- How to choose headphones for your phone: what to look for
- Types of headphones
- Which headphones to choose
- Main selection criteria
- How to choose wireless headphones
How to choose headphones for your phone: what to look for
The main criteria when choosing headphones for your phone are:
- View (“plug-in”, overhead, etc.);
- Execution (wired, wireless);
- Type of speakers (ferrite, neodymium, micro-reinforcing);
- Acoustic characteristics (impedance, frequency range, loudness);
- Additional parameters (plug shape, microphone, wire type, wire fastening type, noise reduction system).
- The connector is also important when choosing headphones for modern smartphones.
Types of headphones
There are several types of headphones designed for use with a smartphone:
- “Inserts”, they are also “droplets”;
- “In-ear” with behind-the-ear fastening;
- Intrachannel, they are also “gags”;
- Full size;
- With transosseous acoustic conductivity.
The most traditional version of headphones. They are inserted into the auricle, and their speaker is facing the ear canal. This design ensures optimum acoustic performance. In addition, if the headphones do not play at full volume or are not pressed into the shell (for example, under a hat), they provide audibility to the outside world, which is especially important for mobile use.
The disadvantage of the design is an unreliable fastening. Headphones fall out if you tilt your head too hard or pull on the cable.
This version of the headphones is free from the disadvantage of the previous one. Thanks to an additional arc that surrounds the auricle, they hold firmly on the head – even more securely than intracanal ones. At the same time, they retain their low weight and comfort of use. These headphones are recommended for athletes or just people who lead an active lifestyle.
The disadvantage of the design is the difficulty of wearing headphones and glasses at the same time, as well as possible discomfort due to pressure on the auricle. However, it passes quickly as the user gets used to the headphones.
This version of the headphones is also free from the disadvantage of the first type (“earbuds”). Intracanal devices, as the name implies, are inserted directly into the auditory canal, where they are securely fixed with soft but elastic ear cushions. Therefore, the headphones do not fall out even with sudden movements, tilts or mechanical actions with the wire.
The disadvantage of the design is its danger. Listening to music at high volumes can damage your hearing, and wearing headphones for extended periods can cause or worsen ear problems such as ear infections or earwax.
As a result, in-ear headphones are suitable for short-term use and listening to music at medium or low volume.
This type of headphone is equipped with a headband that can pass through the top or back of the head. They are distinguished by medium-sized speakers, comparable in size to the auricle itself. When worn, they press the auricle against the skull, completely covering it.
Larger than in-ear or in-ear headphones, the drivers provide deeper, richer bass that fans of heavy music, whether rock or electronic, will love. However, specific acoustic characteristics depend on many factors.
Having a “semi-closed” design, these headphones do not completely hide the shell. This ensures that particularly loud sounds such as car horns or screams remain audible. And this, in turn, is very important for mobile use.
In addition, such headphones usually have optimal sizes, thanks to which they are noticeable, but not conspicuous. This will avoid various awkward situations.
Full-size, they are also monitor, headphones have large ear cushions and a headband, usually passing through the top of the head. They completely cover the auricle. The ear cushions of such headphones pass along the scalp, and in some models even partially along the cheeks.
The large size of the monitor headphones allows you to install large and very powerful speakers in them for effective bass reproduction – right down to the palpable. Also, some models are equipped with multiple speakers in each monitor to create a real sound environment. However, specific acoustic characteristics vary depending on the model.
Due to their design, these headphones isolate well from the sounds of the outside world (both closed and open). This can be dangerous in mobile use – a person simply will not hear a car horn, scream or other acoustic warning.
In addition, like ear plugs, such headphones are not recommended for long-term use due to the risk of the appearance or development of specific diseases.
The transosseous conduction headphones open the ears completely. Their “speakers”, which, in fact, are “mechanical vibration actuators”, are fixed on the temporal bones and transmit sound directly through the skull directly to the inner ear. Therefore, the ear canal remains open and the surrounding acoustic environment is not blocked by music.
There are three disadvantages of such headphones. Firstly, it is impossible to wear glasses with them. Secondly, people with ICP or brain injuries (concussion, bruise, stroke) from using such headphones may feel worse. And finally, it is required that they fit snugly to the head – only in this case the sound will be “heard”.
However, these headphones are great for outdoor wear. They do not isolate from the external acoustic environment – and therefore danger signals like a car horn, screams, barking dogs, etc. will be heard.
However, transosseous conduction headphones are practically not found on the market due to the extremely small number of manufacturers. And they are not cheap.
Which headphones to choose?
The ideal headphones for mobile use are droplets and on-ears. A little less – due to the limited perception of the acoustic environment – in-ear and “droplets” with behind-the-ear fastening are suitable. Full-sized ones are mostly not designed for mobile use, as they isolate the listener from the external sound environment.
But headphones with transosseous conduction are the choice for geeks.
Main selection criteria
Version (wired or wireless)
Headphones are divided into three types:
- Wired with 3.5 mm Jack connector (analogue);
- Wired with Lightning connector or USB Type-C (digital);
- Wireless (working via Bluetooth).
Wired with 3.5 mm jack Designed for use with the vast majority of smartphones. The main advantage of these headphones is versatility. 3.5 mm jack is equipped not only with smartphones, but also with portable players, computers and other multimedia devices.
Another advantage of wired 3.5 mm headphones is the ability to fine-tune the sound. Using equalizers and special engines, if you have the appropriate skills, you can customize the acoustic picture in detail. And, of course, the sound quality will vary significantly depending on the bitrate of the music.
Wired headphones with Lightning or USB Type-C connector designed for use with compatible smartphones that do not have a 3.5 mm jack connector, such as the Apple iPhone 7 or Google Pixel 2 respectively. Being digital, they do not provide detailed sound quality settings, but they can create additional audio effects – for example, surround sound (like virtual 7.1).
Wireless headphonesthat work according to the Bluetooth standard communicate with the smartphone using this standard. This provides almost complete freedom of action. For example, you can leave your smartphone on the table and go to another room.
Being also digital, they do not provide enough customizable sound. But on the other hand, some models right out of the box (for example, Sony or Marshall) provide a fairly high quality.
However, with the choice of wireless headphones there is a separate number of subtleties.
Speakers come in three types – ferrite, neodymium and micro-reinforcing.
- Ferrite – the cheapest. They are found mainly in budget headphones. They provide a “flat” sound, suitable for undemanding users.
- Neodymium delivers deep bass and optimal mids and highs. Suitable for most users.
- Micro-armatures provide surround sound in which you can hear every note, but none of the frequencies prevails.
There are also multi-speaker headphones (like the Xiaomi Dual Drivers) that use neodymium magnets and micro-reinforcement structures. It is clear that they combine the advantages of each of these types.
- Impedance – the degree of resistance of the wire. For use with mobile devices, it is undesirable to use headphones with an impedance of more than 35-40 ohms, as they will lead to a strong discharge of the device.
- The frequency range is the part of the spectrum that headphones can reproduce. The human ear distinguishes frequencies in the range of 20 Hz – 15 kHz. However, lovers of deep bass should buy headphones with a lower range limit of 10 Hz.
- The volume determines the maximum volume that the headphones can output. In no case should you purchase models whose limit exceeds 120 dB. They can damage your ears.
- The shape of the plug determines the durability of this connector. For use with smartphones, it is recommended to choose headphones with an L-shaped connector. Straight plugs wear out quickly in pockets.
- The presence of a microphone allows you to use the headphones as a headset (hands-free).
- Twisted wire is more practical because it does not hang down and does not get in the way under your arms.
- Wire fastening can be one-sided and two-sided. The first option is more practical, since the cable does not “cover” the head.
- The noise reduction system isolates the user from the external sound environment. Not the best option for mobile wear, but allows you to “close” from the noise of the subway or plane. The downside is that the active noise canceling system can cause headaches, while the passive one is implemented purely by design and significantly increases the size and weight of the headphones.
How to choose wireless headphones
When choosing wireless headphones, you should pay attention to the following parameters:
- headphone type;
- Bluetooth standard.
Wireless headphones can be made in two versions – in the form of in-ear headphones with a separate unit or in the form of overhead or full-size.
- Intracanal are the usual “plugs” that are attached to a small block hanging around the neck. It is on it that the control buttons and a microphone for the headset are also located. These headphones are not particularly comfortable, but usually very cheap. In addition, a weak battery is usually installed in a unit hanging around the neck, which lasts for about 6-8 hours of operation.
- Overhead and full size also similar to “normal”. However, the monitors themselves hide the battery, sound card, wireless receiver and other components. On-ear and over-ear headphones have more autonomy and better sound quality. But they are very big.
The Bluetooth standard defines the autonomy and range of headphones. Moreover, it is desirable that it be the same in the smartphone and in the headphones. The Bluetooth 4.0 standard is quite energy-intensive, which is why both devices are quickly discharged, and has a short range (it won’t “break through” a wall, for example). And 4.1 consumes less power and provides a longer range.
For use with modern Android 8.0 smartphones (such as the Nexus 6P or Google Pixel), you should purchase headphones that support aptX HD codecs. They provide the best sound.
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