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What features make the best headphones with a mic? First of all, the top-rated headphones for clear voice calls and video conferencing need excellent sound quality on both the speakers and the microphone. You’ll want balanced sound and wide frequency response, emphasizing vocal frequencies to ensure voice clarity and excellent audio quality for conference calls, video calls, and work meetings. These would also make great headphones for podcasting.
Now that so many of us conduct important business via conference calls and video calls, the right earphones or earbuds are a must. A remote or hybrid work situation can make it essential to have a good set of noise-canceling headphones with a built-in mic. Good mic quality and top-notch audio performance help avoid costly misunderstandings and delayed meetings.
Depending on how noisy your home or office is, you may want active noise cancelation, especially if you’re using the top headphones for your iPhone. Also, whether you prefer on-ear headphones or earbuds, comfort is essential. The highest-performing wired and wireless headphones have thoughtful, ergonomic designs that help maintain comfort for video calls, casual gaming, and long listening sessions.
Finally, a great pair of headphones, such as the Sennheiser headphones, has a built-in microphone that should be reliable and have strong connectivity. Look for wireless earbuds with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth 5.0 and at least a 30 feet range. Wired headphones should have a long enough audio cable to allow comfortable movement.
Keep reading to learn more about the best headphones with built-in mic and how to choose the best headphones for your needs.
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Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: It delivers impressive bass levels and is available in a wide range of colors. It also has a super sensitive microphone and weighing only 0.6 pounds, it doesn’t feel uncomfortably heavy on the head.
The Bengoo G9000 is a gamer-oriented stereo headset that produces a punchy bass and has skin-friendly earmuffs for long-term use. Unlike the Incase Reflex headphones, it also features a super adjustable headband and a soft beam pad that keeps it comfortable when placed over a user’s head. Its 120° omnidirectional microphone picks up sound with high accuracy and sensibility, and its in-line controller makes it easy to adjust the volume. However, some might not like that it does not work on PC via USB.
At 49 inches, the braided cable on this headset is quite long and tangle-free, allowing for flexible movement. It also has a bunch of blue LED lights that create the perfect gaming atmosphere and are available in up to nine different color choices. The headset weighs only 0.6 pounds, so it doesn’t get too heavy on the head, and its 40mm drivers produce good enough sound quality to create an immersive listening experience.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: It has a noise-canceling microphone and ships with a splitter connecting the speakers and the microphone. Its ear cups are also quite soft, and its 50mm stereo drivers produce pretty good sound.
Made of black ABS plastic, the Nubwo U3 is a bulky gaming headset that features a noise-canceling microphone and soft skin-friendly ear pads that make it super comfortable for marathon gamers. Their 50mm drivers produce super-accurate sound, and its omnidirectional microphone is also pretty easy to adjust. Its soft top padding gives it a very comfortable feel, and its clear sound fidelity and deep bass levels provide a very immersive listening experience. The headband on this headset is also pretty easy to adjust, and it also features an in-line volume controller. Unfortunately, its ear cups do not swivel or pivot and have limited adjustability. This is unlike the V-MODA XS on-ear headphones, which have ear cups that fold inward.
One of this headset’s unique features is its microphone’s noise-canceling feature, which significantly eliminates any background noise and helps users focus on their gaming. The headset weighs a light 0.9 pounds, and its cord is about 5 feet long to allow for decent flexibility. The headset also features a 3.5mm tip that makes it pretty easy to connect to most modern consoles and ships with a splitter for connecting to both the headphone and mic ports.
Award: BEST FOR CALL CENTERS
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is the first choice for customer care representatives and call centers thanks to its impressive microphone and features a long 6.2ft cable for flexibility.
The Logitech H390 wired headset is a simple-looking, multipurpose pair of headphones with padded ear cups for comfort and a reasonably long 6.2 ft cable for added flexibility. The headset comes with a left-sided noise-canceling microphone and in-line controls that allow owners to adjust the volume on calls or even mute the mic with one touch of its controls. The headset uses a USB connection to plug into a computer and produces digital stereo sound to create an immersive listening experience. Still, its bass levels are not as good.
The sound quality produced by the Logitech H390 is pretty impressive, as previous users have found it adequate for listening to music or watching YouTube videos. The headset is the preferred option for users who need to make many phone calls thanks to the high quality of its microphone, and it is pretty popular, especially in call centers. Its headband is also pretty easy to adjust, so it can accommodate users of varying head sizes, and weighing only 0.4 pounds, it should be pretty easy to handle.
Award: BEST FOR VARIED COLOR OPTIONS
WHY WE LIKE IT: They are available in 17 different color options and a matte, gloss, or metallic finish. These earbuds also feature 9mm drivers and ship with three sets of earpads to accommodate different ear sizes.
Announced in 2013, these Panasonic ErgoFit wired earbuds are a pair of wired in-ear headphones that ship with three sets of earpads and have an in-line microphone and volume controller for easy volume adjustments when taking calls. The headphones have a cord that is about 3.6 feet long, and their ergonomic hold design ensures that they stay in the ear when worn. The earbuds are available in as many as 17 colors, and buyers will also have the option to choose between a gloss, matte or metallic finish. Its 9mm drivers offer a wide frequency response for good quality audio, however, some users have complained that its thin cord tends to tangle pretty easily.
These in-ear headphones are also compatible with both iOS and Android smartphones and will work pretty well with the voice assistants on both platforms. The sound quality produced is also pretty well balanced, and the headphones will work with any device that features a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Award: BEST FOR GENERAL USE
WHY WE LIKE IT: They are ideal for users who need a simple solution with no bells and whistles that just work. Its 9mm drivers produce good sound quality, and its microphone captures sound clearly for problem-free calling.
The Sony MDREX15AP is a reliable pair of in-ear headphones that include two pairs of silicone ear tips and dual 9mm drivers that produce punchy bass levels. The earbuds are capable of a wide 8Hz to 22kHz frequency range for enhanced music and sound quality and are super lightweight for easy handling. They have a sensitivity rating of 100 decibels and a cord length of 1.2 meters for flexibility. However, these headphones do not have a noise-canceling feature.
These Sony in-ear headphones also feel pretty comfortable when worn. Its microphone quality is good enough to ensure good audibility, making it great for making or taking calls. The buds are available in five colors and will work with any smart device with a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Award: BEST FOR SOUND QUALITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: It delivers exceptional sound quality and has a reasonably attractive design. They are available in four colors and have built-in mic and volume controls for phone calls or audio recording.
The Beats EP wired on-ear headphones are excellent for users who prioritize good sound quality. The headphones are also pretty well designed and have a snug and comfortable fit. Its ear pads are pretty easy to adjust, as they are designed with vertical sliders that allow for quick and easy customization. They come in about four colors and are also shipped with a travel pouch for convenient carrying. These headphones also have a small control module featuring a microphone and three control buttons for volume and playback control. Unfortunately, it does not have noise canceling as a feature.
These headphones have been praised for their impressive audio quality, as testers ascertained that their bass, treble, and mid-accuracy levels are well beyond that of other alternatives in its category. The headphones feel pretty comfortable when worn, and weighing only 0.5 pounds, they’re very easy to handle.
Headphones with built-in microphones are any set of headphones, earbuds, or headsets with a built-in mic for voice pickup. Most wireless earbuds and on-ear headphones made today give you the option of at least one microphone, but mic quality varies widely. The top-performing models deliver accurate sounds for phone calls and video conferencing without picking up too much ambient noise or breathing sounds.
What distinguishes headphones with built-in mics from other types of headphones and gaming headsets is the intended function of their microphones. Headphones with mics are lighter and more portable than the average gaming headset. The sound quality needs to be adequate for clear phone conversations and video chats indoors or outdoors, but it need not be up to the level of audiophile headphones and dedicated gaming headsets.
Headsets tend to be bulkier and less portable than headphones or earbuds with microphones. A gaming headset will often have a detachable boom mic. Earbuds and headphones use more audio processing techniques, such as ambient noise reduction and static noise reduction. These systems promote improved voice clarity and facilitate phone calls.
Earbuds and on-ear headphones with mics generally don’t have as much passive noise isolation as production headphones do. Instead, most models rely on active noise cancelation, using advanced noise reduction processing on both the headphones and the microphone. Unlike a set of studio headphones or audiophile headphones, a pair of earbuds or headphones with a mic has a built-in mic for voice calls and video chat.
Like headphones without microphones, those with built-in mics can be wireless or wired, and wired models can use audio jacks, USB cables, or XLR audio connectivity.
Headphones with built-in mics can help make video and voice call clearer by picking up the sound of the user’s voice more accurately than a phone or computer mic. They also allow for more freedom of movement when talking on the phone or video conferencing.
A pair of earbuds or headphones with a mic connects to an audio source. True wireless models, such as the Apple AirPods Pro, also connect earpieces wirelessly. Today’s wireless earbuds use Bluetooth 5.0 or 5.1, a low-energy standard that helps preserve battery life. Wired earbuds generally use a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The best headphones and leading earbuds with mics use active noise reduction to reduce external noises for improved voice calls. The top-rated true wireless earbuds typically use one or more downward-facing microphones and additional microphones that pick up external sounds and allow the software to filter these sounds out.
In terms of audio playback, headphones and earbuds with mics use similar technology as other headphones. The set translates an audio signal into electronic signals and uses miniaturized speaker components with magnetic drivers and vibrating woofers and tweeters. Some higher-end models use a dynamic driver in each earpiece. These dynamic drivers help the headphones produce directional sound, enabling features like spatial audio.
Headphones with mics for voice pickup typically use a lightweight design, making them more portable and better suited to an active lifestyle.
If you’ve started working in a hybrid remote or fully remote position, you may find that the audio quality on calls and video conferences is more important. This means that the standard microphone on your mobile phone or computer may not cut it any longer. Headphones with a built-in mic can help make your video conferences and voice calls clearer.
You might also want to consider a new set of headphones with a mic if you often take video calls, phone calls, or record voice memos outside or anywhere there are ambient sounds. A wireless headset or headphones with built-in mics and excellent noise cancelation can help improve clarity and reduce background noises.
If you’re traveling, a good set of headphones with a mic can help make calls clearer and improve comfort while talking on the phone. A model with excellent battery life may also add peace of mind on road trips and long workdays.
Newer headphones and earbuds with microphones have more advanced noise reduction technologies and better wind noise protection than older models. This allows for better audio on voice calls, video calls, and social media posts. If you’re looking for new headphones or earbuds for teens, mic quality may be important for video and social media.
Current-model wireless earbuds and headphones offer improved battery life and more convenient charging. For example, most true wireless models, such as the AirPods Pro and AirPods Max, provide wireless charging options. Mid-range and affordable wireless sets offer at least five hours of battery life on a single charge.
Headphones and earbuds can last from one to five years depending on the product’s build quality, the type of use, and other factors. Similar to gaming headset microphones and other AV equipment, a set of wired headphones with a mic can theoretically last longer than true wireless earbuds, which may not be able to outlast their built-in lithium-ion batteries. These batteries work well for energy density, enabling as little as a 5-minute charge time for some models, but they tend to last between 500 and 1500 charge cycles.
Most travel and everyday headphones wear out due to accidental damage or liquid spills. However, they are often long before their batteries or other components reach the maximum extent of their life cycle.
To keep your gaming and voice headphones working as long as possible, experts suggest keeping them in their travel and charging case when not in use and storing them securely in a cool, dry place. Wireless models tend to break down sooner when charged in very hot conditions.
Various factors can help you decide on the best headphones with a mic for your needs. You’ll want to consider what types of uses you have for the headphones, whether you mainly use them when traveling or at home, and what external devices you mainly use. Some models, such as the Razer Kaira, work exceptionally well for game consoles like the Xbox Wireless and Nintendo Switch, while others, such as most Mee Audio and Bang & Olufsen models, work equally well with most mobile devices and desktop computers.
Next, you’ll likely want to look for earbuds or headphones with a comfortable, attractive design that feels right to you. For example, do you prefer on-ear or in-ear models? Or are you looking for more specialized ergonomic considerations from a set of neckband headphones?
Finally, you’ll want to consider what audio and convenience features you want: advanced noise reduction technologies, wind-noise protection, transparency mode, and physical buttons, which are maybe more or less important for different users.
Wired and wireless models can both have their advantages. Great wireless headphones, such as the AirPods Pro or Jabra Elite, offer more freedom of movement and convenient connectivity to mobile devices, and access to voice assistant apps. On the other hand, Wired earbuds mean you don’t have to worry about how many hours of battery life you have left.
If you’re mainly looking for travel headphones, you may want to consider convenient, durable wired earbuds or wireless models that come with a chunky charging case for some protection against scratches and spills. You might also want to look for features like an ambient mode for blocking out noises, wind noise protection, and convenient physical buttons, such as a mute button and call answer button.
Suppose you need to make clearer calls in noisy environments. You’ll want to consider noise-canceling headphones with mics that use an anti-noise feature such as wind noise protection and active noise cancellation to help isolate vocal frequencies from ambient sounds. You may also consider headphones with an on-ear configuration, which are bulkier but provide better passive noise isolation.
Along with sound performance, personal preferences in design and comfort can also shape the choice of which headphones work best for you. If you prefer a slim and portable model, you’ll want to look for earbuds with built-in downward-facing mics, such as the AirPods 3 from Apple or the Elite 75 or Elite 85 from Jabra. Or you may find an on-ear design more comfortable. Either way, look for a set with an attractive design and excellent sound quality for clearer calls.