In the current era, when everyone has a music player in their pocket there’s no excuse for using low-quality headphones for listening to your music. There are millions of types available. In this blog, we’ll look at the different types on the market and my pick for the best of each type.
In-ear headphones are probably the most used headphones around. They are favoured because they are discreet and very compact. Many models now come with microphones for hands-free calling on your mobile phone. They range from simple earbuds to moulded models that fit exactly or adapt to fit in your ear canal.
My pick – Sennheiser Momentum M2 – These are great sounding earbuds with in-line controls for both iPhone and Android (just be sure to get the right model).
On and Over Ear
This type of headphone is the most traditional and have cups that sit either on top of or around the ear. If you’re looking for the best sound quality this type is the best to go for and wired versions offer higher fidelity than wireless versions. Closed models are fully enclosed and create a seal so you are completely immersed in sound. Semi-Open and Open designs allow sound in and out, so if you’re planning on wearing them in an office or on the train your music will be audible to other people.
My pick – Beyerdynamic DT770s – These are recording studio classics. Every part is replaceable, and they will last you a lifetime. They also sound incredible.
Wireless headphones have become hugely popular because they don’t have the hassle of a cable. Nearly all wireless headphones use Bluetooth to connect to a device, allowing you to move around freely or keep your device in a pocket. This practicality comes at a cost, however, the sound quality from wireless headphones will not be as high quality as if you used traditional wired headphones and they have to be charged, so if you run out of battery in your headphones you won’t be able to listen to your music.
My pick – AKG Y50BT – These over the ear headphone sound great and have 20 hours of battery life.
If you like listening to music when you’re out running or at the gym, then sports headphones will definitely appeal to you. They tend to have features that are useful for when you’re on the move including Bluetooth – so you have no wires – features like sweat resistance and controls on the headphones so you don’t have to dig out your phone to take calls or skip tracks. Some pairs come as individual earbuds or are joined by a small wire or neckband.
My pick – Bose SoundSport Wireless – These sound isolating headphones are sweat and water resistant and have a six-hour battery life. They also come with the signature Bose sound too.
Noise cancelling headphones are designed to reduce external sounds, so you won’t have to listen to the chaos of your morning commute or the constant drone of a plane’s engine. These tend to come in both in-ear versions, where the coupling to the inside of your ear canal creates a seal to keep external sounds out, or over the ear models which enclose your ear. These also help protect your hearing because you won’t be tempted to raise the volume of your headphones to dangerous levels just to block out external noise. The key thing to look for is how many dB the attenuation of external sound is. The higher the attenuation in dB, the more external sound they will block out.
My pick – Audio Technica ATH-M50X – These headphones were designed for the recording studio and have sound isolation of 35dB. That means they reduce noise by 1200%. They sound great too!
These are just some ideas for headphones that are around just now. People have different preferences for how headphones sound, so it’s best to shop around and find the best to suit you. You can pick up headphones in Hi-Fi shops, DJ and Music shops or you can maybe try these deals at Groupon, where I’ve picked up some savings along the way.