headphone on deskFind the Best Headphones – Complete Guide

There are several kinds of headphones. Each specific type has been designed for different type of people who wish to get specific sound quality from the gadget. There are headphone types that cover the ears completely when in use and those that put in the ears. The headphone’s design affects the sound quality and how comfortable it will be.

Factors to Consider When Buying Headphones

  • Comfort and usage
  • Price
  • Controls & pairing
  • Size and portability
  • Sound quality
  • Design (wired or wireless)
  • Length of cable

Types of Headphones

Closed-Back Headphones

For those who would like to block any secondary noise when using their beloved headphones, the closed-back headphones would work great, regardless of their anticipated function. The device’s design gets rid of the surrounding noise to ensure the music is free of external interference, despite your environment, and creates a secluded audio experience for you to hear what you only want to.

This particular type of headphone is best for those who want to hear each detail or lyric of the music. Musicians highly prefer this type of headphones in recording situations because of their capability to obstruct all the external sounds and let you hear clearly all the notes in the vocalist or instrument. They have no or very little leakage.

They are not only great for musicians but also for anyone who wants a concealed listening experience or for those who are in a place where they do not want to cause disturbance to others. They are normally heavier than most other types of headphones. For those who do not mind the big size, it’ll produce superior quality of sound in a variety of applications.

Open-Back Headphones

As the name suggests, the open-back type of headphones is not closed but contains open ear caps which lets some of the sound leaks into the environment. The design creates a more airy, open sound which is likened to listening to speakers placed in a room, which is completely different from listening to totally isolated sound from the closed-back headphones.

For those who are mastering and mixing in studios, this type of headphones is the better option. The leakage created as a result of the open construction is what audio engineers prefer since it lets the mix remain accurate. It also prevents the build-up of some frequencies which is common in closed-back headphones.

Individuals concerned with mastering and mixing require accuracy plus a very flat sound that has zero decoration or exaggeration. This makes them confident and gives them wiggle room to rely on what they hear. On the other hand, the closed-back headphones which are ideal for isolating sound will begin to keep low frequencies in the ear cups after some time. This is what some individuals prefer if they are listening for leisure.

Most audiophiles would go for the open-back headphones although they are not mastering or mixing in a studio. They simply need the flat sound to hear clearly what the artist wanted the listener to hear and experience. That’s why this type of headphones is perfect for those who enjoy listening to classical music. This design is not meant for you if you do not want other people to hear the songs you are listening to.

There’s little or no pressure exerted when wearing this particular type of headphones which makes them comfortable to use for longer periods. Just like the closed-back headphones, they can be over-the-ear design or in the on-ear style. A rare type called the semi-open headphone has a design that is a little open which allows some sound to leak yet creates sound isolation simultaneously.

On-Ear Headphones

As the name suggests, this type of headphones goes over the head to rest at the top of your ears. Note that on-ear headphones are different from over-ear headphones in that they are as small as your real ears and when worn, they rest at the top of the ears. On the other hand, over-ear headphones are quite larger to enable the cups to engulf your ears with the help of the pads surrounding them.

The on-ear headphones are also called supra-aural headphones. Just like the open-back ones, the on-ear headphones let sound from the environment to get in or exit. This design is very comfortable to use and does not make you sweat like some types of over the ear designs. It’s crucial to purchase a comfortable pair since they rest on the ears, to avoid pressure on your ears.

They are less heavy than the over-the-ear design which exerts less pressure on the band which rests on the head while wearing. They vary in terms of quality. If you buy a higher quality design, it will deliver the categories you love and care about such as comfort and quality of sound.

Over-Ear Headphones

The over-ear headphones are also known as circumaural. They can fit on the head and over the head and around the ear cartilages to engulf the entire ear to isolate sound. This design is the superior noise reduction model since it creates an intimate setting between the sound and you. They limit noise leakage and this keeps sound in and lets out the exterior sounds out.

You can get those models which are open-backed to let them breathe as they allow sound out and in. This model is, however, closed-back since they are loved for their isolation, noise cancellation, and superior sound quality capability. The higher-end models are comfortable. They do not crunch the ears as some on-ear designs do. Since there is little air that circulates out and in, they can make you sweat.

They are the heaviest models of headphones. They can cause fatigue on the ears and head when worn for long periods, especially if you use them for gaming or in the studio. If you want to save space, this type of headphones is not the right one for you. For those who do not mind the size, they can enjoy their music in an audio-friendly environment.

In-Ear Headphones

This is the most versatile, convenient and portable headphone style in the market. They are also known as canal phones. They are loved for their ease of use especially if you are away from home, semi-pro or if you are an engineer or a professional artist. Technology has allowed a higher quality of sound from small devices; hence this model has had the chance to improve quickly and compete with big over-ear and on-ear designs.

They were given the name canal-phones since they get deeper into the canal of your ears and rests in your ears and get closer to the eardrums, unlike the earbuds which settle on the external ridge of the ears. It is comfortable to use, has sound accuracy due to sound isolation. It has leaks very little sound, thus, keeping sound inside your ear and keeps the surrounding noise away. They can be likened to the closed-back portable headphones.

This headphone has a silicone ear-tip for comfort and protection. The ear tip is meant to fill the ear canal to enable sound to get straight into the ear and keep away sound from outside. This headphone design is best for those who listen to music when traveling, at the gym or on-the-go. Depending on the style, you can experience the superior quality of sound. Note that this design could be very harmful to the ears since they are inside the ear canal. Therefore, keep the volume at a very reasonable level.


These are tiny speakers which rest on the outer ears. The white earbuds provided by Apple are easily recognizable since they are the most common types. They do not get deep into the canal and their design is not that slim. They are large circles which press against the ear. Since it rests outside the ear, lots of external sounds get into the ear. There’s more leakage as well than in the in-ear design. It produces a flatter and safer sound which is deemed comfortable for those who don’t feel the intrusiveness that the in-ear headphones have.

They are very compact and portable but hard to create sound isolation because of the small size of the speaker. Higher-quality designs have more accuracy and quality. The earbuds do not grip the ears and they tend to fall off. Due to their one-size fit, it becomes uncomfortable for some ear shape. However, some brands have various ear-tip sizes so that you can change and fit yourself.

Bluetooth Headphones

These are wireless headphones. They give wireless connectivity to other devices via a radio-transmitter technology. These headphones have a unique channel of their own. They contain a tiny computer chip which lets you pair with the gadget you’re playing the music from. You do not lose the quality of sound.

Currently, they are quite expensive compared to other corded designs since the technology used is still very new and quite expensive to make the chips placed inside. The Bluetooth headphones need to be charged so as to pair with other devices.

Noise-Cancelling Headphones

They have an in-built technology which minimizes the sound from the external environment so as to create a serene environment for you to listen to music. The internal engine can do that by measuring lesser frequencies of the environment you are at and then creates equal & opposite frequencies which cancel out the sound picked up by the small microphone on the ear caps.

This type of headphone is best for drummers or air travel since it prevents surrounding noises from getting into the ears especially from the engine of the plane. They are perfect for any situation if you want to focus on what you are listening to.

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