Per­haps none of human hob­bies is as sub­jec­tive as music. It is almost impos­si­ble to pre­dict which one a user prefers, and not every­one would like oth­ers to lis­ten to their music.

Accord­ing­ly, for indi­vid­ual lis­ten­ing, such a device as head­phones is extreme­ly pop­u­lar.

The first head­phones appeared a long time ago, but due to the impos­si­bil­i­ty of cre­at­ing small speak­ers, they were rel­a­tive­ly large. Now there are com­pact plug-in mod­els with sev­er­al emit­ters, wire­less mod­ules. At the same time, huge stu­dio head­phones are pro­duced, which, more­over, are con­nect­ed to spe­cial ampli­fiers. How not to get lost in this diver­si­ty? Our arti­cle will tell about it.

Headphone form factor

The first thing you should pay atten­tion to when choos­ing head­phones is the form fac­tor. The con­di­tion­al pur­pose of the head­phones and the ease of use in a giv­en sit­u­a­tion depend on it. The fol­low­ing head­phone form fac­tors are avail­able:

  1. Inserts and inserts. This type of head­phone is the most com­pact and incon­spic­u­ous. Ear­buds are called head­phones that are held in the auri­cle.

  2. Meizu EP21HD in-ear head­phones

    Plug-in, in turn, have rub­ber ear pads that are insert­ed into the ear canal for bet­ter sound insu­la­tion.

    Xiao­mi Quantie In-Ear Head­phones (HYBRID) Steel

    As you might guess, these head­phones have the small­est dri­ver size. There­fore, con­ven­tion­al dynam­ic head­phones made in this form fac­tor are infe­ri­or in sound qual­i­ty to large head­phones, all oth­er things being equal.

    How­ev­er, there are so-called rein­forc­ing head­phones, which can sur­pass mod­els with large speak­ers in terms of sound accu­ra­cy. They will be dis­cussed lat­er.

  3. Over­head. This type of head­phones is char­ac­ter­ized by the fact that the speak­er hous­ing is super­im­posed on the auri­cle from the out­side, but does not com­plete­ly cov­er it. As a rule, light­weight head­phones for the play­er are made in this form fac­tor. They com­bine good porta­bil­i­ty (often a fold­ing design is used here) and sound close to full-size mod­els.

  4. Head­phones Koss RUK40 S (Sil­ver)

    The dis­ad­van­tage of this head­phone for­mat is the impos­si­bil­i­ty of per­fect sound insu­la­tion.

  5. Full size (encom­pass­ing). Com­plete­ly cov­er the auri­cle. These head­phones have a bulky design, but do not lim­it devel­op­ers in the use of any tech­nol­o­gy. Because of this, most pro­fes­sion­al mod­els have this form fac­tor. Its dis­ad­van­tage is the large size, so these head­phones are pop­u­lar as sta­tion­ary, although this is sub­jec­tive, no one for­bids using them on the play­er.

  6. Audio-Tech­ni­ca ATH-AVC500 ear­phones

Headphone attachment types

It is also impor­tant to choose how, in fact, the head­phones will be mount­ed on the head. There are the fol­low­ing types of attach­ment:

  1. head­band. This is an arc that runs ver­ti­cal­ly along the top of the head and con­nects the two “halves” of the head­phones. This type is most con­ve­nient, since the load is dis­trib­uted over the max­i­mum area. The length of the head­band is adjustable even on the sim­plest mod­els

  2. Head­band Mar­shall Major II Pitch Black

  3. The occip­i­tal arch — runs along the back of the head, with­out inter­fer­ing with wear­ing a head­dress. The weight load with this type of attach­ment falls on the ears. It is pop­u­lar on sports mod­els, as the head­phones do not fly off the user’s head dur­ing a sharp “brak­ing”.

  4. Head­phones Koss Sporta Pro — one way to use — in the “mode” of the occiput

  5. Ear clips — allows you to place on-ear head­phones with­out using the head­band. Since there is no bow, you can wear a head­dress with them, lean on some­thing with the back of your head. The dis­ad­van­tage of this fas­ten­ing is that the head­phones require get­ting used to, as the auri­cles are clamped.

  6. Koss KSC75 — clip-on head­phones

  7. Ear­buds and in-ear head­phones do not have a spe­cial mount.

Types of headphone drivers

In this part of the arti­cle, it would be appro­pri­ate to talk about the tech­ni­cal side of the issue.

It is clear that the design, build qual­i­ty, and brand pro­mo­tion affect the cost of head­phones. But the main thing in them is the sound qual­i­ty, isn’t it? For starters, how is sound pro­duced in head­phones?

There are at least three types of dri­vers used in head­phones:

  1. Dynam­ic, or speak­ers. In them, oscil­la­tions occur due to the move­ment of the coil, to which the cur­rent is sup­plied, in a mag­net­ic field. This is the most com­mon type of emit­ters. A char­ac­ter­is­tic fea­ture — the nature of the sound strong­ly depends on the con­fig­u­ra­tion of the head­phone case, includ­ing the so-called acoustic design.

  2. Head­phone speak­ers

    Speak­er diam­e­ter is one of the most impor­tant char­ac­ter­is­tics of dynam­ic head­phones.

  3. Head­phones with a bal­anced arma­ture (rein­forc­ing). Nowa­days, such dri­vers are used in plug-in mod­els. In them, under the influ­ence of cur­rent, a spe­cial plate vibrates — an anchor, and these move­ments are trans­mit­ted to the mem­brane. The advan­tage of this design is high­er accu­ra­cy, the dis­ad­van­tage is a small sound fre­quen­cy range for a sin­gle emit­ter. Due to this short­com­ing, many arma­ture head­phones use sev­er­al dri­vers designed for dif­fer­ent fre­quen­cy ranges. Arma­ture dri­vers, by them­selves, are com­pact in design and require no res­o­nant space in the head­phone hous­ing.

  4. Three rein­forc­ing emit­ters in the head­phone case

    Top mod­els cost­ing thou­sands of dol­lars can have up to 12 dri­vers.

  5. Elec­tro­sta­t­ic head­phones. In them, a thin and light mem­brane oscil­lates in an elec­tro­sta­t­ic field, and thanks to its prop­er­ties, the sound is bet­ter than dynam­ic head­phones.

  6. Elec­tro­sta­t­ic head­phones Stax SR-307

    Elec­tro­sta­t­ic head­phones require a spe­cial ampli­fi­er, are expen­sive, but, despite these short­com­ings, are in demand among con­nois­seurs of the most nat­ur­al sound.

Acoustic design

As men­tioned, the nature of the sound in over­head and sur­round head­phones with speak­ers is high­ly depen­dent on the acoustic design of the case. What is it?

The fact is that the sound speak­er is flat and in the head­phones one side is turned to the ear. The oth­er side of the speak­er “looks” towards the body.

If the head­phone case is closed, and does not trans­mit sound from the speak­er on the oppo­site side of the ear, then such head­phones are closed. These head­phones have good sound iso­la­tion and deep sound.

closed head­phones

In the event that the speak­er is not “walled up” from the back, the head­phones are open.

open head­phones

The sound of such head­phones is “light”, as if the sound source is at a dis­tance from the ears. The down­side of this solu­tion is that the head­phones do not have full iso­la­tion, that is, extra­ne­ous sounds are heard in them. Also, peo­ple around you can enjoy your music as the sound comes out.

There is also an inter­me­di­ate option — semi-open head­phones, which in terms of qual­i­ty is aver­age between open and closed.

Headphone Specifications

So, in gen­er­al, we have decid­ed on the type of head­phones that suit us. How to choose from sim­i­lar mod­els?

Here the tech­ni­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics of the head­phones come to the res­cue, which can tell about the nature and qual­i­ty of the sound. We list the most com­mon of them.

Sound frequency range

The name of this char­ac­ter­is­tic, per­haps, speaks for itself. This char­ac­ter­is­tic is mea­sured in hertz.

For exam­ple, Sennheis­er CX 300-II head­phones have a sound fre­quen­cy range of 19 — 21000 Hz. Accord­ing­ly, if the device to which the head­phones are con­nect­ed will “try” to send a sig­nal to them with a fre­quen­cy that is out­side this range, then they sim­ply will not react to it in any way.

On the oth­er hand, the human audi­to­ry sys­tem is at best capa­ble of per­ceiv­ing the range of 20 — 20,000 Hz, so this char­ac­ter­is­tic does not real­ly mat­ter, it is bet­ter to per­ceive it as a val­ue that indi­rect­ly shows the qual­i­ty of the head­phone emit­ters.

Nonlinear and harmonic distortion coefficients

The first thing you should real­ly pay atten­tion to when deter­min­ing the sound qual­i­ty in head­phones is the coef­fi­cients of non-lin­ear and har­mon­ic dis­tor­tion. These are dif­fer­ent char­ac­ter­is­tics, but they are sim­i­lar in that they indi­cate the extent to which changes in the sig­nal are made by cer­tain head­phones.

These coef­fi­cients are mea­sured in per­cent­ages, and, accord­ing­ly, the small­er they are, the bet­ter.

In good dynam­ic head­phones, the har­mon­ic dis­tor­tion coef­fi­cient is 0.1%. In elec­tro­sta­t­ic — can be less than 0.01%.


Head­phone imped­ance is a char­ac­ter­is­tic that indi­cates the func­tion­al­i­ty of head­phones.

The larg­er it is, the more demand­ing the head­phones are on the pow­er of the sup­plied sig­nal.

For exam­ple, head­phones with an imped­ance of up to 32 ohms are best suit­ed for portable devices. Head­phones with high imped­ance should be used on sta­tion­ary devices (ampli­fi­er, com­put­er sound card), on a portable they will sound very qui­et.


In prac­tice, it may turn out that two dif­fer­ent mod­els of head­phones may have dif­fer­ent vol­umes, even with the same imped­ance and on the same source. This means that loud­er head­phones have high­er sen­si­tiv­i­ty.

The sen­si­tiv­i­ty of head­phones is mea­sured in deci­bels per mil­li­watt, the high­er it is, the loud­er the head­phones, all oth­er things being equal.

Other features and functions

In addi­tion to the type of head­phones and the main char­ac­ter­is­tics, there are oth­er things that are no less impor­tant for some­one that you should pay atten­tion to. Let’s list them.

First, these are the prop­er­ties of the cable and con­nec­tor. The most com­mon jack is a 3.5mm jack, but larg­er head­phones for sta­tion­ary use will have a 6.3mm jack.

The cable itself can, for exam­ple, be remov­able, and also have dif­fer­ent lengths, sec­tions and mate­ri­als. On top mod­els, a fab­ric sheath of the cord is com­mon, which pro­tects it from dam­age.

One of the impor­tant qual­i­ties when choos­ing head­phones is their sound iso­la­tion, that is, the pos­si­bil­i­ty of nor­mal lis­ten­ing in noisy places. In addi­tion to pas­sive sound iso­la­tion, head­phones may have a fea­ture called active noise can­cel­la­tion.

Bose Qui­et­Com­fort 25 Active Noise Can­cel­ing Head­phones

It is arranged as fol­lows: a spe­cial micro­phone reg­is­ters exter­nal sounds, and then the head­phones emit the same sound, only in antiphase to the exter­nal one. Thus, this noise is not per­ceived by the user’s ear, and the head­phones can be used in noisy places, such as trans­port.

Wireless headphones

Sep­a­rate­ly, it is worth men­tion­ing such a cat­e­go­ry as wire­less head­phones.

They can be divid­ed into two cat­e­gories:

  1. Blue­tooth head­phones for phones and sim­i­lar devices. To date, these head­phones are diverse, and can have a lot of func­tions, up to their own MP3 play­er and FM tuner. An exam­ple is Blue­dio head­phones.

  2. Head­phones Blue­dio T2+

    Also, the lat­est gen­er­a­tion of Apple head­phones can be attrib­uted to this cat­e­go­ry. Their appear­ance sug­gests that, per­haps, wire­less head­phones will become more pop­u­lar than wired ones.

  3. Home wire­less head­phones. They work over a radio chan­nel and are equipped with their own trans­mit­ter, which also serves as a dock­ing sta­tion for charg­ing.

  4. Sennheis­er RS ​​120 II Wire­less Head­phones

In gen­er­al, wire­less head­phones are very com­fort­able, but have two draw­backs — the increased price and the need for charg­ing. It is also worth not­ing that all pro­fes­sion­al head­phones are still wired, per­haps due to the fact that wire­less tech­nolo­gies intro­duce cer­tain dis­tor­tions into the sig­nal.


Usu­al­ly, when a user buys a device, one mod­el is enough for him. In the case of head­phones, dif­fer­ent types are suit­able for dif­fer­ent tasks. In addi­tion, for many peo­ple, choos­ing and lis­ten­ing to dif­fer­ent mod­els turns into a hob­by.

Our arti­cle gives an idea of ​​the most impor­tant fea­tures of these or those head­phones, but there are many inter­me­di­ate and orig­i­nal designs on the mar­ket that are not men­tioned here. As a result, the best option would be to try on and lis­ten to the head­phones your­self, and our arti­cle will help you find the right direc­tion of choice.


От Yara

Добавить комментарий