1. Identify the priorities
When buying headphones, it is important to understand that any of your choices in some respects will be a compromise. Only the right priorities will help to find the optimal solution that meets the main requirements. Conditionally, it is possible to distinguish three criteria from which one has to start. It’s about availability, portability and, of course, sound quality.
Three of these terms can be represented in the form of a triangular petal diagram, where the growth of one petal signifies the contraction of the other two.
So, the choice of the best sound quality involves a maximum price tag and a rejection of portability. Similarly, an ultraportable wireless headset will not provide a better sound and is unlikely to be cheap. That is why it is important to single out 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. It is necessary to understand when and how you will use them. From the usage scenarios depends on the choice of the type of headphones.
Home and office
For use at work and at home, you usually buy full-size headsets that provide full coverage of the auricle and the most comfortable fit on the head. This type can not be better for long listening to music.
You can also consider overhead type headphones, which because of smaller cups are usually more compact than full-size ones. They do not grasp the ear shell, but are superimposed on top. A prime example is the Meizu HD50.
The most popular among headphones for the office are models of closed acoustic type. They have better sound insulation, so your music will not be heard around you. Open type is suitable for home use. These headphones have holes on the outside of the cups, allowing sound vibrations to spread the same way as in a natural environment, making the sound more realistic.
When choosing full-size or overhead headphones, do not underestimate the importance of the material of the ear pads. Velor or even synthetics make your ears not sweat so much as artificial or natural leather.
For the city
For simple walks, it is possible to use the previously mentioned overhead headphones. But if we are talking about moving in the metro and traveling in another public transport, then the best choice will be in-channel headphones, also called gags. They are compact, most convenient to use and do not create problems when driving in a dense stream of people. One of the best in the ratio of price and quality can be called Xiaomi Hybrid Pro HD.
Earphones of this type are usually supplemented with silicone ear cushions of various sizes, so that each user can choose the appropriate ones. Also very popular are nozzles made of porous foam, which, heated by the heat of the body, adapt to the human ear canal. In comparison with silicone, they are less durable, but almost do not distort the sound.
The braid of the wire also plays an important role. One of the most practical is tissue, as, for example, in Bang Olufsen Beoplay H5. This prevents wire entanglement and reduces the risk of damage with accidental tension.
Separately, you can distinguish and completely wireless headphones like Apple AirPods. Accessories of this type provide maximum freedom of movement, but the price they have is quite high. In addition, the risk of losing them is great.
For running and a gym usually use wireless headsets of the in-channel type. They can have neck-stitches or ear hooks with hooks for better fixation inside the auricle or on its outer part, as in the case of Xiaomi Mi Sports.
Many of these types of headphones have protection from sweat and even a full immersion in the water, which allows you to go swimming without taking your favorite music.
Recently, more and more often sports Bluetooth-headphones are equipped with sensors to monitor physical activity, as in the case of the Jabra Sport Pulse. Such headsets allow you to replace yourself with the usual fitness trackers, but at the same time are much more expensive than the classical counterparts.
If you often fly and like to listen to music on the road, it makes sense to think about a headset with active noise cancellation. Most 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 you are sitting next to you restless child.
An important feature of the travel headset is a folding design. It allows the headphones to take up much less space and reduces the risk of damage during transportation in the bag. Expensive models are often supplemented with a hard case for better protection.
Choice of gamers – full-size covering headphones with built-in or removable microphone. An important criterion in choosing is the presence of surround sound technology, as in some models of Creative Sound BlasterX. Simulating a 5.1 or even 7.1 configuration will be a big advantage in 3D action, where you often have to navigate in the space by ear.
Most gaming headphones feature a long, 2 meter long cable. It is important that he had a reliable braid and tough thickening in the plugs, eliminating kinks and possible kinks.
Noise reduction is also an important parameter. In this case, this applies to both headphones and microphones, so that you will not be distracted by external factors, and you could be heard well.
3. Evaluate the basic characteristics
Regardless of the type and class, all headphones have basic technical characteristics that make it possible to form an idea of the audio capabilities. When choosing relatively inexpensive headsets too seriously to treat such figures is not necessary, but without attention they can not be left too.
This parameter characterizes the spectrum of sounds that headphones can reproduce. The standard range is 20 – 20 000 Hz. More human hearing simply does not recognize, although in the description of headsets, it is often possible to meet the values that go beyond these limits. There is nothing bad in this, but it can not be called an indisputable advantage.
Sensitivity indicates how loud the headphones will play, all other things being equal. Dependence is direct: the higher the sensitivity, the higher and the maximum volume. 95-100 dB or more is considered a good indicator for normal use.
This parameter also affects the ceiling volume of the headphones, but it’s worth considering only for bass lovers using fixed amplifiers. In a duet with a high-quality sound source, high-power headphones allow for a brighter, more saturated sound. If you are going to listen to music mostly from a smartphone, you will hardly be able to reveal the potential of high power.
The nominal impedance at the headphone input, also called impedance, affects both the volume and overall sound quality. You should focus on this parameter in accordance with the device with which you are going to use headphones. For smartphones and portable equipment should choose a set with a lower impedance – up to 32 or even 16 ohms, and for a stationary – with a higher, from 32 ohms.
The amplitude-frequency characteristic is demonstrated in the form of a graph and characterizes the transmission quality of various frequencies.
The minimum amount of sharp bends in the AFC curve indicates a balanced sound and accuracy of the transmission of the original audio material. The height of the curve location on the graph reflects the volume in a particular range. “Hump” at the beginning of the curve of the frequency response, at low frequencies, speaks of the bassiness of the headphones.
It is impossible not to mention the way to connect wired headphones. Most models on sale have a mini-jack plug (3.5 mm). The standard jack (6.3 mm) can be found on professional-grade headsets, and micro-jacks (2.5 mm) are very rare in recent times. And nevertheless, pay attention to which plug is in the headset and there is an adapter in the kit.
4. Listen and read
Blindly rely on all the numbers in the characteristics, of course, not worth it, especially if you choose relatively inexpensive headphones. Two headsets with equal parameters can sound quite differently, because the quality is affected by many other features that are not always indicated by the manufacturer in the description.
To find out for sure whether the selected headphones fit you, you can use their pre-listening. Concerning this covering and overhead sets, which specialized stores often allow you to test before buying. This is a chance to evaluate not only the sound, but also the convenience of landing on the head.
Also, before buying, be sure to refer to reviews and full reviews, which can be found on the Web. This feedback allows you to get at least some idea of the real sound quality, design features and possible weak points of the device, identified after a long use.
- First of all, determine the maximum price and the main scenario of use.
- Next, based on the destination, select the type of headphones: covering, overhead or in-channel.
- Select several models of a particular type that fit into your budget.
- Evaluate the important features of the selected models: the material of the ear pads, the wire braid, the headband design and so on.
- Study the technical parameters that characterize the sound quality.
- Read the reviews and reviews on the web, and also check to see if you can test the headphones somewhere before buying.
- Make your choice.
- How to choose a TV: everything that is usually silent in stores →
- How to choose a smartphone →
- How to choose a laptop →
- 1 1. Identify the priorities
- 2 2. Decide why you need headphones
- 3 3. Evaluate the basic characteristics
- 4 4. Listen and read
- 5 Buyer check-list
- 6 Read also