How To Choose Earphone Tips
How to choose the right ear phones? While there are so many models and types to choose from, your personal requirements and preferences can help greatly in narrowing down your choice. Most important is the sound quality. Many may prefer a big bass sound, while others may like overall accuracy with full-range production. Some other factors to consider include comfort, fit, portability, weight and isolation. Are you are a casual listener and want to enjoy music by listening to your MP3 player on the way to work? Or you are a professional looking for studio-worthy headphones to monitor recordings? oneHOWTO will give you the basic how to choose earphone tips to help you choose the right pair that fits your purpose and style.
As with any technology which varies in quality, different earphones will have different specifications. These are the things you need to look out for which help you decide on what you needs are and how the earphones you choose can best meet these needs. It is also important to state the difference between earphones and headphones. Earphones are those which fit into the outside of your ear canal which hold them in place (sometimes with a hook to stop them falling out). Headphones is the general term for listening devices put over your ears. For our purposes, however, we will use the terms interchangeably unless speaking of a specific type of headphone.
Here are the specifications you may need to consider:
- Acoustic system: the acoustic system represents the earphone’s physical design. Ones with a closed acoustic system will stop any noise passing to and from the earphones, while the ones with open acoustic system will not do that. People around you will be able to hear what you are playing in your music player. However, closed acoustics are not 100% noise proof and sound may leak if you turn the volume too high. To reduce noise leak, make sure that you choose best fitting earphones only.
- Frequency response: this aspect refers to the range in frequency the earphones may cover. Those with a larger range are better.
- Impedance: this feature is the resistance power of the earphone’s circuit to electrical signals. More impedance means less signals getting through the earphones, resulting in less sound level. Therefore, you should prefer less impedance in your earphones. Earphones with high impedance work good with devices that carry heavy-duty amplifiers.
- Sensitivity: sensitivity means the measurement of sound the earphones can produce for each mili-watt of electrical signal. Higher sensitivity obviously means higher sound.
- Diaphragm: it is a thin membrane inside the earphone that vibrates and produces sound. It can be horn, cone or dome in shape and may be available in different materials. The manufacturer chooses the shape and material to produce the best quality sound as per their discretion.
- Voice coil: it is a coil wire that may be made up of aluminium, copper or copper-clad aluminium. Aluminium is highly sensitive, but is less durable than copper. CCAW is the most common wire used for making voice coil these days.
- Noise cancellation: noise excluding earphones don’t just block outside noise, but also pickup that noise and cancel it while playing music. Noise cancelling earphones are great for you if you like high fidelity sound quality.
There are numerous connectivity options that earphones may come utilize:
- Wired: many earphones are connected to your device through a wire. One end is inserted into a jack provided in your device and the other end has ear buds that you have to place in or on your ears. There are over-ear headphones too which have a padding to encircle your ear and provide a seal.
- Bluetooth: bluetooth is the most common wireless connectivity option used in earphones. A device enabled for Bluetooth can be connected with any other similar device with a Bluetooth connectivity option. You may pair any Bluetooth device within a radius of around 10 meters. Bluetooth is a secure connectivity option, but the sound quality may not be as good as that provided with other options.
- Near-Field Communication: some Bluetooth earphones support NFC too. With this feature, you have to simply tap your NFC enabled device with your earphones and they will immediately connect to each other. If the device that you want to connect is NFC enabled, then you should prefer NFC earphones for connection.
- Radio Frequency: there are earphones that work with radio wave frequency and cover a larger area as compared to Bluetooth. RF earphones come with a charging station. You have to plug your audio device in this station in order to transmit the audio into your earphones. This kind of earphones is more preferable while viewing TV or while working on a computer. Sound quality is better than Bluetooth, though other RF devices in the room may interfere with the audio.
- Infrared: some earphones also use infrared, but they have limited range and need kept in the line of sight for operation.
- Wi-Fi: some earphones are connected to the device via Wi-Fi. You have to turn on Wi-Fi in your device and connect your earphones to it.
Other considerations when choosing earphones
Comfort and fit
You should feel comfortable while wearing the earphones. All earphones feel fine when worn for a few minutes, but if you are going to wear them for several hours at a stretch, they may become uncomfortable. Before buying a pair for yourself, keep wearing them for at least half an hour. If you are buying closed back headphones, then look for ones with larger ear cups. If you want ear buds that rest over your ears, then buy smaller ones with leather or fabric padding.
As far as weight of the earphones is concerned, lighter ones will be more comfortable. If you are going to wear them for long periods, then portable, super-light earphones with foam pads would be ideal.
The headband of your earphones also affects your comfort level while wearing them. Most earphones come with over-the-head type headbands, but you can go for behind-the-neck styles instead. Whichever headband you choose, make sure that it is adjustable as per your fit and comfort. Over-the-ear phones will be extremely comfortable if they have rotating cups. You may adjust them as per your head to increase comfort and minimize sound leakage.
Portability is usually not an issue while selecting earphones. If you are going to wear them during physical activities, then go for light weight, portable earphones. If you want them while doing stationary work, then you may select heavy closed back varieties. If you are doing on-location recording with your laptop or computer, then go for bulkier, closed back, sealed cup earphones. Foldable earphones have enhanced portability, and provide sufficient protection to your earphones during transit. If you carry your earphones while travelling, it’s wise to keep them in some form of casing for protection.
Good quality earphones are expensive and should last long. Unfortunately, most durable headphones are heavy in weight. Light weight earphones can be easily broken by sitting on them or snapping them in two. You have to be extra careful while handling them and always keep them in a case when they are not in use. If they are foldable, check the hinges are sturdy. Check the cables which shouldn’t be too delicate or thin. Headphones from Beats by Dre are good in quality, durable to use, have a robust build and re also reasonably priced. If you are buying an expensive pair, make sure that its replacement parts can be easily accessed.
The cable should be long enough to let you move your head while wearing them, but it should not be too long to get tangled up every now and then. An extra long cable can also affect the quality of sound, as it lowers down the volume and introduces noise to cause disturbance. Good quality headphones will have a shielded cable that will minimize noise. If your cable is short, you may add an extension, but make sure that it is of similar quality to the original one and there are no multiple connections.
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