It’s important to hear what you’re recording while you’re podcasting, but studio monitor speakers or headphones will probably not be the right choice. Here’s why.
Thanks for the question, George!
No, I don’t recommend either of these for while you are recording.
There are several things you should consider about the headphones you use for podcasting. In this case, you need to focus on leak and isolation.
Sound leak with monitor speakers
Studio monitors are specially designed speakers for audio-editing. They are created to accurately represent the sound, and also are supposed to be better at not feeding back into the microphone and creating a feedback loop.
You’ll see monitors used in the editing bays of recording studios and on stages for live events. But you usually won’t see monitors inside the recording studio because of the audio they’ll leak back into the microphone. Even if this doesn’t create an audio feedback loop, it can create an unwanted echo or reverb effect.
I do recommend that you “monitor” your audio while you’re recording, but I don’t think studio monitor speakers are a good choice for this. Wear headphones or earbuds of some sort.
Should these headphones be studio monitor headphones? I also don’t think so.
Sound isolation with studio headphones
Professional “studio headphones” are usually designed to give an accurate reproduction of the actual audio. They won’t enhance or “color” the audio like DJ or consumer headphones would. It is good to hear your voice in the most accurate way, but this is best for editing, not recording.
This issue with headphones comes down to isolation. The best studio headphones will block outside noise (computer fan, HVAC, room noise, etc.) so you hear only what plays through the headphones, as much as possible. This is perfect for editing, so you can catch and enhance or remove the finest details of your audio in processing.
But this kind of sound isolation is bad for recording. The better the isolation gets, the less of your own voice you’ll hear with your own ears. Instead, you’ll hear yourself more through bone conduction.
The result is that you’ll sound like the bass boost is too high when you speak into your audio system with studio monitor headphones. Every time I have tried this, it literally gave me headaches! (I do mean “literally” in the literal sense.)
The workaround to this is to turn up your headphones loud enough that their audio overpowers your own bone conduction. But then your headphones are loud enough that noise could leak back into your recording. Additionally, you will still sound much quieter than anything else playing through the headphones (guest or cohost, music, sound clips, etc.), so you’ll experience great discomfort from everyone else’s high volume.
These reasons are why I don’t recommend using studio monitor speakers or headphones while recording, but only for editing.
What may work better for podcasting
I do recommend something more comfortable with less noise isolation, like some earbuds. I actually really like using my Apple EarPods for while I’m recording. Then, when I switch to editing, I wear my Sony MDR-7506 headphones.
For more information, read or listen to “9 considerations for podcasting headphones.”
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