If you want to buy the best headphones, you should look for good headphones specs in order to make an informed decision. Naturally, the first of them all would be sound quality, but for some people big bass is equally important. Still others might prefer open and full-range sound quality with complete accuracy. Other factors include comfort, isolation, portability, weight and a good fit. Your final choice of headphones will of course depend on your use–whether for casual listening, or for professional recording.
Headphones or Earphones: Which is best for you?
If you need headphones for studio work like mixing and recording, you would need to buy the premium variety. However, equally good are the well-priced headphones that combine good performance with humble budgets.
However, if you want sharp sound quality and comfort, go with headphones. If style and portability are what you want, go with earphones. If you still can’t decide, choose on the basis of where you’re going to use them and when and that will help you decide.
Types of headphones
Ear Buds: These are some of the most inexpensive and convenient earphones available today. They are placed just outside the ear canal without covering them. The sound they produce isn’t as crisp as circumaural headphones, but they can be successfully used to block out surrounding noise.
Circumaural: These earphones are usually what DJs wear to offset the sound that emerges from earphones and into the ears of the user. They perform the duty of a sound-proof room: the ear pads that are placed on the outside of the ears retain all the sounds between the ear pad and ear. They also filter out all surrounding sound, and are therefore the choice of DJs and sound engineers.
Supra-Aural: These earphones have ear pads that fit on the ears, not around them. They come with an adjustable band that goes over the top of the user’s head, while the pad between the user’s ears and the speaker comprises a foam.
In-ear-canal headphones: These headphones are also known as canalphones. They have ear tips that fit compactly and go quite deep into the ear canals. They are a great choice in noisy environments and while travelling as they block out external noise effectively. Yet, some people find them uncomfortable for prolonged use, while the best in this range is usually very expensive.
Canalbuds: These earphones have small ear tips and sit just about inside the ends of the ear canals. They are more comfortable than typical canalphones and less expensive too.
Lightweight headphones: These headphones use drivers larger than earbuds, canalbuds and canalphones. Their equally large earpieces rest against the external ear. They usually have a slender headband going over the head or behind it. They are known for their superior sound quality.
What to look for – Good headphone specs
There are several factors that can help you decide which pair of headphones or earphones is right for you:
Good fit and comfort: Headphones, when worn briefly, may feel comfortable but when worn for prolonged periods, may turn uncomfortable. Before you choose any pair of headphones, wear them for a minimum of 20 minutes to check for comfort. If you’re selecting closed-back, circumaural headphones, go for the ones with large ear cups. For on-ear headphones, choose smaller ones and those that come with leather or fabric padding to ease pressure on the ears.
The headband, when worn over the head, is comfortable. Also, by having rotating cups on the over the ear phones, you enhance your comfort and by adjusting them to your head, you enhance comfort and reduce leakage.
Weight: If headphones or earphones are lightweight, they can be comfortable, particularly for long use.
Portability: Choosing lightweight headphones for listening during physical work is good. For studio work, it’s preferable to go with closed-back circumaurals.
Durability: If you want durable headphones, they are usually heavy. Their lighter counterparts usually give way quickly. It’s best to put them away in a protective case when not in use. If you buy the fold-up variety, look out for sturdy hinges and cables. If you decide to go in for the highly-priced variety, check for replacement parts.
Cables: Is the cable you have long enough for your use? However, having a very long one can affect sound quality as you lower volume and bring in noise, besides it getting entangled easily. A good pair of headphones is identifiable by a shielded cable and minimal noise. You might buy headphones with very short cable. Don’t fear, you can always add an extension cable.
When you choose the right headphones or earphones, you usually get the quality you pay for. Much also depends on how you take care of them, which might increase its life. Maintenance of headphones or earphones is important because it has to do with your ears. So, take good care of them and get the best out of them by knowing the good headphone specs.