Whether it is for at home or on the go, many people have plenty of use for a good pair of headphones. Many people are content with whatever headphones they can find, for example, those who mostly listen to radio or spoken word audiobooks rather than music do not have the same requirements in terms of quality. However, for the more discerning listener, the cheaper headphones on the market simply won’t cut it.
Once you start looking at headphones, you will find that they are available at every price point imaginable. This can be quite intimidating if you aren’t au fait with what the various technical specifications actually mean; the linked guide can help you here. This guide will help you to decide on the right type of headphones so you know where to begin your search.
Form factor is really just a fancy way of saying ‘the type’ of headphone. The most common type you see are the earbuds. These are the smaller headphones, sometimes known as ‘in-ear’ headphones. The main selling point of these headphones is their compact size, which makes them ideal for travel, and for carrying around day to day. People who wear glasses often find that earbuds are significantly more comfortable than other types of headphone.
The drawbacks with these types of headphones are that they are generally of lower quality than the over-ear variety, although there are exceptions to this. However, those who are prioritizing audio quality over portability or aesthetics will probably be best served by over-ear headphones.
For obvious reasons, it isn’t easy to try out in-ear headphones before you buy them (unless you have a friend who is willing to let you try them out). Many earbuds come with interchangeable buds of different sizes, meaning that the headphones can be made to fit comfortably in any ear. You can even get noise cancelling earplugs to put on them, just make sure that they will fit your chosen headphones. It’s definitely worth investing in noise-cancelling technology. The headphones neutralise outside noise by creating an opposite sound wave, causing these sounds to cancel each other out. You can find out more about how noise-cancelling headphones work here in this comprehensive guide explaining ANC (active noise cancellation).
Ear pad headphones were the most popular type until the iPod hit the market. The iPod completely changed the way that people listen to music, and led to the popularity of earbud headphones, which were bundled free with each device.
These type of headphone lie somewhere between the above mentioned earbuds and the full size headphones (more below). Most ear pad headphones feature an ‘open’ design, which means there is some sound ‘leaking’. However, they still offer great quality and are comfortable to wear. Although not quite as comfortable as…
Full Size Headphones
These are the big daddies, literally. These are the big over-ear headphones that you often see audio professionals wear for work. These headphones offer the very best sound quality and comfort, however they will set you back a pretty penny.
You should also be aware that many full size headphones are ‘studio’ headphones; these are not designed for listening to music, rather they are intended for studio work and so have a much more ‘neutral’ and less dynamic sound.
Once you have worked out which of these types of headphones is best suited to your needs, you can then begin your search in earnest.