How to choose the best earbuds for transcription.  No, no, not the cotton tipped ones you clean your ears with, blecch!  We are talking about these earbuds:

best earbuds for transcription


We suggest earbuds over headphones for transcription.  Because not only are they lighter, but they can also produce more accurate sounds.  While headphones produce bass better, earbuds or “in-ear headphones” can produce sharp clarity much better.  And that helps with audio transcription.  Science is advancing at the speed of light these days; flooding the market with gadgets in a wide range of performance and quality.  The average customer who wants to buy a new pair of headphones/earbuds for their device is bombarded with literally thousands of choices; be it type, price or manufacturer.

Nobody barely pays any attention to specifications or properties of said headphones.  We just don’t have the time!  But fret not, we are here to make things simple for you.  The next time you need to find a neat pair of earbuds for listening to music or to use them for audio transcription; there are certain filters you can apply to your search results to narrow your choices down, such as:

Price Range

If you don’t want to spend more than $50 on a pair of earbuds, you can set the filter (usually on the left hand side or top of the search results).  This narrows the search down a little bit.  So you ignore those ultra luxurious gold-plated earbuds which cost $1000 and stop working after a week.  But hey, they are made of gold!


Maybe you have affinity towards a certain brand.  Let’s say Sony, or in our case Sennheiser.  (Sorry Sony, Sennheiser just make better audio products).  You can choose the brands you have had good experience with in the past, and would like to stick to them.  Or you’re one of those who eats the same thing, every day, for months and years.  You never try anything new.  Nothing wrong with that!  Just try broccoli from time to time, it’s good for your health.


If you only like black headphones (you racist!), you can choose the color in the search filter too.  Usually the online shop will show you a gamut of color to make it simpler for you to choose.  This narrows the search down further.  And let’s be honest, no self respecting man will ever buy pink headphones.

Technical….. stuff

I know, I know, boring stuff, boooo.  BUT now that we have taken the superficial search filters out of the equation, the technical specifications we look at can narrow down your choice further. And help you choose the best earbuds for your money.  Knowledge is power, so let’s shed some light on technical data.  If the online shop you have chosen is a superficial piece of crap, which instead of giving you tech specs, just tells you “Look how shiny these headphones are!”, I suggest you look elsewhere.  Somewhere you can take a look at the technical specifications of the product.  We can simplify some of those tech specs for you, such as:

  • Frequency – The higher the frequency, the better it can play the deepest bass to the highest pitch treble.
  • Impedance – Higher number here means more accurate sound, less static, less noise.
  • Sensitivity – Shows how effectively your device will convert the electric signal into sound. However, if the input signal is of poor quality and poor level, the audio output would also be poor quality.  Regardless of your earbud’s sensitivity.

Don’t expect to find audiophile nirvana in 100 KB sound files.  Also, try to listen to audio at lower volume levels first.  Your ears can only handle so much.  The threshold of pain is at 120 dB for less than 7 min.  The sensitivity of earbuds/headphones is usually in the range of 80 to 125 dB SPL/mW (decibels of sound pressure level per milliwatt).  Yeah, I know a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo.  But please don’t destroy your ear-drums.  You only have two.  Above are the technical specs that matter the most.  There are a few more important parameters, like:

Durability – Take the conditions you’ll be wearing your earbuds in, into account.  If you’ll be listening to music while mud wrestling (I know, totally random), make sure the cables are durable.  Like made of bamboo shoots.  If you’ll be using them at home while sipping green tea, then they can be made of fairy dust for all we care.

Comfort –  Personal taste, but still a critical factor.  But since you can’t try earbuds at a store, especially not at a supermarket where thousands of people have tried them and left their personal ear gunk on them each time (yuck!).  Fret not, these days any half decent earbuds in the $20 to $50 range gives you rubber sleeves of different sizes to fit your ears.

Voila, and we are done!  That wasn’t hard, was it?  We will be soon making another post with our recommendations with the best earbuds you can buy in 2016, so stay tuned for that.  Now, if you can’t be bothered to buy earbuds, foot pedals, transcription software, a nice desk and chair, and Microsoft Office, and need your recorded audio to be transcribed, try our transcription service.  More info below:

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