As with all articles answering questions like this, the ultimate answer will always be “The best you can afford.” Some people will tell you whatever you can afford but I find that to be bad advice. People tend to go with the absolute cheapest thing they can buy and end up regretting it soon after because the quality is poor. So go with the best you can afford. Usually the quality is better, but, even still, a $100 pair of headphones won’t be as good as a $500 pair. It’s always good to read the customer reviews on sites like Amazon too. I have found that people usually give an honest and fair review of the products. You just have to be able to tell when someone is bashing the product because that person can never be satisfied. Ok, so let’s move on to the New Jersey Podcast Guys recommendations. These are all available on Amazon (links provided) and they are all under $100.00. You’ll note that these are Studio headphones and not DJ headphones or headphones designed to use for listening to mps’s while you work out. It’s not that you couldn’t use either of those for your podcast (use what you have available to start out). It’s just that Studio headphones are more suited for our purposes here.
These come in around $30.00. When we started out producing our own podcast, we bought three of these and were surprised at how good they are for a $30.00 pair of headphones. It wasn’t until about a year and a half of regular use that we noticed them starting to malfunction.
While we don’t use these at the moment for New Jersey Podcast Guys work, I have used a pair of these that were owned by a friend and found them to be very pleasant to use. A little clearer than the Behringer and a touch more comfortable.
Audio Technica, like Behringer and AKG, produces high-quality products that are affordable. That’s key for podcasting. Check out the reviews for this one. Lots of happy customers.
One thing you will need if you have more than one person on the show, is a headphone amplifier. Each person can plug their headphones into this amp and be able to individually control their own volume according to their comfort level.
An important thing to note with headphones is that you should NOT rely on them for an accurate representation of what your final sound will be. They help you determine the right mix if your show has more than one person on it, but they won’t give you much more than that. That’s why you should learn to read meters, understand sound waves and how to set up your recording software, etc., and finally how to sweeten the sound in post. All of these things will help you set your mixer up (if you’re using a mixer) in order to achieve the sound you want. But that’s all for another article.