As a transcriber you wear headphones for a large part of your day. Finding a pair that is affordable, durable, comfortable, and has great sound quality is very important. In this article we’ll discuss and review ten of the best headphones for transcription.
The links included in the reviews are the most current Amazon.com listings and price data. This page is intended as a guide when considering purchasing headphones for audio transcription.
Best Headphones for Transcription
The Sony MDR7506 Professional is my favorite. Sony has a great line of studio monitors and they provide amazing clarity, ideal for transcribers & audio professionals.
- Terrific sound quality.
- Very sturdy design. These will not break from regular use.
- Fits comfortably over your ear. I’ve noticed very little ear pressure while using these.
- Designed for audio recording professionals & hobbyists so they block out all exterior noises.
- Long sturdy cord that does not get caught or tangled due to its circular design.
- Includes a bag/cover and 1/4” adapter.
- Very sturdy and versatile. These are great for spoken word & music.
- Higher priced than other headphones in the category, but if you take care of these headphones they should last a very long time.
- Larger than a standard pair of headphones.
- No Bluetooth or wireless option.
- Not ideal headphones for being on-the-go or outdoors.
The Spectra USB Transcription Headset is very popular & designed for transcription. It has a USB plug, digital volume control, 10 foot cord, and weighs 1 oz.
- The Spectra headset is very affordable.
- Headset is lightweight and will be comfortable for most users.
- On-set volume control. This allows you to control the volume directly on the headset.
- Terrific vocal clarity.
- These are designed specifically for vocals so music playback could suffer.
- Lightweight plastic headsets are less sturdy than a full sized pair of headphones.
The Sennheiser HD 201 Lightweight Headphones have great audio quality. The lightweight design is ideal for transcribers who wear headphones for hours at a time.
- Reasonably priced. Sennheiser is a reliable brand.
- Very lightweight, ideal for transcribers who type for long periods.
- Blocks out exterior noises very well.
- Great sound clarity.
- Versatile – These headphones can be used for transcription or music playback.
- Comes with a 1/4” adapter. The adapter allows you to connect to a stereo system & musical instruments.
- The bass response is low.
- Not designed specifically for transcription.
The ECS WordSlinger Deluxe USB Transcription Headset is a headset designed specifically for transcription. It comes with on-set audio & volume controls.
- Designed specifically for audio transcription.
- Great volume and word clarity.
- Has on-set audio and volume controls.
- The customized controls are great for files with quiet & distorted audio.
- Headset is well priced.
- Designed for vocals. These would not be ideal for listening to music.
- A lot of buttons and on-board audio options that may not come in handy.
The ECS WordSmith USB Transcription Headset is essentially the same as the WordSlinger Deluxe, (pictured above) but this product is in-ear as opposed to over-the-ear.
Pro: In-ear headsets will block out almost all exterior noises.
Differences Between WordSmith & WordSlinger?
- This product has a 10 foot cord. The WordSlinger has a 7 foot cord.
- The WordSmith is in-ear, the WordSlinger is over-the-ear.
Which Should You Choose?
The choice mainly depends on if you prefer an in-ear headset or an over-the-ear headset. I find over-the-ear design more comfortable, but the in-ear design does block out exterior noises better.
The Logitech USB Headset H570e is a well-priced, versatile headset. Logitech is a very trusted brand that makes a great line of affordable headsets, all of which include a microphone.
- Affordably priced at around $40.
- Includes a microphone. This is perfect for dictating in Dragon’s NaturallySpeaking software, Podcasting, Skype, and Google Voice.
- Lightweight (under 3 ounces)
- Headphones do a very good job of blocking out exterior noises.
- Not ideal for listening to music.
- Not a great headset for outdoors or being on-the-go.
Olympus makes well-priced & lightweight headsets designed for transcription.
- Very lightweight & long cable.
- Comes with two different types of ear pads.
- Priced at around $40 which is more expensive than other headsets in this class.
- Not ideal for listening to music.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones is arguably the best pair of headphones on the market. They are versatile, durable, comfortable, and the sound quality is phenomenal. You can use Bluetooth or plug in directly to your device.
- Very comfortable headphones.
- You can use these as a Bluetooth headset or plug in directly to your computer.
- Well-made and durable.
- Headphones fold up and come with a carrying case.
- Bose speakers have some of the best audio quality you’ll find in today’s marketplace.
- Very versatile headphones. Great for transcription or music playback.
- The only problem is the price. The QuietComfort has a $299 MSRP price tag, but these headphones will hold up over time.
Audio-Technica is a trusted brand that makes great headphones for audio professionals. These have terrific audio clarity.
- Fantastic Audio Quality. These are used by audio professionals around the world.
- Very comfortable ear cups.
- Great variety of color choices.
- There’s an optional Bluetooth adapter designed for these headphones.
- Detachable cable. If your cord rips, you can always replace the cable.
- Very sturdy. This is the type of headset you can own for many years.
- These headphones are large. They would not be great for listening on the go.
- $149 MSRP price tag.
- Similar to the Sony MDR7506 Professional Headphones, but they’re more expensive.
The Bose SoundSport is a great, extremely lightweight pair of Bluetooth earbuds.
- Very lightweight. Less than 1 ounce.
- Sleek design.
- Long Battery Life
- Wireless Bluetooth technology.
- Comes with built-in microphone.
- Very versatile.
- You can take these on the go, transcribe at home, listen to music, work out, etc.
- These headphones do not have a wire. They require a Bluetooth connection.
- Higher priced than a lot of Bluetooth headsets, but Bose is a luxury brand.
Which transcription headphones are best for you?
Everybody has different needs. Some people have big ears (like myself), and smaller headsets and earbuds may not be comfortable in the long-run. Whereas other people like the convenience of the more compact earbuds.
Price is a factor for any purchase, but you don’t have to break the bank on headphones. Luxury brands like Bose & Beats aren’t always necessary for transcription. There are many headsets between $25 and $50 that are great quality, suitable for transcribing, and will hold up over time.
I hope this article was helpful. Comment below if you have a favorite pair of headphones and please leave any questions or comments you might have. Happy transcribing!
Click here to see our reviews of the best transcription software.