The answer is YES. You do need headphones for podcasting. Headphones are a must for any type of podcast kit. You’re going to need headphones regardless of where you’re recording, or the environment you’re recording in. You’ll need to be able to hear how you and everyone else on the podcast sounds. Do you sound faint? Turn up your level or get closer to the mic. Hearing buzz or distortion? Turn down the mic’s gain, or turn down the headphone level. Perhaps you’re on a remote podcast with someone in another city, you’ll need to hear them. Don’t, I repeat DON’T be that person that records the podcast with the audio coming out of the computer speakers. It can cause a feedback loop and will also show others that you’re not serious about the craft. It’s not a good look.
Top 7 Podcast Headphones for Recording
Truthfully, the best headphones are ones that are comfortable and provide good sound quality. Finding the best headphones for you can make a world of difference in your recording experience. People who value comfort will want something lightweight and padded so they don’t feel their ears tiring after prolonged use. There are also those folks that require good excellent sound quality, i.e audiophiles. If portability is key then consider buying some smaller headphones that easily fit into your bag. The aim of this section is to outline some great headphones with the hopes that they will become mainstays in your podcast kit. Of course audio quality in headphones is important, but at The Podcast Haven we believe that finding a comfortable pair of headphones is MOST important.
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Wired vs. Wireless Podcast Headphones
We wholeheartedly recommend wired headphones for recording and mixing podcasts. Wireless headphones can create a slight delay in the incoming and outgoing sound. They’re also prone to being noisier than wired headphones. Because of this, we’re not going to be discussing wireless headphones, because we don’t believe in them for recording podcasts. That being said, we love Apple Airpods for going on walks, for phone calls, and in the gym.
Over-Ear Podcast Headphones
As you guessed, over-ear headphones are headphones that sit over your ears. These offer more coverage over your ear and typically have better sound quality. The sound quality of over-ear headphones depends a lot on each individual product and price point, rather than the brand itself. Over-ear headphones have large drivers that can produce a wide range of audio frequencies.
1. Sony MDR – 7506
Sony MDR-7506 headphones are trusted in studios worldwide for accuracy and clarity. The MDR-7506 reproduces tight, controlled bass while keeping frequency response flat, to reproduce audio at high definition with accurate sound quality. They’re super comfortable to wear and they’re lightweight.
- The closed-back design provides you with a consistent listening environment while isolating some sound inside and outside of your headphones.
- Adjustable, comfortable headband.
- Easily foldable for portability.
- ¼ and ⅛ inch compatible.
- Frequency response extends from 10Hz to 20kHz – easily covering the whole audible spectrum.
2. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x has magnet drivers that deliver stunning detail and accuracy in their frequency response. Their closed-back design provides superior isolation from bleed while providing cushy comfort during long sessions.
- Excellent sonic performance and build quality.
- 15Hz–28kHz frequency response.
- Flat response and accuracy.
- Swiveling earcups for 1 ear-monitoring.
3. Audio-Technica ATH-M20x
The M20x is the cheaper, younger cousin of the M50x. These headphones provide great value for the price point. The 20x’s deliver the accurate frequency response and solid bass you need to make sound decisions when you’re recording or mixing. The circumaural ear pads provide maximum comfort that you’ll love during longer podcast sessions. The tonal accuracy, comfort, and price point make these a no-brainer for people on a budget.
- 15Hz-20kHz frequency response.
- Tuned for enhanced low-frequency performance.
- Great isolation in loud environments.
- Optimized for studio recording and mixing.
4. Sennheiser HD 280 Pro
Sennheiser’s HD 280 Pro headphones are popular with recording professionals because they provide comfort, isolation, and reliability. They also have a high accuracy frequency response that is perfect for critical listening in the studio or on-location.
- 32dB of acoustical isolation.
- Under $100.
- Linear frequency response that provides maximum clarity.
- Foldable for portability.
- Included adapter allows you to use these with both 1/4″ and 1/8″ headphone jacks.
In-Ear Podcast Headphones
In-ear headphones are inserted in the ear itself. By now you’ve probably used a pair of these on a work-related Zoom call. These are perhaps the most popular type of headphones around today. You’ve seen people wearing these on walks while jogging and at the gym. Because of their small size in-ear headphones are great for their portability. But because of their small size, they often can’t produce the types of highs and lows that over-ear headphones can produce. Also, since they play audio directly into your ears they sound less open than over-ear headphones. They can do a great job at noise-cancellation and rejecting ambient noise in your recording environment.
5. Apple 3.5mm and Lightning Headphones
Don’t rule out the trusty Apple headphones that came with your smartphone. These replicate a fairly neutral sound with some bass enhancement. They’re great for traveling and are comfortable/lightweight in the ear. They’re also really cheap. You iPhone users probably already have a pair lying around somewhere.
- Circular earbuds, designed to fit the geometry of your ear.
- Built to maximize sound output and minimize sound loss.
- Built-in microphone that can be used in a pinch to record a podcast.
6. Audio-Technica ATH-E40
The Audio-Technica ATH-E40 in-ear headphones have exceptional sound quality. From the moment you put these on you’ll feel submersed in the world of an audiophile. The E40’s feature memory cables that loop over your ears for a custom, comfortable fit. They’re touted as having “powerful bass along with balanced mid and high frequencies.” These headphones are the baby step in the Audio-Technica in-ear “E Series”. If you’re liking what you’re hearing you may want to check out the E50 and E70, both of which offer more features and improved audio.
- Dual-phase push-pull drivers deliver powerful bass and balanced mid and high frequencies.
- Flexible memory cables loop over your ears for long-wearing comfort.
- Designed for maximum isolation.
- Durable detachable cable.
- Case and silicone ear tips are included.
7. Shure SE215
Do not let the Shure SE215’s low price fool you! These headphones are able to provide excellent sound quality, even when compared with more expensive models. They do it through an innovative MicroDriver design that reproduces higher frequencies and bass better than many dual-driver sets on today’s market. These headphones come with “Kit Fit” which includes small, medium, and large ear tips.
- Enriched bass.
- 22Hz–17.5kHz frequency range.
- Sound-isolating design.
- The over the ear design helps with cable management.
Which Type of Podcast Headphones Are Right for You?
Don’t overthink your headphone purchase. First, define whether you’re often going to be podcasting on the go, or if you have a stationary set up. Perhaps it’s both? Then decide on what’s more comfortable for you, over-ear or in-ear headphones. Then begin reading product reviews and watching YouTube testimonials to get a feel for the product and its audio quality. You’ll probably also want to factor in price. Once you’ve done all that, you’ll be in a good place to make an informed decision on which headphones are best for your podcasting venture.
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