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There are hundreds of brands and models are available, but there are very few that Music EDnet recommends for reliable school use.

Some advice about choosing headphones for schools

All headphones listed here have been used in schools, some for many years very reliably, however not all models are recommended for general classroom use. Details about recommended uses in schools are given for each model and based on many years of practical experience. The things to watch in general are:

  • Avoid dual cables (figure 8 style) in most situations. Single sided cable is most reliable.
  • Beware of ear pads that easily come away, but cannot be easily or securely replaced (many suffer from this "feature")
  • If possible, avoid adaptors (small jack to large jack) ... Music EDnet offers custom versions of some models with permanent large jack plugs.
  • Cost has little direct relationship to reliability in schools. Some very cheap headphones (eg HP15, under $10) are more reliable than most in the $15-$30 range, although audio performance may not be as good.

There are 3 types of headphones generally available ...

  • “Circumaural” headphones (ie they enclose the ear) are particularly comfortable for long periods. They are also available in either "open back" (or "semi-open back") ... best for listening to music in a quiet environment and Control Room monitoring in a studio, or "Closed back" ... best for lab use and live sound monitoring as they help isolate external sounds.
  • “Supra-aural” headphones (ie they press against the ear) ... they are physically smaller, quite common for multimedia/computer use (sometimes with microphones attached). Minimal isolation from ambient/outside sounds.
  • "In-ear" earphones ... personal use only, small and convenient. Not an option for shared use due to health issues.

Closed-back “Circumaural” headphones are recommended for computer music labs.

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