The best headphones command a higher price.
When podcasting, you want all of the voices in your ears to sound crisp. Not like something you’d hear on a 3,000 watt AM station in Podunk, USA. So don’t go cheap. But fear not, you won’t need to drop more than $120. Shop wisely and you won’t break your bank.
Fortunately, rookie podcasters don’t need to stress out when scouring the web for “the right pair” of headphones. Keywords like “high-fidelity” make it easy. Big brands like Sony take it a step further and put a sticker on the sides of theirs that reads “professional.”
If you’re buying a real set of headphones for the first time, you definitely want to head to your nearest audio gear shop and try them on first. This is not something you want to do online. Seriously, don’t take the easy way out and go with the brand and model with the most five-star reviews. Go on several test drives—err, umm, listens. Doing so gives you the benefit of hearing the difference between professional headphones and the cheap, five-year old earbuds you’ve been using.
When you get to the store, make sure you find something that covers your ears. To quote the Big Bad Wolf from Little Red Riding Hood, it’s “the better to hear you with, my dear.”
And if you can’t decide which pair works best, ask the sound pro what they use. If they’re like the guys I see at the store by my house, they’ll gladly engage in a conversation about why their brand is better than the others.
Indeed, some podcasters may remain loyal to the companies who manufacture their mics. And that’s fine. Shure and Sennheiser make great microphones, but I’ve never used their headphones. That’s because one brand has remained high atop the pantheon of audio domination through twenty-six years of combined experience in podcasting, radio hosting, and audio production: the Sony MDR-7506. As a baby broadcaster back in the day, I knew from the moment I borrowed a colleague’s pair that I had to save up to buy my own.
They’re so good, they’ll make “Baby Shark” tolerable. No joke.
They check every box on the list of what audio pros need. They’re lightweight, sturdy, and comfortable. You get immaculate sound quality without dropping hundreds of dollars. And they’re cozy, too.
So while you can choose from a wide array of headphones on Amazon, the pair that I and countless audio professionals use time and again is the Sony MDR-7506.
If you're an MDR fan who's found something better, hit me up. I'd love to know what you're using.