Headset reviews are about a dime a dozen on the internet. They’re all subjective too. Everyone’s hearing is different. Especially mine! About 50% of the hearing in my left ear is gone, not to mention a load of tinnitus. The right ear, about 20% gone, and a tad bit of tinnitus. Cause? An M2 .50 caliber machine gun, a story for another day 🙂 I’m sure I have long-term exposure damage as well, which is why it’s so important to take care of your hearing! So, my days of bumping in the trunk are (just about) done :P. So take headset reviews with a grain of salt! My main question, I wanted to solve here, was –  Is it worth going from a $60 headset, to a $275 headset?

If your a new ham, your probably wondering why that shiny new transceiver you just bought sounds like doo doo. Don’t fret. I don’t think I’ve EVER heard a built in speaker sound good. For general listening, I’ll use some powered JBL LSR 305’s in the shack. Though they seem to introduce a bit more hiss into the audio. They are powered by a switching power supply, but are very well shielded inside the speaker. Have a very flat response, which is why I like them. But if your planning on doing any kind of operating, I think a good headset is an absolute must. There’s a reason why you see professional radio operators all around the world using headsets, including sportscasters, dj’s, coaches, 911 call center operators, because when communication matters most – you need the audio right where it matters most – in your ears! And vice versa – you need the audio going directly into the mic – and with a headset you get just that!

I’m no expert in audio, but I do consider myself to be an ‘audiophile’ 🙂 I like audio that sounds good, and the nature of shortwave radio requires good headphones. It’s already a noisy enough environment out there. I’ve gone through a many sets of headphones, including the ones that required really expensive amps just to be run, it’s a hobby all in itself – and it can get expensive if you don’t watch it! Below are the headphones I settled on for general music use or listening to podcasts. The Audio Technica ATH-M50’s and Vmoda Crossfade M100’s. Both excellent headphones for the price and for the audio they reproduce!


You’ve probably no doubt heard about the cheap alternative the Yamaha CM500’s. An entry level headset sold for around $50-60 that has an electret mic & closed back headphones, but they have an absolutely horrible seal around your ears, and allow lots of ambient noise to enter the ear cup. Now if you have stellar hearing, you operate in a shack that is extremely quiet, you may get away with a cheaper headset, if one things for certain, the CM500’s are plenty comfortable, well basically because they don’t seal around your head at all!  But they use an electret mic, which is a little hot and can make your voice sound a smidge higher than it is. They also require bias voltage on my 590SG, apparently the bias voltage supplied by the 590SG causes distortion?

The Heil Pro 7’s come with a dynamic mic cartridge already, but I did have to purchase additional adapters for both of my radios, which come in at about $25 a piece. A lot better than Radiosport headsets @ $99 a cable! If you have multiple radios, keep that in mind!

So i’ll spend the next few weeks using both of these headsets and discovering their pros/cons. I think Winter Field Day would be a good way to ask folks what they think about each, i’ll have both headsets there for folks to use, we’ll see which one gets used more 🙂

Stay tuned!




  1. I’m looking for a headset. I have significant hearing loss- acoustic and traumatic loss and tinnitus in both ears. I wear hearing aids w/ mics behind both ears. Some headphone cups sit on your ears, others enclose the entire ear (and hearing aid mics in my case). I could go that route, or get a new set of in-the-ear hearing aids, and use either type headphone (on-the-ear or over-the-ear). Does anyone have any experience with such a dilemma? Any audiologists in the house? Thanks.


    1. Hey Mike! Your certainly fighting a lot more obstacles! The Heils have great audio no doubt! The part of my hearing that’s damaged is the speech recognition part, but I’ve really learned how to customize my EQ to get it sounding just right. Still experimenting, trying to wear them in, their a bit stiffer than I’m used to!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thx for the feedback. I guess I need to talk w/ my audiologist… she should have some answers, and/or recommendations. I’ll let you know what I find out. I’m guessing you may have some other hard of hearing vet/ HAM friends. Another option could be PSK31, but that gets tough to take to the mountains, etc. 73 de Mike KEØGZT

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Aloha Mike… For the past week I have been testing a Sennheiser GAME ZERO over-the-ear headset… I also have tinnitis in BOTH ears, and double-tinnitus in my left one… I am 75-yo… Still love to participate in contests,..but can only hang-in-there for about 15-hours… This headset is FANTASTIC!! No earache, no sweaty ears, very little external sound gets in…and the mic audio is crisp and noise-free… Guess that sums it up… if anyone want the simple interface just let me know and I can email it as an attachment…(used it with my FTdx3000)…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. There are some additional low-cost options to comfortable headsets with great audio… PC GAMING Headsets… One of the best I have tried is the Senheisser (sp?) one on special at the moment. Great mic audio and super-comfortable! There are hundreds out there under $100… The only proviso is that you will need a PC Headset to Ham Rig adapter for the transmit audio, as all the microphones are electret and require 3~5vdc at 3 or 4 ma… You can easily make your own with one resistor and 1 capacitor, or you can order one from ALOHA-RADIO.com. de Eddie NH7AA

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Johnny, I had the opportunity to use your Heils this weekend and really liked them. Most of my radio headset experience from the fire service is with the David Clark equipment. The Pro7s audio was by far superior to the DC and very comfortable to wear for extended operations at winter field day. Thanks again for the opportunity to run your station and check out your gear.
    KG5EAW 73

    Liked by 2 people

  4. At 77, I wear hearing aids on both ears, each has two microphones front and rear for noise cancelling and direction finding, with loss between 2kHz and 8kHz of 20 to 95db I am beyond help I suspect but over ear helps to some extent but not in a noisy environment. I use Bauhn Model AHP-1192 with some success. From Aldi stores for less than $100 was the best that I could afford.
    Ian VK3LA.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s