL, Sony, even Sennheiser – the beyer offer a refreshingly bright, clear and musical sound, with superb expressiveness and timing and a whole different level of accuracy.
Premium – Over-Ear
Focal Listen Bluetooth Wireless Over-Ear Headphones – although one of the least expensive headphones from this hyper-premium audiophile company, the Listen wireless have that superb Focal sound at the highest levels – clear, bright, fast and incredibly sweet, and with stunning neutrality and transparency.