What should be considered when buying headphones? First of all, why do you need them. In addition to a bunch of numbers in the list of characteristics, you need to pay attention to a number of other features that are unique to different types. Of course, people who understand the topic understand what they want. This is especially true for gamers or DJs. People who work with sound. They don’t really need to explain anything. They know what is better and what is worse. However, if you want to pick up good headphones for yourself, then this article is for you. Together with the SFR website, we will try to analyze all the main aspects. Make the right accents. Let’s not waste time. Let’s go!
1. Set Priorities
When buying headphones, it is important to understand that any choice you make will be a compromise in some respect. Only the right priorities will make it possible to find the optimal solution that meets the main requirements. It is conditionally possible to single out three criteria, from which we will have to build on. It’s about affordability, portability and, of course, sound quality.
These three terms can be represented as a triangular petal diagram, where the growth of one petal means the reduction of the other two.
So, choosing the best sound quality implies the maximum price tag and the rejection of portability. Likewise, a good ultra-portable wireless headset won’t sound the best, nor is it likely to be cheap. That is why it is important to highlight at least one of the criteria that you are willing to sacrifice.
2. Decide Why You Need Headphones
Headphones, like any gadget, are bought for certain tasks and purposes. You need to understand when and how you will use them. The choice of the type of headphones depends on the usage scenarios.
For Home And Office
For use at work and at home, full-size headsets like the JBL Tune 760NC are usually bought, which provide full coverage of the auricle and the most comfortable fit on the head. This type is the best way to listen to music for a long time.
You can also consider over-ear headphones, which, due to the smaller cups, are usually more compact than full-size ones. They do not clasp the auricle, but are superimposed on top. A striking example is Sony WH-CH510 or JBL Live 460NC.
Closed acoustic models are the most popular among office headphones. They have the best sound insulation, so your music will not be heard by others. The open type is suitable for home use. These earphones have holes on the outside of the cups that allow sound vibrations to propagate in the same way as in the natural environment, making the sound more realistic.
When choosing over-ear or over-ear headphones, don’t underestimate the importance of the material of the ear cushions. Velor or even synthetics make the ears not sweat as much as artificial or natural leather.
For simple walks, it is quite possible to use the previously mentioned on-ear headphones. But when it comes to moving on the subway and traveling in other public transport, in-ear headphones, also called earplugs, will be the best choice. They are compact, as convenient as possible to use and do not create problems when driving in a dense stream of people. Among inexpensive wired ones, a good option in terms of price-quality ratio is Xiaomi Mi In-Ear Pro HD. A little more expensive – Sony MDR-XB 55 AP.
Headphones of this type are usually complemented by silicone ear tips of various sizes, so that each user can choose the right one. Also quite popular are nozzles made of porous foam, which, heated by body heat, adapt to the human ear canal. Compared to silicone, they are less durable, but almost do not distort the sound.
Separately, it is worth highlighting completely wireless headphones. There are plenty of earbuds like Apple EarPods and Huawei FreeBuds 4, as well as earplugs with silicone tips – Apple Air Pods Pro 2, Huawei Free Buds Pro 2 or Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.
Accessories of this type provide maximum freedom of movement, but they are also quite expensive. In addition, there is a high risk of simply losing them, especially in the subway.
For running and the gym, in-ear type wireless headsets are commonly used. They can have neck-mounted temples or ear cups with hooks for a better fit inside the ear, like the Beats Fit Pro.
Most of these headsets are sweat-resistant and even completely submersible, which allows you to swim without leaving your favorite music.
Sometimes sports Bluetooth headphones are equipped with sensors to track physical activity, as is the case with Amazfit PowerBuds. In part, these headsets can replace the usual fitness trackers.
If you’re a frequent flyer and like to listen to music on the go, it makes sense to consider a headset with active noise cancellation. More often these are large full-size headphones, which can be either wired or wireless. Their ability to cut off external sounds allows you to immerse yourself in your favorite music, even if a restless child is sitting next to you.
An important feature of travel headsets is the foldable design. It allows the headphones to take up much less space and reduces the risk of damage when transporting in a bag. Expensive models are often supplemented with a hard case for better protection. For example, the top-end Sony WH-1000XM4 and Bose QuietComfort 45 have one.
The choice of gamers – full-size circumaural headphones with a built-in or detachable microphone. An important criterion when choosing is the presence of surround sound technology, like the HyperX Cloud Alpha S models. Simulating a 7.1 configuration will be a big advantage in 3D action games, where you often have to navigate in space by ear.
Most gaming headphones feature a long 2-meter cord. It is important that it has a reliable braid and rigid thickenings at the plugs, excluding kinks and possible kinks.
Noise reduction is also an important parameter. In this case, this applies to both headphones and a microphone, so that you are not distracted by external factors, and you can be heard well.
3. Evaluate the Basic Attributes
Regardless of the type and class, all headphones have basic technical characteristics that allow you to form an idea of \u200b\u200bsonic capabilities. When choosing relatively inexpensive headsets, you shouldn’t take such numbers too seriously, but you shouldn’t leave them unattended either.
This parameter characterizes the range of sounds that the headphones can reproduce. The standard range is 20 – 20,000 Hz. Human hearing simply does not recognize more, although in the description of headsets one can often find meanings that go beyond these limits. There is nothing wrong with this, but it cannot be called an indisputable advantage either.
Sensitivity indicates how loud the headphones will play, all other things being equal. The dependence is direct: the higher the sensitivity, the higher the maximum volume. 95-100dB or more is considered good for general use.
This parameter also affects the headphone volume ceiling, but it should be taken into account only by bass lovers using stationary amplifiers. When paired with a quality sound source, high-powered headphones deliver richer, richer sound. If you are going to listen to music mainly from a smartphone, you are unlikely to be able to unleash the potential of high power.
The nominal impedance at the headphone input, also called impedance, has an impact on both loudness and overall sound quality. You need to focus on this parameter in accordance with the device with which you are going to use the headphones. For smartphones and portable equipment, you should select headsets with a lower impedance – up to 32 or even 16 ohms, and for stationary equipment – with a higher one, from 32 ohms.
The frequency response is displayed as a graph and characterizes the transmission quality of various frequencies.
The minimum number of sharp bends in the frequency response curve indicates the balance of sound and the accuracy of the transmission of the original audio material. The height of the curve on the graph reflects the volume in a particular range. The “hump” at the beginning of the frequency response curve, at low frequencies, indicates the bassiness of the headphones.
It is impossible not to note the method of connecting wired headphones. Most models on sale have a mini-jack plug (3.5 mm). A regular jack (6.3 mm) can be found on professional-level headsets, and a micro jack (2.5 mm) has hardly been found lately.
4. Listen And Read
Blindly focusing on all the numbers in the characteristics, of course, is not worth it, especially if you choose an inexpensive model. Two headsets with equal parameters can sound completely different, since many other features also affect the quality, which are not always indicated by the manufacturer in the description.
You can find out for sure whether the selected headphones are right for you by listening to them beforehand. This applies to covering and overhead headsets, which specialized stores often allow you to test even before purchase. This is a chance to appreciate not only the sound, but also the comfort of landing on your head.
Also, before buying, you should definitely refer to the reviews and full reviews that can be found on the Web. Such feedback allows you to get at least some idea of the real sound quality, design features and possible weaknesses of the device, identified after prolonged use.
First of all, decide on the maximum price and the main use case.
Next, based on the purpose, select the type of headphones: covering, overhead or in-ear.
Choose from several models of a specific type that fit within your budget.
Evaluate the important features of these models: the material of the ear pads, the design of the headband, the materials used, and so on.
Examine the technical parameters that characterize the sound quality.
Check out the reviews and reviews online, and see if there are places where you can test your headphones before you buy.
Make your choice.