If you are a music lover, then you know that headphones are not a luxury but an essential.
Headphones are useful no matter where you are; public or private space. After waking up in the morning, you need a boost of music to energize you. Plugging your headphones in when commuting will surely please most of us.
On the other hand, you need some good music to help you relax after you have had a particularly tiring day at work.
Having a pair of premium headphones will make your life better, and there is no doubt about that. However, the process of purchasing one is not as easy as it might seem. Brands are coming out with newer and advanced models every day, which means that you will have plenty of options to choose from and that is not always convenient.
When I was on a quest to find the perfect pair of headphones for myself, I was baffled by the sheer number of choices I had. There were different shapes and sizes in all possible price ranges. It took me quite a while to figure out what I wanted and narrow down the list accordingly.
Investing in a pair of headphones is not a light decision that you can take without putting thought into it. You would want to spend your money only after you find the headphone that meets all your requirements or else you are going to look back with a lot of regrets.
If you want to avoid that, you need to consult a buying guide that will help you make the correct choice. I have learned, through my own experience, that everyone needs a little support when it comes to buying technological gadgets and it is nothing to be ashamed of.
I have compiled this guide for all those people who are dreaming of owning the headphone of their dreams but are clueless as to how they should go about it. Read on to find out more.
What will you need?
Choosing the best headphones available in the market for you is not going to be an easy job. You have to devote both time and effort to make a successful purchase. Before you begin the actual process of choosing, you must have the following:
#1. Knowhow about the different kinds of headphones:
Once you visit the store, you will be speechless when you see the different types of headphones on display. If you do not want to place complete faith in the store owner, then you need to have your knowledge to tap into. Make sure that you do your research about all of them.
- Earbud or in-ear headphones: Usually ultracompact and lightweight, they may lack adequate sound quality.
- On-ear or open-backed headphones: Although they are not great at noise blocking and isolation, they are compact and portable.
- Over-the-ear or closed-back headphones: The earcups cover your ear entirely and give you great bass and loudness. However, they are not very easy to use.
- Wireless on-ear headphones: Fan of streaming wireless music? Compromise the audio quality to get a convenient wireless model.
- Noise-canceling headphones: These are specially made for people who want to cancel out all ambient noise efficiently.
- Sports headphones: Sweat-resistant and waterproof, these are for people who love hitting the gym with some music playing in their ears.
As you can understand, all of these models have their pros and cons. Unless you know about all of them, you will not be able to make an informed decision.
#2. Price limit:
The variety fo headphones available in the market have been designed in a manner to cater to all financial classes. You need to fix a price ceiling if you do not want to end up overspending.
The good news is that popular brands are also launching cost-effective lines to increase accessibility, but the bad news is that they are sacrificing some of the features to do so.
If you can afford to splurge, then do not restrict yourself from getting a pair of high-end headphones that will completely change the way you listen to music.
On the other hand, if you are running on a budget, then merely fix a price range beyond which you do not want to go. Be careful not to set it too low, or you will end up with headphones that have horrible audio quality.
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Steps to Follow:
To make the buying process easier for yourself, simply follow these steps.
#3. Decide what kind of headphone you want:
Once you are done learning about the different kinds of headphones, it is time for you to decide which one you want. Choose one that meets all your requirements. Headphones mainly vary based on their shape and audio quality. If you are looking for very high-quality sound, then you should go for a closed back one.
On the other hand, if you are looking for something compact and travel-friendly, then you should opt for earbuds. Choosing the kind you want before you hit the store will help you navigate better. Moreover, it will significantly narrow down your list.
#4. Check the Durability:
Buying a headphone is a mini investment, and you should treat it as such. It is in no way disposable technology which is why buying ultra-cheap options are likely to set you back instead of saving your money. Headphones do not come with any future updates and the chance of it becoming obsolete within a year. If you take good care of your headphones, you will be surprised at how long it lasts you.
However, the headphone must also be built in a way that is durable. If you want something that will last you for the next five years, then avoid earbuds and foldable devices which can easily break apart.
#5. Compare noise-canceling abilities:
If noise blocking is your priority, then you should explicitly go for noise-canceling headphones. However, they are a bit on the expensive side. In case you do not want to splurge, you will have to make best of the options at hand. All headphones come with a noise-canceling feature, and you should compare the different options at side to see which works best.
Active noise cancelling headphones will measure the ambient noise and create an opposite sound wave to drown it out. On the other hand, passive noise-canceling headphones rely on the material they are made from to keep the sound waves out.
#6. Check for comfort and weight:
When you are buying headphones, it is essential that you check how comfortable you feel wearing them. You might like everything about a headphone in the store, but find that it fits you awkwardly when you come back home with it.
Put the headphones on and listen to music for at least five minutes to get an idea. If you find that earpads exert a lot of pressure on your ears, or the earcups end up turning your ears warm, immediately eliminate those options. If you do not like the feeling of a large headphone, then go for the wireless or portable style ones.
#7. The final yardstick is the audio quality:
Of course, you cannot buy a headphone without checking if you like its audio quality. You are committing to listening to your favorite music through those headphones in the near future, and they should be suited for giving you the best experience.
Audio quality, however, is highly subjective. You might read online reviews about a particular model having lousy quality but find it great when you test it out in the store. It completely depends on your taste and the kind of music you like listening to. Do not forget to check the bass and treble controls.
Once you have checked all your options against these steps, it is time to take a decision. If you still feel confused, go online and compare the specs one last time.
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We will provide you:
- Essential tips for choosing right headphones
- The answer to the question ‘’do I need cheap or expensive headphones’’
#8 Types of headphones
Before moving to the next part, it is essential to know all about the types of headphones. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, which made it suitable for the specific type of users. Understanding them can help you in choosing the best type!
- In-ear monitors (IEMs)
IEMs are the first and the most common type of headphones. They will fit perfectly in your ear canal and therefore provide outstanding, passive noise isolation. The essential element here, beside the sound quality they must provide, is the foam or rubber tips. They have the role of keeping the IEMs in place while eliminating the sounds from the environment. Almost all sports-related headphones can be categorized as members of this group. More expensive units can be custom made, in order to fit your ear canal even better. Still, some brands offer additional foam or rubber tips we mentioned, also in order to fit better.
- Suitable for sport-related activities
- A variety or tips available
- Poor noise cancellation
- May fall out
Earbuds are not the same as IEMs! As a matter of fact, they are completely different. First of all, they don’t go inside ear canal but only on the outer ear. When it comes to the price, they are the most affordable, but the sound quality isn’t great. These are headphones you will get stock with most devices, such are smartphones, tablets and etc. On the other hand, newer models, aftermarket ones can be a worthy upgrade.
- More than just affordable
- Available in different colors
- Painful design
- Poor at blocking outside noise
- Over-ear (Full Size) headphones
This type is commonly treated as the best one. They are massive and the main advantage is in the earcups which will go over the entire ear. Obviously, the passive noise reduction is guaranteed and the sound quality is superb. An additional reason why so many users prefer this type is the fact while you wear them, you get the feeling you are actually in the movie or a game from where the sound is coming. To get the 100% perfect sound quality, you will need an amplifier. We can say that these models are ‘’power-hungry’’.
Some of the most expensive and therefore the best headphones ever made can be categorized as over-ear units. The bass is powerful and more realistic than on any other model. Besides the bass, they are also optimized for long usages. In essence, if you are looking for headphones, which will stay on your head at least 8 hours per day, over-ear models are the obvious choice. Read me: Over-ear headphones are usually the first choice of audiophiles and DJs.
- Superb sound quality
- Best noise isolation
- Must be used with amplified
- Not portable
- Heavy and massive
- On-ear headphones
This type also features earcups, but smaller ones than the aforementioned type. First and foremost, they are more affordable than over-ear models, but they still provide decent sound quality. An interesting fact is that people close to you can hear the music you listen and you will be able to hear them as well. The biggest difference is in the bass levels. On-ear headphones provide lower bass than over-ear headphones. Nevertheless, you can still find a desirable model of this type.
Here we can see that on-ear models are suitable for all of you who are looking for well-designed headphones which will deliver worthy sound quality and be relatively comfortable to wear. Over the years we were able to see a few models of this type developed as headphones for sports. Still, we must point out that their main purpose is for gamers, computer workers and for those who like listening to the music while traveling. Important: Over-ear units may not be the best choice for travelers, due to the fact a person cannot hear outside sounds and noise while wearing them.
- Easy to use
- Foldable (some models)
- Decent sound quality
- Cause warming of the ears
- Sweet can moisturize the earcups
#9 Wired vs. wireless headphones: Practicality or sound quality
All headphones can be divided as wired and wireless. At the first sight, they may look similar, but the number of differences is far higher than the naked eye can see. It is important to remember that this is one of the main factors to consider when looking for new headphones. Below, we will mention which type is suitable for which requirements.
They are oldest, most practical and the most affordable type of headphones. In general, most models on the market today are wired headphones. As their name suggests they have a cable which is used to connect the sound source and the device. However, not all of them are the same. First, we have a variety of cables. Some can be extended, some are detachable and some are permanently fixed. Typically, you will get a unit with a cable which is permanently attached to the headphones. The other end is a simple jack used to connect them to a PC, smartphone or etc. Some, newer units feature a detachable cable. It allows you to attach/detach from the headphones, so it can be replaced.
One of the most important things to consider is the length of a cable. This is specified in the user manual and each model must be right for a specific user. You can even get a unit with a cable of 10 inches length. It isn’t a secret that they are not suitable for PC gamers! Models with a cable of 3 meters are the preferable choice. Additional tip: If you are not certain about this matter, always purchase a unit with a cable longer than 1 meter.
There are plenty of advantages these models offer. There are no batteries, for instance, meaning that a user doesn’t have to replace or recharge them. All, high-end models are wired headphones, simply because they feature the best sound quality possible. All gamers prefer them, due to a reason battery won’t go out of juice in the middle of a game.
- Battery doesn’t have to be recharged because they don’t have one
- Offer more powerful sound
- Usually treated as high-end and professional models
- More affordable than wireless models
- Connecting them is easier
- Available in a variety of sizes, colors and with different features
- Cable may be annoying at some moments
- Aren’t portable
- Those with permanently attached cable will work as long as the cable is operational
Our headphone buying guide must pay a special attention to the wireless headphones. A few years back, there were a few models, usually offering poor sound quality and even worse battery life. Nowadays, wireless headphones are more sophisticated than ever. In some cases, they can be equally or even more desirable than wired models. Before moving to the next matter, we must split all wireless headphones into two categories. They are:
- Those that require transmitter- A gadget, usually attached to the sound source is needed in order to send a signal to the headphones. They are the oldest and the most affordable type of wireless headphones.
- Those that don’t require transmitter- If you are looking for more advanced wireless headphones, models of this type are just right. They are capable of working on their own, without the need for a transmitter or anything else.
Now we should split wireless headphones according to the type of wireless technology they use. Here, we have three types.
Types of Wireless headphones
- Infra-red wireless technology
The first wireless headphones ever made. They use infra-red technology, which suggests that a short distance between the transmitter and headphones is possible only. Obstacles affect the signal and performances. There are no a lot of models which use this technology today.
- Radio frequency technology
You probably had wireless headphones at some point which used radio frequency technology. Comparing them to the infra-red units, we can deduce that they are much better. The main advantage is the range, up to 150 feet and they are not vulnerable to the obstacles such are walls or etc. Sadly, they suffer from interferences! Other devices that use the same frequency (800 or 900 MHz are the most common) will cause interference. This has been one of the biggest issues radio frequency headphones encountered. Important: Radio frequency technology is not as secure as other two technologies here!
- Bluetooth technology
Now we have come to the ultimate choice, according to us many! Bluetooth technology allows to the users to connect their headphones, without the need for the transmitter to any device Bluetooth-enables. This included computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, TVs, consoles and etc. The range is around 32 feet and obstacles have a low impact on the performances.
- More than just portable
- Those without transmitters are easy to use
- Don’t have to carry the device which is the sound source
- Perfect for traveling
- Can be used on multiple devices
- Battery must be recharged daily
- Frequency interferences are not impossible
- High-end models are expensive
All wireless headphones have a built-in battery or removable battery which is used to power them. The thing is, not all of them have the same battery power. In most cases, you can expect between 8 and 12 hours of battery life. Some rare models can provide up to 40 hours of juice, but they are very expensive. It must be mentioned that the battery life will depend on the volume you have been using. On higher volumes, headphones require more juice, so the battery life is compromised. Ideally, you would get a unit which can be recharged in the carrying case. In addition, small models have a lower battery life.
True wireless headphones
Most of you don’t know that there are true wireless headphones, simply because they are classified as members of wireless headphones. Although, this is true, there are plenty of differences. The first one is the lack of a cable or any physical connection between the earbuds. Each one is completely separate, meaning that each one has a built-in battery and additional features. They also don’t require a transmitter and use Bluetooth technology.
There are a few things that must be included! Their functionality is defined as how well they will fit an ear. Those that will fall off all the time are not recommended. An even more important thing to consider is the time needed for them to sync the sound. Because they are not linked with any cables whatsoever, they use wireless tech to sync the sound which comes from the source between them. Sadly, some units will have half a second delay, between the video you are watching and the sound you are hearing. Luckily, more sophisticated models don’t have this drawback. And of course, when you are listening to the music only, this isn’t an issue. Due to small size, they are choking hazard for small children, so they should be avoided in these circumstances.
The small size also has an effect on the battery life. You should expect around 5 hours, which is a decent result. A good thing is the fact they can be recharged in their carrying case. The entire charging process takes 20 minutes.
Almost all of these models are developed as headphones for sports and physical activity or for travelers. In no case, they can be used as headphones for gamers or for audiophiles. Despite this fact, the sound volume is actually impressive on some models, simply because they will go deep into the ear canal.
These headphones were extraordinary once they appeared on the market. Their design is different than any other headphones have and the practicality is improved. The main advantage lies in the band, which will rest on the neck, rather than over a head. As you may believe, this has a positive effect on protecting the hairstyle and makes wearing the headphones a bit more comfortable, compared to conventional models. Don’t forget that you will need some time to get used to them.
All neck-sitting headphones are wireless, meaning that they will need a sound source, usually a smartphone. All of them use Bluetooth technology, which if you recall we stated is the best. Then we have the fact both earbuds or IEMs are linked with a cable, rather than wireless. It simply means there is no delay in the sound playing.
A battery is larger than in true wireless models, so the 5 hours of running time is possible. Almost all of them are loaded with advanced features and come with mics. Perhaps they don’t look like that, but these models are the most comfortable today. A nice addition is the fact we have waterproof models. For swimmers, they are more than just superb choice.
At first, these models were expensive, probably due to the exclusivity they provided. Luckily, today we have dozens of models on the market which are cheap or affordable. Even those with the highest price are not professional headphones. They are more like an upgraded version of true wireless headphones, therefore they are made for the same purposes. An interesting fact is that in the near future, we will see plenty of neck-sitting headphones with advanced features.
Don’t get confused with MP3 players with the same design. They are separate units, which have memory so you must import music files on it. The smartphone isn’t needed here nor can it be connected with them. We should add that these gadgets are almost entirely designed for fitness addicts who don’t want to carry a smartphone or other devices while running, riding a bike or etc.
#10 Special Features Headphones Should Have
Here is the thing. If you are looking for the ultimate headphones, with the best sound quality possible, the features mentioned below are more than just important. They can truly make a difference and raise your experience to a completely new level. Another thing you should be aware of is the explanation of the mentioned features. If we use professional language with terms only audiophiles can understand, it wouldn’t be very useful, right? That’s why we will explain these features in detail, in plain words so you can easily realize do you need them or not.
#1. Noise canceling and sound isolating
These two features are developed for the same purpose, to eliminate the noise or sounds that come from the outside world. They are not something you want to hear while listening to the music. We will begin with the noise canceling system. It is an electronic system which uses a mic, built in the earcups. It will listen for the noise from the background, send it to the circuitry and analyze it. Then, the system will produce a counter-noise. The goal is to eliminate the noise from the outside world.
Due to the fact this technology was developed for airplanes and for military applications, it is effective in eliminating sounds that are similar to those engines produce. It isn’t useful nor can it eliminate speech to other music. Also, this tech works perfectly on lower frequencies. Perhaps it sounds superior, but even today not all headphones feature it. Addition: Some users reported a rushing sound or even some type of pressure on the ears!
Sound isolating is a completely other technology, with the same purpose. It is a passive system, which means that it literally uses a material or some type of additional elements to block the noise from the environment. Interestingly, it works perfectly in eliminating all frequencies and also speech or other sounds. One study determined that this feature is more successful than the noise canceling one.
We must add that noise canceling feature is progressing fast! We already have headphones with systems which are more successful than ever before, so we can deduce that in the near future, we will get extraordinary models with this system. At the moment, headphones with both features are highly appealing.
#2. Volume limiting
Here we have a feature which is more focused on the safety than anything else. Volume limiting simply limits the sound volume, obviously. It has been developed for children, therefore the sound volume is limited to 85 dB. Listening to the music with a higher volume, for a longer period of time was linked to hearing loss, especially in children. Although we mentioned that this technology is preferable for children, even adults should use it.
According to the latest research, most models that claim they feature this technology don’t actually have it, or the volume can still be adjusted above the 85dB. Some units that have the volume limiting feature can be bypassed. As the end result, we must state that each user, who wants to have a 100% functional system must test the specific headphones he wants to purchase. This matter cannot be generalized. Important: All headphones that are designed for kids must have this feature!
#3. Bone conduction
It is simply one of the most sophisticated technologies related to headphones. We like it a lot and there are plenty of benefits it provides. But first, how does it work? Bone conducting headphones use an additional element which touches the cheek bone. The point is to bypass the eardrum and deliver the sound straight to the inner ear. To do so, they use vibrations, which are decoded by the inner ear itself. Believe or not, this system actually works and it is more than just recommended.
The main advantage is the fact you don’t have to volume up to the max, which literally protects your hearing. Then we have the advantage which lets you hear the noise and sounds from the environment. Most of the joggers prefer these headphones due to the just mentioned reason. The same goes for swimmers because this technology makes headphones waterproof (not all models are).
#4. Biometric headphones
Have you ever heard of this feature? Unless you are workout enthusiast or advanced audiophile, you probably haven’t. The secret behind the technology is to measure the heart rate directly from your ears. Maybe it sounds strange or even impossible, but this technology actually works. Furthermore, it is very accurate and desirable. As the end result, a user will be able to get the precise readings without the need for the additional device. Paired with fitness apps, this feature is more than just needed for all of you who like listening to music while exercising. Don’t forget that it is still a rare feature without many models that use it.
#5. Surround Sound
Some headphones use multiple drivers in order to provide accurate surround sound, while others use electric aids which simply simulate the surround technology. The main essence of this system is to provide sound from multiple speakers or to simulate it. In order to understand this feature, you can perform a theoretical test. Listen to the music from 5.1 or 7.1 speaker systems. Then compare the sound quality obtained from 2 speakers only. As you can see the result is completely different. This also means that the headphones with the feature are much better or better said they provide a much better sound quality. All audiophiles prefer these models and they appreciate the fact they may have several built-in drivers inside. Those that simulate the system are more affordable but still, cannot provide equivalent sound quality.
#6. Microphones and controls
Most headphones will come with built-in microphones. Here, the explanation is more than just simple. A mic is used to send the voice to another person. Obviously, gamers and businessmen will benefit most from this feature. Gamers usually acquire headphones will large microphones, located close to the mouth, in order to provide accurate and strong sound to the receiver. Other players must hear an accurate voice at all times, even while listening to the in-game music or sounds. Those mics are more powerful than any other headphones may have it. Those for business applications are more focused on crystal clear sound rather than on pure volume of it.
Conventional headphones have small mics, usually in the lower part of them. Earbuds and IEMs have additional microphones on the cable, around the throat area. Usually, they are paired with a button, used to accept the call or to perform it while on the move. Still, there are plenty of variations here.
Controls cannot be generalized. Today, each headphone comes with a unique set of controls. Almost all models have volume control and we actually believe it is a mandatory feature! In simple words, it allows you to increase or decrease volume without the need to do so on a computer or sound-originating device directly. Gamer-focused headphones have volume controls on the cable, within hand reach. Wireless has it on their earcups and on-neck models have it in the central part.
Additionally, you may seek for controls which can make the entire experience better. They include track advance and mute buttons. A mute button is a common feature, but the track advances ones are not. They are reserved for headphones purely developed for music lovers.
#11 Finding the right headphones for your particular lifestyle
Here we have one of the most important factors when it comes to choosing the right headphones. Your lifestyle! Almost each model is designed to meet the requirements of a specific lifestyle. We have units perfect for joggers, which won’t be ideal for gamers, obviously. The bottom line here is to determine your lifestyle requirements before purchasing headphones. You definitely don’t want to end with a model which cannot be used while you do something you like the most. Below, we will also mention headphones which are essential for DJs and professionals.
#1. Headphones for sport and fitness enthusiasts
Of them all, headphones for sport and fitness enthusiasts are probably the most popular. One explanation lies in their design and in their features. They are far from regular headphones, so they have plenty to offer. We will start from small things. Some units come with reflective colors, needed when you jog when the visibility is poor. Others come with heart rate monitor, another feature all fitness enthusiasts will appreciate.
The types commonly found here include ear-buds, IEMs, and over-neck models. The reason why they are so popular is obvious. All of them provide the best fit in the ear and they will stay in place regardless of the action a user performs at that moment. All of them offer the similar fit score, but only if you choose wisely. The main idea here is to get a model which won’t fell off from your ear while running. Changeable tips are highly recommended here.
Some models for this purpose are waterproof. They can be worn while swimming and they will still provide a great experience. Experts believe that headphones are more than just needed while exercising and swimming, in order to boost the motivation. In addition, we must add the fact waterproof headphones are also immune to sweat, which is common while exercising.
One of rare, yet highly appealing features is motivational cues. Headphones with this addition are perfect if you have a hard time exercising as long as you planned.
#2. Headphones for entertainment back at home
Our headphone buying guide must be fully dedicated to choosing the best headphones for entertainment back at home. Don’t think that this is a time-consuming segment to explain. None at all! Headphones for home use are all about massive size and superior sound quality. Let’s face it, you won’t wear them outside, or while jogging, so even the largest models are preferable. The comfort is far more important than on any other model here, so we recommend over-ear headphones. They are simply the largest and the most comfortable of them all.
Surround sound feature is mandatory here. Obviously, you can purchase a model without it, but we will advise you against it. With surround sound, you will get the feeling you are actually in the movie or inside a game. When a user wants to create an illusion, this feature is the one to seek for. In most cases, you will have to choose between:
- Closed-back headphones- They offer precisely what we have just mentioned, the illusion you are in the game or in a movie. The bass here is immense!
- Open-back headphones- Even sound response is guaranteed with these models. Although they are preferable by audiophiles, gamers and users who look for a great sound at home may find closed-back headphones better.
In a case, you have issues with the over-ear headphones (discomfort or some similar issue) on-ear models are the next best thing.
#3. Headphones for travelers
All travelers are demanding users directly or indirectly. Here, the accent is on the portability. Let’s take a simple example. If you have massive, over-ear headphones, you will need plenty of space for carrying and each time you want to put them on, you will need a couple of minutes. They may have excellent sound quality, but they are not ideal for this purpose. In-ear models are simply the best ones. They are small, portable and convenient. Wireless models are even better, due to the fact there are no annoying cables to store.
Two, main features to look for are noise canceling and noise isolation. As we have already explained, they will eliminate and significantly reduce the background noise. Thanks to them, you won’t be distracted by other passengers in a bus or airplane. Without these two or at least one feature, headphones are far from ideal for travelers.
#4. Fashionable headphones
As the name suggests, here the design and look is everything. Fashionable headphones were simple to choose. In-ear models were the best and the most common alternative and also the most affordable. However, in the recent years, we were able to see a dozen of over-ear models which are developed to be fashionable headphones. Colorful designs, massive size, and accessories made them unique and allow for their owners to get plenty of impressive comments. Each user can find the style which is more than just suitable for him. A variety of patterns is also available.
We should specify that here advanced features are almost irrelevant. Users want a great sound quality and basic technologies. Biometrics, waterproof design and etc. are rare to find and you won’t have plenty of luck getting headphones with these features. For those who are looking for fashionable headphones, with all of these features, we can only recommend premium over-ear models. They are normally developed to be advanced headphones for audiophiles, but some have an extraordinary design, which makes them suitable for users looking for fashion models. Addition: Open-back models here are probably something to pay close attention to.
#5. Headphones for work
The biggest accent here is focused on the sound quality, mic capabilities, and noise cancellation. It isn’t very great if your headphones don’t allow you to hear your business partner perfectly. On-ear and over-ear units are the best and commonly treated as the most suitable for business people. Additionally, you may want to consider in-ear models. Due to their specific design and the silicone/rubber tips, they are excellent at eliminating background noise.
Average models are not recommended here, only high-end ones. A poor sound quality and a microphone which is not great in capturing your voice may have a side effect on the entire business project. Luckily, most models are developed for this purpose specifically. As such, they have superior mics and simple controls which allow you to activate each feature as soon as possible, without having to waste your time on complicated controls.
Noise isolation feature is a much better or more suitable system for this application than noise canceling. If you recall, we explained that noise isolation is superb in reducing the speech and noises common for the working environment.
We will emphasize the fact all models for this application must be comfortable. Depending on your job, you will wear headphones at least 6 hours per day. Some will even reach 12 hours, therefore the ultimate comfort is mandatory. Look for soft earcups which feel pleasant on the ears, but don’t cause too much pressure. Top tip: if you live and work in an area where temperatures are high, look for headphones with earcups made from materials which are great at repelling moisture.
#6. Professional headphones for audiophiles
Here we have headphones which are special. They are expensive and they are different than any other type mentioned here. If you are already an audiophile, you will know what to look for, but if you are not, but planning to become one, you will need to get our help.
#7. What is Audiophile Headphones?
They are also called heavy-duty or DJ headphones. The name derives from the fact all DJs commonly found in clubs wear these headphones. You can notice that looking at their size. All of them must have entirely thick earcups and all of them are massive in general. Some of the main differences also include higher volume levels they can produce and better bass. One, addition is the ability to rotate one or both earcups. Microphones are usually irrelevant here. Yes, you can still find audiophile headphones with a mic, but the choice is limited. Here is all about the superior sound quality.
Almost all high-end headphones have a high impedance. As such, computers and smartphones are unable to power them. In the best case scenario, you will hear a song with a lower quality than low-end headphones will deliver. This is solved with the power of the amplifier. In simple terms, this is a device which goes between headphones and a sound source. The main goal is to amplify (therefore the name) the sound signal so it can power the headphones. The result is stunning.
Now we must mention the high-quality content. The easiest way to understand this is to take an ordinary song and play it on your high-end headphones with amplified. You will like it, probably, but you won’t be unimpressed. The secret lies in the quality of the content or the song. The quality must be lossless, or better said the exact it was when the song was recorded. This feature only can impress you with the sound quality and overall experience.
Open or closed back
All headphones for audiophiles come in two versions, with the open or closed back. The main difference is obvious. They look completely the same. However, there is a difference in the sound quality as well. Those with closed back create the effect like you have a band in your head, literally. It means that the sound will be completely directed towards the inner ear. There are no losses here and some audiophiles believe these models are the only choice. We agree but must add that they are recommended for individuals looking for bass-powered music, where the powerful feeling is required.
Open-back headphones are different. They provide a sound quality which is similar to the one you can get in a concert hall. In simple words, you will have a feeling you listen to the music in person. Some, addicted audiophiles prefer them. The bottom line, these two types cannot be generalized. It depends on your requirements for the sound quality and which type you think is the most appealing for your applications.
Weight and battery life
All headphones for audiophiles provide extraordinary performances when it comes to weight and battery life. They are made from exotic materials, so despite the massive size, they are lightweight. Just in case, make sure you purchase a model which is suitable for you. If you are planning to wear them all the time, keep in mind that low weight is preferable. Battery life is important if you choose wireless headphones. Between 8 and 12 hours of battery life are standard, but some, headphones for audiophiles can reach 40 hours.
Unless you prefer recharging the battery all the time, choose wired or those models with extra-long battery life. Size The size here is an important factor as well. Too small headphones will feel uncomfortable and literally prevent you from wearing them as long as you need or want. Too big ones will feel clumsy and will annoy you in the lack of a better term. In other words, you will have to go for perfect fit models, meaning that you must try them on, before ordering or purchase an adjustable model. The headband is the solution here. Those with adjustable mechanism allow to different people to wear the same headphones and also to adjust their size according to user’s specific needs.
#8. For DJs/live sound
In today’s world, these headphones are similar as those for audiophiles but still different. We must include that they have a different, usually colorful design and rotating earcups. It allows to a DJ to get the most from them. Almost all models come with closed back design as well. It is mandatory due to the fact a DJ will want to limit or even eliminate a background noise as much as possible. Open-back models almost do not exist.
Here is the thing. Most, average users don’t have to waste their time on learning the frequency range headphones have. It is important the quality, not how headphones provide it. For DJs, the frequency range is mandatory. Between 20 and 20.000 Hz. Below 5Hz, the sound is barely felt and above the 20.000Hz the sound is inaudible. You can get a variety of models with different frequency range today, but those with the mentioned range are the most common and the best.
Flat or tuned frequency response
This is another, unique feature all headphones for DJs have. Flat frequency response is responsible for providing a DJ with the same sound quality as the one from the source. Tuned ones offer more specialized or more pronounced sound. If your headphones are perfectly isolated, there is no need for tuned frequency response. Just in case, it is an individual matter.
Size of a driver
Headphones for this purpose have large drivers. As a matter of fact, each driver is 38mm in diameter or move. We believe that 40mm drivers or 50mm are the best choices. Here is the explanation. Large drivers provide a much better bass response, so the sound quality will be more desirable. Smaller ones are not so great, while too big ones require too much of amplifier power and their weight must be taken into consideration. DJs don’t like wearing heavy headphones on their head the entire night!
Usually, the cord isn’t as important as other elements of headphones, but in this case, they are. You can choose between curly and straight versions. Straight ones are great to wrap around headphones, but they can drag across the floor and may trip you. Curly ones are therefore more desirable choice and almost all DJs like them. This is an almost irrelevant matter for most average DJs, but we mentioned that our headphone buying guide is detailed as possible, so we delivered this point from professional DJs.
When a DJ starts his thing, he cannot make a pause nor make an excuse, due to broken or damaged headphones. That’s why replaceable parts are a necessity here. Detachable cables, something we mentioned at the beginning are of incredible importance. Replaceable earcups are highly desirable as well. Some headphones for DJs even come with a package that includes 2 spare earcups. Replacing them takes a minute.
#9. Headphones for kids
Headphones designed and made for children are relatively new models on the market. They have been introduced a few years ago and they come with a unique set of features and different design. Luckily, most models are affordable. This is a necessity due to the fact they are often broken, broken or lost (yes, we mentioned broken two times, due to obvious reason). Besides the low price, most of these models feature colorful design and cartoon characters. Children find these interesting and desirable, so they will like using them all the time
There is one feature which is mandatory here. Volume limiter, something we explained at the beginning must be included. It limits the sound volume to 85dB. Higher volumes can damage hearing! Interesting: Almost all headphones for kids are more durable and more resilient than conventional models.
#10. Headphones for addicted gamers
Our headphone buying guide must provide detailed instructions for gamers who are looking to purchase a new set of headphones. There is no need in mentioning that these models are different. The frequency response is the same as for headphones for DJs. The same thing applies to their size. You must make sure they will stay comfortable after hours and hours of wearing. One addition which must be included is the microphone. It is far more relevant than for headphones for other applications, so a high-quality mic is something each gamer must get. However, there are a few more points to include.
When playing games, gamers want to hear the direction from where the sound is actually coming. All of those who played CS: GO will understand this point. At the moment, there is only one way to get this advantage, surround sound. Some units come with 5.1 and others with 7.1 surround sound systems. Compared to other headphones, these systems will provide an advantage compared to other gamers, who use regular headphones. You will be able to hear the origin place of the sound and the direction, which makes each game more realistic.
Wired or wireless?
Wired models are preferable and highly recommended. They will provide a great practicality simply because you don’t have to recharge the battery every day! They will also run perfectly as long as you need them, so we can deduce that they are the obvious choice. If some of you still prefer wireless models, those with long-lasting battery life are the only ones worth considering.
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#12 Tech specifications of the headphones
Finding the most suitable headphones is an individual matter. You must know what makes that sound quality the best for you and why they are suitable. To understand that, you must know all about the technology that provides that, particular sound. Below, we will explain a few technologies which are the most important in the world of headphones.
#1. Stereo or Mono sound
The oldest question of them all. What is stereo and what is mono audio? Stereo audio is defined as the source of sound from two channels. Conventional headphones, which feature two earcups and newer technology will almost always provide stereo audio. In other words, this technology allows you to hear the origin of the sound because two channels will generate sound in different volumes and in different levels. Better said, stereo headphones allow you to get a sense of dimension.
Mono audio can be simply defined as a single headphone earcup. Those models that feature only one earcup and a mic are all mono, due to the fact they deliver sound only to one ear. Except them, today is impossible to find a new model which features mono technology. Just in a case, you encounter one, we don’t prefer them. Stereo headphones are a much better and more advanced choice. The sound quality simply cannot be compared.
#2. What is sensitivity?
How much volume can a headset produce from a given power? The definition or the value of this fact is known as sensitivity. It is expressed in dB/mW (decibels per milliwatt). Models with a higher sensitivity are capable of producing higher volume from a lower power source. For example, smartphones and computers should be paired with headphones of this type, usually with a sensitivity of 100 dB. Those with lower sensitivity are capable of producing far higher volumes, but they will require amplified. We will reserve them for audiophiles, professionals, gamers, and DJs. Addition: The lower the sensitivity, the higher the price will be.
#3. Frequency response
This defines the range of frequency headphones can produce. The human ear can hear between 20 Hz and 20 kHz, but in reality, this is slightly different. Units with a frequency response between 20 and 20.000 Hz are common and highly desirable. There are different units as well, but these ones are the most popular at the moment. They are even sufficient for DJs, gamers, and audiophiles.
One fact that must be included is that not all headphones will generate the same frequency response. Despite the fact, their manufacturers claim so. Ideally, a user will test each headphone in order to determine the model which is the most suitable for his particular requirements. Also, this matter depends on numerous factors such are design, power, purpose, brand and etc.
#4. Impedance: What is it?
This is almost the same matter as the sensitivity, for average users. For professionals, this is an extremely important matter. In essence, we can define impedance as electrical resistance. High-end headphones may have 100 ohms and they will require incredibly powerful amplifiers to run properly. Smartphones and other, usually portable devices cannot power these headphones! You will need a model between 16 and 64 ohms of impedance. They are user-friendly and they still provide a decent sound quality. In general, those with lower impedance are headphones for the general public, while those with high impedance are reserved for studios and etc.
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The final word
I hope you enjoyed this article, and that it helped ease your problem of plenty.
You should make no compromises with quality when you are spending your own hard-earned money. Instead of going through a series of hits and misses in your effort to find the perfect headphone, why not make sure that your first purchase itself fits that bill?
This guide will be especially of help to first-time buyers. I have prepared the guide in lucid language so that everyone can use it to its full potential. You can be sure that once you tick off every step mentioned, you will be able to make an informed choice that will not frustrate you in the future.
If you found the article useful, then do not forget to let me know in the comment section. Feel free to voice any thought that you might have had when reading through the guide. In case you think that your friends and relatives will also find the tutorial useful, do share it with them.
Our headphone buying guide provided all the main facts, things to know and factors to consider you will ever need. Each matter is explained in detail and it is 100% accurate. We used plain language to allow for the beginners to understand these technologies and features.
In the end, we can only repeat to use all the facts mentioned here before you choose headphones for you. Pair your lifestyle with the price range and needed features and you will get yourself perfect headphones.