best-headphones-for-teaching-online

Best Headphones for Teaching Online

If you've begun teaching online over the past year, you've likely discovered that it can be difficult to manage the various sound sources and to hear your students with the necessary clarity unless you have a quality pair of headphones or earbuds. Personally, I much prefer to use over the ear headphones for several reasons. First, they're much more comfortable when using for long periods of time. Second, it's easier to hear my own speaking voice naturally rather than through in-ears. When I can hear some of my acoustic speaking voice, I find it easier to focus on the content of my speech rather than just how is sounds in my monitors. Third, I like being able to have the option to only listen through one ear if I should choose to hear my instrument acoustically.

There is a wide variety of price points and quality for over the ear headphones and in this post, we'll highlight several models in reasonably affordable price points which give the user a lot of bang for the buck. These will be headphones which sound good, are comfortable, and are durable. Also, I've specified only models which have a 1/4" plug so that they can be connected to the headphone jack of an audio interface, though a few of these have a removable adaptor which exposes an 1/8" plug for connecting directly to a computer if one so chooses. When paired with a quality USB microphone and a computer, you'll have everything you need to get started teaching online.

The Sony MDR7506 headphones can be found in nearly every recording studio and live music venue in the world. Nearly every Broadway and touring production and recording studio I've ever set foot in has offered this model as the stock headphones available to all of their musicians. There are several solid reasons for this. The Sony MDR7506 headphones sound pretty good. Not amazing, but decent. They're priced reasonably and can be purchased on Amazon for around $99.95, which includes a convenient carry bag. They're extremely comfortable and they're durable. Speaking of durability, I once got the skin between my thumb and forefinger stuck in one of the joints of the headphone just moments before the downbeat as I was about to play keyboard on a Broadway show and was so desperately trying to remove my stuck hand that I even attempted to break the headphones so I could remove my pinched hand and play my keyboard part, yet I still was unable to break them. I did finally free my hand just seconds before the conductor's baton landed on the ictus, and my hand was in pain for several days, but I digress.

The Sony MDR7506 headphones have a frequency response of 10Hz to 20kHz, and feature a generous 9.8 foot cord with a 1/4" adaptor on the end, giving the user the flexibility to use them with 1/4" or 1/8" jacks. For my taste, I find that these headphones can lack some clarity, particularly during loud passages, but are generally quite solid. For me, the gold standard is my Ultimate Ears in-ear monitors, against which everything falls short.

These fold up into a compact shape which can easily be carried around in the sturdy bag that Sony provides. Thanks to their aforementioned durability, you can feel confident tossing them into your carry bag or into a drawer without having to worry about damaging them.

Available on Amazon:
Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone

For sound quality and comfort, I much prefer the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X Audiophile Open-Air Headphones, though at $119.95 (on sale), I understand that this might not be within everyone's budget. That said, I believe there are several compelling reasons for the splurge.

In my opinion, the Audio-Technica product simply sounds better. The Sony MDR7506 is a great value and offers solid sound quality, but the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X is in another league. Also, the Audio-Technica headphones are open-air, thus allowing the user to hear more ambient sound from the outside, which I find to be much easier when going back and forth between playing an acoustic instrument, listening to sound on a computer, and listening to one's own voice. In short, these are a great option for teaching (or podcasting or singing).

The 53mm drivers reproduce clear treble and midrange, and the frequency response is 20 - 20,000Hz. These feature the same connectivity as the Sony MDR7506 in the form if an 1/8" jack combined with a 1/4" adaptor.

Available on Amazon:
Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X Audiophile Open-Air Headphones

The V-MODA Crossfade LP2 Over-Ear Headphones have quickly become one of my favorite headphones whether for work or for just listening to music for personal enjoyment. These came recommended to me by a TONY nominated Broadway sound designer, and the recommendation was spot on.

Featuring a removable cable with a built-in microphone, these are super convenient for Zoom calls and phone calls, and the removable 1/4" adaptor makes these ideal for travel and work as they can be easily used with your favorite audio interface or simply connected to the headphone jack on your computer.

But most importantly, the V-MODA Crossfade Headphones sound great! I was absolutely shocked when I put these on and began listening to my favorite music as I heard details I had never heard before. It was like I was hearing the music for the first time. These have since become my go-to headphones for working at home as well as for longterm travel. The V-MODA Crossfade Headphones are also incredibly durable and come with a convenient hardshell case into which they can fold up in a compact shape easily.

Available on Amazon:
V-MODA Crossfade LP2 Over-Ear Headphones

Summary

While there are many great over the ear headphones on the market, from my experience, the three mentioned in this post are some of the best when factoring in sound quality, comfort, and durability. I've used all three of them and can recommend any one of them, though for my taste, I tend to gravitate toward the V-MODA option. Whether you intend to use your headphones for online teaching, music creation, or listening for your own pleasure, you can't go wrong with any of these models.

Available on Amazon:
Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone

Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X Audiophile Open-Air Headphones

V-MODA Crossfade LP2 Over-Ear Headphones

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