Open Ear Headphones for practicing with a recording.

Open Ear Headphones for practicing with a recording. - image BoneConductionHeadphones_mainPhoto-1024x690 on https://musicmasterlab.com

During this Coronavirus outbreak a lot of musicians are struggling without the ability to play with each other and enjoy music in a chamber setting. Unfortunately the live options via Skype, FaceTime, Zoom etc do not work for playing together because of the video and sound delay.

The other option is to play with a recording. I use YouTube all the time to find two or three different recordings of my chamber music pieces and play along with them.

Be prepared that at the beginning it will be challenging.  It is much harder to play with a recording than a real person. You cannot get any visual cues about tempo changes and expression.

Recently I learned about Bone Conduction Headphones or Open Ear Headphones.

These headphones are designed for runners and cyclists, who want to listen to music while they exercise and be able to hear the surrounding noises for safety reasons.

The quality of the sound is not as good as in regular headphones but they have one major advantage. These headphones do not obstruct your ears from hearing the outside sounds. The sound is conducted through your cheekbones. For classical musicians this is a huge advantage when playing along with a recording. You can hear yourself without any obstruction.

Be prepared to experience tickling sensation from the vibrations when you listen to the headphones at full volume.

Another draw back is a sound bleed. Other people around you can hear what you are listening to. I do not think that it matters when you play along with a recording 

Before I bought my headphones I did a good amount of research. It was hard to understand if the premium brands were worth the price of around $150. I decided to go with a budget model for learning if this product is even useful. My expectations were very low because I was reading many reviews of the inferior sound quality. I agree that the sound quality is not as goos as in the traditional headphones.

For rehearsing and practicing purposes I do not think it matters that much. When we play along with a recording we cannot hear the recording as clearly anyway.

I always found that one of the bigger challenges when you practice with a recording is not hearing yourself clearly. This type of headphones fixes that problem perfectly. 

The headphones I bought for 40 dollars have been discontinued.

Here is a similar model to the headphones I have- https://amzn.to/396I4LF

You can also watch a short video about these headphones I made recently.