Headphones for developers - what do you use?

In ear? Over? Noise Cancelling?

Brand and model numbers please :nerd_face:

Pics always welcome too!


I use Samson SR850 wired over-ear headphones. They’ve got a big, chunky, old-school “don’t interrupt me unless you want to see this deadline missed” look and feel to them. And they sound good whether I’m listening to Chopin or Cannibal Corpse.


I’ve been using the Sony WH1000-XM3 for ~9 months now and they are absolutely worth the (high) price. The headphones are able to last more than a day on a single battery-charge, and the noise cancellation is ridiculously good.


Always circumaural—hate pressure on the ears. In most environments, I’m happy with closed-back for isolation (without additional noise cancellation). I am using Ultrasone HFI-550 headphones, and I really love them. I definitely would recommend the company, although these are a decade old, and I expect they’ll have different model numbers now. If I were shopping for Ultrasone’s these days, I would have a good look at their in-ear models as well. I believe they’ve made a lot of advances on that front.


Beyerdynamic DT-770 Pro (80 ohm).

These have become a standard over-ear closed-back reference headphones for audio recording and production. Around US$150, extremely comfy and block a good deal of sound. They have a flat response, a good soundstage (wide feeling) and excellent detail. Add EQ for a more consumer-style sound. You wouldn’t want to wear them about town or during your workout. I put them on and disappear.


I’ve heard a lot about the DT-770’s as reference headphones :+1: They are quite popular with Drum & Bass artists too :smiley:

Unfortunately I don’t get on with over-the-ear cans - they give me a headache :cry: I seem to be sensitive to the huge magnets :man_facepalming:

These are my current headphones (though I don’t use them while working as I have some nice desktop speakers… and a sub):

Sony WI-H700

Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sony-WI-H700-Wireless-Resolution-Headphones-Gold/dp/B074VGMBR8/ref=sr_1_11?dchild=1&keywords=Sony%2Bh.700&qid=1592103483&sr=8-11&th=1

With the app you can adjust levels and it updates the firmware of the headphones. I have the bass set to max (yes I am a bass head :see_no_evil:) they sound amazing, I love bass and you get really good controlled low frequencies with these. (I don’t need noise cancelling but might try those next - the in-ear version of the ones @Qqwy posted )


I’m using Bose QuetComfort 25 which I already got several years ago, and I’m still happy with it.
Noise cancelling is a must for me, not only at work at the office, where it’s often too noisy to concentrate, but also in train or airplane I woudn’t want to miss it.


BOSE QuietComfort 35 here. 3 years with it and I love it. The multi-device pairing and seamless change of connection between the Macbook for coding and the Cellphone for calls is great.

It seems that Sony will finally support this feature on the future Sony WH1000-XM4. I would like to give it a try. It seems like the noise cancellation is better than the BOSE.


I have more than a few pair of headphones, but these are what I use the most right now:

Shure SE215,
In ear monitors. Very good sound for the price. They include foam ear tips which really help block office noise while also helping you keep your headphones at a lower volume. Really love these. I also bought a bluetooth adapter that impacts audio quality a bit but is super convenient.

I also recently picked up a pair of AirPods Pro. Audio quality is pretty good, but not as good as audiophile class cans. The noise cancellation is shockingly good and they work so well with my iPhone and MacBook Pro. Use these for convenience but still use the Shure’s when I want to listen to music with better quality.

At home when gaming or listening to music I use open back headphones, recently the Audio Technica ATH-AD700X have been my go to. They have a bigger soundstage and I really like them. Just can’t use them in an open office because they don’t block out noise and everyone would hear what i’m listening to.


I use OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 for everything, including work.


I think they have better sound than my Bose and Avantree over-ear headphones. I was originally cautious because people said they were somewhat ugly, probably because of the volume up/down and toggle button piece that’s in the middle of the left bud’s line.

But, I use these things for sometimes up to 7 hours of meetings at work and then they’ll still have charge for watching a video or doing 20-30 minutes of Rosetta Stone at night. I’ve never actually had the battery die in a single day and my phone (OnePlus 7) usually reports them at 40-50% remaining charge by the end of the day even after all that use.


Does anyone know of some cheaply priced good flat-spectrum headphones that are not noise canceling, might even be useful to enhance external noise, I tend to be in a very quiet area so I need to hear when a sound is made so I can react to it and my current headphones muffle outside sounds too much. ^.^;

Quite a few noise cancelling headphones have an option that will allow you to hear someone’s voice (and so only cancel out noise such as traffic). Is that the sort of thing you mean?

This would mean you could list to music fairly loudly but still be able to hear a person if they are speaking to you :smiley:

I think Apple AirPods have this feature as well as many Sony headphones.

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I mean more of I’m at work, it’s like utterly deathly silent here as I’m by myself most of the time, just hum of server bank with 2 huge A/C units two walls over (I’m used to it so don’t care if that gets canceled out) but I need to know when someone just ‘walks’ into this area, so I need to hear footsteps. ^.^;

Right now a cheap slightly painful in-ear usb earbuds are far more useful then my better headphones, just much lower quality… ^.^;

And yep, often music

Might sound daft, but could you use a security light that comes on when someone enters the area?

Or maybe not use headphones and a small speaker instead? Bluetooth speakers are really good these days - I used to take this one into the sauna at our local gym and was surprised by how good it is for the size:

If not, perhaps open back headphones will suit you?

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Hah, I’ve thought of that, but my ears have always done me fine otherwise… ^.^;

I can just have my phone play the audio, I’m just not wanting it to be where others can hear as it’s supposed to be quiet here (when there’s other employees anyway, been the only one for a few months now).

Hmm, open back, not ran across those before, very interesting…

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Maybe runners’ earbuds? I’m not at all sure they’d be flat-spectrum and so on, but they are expressly designed to allow you to hear the bus before it runs you over…

I’m afraid the best I can do is point you here:

A second option is open-back headphones, that’s to say over-ear cans but with a mesh or otherwise “open” back instead of a solid wall between you and the wider world. Typically worn for mixing or mastering they’ll give you an enhanced stereo sound stage. You should be much better able to hear people creeping up, but you should know that open-back also means that what you hear spills out and you could be a bit of a human PA system. Certainly not the choice for listening to naughty audiobooks in a library :boom: (even writing that feels so awkward). A reasonably-priced pair:


Lol, love it. ^.^

Thanks for the links, more for me to research!

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