To get the sounds right for radio – for mixing and listening – you need a good set of headphones!
I’ve never been a headphones expert, and I’m not one now, but as Stephen keeps bringing me into his live radio broadcasts and since I’ve been helping out in the music studio listening and laying down tracks with pros, I’ve realised how critical it is to have the best set of headphones for the job.
Trying to follow a live radio conversation, and get cued in and tuned in when the headset distracts with crackle, echo and fade out is neither pleasant or conducive to producing a good show! Today was the day I knew we had to invest in new headphones. So I asked Stephen what he listens for, and looks for in his headphones. Listening through a mixer to produce a programme or recording, is not like listening in or streaming to sounds to relax or boogie.
This is what I’ve discovered – some basics to look out for:
Choosing headphones for radio broadcasting or studio listening
It matters that the the quality of sound, whatever equipment it comes through, is safe, clear and consistent.
Loudness can damage ears irreversibly, so transmitted sound has to be clearly audible at low volumes
Clarity is critical, especially for audio-editing recordings and mixing.
What the radio presenter, DJ or sound engineer hears through the headset needs to match what goes into and out from the mixing desk.
You don’t want to avoid distraction or distortion from background noise – so noise cancelling headphones are a must
Your ears need to be comfortable – so check weight, padding, flexibility – and the length of the cable!
You might want to look at wireless connectivity – but there’s always a risk that the connection drops, the battery runs out, or the sound is affected. Do you want that anxiety – or stress – interfering with focus and concentration when managing all the dials and channels and levels, and bridging between speakers, being on point with interview questions? I wouldn’t!
I now have a very healthy respect for radio producers – and sound engineers – who bring together, head heart and hands, ears eyes, mouth and music, and marry art form and science to create radio programmes and music for us to enjoy!
“Three of the Best” headphones for radio broadcasting
Researching headphones for radio broadcasting use, in different price ranges, I narrowed my choices down to three of the best.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50X Studio Monitor Professional Headphones – Black
One of the best all round radio headphones provides excellent audio and comfort. It comes with a removable audio cable, 90 degree swivel ear cup, and available in various colours.
- Sound Isolation
- Accurate Bass Response
beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO Studio Headphones – 80 Ohm
Industry standard in the UK, the Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro is flexible and reliable and used by many radio professionals around the world. It has a great aural quality, practical design and good filtering from outside noise.
- Improved Bass Response
- Comfortable Design
- High & Mid-Range Audio Reproduction
Audio-Technica ATH-M30X Professional Headphones – Black
One of the best radio headphones on a budget – has great sound clarity with a comfortable feel.
- Advanced Quality (Aluminum Wiring, Flexible Headband, Resilient Frame)
- Noise Cancelling
- Long Cable
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