Headphones 101

In-Ear Headphones

In Ear Canal Headphones – Separated headphones without a headband that push into the ear canal. Connected by a wire , when placed securely in the ear canal, these in ear canal headphones act as a sealed acoustic bass chamber, giving you a rock concert experience all in your head.

Earbuds – Separated headphones without a headband that rest against the outside of, but do not push into the ear canal, commonly referred to as buds.

Headband Headphones

On Ear Headphones – Over the head headband headphones with ear cups that rest on your ears.

Over Ear Headphones – Over the head headband headphones with ear cups that rest around your ears. These generally have larger drivers and produce more detailed sound and a stronger bass. As your ears are completely enclosed you will find that much of the surrounding noise in reduced when wearing over ear headphones.

Behind the Head Headphones – The band that joins the ear cups sits behind the head rather than going over the head for when you want to rock your cans without messing your hair.

Closed Cup Headphones – Headphones with a completely sealed ear cup to minimise the amount of sound that leaks from your headphones when in use and offer isolation from external noise. These generally have a more boxed in sound and are most appropriate for users who don’t want outside noise interfering with their listening experience or don’t want to disturb others with the latest lady gaga club banger.

Open Cup Headphones – Headphones that have the back of the ear cup either entirely or partially open, not sealed. Open cup headphones generally have a wider and more naturally sound. While open cup headphones generally sound better than their closed counterparts they will also have the people around you dancing to your favourite One Direction song as they are more likely to leak sound.

Semi Open Headphones – These combines the characteristics of both the open and closed cup headphones for a more all round experience.

Audiophile Terms

Noise Isolating/Passive Noise Cancelling – Headphones that seal the ear enough to reduce external noise a minimum by virtue of the acoustic seal – Perfect for those who use headphones while on public transport.

Active Noise Cancelling – Headphones that uses a microphone and amplifier to determine unwanted external noise levels and removes it allowing for a clear listening experience. This result in an amplified reproduction of the music with no background noise. Active noise cancelling headphones require batteries to power the amplifier. These headphones are perfect for the traveller in all of us.

Coloration – Like loudspeakers, headphones have different harmonic balance. They are all unique in the balance and quality of the harmonic spectrum. The mix of treble, mid range and bass can greatly affect the sound of your music library and each listener has a preferred balance.

Listening Fatigue – Headphones with enhanced sound quality significantly reduce listener fatigue. This is the concept that a listener will be less inclined to using their headphones for a long period of time if they don’t produce a quality sound output. Generally, the greater your investment in headphones of superior sound quality, the more you’ll listen and discover the inner details of your music.