While you’re on your podcasting journey, you might ask yourself the question, “Should I get expensive headphones or should I just go ahead and use my earbuds that came with my Samsung phone or my iPhone?”
This is a really good question and it’s actually something that I think is very important when it comes down to you creating your own podcast.
First of all, let’s talk about why we use headphones.
Headphones are a great way to monitor your distance from the microphone so that you can hear when you need to adjust away from the microphone or closer to the microphone.
As I tell most people that I consult, what you put into the microphone is what you’re going to get out into the recording. It’s important that you know your distance from the microphone so that you can create a quality podcast with amazing sound.
Another reason we use headphones is when we create a Skype call or a remote call. We don’t want to hear the feedback from the guest into the actual recording that you’ll be putting out as your podcast. Headphones help you eliminate that feedback so that you can monitor what is going on during your Skype call.
A lot of podcasters think that headphones aren’t necessary for remote phone calls but it’s actually doing more damage to the sound than doing any type of good. It’s really great to have quality headphones when you create a Skype call.
Another reason why we would want to use headphones is because we may have sound effects that we are firing in real time. Maybe you have music that is playing in real time while you record your podcast. This is an opportunity for you to monitor that sound and know when the music ends or know when the sound effect ends. There’s no way to do this without headphones so headphones are a great way to monitor sound effects and music beds when you conduct an interview or any type of podcast.
Most podcasters that start out think that they can use the earbuds that came with their iPhone or their Samsung phone. This simply isn’t the best solution for a quality headphone when you’re trying the podcast.
First of all, earbuds are meant for listening to music and taking phone calls. Just because a set of earbuds has a small microphone on it doesn’t mean that it’s a quality microphone. I have heard some podcasts where people have created the entire podcast using their earbuds. But the problem that we run into is that the podcaster may move around and you can hear the microphone moving around in the final recording.
As someone who creates podcast professionally and has been on the radio for 18 years, this just isn’t a viable solution for your microphone and headphone problem. If you’re going to use a microphone and a certain set of headphones, buy real headphones and buy a real microphone.
If you’re using earbuds for your podcast recording, there may be the chance that you get close to the microphone with your ears. This can present a problem with feedback blowing out your ear and being really uncomfortable and of course, showing up in your final recording. I urge you to not use earbuds for your podcast recording because you’ll be presented with that problem over and over and it will become more of an annoyance than a solution.
Now that I told you that you can’t use earbuds for your podcast, you’re probably going to look on Amazon and you’re going to look for a set of headphones. Likely the set of headphones that you’re going to get are going to be cheaper than great quality headphones. You may find some type of headphone that is a Sony brand and it costs maybe $20 maybe $25 and you think that it’s going to do the job. This may be a good solution for you at the time but it is definitely not a permanent solution.
The problem with purchasing cheap headphones is that they break all of the time. Their frame is typically made of plastic and you’re going to be pulling your headphones over your head multiple times and as you do that, you’re going to wear out the plastic and the plastic will break.
In my 18 years of radio, I was using a set of Sony headphones with a plastic frame. That frame would break year after year. In fact, it broke nearly the same time every year. With consistent usage of your headphones, you may find that you’re going to have to spend more money to buy a new set of headphones. Plus, cheaper headphones typically don’t cancel out the noise.
Again, they’re mainly used for listening to music. They don’t work particularly well when it comes down to recording music or in this instance, a podcast.
As I mentioned earlier, if you’re going to purchase a set of headphones, get some that are noise cancelling.
The reason why I like to use noise cancelling headphones is because it allows me to focus on the interviewee while I’m conducting the interview.
The difference between using a pair of noise cancelling headphones and a cheap set of headphones is that noise cancelling headphones give you the ability to hear your guests clearly and to know if they are stepping away from the microphone or too close to the microphone.
If you have a pair of cheap headphones, you’re not going to be able to tell how close they are to the microphone. This presents a problem in your final podcast recording.
Noise cancelling headphones are really a benefit when you are actually recording your podcast. They also come in handy when you are editing the podcast so that you can hear the fine tune details in your piece of audio.
As lax as I am when it comes to the editing process, I still utilize headphones when I’m editing a podcast so that I can hear where to make appropriate cuts that sound natural instead of choppy.
If I were to make a recommendation for a set of headphones that you can use for your podcast, I recommend using the Shure SRH440s.
I’ve been using these headphones for the last five years while on the radio and these headphones are highly durable. On most headphone sets, the wire that connects to your earbuds will probably go bad and there’s no way to replace them other than to buy a brand new set of headphones. That’s not the case with these SRH440s. If the wire goes bad on the headphones, you can just purchase a brand new wire and plug them into the headphones themselves.
After using these headphones for about five years, I finally had to replace them with a brand new set. The old pair that I had had gone through different weather environments and of course, abuse in the studio. These things are wildly durable and you will have to replace them for a while if you do a podcast every week.
Tell me in the comments down below, are headphones an important part of your podcast equipment? Do you use headphones for your podcast or are you using earbuds? What has kept you from buying a great set of headphones? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments down below.
Whether you're feeling inspired to make a podcast like mine or you're just trying to figure out where to start, my FREE PDF GUIDE will show you where to get started in under 15 minutes.
Don't forget to leave with my Equipment Guide to starting a podcast. It only has the necessary equipment to make your podcast sound like it came out of a professional radio studio!
IT'S COMPLETELY FREE!
Shannon will share his 18 years of radio broadcasting knowledge and show you how strategies in radio relate directly to podcast creation and strategy!