How to Choose your Headphones Correctly?
We all use headphones every day, they are part of our lives. That is why it is necessary to choose the ones that best suit our lifestyle, needs and musical tastes.
Music is an important part of our lives. Our parents and grandparents enjoyed music very differently, today’s life is much busier; So we do not usually have the privilege of listening to the music in a relaxed way at full volume in our house. That’s why headphones have become our most used medium for listening and enjoying music.
Some headsets can provide very good sound quality for a very affordable price, unlike a stereo. Since you do not have to deal with the acoustics of the room, the location of them, their amplifiers and a long etc.
Choosing a headset according to our needs and musical tastes is not a simple task, even if we have believed or believed. To choose a headset, I recommend these steps.
Narrow your budget
The first thing you have to choose is the money you want to invest in your headphones.
I recommend you do not skimp to the maximum, since, although there are thousands of very cheap headphones usually have a very questionable sound fidelity, poor construction etc. I think it is better to invest in good quality headphones that can last 5 years to perfection to buy the cheapest ones you find every 5 months because they have broken the cable. That’s my advice.
Once you have clear your budget you will have to move on to the next step. You may find headphones for less than you thought and does not mean that they will sound worse. The price does not indicate the quality of the headphones (a clear example are most Beats headphones), because most of its in-ear headphones are under 50 bucks and they are awesome in quality.
Choose the type of headphones you need
Touch to choose the main use of our headphones. The main types of headphones are these:
They are the headphones that we must insert into our ear canal. They are the ideal to accompany us when it comes to exercise, walking or listening to something in bed. Although not as comfortable as full-size headphones, good-quality headphones have different-sized earbuds that perfectly fit your ear canal, sealing it, isolating it from outside noise and preventing it from moving or even falling.
Do not buy button headphones: they do not isolate the noise, they are uncomfortable most of the time and their size is not adjustable. Of this type are the nefarious earphones that are usually given away on trains and buses or the famous EarPod earphones from Apple.
Within the group of In Ear headphones we find those that are sport type with a clip that holds them around the ear. Personally I’ve never had problems running a quality In Ear, but keep it in mind if you buy them solely for sports.
They do not enter our ear canal, they are placed on our ear and they are usually resistant, light and, above all, very easy to carry. They are the ideal headphones to carry in your bag or backpack when going to study, work or travel. They are usually of the supra-aural type, although there may be quite portable Supra-aural folding helmets such as Beats or ATH-M50 for example, which can be considered full-size and portable.
Full-size headphones cover the entire ear and are the most common. By general standard they are the ones that more quality sound can guarantee and the more comfortable. They are open or closed and circumaural or supra-aural.
Circumaural and supra-aural
Circumaural: they are the ones that completely surround the ear. The main characteristic of these headphones is that, being slightly separated from the ear, they generate a greater natural sensation of the stereo field and a reproduction of frequencies more linear and precise. They are also more comfortable as they do not pose in your ears.
Supra-aural: they cover the entire ear but without surrounding it, so they lie on it. They usually isolate a little worse in the case of the closed and not be as comfortable as the circumaural, but are usually more portable.
- As you can see there are many types, the main thing is to choose ones that suit what you want.
- If you are listening to music walking down the street or want to make it as portable as possible look for In-Ear earphones.
- If you want them to be compact and transportable, but do not want to be introduced into your ear canal, choose a portable full-size.
- If you only care about comfort and audio quality choose a full-size circumaural headphones.
Open or closed?
As their name suggests, there are closed headphones that isolate both the sound from the outside, and the sound of the people at your side. For an office, in public transport etc. You need closed helmets so they do not disturb your hearing or disturb the people around you.
The open ones leave the sound to the outside, reason why you will have a sonorous scene generally more ample. In some high-end helmets you get to feel that the music comes from a live concert, in the closed the music sounds in the “inside” of your head, away from the usual feeling of listening to music.
Many people prefer closed helmets even if they are in a quiet environment and do not disturb, it is a matter of preference. For me the comfort and sound of some open is second to none. Music style plays an important role in this decision as well, and you may even need them if you do not need closed helmets.
Although I did not want to write a technical article, I must comment on this. When buying headphones, if you do not have an external amplifier and you simply want to listen to music through your smartphone or computer you have to choose low impedance headphones.
The impedance (Z) is the measure of opposition that a circuit presents to a current when a voltage is applied. The impedance is represented by a resistance value in ohms (Ω) and the more impedance, the more difficulty these helmets will have to be correctly fed to the audio output of our devices. That is, at higher impedance, more power must be supplied to the headphones to obtain adequate volume and sound.
Most In Ear have an impedance of 16Ω and portables between 32Ω and 80Ω. In the full-size range is very wide, from 32Ω to 600Ω, that’s why you have to take it into account. It does not mean that the higher impedance sounds the worse the earphones, much less, but you will need a suitable amplifier.
I recommend choosing headphones with a maximum impedance of 80Ω if they are to be used on mobile devices or on PC / Mac sound cards.
Preferred musical style
Yes, there are no perfect headphones. No matter their price or quality, they will shine more with a certain musical style. There are great headphones for acoustic music and Jazz, but because of their shape and sound are not very good for electronic music for example.
There are off-road and other very specialized headphones in a type of music. According to your frequency response and construction will enhance frequencies or others, will have a more powerful or smoother bass response, will be intended for slow and warm music or fast and powerful.
So when looking for headphones, accompany the musical genre to the budget and shape of the headphones.
A final note
To start in the world of music is preferable 2 earphones of 100 $ USD well differentiated and cover all musical styles that you like a headphones of $ 200 specialized in a genre.
It is necessary to take into account also the compensation of the musical equipment. Some 1000 $ headphones need another $ 1000 of equipment behind to play to their full potential. $ 100- $ 200 should be more than enough to get quality headphones that sound great on our iPhone or on our computer.
If you love music and want to go further you should start learning about DACs and AMPs before making the jump to high end headphones.
Finally: the headphones do not sound “great” or “fantastic”, each has some virtues and defects. It is convenient to invest a little time in looking for our earphones before buying. Here you have some cheap headphones that I recommended to enter the world of sound.