There are many kinds of headphones, which type of headphones are right for you?
This post will share details about different types of headphones' pros and cons.
By Transmission Mode
- Wired headphones
- Normal Wireless Headphones
- TWS earbuds
Wired headphones need to be connected to the device with a cable.
Wired headphones may offer better sound quality with cheaper price, but not as convenient as wireless.
Especially if the phone doesn't have much power, you can't use wired headphones when charging, because many phones now share charging jacks and headphone jacks.
What's more, after an hour of pet time, the wires get tangled, or they break.
Normal Wireless Headphones
For normal wireless headphones, the headphone connection cable is omitted; the trouble of entanglement of the headphone cable is avoided, but the left and right channels still need lines for transmission.
TWS stands for "True Wireless Stereo", the left and right channels no longer need lines but rely on wireless Bluetooth technology for transmission.
The TWS earbuds with smaller sizes, easy to carry, and supports smart functions like wake up Siri, AI technology to check your heart beat and temperature.
No matter normal wirless headphones or TWS earbuds, both of them may have connectivity and compatibility issues.
Not all wireless headphones have the same performance, but the common connect distance is 10-12 meters, and support Bluetooth 5.0 version. And we can check if the items compatiable with our devices before purchasing.
For normal wireless headphones and TWS earbuds, one more thing we need to consider is the battery.
These headphones supported by small built-in batteries, so the continue working time of these wireless headphones is limited. Usually it last 4-6 hours for TWS earbuds, 8-12 hours for normal wireless headphones (Depends on the battery capacity).
One good thing is that most of wireless headphones support fast charging. 15 minutes charging may support the headphone to work for 2 hours.
With the continuous progress of technology, there are more and more wireless headphones available at different prices, and the sound quality is also good. Wireless headphones may be a trend in the future.
By Way of Wearing
- Over-ear Headphones
- On-ear Headphones
- In-ear earphones
- Neckband Headphones
- Earphones with Hook
- Open-ear Headphones
These headphones come with large enough earpads to cover our entire ears.
There are two different over-ear headphones : "Open back" and "Closed back" models.
If you can see all kinds of holes on the earcups, then this headset is likely to be "Open back " model. This type of headphones makes the sound more natural but you may hear more external sounds and noises as well.
If the earcups are sealed and no any openings, then the headset is "Closed back " model.
"Closed back" headphones can better isolate the external noise and create an immersive music experience.
These have smaller earpads that sit on top of your ears. Usually lighter than over-ear headphones.
When it comes to comfort, some users think it's more comfortable than over-ear type when wearing for a very long time due to the lighter weight and 100% fit.
On-ear headphones is sit on top of your ears, so it is 100% to fit, but for over-ear models, it depends on the sizes of your ears and earpads.
On-ear headphones also have "Open back" and "Closed back" two different models.
The sound insulation effect of on-ear type is not as good as that of over-ear type.
More difference between over-ear and on-ear please check here
On the basis of ordinary headphones, the in-ear headphones are inserted into the ear canal with a colloid plug to obtain better tightness.
This tightness reduces the interference of external noise to music, and provide a closed environment, which greatly reduces the sound leakage.
In-ear headphones usually come with multiple earpieces of different sizes.
Many high-end in-ear headphones even customize molds for customers' ears to provide the best comfort and perfect sound insulation.
In-ear headphones are very convenient to carry. But for some wireless in-ear models, it's very easy to lose. Small sizes and no any wires, so it's difficult to find them out.
Bluetooth neckband earphones have a band to connect the two earpieces. When you wear the headphones, the band sits around your neck.
You can just take off the headphones when you are not in use, and they are not easy to lose.
Now there are some neckband headphones support active noise cancelling function, and the design is also very fashionable. They are very suitable for sports.
Earphones with Hook
In-ear headphones are easy to fall off, while headphones with hooks can hang hooks on the auricles, making the headphones more stable and less likely to fall off.
Like neckband headphones, earphones with hook are also great choice for sports.
Open-ear headphones don’t block or cover your ears, so you can also hear the surroundings very clearly.
Open-ear models are very good for outdoor activity without causing danger or harm, since you can be more alert through external sounds.
Most of open-ear models are bone conduction headphones. But now Bose released some open-ear headphones that support Bose OpenAudio technology, which send sound waves through the air, not bone.
The open-ear headphones don't cover ears or insert into Ear canals, the sound quality of these headphones are not so great as that of other models. And there will be a certain degree of sound leakage.
- Bone Conduction Headphones
- Swimming Headphones
- Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
- Gaming Headphones
Bone Conduction Headphones
Bone conduction headphones are the headphones transmit sound through the temporal bone of the head, and the sound is transmitted directly to your auditory nerves.
Therefore, if there is nothing wrong with the auditory nerve, some people with hearing impairment can hear the sound with the help of bone conduction headphones.
Bone conduction headphones are open-ear models, so they have the same Pros and Cons.
Swimming headphones require at least IPX8 waterproof grade.
Because the bluetooth can not be transmitted under water, headphones for swimming usually use bone conduction and 4G transimition and with a built-in SD card.
When you are swimming you can enjoy the music stored in the SD card. What's more, these swimming headsets can be used as normal wireless headphones when you are not in the water.
Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
Headphones that can reduce noise like this: the microphone picks up noise from the external environment, and the system generates an inverted sound wave that is added to the speaker.
The final sound that the human ear hears is ambient noise + reversed ambient noise, and the combination and neutralization of these two noises reduces the sensory noise.
Active noise-canceling headphones can effectively cut out most of the 100th-1000Hz low-frequency noise (such as the sound of aircraft engines), generally reducing the noise by 20-40dB.
But the sound frequency that our ear can hear is between 20Hz and 20000Hz. So there is still a large part of the noise that cannot be eliminated.
Will the active noise reduction function affect the sound quality?
The answer is yes.
Although the generated reverse wave is mainly to counteract the noise, but if some details in the original music are similar to the noise waveform, then these details maybe also reduced. This is why sometime we feel the sound details are missing and sound boring.
If you often fly between cities, or if you want to listen to music clearly on the subway and bus without having to turn up the volume, or just want to be more concentrated, ANC headphones are very useful to reduce the noise, but don't expect to eliminate all noises by ANC headphones.
Headphones suitable for playing games.
Considering the requirement of low latency, wired models work better than wireless gaming headphones.
Music headphones focus on sound quality more, while game headphones have better performance on sound positioning (such as shooting, shootout games need positioning).
Gaming headphones help the gamers to capture more gaming details improve their judgement through the sound. And make it easier for players to devote themselves to an immersive alternate reality.
By Lifestyle and Users
- For Sports and Fitness
- For Work and Online Learning
- For Travelling
- For Home Entertainment
- For Audiophiles
- For Kids
For Sports and Fitness
TWS earbuds, neckband, open-ear models are very good choices for sports and fitness.
For Work and Online Learning
If want to block the surrounding noise, ANC is necessary.
If you need to make a lot of phone calls or video conferences, the microphone performance need to be considered, and the headphones should support CVC or ENC calling noise reduction function.
If you fly a lot and really hate the noise of plane engine, ANC headphones are necessary. You may also need to consider the portability and battery life as well.
For Home Entertainment:
If you want to watch TV without disturbing others, it is recommended to wear wireless headphones.
The closed-back is recommeded and mainly consider wearing comfort, battery durability and sound quality.
If you want the highest, most accurate sound quality, the professional-level over-ear closed-back headphones are recommeded.
And it's better to try brands like SENNHEISER, Audio-Technica, BOSE and Sony.
Earphones specially designed for children will be more durable, more colors, more interesting in design, and the size is just right for children.
Some children's headphones support the volume limit function so that the volume does not exceed 85db, thereby protecting the child's hearing.
But not all children's headphones support this function, so you need to confirm it when you buy it.
Features and Specifications
- Frequency Response
- Stereo vs. Mono
- Bluetooth Codecs
The frequency response of headphones should be at least 20-20KHz.This is the sound range that our ears can hear.
Headphones with a large frequency response range usually have excellent sound details.
Sensitivity refers to the sound pressure level that the headphones can emit when 1 milliwatt of power is input (with 1KHz as the standard), that is, the volume.
Generally, the higher the sensitivity and the lower the impedance, the lower the required input power, and the easier the earphones will produce sound.
Recommend headphones with a sensitivity of 95dB-120dB if you use mobile phone to connect he headphones.
Keep the same sensitivity, the smaller the impedance, the easier it is to drive the earphone, and the greater the impedance, the harder it is to drive.
In other words, when sensitivity is the same, you will hear lower volume from the the headphones with higher impedance.
Impedance does not directly affect the sound quality of headphones so much. Many mobile phones and portable players can drive low impedance headphones well.
And high-impedance headphones do have some advantages in terms of sound field and level. Of course, high-impedance headphones also need the support of more powerful amplifier materials.
For most users who use mobile phones as the front end, low impedance (16Ω-32Ω) is usually recommended.
Stereo vs. Mono
Stereo: This kind of sound signal has position information, a sense of space, and a phase difference. The monitor has the feeling of presence and can distinguish the position of the instrument (for example, the rhythm guitarist is on your left).
Mono: This kind of sound signal has no position information, the monitor cannot hear the position of the instrument in the sound, and all the instruments are crowded together.
CVC will reduce the noise except your voice when speaking, so the person on the other end will hear your voice very clearly.
That is to say, the CVC function benefits the person on the other end. So that offer you an excellent experience on video conference or call.
When choosing headphones, it is necessary to pay attention to what Bluetooth Codecs your device and headphones support.
A codec is a device or program that compresses data for transmission and decompresses the received data. Including SBC, AAC, aptX, LDAC and HWA/LHDC.
SBC is the earliest Bluetooth audio transmission code, and the sound quality is the worst, but the compatibility is the best. Any mobile phone's Bluetooth supports SBC.
AAC: The sound quality is much better than SBC. It's widely supported by iPhone and other mobile phones.
aptX: aptX is a higher level of Bluetooth audio coding, among which aptX-HD can achieve close to lossless sound quality (but if you transmit CD-specific audio, it is still lossy). AptX encoding standard is released by Qualcomm, iPhone does not support it.
LDAC: Sony’s current Bluetooth audio coding, the biggest highlight is that it can achieve Hi-Res audio transmission, the sound quality is the best! Only Sony’s own mobile phones and Bluetooth headsets support LDAC.
HWA/LHDC: This is the Bluetooth audio coding that Huawei launched. Its sound quality is comparable to LDAC, and there are even theoretical advantages in some aspects. The good news is that both Android and iOS seem to be able to implement LHDC Bluetooth audio transmission by installing apps.
Should you buy headphones online or at a brick and mortar store?
Buy from brick and mortar store:
- You can see the actual product, try it on before buying, and feel the most realistic sound quality and wearing experience.
- Types and brands are limited.
- Prices are generally higher than online.
- There are many brands and types, so you can compare and choose in a short time easily.
- You can check the reviews from other users.
- You can not test the headphones before ordering. The good news is many suppliers provide perfect after-sales service. If the product is not what you want, you can also return it easily.