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Headphones for Voiceover

Nowadays when having a home studio is required of almost all voice talent, having a headset is essential so you can hear any problems creeping in, such as hum, crackle or other electrical noise. However, using closed back headphone can take away the naturalism in your voice—many voice acting coaches advise “take off the headphones if you want to sound natural”. Another alternative is to wear your headphone one ear on, one ear off, or use semi-open back headphones.

While Recording

You do NOT need “superior sound” when recording—you’re not listening to music! Yes, folks with bigger budgets may spend thousands on studio equipment, and there ARE headphones that cost over $100,000! Instead of driving yourself crazy—start with the AKG K240STUDIO semi-open back headphones with replaceable cord. Great price AND are among the best reviewed (reviews: SweetwaterGuitarcenterAmazon). Since most studios don’t offer semi-open back headphones, having a pair to take with you can be a good idea if you are going to a physical studio.

Another open-back alternative is the Samson Technologies SR850 Semi Open-Back Studio Reference Headphones (AmazonSweetwaterAudiophile ReviewAudioMentor Review) or the Superlux HD-681.

Many times at a studio you will only be able to hear the producers on the talkback coming through your headphones. Similarly if producers want to connect to your home studio—headphones are better than piping them in through a studio monitor (professional room speaker).

Alternatively, check out the latest reviews of good closed-back headphones under $150 at the WireCutter (Sony MDR-7506’s are a frequent winner) if you prefer using standard closed back headphones when recording in your home studio. The Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO is always a good choice in closed back headphones as well.

For Editing

Whether you edit through earbuds (fine for most new voiceover talent) or a headset (don’t edit through speakers), you should to do a hearing test (and room test if you will be listening through speakers), and install and adjust an equalizer on your equipment (on your computer for most people) to “fix” your hearing.

Although reducing breath, plosive and sibilance sounds does NOT require super high-fidelity playback, you DO need to hear frequency range somewhat accurately, so do the hearing test every few years. Your hearing changes as you get older.