Everything you need to Know About Buying a Headphone

Here’s everything you need to know about your next pair of headphones. The biggest choice you make in the beginning is wired versus wireless. You can also get headphones that plugin directly into the lightning port on your iPhone. It’s a small category. And on top of that then you have a lot of people are looking for a sports headphone. That’s sweat resistant. That’s durable. And then you can use at the gym and also just for everyday use. We sort of put them in order of comfort Sound quality, and the price. So you want to balance out how comfortable the headphone is when you’re wearing it you want something that you can wear for long periods of time doesn’t bother you. And then the sound quality. There are very sound profiles with headphones. Some are a little more bass some have a little more trouble boost. So you have to find one that suits what music you like to listen to. And then the price for a lot of people the price is a big deal because if they have their kind of limits about how much they want to spend. I would say there’s a fourth factor is whether you want something like noise-canceling or not.

Headphone Buying Guide

Headphone Buying Guide

Over-Ear vs On-Ear vs In-Ear

Over-Ear vs On-Ear vs In-Ear

So when it comes to headphones there are three main form factors you have over-ear which is the bulkiest but best sounding, then you have on-ear which is slightly less comfortable than over-ear is just the way they push against your ears and then you have in-ear which is the most portable. But a lot of people feel like in-ear is the worst sounding out of the three.

Open-back vs Closed-back headphones

Open-back vs Closed-back headphones

Now the next two different groups of headphones are closed back and open back Headphones. Example of an open-back headphone the audio quest Nighthawk headphones. An example of the closed-back headphones that the recently released a cagey canine two’s.

Closed-back headphones tend to keep a sound isolated around your ears. They don’t let the sound leak out to annoy anyone around you and sound has a harder time leaking it. Now the disadvantage of this is that the sound tends to reverberate. It doesn’t sound quite as open as expensive. That problem isn’t experienced by open-back headphones but they have the disadvantage of sound leaking out. Other people can hear it and you can hear a lot more of what’s going on around you. Because of this, people tend to like to use open-back headphones at home in a quieter environment and closed-back headphones in a noisy office where you don’t want to disturb people around you. But if you really want to cut out the noise in the world around you then make sure you go for a pair of noise-canceling headphones.

Wired vs Wireless

Wired offered much better sound quality than the fairly compressed Bluetooth equivalent, nowadays Bluetooth standards have improved. We’ve seen the launch of Bluetooth app decks and wireless sound quality has improved a great deal. What’s also nice is that nowadays wireless headphones tend to include a detachable cable which means you can use them as a wired pair when they’ve run out of battery. Even if a pair of headphones isn’t specifically wireless they often include a detachable cable. This is really nice if you intend to use your headphones for a good amount of years since the cable is the part of them that’s most likely to break. And if they do break then it’s very handy having a detachable cable that you can simply replace rather than having to get cable repaired which can be quite expensive.

Most of these headphones come with a very standard three-point five millimeter Jack. But increasingly some headphones are coming with lightning connectors which allow them to plug directly into the lightning port of your iPhone. A lot of rumors going around that the iPhone 7 might ditch or modify the 3.5mm Jack in some way. And so these lightning adapter headphones might prove to be a good way of getting around that problem. But I should say that if you see a pair of headphones that you like which use a standard 3.5mm Jack then there are adapters available now.

Most headphones have a frequency response of between 20 hertz and 20 kilohertz which is generally thought of as being the limits of human hearing. Nowadays though we’re getting what is called high-resolution audio headphones which go up to as much as 50 kilohertz or even higher. The benefits of this probably depend on how sensitive you are to high-resolution audio. But having this extra headroom can be incredibly helpful if your music is of a high enough quality.

High impedance headphones

Now the final thing I want to talk about is high impedance headphones. These are headphones that offer an improved level of detail when you’re listening to music. The problem with them is that they’re a lot more sensitive and they need a stronger signal to be powered which often can’t be provided by just the audio track of your iPhone or computer to get around this. If you opt to buy a high impedance pair then you’ll need to purchase a headphone amp which boosts the signal and really allows your high impedance headphones to sing. If you’re looking for a pair of high impedance headphones then look for headphones that have an impedance rating of about 25 ohms or above. And if you’re looking for a compatible headphone amplifier then I would recommend the audio quest Dragonfly RET which is a hybrid USP DAC and headphone amplifier that can use with either your computer laptop or your phone with a lightning adapter.

Finally, How to Choose

Now all of this can sound quite confusing but the most important thing to realize is that when shopping for something like this it’s important to find something that works best for you and the way you like to listen to music. Now personally I like to listen to music when I’m out and about and so I have a pair of nice small compact portable on their headphones called the Bear dynamics. They have an inline remote that works with my iPhone and they offer a really great level of sound quality without being too bulky and difficult to carry around. If you’re listening to more music at home then you might want to opt for a pair of open-backed over-ear headphones.

If you’re in an office environment you might want to go closed back but still keep it over-ear because it’s nice and comfortable. Ultimately though find a pair of headphones that are comfortable to wear that sounds good and if you’re going to use them whilst out on about offer a good amount of passive noise isolation so you’re not hearing too much of what’s going on around you.

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