Choosing the best headphones

March 15, 2016

If you’re a music lover, or just like to consume media on your smartphone or tablet, then chances are high you have had to struggle to find the perfect headphones. There’s no way you can live with the speakers if you’re a regular media user, we all know Samsung speakers on smartphones aren’t that great.

First of all, we need to identify the different types of headphones, which should be in 3 categories:

  1. Earbuds: these are the ones you get in your box when you purchase your device. They are discreet and easy to carry around; ideal for those who like to listen to music while on the road and bored like myself. These come as either in-ear, which go deep into your ear or over-ear which rest outside the ear. Here, you just have to choose what you’re most comfortable with; personally, I’m never comfortable with in-ear earbuds, even though they have much better sound quality.
  2. Over-ear headphones: audiophiles and DJs will often have enormous headphones that cover the entire ear. They produce excellent sound, no doubt, but they are not the most comfortable for everyday use or while jogging.
  3. On-ear headphones: these headphones are like a hybrid between the two above, being a little more discreet than over-ear headphones but covering a major area of the ear as well. It’s a nice balance for those who occasionally consume media, but when they do, expect the absolute best.

Now that you know the basics about headphones, what else do you need to know?

First is the price; headphones can cost upwards of $2,000 just because of the designer. And while they may have excellent quality, it doesn’t mean there aren’t more affordable ones at a fraction of the price. The design also comes into play when you mind how you look with your headphones on; and better design translates to higher cost, naturally.

Diving deeper, you may want to consider more technical stuff like sound profile and impedance. Sound profile is basically which sound frequencies have been accentuated, which results in tags such as ‘Extra Bass’ or ‘Studio’. The former means that the lowest frequencies, the bass, has been accentuated so the sound will be deeper and the latter means that all frequencies are equal.

As for impedance, it simply refers to the amount of power required. Remember, your smartphone provides current to the headphones through the headphone jack, but most smartphones will have limited power output. Find out if the headphones’ impedance is appropriate for your device’s power output.

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