The best headphones for podcasting combine lifelike sound with a comfortable fit that you can wear for hours at an affordable price.
The fact is in order to make a great sounding podcast you need great headphones. But shopping for podcasting headphones is different to shopping for regular headphones. You’ll be listening primarily to the spoken voice (as opposed to music) and you’ll likely be wearing them for long periods of time inside a *hopefully* quiet room.
So first let’s have a look at some of the considerations you need to take into account when buying a pair of headphones specifically for podcasting.
What You Need To Look For In Podcasting Headphones
When shopping for headphones to use whilst podcasting I suggest considering the following characteristics.
2 Key Characteristics
Lifelike Sound – Ideally when recording and editing your podcast you want to be able to hear it as close to how it sounds in real life as possible. So you want to look for headphones that reproduce your voice as lifelike as possible and not distorted with things like excessive bass (cough…beats by dr dre…cough)
Comfort – You’ll likely be wearing these headphones while recording your podcast as well as while editing your podcast. All in all this can lead to hours straight of use. You’ll want a comfortable pair that doesn’t hurt your ears or head during long periods of use.
Other Important Factors
Blocking Outside Noise – Hearing JUST your podcast and not the dog next door or the guy who mows his lawn every 2nd day will help your editing process immensely. Look for headphones that block outside noise as much as possible.
Chord Style – While you may not think about it chord style can have a big impact on the ease of use of your headphones. Short chords tend to get in the way of your keyboard and mouse and limit your movement. Longer chords are generally better.
Blocking Sound Leakage – If you are using your headphones for feedback during recording you don’t want headphones that leak a lot as this can potential feed back into your recording.
Portability – Sometimes you’ll be editing in a coffee shop, or maybe you like to podcast while you travel. In this case portability may be a consideration for you.
Visibility For Video – If you are also recording video you may want more discreet headphones that don’t draw as much attention.
Hearing what your listener hear – Most of your listeners won’t be using high end headphones, so sometimes it is good to test your podcast on headphones your listeners are more likely to be using (eg. Apple Earpods).
Ok we are now ready to start listing my recommended headphones for podcasters. Please note that product links are affiliate links at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting PodcastFast.
Best Overall Headphones For Podcasting
1. Audio-Technica ATH-M70x ($230 Amazon/$419 Audio-Technica.com)
It is a thinner, drier sounding headphone with a flat balance that will likely get you closer to hearing your own voice exactly as it sounds than almost anything else out there.
There are also extremely comfortable to wear for long periods of time with large cups that go over your ears rather than press on them. They are nice and flexible compared to other models and are built with metal expanders to fit any size head. Plus each cup swivels 90 degrees for one ear listening (if you’re into that).
Comes with 3 chord options (1.5m, 3m and 3m coiled) so you can choose the chord that suits you best and this means your chord won’t get in the way while editing.
The ATH-M70x will give you a really clean, hyper-detailed listen which is perfect for podcast editing where you want to ensure you are getting the absolute best sound possible. These come highly recommended as the #1 option for professional podcasters.
You can’t go wrong.
2. Sony MDR7506 ($79.99 Amazon/$130 Sony.com)
The Sony MDR7506’s come in a close second and are used and recommended by some of the top podcasters including Cliff Ravenscraft (the Podcast Answer Man).
The sound quality of these headphones is astounding and better than most models costing twice as much (except maybe the ATR-M70x’s.) The tonal balance is almost perfect and they allow you to hear a lot of the nuances in your voice recording. These come extremely close to presenting your voice exactly as you sound and are a great option.
They are also perfect for detecting any imperfections in your recordings which other headphones likely won’t pick up.
These aren’t as comfortable as some other headphones in the same price range and the cups are just larger than most ears so if you have large ears you may find they hug them just a bit leading to a less comfortable experience.
Overall a great option and worthy of the #2 spot.
3. Grado SR80e ($99.99 Amazon + Elsewhere)
The Grado SR80e’s are open back headphones which is different to the other headphones listed here. The open back means they leak sound a lot (think of them as 2 mini speakers) which isn’t ideal if you are using them whilst recording, but it does lead to great sound quality when editing.
You can really hear every detail with these headphones and they come close to the true sound of your voice which I believe is really important for podcasters.
The build of these headphones does feel a bit cheap. They are mostly plastic and there is no padding on the headband. They aren’t cups but instead have removable foam covers. Which these are comfortable to wear they do make your ears quite hot after long periods of time.
These headphones have a great sound quality for podcasters and are a great option for podcast editing.
4. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x ($169 Amazon/$239 Audio-Technica.com)
For the sake of variability, I listed the ATH-M50x’s 4th on this list. However, I believe that given their price point this would be my #1 recommended headphone for any podcaster who didn’t want to pay for the newer M70x’s.
I personally own a pair of these headphones and they are great. They have a flat balance which gets you very close to hearing your own voice exactly how it sounds and they are also great at detecting impurities in your recording (and hopefully editing them out).
The large cups easily go over most ears and are extremely soft. These are incredibly comfortable headphones that can be worn for hours on end.
Again these come with 3 chord options (1.5m, 3m and 3m coiled) which I absolutely love. I use the shorter chord when I am going portable (eg. On the plane) and the longer chord goes from my computer around my desk and doesn’t get in the way of my keyboard or mouse at all.
While not as amazing as the M70x’s the M50x’s come extremely close and if you’re looking to spend under $200 then these are the headphones I would personally recommend.
5. Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro Plus ($199 Amazon + Elsewhere)
The Beyerdynamic Custom Pro One’s have drawn a lot of attention due to the fact they can be easily customised in both look and sound. One of their best features is a port on each ear to adjust the base to your liking which can help you tune these headphones to get your podcast sounding just right.
They have a great build quality that feels very solid and dependable and the thing I love about these headphones is the comfort. The earpads are quite large, soft and breathable meaning you are less likely to get hot sweaty ears…yeh that’s a thing!
They are a relatively flat sounding headphone which means you will get pretty close to the true sound of your voice however the details don’t stand out as much as the ATH-M70x or the Sony MDR7056.
These are a great headphone and if comfort is a high priority to you then you should definitely consider them but I do feel like the options mentioned above offer a better sound for the price that you pay.
5 Notable Mentions
Rather than go down the list giving you headphones that are alright but not as good as the ones listed above I thought I would list some headphones that are best in category for specific things.
For example, some people don’t like the over the head style headphones and prefer headphones that go in their ear. Some people want noise cancelling and some of you just want a good option that is relatively cheap (less than $15 cheap). So here we go with some great headphones that are best in category.
Best Cheap Podcasting Headphones – Apple Earpods ($13.99 Amazon/$29 Apple.com)
The Apple Earpods won’t blow you away with incredibly accurate sound quality like the M70x’s but they aren’t meant to. For less than $15 these headphones pack a punch and offer great sound quality for the price you are paying.
I love these headphones and use them every single day. They are great to put in your pocket and take when you are out and about, they are useful for listening to podcasts in bed and they are awesome for podcast edits where you aren’t so focused on sound quality but just want to edit your podcast.
I literally always have a pair of these headphones in my pocket and I currently own about 5 of them. They are highly recommended by me and if you don’t want to spend much money then these are absolutely the best headphones to start with.
BONUS: The microphone in these headphones is actually pretty good. I have recorded many podcast episodes with the headphone mic and with a little post production they give a really good quality sound. So they double as an ultra-portable microphone as well. #winning!
Best Portable Podcasting Headphones – Jaybird X2 ($149.99 Amazon/$179.99 Elsewhere)
The Jaybird X2’s pack great sound into an ultra-portable headphone. What do I mean by ultra-portable? These headphones connect to your computer or device via bluetooth which means there are no wires. You can now edit your podcast and swing around in your swivel chair like a 5-year-old girl without getting tangled up.
But seriously the sound of the headphones is great. They fit really well in your ear giving you a great sound and there is little to no sound leakage so if you are using these while recording they are a great option. Also, if you like to stand up while recording then these could potential be great for you.
The battery lasts for up to 8 hours of use which is going to be more than enough for most of us.
If you are after maximum portability for one reason or another then the Jaybird X2’s are going to be the best headphones on the market for you.
Best Comfortable Podcasting Headphones – Bose Soundtrue On-Ear ($83.95 Amazon + Elsewhere)
If you are a creature of comfort then you have to look at the Bose Soundtrue On-Ear headphones. The mixture of their low clamping force and the lightweight nature of the headphones makes them super comfortable to wear.
When it comes to sound people have mixed opinions about Bose. Some people love them, others believe they are overhyped with poor quality sound. These headphones do fall short in terms of sound quality when compared to other headphones in their price range. You will find less detail and texture making them not as accurate as some of the other headphones discussed here.
However, if you are going to be wearing your headphones for long periods of time, or you find other headphones make your ears sore quite easily then these headphones will be great for you.
NOTE: There is also a Bone Soundtrue AROUND-Ear option so be careful when purchasing.
Best Noise Cancelling Podcasting Headphones – Bose QuietComfort 25 ($299 Amazon/$399 Bose)
The Bose QuietComfort 25’s are the king of noise cancelling headphones. It is terrifying how good the noise cancellation is on these headphones. It blocks out so much noise when you are on a plane, bus, train or in the street. It also blocks out air conditioning noises or fans from your computer.
It is so good at noise cancellation that it cancels out noises you won’t even realise are there until you take them off.
The sound of the headphone is too mellow and relaxed and the bass is really sloppy which affects the sound of your voice. But even though it doesn’t sound as good as other headphones it still provides you with a lot of detail, especially due to the majority of outside noise being cancelled. All in all a pretty good sound, just not amazing.
It has relatively large ear cups and is lightweight which makes them comfortable to wear. These are some of the most comfortable around ear headphones you can find.
So if you do a lot of flying, spend a lot of time on public transport or have a boss who is yelling at you for podcasting while at work and you don’t want to hear what she is saying the Bose QC25’s are a great option for you.
Best Stylish Podcasting Headphones – Beats Solo2 ($149 Amazon/$199 Apple.com)
Style is always going to be a matter of personal preference but the Beats Solo2 headphones (like everything made by Apple) are absolutely beautiful headphones.
They have a minimalist design which looks great and the brand is recognisable to almost everyone. With the bold colors available you can definitely make a statement with these headphones.
When it comes to the sound these headphones are bassy sounding headphones and are not neutral at all. This means your voice won’t sound exactly right. These headphones do comes with sound cancellation though which is a great feature.
The earpads are nice and soft but the clamping force is quite strong and your ears are likely to get sore within an hour or more of wear. Probably not great for people with glasses.
There you have it!
So there you have it! My top 10 best headphones for podcasting.
What are your thoughts? Are there some killer headphone options that I missed? Have you tried some of these headphones and don’t think they are very good?
I want to know you thoughts. Please let them in the comments section below and until next time…don’t just podcast, Podcast Fast!