Audiobooks are by no means a new form of entertainment and they’ve made reading fashionable again. But thanks to streaming services like Audible, they have grown in popularity in recent years.
On the other side of the same coin is podcasts, which are quickly becoming a mainstay source of news and entertainment for a lot of people. Both of these forms of entertainment have a lot in common, as they are mainly conveyed through voice, which is best heard clearly and not muddled by tone altering headphones.
There are hundreds of different purposes a person could want to use headphones for, from playing on mobile roulette apps to listening to the latest news on the go. Therefore, there’s a lot of personal preference involved in buying a new headset. But there are aspects which should be non-negotiable for anybody intent on enjoying audiobooks and podcasts.
- Comfort – Headphones or earbuds need to be comfortable enough to use for several hour-long sessions without causing any pain at all. Cup size, head pressure weight and general fit all need to be taken into consideration.
- Wireless – For audiophile precision grade listening, wireless is typically considered a bad idea. For audiobooks and podcasts, wireless can be great. The ability to take a walk or laze about on the couch while listening to your favourite book can only benefit from an untethered experience.
- Audio Balance – The human voice range usually extends from 85Hz to 180Hz for males and 165Hz to 255Hz for females. This puts the human voice from upper base into the mids of the frequency band. Headphones with the typical V-band may produce some male voices as louder than higher female voices, while headphones which prioritize the top end may become fatiguing to listen to.
The Apple AirPods Pro would generally be fantastic for this task, but feel somewhat underwhelming if you are not connected through an Apple device. The best wireless ear pods need to have noise-cancelling as good as the AirPods, accurate sound reproduction and a fit that would be comfortable for days. Sony WF-1000XM4 may well be the best wireless pods on the market now, with great noise-cancelling, accurate and tight sound reproduction and what may be the best of any wireless pods available.
Just like the in-ear cousins, the Apple AirPods Max put on a spectacular show, but fall short in the same way, being useful to only IOS users. Fortunately, in the over ear space, there are some great contenders for the top spot. The Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless and the Sony WH-1000XM5 are both poised to take the top position when it comes to enjoying music or an audiobook of your choice. Both offer great sound reproduction, impressive comfort, and a great overall experience.
The Sony’s may cost a bit more but also edge out a 30-hour battery life opposed to Sennheiser’s 17-hour battery life. Both batteries are more than long enough for extended listening sessions, and both earphones are worth consideration for the best over ear headphone.
Try Before You Buy
Comfort is certainly one of the most important aspects for a good set of headphones but is also one of the few aspects that are not consistent amongst users. Everybody has a different size head and different shaped ears/ear canals, making comfort comparisons unequal between users. Always try a set of headphones before making a large purchase, as the comfort may not be right for you.