Let me begin this article by defining field recording for those who are unfamiliar. Field recording, simply put, is a lasting copy of sounds or images created outside of a controlled studio environment,
You’ll need a pair of headphones to record those field noises at their best, and not just any headphones, but a few particular ones that can do what we need.
Don’t get me wrong: there aren’t any dedicated field recording headphones, but there are lots of good options, that will do the work just fine.
I’ll go over the best headphones for field recording in this article. Make sure to stay till the end and enjoy.
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Top 3 Best Headphones for Field Recording
1. Sennheiser HD 280 PRO – Best Value
When it comes to valuable headphones, the audio world is flooded with options, and there are a vast array of choices that cost anywhere from $20 to $30, but are they any good? That, after all, is the key question.
Sennheiser, a German behemoth, can provide just that. Sennheiser is available at all pricing tiers. This time, we’re looking at the Sennheiser HD 280, a pair of professional monitoring headphones that retail for slightly under $100.
In terms of design, those are a pair of utilitarian headphones with an all-black design and nothing flashy on them, just a pair of black headphones.
The HD 280 Pro has a collapsible construction and swiveling ear cups, in addition to its good appearance. As a result, they’re an excellent choice for field testing.
They are, however, extremely bulky, and the non-detachable cable may be a nuisance.
Overall, they are well-built and comfortable; they aren’t the best, but they will suffice.
There is always a trade-off between passive sound isolation and long-term wearing comfort, and the HD 280 Pro opts for the former. HD 280 Pro features a rather significant clamping force to enhance passive sound isolation.
They’re a pair of studio monitoring headphones in terms of sound quality. What I mean by that is that their sound profile is neutral across all frequency ranges. They offer an overall neutral sound profile, which allows the sound to come through as it is, with no enhancements, which makes them ideal for field recording.
- Unrivaled Passive Sound Isolation
- Great Build Quality
- Sennheiser Sound
- Unbeatable Value
- They Could Have Been More Louder
The Comfort is not the best, it can put pressure on your head
2. Shure SE215 PRO – Best IEM
So far, we’ve learned that earbuds with the prefix “Pro” in their name must be good
Shure is already a household name in the world of headphones. However, their costs have mainly been quite expensive, and most people have chosen to go elsewhere for more affordable headphones.
Shure has opted to cut its pricing with the debut of the SE215 while maintaining the superb sound for which they are recognized. The Shure SE215 PRO in-ear buds are no exception to their reputation for producing high-quality items.
They are just a pair of IEMs, so there isn’t much to them in terms of design, but I like the transparent look they have, which makes them look rather cool and professional with all the visible wires inside.
The detachable cable is a distinguishing trait that simplifies cleaning, maintenance, and ear tip replacement. Although it might be a bit too thick and that bothers some people.
Finding a good fit shouldn’t be too difficult because they’re meant to fit snugly, that’s somehow what makes them perfect in-ear earbuds for field recording, carrying them with you should not be a problem at all.
The star of the show here is the sound isolation, I think it is impossible to find better noise isolation earbuds than those ones, while ANC earbuds are something else, SE215 Pro does that without the help of extra feature/technology.
As far as sound goes, they sound something you would expect from a top-tier brand that produces only high-end products. Those are IEM meaning you will see them in professional stages a lot, the neutral sound they offer is just splendid.
- Cool Looking Design
- Detachable Cable
- Great Audio Quality
- Unbeatable Passive Noise Isolation
- No in-line controls
- Bass could have been better
3. Audio-Technica ATH-M50X – Best Overall
If you were to compile a list of the greatest headphones, it wouldn’t be complete without the Audio-Technica ATH-M50X; those headphones are just outstanding when it comes to overall use or especially for professional work.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones have been praised for their excellent sound quality and low price.
It’s funny how some audiophiles even go as far as billing them as “life-changing” headphones, I guess those are not just some hollow statements.
If you want to look showy with these, you’ve come to the wrong place; they’re neither flashy nor stylish, but audiophiles will immediately notice them.
The ATH-M50X has a very plain design that doesn’t draw attention. It’s not that they don’t look good; it’s just that Audio-Technica intended them to be simple and unobtrusive.
Another notable aspect of the ATH-M50X is its comfort. The ear cups’ plush padding engulfs your ears without causing discomfort.
The headband has the same soft cushioning as the earcups and the headband adjusts to numerous different levels to fit even the largest heads.
Their closed design, on the other hand, provides a significant amount of passive noise isolation, making them ideal for recording.
If there were a pair of headphones that could be used for any type of listening, it would have to be the ATH-M50X.
Those are a pair of really versatile headphones that will appeal to a wide range of users, but especially bass heads, due to their tight and powerful bass response.
That said, they are extremely accurate in terms of tracking and critical listening. Definitely one of the best headphones for field recording you can get your hands on.
- Great Comfort
- Good Durability
- Simple yet, Attractive Design
- Great Bass Response
- Great Overall Audio quality
- When used for lengthy periods of time, they can be a little uncomfortable.
- In some cases, the long cable that comes with it may be overwhelming.
(I was hard-pressed to find cons)
Field Recording Considerations
There are a few important factors you need to consider when it comes to recording on the field, you don’t simply want to buy the first headphones that pop up on your screen.
The most crucial aspect would be noise isolation. It will be difficult to locate and angle your microphones precisely for best performance if your headphones do not isolate you from your surroundings.
Please note that I am not referring to active noise-canceling(ANC) headphones, but rather headphones that can block outside sounds in a passive manner, not through technology.
Another factor to consider is impedance. You want something with a low amount of impedance.
Your field recorder isn’t powerful enough to power high-impedance headphones.
The comfort your headphones offer will be another thing on your consideration list. When you will be outside recording, you will be there for a few good hours, so comfort is something you need to seek.
Not only that but once you are done with field recording you have to think about post-processing.
When you go out for field recording, headphones are not the only thing you are taking with you, instead, you will have a bunch of other equipment with you.
Make sure the headphones you are about can make the transporting process a breeze by being portable, would be great if they can fold.
Having a pair of headphones that are precise in monitoring is another important factor.
You want to be able to hear the identical sounds that you heard outside, at your studio, or at home as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do you need to record in the field?
First thing first, you want to get a good field recorder. Once you got the field recorder you will need a wind protector since wind it can mess with your field recorder and microphone.
How Do I Field Record the Wild-Life?
Due to the risks involved, recording wildlife can be difficult, nonetheless, there are various methods for doing so, such as using a shotgun microphone.
What’s great about looking for headphones for field recording is that there are a lot of nice ones out there that reproduce the sound exactly as it is at a reasonable price.
A pair of headphones for field recording won’t break the bank; instead, they’ll be simple, with good passive isolation and sound.
This brings us to the end of today’s article. If you enjoyed what you’ve read thus far, you’ll find some further reading material below.
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You’ll never find anyone more passionate about audio as me. I love to share my knowledge with others and help people find the right equipment for them.