Choosing the Best Podcasting Headphones: A Complete Guide + 5 Top Recommendations

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An enjoyable podcasting experience is largely determined by high-quality audio. And, contrary to popular belief, recording quality doesn’t only rely on your microphone but also on the set of headphones you wear.

Since the audio space is in constant growth, there’s a wide range of great headsets available in the market. However, such variety can make the selection process very overwhelming. If that’s what you’re going through, we’ve got you covered.

In this post, we’ll share:

  • Why you should wear headphones when podcasting
  • What a reliable set of headphones should offer
  • How to choose the best podcasting headphones 
  • The 5 best headphones for podcasting

Ready? Let’s dive in!

Why You Should Wear Headphones When Podcasting

Basically, you need headphones to monitor your audio output. Unless there’s an audio engineer in your team monitoring the audio live, wearing headphones while recording is a must. 

But, why is it so important to monitor the audio in the first place?

When broadcasting your episodes live, you want to be the first one to know if something is off with the audio and correct it right away. For that, you’ll need to hear your guest’s voice and your own clearly in real time.

Audio errors are, in most cases, way harder to fix in post-production than while recording. Hence, being able to spot those errors as you speak will save you a lot of editing time. 

For example, if you suddenly hear something that’s neither your voice nor your guests’, you’ll know the microphone is probably catching an unwanted sound. There you’ll have the chance to fix it before it affects the whole episode.

What’s more, monitoring your audio with high-quality headphones can even help you improve your speech performance.

Nevertheless, before pressing Rec, we highly recommend you run a sound test. That way, you can avoid unwanted setbacks.

What a Reliable Set of Headphones Should Offer

Headphones are a key piece of your podcast’s gear, but they can be quite pricey. So, while picking one, you should look for a set that offers:

  • Great isolation capacity*. This will prevent you from distracting by surrounding noises. Plus, it will also prevent audio leaking from the headphones to the mic.
  • Durability. If you have the budget for it, try to prioritize headsets made with the best quality materials. They will be hard to break. 
  • Easy maintenance. In case the headset needs to be fixed, look for brands that offer replaceable pieces and good customer support.
  • Comfort. Keep in mind that you'll probably be wearing headphones for long periods. A set that feels too heavy or too tight could become literally painful to wear overtime.

*Note: Isolation capacity does not equal noise canceling. The noise-canceling function guarantees isolation, but it isn’t for everybody. For some people, it can make hearing yourself quite uncomfortable, and in some cases it can distort sound fidelity.

How to Choose the Best Podcasting Headphones 

There seems to be an endless selection of headphones these days. So, it’s important to know where to start looking.

First things first: what not to do. Here are two types of headphones you want to avoid:

  • Wireless headphones. They produce a 1 second delay that will be extremely distracting for you and your guests, if not annoying.
  • Open back headphones. They are not built to provide sound isolation and will produce audio leaking.

The second and most obvious criteria is price range. Here, there’s no need to worry, there are a lot of competitive options for every budget.

But beyond pricing, you can filter your search deeper by:

  • Design type and features
  • Audio technical features

Let’s take a closer look.

Design Type and Features

There are two types of headsets to choose from: In-ear or on-ear.

You’ve probably worn both types of headphones casually at least once. So, you may already have an idea of what feels better to your ears, and what would be comfortable to wear for a long time. 

However, professional headsets differ from the day-to-day ones that are often used for listening to music or attending calls. On-ear professional headsets are bigger and heavier. Meanwhile, in-ear sets are built with higher-quality materials than non-professional alternatives.

In the audio & entertainment industry, on-ear headphones are the more popular choice. Within this category, users' comfort and overall experience are affected by many factors:

  • Earcups and headband size and weight
  • Earpads and headband thickness
  • Earpads material (leather vs. velour) 
  • Headband adjustable extensibility
  • Earcup’s joints flexibility and swiveling capacity

Consider trying different headphone models and checking these things out in person before purchasing, you won’t regret it!

Audio Technical Features

A few years ago, you could know what to expect from your headphones just by looking at the brand. Nowadays, audio technology is so advanced that you can find superb audio products from virtually any brand.

So, how can you find the best headphones for your audio needs? These are the main features you should look out for:

  • Frequency response
  • Sensitivity
  • Impedance
  • Audio jack type

Frequency response

The headphones’ frequency response is the range of bass, mids, and treble they can reproduce. It is measured in Hertz (Hz), and it usually falls between 20 - 20.000 Hz. The wider the frequency response is, the more detail you’ll hear.

To hear everything as true to life as possible, you should look for a flat frequency response. In a frequency response graph, a “flatter” line indicates that the headphones’ output audio signal will be balanced for the most part of the frequency spectrum. That would be the case of the blue line in the following example:


Sensitivity or SPL is the headphone’s capacity to turn the electrical signal from your audio output device (e.g. an audio interface) into an acoustic one. In other words, sensitivity indicates through decibels (Db) how well your headphones can amplify the sound you’re sending them. Higher sensitivity equals higher volume capacity.


Impedance can be tricky to understand so is often overlooked, but it’s actually quite important.

Simply put, impedance determines the amount of energy (voltage) your headphones can tolerate and how much they’ll need to function. This is directly related to how much volume they can provide. It is measured on a scale that goes all the way from 8 to 600 Ω (ohms).

Low-impedance headphones need less power to function than high-impedance ones. That’s why they can reproduce great volume connected to almost any device without draining much battery.  

High-impedance headphones, on the other hand, are built for studio use and provide better audio quality. And since they resist much more energy, they need to be connected to more powerful audio output devices to function and produce volume.

WARNING: When you have multiple headsets connected to one audio output device, the impedance drops. For example, if you’re having a guest recording with you and both of you have a pair of 8 ohms headphones connected to the same mixer, you’ll have just 4 ohms impedance each. Such low impedance may not be enough to resist the mixer’s power and could result in damaging the headphones.

As seen in the previous example, an impedance mismatch can make the best gear sound bad, or even ruin it. Before investing in a headset, research what impedance would be compatible with the gear you’re working with and the gear you wish to acquire later on.

Audio Jack Type

There’s another feature you should pick with your current gear in mind: the audio connector. This will be either a 1/4" jack or a 3.5 mm jack.

3.5 mm is the most common out there. You would normally find a 3.5 mm input port in non-professional audio devices such as computers, cellphones, and speakers. Audio mixers and interfaces sometimes include a 3.5 mm input port, but the 1/4" is the standard jack for studio devices.

5 Best Headphones for Podcasting

Now that you know and understand the features you need to consider, here are 5 of the best headphones for podcasting:

  • Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro
  • Sony MDR-7506
  • Audio-Technica ATH-M40x
  • AKG K72

Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 

On-ear - Over $200

  • The most comfortable on-ear headphones: ideal heft and soft velour earcups
  • It has the widest frequency response, but it isn’t totally flat
  • Great sound isolation
  • The brand puts great effort into durability
  • Almost every piece is replaceable
  • Sensitivity: 96dB
  • Impedance: 250 Ω / 80 Ω / 32 Ω
  • Connector: 3.5 mm & 1/4"

Sony MDR-7506

On-ear - Around $90

  • Frequency response isn’t flat, i.e: vocals have a bit of extra brightness
  • Lightweight
  • Thin padding in earcups and headband
  • Some users say it doesn’t completely block audio leakage
  • Sensitivity: 106 dB
  • Impedance: 63 Ω
  • Connector: 3.5 mm & 1/4"


In-ear - Around $80

  • They block more ambient sound & reduce audio leakage than similarly priced on-ear headphones
  • Flat frequency response
  • Detachable & replaceable cable
  • Sensitivity: 122dB
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Connector: 3.5 mm

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x

On-ear - Over $80

  • Professional audio quality in a more affordable price range
  • A collapsible design, ideal for saving space and portability
  • It features a 90° swiveling earcups to make one-ear monitoring easy
  • Detachable coiled cable
  • Sensitivity: 99dB
  • Impedance: 38 Ω
  • Connector: 3.5 mm & 1/4"

Previous models like the ATH-M30x and ATH-M20x are also worth considering if you are building your podcast setup on a smaller budget and looking for a professional sound. These are lighter in weight than the M40x model, which makes them more comfortable. However, you may have to give up on some features like the 90° swiveling earcups or the detachable cable.


On-ear - Less than $50

  • Flat frequency response 
  • Lightweight
  • Ideal for podcasting beginners
  • Sensitivity: 112 dB
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Connector: 3.5 mm & 1/4"

It’s fair to say that there are a lot of amazing headsets out there. However, you can have these 5 as a reference of what to expect from a great pair.

Key Takeaways

As we’ve seen, headphones are a key part of your podcast gear. And the selection process can become a daunting task if not approached with clear preferences in mind.

Once you've done the hard work of selecting and investing in your studio gear, don’t take your podcast’s promotion for granted. Enhance your social media presence with eye-catching audiograms. 

With Audiotease, you can create audiograms from your podcast recordings in just minutes, from the comfort of your browser, no design skills required. 

Curious? Create your first audiogram today, for free.