Are you ready to buy a pair of good-quality headphones? But wait, How can you configure all the technical amenities headphones offer you? Selecting headphones that fulfill all your expectations is not a cup of tea for everyone. It takes a toll on you, giving up deciding on nothing. Don’t worry; I have prepared an easy headphones-buying guide that does not require a chemical formula for you to choose and use.
Each headphone comes in competition with another one and does not contain all the specifications of their competitors. I suggest you list all the essential qualities you want in your headphones; otherwise, it becomes challenging for you to look for your desired gadget.
Some people buy headphones for their sore-free audio, while others prefer to go with a sturdy design. It takes a few minutes to ponder over the specifications of these devices. This article is for everyone who wants to use headphones casually or professionally.
Headphones Buying Guide | Key Factors to look for?
This section is about the headphones’ prominent vital factors and technical specifications. The buying guide is not necessarily possible without understanding these terms. So, keep reading.
Wired vs. Wireless
Everyone has their preferences regarding the use of headphones. These
devices come in various sizes and designs. But to my dismay, they cannot help you anyway when you do not know their exact specifications. This article is for you if you want to have a feel of premium headphones.
How Does Older Technology Get You On Your Knees?
Wired headphones are a priority when the matter is all about good audio quality. You do not experience distortion in the earpieces. Moreover, you get emancipation from charging them.
Wired headphones work on a plug-n-play mechanism and transmit your desired sound through cables.
You get clear sound at an affordable price through wired ones. Similarly, wired headphones offer you limitless playtime, and there is no need to encounter pairing issues. On the other hand, using wired devices may let you face problems.
Sometimes you have to repair fragile cables. Other times, you have to find an alternative if the cable and port are not compatible.
Note: audio and video are in sync while using wired headphones, as there is no sound delay.
Benefits: excellent sound quality and affordable
Drawbacks: restricts movement
Do You Deny Charms Of Wireless Gadgets?
Wireless headphones do not replace the use of wired ones but rather innovate new technologies to attract music enthusiasts towards them. But firstly, I want to instill some powerpack highlights in you regardless of how wireless headphones work. Wireless headphones use three technologies: Bluetooth, Radiofrequency, and Infrared frequency.
Wireless headphones use radio transmission technology to deliver sounds from source to receiver. This technology uses particular transducers in Bluetooth headsets to convert an audio signal into digital and carry the sound by compressing and expanding it.
Wireless headphones ease you with their portable nature so you can roam everywhere within the range of signals. Moreover, you can connect almost every compatible device, whether a smartphone or a smart TV. The issue of tangled wires is lost after the entry of these wireless devices. RF technology delivers sounds from an audio device through electromagnetic sound signals.
The only safety they demand is to charge them from time to time and put them in a protective case out of extreme weather for better working.
Benefits: freedom of movement and portable
Drawbacks: battery dependent, pairing issues, pricey
Type: What Are The Different Types Of Headphones?
As I mentioned above, headphones have many types owing to their purposes. They may be over-ear, on-ear, or wireless earphones. It’sIt’s your personal choice to choose one and dedicate your time to listening to it.
When you hear the name headphones, over-ear headphones come into your mind. These are the most basic designs anyone could approach. However, there are some specific qualities due to which it differs from others.
Over-ear headphones are designed to cover your ears and isolate possible noise. They are large and obtain full-range sound quality. These headphones are also manageable for long hours as they do not trap the ears inside the ear cups but instead make a layer to provide maximum ease and comfort.
Moreover, over-ear headphones, due to their bulkiness, use dynamic drivers that allow more air to pass through and prevail sound inside the ears. These are closed back not to let the noise sweep outside, and you enjoy your listening time without disturbing others.
As the name suggests, on-ear headphones fit nicely on the ears and possess some extra points to consider against over-ears. These have a gripping clamping force that lets you wear them accurately on your head without fearing to fall.
Compared to on-ears, you find these headphones are slightly smaller in size and facilitate you to fold them for traveling. In addition, on-ear headphones are lightweight and do not eat your ears, so that you can wear them for a long time.
Earphones or Earbuds
I must say, these are compact, handy, and easy to carry everywhere you are going. Earphones come with an external case to not compromise safety. These are designed for sports where you can easily insert them inside your ears and appreciate music.
As they directly fix inside the ears, you will listen to sound accurately with effective passive noise cancellation. The silicone tips do not allow the audio to escape outside, so that you can enjoy sound noise isolation.
The comfort level of earphones is not up to the mark as the device is continuously hugging your ears. It may cause you pain after several hours of wearing it.
What else do you need other than a headphone without wires? Yes, headphones with Bluetooth technology are in fashion these days that provide complete mobility and are truly wireless. These work on the transmission of sound signals through Bluetooth codecs.
Tidbits: Bluetooth codec is the algorithm for transmitting the signal from the source to the receiver.
The drivers at transmission convert the analog signal into an electrical signal and send the waves to the destination. Then the driver converts it to an analog signal you hear in the headphones. Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless with Active Noise Cancellation is a Bluetooth-enabled headphone that provides accurate sound without delay.
Audio Quality Of Headphones | 3 Determining Factors
You must think about the sound quality whenever you purchase headphones. It must be the first factor in the buying guide for the headphones. Of course, the audio quality matters because it fulfills the fundamental purpose of using a pair of headphones. There is no point in using headphones that do not meet your audio output demands.
The sound signature determines the audio quality of the headphone. It is the characteristics of a device in producing various sounds you can hear in the ear. These sounds are categorized into bass, mids, and trebles.
If you want high bass, you should opt for headphones with a low-frequency range. These headphones provide enough depth to the soundtrack. Beats Studio3 wireless headphones are the powerhouse for obtaining powerful bass. Most of the audio you listen to is in the mid-frequency range.
Another factor to consider in obtaining the best audio from headphones is the frequency response, the degree to which the human ears perceive sounds. In contrast, the average frequency range is 20 Hz to 20 kHz.
But sure, headphones go above or below this range. These particular types of headphones enhance the audio, especially in the sounds of birds chirping or the crispiness of the strings of a violin.
To get an excellent listening experience, you must know about the neutral, bright, and V-shaped frequency responses. Headphones with flat frequency responses are also used in studios for critical listening.
Headphone impedance is the power that operates them. The usual range of headphone impedance is 8-600 ohms. Low-impedance headphones demand less power to operate and are suitable for smartphones, mp3 players. The mechanism is that these devices have low amplification power, so low-impedance headphones are compatible with them.
While high impedance headphones require more power for their operation and need an external amp; otherwise, it directly affects the audio quality.
How Does The Design Of The Headphone Affect The Audio Quality?
As headphones have a variety of types, similarly they are also available in two significant designs.
The design makes a difference in how headphones generate sound. Ultimately, the choice is yours to choose which headphone suits your requirement.
They are known to trap all the sound between ears, providing a full range of noise isolation. Audio quality is a matter of discussion for professionals, so using closed-back headphones for producing original audio tracks without any audio bleeding is possible with headphones that are closed from the back. One downside added to closed-back headphones is they produce accurate sounds, or I can say raw, ugly, or hollow sounds without any coloration.
Moreover, closed-back headphones are reserved for professionals working in studios to mix and record soundtracks. This design holds the ears tight, so less air passes through them and considerable heat builds inside them. Professionals must remove their closed-back headphones occasionally because they cause the ears to get wet and itch.
Closed-back design is available in over-ear or on-ear headphone styles and is relatively bulky in size. These headphones are specially designed for those who want a private music listening experience. Beyerdynamic DT 700 PRO X and Audio-Technica ATH M50x are great for monitoring raw sounds in studios.
The one that creates a realistic sound is the open-back headphone. It works by letting the air vibrate in the drivers through the hollow gaps. As a result, the sound becomes more open and breathable, thus enhancing the music to the fullest. Similarly, many types of headphones work on the mechanism of open-back headphones, audiophiles or mixing headphones.
Audiophile headphones are unique headphones that reproduce the sound with some alteration, but overall you will listen to the audio as same as the source. Sennheiser HD 800 S gives every detail of the music with no loss of colorful bass and trebles. As a result, producing a more balanced sound without any unpleasant distortion or added coloration. Another plus point is that you cannot be devoid of the environment and thus quickly pinpoint the source of sounds.
Mixing headphones are essentially open from the back. The primary function of these devices is to appreciate the music by looking for the flaws like audio delay and added enhancement. All the frequencies, whether low, mid, or high, are the same in scale for producing a real detailed track with excellent sound richness by utilizing Sony MDR-7506.
Likewise, gaming headphones also demand aggressive sounds, making it easier to immerse yourself in the games. Logitech G633 gaming headset lets you hear gunshots or opponent’s footsteps in full swing.
Semi Open-back Headphones
Still confused about how to find accuracy and isolation? There enter the semi-open headphones containing all the features of open and closed-back. These headphones possess the same properties as both headphones.
A semi-headphone is classified as a back volume and a front volume. These are not the buttons for increasing or decreasing volume. But instead, are the volumes that allow the air to pass through or not?
Back volume is the volume of air behind the driver. It may be closed or entirely open in the case of closed-back or open-back headphones. At the same time, the latter is the air volume between the driver and the eardrum.
From the two buttons, one must be open to being included in the category of semi-open headphones. Beyerdynamic DT880 is a semi-open headphone because its back volume is open while the front volume has nothing to do with the environment.
What Makes Headphones Long-Lasting?
How about using headphones that feel like wearing them all day and never getting tired? Another factor that increases the durability of headphones fourfold is the comfort they provide the consumers. If they do not press your ears or tightly hold the head, you must grab it on the first attempt.
Material Breakdown Of Headphones
If you talk about the longevity of the headphones, then I must say it depends on the material from which they are made. Low-quality equipment makes sound worse and perishes the overall structure of headphones.
On the contrary, good quality headphones last longer even after fragile handling. For example, The headband of the V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Master is a steel flex with virgin leather material and hexagonal-shaped ear pads that adds more strength to this model.
Overall, you need to look for adjustable headbands made up of lightweight aluminum and ear cups padded with vegan leather. The most common materials that are used in forming the ear cups and headbands of headphones are:
- Artificial leather
- Memory foam
- PU leather
Earphones are combined by assembling polycarbonate and polyester with the addition of silicone tips. In contrast, Over-ear headphones are bulkiest and contain materials in their ear pads like real or faux leather.
If you want your headphones to be your prime music partner for a long time, you should ponder their maintenance. Taking care of a headphone lets you avoid replacing them with newer ones. In this regard, a question must pop into your mind: how do you maintain the headphones?
I advise you to look for headphones that have foldable ear cups and replaceable parts.
Such as, Sony MDR7506 consists of a steel headband with a folding feature and heavy-duty foam inside the ear cups to conform to the users’ comfort. Moreover, you can replace their parts after their usage for several periods.
What Are the Technical Amenities Headphones Offer?
Are you a person who buys headphones without bothering about their technical facilities? I suggest you get acquainted with all the information before selecting one. If you are unaware of the battery life or how to make it compatible with other devices, how can you make the best use of them? Headphones come with many technical features which you need to understand.
Why do you keep headphones with you? The answer is straightforward because it has a charging capacity that allows you to carry it everywhere and listen to whatever you want. An extensive long-hour battery is crucial as it makes the headphone durable and reduces your worry about charging them again and again.
Most on-ears or over-ears support longer battery life of 18 hours than wireless earphones or earbuds that generate audio for only 8 hours. It also depends on the quality of the headphones, whether you buy a cheap one or one that belongs to a famous brand.
I suggest you opt for headphones that claim fast charging and look for a type C cable that enables you to charge for some minutes but obtain playtime of several hours. For example, Beats Studio 3 Wireless Headphones obtain 3 hours of playtime from a 10-minute charge.
Sennheiser headphones are the top quality headphones, providing the consumer with the most extended battery life of up to 25 hours. On the contrary, Jabra Elite 45h excels all headphones owing to its charging capacity. It can provide approximately 50 long hours of playtime.
Most headphones send audio signals through radio waves using Bluetooth technology. It is imperative to look for wireless headphones that have updated technology so that you can enjoy an undistorted music experience. I suggest you go for Bluetooth 5.1 and 5.2 and at least for 5.0. These latest versions provide the proper synced music experience.
Standard Bluetooth range is divided into three classes:
- Class I covers upto 100 meters
- Class II covers upto 20 meters
- Class III covers only 30 meters
Sennheiser headphones use Bluetooth standards above 5.0, which means they can provide a connectivity range of upto 100 meters to consumers.
You often hear the term isolation in headphones, well, it is the mechanism by which outside noise does not enter the ears, and you can enjoy your music without any outside disturbance. Numerous noise isolation exists, like PNC, ENC, or ANC.
One primary function of buying noise-cancelation headphones is preventing airplane pressure and protecting against ear damage. When the plane ascends or descends, air pressure changes to pressure inside the ears. The eustachian tube needs some time to regulate both pressures. As a result, the changing temperature can cause muffled sounds to be heard.
Bose noise canceling 700 provides a thermal touchpad to control the commands. As the name suggests, it is the best noise-canceling headphone that gives you complete freedom to listen even in a crowd by using 6 microphones built inside the headphones.
New versions of headphones have newer technologies, such as voice assistants. With this feature, your headphones can read reminders and messages or alert you about upcoming meetings.
Similarly, Apple users use voice-assisted headphones by assigning Siri as a voice assistant and go beyond just enjoying music. Android users are also facilitated using the word Alexa as the voice assistant.
Bose has offered the voice assistant feature in their speakers and headphones. But this technology needs to be activated by tapping a button on headphones. For example, Bose QC 35 headphone is the voice-assisted headphone that lets you enjoy music and your work simultaneously.
Microphones and Control
Headphones are now available with additional multifunction buttons to resume/pause the song, adjust the sounds, and pick up or end the call. The buttons provide a straightforward approach to using the headphones. Moreover, they now have microphones to get clear sounds on calls.
Every type of headphone is designed to perform specific tasks. Each headphone has its own function, from noise cancellation to monitoring headphones for mixing. Similarly, waterproofing is the feature of headphones that lets you enjoy music in pools or during gymnastics.
These headphones have standard Ingress protection (IP) rating, meaning the electronic material inside the headphones can survive water. The specific rating is expressed from a range of IPX0-IPX9. The higher the rating, the less damage to the headphones in water.
Waterproofing is one of the necessary attributes of bone-conduction headphones. Different headphones have different IP ratings. Some go deep down in the pools, and some collapse after a few water splashes. For example, AfterShokz OpenMove Bone Conduction Headphones have an IP67 waterproofing rating suitable for sweat and water resistance but not deep pools.
Top Brand Of The Headphones
Different brands offer different types of headphones, and every brand is trying to penetrate the market by introducing new features among these gadgets. A list of top brands can be considered while buying headphones.
- Jabra Elite
- AKG Acoustics
- Skull Candy
Headphones are considered a significant piece of technology. I have provided you with a comprehensive buying guide for headphones. Additionally, there is an illustration of the pros and cons of each category. So, select the right one for you according to your needs and enjoy the distorted-free music experience.