Whether you are an avid podcast fan looking to find the perfect set of headphones to listen to your favorite internet broadcaster or an aspiring podcaster yourself in need of a set of headphones that will enhance your own broadcast, we have got you covered in our rundown of the best podcast headphones!
After a lengthy discussion on this topic in the office this morning, we concluded that the six most important factors that help us decide on the best podcast headphones are:
- Comfort – Nothing is more annoying to us than being in the middle of bingeing a riveting podcast series only to find that we need to give our sore or overheating ears a break from poorly designed headphones.
- Sound Quality- We think everyone can agree that sound quality is a make or break factor.
- Wireless/Wired – Some consumers will demand Bluetooth connectivity these days, although the sound and recording quality will usually be better from a wired set.
- Price – The price range is quite large here, with something for every price bracket.
- Noise isolation – You need to be able to hear what the podcaster is saying!
- Size and sturdiness – Having the option to quickly and easily fold your set up and stash them in your pocket is very handy for some of us.
Of course, there are some more technical factors that can also help when deciding (such as impedance and frequency range), but we will go into more detail about these later!
Another factor to consider is whether to choose a set of open or closed-back headphones.
- Closed-back headphones have ear cups that incorporate a solid exterior. This means they excel when it comes to noise isolation, which will result in a better quality of recording.
- Open-back headphones have ear cups that incorporate a more “open” design, usually with a grill or mesh on the exterior. These may be more suited for editing and provide higher levels of comfort, as heat is released from the ear cup more easily.
Even though these designs have their pros and cons, both are more than capable of handling the whole process, so there is no need to buy both unless you are getting very serious about podcasting.
- Top 10 Best Podcast Headphones To Buy 2021 Reviews
- 1 Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones
- 2 Sennheiser HD 579 Open Back Headphone
- 3 GRADO SR325e Stereo Headphones
- 4 Skullcandy Grind Bluetooth Wireless On-Ear Headphones
- 5 Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone
- 6 Bose Noise Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth Headphones 700
- 7 Bowers & Wilkins PX5 On Ear Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones
- 8 Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 80 Ohm Over-Ear Studio Headphones
- 9 AKG K 240 MK II Stereo Studio Headphones
- 10 Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones
- So, What Are The Best Podcast Headphones?
Top 10 Best Podcast Headphones To Buy 2021 Reviews
1 Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones
First up, we have one of the heaviest hitters on the market in terms of bang for your buck! The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones are a pair of closed-back headphones. They have long been lauded as one of the best sets of headphones outright, whether being used as an everyday pair, in the studio, or anywhere in between!
The Audio Technica ATH-M50x are a hybrid between a set of headphones designed for the casual listener and a set for studio professionals. They feature a slightly industrial feel, which is thanks to the plush, thick, well-constructed headband that is made from industrial strength plastic and aluminum. And have a stocky hinge connecting each of the earcups.
With components like these, there is little doubt of their sturdiness. The ATH-M50X are foldable, and once packed away, they take up a little less than half the original space. This is thanks to an ingenious folding and swiveling joint, and they fit snugly inside the provided carry case.
The guts of the Audio Technica ATH-M50x headphones are a pair of 45mm drivers. These are Audio Technica proprietary drivers, and the company claims they have a frequency response of 15Hz to 20kHz. That makes them more sensitive than many of the competitors in the same price bracket.
And boy, do they deliver or what! We were seriously blown away by just how amazing they sound, whether we were using them for music, podcasts, calls, or any other application.
The in-built microphone is definitely acceptable, while not being class leading. We were able to record clean and clear sound, albeit slightly tinny. This was easily fixed in post-production, but a hassle that is eliminated with the use of a separate microphone. The only con we could find here was the Connect App, really not much going on here.
For even more information on the features and specifications of this set of headphones, take a look at our Audio Technica ATH M50X review.
- Smart, foldable design.
- Beautiful sound.
- Known for durability.
- Mobile features could be enhanced.
2 Sennheiser HD 579 Open Back Headphone
In the Sennheiser HD 579 Open Back Headphones, audio megalith Sennheiser have produced a pair of headphones that will satisfy not only the everyday user but also the audiophiles amongst us.
Featured here is the outstanding, Sennheiser trademarked transducer technology that offers amazingly detailed sound reproduction and enhanced bass response. The acoustically open back, circumaural design works together with these high-class transducers to help bring to life a soundscape that is balanced, clear, and smooth.
Specs-wise we are looking at a frequency range of 15-28,500 Hz, an impedance of 50 ohms, a sound pressure level (SPL) that tops out at 106 dB, and total harmonic distortion (THD) of less than 0.2%.
- Frequency range
This refers to the actual tones produced by the headphones. The lower the tone, the smaller the number of Hz. Human hearing is restricted to 20-20000 Hz.
This is an electrical measure that plays a vital role in how well your headphones perform. This is a complicated subject, but basically, all you need to know is headphones with low impedance (less than 25 ohms) requiring not much power to deliver high audio levels and headphones.
While headphones with high impedance (25 ohms and over) need more power to deliver high audio levels. They can, therefore, be used with a larger range of equipment.
SPL (Sound Pressure Level) and sensitivity are intertwined terms. Sensitivity is the measure of how efficiently an electrical signal is converted into an audio signal. SPL is how sensitivity is measured and is usually displayed as decibels of SPL.
This is the level of Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) that may be present when using headphones at a high volume. This number is expressed as a percentage, with most sets being lower than 1%. Higher-end models will have an even lower number than this.
Let’s talk about sound, as that is the most important aspect in the long run. In the HD 579 headphones, Sennheiser have produced possibly the clearest mids on the market right now. And that is exactly what you are looking for in a good set of podcast headphones, as the human speaking voice sits in this frequency range for the most part!
TAs to the other frequencies, the highs never come off as squeaky and lows give us well-controlled bass with plenty of impact. This produces a nicely balanced, good quality sound.
- Smooth range of sounds.
- Amazing mids.
- Sennheiser trademarked transducer technology.
- Not foldable.
- No in-built Microphone.
3 GRADO SR325e Stereo Headphones
Looking for a set of professional-grade, hand made in the USA, retro styled, over the ear, open-back headphones?
Well, look no further than the stunning GRADO SR325e stereo headphones, which sits in the prestige line produced by Grado. This three generations deep, family-owned, and operated business based in Brooklyn, NY, make the best looking headphones in the world, in our opinion.
The retro styling is reminiscent of a 1940s radio microphone (picture a pin-up model wrapping her hands around a microphone), which oozes class and has made them a favorite among the hipster clientele of NYC.
Grado have never made a big deal about their driver technology, but we are pretty sure the schematics are a closer held secret than the finger-lickin’ recipe over at KFC. However, it is safe to say the Grado headphones produce some of the most balanced sound available, over the years becoming known for precise highs, unmatched realism, and rumbling lows.
With three generations from the same family working on a product for multiple years, it comes as unsurprising that they have pretty much perfected it.
- Frequency Response: 18 – 24,000 Hz.
- SPL 1mW: 99.8 dB.
- Nominal Impedance: 32 ohms.
- Driver Matched dB: .05 dB.
Satisfied with these numbers? So are we!
The only two downsides we could find was the lack of an inbuilt microphone and that the thick cable is not removable.
- Handmade in the USA.
- Precise detailed sound.
- Beautiful design.
- No in-built microphone.
- Thick, non-removable cable.
4 Skullcandy Grind Bluetooth Wireless On-Ear Headphones
For the last decade, Skullcandy has made a real name for themselves in the world of budget headphones. With the trademark, bold style, and rock bottom prices, they have become a mainstay in the market.
However, we haven’t always had the greatest experience when testing other sets of intra aural (in-ear), supra-aural (on-ear) and circumaural (over-ear) headphones from the company, with some being so bass heavy as to be almost unusable.
Lets us quickly put your worries to bed, though, as the Skullcandy Grind Bluetooth Wireless On-Ear Headphones definitely buck that trend!
This is a closed-back design, with highly comfortable on-ear pillows and solid metal headband, providing the user with all-day comfort. Intuitive controls built into the right ear cup work like a dream, and are in a markedly ergonomic position. Just three buttons have control over all the functions you are used to seeing without any confusing extras.
Each ear cup houses a 40mm driver that produces more than acceptable sound, with the bass issues, and the accompanying distortion of other models thankfully not present here. The soundscape is well balanced and makes for easy all-day listening. The in-built microphone worked great, matching the sound quality of much more expensive pairs.
The battery life on the Skullcandy Grind is quoted as being 12 hours, and in testing, we found that to be close enough to true. This is a fair bit shorter than other offerings on this list. However, at the price point, we think it is generous and more than enough for most normal usage.
- Very comfortable.
- Bang for your buck price.
- Good sound and microphone quality.
- No carry case.
5 Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone
Initially hitting the market all the way back in 1991, the Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphones have been a mainstay ever since!
The origins of this fantastic piece of equipment actually stretch further back, to the Sony MDR-V6 that was rolled out in 1985. Both were designed with professionals in mind, but quickly became popular in the everyday consumer market. And although the Sony MDR-V6 has gone the way of the dinosaurs, the Sony MDR7506 are alive as ever, and still considered one of the best choices for podcast fans and producers alike!
The sound quality produced by the neodymium magnets and 40 mm drivers is really something to be heard. It is accurate, powerful while still being just warm enough to give us all those good feelings. Perfect for home listening or recording.
In testing, the closed-back circumaural design with plush, faux-leather ear pads (in an oval shape) made for some of the most comfortable listening we have ever found.
With a frequency response of 10 – 20000 Hz, an impedance of 63 Ohms, 106 dB/W/m sensitivity and a 9.8 ft cord length (which is terminated with a gold veneered 3.5mm plug. A screw-on 6.3mm adapter plug is thrown in for use with home or pro gear). Sony have really covered all the bases.
That’s all we’ve got space for here, but if you want to find out more, check out our in-depth Sony MDR 7506 review.
- A long and proven history of excellence.
- Durable and light.
- Amazing sound.
- The coiled 9.8 ft cable can be too much for some situations.
6 Bose Noise Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth Headphones 700
Here we have the absolute creme de la creme of podcasting headphones with the Bose Noise Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth Headphones 700. These are the long-awaited successor to the Bose QuietComfort 35 II and part of a new, smarter breed of headphones. The 700 have a lot to live up to, with the QuietComfort 35 ll reigning supreme in the Bose range for many years.
Well, although they are slightly pricier than their predecessor, The Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are better headphones and stand above the rest of the competition as a headset for making calls or voice recording. This is achieved through a new microphone setup, which has been tuned to isolate the user’s voice from any type of background noise.
Also added is the adjustable sidetone feature, that allows you to hear your voice mixed in with what’s coming through the headphones, helping with on the fly mixing of sound) In testing they performed brilliantly in all situations, from work meeting calls on busy streets during morning rush hour, to extended chats with mom on a loud, windy beach.
Plus, with a battery life of up to 20 hours, connectivity with the Bose Music app, and a fantastic sound palette across the board. As well as the introduction of touch controls and coming in as one of the most comfortable overall units we tried. We think they stack up pretty well against the QC 35 ll.
As the name suggests, these “smart headphones” come with Amazon’s Alexa built-in, and are optimized for Google Assistant and Siri. These both have dedicated hardwired buttons, with Alexa also being controlled by voice commands.
In terms of noise cancelling tech, the 700 s have a totally new set of drivers and eight (that’s right eight!) microphones to help with what Bose says is an “evolved noise-canceling functionality.”
Unfortunately, these headphones do not fold, unlike the QuietComfort 35 II, resulting in a larger package when stowed in their carry case. However, the addition of a magnetic closing pocket in the case, which is large enough for all the accompanying cables, was a nice new feature.
If you would like to delve deeper into these excellent headphones, check out our Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review.
- Top class noise cancellation.
- Extremely comfortable.
- Best microphone on the market right now.
- More expensive than similar competitors.
- We found the high end to be a little tinny at times.
7 Bowers & Wilkins PX5 On Ear Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones
Staying at the higher end of the price range, next up, we tested the Bowers & Wilkins PX5 On Ear Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones. This was our first time ever testing a set of Bowers & Wilkens headphones, and we could not have been more impressed!
We quickly unboxed them to find the PX5 headphones, a USB-A to USB-C cable for charging, a 3.5mm cable for wired playback, and a lovely slate grey carrying case.
They feature Custom designed 35.6mm full-range drivers that deliver 10Hz-30kHz of audio. These were designed by the same team behind the 800 diamond Series speakers used in the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London. And offer 25 hour playback time between charges, with a quick charge time of 15 minutes for three hours playback.
Also included is smart innovation, which allows you to lift an ear cup to hear your surroundings, and the music stops on that side. As well as active and adaptive noise canceling, and a race car inspired aesthetic. All these combine to make the PX5 headphones a great package.
The internals of headband is made from 100% carbon fiber, maybe a bit of overkill happening here. But at least you can be absolutely sure that these will not break in your backpack.
The noise cancelation is controlled by a button on the left ear cup, with all other controls housed on the right. There is a 3.5 mm jack also housed on the right, giving the option of wired audio and the advantages that come with it.
None really. Other than the fact that while the microphone delivered crisp and clear voice calling, it was not up to the standard we like to use for proper recording. Apart from that, we can’t find many points against the PX5.
Looking for even more info, not a problem, just take a look at our in-depth Bowers and Wilkins PX5 review
- Rich and deep sound.
- Active noise cancellation.
- Lightweight, durable design.
- The microphone could be better for the price.
8 Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 80 Ohm Over-Ear Studio Headphones
When we think of trusted, professional-level audio equipment, a couple of brand names come to mind straight away, with Beyerdynamic certainly being near the top of that list. The Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 80 Ohm over-ear studio headphones are tough-as-nails, with no compromises being taken during design or production.
This headset is aimed at music creators and the more casual user alike. And these are some of the most comfortable closed-back cans on the market right now. Plus, an impedance of 80 Ohms and a 10 ft hardwired cable mean they are studio ready at all times!
In terms of styling, here we have a slightly more refined look than many of the competitors. Still, we see the common industrial theme. However, here it is toned down with an understated, art-deco inspired, flowing font running along the middle of each ear cup. The headband is able to keep an industrial-strength rating while staying with the overall look.
In terms of specifications, other than the already stated 80 Ohm impedance, we have a frequency response of 5 to 35,000 Hz, easily covering the whole range of human hearing up to where Bats enjoy their sounds. There is a nominal sound pressure level of 96 dB and a coiled connecting cable with mini-jack plug (3.5 mm) and a ¼ “adapter (6.35 mm).
There is a simple reason why the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO headphones have such a high rating among pros. They possess such a fantastic, broad, and precise sound that they are really hard to pass over!
The bass is punchy, the mids are clear, and the highs are never tinny (unless the track is pushing that). They were such a pleasure to use in testing that we went out and bought ourselves a pair for use at home. And that highlights the one downfall in our eyes, that these are not the most portable headphones. With the 10 ft long coiled cable, they are a bit cumbersome.
If you’re looking for something with even higher specs, take a look at the Beyerdynamic DT 990.
- Amazing sound.
- Beautiful design.
- Not very portable.
9 AKG K 240 MK II Stereo Studio Headphones
The AKG K 240 MK II Stereo Studio Headphones are part of a new, semi-open-back breed of mid-priced circumaural headphones from the genius’ over at AKG. These are the newer, updated version K 240’s, with the most obvious change being the level of comfort afforded!
With a whole new ear cup design, your choice of either leatherette or velvet earpads, and the option of using either a 3m (10ft) straight cable, or a 5m (16ft) coiled cable and convertible jack plug; user driven customization has never been easier.
The design team over at AKG says that these offer the best of both worlds, with the comfort and coolness of an open ear design mixed with the sound responsiveness that a closed-ear option offers. This results in a lighter than expected feel, which we found really suited long editing sessions. The sturdy headband lends itself to our large head, with no “head squeeze” present.
The soundscape is balanced very nicely here, with the mids feeling may be slightly underpowered but still clear enough. We did find that they highlighted audio inconsistencies super well, making editing easier than with some of its competitors.
Want to find out more? No problem, check out our AKG K240 Studio review.
- Great for editing.
- Super comfortable.
- Semi-closed design gives the best of both worlds.
- Not the sturdiest construction.
10 Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones
We would not hold it against you if, when looking at the newly updated Beats Solo3 wireless on-ear headphones, you mistook them for last year Beats Solo 2 Wired. That’s because, from the outward appearance, nothing has changed. Nothing at all. But rip these bad boys open, and you will see one very big difference.
The implementation of the superb new W1 custom Bluetooth chip from Apple, which makes pairing the headphone with Apple devices a piece of cake and improves battery life immensely. The battery life has more than tripled from the Solo2 12 hour run time to a whopping 40 hours, and with a quick charge time of only five minutes for three hours playback (yes, you read that right!).
And Android users need not despair, as it is still as easy as ever to connect to those devices. Amazing connectivity does not end there, though. Oh no, with a class 1 Bluetooth chip, you can rest easy knowing there will be zero dropouts.
We have never been huge fans of the minimalistic design approach of Beats, and with no huge aesthetic changes, we cannot say that our minds have been changed here. But they have proven themselves again and again as mainstays of the market and hugely popular with the celebrity A list.
As with all Beats headphones, the bass frequencies have been boosted to far more than our liking. Although the overall sound is pleasant, we often found that the mids, in particular, were muddied down by heavy bass.
For even more information, please check out our in-depth Beats Solo3 Wireless review.
- W1 chip.
- Great battery life.
- Fast charge.
- Muddy, bass heavy soundscape.
So, What Are The Best Podcast Headphones?
While testing these headphones, we realized one important thing. Unless you are willing to shell out ridiculous money (upward of $400), which we are not, then you are probably going to have to make some compromises. Whether that be on comfort, sound, or aesthetics, it is near impossible to find a set that covers every single base for us.
But with that in mind, we just could not pass up the…Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 80 Ohm Over-Ear Studio Headphones.
When recording and editing, or just for home use, we found these the most versatile and an absolute pleasure to wear and listen to.