Sound advice: Picking for yourself the best pair of headphones
Today, there has never been a more diverse selection of headphones in the market. From in-ear to full size, to headphones with high-resolution and noise cancellation technologies, it can be hard to settle on which pair to get. But fear not! Here’s a simple guide to help you find the best headphones!
1) Headphone Form
The first thing to decide is which form factor suits you. There are three main forms for headphones: In-ear, On-ear and Over-The-Ear.
In-ear headphones are tiny earpieces that fit inside your ears, and are the most compact and lightweight of the three. They offer moderate to excellent noise isolation and do not interfere with your earrings, glasses, or hairstyles. However, some may find it uncomfortable to have buds in their ears. In-ear headphones by Sony usually come with four different sized ear buds to give you a more comfortable fit.
On-ear headphones rest on your ears but don’t cover the ears entirely. They are comfortable, portable and allow your ears to keep cool. One drawback is that they aren’t great at blocking out noise and can leak noise, something to be wary of if you use them in a quiet area. However, they can be ideal for office use or out in the streets when you need to be aware of external noise.
Over-the-ear headphones on the other hand are full sized, which means they come with ear cups that surround your ears completely. They have potential for greater bass, loudness levels, sound clarity as well as isolation from outside noise by effectively “sealing” music in. However, they may be more suited for at-home use since they come in a larger size, and hence are not as portable.
Ultimately, the decision comes down to how comfortable you’ll feel wearing the headphones, where you’ll be using the headphones, and if bass response as well as if noise isolation is important to you.
2) Wireless headphones
Another key decision is whether you would like your pair of earphones to be wired or not. Choosing a pair of wireless headphones allows mobility and is perfect if you don’t like the mess that cords can bring. Wireless headphones, like Sony’s MDR-1ABT Bluetooth® Headphones can be great for office and portable use, letting you move around without worrying about wires. The MDR-1ABT also has a 30 hour battery life, meaning it won’t run out of juice any time soon.
3) Inline Remote and Microphone
Wired headphones like Sony’s MDR-1A, also come with a smartphone compatible inline remote and mic, allowing you to answer calls easily with the push of a button. This allows your headphone to function as a hands-free headset and lets you change music tracks without having to touch your smartphone.
4) Noise-cancelling headphones
You will probably come across some headphones with the added feature of “Noise-cancellation.” Noise-cancelling headphones come in all forms, from In-ear to full size. This technology produces a sound wave that neutralises a portion of ambient noise around you, effectively “cancelling out” noise. The benefit is that you do not have to increase volume to overcome ambient noise, and you are able to listen at lower levels, which leads to less ear fatigue. This is particularly useful for long flights and the daily commute, as it’s excellent at cancelling low frequency ranges such as the humming of planes and trains.
5) High-Resolution Audio Compatibility
High-Resolution Audio is something to be excited about if you’re a fan of digital music. The technology takes analog recordings and faithfully translates them into a digital format, allowing for a more exact interpretation of the original. Likened to the difference between standard definition to HD video, High-Resolution Audio is much greater in quality than MP3s and CDs. Sony’s hear.in series, which includes the MDR-EX750AP, are among a range of headphones that are compatible with High-Resolution Audio, allowing you to experience music closest to its truest form. If you are a music aficionado, this is a feature that you won’t want to miss out on.
One last point to consider while scouting your options is your budget. Headphones can range from premium to affordable, and generally you do pay for what you get. You will probably find a great pair of headphones around $55 but more expensive options will come with extra features such as extra bass, noise cancellation, high-resolution audio and tends to be more ergonomically-friendly, which can be well worth the cost.
Your headphones are your lifestyle
We have barely brushed the surface of the features that many headphones today offer; these are just the basics which you may come across during your search. If there is one thing to take away from this, it is to decide on the purpose of your headphones — where and how you would like to use them — and look for options which suit your interests and lifestyle.
The best way is to do so is to try out a variety of options, weigh out the pros and cons, see what feels comfortable for you and take the leap! When you do find a great pair of headphones, you’ll never regret it.
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