For many people, favorite music is something that is always with them. We listen to her on the way to work or school, when we need to cheer ourselves up or, conversely, listen to something that corresponds to our state of mind, do sports with her, take a bath and so on. In a word, modern technologies allowed us to enjoy music in any situation when we need it at least to some extent. And if everything is quite simple with the source of its playback — any gadget that is within reach is suitable for this — then the task of choosing headphones is more complicated. In this article, we will try to give you basic information that will help you choose the appropriate option. After all, no matter how beautiful your favorite music is, without high-quality sound in headphones, it will not give you so much pleasure,
What, in principle, are the headphones?
Choosing Headphones on the market today can be divided into the following categories.
Such devices are sometimes referred to as “plugs”, “vacuum headphones” or “intra channel”. This is one of the most popular compact options, which is inserted directly into the ears, provides a fairly loud and clear sound, as well as good sound insulation. Moreover, the sound insulation is two-way: both the person listening to the music in vacuum headphones cannot hear the noises of the surrounding world, and the people next to him hardly hear the sounds from the headphones of this person.
As for the shortcomings, then, firstly, doctors do not recommend using vacuum headphones often and for a long time. They are too close to the auditory membrane and therefore can cause hearing problems. Secondly, even the highest quality and expensive “plugs” cannot give such surround sound as professional overhead models.
Inserts (or “liners”)
They appeared before the vacuum, and are still quite often offered as a base headset for many devices (especially smartphones). Inserts are not placed as deep in the auricle as “plugs”, and therefore safer for the health of the hearing aid. But they also have a concomitant minus: a lower degree of sound insulation (in both directions). And to provide the most beautiful, surround, rich sound, they too, alas, cannot, like any compact headphones.
This is a common name for a whole group of accessories that unites one property: they overlap over the ear, closing it from the outside. However, they can be:
- Open. They have speakers located in the compartments, in which there are characteristic holes, cuts, slots – in short, any holes. Because of this, the degree of sound insulation of such headphones is far from ideal. But everything has its advantages: sometimes it is worth to choose the muffled sounds of the surrounding world in an urban setting when an unheard car signal represents a danger to health and even life. And when traveling by public transport, it is better to turn down the volume in such headphones, so as not to make everyone around you hear your music.
- Closed. They do not have perforations in the locations of the speakers, and therefore the sound insulation they provide is much higher. This means that you will hear only your favorite tunes, and other people will know about it only by the fact of the device on your head. Although very loud sounds can still pass through such headphones.
In addition, overhead accessories can be systematized as follows:
- Regular custom. These are the headphones that you should choose to listen to music on an unprofessional level: solely for the sake of pleasure.
- Monitor. They are used in recording studios and give the most smooth and clear sound. And for the average user, it may even seem too smooth and “boring”, since the sound in conventional devices is specifically made more “beautiful” and effective by adding bass and treble, whereas in professional equipment this technique is not used.
- Gaming. They differ from any other mandatory use of surround sound technology, without which modern computer games are no longer quite exciting.
Also, overhead headphones are full-sized, that is, completely closing the auricle, and more compact, covering only part of it. Plus the first – in a more surround sound and better noise reduction, and second – in the compactness and the ability to skip some of the sounds from the outside world.
In addition to all the classifications already given, it is worth noting that any devices can be wired or wireless. Wireless, on the one hand, are more convenient due to the absence of the need to monitor the cord, but on the other hand, they need to be charged and easier to lose.
Intra channel and in-ear headphones can be equipped with special arms for better attachment in the auricle, as well as any devices may have a mount for fixing on the neck. The wire can be placed in front, and maybe behind the back. There are waterproof models that fans should choose to listen to music while playing sports (especially while swimming).
What to look for when choosing headphones?
So, we have dealt with the main varieties of these devices, which you will surely meet in any online store or offline store. Now let’s talk about what you need to consider choosing headphones from such an impressive variety:
- Purpose of the device. So, for home, you can choose open overhead headphones with a deep sound, or even a gaming option, if you are going to use it not only for music. For the office, perhaps, it is better to use closed overhead accessories (possibly with incomplete closure of the auricle), as well as a plug-in or intra-channel accessories. For walking around the city most often use headphones- “plugs”. But if you do not want to part with high-quality sound, even leaving the house – it is possible to choose for the street and closed overhead model with a full coating of the auricle. In the cold season, these headphones also protect your ears from low temperatures and wind.
- Frequency range. By the characteristics of such a plan, you can determine how good the sound will be in the gadget. The logic here is quite simple: the wider the frequency range, that is, the greater the difference in sound frequencies that headphones can reproduce – the more beautiful the sound will be in them. This figure usually ranges from a few Hz to 20, 60, and even sometimes 120 kHz.
- Resistance. In ordinary headphones, this parameter is at the level of 30-80 ohms, and in professional studio ones, it can be 100-300 ohms or more. The greater the resistance of the accessory, the more powerful the source signal must be in order to give a loud, beautiful and clear sound. Therefore, for a regular computer, laptop, smartphone, you can choose a device with little resistance (up to 80 Ohms), because otherwise you will just not hear a powerful sound – in principle it will be too quiet and unlikely to suit you. A high resistance should be chosen only if you use a professional technique to listen to music.
- Sensitivity. Most often it ranges from 100 dB: by this criterion, you can determine how loud you will hear the sound. Those. if in the case of resistance we are talking about power and purity, in the case of sensitivity, it’s about direct volume.
- Power. In order to correctly select this parameter, you must, again, take into account the features of the devices from which you will use the accessory. The main thing is that the power of the incoming signal is not higher than the maximum allowable power for your headphones. Therefore, for home use with conventional gadgets, almost any model will do, but if you have a piece of powerful professional equipment, you must pay close attention to this parameter.
- The degree of distortion. Here everything is clear from the name: this characteristic shows how the headphones, by virtue of their design features, can distort the signal arriving at their input. The parameter is measured in percent, and the smaller it is – the more high-quality sound the device can produce.
- The presence/absence of a microphone and its quality. Simple microphones can even be found on the plug-in and in-ear headphones (they are embedded in the wire), and for overhead devices, they sometimes create sufficiently high-quality headsets (they are attached to one of the headphones; usually these microphones can be moved or removed). If you buy an accessory for games, or if you do not really like to hold the phone in your hand when you are talking to someone on it – it is better to choose a model with a microphone.
- The length of the wire, its thickness, the type of plug. Everything is individual here, but the meaning is always the same: that the wire, that the plug must be strong enough, strong, able to withstand numerous bends and chafing. After all, the life of the headphones as a whole depends on the duration of their work.
- Weight. This parameter is also quite individual, but, in general, the lighter the headphones, the more convenient. Even a 50 g difference, which initially seems insignificant, can be significantly felt after several hours of wearing headphones.
- Convenience mount. This feature is especially important for overhead headphones. It is highly desirable to measure them before you make a purchase, to make sure that they lie comfortably on your head, do not press or press anywhere. Again, even a little discomfort for a few hours of wearing a device can turn into a serious inconvenience.
And, of course, if you are going to wear headphones outside, then it is also important to choose the appropriate style for their design. But nevertheless, do not chase exclusively for beautiful color solutions and do not forget about all the parameters with which we introduced you: sound quality is of primary importance when choosing headphones. We wish you good luck and true enjoyment of your favorite music!