If you do any kind of audio work – podcasting, music, etc. – get yourself a pair of Johnny Headphones as fast as you can.
Johnny Headphones are made by my good friend and podcasting co-host John Wall, and they’re absolutely incredible. Why? They’re a custom build that mixes some of the best studio monitoring headphones with much-needed add-ons. Let’s take a look at the details.
Johnnys start with the Sony MDR-7506 headphones. These are closed-ear, professional headphones used by musicians and producers with exceptional clarity. John then makes a few modifications; he removes the stock ear cups and adds velour ones. Velour makes quite a comfort difference. I find with the velour doesn’t stick to my skin when they get warm, and are even better in cold weather. They’re practically earmuffs, albeit very expensive ones.
The other major modification John makes? He removes the default cable and replaces it with a 3.5mm jack. My Johnnys came with the V-Moda boom mic, which is a terrific gaming mic. This turns the Johnnys into a decent podcasting setup without additional gear.
Above, I’ve put four different audio recording samples side by side. I recorded in a noisy room with the heater on to create background noise.
In the upper left is my reference, the Audio Technical ATR2100 condenser mic. It’s a terrific microphone that delivers a warm, rich sound and manages to remove background noise. You can see the relative absence of background noise by how dark the background is.
In the upper right is a cheap Logitech USB headset. It’s fairly noisy, as evidenced by the purplish background colors and how much bigger the overall red sections are.
In the lower left is the built in microphone on my iPhone 6 Plus. The iPhone is by far the noisiest mic. You could podcast with it, but it’d be a low quality result by comparison. The sound is muddled and indistinct as well, with red and orange everywhere.
In the lower right is the V-Moda Johnny mic. It delivers a clean sound with a nice punch to it. Is it as good as the ATR-2100? No. But it’s substantially better than the iPhone and the Logitech USB headset.
What does this mean for us? If we want to record audio on the go – say, in the car or on location, which I do frequently – and we don’t want to lug a condenser mic around for some reason, the V-Moda boom on the Johnny makes for a capable, compact setup. We can record and listen with a great pair of reference headphones on the spot.
Should you get a pair?
If you do audio work that requires clear reference listening, wearing headphones for a substantial part of the day, and potentially doing some recording of voice audio, yes. Get a pair. I love mine and they’re my daily go-to in the office.
Disclosure: John and I work together on Marketing Over Coffee, but I am not involved in this project, nor do I receive any financial benefit from his sales. I did receive a pair to evaluate at cost, paid for by Marketing Over Coffee revenues.
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