Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Headphone
Are you going to buy a headphone? Don’t do it, at least now!
Do you know how to choose the best headphone for you? That’s why I asked you to stop now. Here in this article, I am going to help you select the best headphones.
You have to consider a bunch of aspects when it comes to buying a headphone. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Headphone
The following are the criteria you should look upon when you need a headphone. I have classified the content into different subheads for your reading convenience.
Before you go into anything below, you have to set your budget. You can buy a pair of headphones for a price of $20 and $500 as well. So, it is important to decide your budget considering the diversity in the pricing.
If you don’t have any particular need, you can buy a decent headphone for the price below $100. When it comes to gaming headphones, I recommend you spend something more for an immersive playing experience.
In case you don’t care about budget at all, there’s nothing pulling you back from checking out the following.
For the rest, set a budget and read the rest.
Are you a brand-conscious person? I know there may be some pride in wearing a Beats headphone in public like celebrities.
Still, I don’t care about brands much. There are awesome headphones from not-very-well-known brands available. When you compare the quality with some branded products, you have to choose those with less brand value.
If you are brand-conscious, you can pick your favorite company. And if you are like me who values quality over brand-name, check reviews, and ask people who bought a specific product to land a purchase decision.
#3. Wired or Wireless
What do you prefer a wired headphone or a wireless one?
Most of you are fans of wireless headphones. I get it! But you have to accept the fact that wireless ones need to be charged. When you run out of juices, you can’t listen to your favorite music.
One of the major headaches is the tangling nature. You have to spend much time untangling the wires. And, if you have a habit of listening to music in darkness (say on the bed, before you sleep), chances are the wire creates problems.
#4. In-Ear or Over-Ear
The first thing is often referred to as earphones. It has two tips that fit directly into your ears. Having the small form factor, such an earphone is easy to commute with. If smartphone is your primary source of music, in-ear should be the one for you. When you jog or exercise, these earphones fit well in your ear.
On the contrary, over-ear headphones are known for extreme comfort. You can’t listen to sound from in-ear headphones for a long time as it goes deep into the ear canal. And, they offer noise isolation technology by entirely covering your ears. Most of the over-ear headphones are bulky and difficult to travel with.
#5. Inline Mic
Do you use your headphone for calling?
If you say yes, you need a headphone with inline mic. It captures your voice and transmits to the other side. Moreover, you need the microphones as a studio professional as well.
Most of the companies launch two versions of their headphones; with and without mic. As you might have guessed, the price for the inline mic variant is somewhat high.
When you narrow down the buying choices, make sure that they all have inline mic. You don’t have to worry about it if you want a headphone only for listening to the music. Still, you can check the availability of inline playback controlling buttons.
#6. Noise Isolating or Noise Cancelling
Do you know the difference between these terms? Most people interchangeably use these. Are they similar? Of course, not!
A headphone with noise isolating technology entirely covers your ears, giving no room for the ambient noises to sneak into your ears. So, you will never know there are voices outside. Most of the over-ear headphones come with this feature.
On the other hand, noise cancelling headphones don’t completely cover your ears. Instead, it has a dedicated microphone to capture unwanted noises. Then the whole system generates reverse waves to the disturbances and sends it over to the output speakers. When the sound comes out of the speakers, both waves and anti-waves cancel each other.
The noise cancelling technology works the best for sounds with constant frequency (fan, airplane, etc.). When it comes to frequency varying sounds (say music through a loud speaker), you don’t feel the difference.
You have to make a choice here. If you don’t want noise from the surroundings to sneak into your ears, you need to choose over-ear headphones having the best noise isolation technology. The bulky nature may not favor your commuting needs, though. The noise cancelling in-ear headphones is portable but as I said earlier, not efficient for frequency varying sounds.
#7. Waterproof Nature
Do you listen to music when you exercise or ride your bicycle?
Then, you need a waterproof headphone. The waterproof items can fight against sweat as well. So, you don’t have to worry about damaging it as you go through tiring exercise sessions.
How can you check waterproofing feature? Buy a headphone and dip it into a bucket full of water?? Not at all!
You should check the sales page. All sales pages include an overview of features. If a product is waterproof, you can read the same there (IPX-4 or IPX-7 rating indicates waterproof nature).
Don’t forget to check for extra facilities to make the headphone fit on your ears.
#8. Portable Device Compatibility
Not every time we use headphones with portable devices. I know a lot of you do. Still, there are many people who buy headphones specifically for their PC, laptop, gaming console or TV set. And, there are such headphones too.
For the same reason, you have to check the compatibility with portable devices. So, how can you check it?
Finding a headphone incompatible after buying is completely a waste of money. So, you have to check it prior to purchasing.
All the in-ear headphones are compatible with mobiles and MP3 players. What you have to care about is over-ear headphone.
You can check the impedance of headphones to know the portable device compatibility. Simply put, impedance is the measure of resistance offered by the earphone. The higher the impedance, the more power it needs to run. Having the impedance in between 16 and 64 Ohms imply the compatibility. At the same time, impedance ranging from 64- 600 Ohms is incompatible.
No one can comment on the durability of a product, not even the manufacturer. It depends completely on the usage.
If you want a headphone for your working out sessions, you have to pick one with waterproofing. Means you must ensure the presence of IPX rating.
Another thing to consider is the warranty period. When you shell out a whopping amount for a headphone, you have to check the period of warranty. Most of the manufacturers provide one or two years of warranty.
You have to care about the headphones while you use it. Rough usage may end up in damaged product.
Have you ever felt that the volume of your earphones is low when plugged into your mobile? The same earphone might have sounded loud as you had connected it to the computer as well.
That’s because you haven’t checked the sensitivity of your earphone before buying it.
Sensitivity is the measure of loudness for the input power applied. Having higher sensitivity means louder sound for comparatively low power. The higher the power, the louder an earphone sounds.
Never connect a headphone of top impedance with a high power sources.
So, you have got ten criteria to consider before you buy a headphone.
Let me give you an effective process of stumbling upon the best product. Once you decide your budget, make a list of ten headphones with good rating (on Amazon, preferably). Then, you can rule out each one of them based on the features. For example, you can eliminate those without water resistance if you want that feature.
After following the above process, you will end up with only two or three products, may be one.
Don’t forget to share this headphone guide with your friends and drop comments if you have any.