Headphones are available in a lot of different styles, brands and prices, which make it hard to find a right pair for you.
Are you aware of the celebrity-endorsed headphones trend? If so, then just be clear that when you open up the spec sheet, things are still confusing. In this article, we’ll discuss in detail the key headphone specifications and why they matter.
1. In-ear Headphones
The first and the foremost are the in-ear (canal) headphones. These ear pieces fit directly into your ear canal, also called as in-ear monitors. In-ear headphones offer two significant benefits to the wearer. First of all, they deliver excellent sound quality because it’s nearer to the ear drum. Secondly, it fills out way into the ear; that’s why it’s quite useful in sealing out external noise.
These headphones are available in different sized tips, so you can choose accordingly. If you want to attain the best performance, it’s important to get the right size.
2. On-ear Headphones
These headphones are also called supra-aural headphones, which sits on the top of the ear. Similar to the in-ear headphones, they also send the sound straight into the ear canal, but can’t block out outside noises. Moreover, people sitting next to you can hear what you’re listening to.
A lot of people find on-ear headphones more comfortable as they don’t trap heat on your ears, unlike over-ear headphones. But clamping might be an issue for some folks out there as they may complain of headphones squeezing too tightly and irritating their ears. Try to find a pair that sits well.
When it comes to sound quality, on-ear headphones offers you a good balance of high sound quality along with a decent level of portability.
3. Over-ear Headphones
Over-ear headphones are also called circumaural headphones as they encase the entire ear. They are large; that’s why also contain a large driver with enhances bass performance and louder volume. When it comes to positioning, it is placed far away from the ear and produces a more spacious sound, which resembles the sound of the speakers.
4. What Are Drivers?
The driver of a pair of headphones is believed to be a critical component. It can convert an electrical signal to sound pressure. In other words, you can say that it produces sound.
Drivers are of different types, but all of them primarily contains magnets, a diaphragm and voice coils.
The diaphragm vibrates due to these components and then these vibrations produces sound waves, which we interpret as sounds.
On a spec sheet of a pair of headphones, the driver is indicated by the diameter of the diaphragm is mentioned in mm (millimeters). Most of the time, the driver size is directly proportional to the sound quality, particularly when it comes to bass performance. Take over-ear headphones for example. A 40mm driver proves to be a good size for sound quality.
On the other hand, in-ear headphones are smaller in size, so can’t fit a larger driver easily. That’s why some technical experts use the dual-driver approach, in which your headphones have two drivers; one for bass and the other for mid and high frequencies.
5. Paying Attention to Sensitivity and Sound Pressure Level
When it comes to the SPL (sound pressure level) or sensitivity; both terms are related. It indicates the loudness of your headphones. You can explain the sensitivity as something that measures how competently an electrical signal is converted into an acoustic signal. Similarly, sound pressure is how you measure the sensitivity.
Some of the top Bluetooth headsets lie within the range of 80-120 dB SPL/mW. To provide some context; a shouting voice is around 105 dB, regular city traffic 80 dB and the plane take off 135 dB.