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Buying Headphones

Friday, May 4th, 2007 by | Filed Under: Hardware & Peripherals

Buying Headphones

If you’ve ever been a little confused about the whole headphone buying process, this tip is sure to help. Read on!

Headphones are important, but then, so are your ears. So, it’s important that you invest in a good pair of headphones. And even more importantly, that you know all the features associated with headphones so you can make an informed choice. Well, that’s what I’m here to help you with today, so let’s get started, shall we?!

Survey the Variety

First, consider the size and shape of the headphone set. There are four different overall styles of headphones. There’s headphones with ear buds and they are lightweight, ultra compact and they do a great job of blocking outside noise. On the other hand though, the sound quality isn’t as stellar as the full-sized headphones and they can cause more discomfort to the ear canal if you’re using them for a long period of time.

Another style is the sports headphones. Their design makes them ideal for jogging, but their downside is durability and they do tend to put a lot of pressure on your ears. Now, ear pad headphones are slightly larger. They are very comfortable and some models even fold up for easy storage and portability. But, they don’t sound quite as good as the in-ear or full-size sets.

Now, full-size headphones are the biggest and the best of the bunch. These puppies cover your entire ear and are better than the rest at blocking out ambient noise. The only downsides are their size and they can also make your ears extra hot. And let’s face it, they’re not the most fashionable either. The full-size headphones will also cost you more than the other models.

As for some other features, headphones with noise cancellation have active noise cancellation or passive noise cancellation. There’s no need to crank up the volume on your music player to block out the sound of sirens or anything else that may be bugging you. The headphones do all the work for you. The passive pair cancels noise by shielding the ear, either by covering it completely or by sealing the ear canal with a pair of ear buds. The active noise cancellation headphones are much more scientific though. They use special noise cancellation circuitry to cancel out external noise. This means that you can only hear what you want to hear.

Here are some examples of the different types of headphones available today:

For more headphone enjoyment, just follow these simple tips:

1.) If you will be making use of your headphones solely with your home AV system, you should go for the higher quality classical type of headset. The higher weight associated with these models will probably not be much of an annoyance, because if you’re at home, you’ll more than likely be seated while you listen to your music, etc.

2.) The standards you apply when purchasing headphones should be pretty much the same as those you use when purchasing other AV equipment. After all, you will still want to enjoy clear sound with a good bass response and the least possible distortion. This goes for whether you are listening to your favorite music CD through a set of speakers or through a pair of headphones.

3.) When making your purchase, make sure the cord ends in a plug size that’s compatible with the component or portable you’ll be listening to. If it comes with a mini-plug and your equipment has a standard size socket, you will have to use an adaptor.

4.) Some headphones include detachable parts, like ear cushions and cords that you can replace if you need to. This can be pretty handy, especially with the portable types.

5.) Good fit and comfort are basic requirements for an enjoyable experience. The best headphones would be of little use to you if they do not fit properly. You would simply not be able to keep them on long enough to view your favorite DVD, etc. Hence, whenever possible, try them on before you buy them.

6.) Before you buy your headphones, make sure you test them out in the store. Bring a CD you know well and listen to it, using a few different sets of headphones. Listen for clarity, good bass response and little distortion. After all, hearing is believing. With the right set of headphones, you’ll get the dynamic sound you’ve been waiting for.

7.) A good pair of headphones will normally deliver better sound quality at even higher sound levels than many inexpensive speaker systems could ever do. This leads to many treating themselves to a high decibel sound. My advice? Don’t do it. Your ears could be damaged permanently.

With these tips, you should be able to find the perfect pair of headphones for your ears!

~ Zahid H. Javali

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