Headphone Buying Guide
Here at Abt we pride ourselves on delivering you the best quality audio
products, so we offer a large variety of headphones with almost every
color, style, and feature available. To make sense of all the different
models available, we've put together a simple guide to help you choose
the perfect pair of headphones.
Choosing a headphone style - There are 4 types of headphones.
- Earbuds - or more commonly known as in-ear headphones. Earbuds fit
securely in your ear canal and are ultra compact and lightweight. They
won't interfere with earrings, hats, or hairstyles. Most earbuds offer
moderate sound quality and noise isolation. Higher-end earbuds can offer
high quality sound with great noise isolation but at a higher cost.
- Sports headphones - These come in many different styles. They are
built for the physically active or for those who just want a secure-fitting
headphone while not compromising their ultra compact and lightweight
design. Sports headphones are designed to fit comfortably around your
ear, neck, or head and offer similar quality as in-ear headphones.
- Ear-Pad Headphones - Ear-pad headphones or on-ear headphones rest
on your outer ear and are designed for the comfort in-mind user. On-ear
headphones can be purchased inexpensively but also can range to the
high-end. Because on-ear headphones do not cover your entire ear, they
provide better ventilation for you ear than full-size headphones. On-ear
headphones offer more advanced sound quality than most earbuds and sport
headphones. However, they tend to be less effective in noise cancelation.
- Full-Size Headphones - or more commonly known as over-the-ear headphones.
This style of headphone completely encloses your ear. Because of this
design, full-size headphones typically offer the best sound quality
and noise isolation. We recommend over-the-ear headphones for the frequent
home user because of their large size. Overall, full-size headphones
offer the best sound clarity, bass, and noise cancellation.
Key Headphone Features - There are 5 key headphone features.
- Noise-cancelling Headphones- These headphones are great for drowning
out background noises. This special technology uses what's known as
"antinoise" to electronically filter out and help eliminate
sounds from airplanes, crowds, trains, and more. Noise-cancelling headphones
prevent you from cranking up the volume and causing strain on your ear.
- Noise-isolating Headphones - These headphones are different from
noise-cancelling headphones. Instead of electronically filtering out
sound, noise-isolating headphones block out ambient noises before they
ever reach you ear canal by using a thick piece of foam. On the upside,
noise-isolating can do an equal if not better job at blocking out ambient
sounds. However, noise-cancelling headphones tend to be more comfortable.
- Surround Sound Headphones - If you want to feel the home theater
experience without the whole house hearing it too, then choose a pair
of surround sound headphones. These headphones electronically produce
a surround sound effect in your ear. They are highly effective at delivering
the best possible audio quality without purchasing an expensive home
theater system. If your AV receiver or device supports Dolby Digital,
you will feel a surround sound effect on any pair of headphones. If
not, make sure you grab a pair of surround sound headphones.
- Wireless Headphones - There are two types of wireless headphones:
portable and home-based headphones. Home-based wireless headphones come
with large base stations but offer superior quality through Infrared
and radio frequencies (RF). Portable wireless headphones are perfect
for use with iPods or other audio devices. They typically use Bluetooth
or RF technology to deliver sound from the device to your headphones.
With both home and portable wireless headphones, you won't have to deal
with annoying wires anymore.
Bass - Headphones will not be able to deliver the same experience
as a subwoofer. However, bass is just as much about hearing it as it is
feeling it. Headphones with good bass will allow you to experience rich,
Cable - Wired headphones come with two different cable styles
and various lengths. Single-sided cabling is often attached to the left
earphone, while Y-cable is attached to both sides of the headphone. Neither
cable is better than the other, just two different options.
Frequency Response - When it comes to headphones, frequency response
is the least valuable bit of information. Frequency response will not
give you an accurate description of sound quality. If frequency response
is important to you, we recommend going with a higher-end pair of headphones.
Impedance - Impedance is important in determining the volume limit
on your set of headphones. The lower the headphone impedance the easier
it is to obtain higher volumes. With that said, some devices limit volume,
so make sure your headphones are capable of reaching certain volumes.
Headphone Connection Types -
- Minijack plug (1/8 inch, 3.55mm) - This is the most common headphone
connector found in most devices.
- Phono plug (full-size, ¼ inch) - larger and older, found on
most at-home AV receivers and home stereos.
- 2.5mm plug (cell-phone plugs) - This connector is found on most cell
phones and allows for headphones with microphone connections.
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