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Apart from the obvious need of recording equipment and a microphone, do you also need to wear the best headphones for podcasting? This is something that many starters wonder about.
In fact, we’d say that your podcasting equipment would essentially remain incomplete unless and until you throw in a good pair of studio headphones. Though, the type of pair that you may get strictly depends on your budget.
In this article, we talk about all the possible reasons why a good pair of podcasting headphones make a big difference.
What is podcasting?
The word podcasting comes from a combination of iPod and broadcasting. Essentially speaking, a podcast is a series of video or audio files that usually comes out in the form of episodes.
Most of the podcasts consist of audio/video files that which users can subscribe to, and receive via RSS and XML feeds.
There are plenty of benefits that podcasts have brought to the table, hence revolutionizing the way in which entertainers, bloggers, artists, and organizations communicate with their audience.
These benefits include:
- High portability/flexibility
Most of the traditional podcasts are released in the form of mp3 files. Users can easily access and download these podcasts in the form of an mp3 file.
As a result of this, you carry the privilege of listening to it whenever you want, and for how long.
- Quick subscription - Easy downloads
Yet another benefit of podcasts is that users can subscribe and download them with great ease. Internet podcast directions such as iTunes have further made it easier to find your favorite episodes in no time.
- Podcasting is cheap and easy
It does not really take a lot of sweat to create a podcast. All that you need is some basic podcast equipment in order to create top-notch podcasts that your listeners will get hooked to.
Atop that, the distribution of podcasts is also free. Hence, as a creator, you may let your voice out with great freedom and convenience.
Why is it important to wear headphones for podcasting?
Well, there are quite a lot of reasons why it is crucial to invest in a good pair of headphones for podcasting.
Read on, to know why …
#1- Headphones help you monitor your sound
Have you ever listened to a recording of yourself and went like, “no that’s not me! I do not sound that way”
Well, the reality check is that yes! You do sound that way.
Your astonishment is not uncommon though, as most of us are not used to hearing our own recordings.
Now, one obvious benefit of headphones is that during a podcast, they let you listen to exactly what your audience will.
In other words, headphones allow you to monitor your digital sound by taking your ears (not in literal terms) and placing them right in front of your microphone.
Consequently, they put you in a position of a great amount of control with respect to your performance as a presenter. This is one of the prime reasons why podcasting headphones are a great tool.
By listening live to how your audience hears your sound, you can do minor tweaks and adjustments on-spot. This may help you a lot in sounding the way you wish to. Ultimately, turning you into a better presenter.
In case you do not carry any prior recording experience, they may sound like a no-deal to you. However, trust me, it makes a very big difference!
#2- The best headphones for podcasting make editing very easy
By allowing you to maximize your performance on the spot, headphones help you in cutting out a big amount of editing time.
After all, the better your presentation is during the recording, the less burdened your editing process will become.
A podcasting microphone often happens to be quite sensitive. As a result of this, these microphones pick up sounds that you do not notice otherwise.
When you have a pair of good headphones for podcasting on, you can hear all of these subtle noises. Consequently, they allow you to eliminate these noise sources beforehand.
This will take a lot of editing pain away, as you will not have to struggle cutting unwanted noise out in the editing process.
#3- Help you avoid the bleed
Bleed is the lesser known consequence of not wearing headphone for podcasting. Although most people who record frequently have experienced bleed, they are not always familiar with the term.
Bleed occurs when the sound coming from a participant’s track via his/her speakers gets recorded in the track of another participant.
This occurs when one or more participants are not wearing headphones, as a result of this other microphones in the locality will pick the voice up from their speakers.
The result? A very nasty echo which is consists of different tracks of the same person, each a little out of sync.
In turn, this could lower your production value. Hence, bleed something that you would truly want to avoid.
#4- Remove the need of micro-managing the participants/guests
Indeed, it is very annoying to tell your guest how to talk for optimal recording after every 10 minutes or so.
This could kill the entire buzz and natural flow of the conversation.
Having a pair of studio headphones, in this case, can save your day.
Even the participants who carry no prior recording experience will be able to figure out how they sound, in case they are using headphones. Hence, they will be able to make adjustments on their own naturally.
This will remove the need of micro-managing the guests, completely out of the picture!
Ultimately, it will allow you to focus on what’s more important and that is, maintaining the buzz of the conversation.
#5- Allow you to notice very high levels
When the volume levels go way to high, a phenomenon known as clipping occurs. As a result of this, small bits of track (parts with extremely high levels) will simply get clipped and disappear into the blues.
Most of the times, the volume levels are set before the recording stage begins. Once the recording starts, the volume levels are monitored irregularly after intervals to ensure that they are not going red.
However, when you are wrapped up in an interesting conversation, you may not remember to take a glance at your volume levels.
Now, this is where podcasting headphones come in handy. During recording, podcasting headphones can give you a nice idea whether you are too low or too high.
This naturally reminds you of taking a glance at your levels at regular intervals, so that they can be set just in time.
#6- Help you notice unwanted ambient noise
Ambient noise has various different types. Wind, however, is the most common culprit.
If not taken care of, this ambient noise can show up in your tracks ultimately lowering your level of production.
Noticing ambient noise can be extremely difficult unless you are using a good pair of studio headphones for your podcasts.
Headphones vs microphones for podcasting
Arguably, a podcasting microphone is the most essential gear in your podcast equipment.
Without a having good quality microphone, you cannot really expect your podcasts to be top-notch in terms of production and sound.
In case you are using an audio interface to record, a decent dynamic microphone with an XLR output would be the most suitable choice.
If you are a hobbyist who prefers to use the laptop alone, perhaps a USB-microphone could be your go-to choice.
However, do remember that the lack of an audio interface can cause latency problems when it comes to monitoring via headphones (this specifically applies to USB powered microphones).
Compared to the microphones, headphones come second in priority. However, both of these pieces of equipment carry their own importance in terms of good production.
As mentioned earlier in this article, the best headphones with mic for podcasting can significantly improve your production value.
When you need not to wear podcasting headphones?
While podcasting headphones are certainly a need, they are not an absolute requirement in a number of cases.
- You are interviewing someone in the open
- You want to check the mix via regularly used speakers
- The headphones are loud enough to cause a bleed
- You are self-conscious of how you sound in the headphones
- A natural feeling of conversation is more preferable for you.
Having the best headphones for podcasting can certainly take you a long way in terms of production value and better recordings.
However, you do not certainly need the ‘best audio headphones’ in order to get the job done. A decent pair would do.
At times, such as during an interview in the open, you may not even need headphones at all.
Furthermore, the use cases of headphones also tend to vary. For instance, a pair of headset microphone is useful Skype podcasts over a traditional mic and studio headphones setting.
In case you are recording in a home studio, however, a decent podcasting microphone with a pair of good podcasting headphones should be your prime choice.