Best Headphones For Podcasting

Top 10 Best Headphones For Podcasting

If you’re doing your research to find the gear you need to start your own podcast, you know that headphones are an absolutely essential piece of equipment! Without them, you might find yourself accidentally talking over your guest/co-host and vise versa. 

If you have (or are planning on starting) a solo cast, you know how important it is to monitor your own voice and volume levels. Trying to keep an ear out for issues with your audio setup or recording is much more difficult using speakers as a reference point. 

Our goal is to help you find the perfect pair (or pairs) for your specific setup and style preference.  Before you browse our Top 10 recommendations, take a look at the brief guide below for how we selected each of the best headphones for podcasting!

Top 10 Best Headphones For Podcasting

There are 3 main performance areas we recommend you consider:

  1. Sturdy vs. Flimsy Build Quality
  2. On-Ear vs. Over-Ear Comfort
  3. Open Back vs. Semi-Open Playback

Keeping those 3 factors in mind, we combed through the sea of options to find (and recommend) quality models that have the best mix of all three criteria! If you want a more in-depth explanation for each factor and why they’re essential, take a look at the section below.

Sturdy vs. Flimsy Build Quality

It might seem pretty obvious to consider a sturdy vs. flimsy build quality, but there are a few exceptions. For example, sometimes it’s appropriate to accept a slightly less quality build in return for stand-out sound quality. In other cases, a solid build and sonic performance are both part of the package.

That being said, none of our recommendations will fall apart after a month of regular use. All 10 are designed to be the gift that keeps on giving for years to come! 

On-Ear vs. Over-Ear Comfort

For some people, choosing between an on-ear vs. over-ear wearing design is a no-brainer. If you have bigger ears, you might tend to prefer an over-ear design. If you have medium-to-smaller sized ears, the actual ear pads might play a bigger role in your final decision. 

Out of the 10 recommendations below, you should be able to find a pair that fits comfortably – regardless of which style you prefer. 

Closed Back vs. Semi-Open Playback

For podcasting, the debate over open back vs. closed back headphones is much less important. Since you’ll most likely interact with other people while you’re recording/streaming, the main purpose is to be able to clearly hear what they’re saying. 

Although great sound quality is still important, being able to pick up on the smallest of details in your guest or co-hosts voice usually isn’t (as opposed to analytical listening where you’re only paying attention to the track playing in your ‘phones). This is why we only recommended a few semi-open cans since they have a good balance between open and closed back audio quality. 

Also, keep in mind that there aren’t any wireless models here, since you probably don’t want to worry about making sure they’re fully-charged (on top of everything else). 

Now that you know where we’re coming from and how we selected each model, here are our Top 10 recommendations:

TOP 10 RECOMMENDATIONS
Wearing Style & Ear Cup Design Recommendations
On-Ear/Closed Audio Technia ATH M60x
On-Ear/Closed Sony MDR 7506
On-Ear/Closed Sony MDR V6
Over-Ear/Closed Sennheiser HD 280 Pro
Over-Ear/Closed Shure SRH440
Over-Ear/Semi-Open Fostex T50RP MK3
Over-Ear/Closed AKG K271 MKII
Over-Ear/Closed Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro
Over-Ear/Closed Brainwavz HM5
Over-Ear/Semi-Open AKG K240

 


1. Audio Technica ATH M60x

Tech Specs:

  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Driver Type: 45 mm large-aperture
  • Frequency Response: 15 Hz – 28 kHz
  • Impedance: 38 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 102 dB
  • Weight: 7.04 ounces

Sturdy vs. Flimsy Build Quality

As you can see in the picture above, the M60x have exposed metal sliding adjustments. Their headband design is slightly different than past models, and makes a satisfying click as you make adjustments. 

Although the sliding adjustments are exposed, it doesn’t take away from a sturdy overall build. The main downsides are their lack of 90° swivel ear cups and a folding design. They come with 3 separate cables that are fully detachable. The cables and black metal headband/housings are clearly built to last. 

On-Ear Comfort

Despite featuring an on-ear wearing design – they’re much more comfortable to wear for 2 or more hours than many other on-ears. On top of that, the stock ear pads have quite a bit of extra cushion. So much so, that they don’t cause any major discomfort (even if you wear glasses).  

Closed Back Sonic Performance

According to the company, both ear cups house the same drivers as the ATH-M50x. Although they do have that in common, they produce a completely different style of playback. They sound surprisingly spacious and immersive. 

Their closed back design doesn’t take anything away from their deep bass response and detailed treble. They don’t produce the most neutral playback, but their exciting sound profile will make it much more enjoyable to go back and edit your recording.

The Bottom Line

If you agree that these are clearly the best option, you might end up using them for more than just your podcast. They excel not only in the studio, but for portable and casual listening as well – which is why they’re our favorite overall recommendation!

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2. Sony MDR 7506

Tech Specs:

  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Driver Type: Neodymium dynamic
  • Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Impedance: 63 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 106 dB
  • Weight: 8.1 ounces

Sturdy vs. Flimsy Build Quality

The MDR 7506 are one of the most well-loved studio cans for a few reasons. One, their appearance is a little bit deceiving. If you’ve ever held a pair in your hands, you’ll know that they’re pretty lightweight and almost feel like they’re cheaply-built. 

As the saying goes, sometimes appearances are deceiving. Although they don’t have the premium look and feel that some listeners prefer, they can take a surprising amount of punishment. A few accidental drops on the floor or forgetting their on your chair when you sit down will hardly put a dent in their exterior. 

On-Ear Comfort

Comfort is one area that these could use some slight improvement. The main area of concern is the stock ear pads, but since you can easily replace them, it isn’t exactly a major downfall. If you’re wondering why the ear cups aren’t very comfortable, it’s because they’re significantly more shallow than most. 

If you don’t replace them with a deeper pair of pads, your ears will touch the inside of the ear cup, which can cause a slight rubbing effect. After wearing them for an hour or more, you’ll be forced to constantly readjust them, or remove them completely to give your ears a break. 

Closed Back Sonic Performance

Their fairly neutral sonic performance is one of the main reasons these are well-loved by audio professionals across the globe. That being said, they have a deeper bass response compared to their close cousin (the MDR V6). 

Their treble response is also a little bit more elevated. How does that apply to recording vocals? When you, your guest, or co-host yells or screams – their voice will have a tendency to sound somewhat piercing and uncomfortable. Once you go back to edit the recording, you’ll be able to make the necessary adjustments since the sharp peak will be pretty obvious. 

The Bottom Line

There are few studio reference cans that have survived the test of time, while at the same time being as well-received and highly-rated as the Sony MDR 7506. They usually retail for well under $100, which makes them that much more appealing if you need more than one pair for your setup! 

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3. Sony MDR V6Tech Specs:

  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Driver Type: Neodyumium dynamic
  • Frequency Response: 5 Hz – 30 kHz
  • Impedance: 63 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 106 dB
  • Weight: 10.56 ounces

Sturdy vs. Flimsy Build Quality

The MDR V6 and MDR 7506 have a nearly identical build. The obvious difference between the two is the lettering and color of the ear cups. Aside from that, their headband, stock ear pads, and basic design are extremely similar. They have a non-detachable coiled cable, 1/4″ adapter, and on-ear wearing design. 

On-Ear Comfort

For some reason, these are often advertised as being over-ear cans. Even if your ears are smaller than average, they’ll still touch the inside of either ear cup. That, plus the shallow stock pads, make them much closer to an on-ear headphone. 

Since they have pretty light headphone clamp, they don’t put too much force on your ears. After an hour or two, you may need to take a quick break to let your ears breathe. They won’t cause any major discomfort, that is, unless you’re planning on marathon-casting like Joe Rogan. 

Closed Back Sonic Performance

They sound fairly well-balanced for the most part, much like the MDR 7506. They don’t over-emphasize the bass or higher frequencies. Although they are a closed back model, they aren’t quite as good at isolating you from outside noise as the Audio Technica ATH M60x.

The Bottom Line

For streaming and recording vocals, the MDR V6 are a very affordable and dependable option. If you need more than one pair for your studio setup, we can’t recommend these enough!

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4. Sennheiser HD 280 Pro

Tech Specs:

  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Driver Type: Neodymium dynamic
  • Frequency Response: 8 Hz – 25,000 Hz
  • Impedance: 64 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 113 dB
  • Weight: 7.84 ounces

Sturdy vs. Flimsy Build Quality

The HD 280 Pro are made of all plastic. Their cable is non-detachable, which can be a slight downside for some. That being said, the cable is almost 10 feet long, which is perfect for a studio setup. You won’t have to sit literally right next to your audio interface or other recording gear (unless you want to of course). 

Much like the MDR 7506, these were built and designed to take some punishment. Although they don’t have the same military-level durability as the V-Moda Crossfade LP2, a few minor drops won’t cause them to shatter into a million pieces. 

Over-Ear Comfort

Unlike most of our other recommendations, you can replace both the headband padding and ear cushions. (That isn’t to say that you’ll need to right out-of-the-box.) After using them for a year or longer, the padding usually wears down first. It’s a lot easier (and inexpensive) to switch out the pads, than it is to replace the entire headset! 

The only minor downside in terms of comfort is slightly less ventilation. Aside from that, their ear cups and padding are deep enough to comfortably fit most ear shapes/sizes. Many of the most popular podcasters use these for live (and recorded) broadcasts. 

Closed Back Sonic Performance

The HD 280 sound pretty neutral when you’re listening to music, which means they’ll also produce a similar response for monitoring vocals. Their over-ear design does a good job at isolating you from outside noise, which makes it easier to pay attention and stay focused. 

When you go back to make edits on any recording, they’ll give you an unaltered and accurate reference. That way, when you release your final product, anyone who downloads that episode will hear what you heard during the conversation! 

The Bottom Line

If you don’t want to spend your entire budget on studio monitors (and need a professional performance) the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro would be a great choice! In our mind, they’re slightly underrated, although the reviews on Amazon would beg to differ!

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5. Shure SRH440 

Tech Specs:

  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Driver Type: Neodymium dynamic
  • Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 22 kHz
  • Impedance: 44 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 105 dB
  • Weight: 9.6 ounces (w/o cable)

Sturdy vs. Flimsy Build Quality

The SRH440 have an all-plastic build with a matte black finish. When you’re holding them in your hands, they almost feel like a cheap pair of cans. You could say they have a deceptively durable build, especially if you store them in the included carrying pouch. 

Their ear cups are also replaceable if you find they don’t provide enough cushion, although most people keep the stock pads since they help maintain an accurate reference during the editing process. 

Over-Ear Comfort

We think it’s important to point out a few major factors in this area. First, although the over-ear cups are big enough to fit most sized ears, they aren’t exactly ideal for extra large ears. Your ear lobes might stick out just far enough that the lower portion of the padding presses down on your lobes. 

Second, the leatherette-covered ear cups tend to overheat a little bit faster than usual. Any use past an hour or two tends to become slightly uncomfortable. Luckily, they’re able to block out quite a bit of outside noise. Their passive noise isolation helps make up for the slight issues with overheating. 

Closed Back Sonic Performance

A noticeably extended bass response is one of the stand-out features in this area. It’s not exactly skull-shattering, but definitely has a bigger presence than the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro. The extended bass won’t distort your final mix, especially since you’ll probably be recording mostly vocals.  

For the most part, they have a nicely-balanced sound profile that’s great for studio monitoring and readjusting levels after you’ve finished recording. The treble is clean and extended just enough to produce accurate playback. 

The Bottom Line

The Shure SRH440 are another great pair of sub-$100 studio cans that can perform each and every function you’ll need as a broadcaster! 

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6. Fostex T50RP MK3 Semi-Open

Tech Specs:

  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Driver Type: Planar magnetic
  • Frequency Response: 15 Hz – 35 kHz
  • Impedance: 50 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 92 dB
  • Weight: 11.11 ounces

Sturdy vs. Flimsy Build Quality

The T50RP MK3 are very well-built, with exposed metal sliding adjustments similar to the M60x. They come with a 2 separate cables. One 1/4″ to 3.5 mm for studio use and a mini 3.5 mm cable for portable listening. Both use a twist lock mechanism that plugs into the outside of the left ear cup.

You can tell they’re a sturdy pair of cans since they don’t squeak or make any cheap-sounding noises when you hold/adjust them. Everything from the headband to the ear cups and adjustment sliders are made of quality materials that will easily withstand everyday studio use. 

Over-Ear Comfort

The included stock ear pads are pretty thin, but for good reason. They aren’t the most comfortable pads and were designed to keep your ears as close to the drivers as physically possible. For example, if you decide to replace the pads, you’ll notice a pretty significant decrease in sound quality.

Some people replace them with memory foam pads which dramatically increase comfort without taking away from sound quality. The headband has plenty of cushion and the entire headset is fairly lightweight – especially since they have planar magnetic drivers (which are notoriously heavier than other driver types). 

Semi-Open Sonic Performance

The T50RP are the only cans we included here to have planar magnetic drivers. Not because planar magnetic drivers are bad for recording vocals, they’re just more commonly seen on fully-open cans. It’s also important to note that these are pretty power hungry, which means you’ll need to pair them with a separate amplifier to listen at higher volumes.

Once they’re paired with an adequate power source, you’ll be able to fully-experience their outstanding vocal clarity. Although they’re semi-open, they don’t leak as much sound as you might expect. Their semi-open ear cups make anything you listen to sound much bigger and wider. 

The Bottom Line

In our opinion, their sonic performance easily justifies the price tag. They’re especially ideal for casual use at home and almost equally as good for studio use. If you need some ‘phones that you can use in multiple settings, these would be a great choice!

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7. AKG K271 MKII

Tech Specs:

  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Driver Type: Not specified by manufacturer
  • Frequency Response: 16 Hz – 28 kHz
  • Impedance: 55 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 104 dB
  • Weight: 8.47 ounces

Sturdy vs. Flimsy Build Quality

The AKG K271 MKII use the standard AKG headband design. As you can see in the picture above, they have a metal headband over the self-adjusting strap suspended just below. They also have an automatic mute switch on the headband, which is a little known (but convenient) feature.

How is it convenient? When you take them off your head, the music will mute. When you open them up to put them back on, the music will un-mute. Although it doesn’t necessarily affect their overall performance, it’s easier than manually muting your audio. They aren’t quite as sturdy as the DT 770 Pro, but definitely get the job done. 

Over-Ear Comfort

The self-adjusting headband tends to be somewhat divisive. Some people aren’t a big fan, while others prefer it. The stock ear pads are slightly shallow and if you have bigger ears, they may not fit completely around your entire ear.

You’ll also get a second pair of velour ear pads that are arguably more comfy for longer studio sessions. 

Closed Back Sonic Performance

The velour ear pads tend to do a better job at isolating you from outside noise. They also have an effect on your audio playback. They have a very clean bass when you use the velour pads and will slightly decrease when you use the leatherette pads.

These cans were clearly designed to be used as reference monitors, so you can expect a more flat a neutral response (which many professionals prefer when they’re editing audio). 

The Bottom Line

Since the AKG K271 MKII aren’t the most comfortable, they tend to be best for shorter recording/studio sessions. All things considered, we think they’re still slightly overpriced – especially when you can grab the Audio Technica M60x for a few extra dollars! 

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8. Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro (80 Ohm Edition)

Tech Specs:

  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Driver Type: Dynamic
  • Frequency Response: 5 Hz – 35 kHz
  • Impedance: 80 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 100 dB
  • Weight: 9.52 ounces

Sturdy vs. Flimsy Build Quality

The DT 770 Pro have a mostly plastic build with some minimal metal construction. They have a fully-removable headband which will come in handy further down the road when you’ve worn them during episode after episode. 

Like many of the other headphones here, they have a non-detachable cable that’s close to 10 feet in length. It’s long enough to give you more room to stretch out, but not so long that it becomes unmanageable. 

Over-Ear Comfort

They come with soft velour-covered ear pads and ear cups that are deep enough to comfortably fit most medium-to-large sized ears. The velour isn’t the most breathable material, but you’ll be thanking it later for the soft cushion it provides.

The stock headband padding is also more than adequate and doesn’t cause any major discomfort after wearing them for a few hours straight. One of our favorite features is the ability to replace both the headband and ear pads with a new pair once they wear out. 

Closed Back Sonic Performance

These are another closed back model that do an awesome job at isolating you from outside noise. The DT 770 (80 Ohm edition specifically) are well-known for producing a stronger bass response than other cans in the Beyerdynamic DT series. That being said, it’s important to note that they perform at their best when you pair them with a powerful amp like the iFi Audio Micro iDSD

Their unique sound signature makes them great for both studio recording and casual listening at home. (They’re not the most portable pair, but we’re of the opinion that music is best enjoyed when you’re sprawled out on a comfy chair in solitude.)

The Bottom Line

When you weigh all the features we mentioned above against their retail value, the Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro are easily worth every penny. If you can squeeze a few extra dollars out of your budget – there’s no reason in our mind you shouldn’t give them a fair shot!

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9. Brainwavz HM5Tech Specs:

  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Driver Type: Dynamic
  • Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 26.5 kHz
  • Impedance: 64 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 105 dB
  • Weight: 11.2 ounces

Sturdy vs. Flimsy Build Quality

The HM5 have plastic ear cup housings and a unique rubberized plastic material holding the ear cups in place. The ear cups are almost twice as thick as the HD 280 Pro which doesn’t affect their performance and actually dramatically improves their wearing comfort. 

The cable design is slightly different than many of the other models featured here, since it connects into both ear cups (as opposed to the left or right only). 

Over-Ear Comfort

If you’ve never heard of a company called Brainwavz, you’re not alone. They’re a fairly underrated brand that places a specific emphasis on making extremely comfortable audio gear. You’ll get 2 pairs of extra deep and plush ear pads. When one pair starts to wear down, you can replace them with the included back up.

The ear cups are deep-enough to easily cover your entire ear and the headband doesn’t clamp too hard. You and your guest/co-host should be able to comfortably keep them on for hours at a time without any issues at all. Although we ranked them lower on our list, they are (without a doubt) one of the most comfy pairs!

Closed Back Sonic Performance

The HM5 produce neutral playback with a nice bass bump, whether you’re listening to music or a vocal recording. They are noticeably more spacious than other similarly-priced closed backs and have above-average passive noise isolation. 

You’ll really be able to appreciate their isolation if you ever attend a live podcasting event or don’t have a fully-soundproofed recording studio. 

The Bottom Line

If you already own the HD 280 Pro, these would be a solid (and arguably more comfortable) upgrade! Once again, they’re easily one of the most comfortable recommendations here and are nearly perfect in every way for marathon podcasting sessions.

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10. AKG K240 Semi Open

Tech Specs:

  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Driver Type: Neodymium dynamic
  • Frequency Response: 15 Hz – 25 kHz
  • Impedance: 55 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 91 dB
  • Weight: 8.46 ounces

Sturdy vs. Flimsy Build Quality

The AKG K240 bundle we linked to below comes with an Auray headphone holder that attaches to your desk or table along with the K240, cable, and 25 foot cable extension. They have the same self-adjusting headband and cable design as the K271 MKII and also weigh about the same.

They’re fairly well-built, but won’t score any extra points for being the most sturdy. (Then again, it wouldn’t make sense if they were since they’re one of the least expensive options here.) 

On-Ear Comfort

The stock ear pads shouldn’t give you any major issues in terms of comfort. That being said, you may experience some slight overheating after a few hours since the ear pads are wrapped in a  leatherette-style material. 

If you’re not a fan of the headband design, these probably won’t work very well for you. It is self-adjusting, but for some, the suspended strap design isn’t always preferable. 

Semi-Open Sonic Performance

The semi-open ear cups provide next to zero isolation and leak quite a bit of sound. When you’re listening to music, you’ll notice a laid-back and recessed bass response with a slightly less-detailed mid range.

In the studio, vocals sound more detailed and prominent. The semi-open design helps widen the sound, which isn’t always absolutely necessary for broadcasting. Of course, whether or not you prefer the semi-open sound mostly depends on how you plan on using them. 

The Bottom Line

The AKG K240 have been a popular choice for quite a few years because they offer a pretty good balance between a practical performance, comfort, and price. Plus, you get to add a few extra goodies to your setup for well-under $100! 

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Did You Find What You Were Looking For?

Now that you made it to the end, what do you think? Was our guide helpful? Did you find a quality upgrade for your current setup, or are you working on getting a brand new ‘cast up and running?

If you have anymore questions, or want to share your experience recording audio, feel free to leave a comment below! 

We look forward to hearing your experience and hope you enjoyed browsing the Top 10 best headphones for podcasting!

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