2 August 2013 by

As with any electronic device, choosing the best headphones is quite a dilemma tempting you just ignore the stuff on the box and go for something that looks stylish. So what does one need to know when it comes to buying a set of headphones and how do they differ? The caliber of music that issues from your headphones hinges on two factors: the technical features and the design and in this guide we'll go into each by turn.

What specs to consider

Among the long list of specifications enumerated on your headphones, you need to heed just the few that are outlined below.

Frequency response: This is the range of frequencies your headphones can support and shows you the level of bass and treble you get to hear. The lower the starting point, the deeper the bass, while the higher the maximum frequency, the better the treble. Don't sweat with too many numbers, if your headphones span the range of frequencies from 18Hz to 20KHz they're sure to deliver excellent bass, treble as well as mid-tones. {Point to note: The lowest freq the human ear is capable of hearing is 20Hz, but frequencies lower than this like deeper bass can often be felt rather than heard and that's why some headphones go right down to your bones.}

Sensitivity and Impedance:

The sensitivity is essentially a measure of the loudness output of your headphones. The impedance is generally its resistance to produce sound, or more plainly put, the higher the impedance the more power your player has to push to get a particular loudness. Ironic, but experts say a higher impedance often serves to eliminate internal noise in your headphone to give clearer music. Without going into too much detail, an impedance of around 16 to 40 ohms and 100 dB of sensitivity makes for a dynamic headset.

Noise cancellation or noise isolation?

Many people are under the erroneous assumption that the two are the same. Noise isolation is simply the headphones ability to seal out ambient sound and prevent your music from being heard by anyone but the listener, and this depends solely on the design of your headphone. For instance in-ear headphones with the three flanges are said to be the best isolators since they go deeper into the canal and make you deaf to all else.

Noise cancellation on the other hand is a sonic mechanism that manufacturers deploy inside the headset. A tiny microphone built into each ear cup evaluates the incoming ambient sound frequencies and produces an inverse sound wave to cancel it out. Noise cancellation headphones also require batteries and are typically heavier and bulkier than most others. While they work great at reducing the sound of traffic on a busy road, the disappointing thing about them is that, whether because of this additional electronics or not, often the quality of music tends to suffer.

What about the design?

The biggest difference between types of headphones is how they fit on your head. Earbuds are popular companions for many MP3 players and mobile phones due to their small size, but larger over-the-ear headphones may provide a better sound experience. Earbuds with around the ear clips, commonly used in athletics, are another popular style of headphones. What style you get is purely a matter of comfort and personal taste - each style provides a range of headphones to choose from, from cheap budget models to expensive high quality headphones. In-ear phones provide great isolation while bigger over the ear units might deliver better sound quality. Moreover look for a good cushioning for over the ear models that is comfortable to have on for long periods.

Furthermore, standard headphones connect using a 3.5mm headphone jack, but many older, smaller phones use 2.5mm jacks, which require special headphones or a converter. Some headphones have built-in microphones for use as hands-free calling devices.

Now that you're all good to go, a little note of caution to music lovers: While it's great to drift into oblivion with your favorite numbers, long periods of exposure to over 85dB of volume(or what requires someone to yell in order for you to hear) is certain to cause loss of hearing. Our motto- listen softly and listen all your life. We have below a list of the best headphones in the market today with individual video reviews and pricing options to optimize your search.

Sennheiser MOMENTUM Closed Over-Ear Headphone


1. Sennheiser MOMENTUM   

V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Noise-Isolating Metal Headphone


2. V-MODA Crossfade M-100    $235 - $250

Adidas  Sennheiser PMX 685i Neckband Headphones


3. Adidas Sennheiser PMX 685i   

Asus Orion PRO Gaming Headset


4. Asus Orion PRO   

Elementex Bluetooth Headphones BH001S


5. Elementex Bluetooth   

Buying tips to find the Best Headphones of 2015

This list of the best headphones is also applicable for the following topics:

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