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The worst thing about field recording is coming home and putting the SD card in your machine and realizing you blew your mic placement and the audio quality is compromised with ambient sounds.
The good news is that this can be easily fixed. You just need a pair of headphones to help you monitor things in the field.
Sadly, there are no specialist field recording headphones but there are plenty of headphones that do a great job.
We’ve field tested dozens and put together a report on all our very favorite headphones for field recording.
The ATH-M50X headphones from Audio-Technica are great sounding and professional quality.
You won’t be worried about firing up your digital audio workstation on your laptop to check the sound quality when using them.
1. Top quality bass reproduction
2. Plugs into any source for high quality audio
3. Very hard-wearing and will last a long time
1. Can be a little uncomfortable when using them for ultra-long sessions
2. The long cable that it comes with might be too long in some situations
3. The spring loaded hinges on the ear pieces aren’t as strong as they might be
These Sony cans are incredible value for money.
Their closed-over ear design provides excellent noise isolation and makes them much more comfortable than we would have expected in this price range.
1. Very good sound reproduction that makes it easy to work in them
2. They’ve very comfortable
3. They have an excellent level of noise isolation
1. It might be just us but the cord is very long, heavy and it’s not easy to find a replacement for it
2. We found that our ears get warm under these headphones
3. The vinyl on the ear pads is not very hard wearing
Got no budget and need something super portable?
Then these earbuds might be what you need, they won’t block anything under the 250Hz frequency level but otherwise?
They’re great! File under highy recommended for budget shoppers.
1. They weight just 18 grams and take up 2.3 cubic inches – that’s portable
2. They have a very low impedance of 16 Ohms use them on any device
3. They supply 4 different silicon tip sizes too
1. Not the most accurate of sound reproduction
2. Bass is somewhat overdone and “booms”
3. They’re not that durable
As long as you have a small-to-medium sized head then these Sennheiser’s are excellent.
They reproduce sound flawlessly and they will isolate you from external noise without a problem.
1. Excellent build quality as you’d expect from this brand
2. Very good jack adapter supplied to help attach to different audio sources
3. Sound quality is out of this world for the price
1. Really not good on large heads, very uncomfortable
2. The cable connection is a bit weak and needs care taking with it
3. Some users report that they haven’t lasted as long as expected
These little Linsoul earphones are the gods of earphone isolation and though they are “in ear monitors” they are super comfortable to be worn as earbuds.
They are also a very portable solution that you can easily take anywhere.
1. The best noise isolation that you’re going to encounter at this price range
2. They have a very low impedance level and can be used with many audio sources
3. We love that the cables can be easily replaced for extended use
1. Only has a 3.5mm straight headphone jack, you may need adapters
2. The bass is a bit on the “boomy” side for our tastes
3. They would be even better if there was a hard case for them
These closed over-ear headphones are ideal for big heads In fact, you won’t be able to get over the size of the ear pieces. They are huge!
Sadly, they don’t fold up to put them away, so they’re not as portable as they might be.
1. The large, soft ear cushions are so incredibly comfy that you’re going to love wearing them
2. Your ears never get warm these cans are quite cooling in fact
3. They’re built like a tank
1. They take up more bag space than is ideal
2. Highs are a little sharper than we’d like
3. The cord is not detachable which makes replacing it hard work
What’s that you say? Budget Sennheisers? Oh, yes.
And better still? They sound amazing and as you’d expect from this brand the sound isolation is incredibly good too.
These are a professional monitoring solution on the cheap.
1. They have one of the best levels of sound isolation of any headphone
2. They are incredible value for money
3. Their build quality is as good as you’d expect from a Sennheiser product
1. Some users report that they find these headphones squeeze their heads
2. They not as loud as they could be and have a higher impedance than some other headphones on our list
3. The cord is much bulkier and heavier than we’d like
You don’t have to spend a fortune to get good headphones for field recording, you just need to ensure they cut out the world around you and sound very similar to the end product.
These headphones will all do the job well and reliably and that’s the important part.