Quality sound contributes greatly to the overall atmosphere while we are watching a film, playing our favorite video game or listening to music. Everyone has set the volume a bit too loud at some point and had their family or neighbors complain because of it. Headphones are the best solution for this problem, however since there are so many on the market, here are a few factors to consider.
The sound quality
Users have different preferences when it comes to audio quality based on whether they are watching a film, playing a video game or simply listening to music while you are working or studying. So, for instance, some will value a deep bass (Bass-heavy), some would prefer to hear some dynamics by emphasizing bass and treble (V-shaped), while others might prefer all frequencies to be neutral (Flat).
Also, most average headphone users don’t always easily differentiate between a lossy format and malfunctioning headphones. If the film you are watching is too quiet even when you set your headphones’ sound to maximum, you can simply check which of the two is problematic by playing a video from a source that you know generally has a good sound quality.
And last but not the least, if your smartphone or laptop are the sources of the audio you are listening, you would want to choose headphones with lower impedance (most commonly below 25 Ω). Higher impedance will not make the sound coming from your smartphone any louder no matter how much you crank up the volume while lower impedance headphones would blow out if you were to connect them to a DJ mixer turned up to the maximum.
Types of headphones
Headphones can be classified into groups on many criteria but for an average user, the most striking criterium is the way they look, that is, how they are fitted in regards to our ears. The choice between, for instance, closed or open-back headphones, will depend on whether you want to isolate yourself from the environment (closed-back) or not (open-back).
Moving on, those that go in the ear (i.e. earbuds) and are most suitable for physically active people. On-ear and over-ear headphones’ main difference is that over-ear cup the entire ear making this type the perfect gaming headset since it allows gamers to focus solely on their game without being distracted with other sounds.
When it comes to professional usage of headphones, individuals from music production and engineering would opt for a solution which reduces the sound from the background and this is where noise-canceling headphones come to play.
Ways to connect headphones
There are three types of headphones when it comes to how you connect them to your sound source: wired, USB, and Bluetooth. Wired headphones are the simplest to connect since they come with a 3.5mm jack that is inserted on the side of your laptop or in your computer so if you are purchasing headphones for a non-techie who will use them solely for listening to music, then this is a good choice.
A USB headset would be also fairy easy to insert for a less experienced computer user but if you have a music-loving grandma, you better do it for her the first time because in some cases you will need to install necessary drivers to get it going. Besides that, you just need to warn your football-loving granddad not to get too frisky while his team is winning or he might pull out the USB completely or slightly.
Bluetooth headphones are an excellent choice for those who are multitasking, that is, who use them just for listening to audio while their body and mind might be distant from the computer screen. Naturally, you would first need to check whether your laptop and computer have a built-in Bluetooth technology or else you might consider purchasing a Bluetooth Dongle.
Conclusion and recommendations
If you are not much of a risk-taker and you have narrowed down the search to, for example, on-ear, it is best to go for models which are tested and relatively new, that is, the most popular headphones in 2019. If you are looking for a noise-canceling set for commercial use, then you can go with closed-back Marshall MID ANC which are comfortable, elegant, and come with an efficient physical control scheme. Also, they can be both wireless and wired.
Beats EP is an excellent choice if you prefer using wired on-ear headphones when jogging. They also come with a microphone, which functions only with iOS devices which means that Android users won’t be able to use it to its fullest capacity. When it comes to other on-ear options, it is worth to mention the super-comfortable Bose SoundLink headphones, JBL Live 400BT with their superb battery performance, as well as Skullcandy Grind which are a good value for money.
A gym-goer might go with in-ear Bluetooth headphones which allow the freedom of movement, while a fervent gamer might opt for an over-ear wired gaming headset which helps bring focus to the game. So, when choosing headphones, you first need to be practical about what you will be using them for and then moving on, you can consider the budget, comfort or visual appeal but by doing some research based on those preferences, you will find the headphones which fit your needs perfectly.