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The Best Headset Microphone

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Your Ultimate Guide to Headset Microphones

There are different types of microphones but if you’re looking for a hands-free mic that can record superb audio quality, then a headset microphone is your best bet!

Headset mics are one of the preferred audio recording devices in the industry for vocalists and instrumentalists during live performances since it allows them complete freedom to move and make use of their hands while producing great sound quality and excellent audio.

With that said, we have rounded up the best headset microphones that will give you high-quality sound depending on the requirement and usage.


In A Hurry? This is the Best Headset Microphone

The Shure WH20XLR is a dynamic headset microphone that is great at voice pickup while isolating ambient or unwanted noise from varying sound sources.

With a high input clipping level that can eliminate overload distortion plus a supplied foam windscreen and clothing clip, the Shure WH20XLR is a great headset for artists, instrumentalists, and instructors that will be doing a lot of movements.

This high-quality mic that is fairly affordable given that it is a Shure mic, has a smooth and natural frequency response, and a unidirectional pickup pattern that is on the same audio quality level as that of a handheld vocal microphone.

To assure a comfortable fit, the Shure WH20XLR has a lightweight frame and elastic headband that can be adjusted for added security but is strong enough to withstand breakage thanks to its small-diameter attached microphone XLR cable.


At A Glance: Our Top Picks of Headset Microphones for Recording Audio

BEST OVERALL
The Best Headset Microphone
Shure WH20XLR

The Shure WH20XLR is a dynamic headset microphone that is great at voice…

BEST ENTRY LEVEL
The Best Headset Microphone
JK MIC-J 071S

A lightweight and barely visible headset mic that is also sweat and…

BEST BUDGET HEADSET MIC
The Best Headset Microphone
Shure PGA31

Although the Shure PGA31 is a cheap mic, this headset is able to produce a high-quality natural…

BEST HEADSET MIC FOR INSTRUMENTALISTS
The Best Headset Microphone
Audio-Technica PRO 8HEx

Unlike other headsets that are commonly wireless, the Audio-Technica PRO 8HEx has a 7-foot cable and an…

BEST LIGHTWEIGHT HEADSET MIC
Audio-Technica System 10 ATW-1101/H92-TH

The AT System 10 ATW-1101/H92-TH is a wireless headset microphone that is extremely lightweight so it is comfortable to wear…

BEST FLEXIBLE HEADSET MIC
The Best Headset Microphone
Countryman E6

A barely visible headset that is flexible because it can be adjusted for optimal mobility…

BEST HIGH-END HEADSET MIC
The Best Headset Microphone
Shure BLX14R/MX53

While other headset mics require additional accessories and gears to be purchased, the Shure BLX14R/MX53 is the complete package for a high-end progressional-grade wireless…

BEST HEADSET MIC FOR SINGING
Sennheiser XSW 1-ME3

The Sennheiser XS2 1-ME3 is a great microphone preferred by singers because of its frequency range of…

BEST IN AUDIO QUALITY
The Best Headset Microphone
AKG C520

The AKG C520 is a professional headset microphone that can produce the best sound amongst the other…

BEST IN NOISE-REDUCTION
The Best Headset Microphone
Shure SM35

The Shure SM35 is also a popular choice by users. This mic is specifically great a reducing noise and feedback, may the model be wireless or wired…


What is a Headset Microphone?

Commonly confused with a microphone with slightly big headphones that are sometimes used by gamers or agents, a headset microphone is a discreetly designed hands-free, and hassle-free recording device that is often used by live performers onstage – may they be musicians playing instruments, singers, or instructors.

Since headset mics are hands-free recording devices, users of these mics have complete freedom for big movements and physically requiring interactions. With a lot of movement being done, wireless headsets are often preferred but there are models that are also wired. The former model will require a good battery life for longer use. Regardless, both models can produce great audio quality.


Top 10 Best Headset Microphones

ImageProductDetailsCheck Price
The Best Headset MicrophoneShure WH20XLR• Type: Condenser
• Polar Pattern: Undirectional
• Great at voice pickup and reducing background noise
Check Prices on Amazon
The Best Headset MicrophoneJK MIC-J 071S• Type: Condenser
• Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional
• Miniature mic that is user-friendly
Check Prices on Amazon
The Best Headset MicrophoneShure PGA31• Type: Condenser
• Polar Pattern: Unidirectional
• Affordable mic that is ideal for studio and live recording
Check Prices on Amazon
The Best Headset MicrophoneAudio-Technica PRO 8HEx• Type: Dynamic
• Polar Pattern: Unidirectional, Hypercardioid
• Impressive noise cancellation
Check Prices on Amazon
The Best Headset MicrophoneAudio-Technica System 10 ATW-1101/H92-TH• Type: Condenser
• Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional
• Light and comfortable plus has a wide frequency response range
Check Prices on Amazon
The Best Headset MicrophoneCountryman E6• Type: Condenser
• Polar Pattern: Omnidirectional
• Impressively adjustable and noise cancelling mic
Check Prices on Amazon
The Best Headset MicrophoneShure BLX14R/MX53• Type: Condenser
• Polar Pattern: Unidirectional
• Tailored frequency response for performers and multi-intrumentalists
Check Prices on Amazon
The Best Headset MicrophoneSennheiser XSW 1-ME3• Type: Condenser
• Polar Pattern: Unidirectional, Cardioid
• Can pickup high-quality close-proximity vocals
Check Prices on Amazon
The Best Headset MicrophoneAKG C520• Type: Condenser
• Polar Pattern: Unidirectional, Cardioid
• Highly sensitive audio pickup with great noise cancellation
Check Prices on Amazon
The Best Headset MicrophoneShure SM35• Type: Condenser
• Polar Pattern: Unidirectional, Cardioid
• Has a built-in windshield for noise cancellation and plosive reduction
Check Prices on Amazon

Let’s Go Over Each Headset Microphone

With almost 100 years of experience in the industry, Shure is a trusted brand by professionals for all things sound and audio devices. Often topping our list in our other guides such as the best studio microphone, Shure has done it again — this time, for headset microphones.

The Shure WH20XLR is a favorite and the go-to headset microphone for performers and instructors who are active on stage. With a cardioid or unidirectional polar pattern, this great-sounding headset mic can isolate one’s own voice while reducing ambient noise from other sound sources.

It has a strategic design that also considers the vocal proximity effect as the mic is near the user’s mouth. It is also a great mic for eliminating overload distortion because of its high input clipping level. 

The lightweight frame and adjustable headset make for a secure and comfortable fit for the user, which one can wear for a long time. It also has a clothing clip and foam windscreen so it can be easily attached to the user.

However, it might not be the headset mic of choice for people with glasses as the band can be a hindrance.

Overall, the sound quality, design, and price point of the Shure WH20XLR make it a great headset microphone for many with varying requirements and applications.

Pros and Cons of the Shure WH20XLR

ProsCons
✔ Great voice pickup
✔ Impressive background noise reduction
✔ Fairly affordable
✔ Discreet design
✘ Relatively low volume output
✘ Not an ideal headset for users wearing glasses

A lightweight and barely visible headset mic that is also sweat and dust-proof, the JK MIC-J 071S is the preferred mic for musical and theater artists.

However, since it also has a user-friendly wireless system and a locking screw plug that is compatible with many wireless microphone systems, this is a good headset microphone for first-time users of a wireless headset.

Although it has a stealthy design, the audio quality of the JK MIC-J 071S was not compromised. With a clear sound quality that is worth more considering its affordable price point, this is a good mic for quiet environments with low to moderate volumes.

To maintain better sound quality throughout, it is best to avoid using this headset mic in loud environments with high volumes as feedback may become an issue.

Despite a possible self-noise pickup, the design, price point, compatibility with various wireless systems, and good audio make it a great entry-level headset mic.

Pros and Cons of the JK MIC-J 071S

ProsCons
✔ Has a locking screw plug that is compatible with various digital wireless systems
✔ Miniature, discreet, and sleek design
✔ Sweat and dust-proof
✔ Produces a clear and crisp sound
✘ Tends to pick up high self-noise levels

Although the Shure PGA31 is a cheap mic, this headset is able to produce a high-quality natural sound while impressively rejecting ambient noise and feedback due to its permanently-charged electret condenser. With that said, it is a mic that is ideal for studio recording use.

It can also be used in live shows since it has a flexible gooseneck to help in vocal isolation. It has a unidirectional or cardioid polar pattern, which helps in producing a great sound in terms of off-axis rejection for higher gain-before-feedback rejection when using a stage monitor.

However, the headset design is rather big so it is easily noticeable and the construction can be sturdier for more security.

Pros and Cons of the Shure PGA31

ProsCons
✔ Budget-friendly
✔ Produces an impressive natural sound quality
✔ Impressive noise reduction
✘ Big and noticeable when worn onstage
✘ Construction lacks feel of security

Unlike other headsets that are commonly wireless, the Audio-Technica PRO 8HEx has a 7-foot cable and an XLR connector as it is intended to be used as a wired mic.

Although that can limit movement for the user, this headset is extremely comfortable because of its cushioned support pads and a professional-level sound in vocal pickup while rejecting ambient noise.

Thus, the Audio-Technica PRO 8HEx is the go-to headset of instrumentalists namely guitarists, drummers, and keyboard players who provide backup vocals.

It has a pivot-mounted mic arm that is flexible should you want it to be descended from the left or right side while the headset can be positioned for low-visibility.

The Audio-Technica PRO 8 HEx has a hypercardioid polar pattern, which other wireless headset mics do not normally have, and a Hi-ENERGY neodymium element for quality sound in vocal reproduction.

Pros and Cons of the Audio-Technica PRO 8HEx

ProsCons
✔ Impressive noise cancellation from varying sound sources
✔ Does not clip at high volumes
✔ Comfortable
✘ Wired headset mic limits movement

The AT System 10 ATW-1101/H92-TH is a wireless headset microphone that is extremely lightweight so it is comfortable to wear. It can even lead a user to forget that they are wearing a headset in the first place!

However, it does not have the longest battery life as it can only run for up to 2-3 hours, so that could have been a compromise in exchange for its design and weight.

This mic comes with a complete set of gear, which is a major plus when buying headset mics as you can tinker around the settings and check the audio interface to nail down the preferred audio that sounds great.

It has a 20 Hz-20 kHz frequency range and can also be calibrated accordingly to reject unwanted noise and feedback.

Pros and Cons of the Audio-Technica System 10 ATW-1101/H92-TH

ProsCons
✔ Light and comfortable
✔ Has a wide frequency response range
✔ Comes with a receiver and transmitter
✘ Short battery life of 2-3 hours

As headset mics are often worn onstage by active users, most people would prefer a mic that is barely visible but highly flexible. Enter the Countryman E6!

A barely visible headset that is flexible because it can be adjusted for optimal mobility while maintaining a sturdy structure for durability.

Since it is a wireless mic, it also has a wireless range with an omnidirectional polar pattern for great vocal isolation and quality sound. It also has a mic arm that is flexible and can be adjusted accordingly so it can reject feedback, noise, and plosives.

Pros and Cons of the Countryman E6

ProsCons
✔ Barely visible when worn onstage
✔ Highly flexible in terms of adjustment, mobility, and durability
✔ Produces a clear and natural sound
✔ Impressive noise cancellation
✘ Pricey

While other headset mics require additional accessories and gears to be purchased, the Shure BLX14R/MX53 is the complete package for a high-end progressional-grade wireless system.

A user can easily achieve a professional-level sound because calibrations can be made to the transmitter pack and receiver unit, with the latter being able to handle 12 wireless devices at the same time.

Another feature that sets this mic apart from other headset mics is its design, which can fit one ear as opposed to the usual double ear fit. This makes it a non-distracting mic that any professional onstage can easily and comfortably wear.

However, it is advisable to wear tape to keep it secured when any movements must be done.

The frequency response of this headset ranges from 20Hz-20kHZ and has a self-noise level of 34dB. With that said, the Shure BLX has a sound quality and feedback rejection that is impressive and worthy of its price point.

Pros and Cons of the Shure BLX14R/MX53

ProsCons
✔ Wireless receiver system can connect to 12 devices at once
✔ Comes with a transmitter pack and receiver unit
✔ Discreet design and lightweight
✔ Impressive noise and feedback rejection
✔ Great sound quality with clear audio
✘ Pricey
✘ Must wear tape to keep it secured when worn

The Sennheiser XS2 1-ME3 is a great microphone preferred by singers because of its frequency range of 50HZ-16kHZ and a 103dB signal-to-noise ratio that is optimal for any volume of vocals a singer may belt out.

With a built-in pop filter, the plosives, feedback, and ambient noise rejection of this mic are excellent. It also comes with a wireless pack, a 1/8-inch cable, a transmitter, and a receiver that can connect to 10 channels at once.

Similar to other headset mics, the Sennheiser XSW 1-ME3 is a wireless mic that runs on batteries. However, this mic runs on two AA batteries so depending on the label, you can either recharge or replace them every after use.

Although, it can impressively run for a good 10 hours, which is definitely longer than most wireless headset microphones.

Pros and Cons of the Sennheiser XSW 1-ME3

ProsCons
✔ Has a high-frequency range
✔ Good signal-to-noise ratio
✔ Has a built-in pop filter to reduce noise and plosives
✔ Comfortable and stable headset
✘ Pricey
✘ Must replace AA batteries if they are not rechargeable

The AKG C520 is a professional headset microphone that can produce the best sound amongst the other headset microphones in this list because of its extensive frequency range of 60 Hz-20kHz. 

A highly sensitive mic that produces superb audio and sound quality with excellent noise cancellation, the AKG C520 is ideal for live performances. It even has a built-in moisture shield, windscreen, and an adjustable gooseneck headband so active users can definitely make good use of this.

However, all of these come with a price so this mic is not ideal for those who are on a budget.

Pros and Cons of the AKG C520

ProsCons
✔ High-frequency dynamic range
✔ Audio interface is clear and responsive
✔ Has a built-in pop filter to reduce plosives
✔ Great noise cancellation
✘ Pricey

With the Shure brand being a preferred microphone by many in the industry, it comes as no one’s surprise that the Shure SM35 is also a popular choice by users. This mic is specifically great a reducing noise and feedback, may the model be wireless or wired.

It has a built-in windshield that does a superb job at preventing any plosives or breath noises from being picked up while maintaining a great frequency response range of 40 Hz-20 kHz.

Since it does have a bulky and big design, the Shure SM35 is ideal for studio recording use as the headset can be a bit distracting when worn onstage.

Pros and Cons of the Shure SM35

ProsCons
✔ Has a built-in windshield
✔ Impressive noise cancellation and plosive reduction
✘ Quite big
✘ Limited headset adjustments

Best Headset Microphones Comparison

ImageModel NameSound QualityDesignFeaturesPriceTotal RatingCheck Price
The Best Headset MicrophoneShure WH20XLR9.59.59.59.59.5Check Prices on Amazon
The Best Headset MicrophoneJK MIC-J 071S99.59.599Check Prices on Amazon
The Best Headset MicrophoneShure PGA319999.59Check Prices on Amazon
The Best Headset MicrophoneAudio-Technica PRO 8HEx9.59999Check Prices on Amazon
The Best Headset MicrophoneAudio-Technica System 10 ATW-1101/H92-TH999.389.2Check Prices on Amazon
The Best Headset MicrophoneCountryman E699899.1Check Prices on Amazon
The Best Headset MicrophoneShure BLX14R/MX539998.59Check Prices on Amazon
The Best Headset MicrophoneSennheiser XSW 1-ME398989Check Prices on Amazon
The Best Headset MicrophoneAKG C52098.58.58.38.5Check Prices on Amazon
The Best Headset MicrophoneNZXT Capsule Mic98888.5Check Prices on Amazon

Final Note

Headset mics are a great professional microphone for active users who wish to keep their hands free when onstage or in the studio. Although these microphones are not necessarily a plug-and-play setup, these wireless or wired mics are still fairly easy to use and provide a hassle-free audio recording experience.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are headset microphones comfortable to wear?

As they are designed to be worn by active users, comfort is a factor that is usually considered by manufacturers of headset mics. Generally, headset microphones are comfortable to wear, but since each design differs from one another, preference can play a part in the level of comfort. One must also consider the application intended since the duration and movements that will be done can play a part in comfort levels.

How much mobility do you need for your headset mic?

Mobility, flexibility, and hands-free – these are three of the many benefits of a headset microphone. With that said, headset mics are designed to give as much mobility to the user as possible because they are often wireless. 

Although, there are wired headset mics and these usually come with cables. If you are planning to use a wired headset, then a 1.2m cable is enough to still give you ample mobility and great sound quality.

Do headset microphones have good sound quality?

Headset microphones that are designed for vocal and audio performances will definitely sound great and produce audio quality that is excellent. However, as with any microphone, each device has a specific purpose and application. With that said, one must always choose the best microphone depending on the requirements needed to get the best results possible.

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Naomi Feller

Originally from the East Coast, Naomi started singing as young as 3 years old. In her early teens Naomi made some embarrassing YouTube videos before settling on a love for Podcast editing. When she's not pouring over endless amounts of audio, she lends her expertise to us here at Shout4Music with her crystal clear and finely tuned microphone reviews.

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