Saturday, 3 December 2016

Headphone Types, Fits, and Styles

When planning to purchase headphones, you must have felt the need to buy the best type and highest quality of headphones that you can afford. This leads to the question; what kind of headphones is best for you? As a rule, the best headphones for you are the ones that suit your needs. However, you may be a noob in matters concerning headphones, but this should not prevent you from selecting the right headphones. This post will help you understand the different headphones types, headphone fits and styles. This understanding will allow you to determine which headphones fit your needs and budget. This will save you the buyer remorse, which you get after purchasing headphones that end not being what you really wanted, or their poor sound quality and bad performance infuriates you. Therefore, a little investment in time for reading this post will help you avoid buyer remorse, and sometimes even allow you to save money.
Photo Credit: Triobest.com
 Headphone Types and Fits
Ever heard of market forces? They are the dynamics that drive and determine how a specific market niche operates. These market forces determine the dynamism of the headphone market. One of these market forces is the availability of alternative products and substitute products. This means that there should be different styles, varieties and flavors of headphones in the market. Alternative products are the second-best headphones that you will buy if you find out that you cannot afford your headphones of choice. Substitute products are headphones of better quality or better type than the headphones you had planned for, which you find out in the market, and you can afford them.
There are different types of headphones, each built to fit into, or on top of your ear, in specific ways. This means that each type of headphones has its own unique fit pattern. Therefore, the different types of headphones can be more precisely be described as different fit types. These headphone fit types are described below.
1. Full Size Headphones
These are the headphones that most people picture when you talk about headphones. They are also called over-ears headphones or more precisely, circumaural headphones because they encase your entire ears. There are different types of circumaural headphones; open-back headphones, semi-open-back headphones, closed-back headphones, wireless, and noise-canceling headphones.
The open-back headphones, the back of the ear-cups are open to allow for entry of ambient noise. Their sound quality is phenomenal due to their excellent bass response. Sometimes, the ear-cups are partly enclosed at the back with a mesh that allows you to see the internal circuitry. This types of circumaural headphones are called semi-open-back headphones.
In closed-back circumaural headphones, the ear-cups are enclosed at the back so as to keep out ambient noise, and this allows it to offer exceptional noise isolation. However, its quality of noise isolation cannot match that of noise-cancelling headphones.
Noise-canceling headphones are designed to cancel out external noise by about ninety percent. There are two variants of these headphones; the active noise canceling headphones, and the passive noise canceling headphones. The active noise canceling set has a microphone, noise-canceling electrical, and a battery that powers their circuitry. The entire circuitry supports the active-noise control engineering technology, which produce sound waves whose orientation are opposite to the sound waves produced by external noise; and when the two waves meet, they cancel each other out and you achieve silence. On the other hand, the passive noise canceling set does not contain a microphone, noise-canceling electrical, and definitely does not have a battery. This set relies on heavy padding to keep out external noise.
Some people prefer wireless headphones because of their convenience. There are three types of wireless headphones; infrared, radio-frequency (RF), and Bluetooth wireless headphones. Wireless headphones are quite portable, and less bulky because they do not have wires, and you can use them when you are traveling, exercising, jogging, or even when playing your favorite sports. All wireless headphones use media codecs to maintain sound fidelity, and also ensure that the quality and clarity of sound is preserved - even after your music (usually MP3) files are compressed before being sent from your device to your wireless headphones.
Circumaural headphones are the headphones of choice for personal entertainment for an audiophile, as they can be used for gaming, movies, music, and critical listening, as well as for recording podcasts, or music, in a studio.
2. Earpad Headphones
Some people tend to confuse earpad headphones with full size headphones. Earpad headphones are also called on-ear headphones, or supra-aural headphones because their padded earpieces, or earcups, are designed to rest on your ears. Unlike a circumaural headphone, the supra-aural headphone does not encase an entire ear. There are different types of supra-aural headphones; open-back headphones, semi-open-back headphones, closed-back headphones, wireless, and noise-canceling headphones. However, due to the small size of their ear-cups, the quality of their performance in terms of noise isolation and noise cancellation is poorer than that of circumaural headphones.
3. Earphones
Most cheap mobile devices come with these type of headphones. They are also known as in-ear monitor (IEM) or in-ear headphones; and they are designed to fit into like earplugs into your ear canals. The earbuds can fit well into your ear canals, but some tend to fit loosely and are prone to falling out. For this reason, clip-on headphones were designed to ensure that the earphones do not fall out of your ears.
Headphone Styles
Each of headphone fit types described above can be built in different styles depending on what features and component they have. These styles are described below.  
1. Headphones with a Microphone
If you are planning to use skype, then these headphones are for you. Microphone headphones are referred to as headsets. They allow for voice recording, and communication with other people. There are two types of headsets; the extended mic headset, and the inline microphone headset.
The extended mic headset is purposely built for chatting, and its microphone is designed to ensure that your conversations are clear.
In the inline microphone headset, the microphone is positioned along the wires; and if it is a wireless headphone, then the microphone is located inside the headphone.
2. Behind-the-neck Headphones
You have seen some headphones whose wires are designed to rest behind your neck. These are called behind-the-neck headphones. They are of two types; behind-the-neck in-ear type, and the behind-the-neck on-ear type.
In behind-the-neck in-ear headphones, the wires that connect the two earbuds, of your in-ear headphones, are designed to rest on the backside of your neck, and this conveniences you when you are using the headphones during exercises in the gym or when jogging as the wires do not dangle in-front of your chest. Likewise, in behind-the-neck on-ear headphones, the lightweight connector piece that connects the earcups of your circumaural or supra-aural headphones is designed to rest properly on the back of your neck.

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