I really love my Airpods and I always say this is one of my best purchases ever. Although they are not advertised as studio headphones, they sound incredible for listening. But do they have what it takes to make a good mix when producing music?
AirPods Pro and Pro Max are good for music production. They have excellent transparency, active noise cancellation, adaptive EQ, and better dynamic range — all of which makes them great for studio use. However, just like any Bluetooth device, you might experience latency, depending on your DAW and hardware.
Why Do You Need Headphones for Music Production?
You don’t only need headphones for music production; you need the best headphones for music production. Why? Because even the best songwriting and composition will lose all its potential if it isn’t well-produced.
You can get away with recording demo songs without high-quality monitors or headphones. Nevertheless, if you really want to learn how to produce high-quality and radio-ready tracks, you should invest in the proper equipment for mixing your tracks. Trust me, learning how to mix and master your tracks in post-production can make any track more interesting and enjoyable to listen to—so make sure you don’t overlook getting the best hardware!
Are the First and Second Gen AirPods Good for Music Production?
The first and second gen AirPods are not equipped with the same drivers, EQ features, and dynamic range as the Pro and Pro Max versions—meaning they wouldn’t be a good choice for mixing and mastering. However, you can still use them in your studio for listening to your final mix. The goal of mixing is to make your song sound good consistently through any type of speaker. So, you can still use an earlier generation of AirPods for sound testing a song before finalizing the mix.
Types of AirPods
There are four variations of the Apple AirPods so far, but not all of them work for mixing and monitoring your tracks when producing music. AirPods are not advertised as studio-quality headphones, but the newer pro models are somewhat suitable because of their built-in features and added comfort. Here is a quick run-down for each AirPods release and what you can use them for:
AirPods/ AirPods 2
They are portable and equipped with batteries that can last up to 5 hours on a single charge. There aren’t any technical specs that make them suitable for mixing, but you can use them for listening to your final mix.
This option is given significant upgrades, making them suitable for music production, such as:
- Active-noise cancellation
- Transparency mode
- Adaptive EQ
- Vent system for pressure equalization
- Dynamic range amplifier
- Customizable high-excursion Apple driver
- Spatial audio
- Dynamic head tracking
AirPods Pro Max
Aside from its improved look, the Pro Max shares some of the best qualities of the AirPods Pro. Instead of being in-ear headphones, they now sport a more comfortable look with a larger 40mm driver for better audio-quality—making it an excellent choice for music production.
What Makes a Good Pair of Headphones for Music Production?
1. Type of Headphones
Many professional music producers prefer open-back headphones for more accurate mixing. However, in some situations, when you want to listen critically to everything that is going on, closed-back headphones will be more suitable.
2. Dynamic Range
Studio headphones should have a neutral and accurate dynamic range. It will help you add EQ and FX more accurately without producing false frequencies on all ends of the mix.
3. Noise Cancellation
Noise cancellation is essential for mixing tracks accurately. You don’t want any outside noise confusing you when mixing, so aside from working in a quiet environment, you should also choose a pair of headphones with
Headphones for mixing should be comfortable to wear for extended hours. When buying headphones for music production, you need to make sure that they are comfortable to wear without causing fatigue.
Headphones vs. Studio Monitors
Professional music producers prefer having both options in their studios. Studio monitors are better for mixing if you have an acoustically treated room. However, studio headphones are more suitable in some situations, such as producing music on-the-go or producing music at night. Plus, you can use headphones for honing the details of your mix by listening closely to each track and the issues they might have.
Pros and Cons of Using AirPods for Music Production
- AirPods are very compact and portable, allowing you to produce music on your laptop anytime and anywhere. The battery can last for hours, enabling you to mix your tracks remotely if you get bored mixing in your home studio.
- Getting the perfect mix that you are happy with can take hours or even days. It is essential to choose a comfortable pair of headphones, and the AirPods are very comfortable to wear for hours—without straining your head or ears.
- AirPods, especially the AirPods Pro and Pro Max, are equipped with adaptive EQ and drivers featuring dual neodymium ring magnet motors. These components minimize the total harmonic distortion across the entire frequency spectrum. This feature allows you to hear everything happening in the mix, which is an important factor in the mixing process. In addition, the sound will remain distortion-free, even at max volume level.
- AirPods feature a built-in microphone that allows you to record ideas when you are not in the studio. If you think of an exciting beat or melody, you can record voice memos and work on it further when you get the chance.
- If you already own a pair of AirPods, you can still use them for music production, especially if you are a beginner. You can learn the basics of mixing on AirPods and upgrade to studio headphones as your skills improve.
- Not all versions of the AirPods are suitable for making music. They might have excellent sound quality, but professional music producers recommend getting headphones specifically made for mixing and monitoring.
- AirPods are not cheap. If you have the money to buy AirPods, you can get a better pair of studio headphones made explicitly for music production.
- Just like any Bluetooth device, AirPods might have latency issues depending on the hardware and software. (computer and DAW)
Can you record music with AirPods?
AirPods are equipped with multiple high-quality microphones for voice calls and recording voice memos. However, it is still not enough to record radio-quality audio tracks, including guitars and vocals. Instead, you can use AirPods for recording melodies and ideas in your head when you are not in the studio. The quality is good enough for you to playback recordings clearly, so you can work on it later in the studio.
Can you use any Bluetooth headphones for music production?
Yes, you can buy high-quality Bluetooth headphones made explicitly for music production. With the absence of long cords, using Bluetooth headphones will make your home studio tidier. However, like AirPods, you may experience a little bit of latency, depending on the DAW and hardware you’re using. Using headphones with a cord and studio monitors are still the best choices for mixing and monitoring.