Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › The best headphones for Transcription work?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

The best headphones for Transcription work?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi there,
I'm new to the wonderful world of headphones usually sticking to basic Sonys' or JVCs' that work with a walkman or my iBook, and that's always been enough for me.
But I'm now doing some Transcription work, and I need some headphones that will help me make this work a little easier.
Basically I'm transcribing a discussion between 2 people recorded on standard audio cassettes, so the quality isn't always great. I need to decipher what's being said, and as with normal discussion, these people often talk over each other so it can all get a bit messy.

Now I know there's only so far I can go with this because the original recording is fairly ordinary. But my first priority are headphones that can help clarify what's being said as much as possible given the quality of the tapes.

The next criteria is of course comfort. I'll need to be using these for several hours at a time, so I want something that fits comfortably over the head and the ears.

I also want a headphone that can plug into a variety of equipment, including a HiFi, walkman/iPod, iBook and plane audio systems. It would also be nice if it didn't chew up too many batteries.
Features like folding capabilities, carry bags etc are appealing, but not as important as the other things I've mentioned.

My investigations so far have led me to closed, noise canceling headphones, and the models I've narrowed it down to are:
Sennheiser HD25SP and Sennheiser PXC250, but I've also seen some Sony and PlaneQuiet models that look interesting too. But I'm open to ALL suggestions as I'm finding it difficult trying to compare all the different models available especially considering my primary use will be the Transcription work, rather than listening to music.

I'm sorry I don't have anything to offer anyone due to my very limited experience with Headphones, but I really would appreciate any advice any of you Guru's can give me.
Thanks,
meldl
post #2 of 21
You probably would get the best results with canal phones. I use Etymotic ER6i with dat, cassette, for field recording. I also use them with an ipod, all usually unamped. The sennheisers mentioned, if they sound like my px100's (which I love) are probably too bassy and could make things sound a bit muddy. Basically it seems that you want something that is very detailed, has good isolation, is east to drive and is portable. The Ety's has all of these qualities and are also very nice phones for music listening too.

Comfort and fit/seal are another matter. Canal phones are an acquired taste as far as how they actually feel when worn, and can't really be auditioned. I have used custom ear mold earplugs as a musician for years, so I kind of knew what to expect. Maybe you could buy some cheap swimmers earplugs and see how they feel for extended periods of time.
post #3 of 21
i think noise cancelling wouldn't be great, since they still let noises through. a good pair of closed phones would be good for what you need. you'd also likely need a pair of real studio monitors, which are designed to sound flat without emphasis. i do all my music transcriptions on my computer and pass the music through an equalizer, so i can do transcriptions even with my 580's.
post #4 of 21
Think I've read that the beyer dt250-80 are designed for vocal monitoring. Might be just the ticket.
post #5 of 21
For accuracy of detail in conversation it's unlikely you'd find anything better than the Etymotics; I'd recommed the ER6i, ER4P or the Shure E3.

Given the source and application either of the sennheiser models mentioned would also be fine but will let in more external noise; the 25SP is probably a better choice comfort wise, will block slightly more external noise, and is about as robust and maintainable as headphones get these days.
post #6 of 21
For that application, headphones are a lot less important than sound processing. Get ahold of a parametric equalizer and dial out any rumble in the recording. Then give a slight boost to the frequencies between 4khz and 8khz... that will improve the consonants and sibilance. If necessary, boost the high mids too.

As a previous poster said, a good low cost all purpose headphone is the PX-100.

See ya
Steve
post #7 of 21
Actually I believe it's the Beyer DT100 that's designed for vocal monitoring
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 

The best headphones for Transcription work?

Thanks so much for the excellent feedback everyone.
Firstly so you know, I just can't use those ear bud style headphones that sit in the ears. Tried them and they just hurt, which is a shame because the Etymotics get a good review from most of you.
But I will look into all the other suggestions.
You need to know that some of what you said went straight over my head though!!!
But I will investigate throroughly.
Meanwhile you've managed to really peak my interest about this parametric equalizer. I thought I was stuck with the lousy sound quality on the original recordings, so that sounds hopeful. As does the vocal monitoring headphones that were mentioned.
I'll definitely let you know how I go.
Thanks again.
meldl
post #9 of 21
What you need are resolving and detail cans. Ety's and shures deliver, but unforunately you cant wear them. What is your budget?
post #10 of 21
Get the broadcast standard headphone used by the BBC et al: Sennheiser HD-480's. If you get a lower ohm version, you can use with it with portables. Very comfy, non-fatiguing, and designed for listening to the spoken word.
post #11 of 21
Aren't there military designed headphones that focus in on only the vocal frequencies? If I remember correctly, the US military and I guess others have headphones created with the sole purpose of absolute accuracy (I assume for radio operators in mission critical operations). If you need this solely for voices and transcription then THAT may just be the ticket for you.

EDIT: I found a link for you
http://www.roanwellcorp.com/HEADSETS.HTM
So I suppose what I was thinking about was aviation or military grade headphones that have a vocal frequency bandwidth ONLY. That means they would be designed to reduce all noise except speech. Perfect for transcription I'd assume.
post #12 of 21
Sony V6's? Sweetwater (local studio) swears buy them, and they are the most common phone I have see used by the press whenever I am in DC (followed by maybe the dt250/80)
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by zachary80
Sony V6's? Sweetwater (local studio) swears buy them, and they are the most common phone I have see used by the press whenever I am in DC (followed by maybe the dt250/80)
I'd agree. The Sony's are very revealing. Those DT100's might also be worth looking into.
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot
For that application, headphones are a lot less important than sound processing. Get ahold of a parametric equalizer and dial out any rumble in the recording. Then give a slight boost to the frequencies between 4khz and 8khz... that will improve the consonants and sibilance. If necessary, boost the high mids too.
Absolutely agree here. It's all about the sound processing. Get Audacity, a freeware audio editor for the PC. Hook up your tape player to the Mic input of your sound card and adjust the levels. Capture at 16 bit/22 kHz mono or maybe less (experiment) and then you can amplify, equalize, compress, and reduce noise (be careful -- too much noise reduction will make everything muffled) to your heart's content in the digital domain.

You can save a separate file for each section so you can create your own "tracks", which makes random access a breeze. You can also compress the resultant .WAV files into mp3's so you can play them in Winamp/WMP on your PC and on portable mp3 players.
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 

The best headphones for Transcription work?

Hi Null,
My budget is up to about $300 AUD.
Thanks to ALL for the great feedback. I'm busy researching!
I think a parametric equalizer might be out of reach though.
Cheers,
meldl
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphones (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphones (full-size) › The best headphones for Transcription work?