We should discuss why it is or it isn’t necessary to wear headphones while you do a voice-over and how the best headphones for voice-over can help in recording. Some professionals believe that to get the full experience of your voice, you should not wear headphones because then you get lost in hearing the recording of your voice and not it’s a natural sound, which is most important when it comes to voice-overs. Listening to your voice over and over again may make you become over-critical of your work and make you more judgemental of yourself than you need to be. As you begin to perform your voice-over, it is great to hear your voice and hear the different noises that may come along with the recording of your voice. Learning to pick out the exact pronunciation and dirty noise as you first begin, will lead to a better voice-over professional with more experience and practice. The only way that you can learn is to hear and make mistakes and the only way you can hear those mistakes is by listening to these sounds through the best possible headphones available. Below, we will weigh the options out there for voiceovers and look for the best possible headphones for you.
Top 10 Best Headphones for Voice-Over
A voice-over is when a voice is inserted into something such as television or a movie that is not a part of the original narrative. When looking at different headphones for voice-overs, there are several different aspects someone will need to consider. The microphone is very important because, without quality sound, your voice-over will not be perfect. Being able to listen to what you have recorded is the second most important thing to take into consideration because you will be able to make edits of your recording with more precision. You may think that using any old pair of headphones may work totally fine for voice-overs but this is completely wrong. If you are trying to record something professionally and have quality sound, you need quality tools to go along with what you are working on and not headphones that come along with your phone.
The best place to start is what headphones not to get for voiceovers. Never use headphones that come along with your phone and avoid in-ear headphones. This is because in-ear headphones offer less bass and can make a less accurate sound. Earbuds that are made by Beats are designed to have boosted low-end sound which is not ideal for voice-overs. The quality of the sound is what is going to make your voice-over sound professional. When you are mixing your voice with different sounds such as music or reviewing what you have recorded, you need the sound to be portrayed and accurately as possible. The sound may never be perfect regardless of what headphones you get but earbuds are for sure the worst possible option for voiceovers. Features that are also not advised for voice-over include noise-canceling and sound isolation. Headphones requiring batteries or charging are not ideal either given that they may turn off suddenly. Gaming headphones are not ideal for voiceovers either.
Now that we have gone over what is not best for voiceovers, now we will dig into what is the best for voiceovers. What it comes down to for the best headphones is minimizing leakage of sound. Regardless of what headphones you decide to go with, everything has its flaws. If you are trying to record your own voice and minimize b bleed or echoes then closed-back headphones are what you need. If you are exclusively mixing sounds and not using them live then you would want open-back headphones.
Given that we have narrowed the options to open and closed-back headphones, here are some recommendations.
1. ATH-M50X Headphones
As a highly popular Audio-Technica set of headphones, the ATH-M50x headphones have an exceptional sound quality that will give you not just quality, but balance as well. As with any headphones that you intend to use for voice-overs, comfort is key. This is why these headphones feature soft padding with lightweight plastic to allow you to wear them for however long your recording session may last.
Sample customer review… These are great no matter what you plug them into. I’ll give them that. You will be generally impressed if you plug them into your iPhone, android, mac, etc. They’re pretty good. The volume is perfect, the highs are there but tame enough while keeping truth. You won’t blow your eardrums out, but the highs are definitely there and serviceable to the truthiness of the treble band. The bass is a true bass. It’s not overly exaggerated; these WILL NOT give you an ear massage, it will however give you pretty close to exact bass. That’s actually a fantastic thing, learning to appreciate bass rather than it treating your ears as a trampoline is definitely enlightenment.Read more reviews at Amazon.com
2. Sennheiser HD280 Pro
If you are looking for a product that is basic and will get the job done, these are the headphones for you. These headphones are closed-back headphones that are known for being the industry standard. These headphones are considered to be the most popular headphone in the world. What they can not make up when it comes to sound, these headphones are great for getting the job done and being affordable. If you are a beginner in the voice-over world or you are just looking for something affordable, these are the headphones for you.
Sample customer review… So I first tried a pair of Sony “noise canceling” headphones which were decent phones musically but blocked intrusive sounds very poorly. Continuing to suffer under the aural assault of “Foghorn Leghorn”, I continued to read reviews in search of true noise-blocking phones. What I learned was that true noise-canceling headphones have a white noise generator that masks sound. This is great for users who need to block out mechanical sounds from engines, machinery, etc. but not so great for office loudmouths and chatter. For that, you need a headphone that uses an over-the-ear cushion, similar to the industrial hearing protectors. That’s just what these phones have coupled with excellent sound quality. When I use these phones at work and have music playing, ol’ Foghorn Leghorn is just a whisper.Read more reviews at Amazon.com
3. Beyerdynamic Headphones DT-770
These headphones are a quality closed-back option if you are going through long periods of time wearing headphones, these are the best option for you. comfort is almost as important as sound when it comes to headphones and ear fatigue will not happen with these great headphones. Beyerdynamic has the reputation of having quality products that are built to last and to be enjoyed while using them. These are best used in an amp and not on your smartphone so they are perfect for trying to get work done and complete professional voiceovers. When it comes down to comfort, sound, quality, and style, these headphones blow the competition out of the water.
Sample customer review… I bought these for gaming and listening to music on my new desktop computer. The sound quality is a significant step up from the “gaming headset” I had been using the past few years. These are the best-sounding headphones I have ever experienced. They sound even better than a pair of $200 Bose headphones that I use with my laptop. One of the things I like the most about the 770 Pro’s is how well they block out external noise. When I’m gaming or listening to music with these, the sound from the air conditioner which is just a few feet away is really not noticeable at all. Almost all external ambient sound seems to be blocked out really well. The first couple of times I wore them, I thought they were a bit uncomfortable, but after just a few minor adjustments to get the fit just right, I can now use these for several hours straight in complete comfort. When these are plugged into a high-end soundcard to drive them, the sound immersion when using these for gaming is truly astounding. Every little sound in the game really comes to life so crisply much more so than the Logitech gaming headset I had been using. Music sounds really awesome as well. I spent many hours researching headphones before making this purchase and I am glad I decided to go with these. The only thing I don’t like about these is the coiled telephone wire cord. I would have preferred just a straight cable but it is really just a very minor nitpick compared to the overall awesomeness of these headphones.Read more reviews at Amazon.com
4. Sony MDR
These headphones can be considered a generational product. They have been around since the 1980s and they are still a great product today. They are headphones that are affordable and get the job done. They offer a nice focus for users and a convenient design and style. Some of the products listed above you may find that you get what you pay for but not with these. There is a great sound for the price that you pay for these headphones which makes them one of the most popular pairs of headphones in the industry. These headphones were designed for manufacturing which means when you are creating sounds on a voiceover, these headphones will be the best option for you.
Sample customer review… I own some Sennheiser HD 600s. People said Sennheiser didn’t fall into the trap of other headset makers, like Sure, Boss (yuck), and even AudioTechnica – and that they hadn’t been bought out and replaced by cheap knock-offs like AKG. And people said the Sennheiser 600 had less bass than the 580 or 650. But it still had more bass than reality, to the detriment of high frequencies. The point being – most expensive headsets have more bass than reality. This is detrimental to my hearing and my mixing. People say you should lose a lot of your high-frequency hearing as you age, and to some extent, I’m sure that this is the result of aging. But I’d bet a million bucks that people in the audio world lose some of their hearing because they get addicted to bass. These headphones act like monitors. They are not going to emphasize the bass in any way. Further, if there is any noise, over-amplification, or issue with frequencies beyond 3KHz, with these headphones, you’ll hear it. With these, you will be able to identify problems at all frequencies which most costly headphones would fail to accurately reproduce, or would gloss over. And these headphones provide realism. With most headphones, the low frequencies vibration of a phone will sound real – like it’s in the room with you. With these 7506s, even the patter of rain sounds real.Read more reviews at Amazon.com
5. Sennheiser HD 800
The Sennheiser HD 800 is an amazing option for voice-over headphones. These are a great open-back option for someone trying to complete the best voice-over possible. Sennheiser is one of the most legendary brands in headphones and you know that you will be getting a quality product when it comes from Sennheiser. Everything about these headphones is perfect and reviews about this product are all positive. These headphones are wired and are a great option for comfort while recording for a long period of time.
Sample customer review… The HD800S, when paired with a powerful enough amplifier, is literally the best monitor I’ve ever used. While I’ve had plenty of hi-fi experience in the audiophile speaker/component world, one quickly reaches a point of diminishing returns unless the acoustic environment can be tuned. Since this is obviously not a problem for headphones, these Sennheisers have truly opened up a new world for me in terms of pure sonic purity. I have to go back and re-listen to literally everything I’ve ever loved to hear that overdubbed guitar, nuanced drum fill, 7-part harmony, and/or breathing of the orchestral musicians that I’ve missed on lesser, although not necessarily cheaper, equipment.Read more reviews at Amazon.com
6. AKG by Harmon Kardon K371
These are great headphones for voiceovers that are under $150. These headphones are very comfortable for users to have on for hours while working hard late at night and have the ability for the ear to spin up so you can go from in the zone to hearing what is going on around you. The K371 uses a natural audio system that allows users to have proficient audio and have an excellent experience while using these headphones for anything related to recording. These are well-made headphones with a premium look and audio.
Sample customer review… Bought 1 set for my grandson. He needed something that sounded good and got reasonably loud when plugged into a phone, tablet, and/or PC. These definitely fit the bill. These are low impedance and high efficiency so you can get reasonable volume from your phone, tablet, or PC without any additional amplification. Some so-called purists don’t like these because they are tuned to the “Harmon target”. I think they sound awesome, and not just for the $. I like them so much I bought a second pair for myself. I also bought a Sonata HD PRO DAC/amp to power the set I bought for myself and we are waiting on delivery of a SoundblasterX G6 DAC/amp to add some ‘OOMPH” and additional gaming customization to the set I bought for my grandson. Can’t speak on the longevity/durability as these are relatively new. These are made mostly from plastic but so are most of the other headphones these days. Keeps the weight and the price down. Most youtube reviewers agree that these are best-sounding, best-value headphones you can buy for under $200, and so do I.Read more reviews at Amazon.com
7. Tascam TH-200x
Whether you’re recording or just listening to music, these headphones can get the job done. It’s also a great price if you have a low budget, and its sound quality is especially good for its price point. However, despite its lower price point and lighter design, it is a rather durable set of headphones. They’re lightweight, but they were also built with a stainless steel frame that allows them to have a cozy fit with durability as well.
Sample customer review… I’m a professional videographer. I also do small-scale music production for video scores. I spend a lot of my time editing, and I needed a good pair of studio monitoring headphones that would give me accurate playback… no boosted bass or anything like that. I also needed something that would be very comfortable, since I may be wearing them for 8+ hours at a time. I took a chance on these because I’ve been happy with my other Tascam products, and they absolutely did not disappoint. Extremely comfortable. I barely even notice I’m wearing them. Very accurate audio. Just great all the way around. I do wish the cord was detachable, but for the price, I can’t complain.Read more reviews at Amazon.com
8. Moano AU-MH601
Another great choice for low budgets, the Moano AU-MH601 have not only the sound and the comfort that you need but the durability and design that you may not have known you wanted. With durable materials, these headphones will survive falling or getting squeezed, ensuring that you’ll be able to continue using them for your voice-over projects.
Sample customer review… These are excellent headphones. They are perfect for monitoring while editing my podcasts, or while recording them. They are native 1/4 inch jacks, which is pretty standard for studio equipment. While the cable that comes with them is technically a 1/8 cable, it has 1/8-1/4 adapters on both ends. What is extra nice about this is that those adapters screw on instead of just plugging in. This produces a more secure adapter and fewer problems with loose connections. It’s also nice to be able to easily remove the adapter and connect them to a 1/8 inch source like my laptop or computer. These produce awesome sound, very accurate and without distortion, even at high volume. They are comfortable to wear for hours on end, which I frequently have to. I also like how they are designed to easily use them how you want to. The ear cups are fully manipulable. you can invert them or twist them to hold up to your ear.Read more reviews at Amazon.com
9. Status Audio Monitor Headphones
If you’re looking for something of good quality that is also inexpensive, these headphones are for you. At under $100, they have very crisp, natural mids and extended bass. Both the headband and earpads are covered in leatherette, with the earcups even having a nice, fake gold finish on the back of them to give them that flashy touch.
Sample customer review… I bought these to replace an aging pair of AKG 240s that I use for mixing and mastering in my home studio. I’m usually skeptical to try out new brands, but after reading through the reviews, I decided to give them a try. The headphones are fairly lightweight but the construction is pretty good. I used them at my desk for a few hours with no noticeable ear fatigue, and the oversize ear cushions are quite comfortable. They fold up for storage and come with both a long straight 3.5mm ended cord and an optional spiral cord, as well as a standard 1/4 adapter for use with pro audio equipment. The packaging was nice and sturdy, but I wish the manufacturer supplied a travel bag for the headphones as well.Read more reviews at Amazon.com
10. AKG Pro Audio K361
These headphones are a wired option that will give you another amazing set of headphones for less than $100. The audio is not only balanced but also has audio isolation and improved bass response. The sliding, oval-shaped ear cups and light materials will make them comfortable to wear for hours on end, and the shape of the ear cups will ensure that your ears don’t get squished during use.
Sample customer review… Material quality and comfort are great. It’s very lightweight. I’m one to watch many reviews prior to purchasing, but if you’re reading this trying to get clues about the sound quality then allow me to prepare you – the bass is pretty mild if you’re looking for some heavy bass listening. The K371 has more bass to give you that low-end punch. I for once prefer the cleaner and more balanced sound since I have a variety of cans. The midrange and high frequencies are very subjective to taste, so I won’t bother and all I’ll say is it’s rather balanced for most, with no peaks or weird areas in the frequency range.Read more reviews at Amazon.com
Buying Guide: Things to Consider When Purchasing Headphones for Voice-Over
As with any purchase, it is ultimately so important to know what you absolutely need in your purchase. Whether that be a certain price range, or something that will allow you to easily mix, and master, your audio without feeling like things sound off. It’s a good habit to make a list of the things that you absolutely have to have in your headphones, as well as anything you might want so that you’re not constantly trying to remember the thing that you didn’t write down. It will help to make your shopping experience more smooth and painless.
If you are trying to record a professional-sounding voice-over, you want headphones that are going to be comfortable. You could end up wearing them for hours on end depending on what your project is. The moment you put on a pair of uncomfortable headphones, you’re dooming yourself to shorter recording sessions, or simply more painful ones. So be sure to keep your eyes peeled for headphones that have softer, more cushioned, over-the-ear cups, adjustable clamps, and cup extenders.
Price Does Not Equal Fit
If you’ve ever bought something from a dollar store only to have it break a few days later, you probably already know that something that is sold for cheap is sometimes cheaply made. However, the reverse is not always true either. Just because you buy expensive headphones does not mean that they will be of high quality. When it comes down to it, your needs will usually determine what your price point should be, whether that be $100 or over $1000. Before you buy, refer back to what you need in headphones and then begin looking at your options.
Recording audio is no joke. In order to record high-quality audio, you need to make sure that they can cancel out at least some of your background noise. One way to help reduce this noise is by using closed-back headphones. However, not all of your background noise will be eliminated, depending upon the decibel level. These will still help to decrease the noise as much as possible, though, thus allowing you to get higher-quality recordings.
How They Connect
Another thing you want to consider is how you’re going to connect these headphones to your device. As technology has progressed, we’ve seen many things change, and even the old headphone jack isn’t as prevalent anymore. That being said, you can find BlueTooth, USB, and sometimes those old headphone jack connections. Before you purchase any headphones, check to see what your preferred connection type will be between your headphones and your device. Considering just how much things have changed, even in the last few years, means that the headphones you buy now could very well be outdated by next year. So you may be better off staying with a connection method that everyone trusts until you know that something new will actually last.
Whether you’re new to purchasing headphones or not, you always want to keep in mind any of the other equipment that you may need for your recordings. One such item is an amplifier, as not all studio headphones work the same as your everyday retail headphones. These amplifiers can help to not only adjust the volume of whatever you’re recording but can also give the amplifier that’s part of your headphones a little extra boost of power. They also reduce additional noise to help you attain that clear, clean, and crisp sound that you want. So check the headphones that you’re interested in to see if they also require an amplifier.
Headphones To Avoid
As with any product, there are also brands and types of headphones that can be detrimental to the quality of your recordings. One of the largest contributors to this is in-ear headphones, no matter what brand they may be, these headphones will not provide you with professional audio. Usually, these in-ear headphones don’t accurately represent the lower, bass frequencies, which can make your audio sound rough and distorted. Over-the-ear headphones are going to be your absolute best choice when it comes to selecting headphones.
When looking for the best headphones for voice-over, there are a lot of things to consider. The very first thing would be how serious are you about completing your voice-over and what quality of sound do you need in order to be successful. If you are just messing around and not professionally doing voiceovers, then cheaper headphones will do perfectly for you. If you are someone that is professionally recording voice-overs and needs the quality to be perfect, then getting the best headphone available is something that you need to consider. There are hundreds of different pairs of headphones so doing the research and finding out what is best for you is important. Some of the options listed above are cheap or expensive but again it all depends on what you are looking for. The style of headphones you will need for voiceovers may vary but open-back headphones and closed-back headphones are the ones that you will most likely need to consider for voiceover. The many features that differ between the two styles of headphones are that some sound may leak in an open-back headphone more than a closed-back headphone.
The best headphone on this list of best headphones for voice-over has to be the Sennheiser 800. This brand has the reputation to back up their products and the sound quality is exactly what someone needs while recording voice-over materials. The most popular headphone on this list however is the Sony MDR. Sony MDR is a quality option that will give anyone the sound quality they need to succeed in recording voiceovers and at the same time being an extremely affordable headphone.
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Written by Chase Urbach and Alyssa Batzer