August 10, 2020

Top Five Best Headphones With Microphone for 2021

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Are you interested in a new headphone? Do you want to know the best headphone with microphone available in market today? Would you like to be certain of the top headphones that will be competitive in 2021? This article is your comprehensive guide to the top five best headphones of 2021.

Headphones are one of the most important accessory for your mobile devices. Their importance are up there with mobile accessories like your cell phone chargers, screen protectors and pouch/case. In fact, most users of mobile devices feel a huge vacuum in their digital life without a mobile headphone to boot.

Perhaps a free headset was included in the box when you purchased your new cellphone, but the chances are slim that your free-with-purchase headphone is anywhere near the quality and efficacy of powerful headphones crafted to deliver impressive performance and designed with exciting features to make even Quincy Jones happy.

There’s a slight difference that isn’t quite slight between a headphone and a headset. What I can tell you is that headphones also known as earspeakers and earphones are primarily a pair of miniaturized loudspeakers, which are mainly designed for humans and have to be placed close to the user’s ears (in-ear or over-the-ear), to be used. On the other hand, headsets always have a microphone as an essential component that is attached to it, which allows a user to speak.

Having said that, we’re about to get an in-depth, jargon-free review of headphones with microphones a.k.a headsets- we should be able to use both terms interchangeably in this article- headphones or headsets. So why do you need a headphone with a microphone or headset?

Headphones concentrate a quiet and private sound in the ear of the listener. This is a radical departure from music’s social purpose in history. Speakers made music big, and silicon chips made music small. But headphones might represent the most important inflection point in music history.

Headphones, which are usually wireless these days, are headphones or headsets that connect to a device, such as a smartphone, stereo speaker, television, gaming console, computer, or other electronic devices without using a wire or cable. With that many potential applications/use for a headphone coupled with a microphone that allows you to speak, the potential possibilities of what you can do and execute with a headphone are probably limitless.

So are you considering getting yourself a new headphone or you already have one but without a microphone? It is highly advisable to get one with a microphone. Or maybe you do have a headset but you can’t shake this gut feeling that you aren’t getting as much out of your headset as you should; this article will guide you through a no-bullshit review of the top five headphones with microphones of our time. Read on.

BUYING GUIDE

Normally, you’ll get product reviews touted as the best of this or the best of that, only the reviews are usually influenced by prices. I’m going to tell you right away, let’s not let money spoil the truth. In this article, we will simply pick the top five headphones with microphones, hands down. The price tag on each product won’t influence our rating of them- I promise. I’m going to tell you what’s what, why it is what it is, how much it is cost, and where to buy. It’s that simple.

How do we determine the best headphones in the market? What should you be looking out for when shopping for your next headset? What should we consider to determine the top five headphones with microphone winners?

MICROPHONE POSITION

Ask yourself, how will you be using your headphones? Do you need it only for sound? Since nearly all headphones released these days are headsets (they have microphones), are the microphones a necessity for you? What you will be doing with the microphone component of your headphone will help you decide if mics, which are usually attached to the control panel on the cable, are great for you. Or you might prefer headphone designs where the mics are built into the frames or swing out on a boom- this design generally makes better microphone sound quality than the ones attached to the cable.

NOISE CANCELLATION

The next question you want to ask should be the Noise Cancellation capacity of the headphone. Of course, the very essence of headphones is to make sound personal, vis-à-vis, noise cancellation. However, headphone noise cancellation technology has come a long way over the years.

The technology, known as Active Noise-Cancellation (ANC), works by using microphones to pick up low-frequency noise and neutralize it before it reaches the ear. The headset generates a sound that’s phase-inverted by 180 degrees to the unwanted noise, resulting in the two sounds canceling each other out. Fantastic, right? I know. You want a headphone that is very adept in eliminating background and unwanted noise leaving you as immersed as what you’re listening to can possibly take you.

BLUETOOTH

Headphones Bluetooth technology has come a long way from the pre-Beats by Dre stone age, but the technology still has miles to go considering that there is a predictable loss of sound quality when using wireless (Bluetooth) headphones coupled with the occasional interference and outright drop-outs. But cables (non-wireless) headsets can also get in the way, restrict movement and often break. If you choose to go for non-wireless headphones, just see to it that the cable is made from durable material.

BATTERY

Of course, battery life is as essential to any mobile device as essentials go. It goes without been said, especially if you decide on a wireless headphone model, check the model’s specifications and make sure the battery lasts longer than just a few hours. Also, the faster the charge-time, the better.

WATER/DUST RESISTANCE AND FIT

Exercise/fitness-focused headphones and earphones typically offer water-resistant capacity, extra in-ear fit security accessories, and, in some cases, apps that help you monitor your workout.

The key feature of fitness headphones remains the IP rating. IP stands for ingress protection, and you’ll often see ratings like IPX7 or IP65. The third number presents protection against solids like dust (X acts as a placeholder, usually because the product wasn’t tested for dust or solids), while the fourth number describes protection against fluids like water and sweat so you might want to check for the IP ratings to determine the headphone’s malleability with mother nature.

And don’t forget about the fit part- how the headphone and the microphone fit your head and ear. The shape of our ears is not all the same so some headphones fit better or worse than others. If you’ve had trouble getting in-ears to stay in place in the past, consider a pair that comes with multiple eartips, and earfins that sit against the ear to help add stability.

It’s also worth it to considering foam ear tips (which sometimes ship with in-ears, but are less common than silicone), as foam tips will expand in the canal to create a stronger seal, much like earplugs. They also often have the added benefit of increasing bass response.

AUDIO QUALITY

When we’re talking about the best top five headphones with microphones, high-quality audio and superb crystal clear voice into your mic are the primary essentials. And for gamers, music, and movie lovers, make sure you also get a good set of cans as well as a quality mic. No point sacrificing versatility if you don’t have to.

VOICE ASSISTANTS

Futuristic smart headphones now come with a button to summon your phone’s built-in voice assistant like iPhone’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and other smart assistants. However, by 2021, headphones will always be listening, like smart speakers. Yep, the world’s your oyster, or crab, or whatever your taste buds demand.

PRICE

Ah, here we are again- price. Didn’t I say earlier in this article that we’ll just dig deep with this review of the best top five headphones with headsets and see what’s what without letting money influence our opinion? Yes, I did say that and with good reasons too.

Look, there are very expensive headsets (Focal Utopia headset by Tournaire has a price tag of $120,000) that money can buy today. Some of these posh headphones are coated in gold, or diamond, or whatever precious stones and fanciful materials that justify their steep price. But this review is strictly for identifying the best in performance, which, frankly, is all you need.

THE TOP FIVE HEADPHONES WITH MICROPHONES

V-MODA Crossfade M-100 ANC Headphones
Plantronics B825 Voyager Focus Bluetooth Headset
Bose QuietComfort 35 II Bluetooth Headphones
Audio-Technica BPHS1 Broadcast Headset
Sennheiser HD 4.40 Bluetooth Headphones
HEADPHONE MODEL FEATURES GET IT NOW ON AMAZON
V-MODA Crossfade M-100 ANC Headphones

Driver Size: 2″ / 50 mm.

Frequency Response: 5 Hz to 30 kHz

Sensitivity: -42 dB at 1 kHz

Weight: 10 oz / 280 g

 

GET IT NOW ON AMAZON
Plantronics B825 Voyager Focus Bluetooth Headset

 

Weight: 155 grams

Wireless Frequency: Bluetooth® v4.1

Audio Performance: Active noise-canceling technology, wideband (voice), hi-fi stereo, A 2 D P, D S P

Connects to: Laptops via USB adapter, Bluetooth-enabled desk phones, mobile phones, tablets, and smartwatches

Battery: Talk time: Up to 12 hours (10 ANC on) Listening time: Up to 15 hours (12 ANC on)

GET IT NOW ON AMAZON
Bose QuietComfort 35 II Bluetooth Headphones

Weight: 240g

Battery: 20 hours (BT and ANC); 40 hours (wired and ANC)

Connects to: Laptops, mobile phones, tablets, etc.

Wireless Frequency: Bluetooth® v4.1

Audio Performance: Active noise-canceling technology, with a sound pressure level of

90dB/mW

GET IT NOW ON AMAZON
Audio-Technica BPHS1 Broadcast Headset

Weight: 264 g (9.3 oz

Headphone Type: Closed-back dynamic

Sensitivity: 100dB (headphone)

Maximum input power: 1,600mW at 1kHz

Open Circuit Sensitivity: ”57dB (1.4 mV) re 1V at 1 Pa (microphone)

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Sennheiser HD 4.40 Bluetooth Headphones

Impedance: 18 Ohms

Frequency Response: 18 Hz to 22 kHz

Maximum Sound Pressure Level (SPL): 113 dB at 1 kHz / 1 Vrms

Total Harmonic Distortion (THD): 0.5%

Bluetooth: 4.0 and NFC Pairing

Battery: Lithium-Ion Polymer (LiPo), 600 mAh, Runtime: 25 Hours, Recharge Time: 2 Hours

GET IT NOW ON AMAZON
 

Alright, the comparison table above brings us sufficiently close to the specifications of each of our top five picks of the best headphones with microphones. Now, let’s take an even closer look at each of our winners.

V-MODA Crossfade M-100 ANC Headphones: V-MODA headphones blend stylish design with plenty of features. These Headphones from V-MODA feature a design that was crowdsourced from multiple producers, DJs, and V-MODA. The 50mm dual-diaphragm drivers were quality tested at six separate frequencies to assure consistency in performance.

You can share your music by providing a 1/8″ input directly on the cable with the Share Play cable included in the box. This allows you to plug in another set of headphones to the same audio source without the need for an adapter.

The over-the-ear cans of V-Moda’s Crossfade M-100 are durable. These are tough cans designed to withstand plenty of knocks including water-resistant technology. The customizable steel plates, padded Steelflex headband, and Kevlar cables make for a long-lasting product that will still be a hard competitor by 2021.

PROS CONS
Outstanding sound quality.

Robust build quality.

With boom mic, it’s professionally equipped.

As comfortable as the Bose.

Foldable and very portable.

It should last for years.

Competitively priced

Have to buy BoomPro mic separately.

No Bluetooth capability.

The Plantronics B825 Voyager: The B825 Voyager is perfect for mobile professionals with extensive PC/Mac and mobile communications in noisy environments; featuring Active Noise Canceling and smart sensor technology. This is a headphone with a roaming range of up to 98 feet (30 meters) with adaptive power (with Class 1 supported devices).

This model considers the adverse effect of headphones to users’ ears/hearing with its SoundGuard Digital which protects against sound levels above 118dBA; Anti-startle (during calls) detects and eliminates any large sudden increase in signal level; Time-Weighted Average prevents average daily noise exposure from exceeding 85dBA.

This headphone model excels at quality conversational performance, which means it is ideal for work-related purposes. All the same, the B825 Voyager delivers surprisingly good sound quality. The Active Noise Cancelling technology ensures little distortion at higher volumes and an overall sound that is well rounded and bound to make audio buffs happy.

One more thing, this headphone’s boom sports three directional microphones, which guarantees the delivery of precise sound to whoever you’re talking to. There’s also a ‘mute alert’ feature that lets you know when the mic is turned off while you’re still talking. Very handy, especially if voice recording. You can also download the latest release of Plantronics Hub to get one-touch call answer/end.

PROS CONS
Good Bluetooth range.

Perfect for conference calls.

Lightweight and portable.

Excellent voice delivery.

Comfortable for long use.

No direct wiring option.

Shorter battery life than some.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II Bluetooth Headphones: Bose’s QC35 II headset sports great audio quality and noise-canceling capabilities in a pair of cans with very widespread appeal. This model can simultaneously connect to more than one device such as a laptop commuter and a smartphone.

The QC 35 II also allows you to get messages and then press a button to have Google Assistant read them out. You can reply to the messages using your voice.  This means you don’t have to dig out your phone to send text messages or make calls. With your QC 35 II, you could do those through voice command with a push of a button on the left side of the headphone’s housing.

True to Bose’s character, the QC 35 II headphone delivers a high level of noise-cancellation. Bose has always been ahead of the competition in silencing constant rumbles or hums and that silence is gratefully noticeable in the QC35 II. The microphones inside and outside the headphones effectively eliminate any irritating background chatter.

PROS CONS
Lots of detail

Impressive noise-cancellation

Google Assistant integration

Tough competition

Audio-Technica BPHS1 Broadcast Headset: Audio-Technica’s BPHS1 is dedicated to vocal quality above everything else. This headphone is ideal for live streaming or any kind of live broadcasting that involves plenty of vocal communication. The market for top quality microphones has seen exponential growth these days, with millions of content creators across, blogs, social media and YouTube looking to buy.

This headphone, complete with a microphone, is more sensitive to sound originating directly in front of the element, making it useful in reducing pickup of unwanted ambient sounds. The mic’s flexible gooseneck boom swivels for easy positioning either to the right or left side.

You can also expect dual earphones with an extended frequency response of 20-20,000 Hz and smooth, natural sound reproduction; neodymium magnets in microphone and headphones for high output level & detailed sound reproduction. The BPHS1’s generously padded circumaural cans deliver acoustic isolation and long-wearing comfort.

PROS CONS
Professional voice orientated microphone.

Full-bodied mic sound.

Great sounding headphones.

High spec noise-canceling technology.

Suitable for many purposes.

Comfortable for extended use.

Rugged design with user-replaceable cable and ear pads

You may need an XLR adaptor if you don’t already have one.

No Bluetooth

Sennheiser HD 4.40 Bluetooth Headphones: I know I had promised not to make this review about money but it definitely helps to mention that Sennheiser HD 4.40 Headphones is a winning all-rounder for the price. However, ahem, that low pricing comes at a cost- a lack of noise-canceling technology which leaves this otherwise fantastic headphone less-suited to noisier work environments.

Like Audio-Technica’s BPHS1, Sennheiser’s HD 4.40 excels when it comes to voice, with the focus being more on quality delivery of sound. Still, this is a powerful contender with premium high-end headphones.  A clean, full-bodied sound is achieved carrying a deeper bass than is obtainable in many other headphones brands. And distortion isn’t a problem, even at higher volumes, the sound holds together well.

In a nutshell, this is a feature-packed piece of audio equipment with futuristic angles and a no-nonsense matte black finish. If you’re looking for Bluetooth headphones with a focus on sound, rather than call quality at a very affordable price, go for the Sennheiser HD 4.40.

PROS CONS
Excellent build quality

Ease of pairing

Long battery life

Forgiving sound signature

Easy to drive in wired mode (though it will benefit from amping)

Ear cups were too small for me

Vocals sound a little wonky

Cable from hell

The headband is too “twistable”

Headband height adjustment not clicky enough

HONORABLE MENTION

AKG Y500 On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones

FEATURES:

Driver size: 40mm

Bluetooth version: 4.2

Sensitivity: 117dBSPL/V@1kHz.

Weight:  50 lb.

Frequency response: 16Hz-22kHz.

Maximum Sound Pressure Level: 92dB.

Colors: Black, Pink, Green & Blue

The AKG Y500 is a compact, over-the-ear headphone that offers wired and wireless operation with the option to switch noise canceling on and off. The quality of AKG-tuned headphones ticks the right boxes. They’re nice and light to carry, fit well and sound pretty damn good.

The AKG, which when translated to English, stands for Acoustic and Cinema Equipment is an impressive piece of audio technology. This one will auto-pause when taken off and automatically resume playing when placed over your ears. This headphone sports plenty of high-tech features into such a compact design.

On top of the advanced 4.2 Bluetooth technology, there is a noise-canceling system called Ambient Aware, which works reasonably well to silence background chatter. Also worthy of note is the impressive fast-charge that provides 1hr playtime in just five minutes. Also, you can simultaneously pair to more than one device, which makes it effortless for you to switch from listening to music on your portable device to a call from your phone so that you never miss a call.

PROS CONS
Clever features.

Good sound quality.

Excellent battery life.

Very portable.

Good value.

Microphone not for professional use.

Issues with comfort after prolonged use.

FAQS

Question: Are there any health dangers from the frequent use of headphones/headsets?

Answer: As with most things in life, there are good and bad- two sides to every coin. For example, should you stop driving because it’s dangerous to text while driving? Of course, the answer to that is obvious. The same applies to headphones. The most common downside of headphones is damage to the ears. Earphones are capable of producing very loud levels of sound very close to the ear and hence they could be harmful.

Some of the harmful ways in which headphones can affect our ears are:

NIHL(Noise-Induced Hearing Loss)

Tinnitus.

Hyperacusis.

Hearing loss.

Dizziness.

Ear infection.

Excessive ear wax.

Pain in the ears.

This problem, however, is one we can deal with by keeping tabs with the volume of your device. Just like you don’t have to quit driving because it’s dangerous to text and drive, you don’t have to fear headphones either.

CONCLUSION

Granted, what you’ve just read is our pick of the best top five headphones with microphones. All the models reviewed in this article are futuristic in the sense that they are very likely to be on par with even newer releases by 2021. Now that most people most likely have to work from home, in all likelihood, you need a headphone that is perfect both for work, play and relaxation.

In that case, my money is on the V-MODA Crossfade M-100 headphone model. Why do I make that choice? For strictly relaxation purposes, this pair of cans excels in sound quality. Audiophiles will delight in the richly textured soundscape that the 50mm drivers pump out. And for play purposes, the M-100 is a real audio crowd-pleaser, which frankly, is key feature audiophiles are unwilling to trade.

And when it’s time for work, these headphones are as professionally competent as the Audio-Technica BPHS1 especially when equipped with the BoomPro mic. Gaming, live streaming, broadcasting, or regular phone calls are all handled with ease.

And to top it all off, the V-Moda M-100’s design offers high comfort levels built to handle the extended use. The materials for the hardware are sourced from durable materials that give the headphone a long-lasting strength for a pretty long time.