You are the proud owner of new gadgets: a tablet and a smartphone. You excitedly post pictures of them on your social networking account, smiling as the number of “likes” climb to about a hundred. Then a friend mentioned about the “cheap looking ear buds” that came with them, bursting your bubble.
But then he’s right after all and it’s time to go shopping for new headphones. You want to get quality ones, not just for the design but mainly to make the most out of your gadgets. Look at it this way, you don’t want to ruin an expensive smartphone with cheap, low quality accessories. Before you head out to the stores or click on the Buy Now button on a website, read this guide on buying the right headphones to help you pick the perfect one for your needs.
Guide to Buying the Right Headphones
First, Know the Difference
Is there really a difference between headphones and earphones? Most people seem to get this wrong, sometimes mistaking one for the other. For the not-so-techie person who needs an accessory for listening to music or watching a video, this can get confusing. Here are the two basic categories:
- Headphones – These are the ones that sit on your head and have small pads that cover your ears. Still can’t get a clear picture? Think of it like a chunky headband and yes, that’s the one usually worn by hip hop music lovers.
- Ear buds and Earphones – The latter fits snuggly in your ear and comes with cushions (silicone, rubber or memory foam) to make it more comfortable. Ear buds, on the other hand, rest outside the ear canal. Both are easy to store and bring around – a helpful piece of information meant for the ladies who love to carry around space-challenged envelope bags.
Second, Check the Functionality of Each Piece
Admit it. You’ve scoured the stores for aesthetically designed headphones which serves its purpose of drowning the annoying sounds. Here are some things you should consider when looking for the best headphones that will suit you well:
- Do you often travel and have to pack light for your frequent trips? Bringing along a clunky set of headphones might not be practical for you.
- Are you using your gadgets often to communicate with friends, family or business partners? If so, you’d need a hands-free accessory like a headset to help you with multitasking.
- What’s your environment usually like? Over-ear headphones can help block those disturbing sounds, making it easy for you to concentrate on tasks like writing your report or tackling your thesis.
Lastly, Don’t Forget to Check the Specifications
- Weight – earphones and ear buds are lighter than the clunky headphones. If you’re not too keen on bearing the weight of the latter, then it’s better to stick to the less heavy option.
- Impedance – This is measured in ohms and the golden rule, especially for experts, is for your headphones to match the gadget. If it’s a perfect match, you should have better sound quality as well.
- Noise isolation Versus Noise Cancellation – Yes, there’s a difference between the two. Explaining the science behind noise reduction accessories might probably bore you, so I’ll make it simple. Noise isolation muffles the sound, while noise cancellation eliminates the sound, like you’re literally hearing nothing.
Gone are the days when we have to be contented with what comes in the box, e.g. standard earphones that don’t really give justice to the cool music you’re listening to. We even invest in phone cases to change the way our phones look. In the same way, you should invest in high quality headphones like Beats by Dre. It’s one of the best decisions you can make, technologically speaking. You always get what you pay for and the cheaper it is, the lousier the sound quality will be.