The range of headphones is growing at an explosive speed. Therefore you need to pay close attention and keep track of the ever-changing market.
The beauty and enormous diversity of headphones is that there's something for every taste and every use. Meanwhile, it can also be difficult to visualize and find the exact product that suits you. We have created this simple guide on headphone types to help you through the jungle of models and what they're best suited for.
Types of headphones
There are three main types of headphones. Each different type have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Earplugs (or In-ear headphones)
These are the simplest type of headphones, and ideal for use with mobile phones, iPods and other small devices, etc.
The advantage of these is that they do not take up a lot of space, and some models also come with a microphone and a simple volume control on the cable. Downside is that the sound quality does not measure up against on-ear and over-ear models.
This type of headphone model sits on the ear rather than completely enclosing it. Many people prefer this model as it allows good sound quality, but also allows you to hear sounds around you when listening at a low volume. Some of these models can also be folded in half, enabling you to carry them in your pocket or your bag, et cetera.
But if you're after headphones that provide maximum noise insulation these are not as good as over-ear models, and it is easier for the person sitting next to you to hear what you are listening to, and the bass is not as prominent as with over-ear headphones.
These type of headphones completely enclose your ears. With this type you get maximum base levels, and external sounds are blocked out very efficiently.
The disadvantage is that they are large, and therefore not very mobile, if you want to use them while you're out and about. In addition, they can make your ears feel very warm and even claustrophobic, if you wear them for very long periods.
The main characteristics of headphones
Think on how you plan to use your headphones, whether you intend to have them with you when you are out, or whether you're going to listen to music, mostly at home. If you intend on using them while running or cycling, then in-ear headphones would be the natural choice. The type of music you listen to can also play an important part in choosing the right headphones. If you play a lot of music with prominent bass, then over-ear headphones will be a good option for you.
As mentioned earlier, the bass will be a lot more prominent with some types than with others. Sound quality is also generally better with the larger types than with compact earplugs.
On wireless headphone models, you might want to check out just how long you can use the headphones for before the battery runs out. Most models only last a few hours before they need to be recharged. If you intend on listen to music for long periods of time, this may be a factor to consider.
Sometimes it can be important to keep outside noises at bay, while it can also be equally important that headphones do not leak your music so that everyone on the bus can hear it. Find out what is important to you, and buy the correct headphones.
As mentioned, you should consider size and portability when buying headphones, because some are smaller and easier to carry around than others. Some models can be folded, and some are supplied with a storage case.
You may think that operating the headphones is just about the volume, but some models also allow you to skip to the next track and have other advanced features. Check if you want or need these features before buying.
Headphones are not just about delivering quality sound these days, but also come in many funky designs and colours that can be seen as fashion accessories. Naturally you want to choose a model that you think looks cool but also has the features and sound quality you require.
If you intend on wearing your headphones a lot, it is essential that they feel comfortable on your head and ears. With in-ear headphones you want to make sure they comfortably fit inside your ear, while with over-ear and on-ear models make sure the headband is comfortable and that the ear pads feel gentle on your ears. Naturally, it's always best to test in-store before buying.
If you are tired of wires getting tangled together, it might be an idea to purchase a wireless headset model. The most common wireless format is Bluetooth. Some believe that the sound quality is not as good with wireless headphones, since audio files are compressed, but a slight loss of quality isn't a big deal if you absolutely hate cables.