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If you spend hours listening to audio, gathering important information, and transcribing it into the text format, you probably need a good headphone for transcription. As a tech writer, I’m responsible for conducting interviews with tech experts for my articles and blogs. I often transcribe the calls, which helps me keep track of what was discussed in the conversation.
I prefer the best headphones for transcription that have built-in noise-canceling features to offer clear and crisp audio. Some of these headphones even incorporate volume control, so you never miss important information. After several days of in-depth testing, I've rounded up the 6 best headphones for transcription so you can choose the one that matches your work style best.
A headphone for transcription is a specially designed headphone type that makes audio sound significantly clear and clean. If you're a professional transcriber, you'll probably need headphones with some advanced features like noise cancellation, volume control, and excellent vocal clarity. When the audio is clear and crisp, it helps the transcriber create more accurate transcripts — and, that too, in less time.
There are tons of good headphones for transcription that offer great sound quality along with many robust features that transcribers usually need. Here's what I looked for when testing the best headset for transcription.
Design: Nearly all headphones for transcription do the same function — they make the audio clear for effective transcription, but what differentiates them from one another is the design. You'll need to pay close attention to this factor and choose headsets that feel comfortable.
Price: The cost of headsets can range from a few to hundreds of dollars — and that's why it's important to have a budget in mind before choosing one. But make sure your decision isn't completely dependent on the price of the product.
Type: This is something you need to pay extra attention to! If you're someone like me who doesn't like wired headphones, you probably need to look for the best wireless headset for dictation.
Working Environment: I often record (or listen to audio) in a quiet environment, and that's the reason the recordings are clear. However, there are instances when I receive noisy audio that needs to be heard and accurately transcribed. In this case, it's better to choose headphones with a noise-canceling feature.
There are dozens of headphones available. For this article, I considered almost 30 of them, and — to be honest — only a few of them were good. If you don't want to settle for a mediocre headset, here are my top 6 picks.
Sony is one of the biggest names in the market, and I'd say it's one of the best options for most professionals prepared to pay for a headphone. It's easy to use, incredibly sturdy, and fits quite comfortably over the ear. Although the price is a bit on the higher side, its timeless design and excellent sound quality are worth the money.
Sony MDR-7506 efficiently cuts the background noise for studio-quality audio.
They're quite comfortable and a great choice for sound editing.
These headphones are made of sturdy and durable metal.
They are quite bulky and might slip off your head while performing light exercises.
They also feature a heavy and non-detachable coiled cable.
These headphones by Sony are larger than standard headsets.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x is a good headphone set for top engineers and audio professionals. They're portable closed-back headphones perfect for long sessions in the recording studio. The extended frequency range with deep, accurate bass response is the reason behind exceptional sound clarity. It's certainly one of the best Bluetooth headsets for dictation — if you don't mind paying its high cost.
Unlike Sony MDR-7506 Professional Headphones, these headsets for transcription come with detachable cables.
They are very sturdy and comfortable.
There's also a Bluetooth adapter (optional) available.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x is relatively larger compared to other headphones.
They're a bit pricey compared to other options available out there.
These headphones are large and might not properly fit everyone.
If you need one of the best medical transcription headphones but don't want an extremely expensive option, you should try ECS WordMaster Around-The-Ear Deluxe Overhead USB Transcription. In fact, it perfectly blends great sound quality and comfort — making this transcription headset a favorable choice for many. What makes it different from others in this list is the premium in-line built-in sound card that delivers superior audio quality without background noise.
The USB headphones are quite convenient.
These headphones maintain clarity even at high volumes.
They are compatible with both Windows and Mac.
The headphones could be a little tighter in design as they fall easily from the head.
Sometimes, the headsets can feel uncomfortable.
It may not be the ideal choice for listening to music.
The HD 280 PRO is a professional-looking headset for transcription from Sennheiser that is best known for its collapsible design and swiveling ear cups. The great thing about HD 280 PRO is the high ambient noise attenuation and comfortable design. If you wish to carry the headset wherever you go, then this Sennheiser Professional HD 280 PRO might be the right pick for you.
The Sennheiser Professional HD 280 PRO is affordable and pretty much light in weight.
It can effectively block out high-frequency noise from the audio recording.
The build of the headphones is robust and sturdy.
Just like the Sony MDR-7506, the Sennheiser Professional HD 280 PRO also comes with a non-detachable cable.
There's no active noise cancellation feature available.
It lacks isolation in the base range.
If you want a headset that is affordable and looks stylish, then AKG K72 Studio Headphones is an obvious headset for dictation to try out. It features a low-impedance design and comes with a broad range of playback devices to deliver clear sound in the studio and beyond. While they’re not quite sturdy and well-built, they are a decent pair of closed-back headphones on the market.
The AKG K72 Studio Headphones are a great blend of affordability and style.
It has a closed-back design so all the sound directly reaches your ear.
The ear pads are quite breathable and comfortable.
The mid-range response is quite weak, which can be an issue if you're a professional transcriber.
The cushioning might feel stiff.
The isolation in the headphones is mediocre compared to other studio-quality options.
Bose QuietComfort 35 II is a relatively feature-rich wireless Bluetooth headset that has quickly become the new favorite for many people. What I love so much about this wireless Bluetooth headset is its stylish design and noise-cancellation feature. You can even adjust the noise canceling between two different levels to better fit the work environment.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II is built with corrosion-resistant stainless steel, impact-resistant materials, and glass-filled nylon.
It has a battery life of around 20 hours.
The dedicated Bose Connect app provides easy access to everything that the product offers.
While this is one of the best wireless headsets for dictation, it comes at a premium price.
You'll need the Bose Connect app to use some features like noise cancellation and EQ adjustments.
The audio profile seems to be overly bass-heavy.
Notta is a great audio-to-text converter that works using the automatic speech recognition engine. It extracts the audio from the file and then transcribes the spoken words into text. It's one of the most accurate AI transcription apps that make little to no mistakes in identifying brand names or different speakers.
It's pretty easy to use: just go to the Notta dashboard and select ‘Record an Audio’ to start the recording and real-time transcribing process. The transcribed file will be safely saved to the Notta Web App — so you can access it anytime you want to refer to the information.
The best part? The turnaround time is lightning-fast, with an accuracy rate of 98.86%. Notta also has a Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Webex integration to automatically transcribe all the meetings. Recently, Notta has also launched the summary feature to provide an AI summary of all the generated transcripts.
Bose QuietComfort 35 II is one of the best medical transcription headsets. It features an advanced noise cancellation technology and provides up to 20 hours of long battery life. If you want a less expensive solution, then the ECS WordMaster Around-The-Ear Deluxe Overhead USB Transcription sounds like a good choice.
Yes, most great headsets for transcription come with a noise-canceling feature. However, it is not mandatory to look for this feature when buying the best headphones for transcription. For example, if you typically work in a quiet environment, you can skip purchasing headphones with noise cancellation.
A good headphone pair for transcription can make your life easier by delivering accurate sound quality. Any of the six options above will serve you well, so choose the one that suits you best and get started. Remember, finding the best headphones for transcription is an investment in your transcription journey — so make sure to spend time before deciding on the one for you. If you don't want to spend on headphones, simply download the Notta AI transcription app designed for both desktop and mobile devices to make transcribing audio and video files an absolute breeze.