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Why Does Music Sounds Better in Headphones?

Why Does Music Sounds Better in Headphones?

We all know that music can do wonders for everything from increasing productivity to helping with depression. But how does music sound best, through headphones or speakers? As exhilarating as it can feel to blast music from your speakers as loud as it goes, many prefer the more intimate experience of connecting with a beloved song (or discovering a new one) through a pair of headphones. However is there something more going on with headphones that cause them to technically sound better?

In some ways, it could be psychological ‒ when no one else can hear, it’s just you and your music. It feels a bit like having a soundtrack to your life. As you ride the train, or go jogging, or walk through town, you’ve got your own music setting the mood and determining the rhythm.

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Do Headphones Really Sound “Better”?

No, it’s not just in your head. Music really does sound different through headphones to the vast majority of listeners, and you have physics to thank for that. Here’s why. the speakers being so close to your eardrums, and the design of the headphone or earbud sealing other sounds out, directs the sound waves straight into your ear canal. This creates an immersive experience that allows the listener to pick out minute details in the audio.

The way our brain perceives sound makes a difference, too. We asked the headphone guru Carroll Moore of Audio46.com what from a technical standpoint is going on when it comes to what’s called sound-staging “The brain understands that if you hear a sound to your left, your left ear will hear it a few microseconds before the right. Therefore, if sounds are staggered between the ears in an audio mix, your brain will understand the sound as coming from a fixed point in space. This is what helps to create the 3D effect from certain recordings.”

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What’s Going On Between Your Ears

By making use of the brain’s ability to precisely place sounds in space, producers can recreate the impression of being seated in a large concert hall while listening to a symphony, or being surrounded by performers playing their instruments. EDM music can bounce beats from one ear to the other for a particularly satisfying effect.

But for all the interesting sonic effects that can be achieved more easily using headphones, speakers actually recreate reality better. For this reason, audio engineers always listen to their final mix through speakers, not headphones. Headphones are too controlled — so it’s impossible to predict what the music will sound like in a real-world environment with uncertain acoustics.

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When we perceive natural sound from the world around us, our ears aren’t isolated. The sound is being picked up at the same time by both ears, and (with the exception of expensive surround-sound setups) we’ll generally perceive it as coming from the direction of the speakers.

It’s also not just about the source of the sound waves and our ears. How we hear things is affected by the way the waves bounce off the walls and structures around us, resulting in sound becoming slightly distorted depending on where we’re listening. What we’re hearing through speakers isn’t as clear and precise, but it is a more natural auditory experience.

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It’s Not Just One Size Fits All

Ultimately, most audiophiles agree that there’s a time and a place for both headphones, speakers and even different types of headphones for different purposes. Enjoying every nuance of the sound while feeling cut off from the rest of the world is certainly a special experience, but nothing can quite top the sensation of the bass thumping in your chest while the walls rattle around you.

Whatever listening experience you prefer, just be sure to do your research and select a high-quality product that will do your favorite music justice. If you found this post helpful remember to share it with your friends! If you’re looking for help choosing the perfect pair of headphones check out, check out “The 10 Best And 10 Worst Headphones You Need To Know”.

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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