Picking the right headphones can make an ordinary music experience an extraordinary one. Before you spend a single penny, here are some key features and factors to look at.
Types of headphones
Headphones are available in several different styles, depending on how you plan to use them.
Ear bud headphones
- Rest inside the ear and are usually inexpensive and lightweight.
- They are great for sporty and outdoor activities that require a lot of movement, especially when they have ridges or clips to cling to the outer ear.
- Are usually a step above earbuds in sound quality, but they come in a range from inexpensive to high quality, the latter with some noise isolation ability.
- They are ideal for use in an office, since the wearer can still hear surrounding noise.
- Provide the deepest and richest listening experience, and offer the best bass, volume, sound clarity and noise-cancelling capabilities.
- They are easy to carry around your neck and come with padding for extra comfort.
- Can nullify surrounding environmental noise without interfering with the music you’re playing.
- They tend to be on the higher end of the price scale.
- With this type of headphones, you won’t have to turn up your music to drown out other noise, thus preventing potential damage to your ears.
- Are far more portable than their wired counterparts, but the compromise is sound quality.
- They’re great when you’re on the go and active.
Features to consider
When purchasing your next pair of headphones, consider these features:
- A case is especially useful for keeping your headphone cord from tangling in your pocket. Plus it stops them from wrapping around anything else you may carry around in there, like your keys.
- Wireless capabilities make it fast and easy to connect your headphones to your music player, handy when it’s winter and the notion of fiddling with wires in the cold air isn’t appealing.
- A microphone headset comes attached to some headphones for hands-free calls when connected to your cell phone.
- The band connecting the speakers of your headphones can be adjusted to comfortably fit your head, and prevent them from shaking around and falling off.
Factors to think about
Think about how your headphones will function in the long term before making your purchase:
- Earbuds and wireless headphones are great for when you’re on the go, while on-ear headphones are better suited for the library, home or office.
- Fully-enclosed headphones can heat up your ears quickly, especially if you’re outside on a hot day.
- Review the manufacturer’s warranty before purchasing your headphones, especially if you plan to spend a lot.
- Wireless headphones sometimes sacrifice sound quality when compressing files. For diehard music lovers, fully-enclosed wired headphones are still the best bet—it’s the tradeoff for optimal quality.
Finding the right headphones can enhance your audio experience, so you can make the most out of sound quality when listening to your favourite playlists.