I have no idea why, when you search for best transcription headphones online, for ex. on Amazon, we get those horrible, stethoscope looking ancient headphones.  It would make sense if they were dirt cheap, like $5 or something.  But they’re not!  There is no emphasis on sound quality, or on noise cancellation.  You can get much better quality, value for money, and long term work out of the headphones we’ve recommended below.  I’m biased towards Sennheiser.  Because in my experience, they make some of the most reliable, best sounding headphones I’ve ever used.  And so obviously first in line is:

Sennheiser HD 280 PRO – $79.95

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Whether you’re listening to your personal music, or working on transcription, or gaming, you cannot go wrong with a pair of Sennheiser headphones or earbuds. This one has swiveling ear cups!  Furthermore, it’s got solid noise cancellation, great sound quality, and it’s on discount right now.  More features from Sennheiser themselves:

  • High ambient noise attenuation.
  • Accurate, linear sound reproduction.
  • Soft earpads for a comfortable fit.
  • Folding and rotating earcups for space-saving transport.
  • Tough, single-sided cable.

Shure SE112 – $49

Shure has been making great sounding, noise-canceling transcription headphones for a while now. While they don’t aim it towards transcribers, their products just work like a treat for transcription. Perhaps they should consider starting a transcription range.  Features according to the Shure website:

  • Sound Isolating Design.
  • Comfortable sound isolating sleeves block up to 37 dB of ambient noise.
  • Sound isolation technology prevents outside noise from interfering with your listening experience.
  • Unmatched Personalization and Comfort.
  • Ergonomic, Professional Design.
  • Lightweight, low-profile shape with optimized nozzle angle is designed to rest comfortably in the ear.
  • Over-the-ear configuration keeps cables out of the way.

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x – $99

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Just under $100, but Audio Technica have long been producing “Beats by Dre” beaters for a fraction of the price. And they’ve done it again with the ATH-M40X coming in almost $200 cheaper than Beats, and producing much better sound quality.  Any headphone that can create crystal clear sound quality is always great for transcription, especially paired with good audio hardware on your computer.  Features:

  • Cutting-edge engineering and robust construction.
  • 40 mm drivers with rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils.
  • Circumaural design contours around the ears for excellent sound isolation in loud environments.
  • 90° swiveling earcups for easy, one-ear monitoring.
  • Professional-grade earpad and headband material delivers more durability and comfort. Removable cable.

Sony MDRXB50AP – $49.99*

(Psst! It’s $49.99 on Sony’s website, but $27.79 on Amazon)

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This list wouldn’t be complete without a Sony.  I almost sound like their punch line, “It’s a Sony.  Even though lately their in-ear headphones or earbuds have left a lot to be desired, they still produce quality stuff.  Furthermore, if you need an affordable pair of noise canceling transcription headphones to get you started in transcription, they get the job done.  They won’t go on for a long time though.  Some features:

  • Smartphone-compatible with in-line remote mic.
  • X-Bass for club-like sound.
  • Lightweight for ultimate music mobility.
  • Choice of colors to suit your style.
  • 0.47 in neodymium drivers for powerful, balanced sound.

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