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How to Choose the Best Headphones and Earphones Complete Guide: Last month, I was listening to the songs of Ed Sheeran on my mobile and then my headphone suddenly started to make a cracking sound and after two days my brand new headphone went bad.
I was very sad because I spent a lot of money and my headphone went bad too.
What the hell…
After a while my friend, Mohsin came to me and he asked me “buddy what happened? Why are you looking upset? Is there something wrong?”
And then I told him the whole story.
He told me some special specifications of headphones/earphones, knowing that I again bought a new headphone and today I will tell you those special specifications, with the help of which you can also buy a great headphone for you.
So, let’s get started!
In this article, We are going to talk about how to choose the best headphones and earphones. Everyone needs headphones/earphones. Every time when you buy a new phone, you always worry about the right headphones for it so that you can enjoy the best music experience.
Think If you spent a lot of money and in return you get broken headphones or maybe they spoiled in or after one month. So, we will discuss some basic or main features that should be kept in mind while buying new headphones.
First, we will know about the types of headphones and earphones. Headphones are of these types, one is In-ear headphones and One is over the ear headphones and one is On-ear headphones.
Headphones are the both wireless and with wire. Wireless headphones are used after connecting them with Bluetooth. We will also look at these headphone’s features like Noise cancelling, Resistance, Drivers, Sensitivity etc. What are the benefits and disadvantages of wireless and with-wire headphones?
Types of Headphones
Over-Ear, On-Ear, And In-ear Headphones
First of all, u need to know the differences between over-ear, on-ear and in-ear headphones. I’m going to keep it as simple as I can and just tell you for what activity’s which is used.
Over-ear headphones are primarily used for studio’s and are often the best choice for gaming. They are usually more comfortable for longer periods, and often have better sound quality (of course depending on how much you are willing to spend).
On-ear headphones are primarily used for DJ’s, and I would suggest them for everyday use as they are more lightweight and don’t completely cancel out all the noise from surrounding traffic, which can be very dangerous for vulnerable road users. This is also a reason why DJ’s use them to still hear their crowd’s response through the mix.
In-ear headphones are first and foremost extremely portable. Because they are inserted into the ear canal. They offer good noise cancellation (Not all earphones are equally good at this but the one’s I will be recommending are). Sound quality is often poor, and because they are so dangerously close to your eardrum I am only going to recommend the one’s I swear by.
Specifications of Headphones
Friends, whenever you buy new headphones, at that time you definitely get to see driver size. In such a situation, you must be confused, what is this driver now?
Simply put, a driver is a part of the headphones that work to convert an electric signal into sound. Meaning that we can hear the sound only because of the driver.
Driver parts and how does it work?
If we talk about the parts of the driver, then it consists of three main parts, the magnet, the voice coils and the diaphragm.
All these parts together create vibrations in the diaphragm, which creates sound waves and makes us hear the sound.
The larger the headphone, the better the sound quality. Whenever you search for the specifications of headphones, you should check the diameter size of the driver. A headphone which driver is up to 40mm (millimetre) size are considered the best headphone.
Due to the small size of earphones or earbuds, they cannot be fitted with large drivers. In such a situation, many brands now use dual drivers in them. In such a dual-driver setup, instead of controlling the entire frequency, one driver controls the bass and the other one controls the mid and high frequencies.
What Is Headphone Impedance?
When you look at headphones labels and boxes, one of the technical specs you will always see is impedance. This refers to the volume or sound output produced by your headphones when plugged into audio equipment. Impedance is how much power, or voltage, is required for the headphones to function. The higher the impedance of the headphones, the higher the voltage requirement. On the other hand, lower impedance headphones require less power.
Years ago, high-impedance headphones were very standard because most audio devices and entertainment devices were not portable. Because this equipment did not use battery power, high impedance headphones were not much of a problem.
If you notice the headphone jacks from the 1980s, they had very high output impedance corrected by large resistors that managed the power output from the speakers.
Headphone Impedance for Mobile Devices
Today, headphones are not only used in-studio with professional equipment, but also for portable entertainment devices such as iPods, laptops, mp3 players, portable DVD players and smartphones. People like to have their music and movies on-the-go with them, but they also want to be able to fully enjoy and be immersed in the listening experience, especially when travelling.
High impedance headphones will use more battery life, which may be a priority for mobile listeners.
Battery-powered devices generally do not work well with high-impedance headphones. If you are mostly using your headphones on-the-go, then you definitely want to keep an eye on the impedance.
It is important to remember that impedance has nothing to do with the weight of the headphones. Many people unnecessarily make the connection between impedance and weight, incorrectly assuming that if a pair of headphones is lightweight, then it must be low impedance. This is not always the case, though.
Normal Headphone Impedance
Impedance in headphones ranges from as low as 16 Ohms to as high as 600 Ohms. If you are using your headphones primarily for portable devices, then it is recommended to stick to headphones that are within the range of 16–32 ohms.
As a general rule, low impedance headphones are a better match for portable devices. Many motherboards, particularly in newer devices, can handle the impedance of up to 64 Ohms, as long as the volume is only turned up to about 3/4 of full volume.
European-made portable music players and smartphones that comply with European maximum volume regulations generally have lees maximum output compared to other portable devices, so you may have to find headphones that stay within the 16 Ohms range.
A good rule of thumb is to avoid any headphones that have an impedance above 100 Ohms for portable music players. These headphones are not generally designed for portable use. They are better suited for studio recording or home stereo systems.
Sensitivity (Sound Pressure Level)
What is Headphone Sensitivity?
In order to achieve desirable results with your audio devices, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind while selecting headphones. Sensitivity is one of the most important electrical characteristics of headphones.
Headphone sensitivity is the measure of how efficiently an earpiece is able to convert an incoming electrical signal into a clear, perceptible sound. Sensitivity denotes how loud the headphones will be for a given level from the source. The sensitivity works hand-in-hand with the impedance of the headphones. They must correspond to each other as they both work by hand to regulate the sound and produce clear phonics without distortion.
How is Headphone Sensitivity Measured?
Headphone sensitivity is measured in decibels of sound pressure level per milliwatt. Sometimes it may be shown as dB/mW, based on a 1 mW input signal.
Normally, the sensitivity of earphones is in the range of 80 to 125 dB. To put these numbers into the better aspect, 80 dB is equivalent to the sound of heavy city traffic from 25 to 50 feet away, while 125 dB is close to the sound heard in a diesel engine room.
It should be noted that at 120 dB, the human ear begins to replace the sensation of hearing with that of pain.
Finding the Best Headphone Sensitivity for Your Audio Device
It is beneficial to have an understanding of this particular specification of headphones in order to select ones that will perform best with your audio device. When you determine the correct headphone sensitivity level for your audio device, you should first consider its power output.
Being that the headphones will be around your head and within very close proximity to your ears, it is exceptionally important that you create a proper balance and maintenance of tolerable levels for your ears to comfortably withstand while obtaining the best quality of sound.
If you have a device that has a lower output level, you may want to steer clear of using low sensitivity headphones. Combining a lower output level device with low sensitivity earphones will result in a low SPL/mW, causing the audio to become distorted the more you increase the amplifier level.
This will lead to what is known as amplifier clipping, which is when an amplifier attempts to deliver an output voltage or current beyond its maximum potential.
In regards to using high sensitivity headphones with high power devices, you can also experience undesirable noise and distortion of the audio quality. This happens because a high sensitivity headphone will force a low volume setting.
The higher the sensitivity rating, the better your headphones will respond to a wide range of power output without needing ultimate power for good performance. However, a failure to high sensitivity is that the headphones will not sustain a lot of damage, for example, listening to high levels of distortion.
Lower sensitivity headphones require more power, forcing you to give them the full power in order to receive their optimal performance. The benefit to low sensitivity is that they’re harder to damage than those with higher sensitivity.
Most studio equipment used for recording and post-production has mid to high power output. Using lower sensitivity headphones or less dB SPL/mW would be recommended to reduce the possibility of distortion.
However, most smartphones, tablets, and mp3 players have low power outputs because they primarily run on battery power. It would be best to use dynamic headphones with sensitivity levels of at least 90 dB for these types of devices.
Using the wrong headphones with the sensitivity that is too low for a portable device will cause the loudness to be affected, and you will need to turn up the volume too much when listening.
Not only will the sound quality suffer, but this can cause your battery life to become consumed quicker.
What is Normal Frequency Response?
Sound travels in frequencies. You will often read or hear headphones enthusiasts and reviewers talking about the highs, mids, and lows. These terms refer to the frequencies in which sound travels. at the lower end of the spectrum are the bass sounds, while the treble sounds travel on the higher end of the spectrum. The standard frequency range for most headphones that you will see these days is 20 to 20,000 Hz. This is what is accepted as the audible frequency range, meaning the sounds will be balanced.
You will find some headphones that are advertised to have wider frequency ranges and presumably better frequency response. However, a better frequency response will not always mean better sound quality. In fact, even if your headphones have a better frequency response, if the other aspects like impedance don’t really match, it won’t make much of a difference.
Frequency Response for Different Genres
If you are looking for headphones that can make you feel the beat in your chest and make your heartbeat move with the music, you’re better off buying the larger headphones that emphasize the lower frequencies. While you will get a lower, deeper bass sound when using these headphones, the natural delivery and instrument clarity and separation are compromised.
Compare the headphones you are considering to the standard frequency response and you will be able to get a general idea of how they will perform at low, mid, and high frequencies.
Noise cancellation has a very important role in headphones.
Why noise cancellation is important for headphones, we think with an example that if you are travelling on a bus, then you will hear the sound of the bus and the surrounding sound of the bus which will spoil your music experience.
But if you have a noise cancellation in-built headphone that substantially eliminates the surround sound, then in such a situation, your music experience becomes very much better and your journey will also become very delightful.
While purchasing new headphones in order to get better sound quality always check for Its noise cancellation.
So I hope you all have now become an expert in buying good headphones. When you have no options to see headphones’ reviews in that condition this guide will help you and even if you are shopping for new headphones from an Offline-market this will help you a lot. We try our best to provide everyone with the best knowledge regarding buying better quality headphones, earphones and headsets.