Recording audio, whether for a podcast or a YouTube video, can be an expensive hobby. There’s a bunch of equipment necessary to achieve the right audio quality, including a decent microphone, headphones, a mixer, and editing software. Problem is, not everyone has the money to get every piece of equipment.
So, if you need both a microphone and a pair of headphones, why not combine the two and buy a headset with a built-in microphone? These look like regular headphones, except with a microphone appendage, making for a handy 2-in-1 piece of equipment.
If you’re looking for a headset microphone to stream (see also ‘Best Microphone For Streaming‘), record a podcast, or even to just take part in an online meeting, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s our guide to help you find the best headset microphone for recording audio!
#1 Cyber Acoustics Stereo Headset With Microphone
If you’re looking for a bog-standard headset with a microphone, look no further than this Cyber Acoustics headset.
This headset consists of a pair of comfortable headphones, complete with padded earcups and headband, and a noise-canceling microphone that only captures sound from the direction of the microphone.
Comfort is a huge issue with headsets. However, as this headset is padded and adjustable for a universal fit, it can be worn for hours on end without discomfort. Likewise, the microphone is located at a good distance from the face to prevent it touching the skin (which would also disrupt the audio).
As for the microphone quality, the fact the mic only picks up sound coming from the direction of the speaker means it only captures certain sounds rather than ambient interference. So, if you’re recording in a loud home, it will only pick up your voice rather than background sounds.
This headset comes with a 3.5mm plug that is compatible with most devices, such as laptops, desktop computers, and some smartphones.
When testing this product, we appreciated how simple and easy it was to use. Simply plug it into your device, set up whatever application you’re using to record your voice, and speak away!
- Straightforward – Easy to connect and use, by simply connecting the plug into any device
- Comfortable – Padded headband and earcups means it can be used for hours at a time
- No background noise – Microphone only picks up direct noises, meaning no interference
- Not wireless – Some may prefer a wireless option
#2 Shure PGA31-TQG Performance Headset Condenser Microphone
If you’re not bothered about having a full on headphone headset, then you can afford to find something a little more subtle. The Shure headset microphone is ideal for those who don’t like the feel of large headphones, and it works just as well!
This headset is technically designed for performers who need to wear a subtle microphone and headset to hear themselves while they sing or speak.
However, that doesn’t mean that it cannot be connected to a device and a recording or mixing application. So, you can use this headset microphone for recording any type of audio, from podcasts to interviews.
This headset has a flexible gooseneck design, loosely wrapping around the neck and sitting comfortably in the ear to allow the speaker to listen to what the microphone is picking up.
Speaking of the microphone, its unidirectional design means it rejects unwanted interference, allowing for great audio quality and a crisp recording of your voice.
When testing this product, we appreciated how it comes with foam heads to further prevent interference, and an optional clip to help the headset stay in place. Just keep in mind that the connector is a TA4F connector, which isn’t compatible with every device.
- Subtle – Headset and microphone can be easily hidden from view
- Flexible – Adjustable to every head and neck
- Recording and performing – Suitable for recording audio and performing live
- Compatibility – Not compatible with all devices, such as iPhones and some laptops
#3 Audio-Technica PRO 8HEx Hypercardioid Dynamic Headworn Microphone
Another subtle headset option, the Audio-Technica headworn microphone is suitable for both those needing to record audio and performers who need to use their hands to play music or present a presentation.
This is a low-visibility headset, wherein the cushioned headband goes behind the head and cups the ears with the foam-padded earcups. While these headsets are often uncomfortable, the padded extras help to prevent irritation.
Plus, the headband and microphone are adjustable to fit all head sizes.
The microphone is hypercardioid, meaning it is isolated from external sounds that would disrupt the audio. So, when the microphone is facing towards your mouth, the only sound it will pick up is your voice, which is ideal for recording audio either at a gig or in a loud home.
The mic can also be pivoted to suit the user.
When testing this product, we were pleasantly surprised by the audio quality of the voice reproduction, making it a great option for recording artists and musicians. Just keep in mind that it only connects to a XLRM-type connector, so the compatibility isn’t greatly versatile.
- Good for performers – Ideal for performers and those who need to use their hands while recording
- Low-visibility – Hidden behind head and hair for a subtle appearance
- High-quality audio – Provides crisp and clear audio that avoids interference
- Compatibility – Only connects to the connector, so might be hard to connect to some laptops and smartphones
#4 Shure WH20XLR Dynamic Headset Microphone
One problem with low-visibility headsets is that they aren’t really suitable for people with smaller heads. Sure, they might be somewhat adjustable, but you might need something that provides a little more stability and security. That’s where this Shure headset microphone comes in.
Despite being a wireframe, low-visibility headset, this product comes with a handy detachable belt clip that goes behind the head and works to tighten the product. So, if you’re a younger person or someone with a smaller head, this will really benefit you.
It’s also elasticated for extra adjustability and comfort.
The microphone on this headset is on the end of an extra-strong and flexible cable to prevent breakage. It only focuses on immediate audio, thanks to the high-input clipping level which is designed to eliminate interference and distortion.
This is ideal for both performing live and recording different types of audio.
The headphone is located on one side of this headset. Despite its small size, the headphone offers a smooth sound and natural frequency, so you can hear the audio received from the microphone as naturally as possible.
When testing this product, we were impressed by its versatility. Not only is it good for connecting to an amp for performing, but it can also be connected to a mixer to record and edit audio for a range of purposes.
- Good size – Adjustable size is suitable for most head sizes
- High-quality audio – Hypercardioid microphone provides excellent sound quality without distortion or interference
- Versatile – Can connect to an amp or a mixer depending on the use
- Headphone – Headphone only goes in one ear, which might not be a preference for some
#5 Eaglend USB Headset With Microphone
If you want a pair of headphones with a microphone attached, then look no further than the Eaglend headset. This headset is ideal for those who don’t like the low-visibility headsets, as the headphones are often considered much more comfortable and better for hearing the audio.
These headphones are designed for hours of use thanks to the padded earcups and headband, as well as the breathable materials to prevent sweat. Attached is a 270-degree microphone, which only picks up on your voice and restricts outside noises.
These headphones have been tested by professionals to ensure a high-quality audio experience, whether it’s for gaming, participating in an online livestream, or recording a podcast. Plus, they provide a nice, clear bass, which is great for those who want to record music.
A small feature that we like about this product is that the headphones can be worn with the microphone either on the left or right. This is ideal for those who have left-handed, as this isn’t a feature often found in headset microphones.
- Comfortable – Padded and breathable material makes the headphones comfortable to wear for long periods of time
- Adjustable – Microphone can be worn on the left or right ear, and the earmuffs can rotate
- High-quality microphone – Microphone picks up sounds from a 27-degree angle, eliminating outside noise
- Long wire – Wire is fairly long and might get tangled easily
As it’s more common to buy a separate microphone and a pair of headphones, there are some things to consider when looking for a headset microphone for recording audio.
Headphones Vs Headset
There are clear differences between headphones and a headset, and whichever you prefer purely comes down to personal preference.
Headphones are bulky, over-ear audio listening devices that go over the head and ears. They are typically padded for comfort and provide a louder listening volume than headsets, making them suitable for recording, editing, and playback.
They also typically come with a good bass system, which is why musicians prefer to wear headphones.
Headsets, on the other hand, shine for their subtlety. They go behind the head and neck, with the small headphone going into one or both ears. They are typically used for performing, and often for recording audio when it is being filmed.
Both headsets and headphones are great options for listening to audio, so it mostly depends on whether you want the headphones to be seen or not.
When we talk about the shape and size of a microphone, we don’t mean that smaller microphones are inherently worse than larger ones. Instead, look out for the word “hypercardioid”.
Hypercardioid is a microphone that has a directional pickup pattern. This pattern is typically less than 360 degrees, which would otherwise pick up every surrounding sound as well as the vocals. So, to focus the microphone just on your voice, opt for a hypercardioid microphone.
These microphones typically have a 270-degree (or less) range that eliminates the disruption of sound coming from external forces, such as people in the room or objects falling. This will ultimately improve the audio quality and make editing far easier.
Finally, make sure that the headset microphone is compatible with whatever device you want to record the audio on. Luckily, most headset microphones are compatible with mixers and amps, but it’s always wise to check this before you purchase one.
Frequently Asked Question
Is Headphone/Mic Good For Recording?
While headphone microphones are handy for gaming, streaming, and communicating online, they’re not typically the best option for recording audio.
If you’re a professional or serious audio recorder (whether you’re a musician or podcaster), it is generally recommended to invest in a recording microphone and headphone, as these provide better quality audio.