Why radio headphones are indispensable radio equipment.

Headphones Sony MDR7506Radio headphones are an essential radio equipment for your internet radio station. You now have everything ready for your radio station, mic, streaming space, broadcasting software etc. What’s next? A pair of radio headphones, clamped over a DJ’s head, are such a staple piece of radio equipment that we might forget about them. Running your own station? Then you’ll absolutely need quality radio headphones, for all the reasons we’re about to delve into.

Because, as you’ll find, it’s imperative to have good radio equipment. Not only do radio headphones limit distractions and help you focus on the show; they also present the true character of whatever you’re broadcasting.

Types of headphones

There is no one size fits all when it comes to headphones. They are however, four common types of headphones which are as follows:

Ear bud headphones – they are small, portable and cheap but are not usually a number one choice for broadcasters. They don’t block out noise completely and are not adjustable hence the fitting is poor.

In-ear headphones – These are light weight and are a popular choice amongst music listeners. These are more sound proof compared to ear buds as they are plucked into the ear. If you are a broadcaster who uses your headphones for most of the day, this type of radio headphones might not be the best option for you as they can become uncomfortable and can affect your ears.

On-ear headphones – This is the type of headphone that sits over your ear, covering your ears. They are very light but do not provide a proper blockage from noise.

headphones audio technica1Over the ear headphones – the headphones cover the ear completely, blocking out noise. They are more comfortable to wear over longer periods of time, and may be more preferable for broadcasters as the ear pad does not sit directly on the ear. The sound quality is great and don’t require an amplifier for great sound quality. Out of the more traditional DJ headphones there are two different types, Closed Back and Open Back headphones. Closed back are more common and block out more surrounding noise by enclosing the driver (the speaker) in a shell. The Open Back will allow ambient noise in to give an almost softer audio experience. This type of headphone is also less likely to cause the wearer to shout when speaking. Open back are more popular with radio DJs and closed backs are more popular for music studio work, mixing and mastering. At the end of the day, it is down to personal choice. Your headphones should suit your head and your musical tastes.

Factors to consider when getting head phones

soniq headphonesFor radio broadcasters, the fact that you are on air most of the times means you need a pair of radio headphones that are comfortable. Comfortability is a detail we take for granted, but swiftly question once we’re in the radio DJ booth for hours on end. Bad radio headphones will chafe your ears and press heavily on your skull. You should therefore always check if the radio headphones are adjustable and cushioned.

The sound quality should also be good, with clear sound and good balance of treble and bass a plus. And this is where radio headphones traits are crucial – it should pair exceptionally with the type of audio you’re making.

How can you ever know what the show really sounds like, if your radio equipment can’t process its subtlest elements, or the more extreme verges in pitch? Experiencing your show like a listener would – albeit with the perfect audio filtration – will expose any production weaknesses. Once you know what they are, you can fix them.

Another factor that is becoming popular is whether the headphones are wired or wireless. Wireless headphones give you a better chance to move around when broadcasting, especially if you are a multi tasker. If you prefer the flexibility that wireless headphones give you then don’t forget to keep them charged. Portability is also a point to consider if you are a DJ who is not based in one location. For bulkier headphones, fold up designs are now available to cater for this.

Furthermore, you could have a production team at the mixing desk, manning the pressures of live radio. At big, traditional stations, these people whisper advice or suggestions into the DJ’s earpiece, helping them control the programme as it stays on-air. Internet radio streaming usually takes a while to gain a rough equivalent of those resources, but if you have them, then decent radio headphones are a must – they are your conduit to a safety net during broadcast, as well as an effective noise canceler for other distractions.

Getting your head in the DJing game

Of course, fabulous radio headphones don’t just pack the required audio punch… They’re designed with other practicalities in mind too. When you actually look into modern radio equipment, it’s amazing how distinct each piece can be, all while saving serious blows to your bank account. Do your own research when purchasing your internet radio essentials; we promise it won’t feel like a wasted investment! Although these guidelines will help, ultimately, it’s important to find headphones that work for you. After all, your streaming experience (backed by SAM Broadcaster Cloud, the premium radio software package) deserves to realise its full potential.

Buy SAM Broadcaster, if you haven’t already, to reflect the importance of your next set of headphones.