Why is it instrumental to use headphones in the first place? When recording a voice-over, you don’t want to pick up sound from the speakers. With the speakers on, you jeopardize the recording quality. This is where headphones lead the game – just listen to the playback in a quiet location with no distortions, and you’re all set.
Now, what kind of headphones are the best fit for voice-overs? As a rule, pros prefer circumaural ‘closed-back’ devices. Closed-back actually means that the outside part of the headphone cups is solid, whereas ‘open-back’ leaves the back of the ear cups open. A hard ‘closed’ enclosure seems a more viable option since it prevents sound leaks, and steers away background noises perceived by the mic. On the other hand, open-back devices sound way larger and more natural, which might be an upside in some scenarios.
In this brief review, I’m putting two headphone types together so you can judge for yourself and see which features work better in your case.
1. Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphone (new model)
Power users maintain Sennheiser HD280PRO is the industry standard, which might be true, as far as I’m concerned.
Looking for dynamic closed-back headphones? HD280 could be your top choice.
Lightweight, ergonomic, nice look and feel.
A soft option for beginners and voice-over experts alike.
Warm, natural sound with no extra gadgets involved.
These headphones are the epitome of comfortable. Nifty around-the-ear design, ear cups that really stand out – well… metaphorically speaking.
Here’s a brief video review of HD280PRO. The review includes main tech features, applications and purchase tips:
2. Sennheiser HD 650 Open Back Professional Headphone
An open-back that will make the most picky audiophiles happy, Sennheiser HD 650 appeals to pros and covers amateur needs as well.
This is real high end and everything that goes with it, incredible dynamic range, miraculous mids and bass, and clear highs.
Great extension and sound stage, boosted frequency response at 10 – 39,500 Hz (-10 dB).
Need a soft touch on the ears? You got it!
Custom-designed acoustic silk helps to reduce total harmonic distortion to as little as 0.05%
High power neodymium magnets for top efficiency. Lightweight voice coils for rapid transient response.
Take a look at the video and judge for yourself:
3. Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone
A pro choice, Sony MDR7506 offers balanced low, medium and high tones.
The overall design makes a good impression, the headband will work fine for any taste, and the ear cups are soft and comfortable.
Sound leakage is minimal, with solid noise reduction. Frequency response of 10Hz – 20 kHz.
These headphones fold up easily in case you need to travel or store them with a minimal ‘footprint’.
Need more details? Check out this video review from Hifi Heaven pointing out the great value behind the Sony MDR7506:
4. Sony MDRXB800 Extra Bass Over The Head 50mm Driver Headphone, Black
This Sony model has an edge over the competition in the low tones, and many more perks!
Cheap, stylish, foldable, smart construction (earpiece-earpiece design-over-the-head) – what else could you ask for?
Cable length – 3.94 ft; maximum frequency response at 28 kHz
Realistic, natural sound, and bass, genuine BASS, if you are into it.
How else is it different from the MDR7506? Get more insights from a popular vlogger:
5. Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO, 250 ohms
For a moderate cost, the closed-back Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO model puts in some quality sounds and improved bass response.
A nice trade-off in between solid features and reasonable price.
Stylish design with rugged headband construction.
Comfort and ease-of-use with single-sided cableSoft ear cushions.
Impressive high and mid-range reproduction.
2-year warranty if purchased from an authorized reseller.
Learn more details in this HomeTracks review and consider these headphones for your home recording studio:
6. Beyerdynamic DT-990-Pro-250 Professional Acoustically Open Headphones 250 Ohms
A seasoned performer in the mid-range, the DT-990-Pro-250 open-back from Beyerdynamic offers an extraordinarily wide frequency range, and more!
250-ohm drivers, superb sound reproduction.
Lightweight diaphragm and exceptional impulse performance.
Like the DT 770, this one has an adjustable, padded headband construction, and goes soft on your ears thanks to the tender velour ear pads.
All this comes with a traditional 2-year manufacturer warranty.
Get more information from this HardwareCanucks review and see which Beyerdynamic product meets your requirements:
7. Shure SRH1540 Premium Closed-Back Headphones
Excuse the bad pun, but this is the headphone device you can be sure about. The close-ear Shure SRH1540 looks gorgeous and never fails in terms of quality, be it voice-overs or any other possible scenario.
It’s a perfect blend of good looks and good sound, with utmost comfort included.
The headphones have garnered a bunch of positive reviews from voice-over pros, high-end fans and audiophiles across the globe. All these people just can’t be wrong, and I totally agree.
What’s special about them?
An extensive soundstage with clear highs and warm basses.
The classic closed-back design helps reduces background noises.
Steel driver frame for improved linearity, eliminated internal resonance and smooth performance at various levels.
Ergonomic, fully adjustable headband for ultimate comfort.
Feel free to learn more in an elaborate video clip from Z Review:
8. Shure SRH1840 Professional Open Back Headphones (Black)
An excellent pair of headphones, the SRH1840 open-back raises the bar for a full, truly absorbing audial experience.
The circumaural design makes for natural sound, wide stereo and boosted field depth.
External noises aside, the sound is well balanced with solid bass, mids in the right spectrum and highs bright and clear.
Lightweight, yet durable – a close rival to its SRH1540 sibling!
9. AKG K 240 MK II Stereo Studio Headphones
AKG were once famous for their flagship K1000 series. The up-to-date semi-open K240 model follows this remarkable legacy and adds more features.
The over-ear design gives you an awesome feeling, however long the voice-over.
Check it out and appreciate the firm bass, airy highs and the ample dynamic range.
The headband can be self-adjusted to cater to individual preferences.
AKG is undoubtedly one the most celebrated studio standards and a top pick for audiophiles and sound professionals worldwide.
For a quick unboxing and thoughts on this model, watch this video review:
10. Audio-Technica ATH-R70x Professional Open-Back Reference Headphones
All about spaciousness and rich sound, these award-winning open-back headphones from AT will make most picky audiophiles happy.
Incredibly light to wear, with big comfortable cups – ATH R70x will deliver the utmost usability even for long recording sessions.
The model comes with nifty magnets and a pure alloy magnetic circuit that help to eliminate distortion and increase high-frequency response.
The ear pads are soft and breathable.
As for the sound, it reaches the highest standards – natural and clear.
All this with an approximate weight of 0.5 lbs/220 g.
Need video proof? You got it! Learn how these headphones perform in real life, and why the reviewer thinks they stand out from the competition:
11. Status Audio CB-1 Closed Back Studio Monitor Headphones
Status Audio CB-1 has been designed for pro use and covers all voice-over needs from A to Z.
You got all you need in this closed-back – no sound leaks, no distractions, no hiccups.
Aside from nice sound rejection, Status excels in durability.
However far you try stretching the band, don’t expect any cracks or breaks. It’s rock-solid, yet flexible.
The ear-pads are soft, smooth and ergonomic, attaining the same or higher level of comfort as the close competitors on the list.
Moreover, these headphones are foldable. Looking for a smaller form factor? All you need is a gentle touch, and they fold.
The package comes with decent cabling: two detachable cables, coiled and straight, with twist-lock available.
A CLE Tech review suggests this might be the best pair of headphones under $100. Watch the video, and judge for yourself:
Now that I’ve rolled out a few of my top picks, it’s time for a verdict. Since we have the best headphones for voice-overs in mind, it’s only fair that we favor closed-backs. However, some open-ear models are so gorgeous and brilliant we can’t help giving them full credit. So if I have to give out two awards, the first one will go to the Shure SRH1540 Closed-Back for its excellent noise reduction and smart adaptability, and just because I love the look and feel. The second award is granted to the Audio-Technica ATH-R70x Professional Open-Back for its spacious sound and ergonomic design.
Am I missing some brand that deserves attention? Give me a shout! Any feedback is welcome.