Top 5 Best Headphones For Podcasting Under $100 Of 2021


A great pair of headphones can really benefit a podcast. Podcasting has made it easy to get your message out there with such a low barrier to entry but high-end sound quality is still a concern if you want a professional product.

With a $100 USD price cap, there are plenty of great options for podcasting headphones. In this article, we’ll go through the best options to help you pick out the best headphones for your podcast.

The top 5 best podcasting headphones under $100 are:

Of course, any list like this is subjective but each of the above-mentioned headphones is a superb choice for under $100!

Since we’re having a discussion within the context of a price cap, I figure I should leave a link to a related My New Microphone article: Are Expensive Headphones (Or Cheap Headphones) Worth It?

Related article: Top 20 Best Microphones For Podcasting (All Budgets).


What Makes A Pair Of Headphones Great For Podcasting?

Though the term “best” is subjective, we should still list out the criteria used for determining what makes a great pair of podcasting headphones.

  • Comfort: this is perhaps the simplest yet most important criterion of any headphone especially for the longer format podcasts. Though highly subjective, specifications such as weight; contact pressure; earpad shape/material; stiffness, and the overall dimension play a role in comfort.
  • Impedance/device compatibility: compatibility with different audio devices is important. Choose a pair of podcasting headphones that will be easily incorporated into your set up whether that’s a mobile device or a professional studio (and into any future plans for your set up). Impedance and sensitivity ratings come into play when determining compatibility.
  • Frequency response: a great pair of headphones should be able to reproduce the full audible spectrum from 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz with clarity.
  • Bleed/spill: choose a pair of headphones that will minimize sound leakage (bleed/spill) so that the sound of the headphones is not getting picked back up by the microphone(s). Closed-back headphones are a great option for this reason.

With that, let’s get into our top 5 best headphones for podcasting under $100!


Related article: Top Best Headphones For Podcasting Under $200

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Audio-Technica ATH-M40x

First up is the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x (link to check the price on Amazon).

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x

The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x is also featured in the following My New Microphone articles:
Top Best Moving-Coil/Dynamic Headphones Under $100
Top Best Circumaural (Over-Ear) Headphones Under $100

The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x, like all the options on this list, has a circumaural (over-ear), closed-back design. The closed-back design provides passive noise isolation between the outside world and the headphone drivers that minimized potential bleed into the podcasting microphone.

To learn more about closed-back headphones and passive noise cancellation, check out my articles The Complete Guide To Open-Back & Closed-Back Headphones and Passive Vs. Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones, respectively.

With a low impedance of 35 ohms, the ATH-M40x will work with consumer-grade recording hardware without issue. The headphone comes with a detachable 1.2m – 3.0m coiled cable and a 3.0m straight cable with 3.5mm connections. A new purchase of this headphone also comes with a 3.5mm to 6.35mm (1/4″) adapter.

The 40mm dynamic drivers are designed with rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils. Their sound is further tuned by the earcup design for a flat and surprisingly accurate sound across the entire frequency range and beyond (the headphone has a published frequency response of 15 Hz – 24,000 Hz which surpasses the audible spectrum into both infrasound and ultrasound).

For more info on frequency response, check out my article What Is Headphone Frequency Response & What Is A Good Range?

The circumaural design fits nicely around the ears to improve the passive noise isolation and also offers great comfort. These headphones aren’t the most comfortable but for under $100, they can be worn without issue even during long-format podcasts.

These headphones are also pretty durable, withstanding typical wear and tear easily and they’re even collapsible, with 90º-swivelling earcups for space-saving portability.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: 40 mm Dynamic with Neodymium magnet & CCAW (Copper-clad aluminum wire) Voice Coil
  • Impedance: 35 Ω
  • Frequency Response: 15 Hz – 24,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 98 dB
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/Closed-back
  • Weight: 240 g (8.5 oz), without cable and connector
  • Wireless/Wired: Wired

To learn more about headphone specifications, be sure to read my article Full List: Headphone/Earphone Specifications w/ Examples.

Audio-Technica is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 13 Best Headphone Brands In The World.


Shure SRH440

Next up is the Shure SRH440 (link to check the price on Amazon).

Shure SRH440

The Shure SRH440 is also featured in the following My New Microphone articles:
Top Best Moving-Coil/Dynamic Headphones Under $100
Top Best Closed-Back Headphones Under $100
Top Best Circumaural (Over-Ear) Headphones Under $100

The Shure SRH440 is a closed-back circumaural headphone with a professional sound. Its extended frequency response is tuned to accurately reproduce the audio being fed to it. The headphone’s 40mm dynamic drivers are designed for superb bass, clear mids and enjoyable highs. For podcasting, speech is clearly reproduced for superb monitoring (and post-production work).

To learn more about dynamic drivers and driver size, check out my articles The Complete Illustrated Guide To Moving-Coil Dynamic Headphones and What Is A Good Driver Size For Headphones?, respectively.

The nominal impedance of the SRH440 is rated at 44 ohms, which is low enough to work with any consumer or professional device, including what would be used in podcast recording environments. A detachable 3 m (10 ft.) coiled cable and threaded 1/4″ (6.35 mm) gold-plated adapter is included with any new purchase of this Shure headphone.

As would be expected, the closed-back, circumaural design offers a great deal of noise isolation in noisy environments. The headphones can help reduce bleed and phasing issues in podcasting set ups.

Related article: Microphone Polarity & Phase: How They Affect Mic Signals.

The headphone is designed with an adjustable and collapsible headband for improved comfort and portability. The earpads are easily replaceable if and when they wear out.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: 40 mm Dynamic
  • Impedance: 44 Ω
  • Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 22 kHz
  • Sensitivity: 105 dB/mW
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/Closed-back
  • Weight: 311 g
  • Wireless/Wired: Wired

Shure is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 14 Best Earphone/Earbud Brands In The World and Top 13 Best Headphone Brands In The World.


CAD Audio MH510

At spot number 3, let’s discuss the CAD Audio MH510 (link to check the price on Amazon).

CAD Audio MH510

The CAD Audio MH510 boasts the largest driver size of any headphone on this list with 50mm dynamic drivers. That’s not to say that bigger drivers are better. However, the MH510 produces an articulate frequency response (10Hz – 24,000 Hz) with extended lows, smooth mids and life like highs. it a great option for podcasts and for listening to audio in general.

The closed-back circumaural design is highly adjustable for comfort and portability. CAD’s MH510 is also a great choice for minimizing bleed, which is a concern when podcasting.

In terms of aesthetics, the MH510 comes in 1 of 6 optional colours including black, white/red, white/gold, white/chrome, black chrome and black/orange.

The headphone comes with two detachable cables (one 10′ straight and one 3.5’+ coiled). Two sets of earpads are also included to offer different styles of comfort. Of course, there is also a 3.5mm to 6.35mm (1/4″) adapter included with the CAD Audio MH510.

To learn more about 3.5mm and 6.35mm headphone plugs/jacks, check out my article The Differences Between 2.5mm, 3.5mm & 6.35mm Headphone Jacks.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: 50mm Dynamic with Neodymium magnets
  • Impedance: 26 Ω
  • Frequency Response: 10Hz – 24,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 103dB SPL
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/Closed-back
  • Weight: 1.9 lb
  • Wireless/Wired: Wired

Sony MDR-7506

The second last headphone we’ll look at is the Sony MDR-7506 (link to check the price on Amazon).

Sony MDR-7506

The Sony MDR-7506 is another excellent closed-back circumarual headphone under $100.

The Sony MDR-7506 is also featured in the following My New Microphone articles:
Top Best Closed-Back Headphones Under $100
Top Best Circumaural (Over-Ear) Headphones Under $100

This headphone, unlike the others, does not have a detachable cable. Rather, its 9.8 ft cable is permanent. The headphone does, however, come with a gold-plated, stereo Unimatch 1/8″ to 1/4″ adapter.

A 63-ohm nominal impedance is low enough for the headphone to work easily with both consumer and professional audio set ups, making it a great choice for beginner podcasters and seasoned vets alike.

These lightweight headphones are pretty comfortable and can easily be worn throughout a podcast recording session without issue. They fold up for easy storage/portability and fit well on most heads.

These headphones sound great at under $100 for podcasting and general audio across the board.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: 40 mm Dynamic with Neodymium magnets
  • Impedance: 63 Ω
  • Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 20,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 106 dB/W/m
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/Closed-back
  • Weight: 8.1 oz
  • Wireless/Wired: Wired

Sony is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 14 Best Earphone/Earbud Brands In The World and Top 13 Best Headphone Brands In The World.


AKG K240

Last but not least is the AKG K240 (link to check the price on Amazon).

AKG K240

The AKG K240 is also featured in the following My New Microphone articles:
Top Best Moving-Coil/Dynamic Headphones Under $100
Top Best Open-Back Headphones Under $100
Top Best Circumaural (Over-Ear) Headphones Under $100

The K240 professional studio headphones come in well below the $100 limit but still swing well above their price class in terms of performance and comfort. They’re an awesome choice for podcasters of all levels.

The issue with these headphones, in terms of podcasting, is the semi-open design. The headphones are designed for professional applications such as mixing, mastering and playback. While this design does improve the transparency of the sound, it does lead to a bit of bleed. If you can live with that, then these are a great choice.

The patented Varimotion 30mm XXL transducer is the smallest of the headphones on this list. It reproduces audio with accuracy and a superb dynamic range.

The K240 features a professional mini XLR connector (at the headphone) and comes with a 3m cable and convertible jack plug (3.5mm to 6.35mm), making connections to your podcasting equipment simple and easy. A 55-ohm nominal impedance means that audio quality will not be an issue with consumer or professional equipment.

To learn more about headphone impedance, check out my article The Complete Guide To Understanding Headphone Impedance.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: Patented Varimotion 30 mm XXL Transducer
  • Impedance: 55 Ω
  • Frequency Response: 15 Hz – 25,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 104 dB SPL/V
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/Open-back
  • Weight: 240 g (8.47 oz)
  • Wireless/Wired: Wired

To learn more about headphone specifications, be sure to read my article Full List: Headphone/Earphone Specifications w/ Examples.

AKG is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 13 Best Headphone Brands In The World.

The AKG K72 (link to check the price on Amazon) is another great option worth checking out for under $100.

Arthur

Arthur is the owner of Fox Media Tech and author of My New Microphone. He's an audio engineer by trade and works on contract in his home country of Canada. When not blogging on MNM, he's likely hiking outdoors and blogging at Hikers' Movement (hikersmovement.com) or composing music for media. Check out his Pond5 and AudioJungle accounts.

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