Headphones and earphones are the essential techs of our lives. Whether you are a musician or a regular user, you need a pair of earphones or headphones every now and then.
In this article, we will cover everything you need to know before purchasing a pair of headphones or earphones.
So how do I choose Headphones or Earphones?
They are usually cheap very portable they fit loosely in your ear and come bundled with mp3 players and lower-end feature phones.
While they are the most abundant the sound produced is very flat, and since they are cheap, they tend not to last very long. They are not great for an extended period of use and offer very little sound Isolation.
Just like earbuds, they are compact and portable, but instead, they fit in your ear snugly and can range from super cheap to ultra high-end. They use a very small audio driver but forming a seal in your ear canal with the silicon tip you can achieve sound quality.
There are two types of headphones, Over the ear and, On the ear. Both headphones come in various price ranges according to their quality.
On-ear headphones or supra-aural:
Like the name suggests these sit right on your ear and they are much larger than earbuds.
While still portable they are not as compact as earbuds, but some do fold up for added convenience. With their larger size, a bigger driver can be used for a more exciting sound. However, depending on your ear shape and size, these can be a bit uncomfortable after prolonged use, especially if you wear glasses.
The over the Ear or circum-aural:
The earpads on these go over and around your ears. They generally don’t compromise on sound. They have an excellent bass response and the most significant sound stage.
These are relatively big and also comfortable allowing for prolonged use. However, your ears can get little sweaty after a while, depending on earpad material and the temperature of where you are. The downside of over ears, well they tend to cost a lot more. And these high end over the ear headphones requires juice to power them, so you want a headphone amplifier.
Now while buying these headphones or earphones, you’ll find their specification on the back or in the user manual. If you buy these expensive earphones or headphones, I suggest you look at their specification along with the user’s review.
Here are the meanings of those Jargon.
- Frequency range:
The frequency range is a range which your earphones or headphones can play. A Human can hear between 20Hz to 20KHz. The regular earphones come from 12HZ,22Hz to 18KHz.22KHz. For a better base, you need to look for the starting range the lower, the better, and if you like more treble, the upper end should be higher.
- Frequency Response:
This term will be there only if there is a microphone attached to a headphone or earphone. This means how much gain you’ll get at a particular frequency or the range of sound waves that the diaphragm inside of it is capable of picking up it could be from 50Hz to 15000 Hz
- Driver size:
The bigger, the better a quilty will improve according to driver size; however, it’s not an exact rule.40mm or higher are great. The mid-range earphones driver size comes in around 8mm -12mm
Its a resistance of the current flowing through the headphones or an earphone. We measure resistance in Ohm. The lower, the better but along with that you may hear a hissing sound. High-Quality headphones come with high Impedance.
But you can’t really listen through them using your regular mobile phone you’ll require a dedicated amplifier. Basic earphones come with 28 ohms to 32 ohm which is normal to listen from a mobile phone
- Total harmonic distortion(THD):
If you turn the volume up the diaphragm will vibrate faster, but at a certain point, it couldn’t vibrate fast enough, and that’s when you hear distortion. So lower THD means pure signal emission. In high-end earphones, you ‘ll get less than 0.1% distortion
It is an efficiency of particular earphones. It tells you how loud the output from your microphone actually is. Therefore the higher the number, the better. The higher dB earphones will be louder.
- Sound pressure level:
This spec is just telling you the maximum level a microphone can handle before distorting. Modern mics have high SPL. So chance are you are not running into any issues here.
Noise cancellation Headphones or earphones:
Noise-canceling headphones are one of the most popular types of headphones on the market. They are to deal with the environment with lots of background noise, and they give you the peace you need to get through that tough project or activity.
- Active Noise cancellation:
Headphones or earphones that have extra mics are capable of canceling the extra noise coming from your surrounding, but it’s only applicable on low frequencies or constant running frequencies
- Passive Noise cancellation:
They use insulation and some absorbing tiles in headphones and silicons buds in earphones to cancel the extra noise. And they are typically more effective at frequencies above 2000 Hz, and they don’t need additional mics.
Now, whenever you buy a pair of headphones or earphones and if you have to judge them based on their specs, you’ll do a better job and find good earphones or headphones.