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Podcast Headphones: The Ultimate Guide

This is everything you need to know about choosing podcast headphones.

More than three in four podcasters use headphones for podcast recording, which means if you don’t already have a pair, you’re already falling behind. Whether you’re just getting into podcasting or want to upgrade your equipment, now is the time to consider your options.

Contrary to popular belief, podcast headphones aren’t just for show — they’re an essential part of generating high-quality audio. The right pair can help with editing, audio bleed, and general monitoring, as well as ensuring guests can hear themselves throughout the recording session.

Unfortunately, picking the right pair of podcast headphones is anything but straightforward. With so many models and options on the market, there’s no such thing as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ design.

That’s why we’re breaking down the best options for podcast headphones — so you can make an informed decision to suit your unique show. Once we highlight the factors to consider for your headphones, we list some of the best models you can apply to different use cases.

But first: here’s why getting a good pair of headphones matters.

Why podcast headphones are essential for every podcaster

Here’s why every podcaster needs podcast headphones.

Whether you’re recording micro-shows or have a long history of podcasting, a pair of quality headphones will be an essential element of success. Not only do they help you monitor audio in greater detail, but they can help you catch potential problems before you hit record.

Let’s look at a few additional benefits:

  • For you: The right pair of headphones can help avoid echo, which muddles your audio and makes it difficult for guests to hear each other. You can also preserve the integrity of your podcast by avoiding audio bleed (aka spills) from various pieces of equipment. 
  • For guests: A recording environment could be stressful or overwhelming to the average B2B guest. A good pair of noise-canceling headphones can help to alleviate this by providing a quiet, focused environment where the guest can clearly hear the host and guests. If there are any audio issues or problems with their audio, the guest can alert you before going live.
  • For listeners: Nearly one in three people won’t listen to podcasts that demonstrate lower-quality audio. Your podcast headphones won’t play as integral a role as your podcast microphones will, but the inability to hear your audio while recording a show could result in a nasty surprise when it comes time to edit your podcast.

A pair of quality headphones have a large role to play in the overall success of your podcast.

So how do you pick the best headphones for your podcast?

Here are five things you need to consider.

5 considerations for the Best Podcast Headphones

The best podcast headphones should meet your expectations.

The ‘perfect pair’ of podcast headphones mostly depends on your needs. Once you better understand your use case and expectations, you can narrow down your shortlist to the options that make sense for you.

Be sure to consider:

Comfort

Different types of headphones are more or less comfortable depending on your preferences and how long you expect to record/edit your podcast.

If you intend to wear headphones for long periods, you may want a lightweight model with an over-the-ear fit. If you only expect to work for a few hours at a time, you may not mind a heavier model or on-ear design.

Be sure to take your health and wellness into consideration. Over-ear headphones, for example, may be better for your hearing than on-ear models. 

We’ll cover this in greater detail later on.

Storage

The size, shape, and type of headphones you buy will have a major impact on how you store them.

Smaller headphones easily slip into charging cases or carry bags. Larger over-the-ear headphones can sometimes fold, but this isn’t always the case (which means you may have to hang them on the wall or find another way to carry them around).

Transportation

Where do you intend to do most of your podcasting? If you expect to be on the road, you may want to invest in a pair of headphones that are collapsible or come with a bag or carry case for your portable podcast setup. If you often record at home or in a studio, those accessories may not be as important.

The ‘wired versus wireless’ debate also comes into play here. If you expect to spend most of your time recording in the field, a pair of wireless headphones may be a good option. However, if you plan to record using a podcast mixer or audio interface, wired headphones may be a more suitable option.

Price

Your podcast budget should be a major consideration before buying a pair of headphones.

Ask yourself: how much am I willing to spend? If I find a pair I like that’s above my budget, how much further would I be willing to extend?

Remember: price and quality aren’t necessarily correlated when it comes to podcast headphones. A great pair for you may not be a great pair for others, so you don’t need to worry about spending an arm and a leg for top quality.

Features

Are you a fan of noise-canceling headphones? Looking for over-ear versus on-ear models? You should write down a list of your must-have features before exploring specific brands.

But how many features do you have to consider?

Keep reading to examine the four most common below.

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4 Podcast Headphone Types

Before landing on the right podcast headphones for your show, you need to consider the features and designs you want.

There are four major considerations:

  1. Open-back vs closed-back
  2. Over-ear vs on-ear
  3. Wired vs wireless Bluetooth
  4. With mic vs without mic

Not sure which features make the most sense for you?

Let’s break down their prices and features (and a few brand suggestions to get you started).

1. Open-back vs closed-back

Choosing between open-back and closed-back headphones.

Open-back headphones allow air to pass through your ear cups, which means it’s easier for the speakers to provide natural sound. Closed-back headphones minimize the amount of air passing through, which significantly reduces your risks of audio bleed (at the expense of natural sound).

Which option makes the most sense for your podcast?

Let’s explore everything you should know.

Typical features for open-back vs closed-back headphones

FeaturesOpen-back headphonesClosed-back headphones
Air passthrough✔️
Natural sound✔️
Lower risk for audio bleed✔️

Open-back vs closed-back pros and cons

Open-back
  • Provides a more natural audio profile
  • Takes in ambient sound
  • Slightly more vulnerable to audio leakage or bleed
Closed-back
  • Usually preferred for podcasting
  • Fewer risks for audio leakage or bleed
  • Potentially less comfortable than open-back designs

Options for open-back vs closed-back headphones

There are dozens of different open-back and closed-back headphones on the market. 

Here, we’re covering two of the best options:

1. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x (Closed-Back)
Understanding the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x.

Many professional podcasters rely on the ATH-M50x for monitoring audio in noisy environments. The closed-back design makes it easier for guests to hear themselves, which is an invaluable feature in non-sound-proofed environments.

You can learn more about the ATH-M50x on Audio-Technica’s website.

  • Price: $149
  • Weight: 0.63 pounds
  • Amazon Star Rating: 4.7/5 (26,164 reviews)
  • Impedance: 38 
  • Comes with: Cables, a protective case, and a 6.3 mm (1/4″) screw-on adapter
2. Sennheiser HD 660S2 Open Back Professional Studio Headphones (Open-Back)
Understanding the Sennheiser HD 660S.

The open-back design of the HD 660S provides more natural-sounding audio while monitoring during podcast recording or editing. It also comes with some of the highest impedance on the market, measuring in at a whopping 150Ω. Just keep in mind this is a more expensive model, so keep an eye on your budget if you’re working with restrictions.

Check out the Sennheiser HD 660S here

  • Price: $499.95
  • Weight: 0.58 pounds
  • Amazon Star Rating: 4.7/5 (1,955 reviews)
  • Impedance: 150
  • Comes with: n/a

2. Over-ear vs on-ear

Choosing between over-ear and on-ear headphones.

Over-ear headphones encompass the entire ear to provide the highest-quality audio. On-ear headphones sit on top of your ear so you get a more ‘open’ sound.

Which of these options makes the most sense for you?

Let’s break down the details.

Typical features for over-ear vs on-ear headphones

FeaturesOver-earOn-ear
Low latency✔️✔️
Battery life
Cables✔️✔️

Over-ear vs on-ear pros and cons

Over-ear
  • Better for your aural health
  • Comfortable for long recording sessions
  • Slightly less portable and more expensive
On-ear
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Sometimes cheaper than over-ear gear
  • Potentially worse audio quality

Options for over-ear and on-ear headphones

Here are a few top contenders for over-ear and on-ear headphones:

1. Sennheiser HD-25 (On-Ear)
Understanding the Sennheiser HD-25.

The Sennheiser HD-25 has become the industry standard for DJs performing live music. In addition to this model’s high-fidelity sound, it’s also extremely lightweight for easy storage and transport. Just keep in mind there’s no active noise cancellation feature — you have to edit your audio in a quiet environment.

You can find the HD-25 on Amazon here.

  • Price: $149.95
  • Weight: 0.3 pounds
  • Amazon Star Rating: 4.6/5 (2,325 reviews)
  • Impedance: 20 Ω
  • Comes with: 1 screw on jack adapter 3.5 to 6.3 mm 

* If you purchase the HD 25 Plus model, you also get:

  • 1 carrying pouch
  • 1 additional pair of soft earpads
  • 1 additional 1.5m-3m straight cable
2.  Sony MDR7506 (Over-Ear)
Understanding the Sony MDR7506

The MDR7506 is a set of folding headphones designed to fit over your ear. It’s relatively lightweight and comes with a protective case so you don’t need to worry about damage while in transit. Thanks to the headphones’ closed-ear design, you can block exterior sounds while focusing on your edits.

You can purchase these headphones directly from Sony Electronics.

  • Price: $130
  • Weight: 0.51 pounds
  • Amazon Star Rating: 4.7/5 (24,583 reviews)
  • Impedance: 63 Ω
  • Comes with: Protective case, unimatch plug, and your cables

3. Wired vs wireless/Bluetooth

Choosing between wired and wireless/Bluetooth headphones.

Wired headphones are exactly what they sound like: headphones that require a direct connection with an audio device (including computers and phones). Wireless headphones let you connect to your audio without the use of cables (which means you’re not tied to your desk).

Here’s what you should know about both types of headphones.

Typical features for wired vs wireless headphones

FeaturesWired headphonesWireless headphones
Low latency✔️
Battery life✔️
Cables✔️

Wireless vs wired headphones pros and cons

Wireless headphones
  • Cable-free use
  • Long battery life
  • May be prone to latency
  • May cause connection issues or interference with other audio equipment 
Wired headphones
  • Lower latency
  • More cost-effective
  • May tie you to a desk
  • Longer wires can be cumbersome and get in the way of other equipment 

Options for wired and wireless headphones

On the fence about which model makes the most sense for you?

Let’s look at your options for the best wired and wireless headphones:

1. Audio-Technica ATH-M20x (Wired)
Understanding the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x.

The ATH-M20x is a set of monitoring headphones you can easily plug into a mixer or audio interface. Each purchase comes with a snap-on adapter so you can get up and running as soon as you receive it. The best part? It’s extremely lightweight, making for more comfortable post-production edits.

Check out the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x here.

  • Price: $49
  • Weight: 0.42 pounds
  • Amazon Star Rating: 4.6/5 (22,514 reviews)
  • Impedance: 47 Ω
  • Comes with: 6.3 mm (1/4″) snap-on adapter
2. Sennheiser 280 PRO (Wired)
Understanding the Sennheiser 280 PRO.

280 PRO wired headphones were designed to monitor podcast audio. They can be easily folded once your recording session is over, and since they’re so lightweight, they make for relatively comfortable wearing. Just keep in mind this model doesn’t come with ActiveGard protection, so be careful of encountering ear-splitting audio spikes. 

You can purchase these headphones directly from the manufacturer.

  • Price: $99.95
  • Weight: 0.63 pounds
  • Amazon Star Rating: 4.6/5 (11,660 reviews)
  • Impedance: 64 Ω
  • Comes with: 1 screw-type adaptor to 1/4
3. Bose QuietComfort 35 II (Wireless)
Understanding the Bose QuietComfort 35 II.

A reputable brand of noise-canceling wireless headphones, Bose QuietComfort 35 II is a favorite among Amazon shoppers. More than 61,000 reviews give this model a 4.7/5. The Alexa voice control isn’t a necessity for podcasting, but it’s certainly a plus for personal use.

You can pick yours up on bose.com.

  • Price: $357.99
  • Weight: 0.51 pounds
  • Amazon Star Rating: 4.7/5 (61,662 reviews)
  • Impedance: Undisclosed
  • Comes with: Cables and your protective case
4. Shure SRH1540 Premium Closed-Back Headphones (Wireless)
Understanding the Shure SRH1540.

There’s a lot to recommend the Shure SRH1540 — it’s intuitive for beginners and easy to get up and running. As long as your mixer is Bluetooth compatible, there’s no need to worry about extra wires or cables. Just keep in mind this model is more expensive than other types of wireless headphones.

You can find one for sale on Shure.com.

  • Price: $499 
  • Weight: 0.22 pounds
  • Amazon Star Rating: 4.3 / 5 (379 ratings)
  • Impedance: 46 Ω
  • Comes with: 1/4″ adapter, 2 detachable cables, a zippered storage case, and extra ear pads

4. Podcast headphones with mic

Choosing podcast headphones with a microphone.

If you’re a fan of online gaming, you’re probably familiar with headphone/microphone combos. Some people call them ‘headsets’ rather than headphones since you can use them to listen to and capture podcast audio. 

Livestreaming is the most obvious use case for headphones with mics. Since it’s a plug-and-play design with few moving parts, you can get up and running quickly (and tear down just as fast).

Just keep in mind these are combo mics, which means they’re not necessarily built for the highest-quality audio. If all-in-one functionality is best suited for your show, however, this may be an excellent option to bridge the gap.

Typical features for podcast headphones with mic

  • Built-in microphone allows you to move around while capturing audio
  • You can maintain vocal quality and proximity for the duration of your show
  • Many models come with wireless or Bluetooth connectivity so you can move around freely

Headphones with mics pros and cons

ProsCons
Great for mobile environments where guests may not be sitting at a tableIntegrated microphones may not offer the quality you want
Excellent for soft-spoken guests who tend to speak more quietlyNot all headphone/microphone combos are compatible with all DAWs
Cuts back your setup time since you don’t need an additional microphoneMay be bulky or heavy when worn for long periods of time

Options for podcast headphones with mic

We recommend two kinds of podcast headphones with mics:

1. Audio-Technica BPHS1
Understanding the Audio-Technica BPHS1.

The Audio-Technica BPHS1 is a broadcast stereo headset uniquely designed for rugged environments. It also uses a cardioid dynamic mic, which is excellent for maintaining audio quality (useful for noisy backgrounds).

You can purchase a BPHS1 on Amazon or Audio-Technica.

  • Price: $219.00
  • Microphone Type: Dynamic
  • Weight: 0.58 pounds
  • Amazon Star Rating: 4.4 / 5 (707 reviews)
  • Impedance: 65 Ω
  • Comes with: 3 cables, 3 windscreens, and a spare connector screw
2. Sennheiser HMD 300 Pro-XQ-2
Understanding the Sennheiser HMD 300 Pro-XQ-2.

The Sennheiser HMD 300 Pro-XQ-2 is a popular option for those comfortable with wired headphones. In addition to the ActiveGard switch to protect your guests from peaking, you can also switch the ear you’d prefer to position the microphone more comfortably.

You can pick up your own pair of Sennheisers on Amazon or buy directly from the manufacturer.

  • Price: $299.95
  • Microphone Type: Super-cardioid
  • Weight: 1.12 pounds
  • Amazon Star Rating: 4.1 / 5 (53 reviews)
  • Impedance: 64 Ω
  • Comes with: Coiled cable (1/4″ and XLR connections)
Download the Podcast Launch Guide by The Podcast Consultant.

Best Headphones for Podcasting

These are the best headphones for podcasting.

So what are the best headphones for professional podcasting?

It mostly boils down to use case and personal preference.

We’ve listed some brands for different scenarios so you can familiarize yourself with the options and price ranges.

Best affordable podcast headphones

If you’re working with a tighter budget, one of these headphones might suit your fancy.

Audio-Technica ATH-M20x

The Audio-Technica ATH-M20x is one of the best affordable podcast headphones.
  • Closed-back
  • Over-ear
  • Wired
  • $54

Learn more about the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x.

Soundcore Anker Life Q20

The Soundcore Anker Life Q20 is one of the best affordable podcast headphones.
  • Closed-back
  • Over-ear
  • Wireless
  • $54

Learn more about the Soundcore Anker Life Q20.

Edifier W800BT Plus

The Edifier W800BT Plus is one of the best affordable podcast headphones.
  • Closed-back
  • Over-ear
  • Wireless
  • $59.99

Learn more about the Edifier W800BT Plus.

Best premium podcast headphones

If you’re comfortable spending more money on a premium product, one of these headphones may be right for you.

Here are some of their specifications at a glance:

Shure SRH1540 Premium Closed-Back Headphones

The Shure SRH1540 is one of the best premium podcast headphones.
  • Closed-back
  • Over-ear
  • Wireless
  • $499.99

Learn more about the Shure SRH1540.

Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless

The Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless is one of the best premium podcast headphones.
  • Closed-back
  • Over-ear
  • Wireless
  • $319.88

Learn more about the Sennheiser Momentum 3.

Beyerdynamic DT 1770

The Beyerdynamic DT 1770 is one of the best premium podcast headphones.
  • Closed-back
  • Over-ear
  • Wired
  • $519.00

Learn more about the Beyerdynamic DT 1770.

Best podcast headphones with mic

Do you livestream your podcasts? See if one of these headphones is right for you:

Massdrop x Sennheiser PC37X

The Massdrop x Sennheiser PC37X is one of the best podcast headphones with mic.
  • Open-back
  • Over-ear
  • Wired
  • $120

Learn more about the Massdrop x Sennheiser PC37X here.

Jabra Evolve 40

The Jabra Evolve 40 is one of the best podcast headphones with mic.
  • Open-back
  • On-ear
  • Wired
  • $69.99

Learn more about the Jabra Evolve 40 here.

AGK HSC271

The AGK HSC271 is one of the best podcast headphones with mic.
  • Open-back
  • Over-ear
  • Wired
  • $300

Learn more about the AGK HSC271 here.

Best podcast headphones included in a bundle

Not all headphones have to be purchased separately.

If you’re newer to podcasting or looking to upgrade your equipment, here are some podcast bundles you might want to explore:

ZOOM PodTrak P8 bundle

The ZOOM PodTrak P8 bundle comes with one of the best podcast headphones.

ZOOM PodTrak P8 is a popular audio mixer with bundles for podcasters in the earliest phases of recording. Their two-person bundle includes the audio mixer itself, two microphones, the cables, and two ZOOM ZHP-1 headphones

Here are some specifications for the ZOOM ZHP-1:

  • Closed-back
  • Over-ear
  • Wired
  • $79.99 purchased separately

You can explore the rest of the bundle here.

Maonocaster E2 bundle

The Maonocaster E2 bundle comes with one of the best podcast headphones.

Every purchase of the Maonocaster E2 podcast mixer comes with microphones, pop filters, cables, and most importantly, MAONO MH601 headphones.

Here are some details on the MAONO MH601:

  • Closed-back
  • Over-ear
  • Wired
  • $45.99 purchased separately

The Maono bundle is much more cost-effective than buying headphones separately. It’s also one of the best ways to get into podcasting on a budget.

You can learn more about MAONO MH601 headphones here.

RØDECaster Pro 2 bundle

The RØDECaster Pro 2 bundle comes with one of the best podcast headphones.

The RØDECaster Pro 2 is an audio production studio with multiple bundles available for podcasters. Their premiere bundle comes with two microphones, a pair of XLR Cables, a 128GB SD Card, boom arms and dust covers, and two NTH-100 headphones.

Pricing for the entire bundle starts at $1,949.00.

Here are some details on the NTH-100 headphones:

  • Closed-back
  • Over-ear
  • Wired
  • $149.99 purchased separately

Looking for more than just headphones for your recording studio?

Learn more about podcast bundling in our comprehensive guide.

The bottom line on podcast headphones

Good podcast headphones can positively impact the quality and caliber of your show. Your audience will thank you for the easy listening experience, and your guests will appreciate the ability to hear themselves clearly.

As you narrow down your list to find the perfect pair of headphones, be sure to consider your other podcasting needs. Even if you can find the right pair of headphones, does it still make sense to record the show yourself? 

If you want to automate repetitive tasks and reserve time for creative energy, remote recording with The Podcast Consultant may be exactly what you’re looking for.

We’ve helped hundreds of B2B podcasters get more out of their shows with:

  • Pre-show technical checks
  • 4K video and uncompressed audio
  • Silent continuous monitoring
  • Configure your technology
  • Live recording backups

Curious to see how we can take your podcast to the next level?

You can book a discovery call with our team to chat about our solutions.

Podcast headphones FAQ

Have a few more questions about buying your podcast headphones?

We’ve answered some frequently asked questions to steer you in the right direction.

Are there podcast headphones I should avoid?

There’s no such thing as a perfect pair of headphones — you can likely make do with many different types. However, it would be best to steer clear of headphones that are not expressly made for recording, including Apple AirPods or Walmart-brand earbuds. 

How much do podcast headphones cost?

This entirely depends on the type of headphones you purchase.

The lowest price in this roundup is $49, while the highest is $499.

You could always get a $20 pair of earbuds from your local box store. Just remember: you get what you pay for. 

Can I record a podcast without headphones?

You can try to record a podcast without the help of headphones, but the reality is, it may not be as high-quality as you’d like. Without headphones, there is a strong possibility of microphone bleed, which negatively impacts audio and editing abilities. There may also be inconsistent volume, popped ‘Ps’ and ‘Ks,’ or inconsistencies missed during the editing process.

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