Podcast headphones might seem like a very basic piece of equipment — even an unnecessary one — but the benefits of using headphones for podcasting goes way beyond basic.
The massive benefit of using a pair of headphones, simply put, has to do with your audio quality.
Do you need headphones for a podcast?
You might be thinking: podcasting headphones have nothing to do with sound quality, since typically your sound quality is assumed to be dictated by your microphone.
But there are a number of elements that can affect your sound quality beyond your microphone, including:
- Your recording environment
- Your recording software
- Your editing software
- Your input and output selections
- Your headphones (and their frequency response)
So the short answer is: Yes, you do need headphones for a podcast.
The reason you want to use headphones, especially if you’re doing a podcast with audio from multiple inputs (meaning you’re interviewing someone or podcasting with multiple hosts) is because headphones prevent other inputs from being picked up on your recording track.
Headphones are also super helpful when you’re recording a podcast because they prevent an echo from happening, ensuring you have a great sound experience overall. (We’ve all been on those annoying Zoom calls when someone isn’t wearing headphones and ruins the audio quality for everyone!)
What headphones are best for podcasting?
When it comes to finding the best headphones for podcasting, I would first consider your budget, as there are a lot of great options out there, including:
- Headphones with ear cups (also referred to as studio headphones)
- Wireless headphones
- Ear headphones (or earbuds)
Let’s break down each of these with a price range in mind so you can choose the best headphones for podcasting that will work for you and your setup. We’ve included our affiliate links for the headphones below.
Headphones with ear cups (studio headphones)
If you’re looking for headphones with ear cups, we love the Audio-Technica ATH-M50X. This set of headphones has a price point of about $150 on Amazon.
John has been using these headphones as a part of his podcasting setup for years, and he thinks they’re a great option for someone podcasting with higher budget.
These headphones look pretty cool, too :)
If you’re an Apple fanatic, then the Apple Airpods Max are another option for your podcast headphones. They come with a much higher price tag, though — around $500. If you ask me, this is a lot to spend on headphones for your podcast, especially if you’re just getting started, and a higher price tag doesn’t always mean better sound quality.
While I love the studio headphones that Audio-Technica makes, I’m also a big believer that when it comes to your podcast setup, less is more.
That’s why I use my Apple Airpods headphones for podcasting. They’re small, don’t have a wire or chord, and they are quality headphones.
The biggest benefit in my mind of the Airpods Pro is that they have some legitimate ear pads, which help make the fit a bit more comfortable (depending on how you like your headphones to fit).
If you’re looking for a lower price range, another great option for a pair of headphones that are wireless is Skullcandy.
The Sesh Skullcandy set of headphones is wireless; has up to 10 hour battery life; is sweat, water and dust resistant; and has a microphone, call, track and volume control.
Essentially, this set of headphones is very similar to the Apple Airpods, and the cost? About $30.
Skullcandy has an entire line of wireless earbuds, and honestly, all of them look pretty great. They range in features and cost, so doing a search and comparing a few pairs would be worth the 10–15 minutes of research.
Whether they’re the best headphones for podcasting, well that I can’t say, but again, they’re worth considering.
Ear headphones (earbuds)
If you’re looking to go super basic with a good pair of earbuds, look no further than the Apple Earpods. On Amazon, they’re less than $15, so you really can’t beat the price.
Before I invested in the Airpods, this is what I was using to record every single podcast episode, and they worked great! The sound quality is clear and they’re comfortable.
If you decide to go this route, be sure you select the correct type of earbuds based on whether you need a 3.5mm or a lightening connector.
Best Podcast Headphones
The best podcast headphones are the headphones that you feel comfortable wearing and that provide you with great sound quality. In my opinion, frequency response and other in-depth headphone features might not be THAT critical in making a great decision when it comes to a set of headphones that gives you great sound for your podcast.
If you’re working in a studio, on a TV program, or producing a multi-million dollar back-by-corporate podcast, then you’ll likely have a professional audio engineer who will be picking out the best headphones for podcast anyway, and therefore you won’t need to worry about any of this.
For the everyday podcaster who is looking to create a quality podcast with great sound, any of the headphones we’ve discussed here will work great.
Don’t overcomplicate it — use headphones
As with most things when it comes to podcasting, don’t over-think it or overcomplicate it.
I see so many podcasters delay launching their podcast because they’re looking for the perfect artwork design, waiting for the entire website to come together, recording dozens of interviews before actually publishing anything, searching for the best equipment…
Newsflash: all of this will change multiple times throughout your podcasting journey, so the best, most important next step you can take right now is just choose what feels great right now, and correct course if necessary later.
Procrastination is the enemy, and taking action is what will help you finally get your voice, message, and mission out to an audience who wants and needs it.
Use headphones, create quality content, produce great sound, and HAVE FUN!
If you’re ready to take that action right now, jump into our completely Free Podcast Course. Through eight video tutorials, John Lee Dumas will guide you to creating and launching your podcast.