How To Choose Headphones For Your Phone and Computer
Music has long been an integral part of human life. With the advent of mobility, modern society has the opportunity to listen to it anywhere, whether it is a street, ground, subway, or plane. And in order to avoid any interference, headphones were invented.
It is the most comfortable way to enjoy your favorite songs. Buying a standing model, especially for beginners, is a tricky business. You couldn’t really know the best headphones for iPad air for example, or how to choose the best earpads for sports. It is very difficult to understand all the types and characteristics presented on the store shelves. Our article will help you navigate the features of the headphones and choose the ones that match your requirements.
The Best Developers of Headphones ‒ Which Company to Choose
Almost all manufacturers offer several dozen products. But all of them, one way or another, are similar to each other in sound. Each well-known brand has its own characteristic sound, therefore, having understood the main parameters, it will be easy for you to choose the necessary option among this wide range.
There are certain eminent brands in the domestic and world markets that have long been earning a reputation and are in great demand among experts in this field:
- AKG5. Sony
The assortment of brands is diverse. In order for people not to get confused, it was decided to use the special principle of labeling goods. For example, Sennheiser uses the so-called smart marking by adding a letter prefix. So It is an information source that can tell the consumer about the design and other distinguishing parameters of the product. The products of such large manufacturers are trustworthy.
The Principle of Functioning of the Headphones
Headphones are a special device designed to listen to speech and other sounds by one person. Outwardly, it is two small-sized sound emitters. For example, It is usually worn on the head or inserted directly into the ears. Products are used not only in everyday life but also in professional activities, for example, by musicians, sound engineers, etc.
Headphones provide mobility and soundproofing from ambient noise. The main elements are earcups (can be with ear pads), a connecting bracket (headband). If it comes to full-size models, and a cable with a connector that connects to any equipment. The handle can be mounted on the back of the head or on the crown of the head ‒ it all depends on the design. The earpads are inserted directly to the ears, so they are always made of soft and pleasant materials: velour, foam rubber, leather. In this case, the thinner the layer, the clearer the bass is transmitted, and the sound goes faster in thin headphones. Consider this information when choosing.
Types of Headphones
It is one of the most common types of headphones. Despite the existing shortcomings, such models are popular to this day. Very often earbuds come with smartphones. They sit comfortably in the auricle, do not create discomfort for the user. But in very noisy places due to insufficient insulation, the audibility of sounds will fall. Such headphones are not very suitable for athletes, as they can easily fall out.
- Do not cause feelings of inconvenience
- Do not fit snugly into the ear opening
- Low noise isolation
- Fall out with active movement
Now it is the vacuum models that increasingly replace the earbuds when listening to music from players and smartphones. They are devoid of the disadvantages that the previous type of headphones have. They are not just put into the ear, but inserted into the canal. This allows them to tighten their hold. The sound quality is higher, as the sound insulation improves, but such models poorly transmit the upper-frequency range.
- Sit tight in the auricle
- Do not fall out
- A stronger load on the hearing aid
- Do not allow air to flow freely into the ear
- May causes a feeling of inconvenience
- Often need cleaning from earwax
This kind of headphone is considered classic padded headphones. Their history spans a hundred years, but still, popularity has not fallen. The product has a bow that fixes the headphones on the head. The speakers are located in the earbuds, which seem to be superimposed on the ear from above, hence the corresponding name. Despite the good sound volume, this type of model is unable to provide high-quality sound insulation, especially in crowded places.
- Do not cause discomfort
- Sound louder than vacuum and lose leaves
- Transmit low and high frequencies
- Uncomfortable to wear with a hat
- Relatively high price
Full-size headphones give the highest levels of sound quality. However, they differ from the previous ones in that they completely cover the ear with the help of earpads, which improves sound insulation.
There are three types of full-size padded headphones: open ‒ characterized by the presence of wide openings that allow external noise; closed ‒ provide maximum isolation from extraneous sounds; half-open (half-closed) ‒ the external holes are small in size, so this type combines the advantages of the two previous ones.
- Sound insulation from medium to high
- Best sound quality
- Comfortable fit
- Massive design
- Uncomfortable to wear outdoors
- High cost
These are also full-size headphones but designed for professionals (sound engineers, musicians). With their help, you can work with audio materials in special studios, solving complex sound problems, for example, in mastering, mixing, and recording sound. Models of this type differ in a wide frequency range, high resistance, low distortion, and other characteristics.
- Good sound insulation
- Balanced sound
- High clearness
- Not suitable for listening to poor quality recordings
- Large size and weight
- Impressive price
Headphone selection options
Headphones can have one of several types of emitters:
Due to the design features, the sound of either low or high frequencies sags. It demonstrates the low reaction rate to a change in sound, its unevenness, and unpredictability.
This type is characterized by better sensitivity, volume, and clarity of sound. Of the minuses, a lower frequency range can be noted.
It is characterized by excellent sound with high sensitivity and a minimum of distortion. For work, a connection via a special docking station is required. But the cost of new models of headphones with this type of emitter sometimes reaches unrealistic amounts.
This type gives excellent sound detail, but with a good amplifier that is able to reveal all the possibilities.
Noise Reduction System or Noise Cancellation (ANC)
There are two types of noise reduction:
Used in cheap devices. Isolation is achieved through ear cushions that fit snugly to the head and around the ears. Such a system allows suppressing from 30 to 40 dB, which refers to average values.
In addition to the use of ear pads, it enhances the effect with waves with the opposite phase. The headphones have special microphone that picks up vibrations, after which they are processed by the electronic unit. This reduces noise levels by up to 90 percent. But here there is a drawback ‒ the limitation of the dynamic range of the model.
There are many characteristics, but first of all, you should pay attention to these three:
1. Frequency range
Bandwidth directly affects sound quality. The best sound will be with a wider, the worst ‒ with a narrower. Common is the range from 20 Hz to 20 kHz.
Usually, users perceive this characteristic as loudness, although professionals will never agree with such a designation, considering it amateurish. High performance provides a strong sound. A value of 100 dB or more is considered a sign of excellent sensitivity of the headphones.
This characteristic is rarely paid attention but in vain. When choosing headphones, it is important to check the resistance. Typically, portable audio devices are designed to use low-impedance models with approximately 30 ohms. When you connect headphones with 350 Ohms to them, you will hear the sound, but it will be much quieter.
Wired or Wireless
Convenience while listening often depends on this parameter:
1. Symmetric and asymmetric
Unbalanced is much more comfortable, since one of the cables is longer than the other. This allows you to put it on your neck at a time when the headphones are not in use. Symmetrical wires are the same length and have a Y-shape.
In addition to the usual round, there are flat cables, similar to the telephone. The advantage is that they never get confused, which means they rarely break and last longer.
3. Twisted (spiral)
These cables are often equipped with full-size semi-professional and professional models. They visually resemble the wire of an old telephone with a disk. They are convenient because they give the user the ability to move in space, since when pulling the spiral unwinds, thus increasing the length.
Differ in lower sound quality due to signal loss. Although the lack of cables is sometimes an absolute plus, you need to consider how long the headphones can work without recharging.
Thanks to the built-in software, people can get additional headphone functionality, namely:
- The implementation of high-quality adjustment to the individual characteristics of the user’s hearing ‒ the creation of a personal “auditory fingerprint”.
- Analysis of personal habits of listening to music and the device will also report the excess of parameters acceptable for health.
- Programming a sequence of control commands from the function key of the headset remote control or customizing the touch control panel.
- Providing active noise reduction to create a comfortable atmosphere.
- Firmware with equalizer ‒ a tool for calibrating sound in real-time.
- The ability to prioritize the launch of an application, such as a radio or music player.
- Hearing test that helps to notice abnormalities in time.
Some headphone manufacturers, such as the German company Beyerdynamic, offer calibration using free Android or iOS programs: MIY (MAKE IT YOURS) and MOSAYC. After setting, the application saves an individual profile, so you can enjoy music in all the richness of the nuances, regardless of the external environment. An example of the implementation of such a solution is the Beyerdynamic Aventho wireless model.
Can Cheap Headphones Be Good?
In addition to the characteristics, good headphones are distinguished by the name of the manufacturer and the high price. Do not think that when buying such devices, the consumer pays only for the brand. Reputable companies use more expensive premium materials, strictly follow high-quality standards in manufacturing, and invest large amounts in research and development. An example of elitist quality is the company Beyerdynamic, whose products, in particular the aforementioned model Beyerdynamic Aventho wireless, are produced in Germany by the manual assembly.
Quite often, top firms develop headphone designs with the subsequent possibility of replacing components. For example, the Sennheiser IE80 has a replaceable Kevlar cable.
The development of unique software that ensures balanced operation of systems (of the same Noise Cancellation) is also a priority for reputable brands. An example is the Beats Studio3 Wireless model.
Another plus: these companies establish longer warranty periods for their products, which are at least two years. Example: Sennheiser IE8 and Beyerdynamic Aventho wireless models.
Issues related to warranty repairs are also easier to resolve in case of trouble with branded products than with no-name headphones, if only because large companies for the most part have authorized service centers in your country.
High-quality headphones with modern functionality cannot be cheap, and in this case, you may put an equal sign between the concepts of “expensive” and “good”.
In general, it is the combination of technical characteristics, coupled with thoughtful functionality and price, that makes these or those headphones the best. Design is also one of the important points since the shape, color, and texture of materials that increase the pleasure of using the device is of great psychological importance.
Which Headphones to Choose
- It is better to choose headphones with an anchor or planar type of emitter. If there are no financial restrictions, then you can purchase a model with an electrostatic.
- When deciding on the type of sound insulation, think about whether you are often in noisy places. If yes, then prefer products with active noise reduction, and if not, with passive.
- Buy a product with a wide range and high sensitivity.
- An unbalanced cable is more convenient than a balanced cable.
- Flat wire models will not get tangled.
- A twisted cable should be chosen when buying full-size headphones for work in the studio.
- Wireless is suitable for home listening if there are no special requirements for sound quality.
- Sports headphones must be protected against moisture.
You can use such models,in all weather conditions and under the most intense physical exertion. After training, you can rinse them underwater so that they always remain clean and fresh ‒ these are usually labeled waterproof. If water resistant is written on them, most likely they will withstand the rain, but not the shower.