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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 delivers great sound quality, then a headset microphone is your best bet!

Microphone headsets 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 clear sound and crisp audio. It also goes without saying that a headset microphone is the mic of choice for many gamers hence, the creation of a gaming headset.

With that said, we have rounded up the best headset microphones that will give you high-quality sound depending on the requirement and usage. Do bear in mind though that the best headset microphone may differ per person based on preference, application, and requirements.


Which is the Top Headset Microphone?

Editor's Choice

Shure SM7B
Best Overall
Shure MV7
Best Headset Microphone for Instrumentalists
Blue Yeti Pro
Best Entry Level Headset Microphone
Shure WH20XLR

A trusted brand by many, the Shure WH20XLR is hailed as the best and go-to headset microphone for its superb sound, functionality, and price point..

Audio-Technica PRO 8HEx

With professional-level sound technology and impressive noise rejection, the Audio-Technica PRO 8HEx is the live performance headset mic for instrumentalists.

JK MIC-J 071S

One of the best headsets in terms of design and comfort, the JK MIC-J 071S can be worn and used by many across applications.

Sound Quality: Design: Features:
Sound Quality: Design: Features:
Sound Quality: Design: Features:

Let’s go over each one

The Best Headset Microphone

Sound Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

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 unidirectional and cardioid 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 but far enough for optimal mic sensitivity. It is also a great mic for eliminating overload distortion because of its high input clipping level giving you crisp audio and studio quality sound each time whether for recording audio or live performance.

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, a 3.5mm jack, and foam windscreen so it can be easily attached near the user’s mouth without picking up much plosives. However, the Shure WH20XLR may not be the best headset microphone for people with glasses as the headset mic band can be a hindrance for comfort.

Compared to other microphone headsets in the list, the aesthetic design of the Shure WH20XLR microphone headset falls short in terms of being discreet and sleek. However, one can argue that this is still the best headset mic in terms of functional and durable design. The headset’s microphone cable is extra-strong despite being small in diameter so it can resist breakage — an issue that other flimsy microphone headsets often have.

Overall, the sound quality, functionality in design, and price point of the Shure WH20XLR make it the best 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
✖️ Relatively low volume output
✖️ Not an ideal headset for users wearing glasses

The Best Headset Microphone

Sound Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 

Unlike other headsets that are commonly wireless, the Audio-Technica PRO 8HEx has a 7-foot cable and a mini XLR connector as it is intended to be used as a wired microphone headset. It also has a 3.5mm jack making it a dual-mono microphone headset.

Due to the sound technology used by Audio-Technica PRO 8HEx, this makes it the best headset microphone of instrumentalists namely guitarists, drummers, and keyboard players who provide backup vocals because of its professional-level vocal pickup and superb background noise rejection.

The Audio-Technica PRO 8HEx 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.

Although the lack of a wireless setup can limit movement for the user, it does have a pivot-mounted mic arm that is flexible should you want it to be descended from the left or right side. However, it’s still best to consider using this headset microphone for recording audio in a studio instead of a live performance considering the limitations in movement. Albeit, the Audio-Technica PRO 8 HEx microphone headset makes up for it in comfort because of its cushioned support pads and low-visibility headband.

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 microphone headset limits movement

The Best Headset Microphone

Sound Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

For many onstage performers, the best headset micrphones are those that you can wear for long and can be barely seen. One of the best headsets that tick both boxes is the JK MIC-J 071S. This lightweight and barely visible headset mic that is also sweat and dust-proof is the preferred mic for musical and theater artists. As the headset sits on one’s head, one need not worry about feeling uncomfortable.

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.

The JK MIC-J 0712 also has a user-friendly wireless transmitter and a locking screw plug that is compatible with many wireless microphone systems. This makes it a good headset microphone for first-time users of wireless headsets.

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

Sound Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 

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 response 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

Sound Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 

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

Sound Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 

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 and background noise rejection
✖️ Big and noticeable when worn onstage
✖️ Construction lacks feel of security

Sound Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 

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 Best Headset Microphone

Sound Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The Sennheiser XSW 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.

The best headset microphones also come with a complete audio equipment setup and the Senneheiser XSW 1-ME3 does not fall short in this department. A complete starter audio equipment set of this microphone comes with in-ear monitoring, a lightweight headmic, a compact bodypack, integrated antennas, a power supply, and 2 AA batteries. Both the wireless transmitter and receiver are also included in the set.

With a built-in pop filter, the plosives, feedback, and background 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 for longer battery life.

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
✔️ Has a built-in pop filter to reduce noise, plosives, and background noise pickup
✔️ Comfortable and stable headset
✖️ Pricey
✖️ Must replace AA batteries if they are not rechargeable

Sound Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 

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 response range of 60 Hz-20kHz. With that, the AKG C520 makes for great high-quality studio headphones with impressive microphone quality.

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.

The package of the AKG C520 comes withs with a headset microphone vocal condenser mic and a Rockville PRO-M50 studio headphones with ear cup covers. It also comes with a gold plated 3.5mm connector, a 3.5mm jack, and XLR connector.

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
✔️ Has a high-frequency dynamic range
✔️ Audio interface is clear and responsive
✔️ Has a built-in pop filter to reduce plosives and background noise pickup
✔️ Great noise-cancelation
✖️ Pricey

Sound Quality:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Design:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Features:  ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 

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, which is why it is also dubbed as the performance headset condenser microphone. With these features, concerning yourself with mic placement and volume controls will not be much of a problem.

Pros and Cons of the Shure SM35

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

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.


Are Headset Microphones Good for Singing?

While headset microphones are a great choice of mic for live singing performances because of the mobility and freedom they give to the user, these recording equipment sound just as great as they are functional.

May it be a wired headset or wireless headphones with mics, headsets can provide high-quality surround sound that is stable and can highlight vocals. Whether it’s recording audio in a studio or a live performance on stage, headset mics are a great choice provided that you choose the best one for the right application, requirement, and location.

For optimal performance and results, it is recommended to use headset mics with volume control so adjustments can be done on the fly, a mic boom to help improve vocal clarity while minimizing unwanted noise, and one that is mic jack compatible for versatility. If you plan on using the headset for long, then choose one with memory foam cushions and memory foam pads for added comfort.


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 mics are comfortable to wear, but since each design differs from one another, preference can play a part in the level of comfort. 

There are microphone headsets that have memory foam ear cushions and memory foam padding making them comfortable to wear for long.

One must also consider the application intended since the duration and movements that will be done can play a part in comfort levels.


Frequently Asked Questions

Realistically speaking, there is no definite answer to the question what headset has the best mic since preference plays a major role in this. Not to mention the performance of a headset mic will vary depending on the application and purpose.

It is expected for gaming headsets to outperform performance headset mics when the application is for elevating a gaming experience due to unique features. For example, most headsets for gaming will have a USB dongle that will allow them to be compatible with mobile devices, consoles, and the PC whereas a regular performance headset will not. To also improve the overall gaming experience, there are gaming headsets that feature Dolby Audio for surround sound gaming audio and a detachable boom mic that other headsets simply do not have.

On the other hand, performance headsets have features that can outperform the mic of headsets for gaming. There are those with volume controls, a more extensive frequency range, and windscreen shields to block out plosives to name a few. Mic features such as these also make them better for recording audio.

Ultimately, the best headset microphones will be dependent on your preference and application so take time to research which one is suited for you and your needs.

Which headset is best for calls?

If you are conducting calls via phone or laptop and want to graduate from using the built-in mic, then it may be time invest in an external microphone for enhanced audio performance. A popular choice for many are headsets.
When it comes to vocal applications such as calls and discussions, opt for headset cardioid mics are best for the job as they are front-focused and can isolate unwanted noise from the sides and back.

Other headset features that will come in handy for calls are volume control for real time adjustment of loudness, dual micro USB cable for versatility, and windscreen for reducing plosives. Although it’s not really needed, but headsets with memory foam ear cusions are also a plus for comfort, especially if you plan on conducting lengthy calls.

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 or a wired gaming headset, then a 1.2m cable is enough to still give you ample mobility.

In today’s standards and needs, having a noise-canceling microphone is an expected feature by many. With that said, a headset microphone, may it be a wireless headset or wired headset, will most probably feature active noise-cancellation to help reduce pickup of background noise.

Do wireless headset microphones have good sound quality?

Headset microphones designed for vocal and audio performances will definitely sound great and produce excellent audio quality. 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.


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.


The Best Headset Microphone

Editor’s Choice

Shure WH20XLR

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.

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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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