How To Choose A Pair Of Headphones
Headphones can often be the best means for immersing yourself in music - or simply drowning out the outside world. But which headphones are best for you? Find out how to choose the right pair of headphones with the help of this video.
Choosing a pair of headphones is a personal matter, as only you will know what you are comfortable with. There are three basic kinds of headphones, and the first rule to remember is to try before you buy - if the store won't let you do so, try and make sure they have a decent returns policy.
The first kind of headphone is the "bud" design. These either sit just outside or reach slightly inside the ear canal. They provide reasonable sound quality and the in-ear designs offer better bass reproduction and block out a varying degree of external noise - the more expensive the headphones, the more noise they'll tend to block out.
Ear buds are subtle to wear and easy to transport, but some find them uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time and some people aren't comfortable with the sense of isolation the in-ear headphones can produce.
The second kind of headphone fits over the head and is called "closed cup" as they seal around the ear. These offer some degree of protection from outside sound and are also effective at preventing others from hearing what you are listening to.
The downside is that they can struggle to effectively reproduce bass frequencies and the sealed nature of them can make the ears uncomfortably hot with extended wear.
The third kind is "Open" headphones. These sit in the ear and tend to let sound escape from the back - leading to that tinny chittering noise that others around you find so annoying. These tend offer the most natural sound to the listener and are usually the most comfortable to wear as they allow more air to flow around the ear and exert less pressure on the ear itself.
New technologies to consider include noise cancelling headphones, which emit sound waves that cancel out ambient noise. These are usually only effective against constant sounds like aircraft cabin noise and air conditioning, however. Wireless headphones are also becoming more widespread and although they have an obvious advantage in lacking cables, there have been some problems with sound quality and signal consistency with some models.