When recording your podcast, whether you’re new to the game or a seasoned professional, your end goal will be the same: you want a recording that’s not only entertaining but sounds great too. Wearing headphones can help you achieve this goal.
Using headphones when recording a podcast gives you full control over sound quality. You will hear exactly how the recording will sound, so it’s easy to hear eventual audio problems, adjust audio levels, and get your microphone technique right. They also make it easier for you to edit the recording afterward.
If you’re thinking of starting your own podcast, keep reading to find out more about the following:
- Some of the reasons why you should be wearing headphones when making your podcast.
- If there are any situations when making a podcast where it’s better not to wear headphones.
- How to choose the right kind of headphones for podcasting.
- Which are the best headphones for you to use when making a podcast.
Why Should You Wear Headphones When Making a Podcast?
You want your podcast to be the best it can be, right? Of course, you do – that’s why you’re reading this article! Well, one of the best ways to ensure a high level of quality for your podcast is by wearing headphones when recording.
Headphones can help you maintain good audio quality, uncover any areas of your recording that need improving, and make the editing process a lot easier.
A good pair of headphones is just as important as a good microphone for podcasting. Here are the eight reasons why you need to start wearing them when making yours.
You Can Tell How Your Podcast Will Sound Over Headphones
These days, many people listen to podcasts when they’re doing things like working out or commuting. They’re usually going to be using headphones or earbuds to do this.
Therefore, it’s essential to check how your podcast will sound when listened to using headphones, as they can sometimes have a higher audio quality than speakers. That higher audio quality means there may be little noises that you may not hear over the speakers, but you can definitely hear over your headphones.
This won’t only be very annoying for your listener, but it’ll make them think that your podcast isn’t very polished or professional enough. So you need to find this noise and get rid of it before releasing your podcast episode, or better yet, prevent it from happening.
You Can Easily Tell How You Will Sound
It’s important to know how your podcast will sound in terms of audio levels and any random noise interference, but it’s also important to listen back to your recordings using headphones to hear how you sound.
The sound of your voice in a recording is different from how it is to your own ears, so you need to hear how your voice sounds in your podcast. This way, you know if any adjustments need to be made in your delivery, such as raising or lowering your speaking volume.
Wearing headphones during the recording session can also help you realize if something needs changing, such as if you’re popping your consonants when speaking (known as “plosives”) or if you’re too far away from the microphone and your voice is muffled.
Knowing that these changes need to be made sooner rather than later can save you a lot of time either editing or re-recording your material.
You’ll Avoid Any Speaker Bleed
When it comes to making a podcast, one thing will instantly reveal your status as an amateur: bleed.
What is bleed? Well, when you’re recording a podcast, you tend to have a different mic for each person who’s speaking. That way, everyone has their own audio track, and it’s a lot easier to control the quality of the recording and edit the final product.
If two or more people are recording a podcast without headphones, what can happen is the audio from one person comes through the speakers and gets picked up in the microphone of another person. That causes the speaker bleed, which sounds a bit like an echo of other people’s voices in the podcast. It’s a sure-fire sign of a podcast with low production quality.
Getting everyone participating in the podcast, including yourself, to wear headphones means you can turn your speakers off and easily avoid this problem. Turning your speakers off will also help you avoid other feedback problems related to speakers too (more about those below).
You’ll Save Your Speakers
Recording a podcast with the sound of that recording coming out of your speakers can cause significant problems that can make your audio totally unusable. One of the problems is that feedback from the speakers will be picked up by your microphone, creating a very unpleasant noise.
The other problem is that this can cause an audio feedback loop. If the microphone picks up feedback from the speaker, the sound of that feedback will then come out of the speaker again. Only to be picked up by the microphone again, but louder. And then come out of the speaker again (even louder), and so-on-and-so-forth.
This is a very bad thing because not only will it create an awful listening experience, it can even potentially damage your speakers.
You Can Monitor Your Audio Levels More Easily
When you’re setting up to record the latest episode of your podcast, you’d probably have done a preliminary audio check to make sure your audio levels are correct. It’s essential to do this because otherwise, your audio can suffer from clipping, which occurs when the volume levels go too high for the microphone to record. It then ends up recording an unpleasantly loud noise instead of your insightful conversation.
Wearing headphones during recording can greatly reduce the likelihood of audio clipping because it makes it much easier to keep an eye on your audio levels. You can adjust them mid-recording and save yourself the headache of having to go back and re-record anything.
Your Guests Will Have an Easier Time Recording Too
Wearing headphones while making a podcast isn’t just something for you, the host, to be doing. Your guests should be wearing them too because everything I’ve talked about so far in this article, such as making sure audio levels are correct and hearing how your voice sounds, also apply to your guests.
They need to be able to properly hear themselves as they’re speaking so they can make any adjustments as necessary. You don’t want to get to the editing stage and realize that the audio track for your guest isn’t good quality (or, even worse, totally unusable).
It can be difficult – and in some cases impossible – to redo interviews with guests. It’s much easier for everyone to get it right the first time (that’ll save you many editing headaches as well).
You Can Record a Podcast Using Remote Recording Software
In a perfect world, every person you talk with on your podcast would be in your recording space with you, but often that’s just not possible. Many podcasters rely on applications such as Skype or Zoom to talk with their guests.
If you’re recording your audio this way, you and your guest will need to wear headphones. Don’t rely on your speakers to hear them! Otherwise, as I’ve mentioned already, you’ll have all sorts of problems with bleed.
You Can Edit Your Podcast More Easily
You can’t release any episode of your podcast without editing it (or at the very least giving it a cursory listen). Using headphones makes the editing process so much easier.
As mentioned before, there are two main benefits to listening to your audio with headphones. It not only helps you to know what it’s going to sound like when your audience listens to it that way, but it can help you identify any strange little noises that have made it into the recording.
You certainly want to remove any unwanted sounds because they lower the podcast’s quality and make edits really stand out (and not in a good way). Listen back to your audio recordings with your headphones turned up to make sure there aren’t any sounds like the wind or someone’s refrigerator that a sensitive microphone has accidentally picked up.
Using headphones when you do this also makes it much easier to tell if any unwanted noises are happening in real life or your podcast. This is because good closed-back headphones will block out any ambient sound around you.
Another way that using headphones makes the editing process easier is that you don’t have to worry about being in a quiet room. Not all of us are lucky enough to have a silent studio to do our podcast editing, so using headphones means that you don’t have to worry about being interrupted by the noise of daily life.
When Do You Not Need To Use Headphones for Podcasting?
As you probably know by now, when it comes to making a high-quality, professional podcast, headphones are just as important as a good microphone. However, there are some instances when it’s best (or just simply not practical) to use headphones when making a podcast.
You’re Interviewing Someone Outside of Your Studio
If you’re out and about conducting interviews for your podcast, it simply isn’t practical to be wearing headphones. However, that doesn’t mean that all of the important things that I mentioned before, such as reducing ambient noise and making sure you’re presenting well, don’t matter.
While you have a lot less control over this kind of recording, there are still things you can do to make your recording a good-quality one. Try to record in as quiet a space as possible and talk in a moderate volume so there will be less chance of any audio issues like clipping or popping, and it won’t be too hard to edit and clean up later on.
You Don’t Want To Disrupt the Flow of the Conversation
This shouldn’t be a big problem for most podcasters and their guests, but it does happen from time to time. Some guests can find wearing headphones disruptive, meaning your carefully crafted conversation quickly devolves into awkward pauses that no audience member would ever want to listen to!
While it’s still recommended to always wear headphones when recording the audio for your podcast, if you or your guest just can’t for whatever reason, then simply take other precautions to make sure the audio quality is still good.
Record in a quiet room, turn your speakers off, set up and monitor your audio levels correctly, and be mindful of your delivery (avoid speaking too loudly or too softly).
You’re Checking How Your Podcast Sounds Over Speakers
I mentioned before how important it is to check how your podcast sounds over headphones, as so many people use them to listen to podcasts these days. That doesn’t mean you should neglect your audience members who use speakers, though!
It’s best practice to listen to your podcast using your speakers to have a completely accurate idea of how it sounds. I also definitely recommend checking how your podcast sounds using smartphone speakers.
This is because the audio quality can be very different from a computer or car stereo speakers, and you want to ensure that your podcast is optimized for everything.
What Should You Look for in a Headphone for Podcasting?
Now you know how important headphones are for podcasting, it’s time to choose a pair. Not all headphones are of good enough quality, and not everything will have the features you need.
To help you shop wisely, check out our recommendations for what to look for in a pair of podcasting headphones.
Choose Closed-Back Headphones
There are many different types of headphones, but when it comes to picking the best ones for podcasting, choose closed-back. They’ll block out any other noise except for what you’re listening to, making them perfect for both recording your podcast audio and editing it.
Also, because closed-back headphones have practically no noise leakage, they won’t create problems with excessive ambient noise in your audio tracks.
Also Read: Do Open Back Headphones Leak Sound Into Mics?
Get Good-Quality Headphones
Better-quality headphones are going to equal a better-quality podcast. It’s worth investing in a pair of headphones from a reputable brand such as Sony, Sennheiser, or Beyerdynamic for this reason.
Also, better-quality headphones will last longer, meaning this initial investment will save you money in the long run.
Make Sure They’re Comfortable
I cannot stress enough how important it is to get comfortable headphones. You’ll be wearing these things for hours on end, so the last thing you want is to be uncomfortable for that long too!
Good closed-back headphones will have padding that stops them from hurting after long periods of wear. You can even get headphones with padding covered in fancy materials such as velvet for a little bit of luxury.
The Best Closed-Back Headphones To Use for Podcasting
To end this article, we’ve rounded up three of the best closed-back headphones for podcasting that are available on Amazon.com. We’ve considered price, features, and brand recognition so you can be sure that what you buy is the best you can get.
These Sony closed-back headphones are a great choice for any budget-conscious podcaster, with all of the features you need. This is a comfortable, wired design that offers good sound quality.
Though they might be an older design, there’s a reason these headphones are still going strong: they’re absolutely built to last.
Sennheiser Pro Audio HD280 Pro
These headphones are a comfortable choice – just look at all of that padding! You’re certainly not going to get tired of wearing these any time soon, as they’re not just comfortable, they also provide excellent sound quality as well.
One more great thing about these headphones is that they’re collapsible, which means they can be stored easily if you need to hit the road to record interviews for your podcast in different locations.
Beyerdynamic TP5 Second Generation
Are these the best closed-back headphones money can buy? Well, they’re certainly up there! These headphones are going to set you back a fair chunk of change, though, but they’re definitely worth the expense if your podcast is more than a weekend hobby for you.
These headphones are made in Germany and are virtually indestructible, and the sound quality on them is second-to-none.
By now, you probably can understand how essential a good pair of headphones is when making a podcast. They’re crucial equipment for your podcast-making process, from recording the audio to editing it.
However, you can opt to not wear one if you’re interviewing someone outdoors or when you don’t want to disrupt the natural flow of your conversation with your guest.
Invest in a good-quality pair of closed-back headphones to wear in the recording studio, and make sure any guests wear them too. You’ll be surprised at how much the audio quality of your podcast improves when you do!