Do you wonder why podcast hosts always wear headphones during their broadcasts? Well, definitely not for styling purposes.
Headphones are a functional necessity for podcasters. They are one of the most important audio equipment for podcasting. Behind every extraordinary podcasting episode lies an excellent pair of headphones. These headphones elevate the sound quality of the podcast, prevent sound leakage, facilitate effective communication and do a lot more. Keep reading to know the benefits of headphones in podcasting.
Headphones Help Podcasters Assess and Evaluate the Podcast Sound Quality in Real Time
In a study conducted by some scientists on how audio quality influences perceptions of a researcher and researcher, it was found that recording of a podcast is rated low when the audio quality is poor.
The research stated:
Despite identical content, people evaluated the research and researcher less favorably when the audio quality was low, suggesting that audio quality can influence impressions of science.
Therefore, in the podcasting world, content may be the king, but audio quality is certainly the queen.
The majority of podcasters wear headphones to actively monitor the audio quality of their podcasts in real time. Regardless of how engaging, pertinent, or invaluable your content may be, if it isn’t clearly audible to your audience, it loses all significance.
Tackle the Unwanted Ambient Noises
As a podcaster, you probably work in a variety of settings and environments. Therefore, ambient noises are inevitable. The chirping of birds, rustling of papers, humming of the fan, and so on; there’s no dearth of ambient noises in the environment.
You may not notice these ambient noises but even the best podcasting mics can catch them and make them glaringly evident in your podcast recordings.
This is where headphones can help. Podcasters can leverage headphones to track these disturbances and adjust their recordings accordingly.
Balance the Sweet Spot
Every podcasting mic has a “sweet spot,” which is the optimum distance between a podcaster and their music to ensure excellent audio quality.
If you are too far from your podcasting mic, the audio may sound distorted, distant and echoey. On the other hand, if you are too close to the podcasting mic, you risk sounding loud and sharp, especially when pronouncing plosives, such as B, P and T.
Headphones can help you balance the sweet spot by allowing you to continuously monitor your voice and adjusting the sweet spot as required.
Headphones Help Podcasters Foster Effective Communication
Whether your podcast is covering a panel discussion or one-to-one interview, effective communication is key to keep the listeners engaged and hooked. This is where a pair of headphones can help by acting as a critical tool to facilitate meaningful interactions and seamless exchanges.
Fix the Conversational Gaps
Nowadays, podcasts come with their own set of challenges, especially those that involve multiple participants. Each participant has their unique pace of speech, tonality, and rhythm. Some participants are physically present in the recording studio, while others join remotely with lag issues resulting from poor internet connectivity.
Headphones can help a great deal in such situations. As a podcaster, they can help you bridge conversational gaps by enabling you to hear your guests clearly and without latency issues. By using headphones, you can maintain the flow of the discussions, tackle delays, and pick up on conversation cues.
Understand and Respond to Vocal Nuances
Per the Merrian Webster dictionary, vocal nuances are subtle distinctions or variations in an individual’s voice. Therefore, they play a critical role in smoothly navigating podcast conversations.
Even a minor change in a participant’s emphasis, tone, or volume can impact the direction of a podcast conversation. For example, a subtle change in tone could direct from a casual to serious subject.
Per a study conducted by Michael Kraus of the Yale University School of Management, our sense of hearing may be stronger than our sense of sight when it comes to assessing and understanding human emotions.
Headphones can help podcasters understand and respond to vocal nuances. With headphones, you can ensure you are not talking over your guests or missing out on critical vocal cues. Therefore, headphones can help you respond efficiently, lead more engaging and insightful discussions, provide assurance, ask important questions, or navigate the conversation as required.
Headphones Help Podcasters Develop the Perfect Audio Experience for Their Listeners
Podcasting is a lot more than telling stories using mere words. Podcasts also rely on audio clips, sound effects, music tracks, etc., to deliver a holistic storytelling experience to the listeners.
This is where headphones can act as a valuable tool for podcasters. Let’s see how!
Preview the Audio Before It Reaches Your Listeners
With headphones, you can get a first-hand experience of your podcast and determine how it will sound to your audiences.
You can use this experience to make real-time adjustments (deliver, pace, volume, etc.) to your podcast recordings.
Monitor Additional Sound Elements
As already mentioned above, podcasts also rely on multiple sound elements, such as audio clips, music tracks, sound effects, sound transitions, and so on to enhance the sonic appeal of their podcasts or emphasize important parts.
However, the use of these additional sound elements requires attention to detail and careful balance. For example, if the additional sound elements are too loud, they can overpower the verbal content and reduce the podcast recording’s clarity.
Podcasters can use headphones to achieve the perfect balance between additional sound elements and the spoken content. Headphones can help you monitor additional sound elements in real-time and ensure they blend smoothly into the conversation, instead of hampering it.
Headphones Help Podcasters Prevent and Fix Audio Bleed
One of the most pressing issues with podcast recordings is audio bleed (or sound leakage). When your podcasting mic picks up sound from your recording device’s speaker(s), you may experience audio bleed, which can lead to an echo or reverb in the recording and diminish its quality. The result is disrupted listening experience for your audiences.
Ensure Audio Bleed Prevention in Podcasts
By using headphones, you can trap the audio output in an enclosed space and ensure it doesn’t get picked up by your podcasting mic.
Therefore, headphones can help podcasters minimize or eliminate the risk of audio bleed and ensure clear, crisp and distortion-free audio.
If your podcast involves multiple participants, encourage all of them to wear headphones to prevent their mics’ from picking up each other’s voice and reduce the chances of audio bleed.
Closed-Back, Over-Ear Headphones Are Best for Podcasters!
Yes, that’s right. Over-ear headphones with a closed back can be an excellent choice for podcasters as they:
- Offer excellent sound quality
- Are comfortable
- Ensure great noise isolation
- Prevent audio bleed
However, they can be bulkier and less portable than on-ear headphones or in-ear monitors.
Per our experience, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Headphones are the best podcast headphones on the market, followed by Sennheiser HD280 Pro and Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 80.