Choosing your podcast headphones is crucial for podcasters, but can be incredibly difficult because of the variety of models available. In this article, we’ll discuss why headphones are important, the main features you need to take into consideration, as well as provide recommendations at beginner, mid-range, and professional price ranges.
Most podcasters wear headphones while they record, but why? There’s two main reasons.
The first is that they allow for close listening while recording and editing your podcast. Sometimes your microphone picks up sounds that you can only hear with headphones, like audio from a co-host bleeding into your microphone. If you have headphones, you can catch these problems in real-time and avoid re-recording.
The second reason to wear headphones is to prevent echo. If you don’t have headphones and have audio playing from your speakers, it’s likely that your microphone would also record your speaker audio, causing a disorienting echo effect for the listener.
When choosing your headphones there are three features to take into consideration:
Headphones come in four styles: over-ear, on-ear, in-ear, or earbuds. For podcasting you’ll likely want over-ear, as they trap the sound inside the headphones and prevent your microphone from picking up the sound. In addition, these cushy headphones tend to be more comfortable for long podcast recordings.
Over-ear headphones are either open-back or closed-back. Open-back lets air flow through the headphone cups for a better audio quality and breathability. The problem is that breathability also means that the sound playing in your headphones can easily escape and be recorded by your microphone. The whole point of wearing headphones is to prevent audio bleed, but that remains a danger with open-back headphones.
For this reason, we recommend buying closed-back headphones for your podcasting set-up.
We recommend you buy wired podcast headphones. Here’s why: Wireless can be a nice feature because there are less things to get tangled while you’re podcasting, but they also increase audio latency. You want your recording to sound as quick and snappy as a normal conversation. With wireless headphones, you hear your guest or co-host’s audio at a slight delay, which causes you to respond slower than normal, potentially ruining the natural flow of the conversation for the listener.
Buying wired headphones prevents this issue.
For a truly budget option, consider these wireless earbuds. They still prevent echo and bleeding, but the sound quality is not the best. And they are wireless, with about an 8 hour battery life – which could be an issue if they die during your recording.
These headphones were our pick for the best beginner podcast set-up, and for good reason. There are no bells and whistles, but the sound quality and build quality are both fantastic for the price.
Audio Technica’s cheapest option in their ATH line-up, but still a great pair of headphones if you are looking for a good bang for your buck.
Our first option in the mid-range category is well regarded for its comfort. Because they are much lighter than comparable headphones, customers report wearing these headphones for hours at a time with no issues.
These headphones are used by the most popular podcaster in the world, Joe Rogan, who wears them for hours at a time for multiple episodes a week. That’s about as good as an endorsement that you could get.
The M40x is the higher-end version from Audio Technica’s M20x. And for the price you get better maximum input power, sensitivity, impedance, and a more durable cable.
An even higher quality version of the two ATH Audio Technica headphones. These are designed for professional audio studios, but can still be utilized for at-home set-ups.
The Beyerdynamic DT 770 has a slightly better sound quality than the Audio Technica ATH-M50x, but you’ll have to play the sound at a very high volume in order to take advantage of the difference.
Buying a $500 pair of podcasting headphones is by no means necessary, but we wanted to throw in an option here for those looking to get the most premium set-up possible.
Podcast headphones are a critical piece of gear to maintain high quality audio for your show. But they are just the start! If You’re looking to buy more gear, check our article about a beginner podcast set-up that costs less than $200.
And once you’ve got all your gear and have released your first episode, claim your podcast on Podchaser. Once your podcast is claimed, you unlock several tools to promote your podcast for free, including customization of your podcast page, the ability to respond to listener reviews, and increased SEO with credits.