1 2 3 4 5
articles per Page.

All headphones are not created equal.

There are different types of headphones that sit on, in or around the ear. You may find one type more comfortable, or suited to a particular situation.
These are light and sit just inside your ear making them ideal for listening to music whilst on the move. They are the most popular type of headphones used and are generally inexpensive and are favoured for their portability and convenience.

There are a large number of manufacturers that make ear bud headphones, each having their own benefits, for example the quality of the material they use, the ear bud ends and the quality of the headphone cabling.

There are a number of limitations for ear bud headphones, they are unable to deliver the same dynamic audio range of other headphone types. As a result you will need to increase the volume to hear some of the audio sound which in turn increase the chances of damaging their ear drums. Also these headphones fit loosely around the outside of the ear channel, this allows external noise to get into the gap between your ear drum and the headphone, decreasing the audio quality. Likewise as external sound can get in, the audio sound that is being played can get out and be herd by people nearby, this is known as sound leakage.
In Ear Headphones are also known as ‘Ear Canal’ headphones or ‘Sound Isolating Headphones’. They fit into the ear canal, effectively sealing the ear. The end of the ear piece is fitted with a tip, usually made of rubber or memory foam to fit snugly into the ear. This reduces the amount of external or ambient noise that reaches the ear drum. This means that the music you listen to is not interrupted by other noises. This is a major benefit of in ear headphones.

If you use these in a noisy environment, they would dramatically reduce the sounds that you might hear. Also because they block so much external noise, when listening in noisy places, you can listen to your music at lower levels compared to other types of headphones. This significantly decreases the chances of damaging your ear drums.

Just like ear bud headphones in ear headphones are light, portable and easy to carry. This makes them ideal for people who would like peace and quiet while travelling, or when exercising.

There is a safety concern with these types of headphones, as they block out so much external sound. You may not be able to hear warning alarms or car horns when out and about.
On Ear headphones, have flat ear pads that sit lightly on the ears. Due to their small size they are perfect for on-the-go as they are portable and lightweight. These headphones are available in a very wide variety of styles including over-the-head, behind-the-head and clip style headphones.

On Ear Headphones fit loosely around the outside of the ear, which can allow external noise to reach the customer’s ear drum, great for customers jogging by busy roads. However this can decrease the quality of the audio. Likewise as external sound can get in, the sound being played through the headphones is often leaked.

Clip and behind the head style of headphones are ideal for very active people as this style allows the headphones to fit securely to your head.
Wireless Headphones are linked directly into an Audio source (TV, Hi-fi or MP3 player etc.) via their central base station, the audio signal is then transferred to the headphones by one of three ways: radio signal, Infrared signal or Bluetooth. Each type has a different benefit:

paragraphInfrared: These devices use an infrared (IR) beam to transmit the sound from the base unit to the headphone. Infrared is optical, so a clear line of sight between the transmitter and headphones is needed. This means range is usually limited to around 7m.

paragraphBluetooth: In Bluetooth headphones, a low-power radio signal is used to digitally transmit the sound. Although similar in range to Infrared, Bluetooth is a radio technology, therefore the line of sight is not required . This, and the added portability of how small Bluetooth technology can be, makes these headphones much more suitable for walk-around listening.

paragraphRadio Signal or Radio Frequency (RF): Like Bluetooth these headphones use a radio signal, but it is more powerful FM frequency that provides much greater range. Wireless Headphones can be connected into a wide range of products like TV’s, Hi-Fi’s, Home Cinema Systems, MP4 and MP3 players, Laptops and Computers, Portable DVD players , Games Consoles and many more. The headphones all require batteries, some of which are automatically recharged when connected to the base station.

One trade off with wireless headphone is the sound quality, as the signal is being transferred wirelessly, the quality can be reduced compared to its wired counterparts.
Waterproof headphones came about in response to the need from sports enthusiasts to take their music with them, whatever sport that they were enjoying, in whatever the weather. The solution was waterproof headphones. These have evolved to be suitable for sports that actually involved direct contact with water, such as kayaking, water boarding, sailing, even swimming.

Always check what depths the waterproof headphones can withstand, and avoid those classed as water resistant. To do this check the IPX waterproof standards rating. See here for further details. A decent set of waterproof headphones can add enjoyment to your sport with the motivation of music and increase your sports appreciation.

Be careful to allow your ears a rest from headphones, a tight seal is best for the ear buds, but long term this is not beneficial for the ear canal, nor should you use them at significant depths as you risk an eardrum burst.
Noise cancelling headphones come in either ‘Active’ or ‘Passive’. Active noise cancelling headphones use microphones, electrical circuitry and batteries to cancel out the noise whereas Passive noise cancelling headphones use noise reduction material to reduce the external sound. See the specifics below:
Active Noise Cancelling Headphones reduce unwanted ambient sounds i.e. the hum off an air conditioning unit, or the constant drone of a train engine, allowing you to listen to your music without having to turn the volume up excessively loud. They work by sampling, or recording, the outside sound and then producing an equally opposing sound wave inside the headphone. The two waves together –the original ambient noise and the headphone generated new one, work to cancel each other out and remove the background noise almost completely. Active Noise Cancelling Headphones need a few components in order to make this work:

paragraphMicrophone A microphone is placed inside the ear cup and 'listens' to external sounds that cannot be blocked passively (i.e. via the outer shielding of the headphone).

paragraphNoise-cancelling circuitry Electronics, also placed in the ear cup, sense the input from the microphone and generate a 'fingerprint' of the noise, noting the frequency and amplitude of the sound wave. Then they create a new but opposite wave which is sent to the speaker.

paragraphSpeaker The 'anti-sound', created by the noise-cancelling circuitry, is fed into the headphones' speakers along with the normal audio; the anti-sound cancels out the background noise, but does not affect the desired sound waves in the normal audio.

paragraphBattery The term 'active' refers to the fact that energy must be added to the system to produce the noise-cancelling effect. The source of that energy is usually a battery of some sort.
Passive Noise Cancelling Headphones (also known as noise isolation headphones) are made using materials that have noise cancelling characteristics, much like the sound proofing materials used in clubs and bars. These are usually packed with layers of high density foam or other noise filtering materials. The materials used are great at effectively reducing the ambient sound that gets into the space between the headphone and ear drum. Passive noise cancelling headphones are normally large and cover the whole ear to reduce the ambient noise that reaches the ear drum. Ear canal headphones can also be classed as Passive Noise Cancelling Headphones as they act like an ear plug, blocking out ambient noise.

Passive Headphones are great at blocking talking, ringing phones, and other noises. Using Passive noise cancelling headphones is much like locking yourself in a quite room to listen to your music.

There are a couple of downsides to having Passive Noise Cancelling Headphones, they are often heavy and uncomfortable to wear for long periods, they’re also not very portable due to their size. However a Passive Noise Cancelling system is cheaper than an Active system and does not require batteries to work.