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Selecting the right headphones for field recording can be quite challenging due to the wide range of choices available. If you’re an avid traveler, an everyday carry (EDC) enthusiast, or a weekend explorer, finding the perfect pair that offers portability, accuracy, and excellent editing capabilities is crucial. In this guide, I’ll share six of the best headphones that I have personally tried and tested, alongside insights on the importance of impedance in your choice.
Before we delve into specific headphones, let’s talk about impedance (measured in ohms, Ω), an important factor often overlooked when choosing headphones for field recording.
In layman’s terms, impedance is the amount of resistance a device gives to the current passing through it. For headphones, the impedance value plays a key role in determining what equipment they pair well with. Low impedance headphones (less than 50 ohms) work well with devices with weaker amplification, such as mobile devices and portable recorders. In contrast, high impedance headphones (over 50 ohms) require more powerful amplifiers but can provide superior sound quality.
So, how does this apply to field recording? If you’re using a budget-friendly, portable recorder with less powerful amplification, low impedance headphones would be the better choice. On the other hand, if you have invested in a high-end, professional-grade recorder, high impedance headphones would be suitable to leverage its capabilities.
The Sony MDR 7506 headphones were my stepping stone into professional field recording. With an impedance of 63 ohms, they work exceptionally well for field recording and editing, especially if you have a high-quality recorder.
The Audio Technica ATH 30X is perfect if you’re looking for headphones that deliver high-quality sound without a hefty price tag. They pair well with budget-friendly recorders and provide excellent sound quality for both field recording and editing. The impedance of these headphones is 48 ohm.
Prefer something smaller than over-ear headphones? I totally understand, and I recently discovered these tiny headphones that seem to be the go-to for many creatives out there. It’s amazing how great they sound and how comfortable they are, and they’re also super light – perfect not only for editing, but also for recording sounds. When I have them perfectly placed in my ear, I don’t hear anything else. Check out our video where we feature these headphones in my EDC sling bag kit. You can skip to the third minute! The impedance of these headphones are 25 ohm.
These headphones are truly a powerhouse in the portable recording space. With an impedance of 38 ohms, they make for a versatile option compatible with a range of recording equipment – from low-end mobile devices to more robust portable recorders. Their foldable design not only adds to their portability, a feature paramount for field recording, but also makes them an easily storable piece in your equipment bag.
A standout characteristic of these headphones is their overwhelming positive reception among users worldwide. They have garnered over 25,000 Amazon reviews, reflecting their high-quality performance and longevity. The ATH-M50x provides an excellent balance of cost and quality, making them a popular choice among beginners and seasoned professionals alike.
The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro headphones stand out in the market for their adaptability and exceptional sound quality. Available in various impedance versions (32, 80, and 250 ohms), you have the flexibility to pick the model best suited to your recording equipment and needs.
One of the primary features that set the DT 770 PRO apart is their excellent sound isolation, making them ideal for recording in noisy environments. They are also praised for their comfortable fit, a crucial factor for long recording sessions, and their robust construction that can withstand the rigors of field recording.
The DT 770 PRO headphones have earned a special place among field recordists, who appreciate their versatility and durability. Their ability to offer clean, uncolored sound makes them a popular choice for monitoring while recording in the field. The higher impedance models, when paired with professional-grade equipment, can truly shine, revealing intricate details in the soundscape that you might miss otherwise.
Furthermore, numerous user reviews attest to their superior sound reproduction capabilities and comfort. Field recordists often mention the DT 770 PRO as their go-to headphones for both recording and editing, demonstrating their adaptability in different audio work scenarios.
To sum it up, the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO headphones are not just versatile performers; they are reliable workhorses loved by field recordists for their comfort, durability, and exceptional sound quality.
While the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones might not enjoy the same level of popularity as some of the other models in this list, they certainly hold their own when it comes to field recording.
Boasting an impedance of 64 ohms, they’re designed to pair well with professional-grade recorders, providing a crisp, clear sound quality that Sennheiser is renowned for. The robust construction and durable design make them reliable companions for rigorous field work, while their excellent sound isolation abilities make them a solid choice for recording in noisy environments.
What sets the HD 280 PRO apart is their high ambient noise attenuation, offering a more focused recording experience. Plus, their lightweight and ergonomic design make them comfortable to wear over long periods, a big plus for long recording sessions.
The Sennheiser HD 280 PRO might be less known in some circles, but they’re highly appreciated by those who use them. Users often comment on their balanced sound and comfortable fit. Although they might not be the first choice for some field recordists, those who have discovered these headphones appreciate their consistent performance, durability, and superior comfort.
In short, while the HD 280 PRO might fly under the radar compared to some other models, they’re undoubtedly a hidden gem in the world of field recording headphones, offering a fantastic blend of performance, durability, and comfort.
That wraps up my top six picks for field recording headphones. Remember, the right impedance can significantly enhance your field recording experience. If you’d like to explore more about my adventures and the sounds I’ve captured, consider checking out this article detailing what else I carry in my EDC sling bag. If you wish to support us further, consider checking out our All In One Bundle. Your support fuels our journey in sound recording, and we’re incredibly grateful for it. Happy recording!
Who would have thought a handy sound recorder in Cambodia would lead us here?
Hi there we’re Marcel and Libby and every sound on this site has been recorded by us. For nearly 7 years, we’ve been traveling around the world recording unique sounds for others to use!