Looking for the right video editing headphones? This guide will guide you through the possibilities and, once you have agreed, will show you the best offers available.
It’s possible for audio quality to take a bit of a back seat with the best video cameras that aim for supreme video quality. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to remedy this at the point of capture, as there is no lack of fantastic external microphones that will give your audio quality a major boost over what your camera can capture with its built-in microphone.
But it only includes the first step of the workflow of film-making. It would typically involve editing after you have recorded your audio, and that means you need a secure way to listen to one or more audio tracks to verify consistency, continuity, and levels. The best way to playback audio during editing is also a good pair of headphones since they can more efficiently seal out background noise rather than microphones, while still being used for audio control while filming on site.
Although you could use a normal pair of headphones for the job, a pair of studio headphones is a must to truly hear any subtlety of your music. These are meant to provide the clearest sound possible while staying tonally neutral as well. Unlike some consumer-grade headphones that can be tuned to produce more bass or treble to make extra vibrant music sound, studio headphones give equal weighting to bass, midrange, and treble frequencies, so you get the most accurate and reliable audio playback during capture and post, as well as call monitors, reference, or professional headphones.
Selecting the best headphones for video editing comes down to several key headphone design requirements, namely:
Comfortable earcups are a must when you’re editing videos for long stretches. Studio headphones do not prefer to use an in-ear, earbud style, for this purpose, and are commonly known as ‘on-ear’ or ‘over-ear’ instead.
In the studio market, on-ear headphones are less common. On the surface of your ear, these earcups rest flat, which may be good for shorter stretches, but can induce exhaustion after a while.
Over-ear cups – also called circumaural – overcome this by inserting a thicker padded perimeter ring around the cup such that it rests rather than on it around the ear. For long editing stints, it is a more convenient approach and often provides a seal around each ear to seal out background noise – a function called noise isolation or reduction of passive noise.
Then there’s the alternative between earcups that are open-back and closed-back. In the reference headphone market, closed-back is more popular, as it tends to better isolate sound. To allow any sound to escape, open-back earcups would have a vented outer lining. This can produce a larger, airier sound profile, but it also ensures that the audio distortion can be detected by those around you, and in the worst situation, a very vulnerable mic might end up capturing it as background noise.
This conveys the width of tones that can be created by the headphone drivers, from the lowest bass notes to the highest treble frequencies. A frequency from 20Hz to 20,000 Hz (or 20 kHz) can typically be detected by the human ear, so a pair of headphones that at least span this range is a must. However, others boast an even broader response range that can be helpful at the low/bass end, as though you might not be able to detect these frequencies, they can be sensed.
A conventional wired link to your computer is used by most of the headphones on this list, normally with a good old 3.5mm headphone port. This guarantees the highest possible audio quality due to wireless interference, with no chance of distortion or dropout. The choice to unplug the headphone cord from the ear cup could be more costly headphones, but you can switch it out for shorter, thicker, straight or coiled cords.