While many audio applications and scenarios - if not most - are best suited to listening out loud through speakers, there are situations where a good set of headphones are pretty much mandatory. So if you’re looking for a set of the best podcast headphones, this article will be right up your street. Podcasting headphones share many characteristics with regular headphones, although there are some differences and it isn’t always the case that newer sets with the latest technology are the best for the job.
In this article, we’ve rounded up what we feel are the best headphones for podcasting and podcasting alone. Sure, some will double up nicely as a set you can listen to your vinyl collection through, or as great partners for your morning run, but first and foremost the cans we’ve lined up here need to be suited to voice recording situations.
We’ve included buying advice at the bottom of this guide in case you have specific questions you need answering.
Best podcast headphones: Our top picks
As you’ll see in this guide, there are podcast headphones to suit any budget or situation. Among the options, we’d highlight the Audio Technica ATH-M30x, which will offer beginners an instant upgrade on the more basic ‘phones they’ve been using up to now.
If we had to pick a winner, however, it’d be the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro. Put simply, if you’ve never tried a pair on, we’d implore you to do that. Comfort personified, and all backed up with the outstanding audio performance and reliability you’d expect from one of the most trusted names in broadcast audio.
Best podcast headphones: Product guide
Beyerdynamic is one of the best and most respected names in the broadcast world, so it figures they’d feature highly on our list of the best headphones for podcasting. There are a few variations within the DT range, but we’ve gone for the Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro on account of them being closed-back, which removes virtually all audio spill and ensures what you’re hearing isn’t picked up by your microphone.
As with the other models in the range, the DT770 Pros feature a plush, velveteen cushion for your ears, making them by far the comfiest we’ve tried, while the overall standards of design and build mean you can rely on them lasting the course.
Read the full Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro review
If you’re new to podcasting, or looking for a way to upgrade from your existing in-ear ‘phones without breaking the bank, the AKG K72 could be a good option. These closed-back, over-ear headphones do a decent job of cutting out the ambient noise while you’re recording, while the self-adjusting headband meant they were comfortable for use on long sessions.
As an entry-level set of headphones, it’s hard to throw too much criticism their way. Sound reproduction in a musical setting wasn’t breathtaking, but for the price we wouldn’t expect them to be and nor should you. But for podcasting and speech applications, they did a fine job.
Recording outside a studio environment brings its own challenges and considerations, but the Audio Technica ATH-M30x was pretty much built for these challenges. We particularly liked the over-ear cushioning which did a tremendous job of isolating external noise from the user, while the collapsible design means they’re ideal for throwing in a bag and taking to the next session.
They’re chunky enough to warrant confidence in their rigidity, without ever feeling too heavy to wear for extended periods. As an entry-level set of podcast headphones, they’re pretty hard to beat.
Shure is a name the audio community has trusted for decades, and with the Shure SRH840A it’s easy to see why. Essentially billed as studio headphones, rather than everyday carry types, the 840s are solidly built, and ideal for studio work and recording.
They’re also popular in the broadcast world, with the first generation models fairly common in radio and podcast stations, and these newer versions keep up the same levels of audio finesse while boasting improved design and aesthetics to bring them into 2022. The decision to use straight cables, as opposed coiled, will please some but not others, although the fact it’s detachable does mean there’s less risk of issues further down the line.
Podcasters are spoiled for choice when it comes to high quality headphones, yet it is to the DJ world we look with our next suggestion. Bear with us. The Sennheiser HD25 is the de facto industry standard in that world, thanks to its legendary build quality and reliability. For podcasters, these are worthy traits, but what attracted us to these is their lightweight nature.
This is because not all podcasts take place in a warm, comfy studio. Some may take place out in the field, or even out in an actual field, and lugging a large pair of cans around can get quickly tiresome. So, look past the DJ headphones tag, and take our word for it; the Sennheiser HD25s are arguably the best portable field recording cans on the market.
Read the full Sennheiser HD25 review
Sporting the same design as they did when originally launched in 1991, the Sony MDR-7506 are one for the purists. Put simply, why change for change’s sake? The 7506s combine superb sound reproduction with a simple build to make for a near-perfect mix of price and performance.
The 3m coiled cable is chunky, which inspires confidence, while the sound isolation makes them ideal for podcasting, separating both the outside world from the wearer and the wearer from the outside world. There’s good reason why Sony hasn’t tampered with a winning formula. For the price, you’ll struggle to find better.
Reads the full Sony MDR-7506 review
They say, after an apocalypse, the only things left will be cockroaches. For our money, you could add the Beyerdynamic DT 100 to that fairly bleak list. These are the old stagers of the broadcast world, and will be familiar to anyone who has ever been in a radio station studio. They’re loved because they are fundamentally simple beasts, able to be user-maintained and fixed thanks to their unique design.
If you’re looking for a pair of cans that will double up for Spotify duty, or for video calls, then look elsewhere. If, however, you’re looking for the toughest, most trustworthy podcast headphones known to man, then the DT 100s are the perfect match for you.
While a dedicated pair of headphones just for podcasting is the ideal solution, we get there are compromises to be made sometimes. The Sennheiser HD 400S offer a great balance between being ‘regular’ headphones which are great for music and gaming, while also delivering enough of the right performance and comfort levels to be useful in a podcasting situation.
Active noise cancelling always worries us as podcasters, especially if you’re in a room recording with (and potentially not hearing) other voices, but otherwise the HD400S are a solid, capable set of cans that will suit a variety of applications.
Best podcast headphones: Buying advice
Choosing the best podcast headphones for you
How to start a podcast: launch your first pod today
While they all serve essentially the same purpose, of allowing you to mainline audio directly into your ears, headphones can actually be quite different in their aims. For regular music listening, and the occasional phone call, you’d maybe look for wireless connectivity. For stealth listening, maybe a set of discreet in-ears would be best. For podcasting, however, these features would be nigh-on useless.
The best podcast headphones are wired, for peace of mind and zero latency when you’re recording. They fit snugly over the ears and block out external sounds. They are comfortable, especially suited for longer sessions. They are closed-back, meaning there is no audio seeping out of the ‘phones and back into your podcasting microphone. Most of all, they’re well-made and built to last. This might sound like a long list of requirements, but there are good reasons for each.
Other things to consider
Think of the typical podcast studio and workflow. Typically, you’ll be recording one or more voices through one or more microphones. The speaker needs to be able to hear their voice, and the voices around them, while also picking out other audio cues or sounds. You’ll need to be able to monitor your voice to make sure it isn’t overamplified and therefore peaking.
You’ll need to do all of this while also remaining comfortable. This is a big deal. We’ve owned headphones in the past which, on paper, are about as high spec as they come but to wear them felt like strapping a table to the side of your face. By combining comfort with the right technical features, you’ll find a set of podcasting headphones that will stand the test of time.