Do you want to buy a new pair of headphones and you do not know where to start? We’ll show you the guide to buying the best headphones, whether you’re searching for wireless headphones or wired headphones.
These days, a large number of people take advantage of any moment to enjoy their favorite music or podcasts. Going for a walk, doing sports, on public transport, in the office, or even just playing Springbok Casino bonus games, many users liven up these moments by listening to songs or programs and need headphones of the highest quality.
For this reason, headphones are one of the most used technological accessories today, they allow you to enjoy content in a private environment and without disturbing the people around you. With this “Headphones buying guide” we show you everything you need to know to choose the right headphones.
Having quality headphones has become almost essential for many users when it comes to practicing sports, working, or entertaining themselves during daily commutes on public transport or long trips.
The problem is that there is a huge supply of headphones of different models, shapes, and sizes on the market, so it is not easy to choose between noise-canceling or wireless headphones. To help you choose, we have created this guide to buying the best headphones for you.
Purchasing headphones is just as subjective and personal as purchasing shoes. What matters in the end, no matter how gorgeous they are, how wonderful the build quality is, or how nice the merchant who sells them is, is how comfortable you are while using them.
Choose the right format
Headphones have evolved a lot in recent years and this has made possible the emergence of different formats and types of headphones. Each of these headphone formats adapts to a different type of scenario and user preference. In the same way that you would not go to the gym with elegant shoes or to a gala dinner with soccer boots.
The decision to choose one type of headset over another is mostly based on the purpose for which they will be used or which is more pleasant to use. For example, it is customary to use one type of headset for sports and another for listening to high-quality music at home.
Earbuds or in-ear
We’ll start with the sort of headset that is most likely the most common. We’re talking about in-ear headphones, commonly known as button headphones.
These headphones are put directly into the auditory pin, allowing them to fit into the opening and generate sound. These headphones are particularly appealing because of their tiny size and lightweight, which makes them suitable for use with smartphones or portable players.
These headphones can be more or less anatomical depending on the manufacturer and there are from those who opt for a solid design that fits the morphology of the ear, to those who use different sizes of silicone pads to adapt to the shape of the inside of the ear avoiding that fall out of the ear with the movements.
As a general rule, the latter tend to be more comfortable since they do not contain hard parts and adapt better to the shape and size of the auditory pinna.
In-Ear headphones are usually more affordable, but that also usually affects the quality of the sound they offer. Although they are enough for most situations, as soon as you appreciate the sound quality, you will look for other alternatives of higher quality.
The small size of the built-in speakers in this type of headphones forces you to search among high-end in-ear headphones to find a better sound quality, which also increases its price.
Because most in-ear headphones are used with smartphones, they generally feature a microphone and playback control built into the wire, allowing you to use it as a hands-free device to answer calls or control music playing without having to take your phone out of your pocket.
These headphones, also known as headband headphones, are those that are placed over the ears but do not cover them completely. The fact of resting on them can put more pressure on the ear so they can be uncomfortable in the long term, especially if you wear glasses.
On-ear headphones are bulkier than earbuds, but they are still quite compact and lightweight, and they can be folded to save storage when traveling.
On-ear or over-ear headphones are perfect for those looking for better sound quality than in-ear headphones to listen to music from their mobile.
Many of these headphones include a playback control on the cable and even built into one of the headphones, as well as a microphone for hands-free use.
Without a doubt, circumaural headphones are the bulkiest since their pads surround the ear. Since the headphone drivers are placed close to the ear, but not touched, it creates a more natural sound experience for the brain.
This larger size allows transducers (also known as drivers) of a larger diameter to be installed inside, so the sound quality improves considerably compared to any other format of headphones.
This type of headphones is the one that offers the best acoustic performance. The reason is none other than completely covering the ear, it provides better sound isolation, allowing you to better enjoy the audio you are listening to.
If you plan on spending a lot of time with your headphones on, this is the type to choose because they are generally made of high-quality materials to make them more comfortable. However, if you want the highest sound quality, you should invest in circumaural headphones.
However, not all of them are beneficial. However, because they cover the full ear, they create more heat and might be irritating if you wear spectacles or large earrings.
There are two types of circumaural headphones: closed circumaural and open circumaural. In this guide, we also show you how to differentiate between both types of headphones and which one is better for you.
Closed over-ear headphones create a sound chamber in the area that encompasses the ear pads that provide better passive acoustic isolation, enhancing the lower frequencies.
On the other hand, choosing open circumaural headphones does not create an isolated chamber, but rather the back of the transducers lets some of the sound escape, relieving the pressure on the ear.
This may seem like a drawback because it does not isolate as much as the closed ones it makes them sound more natural and precise since it allows the transducer membrane to move without interference or vibration reflections that can occur in closed models.
Noise Canceling Headphones
Active noise cancellation is fast becoming one of the flagship features for headphones. This system uses microphones that pick up the frequencies of external noise and emit a frequency that counteracts it, creating total silence around you.
Active noise-canceling headphones are perfect for long trips and isolating yourself in noisy environments like inside an airplane or train. In fact, this technology was developed to reduce the auditory stress of aviators who had to endure the constant noise of the engines during long hours.
Using noise-canceling headphones allows you to isolate yourself from your surroundings and enjoy only the sound that is played through the headphones. This, depending on the environment, can even be dangerous.
You may remove yourself from your surroundings and enjoy only the sound that is played via the headphones when you use noise-canceling headphones. Depending on the circumstances, this might potentially be harmful.
Noise-canceling headphones are not for everyone as some people find this feeling of artificial isolation unpleasant and cause “acoustic dizziness”.
Some of the latest mobile phone models have chosen to eliminate the 3.5 mm jack, so the only option is to use headphones with a USB Type-C or Lightning connector. With this type of connection, the power of the headphones comes from the mobile battery, so it can affect its autonomy.
Lightning and USB Type-C headphones must integrate their own internal DAC (Digital Analog Converter) since the audio output through these connectors is digital and must be transformed into sound waves so that the transducers of the headphones can reproduce it.
Choosing a headset with this type of mobile connector is a good idea even if your smartphone has a 3.5 mm jack, but it is not particularly well equipped at the hardware level for music playback, since including External DACs probably give you better sound quality.
If the headphones are used to listen to music from a source other than the phone, such as a sound system, conventional audio will continue to be the best option.
What to consider when choosing headphones?
It is not just advisable to consider the form or kind of connection when purchasing headphones. Weight, size, water resistance, and the materials used are all important considerations when selecting the best headphones for each user.
Regardless of the sort of headphones you pick, their weight will be a key consideration because it will affect not just how comfortable they are to wear all day, but they will also be more prone to fall or induce tiredness if used for extended periods.
If you get the chance, test on the headphones before you buy them. There is no single music that demonstrates that certain headphones sound better than others. It’s ideal to test them out with the music you often listen to and pick the ones that seem the most natural to you.
The user experience will be dominated by comfort. Ear cushions that are too firm can cause a lot of pain around the ear and in the pinna.
If the pads are made of leather or some similar material, they will insulate better, but they will also perspire less. On the other hand, pads covered with fabric or other materials such as alcantara, isolate less noise but do not give as much heat in summer.
The same thing happens with the headband’s construction and size modification. It is critical to have adequate cushioning on the top of the headband in order for it to be more comfortable to wear for an extended period of time. If this section is overly firm, the weight of the headphones will most likely cause discomfort in the upper region of your head, making it difficult to wear them.
When it comes to sports headphones or headphones for listening to music on your phone, comfort should be a top priority. In-ear headphones should contain cushions and supports of various sizes and shapes to ensure that they conform to the inside of the ear as much as feasible.
Technical characteristics to choose the best headphones
As we all know, all headphones have different characteristics, that is why it is important to know all these aspects before making a purchase.
There are a few technical aspects to consider while purchasing decent headphones, these are some of them:
Impedance, which is measured in ohms (), is one of the technical terminology included in the specifications of the headphones.
The resistance to the flow of electric current is measured by impedance. The lower the number, the less resistance the headphones have to current flow, implying that they require less energy to vibrate and, as a result, sound louder.
Of course, a bigger volume does not always imply a higher level of quality. An impedance of 16 to 80 ohms is normal for in-ear and on-ear headphones. Values of up to 600 ohms may be attained with full-size headphones, however, the suggested average is approximately 80 ohms.
Sensitivity and frequency range
Only noises with a frequency range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz can be perceived by humans (20,000 Hz). The broader the frequency range, the greater the range of sound subtleties they can replicate, and hence the higher the quality.
Not all headphones are capable of reproducing the full range of frequencies, so some headphones cut into the lower frequencies. Other headphones, on the other hand, even reproduce a greater range of frequencies, something that will not be more than technical constancy since you will hardly be able to appreciate frequencies above or below that threshold.
On the other hand, the sensitivity refers to the sound power provided by the headphones and is represented in decibels (dB). The human ear supports up to a maximum of 100 dB and above these values, it can produce pain and hearing damage, so it is of little use to pay an extra cost when buying headphones with a sensitivity greater than 120 dB.
By following the guidelines in this guide to buying headphones on your own, you will be able to exclude models that do not meet your demands, and the large list of available models will be significantly reduced, leaving just a few contenders to become the right headphones for you.