Chapter 9. Upgrading Your Headphones

In This Practice

  • Focusing on headphones

  • Knowing what to look for in headphones

  • Understanding the benefits of good recording headphones

If you ever see Escape Pod's Steve Eley at a podcast camp or at a science fiction convention, you will discover he is a man of conviction. In other words, he's got an opinion on everything!

There is a bit of advice he gives again and again, on panel discussions, on speaker talks, and on the show Podholes (, which he co‐hosts with Michael R. Mennenga:

  • “Get good headphones before a better microphone.”

We have always found this advice and his reasoning behind it to be rock‐solid, but because our own headphones were doing just fine, we never really considered the investment.

When we finally did, we asked ourselves what took us so long.

Why Focus on Headphones?

When podcasters want to upgrade their studios, usually it's the mixer board or the microphone that's the first accessory targeted for improvement — but (along with Eley) we recommend that you take a good, long look at your headphones. They're an aspect of the studio easily overlooked but perhaps the most important add‐on to your studio.

Think about it — the headphones are telling you how you sound.

As with microphones, there are different kinds of headphones out there, different styles and different makes. Shopping for decent headphones can be intimidating. But just like with any audio gear, if you know what to look for, the intimidation factor ...

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