Anyone who loves audio knows that headphones are more than just an accessory – it’s a big part of their daily lives. No matter where you are on your audiophile journey, this resource should help you get closer to your music with your headphones more than ever.
If you’re still using the headphones that came with your phone or other devices, you may want to consider an upgrade. You have a lot of options these days. From small models that slip into your shirt pocket to large models that can be worn by ear and can help you immerse yourself in music and show off (and maybe even to feel!) like a DJ And some models entirely skip the wires, leaving nothing but air between you and your music.
Basic concepts to know about headphones:
Size: LARGE or small
The choice of headphones depends on both your lifestyle (and even your brand) and your wallet. Some people buy different types for different uses: one for exercise, for example, and one for relaxation. The lines are blurred, however. You will now see people on the street or the train wearing larger models that only used for home use, while others connected to their headphones 24/7, even when watching movies.
All headphones are “portable,” but we use the term to explain small, lightweight models, some of which can be folded and stowed in a pocket or purse when not in use. This category also includes headsets for use with smartphones: those that come with a microphone and in-line controls for volume, skip tracks, and connecting or disconnecting calls. Keep in mind that while smaller, lighter headphones are often more comfortable than their older siblings, you can trade sound quality for comfort.
We use the term “home/studio-style” to explain generally larger headphones that look like earmuffs, with two headphones connected by an adjustable headband. Many are wired, with 3 to 8-foot cables. So they can be connected to an audio source, such as a receiver or television. Some fold up for storage and come with carrying bags. Some battery-powered wireless models use Bluetooth or other technology to connect to smartphones and other devices without the cable.
Choosing the right type of gadgets is a very personal decision. Many listeners are comfortable wearing in-ear headphones that fit the ear canal or headphones sitting in the earpiece, but others find it irritating. Some users prefer headphones or earphones, while others are reluctant to size or complain that they are interfering with glasses or earrings. Depending on the intended use, you may also consider purchasing wireless and noise-canceling models. Use this guide to find the type that suits your specific needs.
Over the ear
They are generally lighter than the models on the ear instead of the sides of the head. Some users find that they feel more comfortable than ear models and are less likely to warm their ears during long listening sessions. In-ear headphones, like in-ear headphones, are also available in open and closed versions. But despite this, they often leave more external sound because they generally do not form such a seal with hearing. Some can be folded for storage and delivered with transport bags.
In the ear
The headphones rest in the ear, outside the ear canal, although part of it may extend into the ear canal itself. They are relatively common as they often supplied with smartphones and portable audio players. Insert-type models fit into the ear canal, usually forming a joint that can help prevent other foreign noises. Most come with new headphones (channel tips) of various sizes to ensure a secure fit.
Wireless models are standard and generally use Bluetooth, which has a range of up to 30 feet, to connect to smartphones, laptops, portable media players, such as iPods, and even some televisions. In recent years, some companies have launched “truly wireless” models, which do not have a cable or headset that connects the headphones. Real wireless headphones are particularly portable but often have relatively short battery life.
Many headphones have an insulating design that physically attenuates ambient noise, often called “passive noise cancellation.” Active noise reduction models go further. These battery-powered devices use tiny microphones to monitor the frequencies of outside noise. Then produce these same shifted frequencies to cancel them out. Others work with noise reduction turned off, so you can use them if the batteries are exhausted. While others only work with noise reduction turned on.
Tips on Finding the Right headphones for You
Rate the sound quality
Like the speakers, the headphones can emphasize different parts of the audio spectrum, and you may prefer one tone over another. If you can, try them before buying. When shopping online, check the return policy to make sure your purchase can be returned or exchanged for another model.
Choose a design that is suitable for your purpose
On-ear models are great for listening at home but can be too big to stow away when traveling comfortably. Sometimes the smaller, more portable models sacrifice some sound quality. But they’re practical, and the in-ear headphones are fabulous for listening. If you fly a lot or want to block out certain sounds near you. You should buy headphones with active noise reduction technology.
Stick to wired models for the best sound
For serious listening to music, we recommend one of the top-rated cable models. We find that all wireless headphones work well too, and some are pretty good, but so far. We haven’t found any that offer the sound clarity of the best-wired models.