When you shop for Hi Fi Headphones online, you need to keep in mind what you want them for. The selection of headphones on the internet is virtually endless. Unfortunately, no set of headphones has every feature, but if you know what you want the headphones for, you can select the set which has the best features for your purposes. So ask yourself these questions:
Do you want headphones for listening pleasure?
Everyone would like some good sound quality from their headphones. Nobody wants their listening experience to be painful with lots of static or distorted tones. But especially if your main reason for using headphones is because you want to relax and enjoy listing to your music, you want to get the best audiophile headphones with great sound imaging and sound stage.
The best quality headphones are not necessarily the most expensive headphones, but quality usually comes with a price. Since price is always a concern, you have to calculate how important sound quality is to you, and how much are willing to pay for it. If you want the very best, and if you have the budget for it, you might study the Sennheiser HD800 review.
Do you want a computer gaming headphone for fun?
Any set of headphones that can be connected to a computer (or similar device) can be used as a gaming headphone. But if the excitement of gaming fun is the most important reason why you want them, you will want computer gaming headphones with all the special features to avoid distractions like lag, static, and signal loss so that you can concentrate on the action.
If you want a computer gaming headset with lots of special features, you might want to read the Logitech G930 review. This may be the best wireless PC gaming headset you’ll find anywhere, and at a reasonable price. It’s loaded with features, including a special RF wireless connection and a computer headset microphone which makes it useful for other applications like Skype. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work with MAC computers, and since it’s a RF headset, but not a Bluetooth device, it doesn’t work with cell phones.
Do you want headset for cell phone calls?
If you want a headset for cell phone calls, there is a wide selection available with cell phone headset microphone and remote. Since most people want privacy when they take phone calls, you will want to consider using noise isolating earbud or noise isolating headphones for iPhones or Smartphones.
There is a difference between sound isolating headphones and noise cancelling headphones to keep your sounds from bleeding out to annoy those around you. Although these terms are often used interchangeably, sound isolating or noise isolating headphones use passive cancellation, that is, they keep the sound isolated by using sound proofing materials. Noise cancelling headphones, on the other hand, use active cancellation, that is, they cancel unwanted noise electronically with a cancelling signal.
If you wan the best noise cancelling headphones, this site recommends that you read about the Bose QC15 headphones . They are a bit expesive, about $190 on Amazon, but they get a very good grade of 4. stars out of 5 for customer satisfaction in Amazon reviews.
Do you want the best quality headphones for professional business work?
If you do professional work as a DJ, a studio recorder, or a news anchor, you need the best quality headphones. A set of cheap earbuds won’t do. Especially if you do studio work, you need a set of headphones with good sound stage and sound imaging because your work won’t be better than the tools that you use. Some headphones put en emphasis on bass tones. That’s fine when listening for pleasure, but in the studio you need a set of headphones that will give a correct balance of tones throughout a wide frequency range.
Comfort is a big factor when using headphones for professional work. A professional may have to wear his headphones all day long, and they may be very if they are uncomfortable.
In some situations, a studio worker, DJ, or recording artist, there may be situations when you need to be able to listen with just one ear so that you can also be aware of the sounds around you as well as the headphone sounds. For those situations it is convenient to have a set of headphones with a rotating headphone cup for one-ear listening.
For professional work, this site recommends two possibilities. One is the black Shure SRH440 professional studio headphones, a over-ear headphone which costs about $100 on Amazon and gets a score of about 4.3 stars out of 5 for customer satisfaction. The other, a bit more expensive, is an in-ear headphone, the Sennheiser HD25-1 ii closed back headphones, which cost about $197 on Amazon and earn a score of 4.6 stars out of 5 for customer satisfaction. Both are noise isolating, and both have rotating ear cups.
Do you want sports headphones for running?
People who are serious about exercise will often use sports headphones for running, biking, or even swimming. Some athletes use headband headphones like the Koss PortaPro headphones, but most prefer extra light earphones like the Koss KSC 75 clip on headphones, the Koss Plug isolation earbud stereophone, or the Marshall Mode earbuds.
Bluetooth exercise headphones can be useful because they keep annoying connecting wires out of the way. One very popular running Bluetooth headphone is the BlueAnt Pump. It is water-proof, so it is sweat and grime resistant and suitable for any kind of sport: swimming, cycling, or running.
What Is A Balanced Frequency Range?
Those who make headphones for professional work professional work try to make their sound “flat,” “balanced,” “neutral,” and “transparent.” Basically, all these terms mean about the same thing. They mean that the sounds the listener will hear should be, as closely as possible, an exact representation of the source recording. The headphones add nothing extra, and they take nothing away. No frequency in the bass tones, mid tones, or high tones will be any louder or weaker than any other at the same volume. This quality is very important for professional recording and mixing.
However, headphones which are not meant for professional work, change the audio signal, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Knowing that some listeners like a strong or even overpowering bass, some headphones are purposefully enhanced to reproduce bass tones at higher volume. Sometimes different frequencies have stronger or weaker volumes just because they are not made for accurate sound reproduction. If lower bass tones are heard at higher volumes, the bass is said to be “punchy.” If higher tones are heard louder, the treble is said to be “bright.”
What is Meant By “Sound Imaging” And “Sound Stage”?
The terms “sound imaging” and “sound stage” are frequently used in articles describing the quality of a set of stereo headphones. A professional recorder or an audiophile knows exactly what these words mean, but many people don’t, so let’s try to understand these terms.
When a sound is heard by a person with normal hearing in both ears, even if the person does not see where the sound is coming from, he can still perceive the general direction that the sound is coming from. If his left ear hears the sound a little louder than his right ear, he perceives that the sound is coming from his left.
Because of the intricate way in which the human ear was created, a person can normally perceive the direction, altitude, and distance of a sound in relation to him. The “sound imaging refers” to how well a stereo sound system is able to reproduce the perception of the direction, altitude and distance of sounds, as though the listener were there to hear the sounds in person.
Typically, we hear several sounds coming from different directions at any given moment. Our ears can normally perceive that these sounds come from different sources, and we can perceive how close the sound sources are to each other and to us. The “sound stage” quality of a stereo system refers to how well the system is able produce a distinction of different sound sources and their positions relative to the listener and to each other.
Put together, good stereo imaging and sound staging creates a perception of sound as though the listener were present to hear the sounds in person.
What’s The Difference Between Headphones, Headsets, Earphones and Earbuds?
Many people use the terms almost interchangeably but technically there is a lot of difference between headphones and headphones, earphones or earbuds. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages depending on the purpose for which they are used.
Headphone is a more generic term, often used to refer to any kind of ear audio listening device, but usually this term refers to a device with a headband or a neckband. And these may be classified in several different ways.
On Ear Headphones
On-the-ear headphones, sometimes also called over ear headphones, are the most common type. These have small speakers in ear cups, resting directly on the ears, and are held together with a headband or neckband that gently clamps them in place.
Around Ear Headphones
Around-ear headphones, sometimes also called circumaural headphones, have ear cushions that fit around the ears so that the speakers themselves do not rest directly on the ears. They are usually (but not always) built to be more sound proof.
Noise Isolating Headphones
Noise-isolating headphones, sometimes also called sound isolation headphones, try to block outside environmental sounds by using soundproofing materials and designs. Degrees of noise isolating efficiency vary greatly.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
Noise cancellation headphones, also called sound cancelling headphones, try to block unwanted noise electronically. The best noise cancelling headphones use good soundproofing material, but they also have a sensor outside each ear cup that hears outside sounds and automatically sends an opposite sound impulse that cancels the unwanted noises which are trying to penetrate from the environment. However, sometimes the noise-cancelling impulses may have a negative effect on the sound quality of a headphone set.
Open Back Headphones
Open-backed headphones have a space in the back of each ear cup that is purposefully left open to the outside environment. This kind of headphone has no noise isolation from the environment at all, and so the headphone sounds bleed out to the surroundings. However, if you can use them in a quiet place, they have a much more natural sound quality.
Closed Back Headphones
Closed-back headphones have both ear cups completely sealed off to the outside. These have a better potential to isolate from outside noise, but the sound is not quite as natural as an open back set of headphones.
Headsets are basically any kind of headphone or earphone that include some kind of built-in microphone. The headset microphone might be on a boom that extends in front of the user’s mouth, or it might be on the line of the connecting cable. An on-cord microphone will usually also come with a remote that is handy to use with a mobile phone or an MP3 player. These are great to use as a wireless phone headset because they are hands-free devices that can legally be used while driving or just about anywhere. They are especially convenient for a user who may be hard of hearing because the hearing impaired can turn up the volume as high as he needs to without annoying those around.
Earphones, sometimes called ear headphones, are individual ear pieces, not connected by a headband or a neckband. They can be the kind that fits in the ear, or they can be the clip-on type that rests on top of the ears. Both kinds have their advantages and disadvantages. Some kinds of in-ear headphones may have better sound isolation, but some people find them to be uncomfortable, and some kinds fall off the ear easily. Clip-on earphones may be more comfortable and stay firm on the ear, but if they have no noise isolation, so the sounds may bleed out to annoy those around the listener.
Earbuds are a kind of earphone that fit deep into the ear canal, and are typically very small. Again, a good set may have excellent noise isolation, but some people may find them uncomfortable.
The first set of headphones was invented in 1910 by a man named Nataniel Baldwin, who produced them for the US Navy. Back then quality and comfort were not such important factors. They just needed something that would work. Headphones have come a long way since then.
There are all different kinds and designs of headphones with different degrees of quality. No one kind has everything. The user must decide which qualities are important for his purposes.
It may be convenient to own more than one kind of headphone to use for different purposes. For example, you might consider owning a top-of-the-line set of stereo music headphones to use at home, and for taking phone calls on the road you might want to own a set of cheap earbuds or a headset that you can easily carry in you pocket, purse, or briefcase — a set of cheap headphones that wouldn’t be a great loss if they get lost.
What Are The Best Sports Headphones?
The best sport headphones for serious athletes will be light and comfortable, and they should stay firmly in place during aggressive movement. Exercise headphones that are heavy, uncomfortable and difficult to use will distract the athlete, use up valuable energy, and reduce his overall performance. Good workout headphones should also be sturdy, rugged, resistant to dirt and dust, and waterproof, or at least resistant to rain.
Depending on what kind you listen to, good exercise music can relax, stimulate, motivate, and boost performance. Sports headphones help the athlete concentrate on matching his pace to the beat and rhythm of music for the very best performance possible.
Not all in ear headphones are made for running. Some cheap earbuds will shake loose, and the athlete will find it very anoying to keep popping them back in every time they fall out. Good workout earphones and headphones should be durable, resistant to grime and sweat, and they should stay firmly in place.
For an out-doors workout, this website does not recommend the use noise cancelling or noise isolating headphones, especially for someone who will be on the road or near traffic. For safety reasons, it is always best to use workout earphones or headphones that allow some penetration of outside sounds so that a person can be aware of dangers in his surroundings.
The jogger might also consider some kind of wireless workout headphones. A good bluetooth sports headset has the added convenience of no connecting cables flopping around to distract the runner. And a good set wireless headphones for running will also work well for bike exercise.
Bluetooth waterproof headphones for swimming are also available, as well as different kinds of underwater earphones that work with a waterproof ipod or MP3 player, or that have their own built-in MP3 players. Whatever the arrangement, there must be no connecting cables in the way of moving arms and feet. Underwater earphones or headphones are typically safe to use to a depth of about 3 feet, though some can be used to a depth of 12 feet or more.
What About Children And Baby Headphones?
When you shop for children and baby headphones your biggest concern should always be safety. Don’t buy for your child a set earphones just because you like its colours. Make sure they are kid friendly headphones. Your two main safety concerns are choking hazards and to protect the child’s hearing.
If an adult or a teenager is determined to turn up the volume and blast his ears off with loud music, that’s his problem and his responsibility. But if you have a small child, protecting his hearing is your responsibility, and nobody else’s. Hearing loss in young children can also lead to speech difficulties. It is estimated that 12.5% of children in America, between the ages of 6 and 19, have some degree of permanent hearing loss due to noise exposure. Don’t let your child be among them.
A young child’s hearing is normally much more sensitive than that of an older adult, and prolonged loud noise could damage his hearing for the rest of his life. Kid safe headphones should have a volume control that limits sound output to no more than 85 dB at the very most.
Toddler headphones must be both light and rugged: light so that they won’t wear the toddler out, and rugged so that the toddler won’t wear them out. And if you shop for baby headphones, watch out for choking hazzards. Headphones for babies should not have any small pieces that can break off. Certainly, don’t use earbuds or anything that’s small enough to fit into his mouth and chew on.
Why get noise cancelling headphones for kids? There are several advantages. First, among other things, a kid headphone can keep the child occupied in a fun and constructive way. Second, the parent can control what the child is listening to. Third, good noise cancelling headphones for babies and for small children can help a restless child sleep by blocking out disturbing sounds and by filling his mind and ears with good relaxation music for children. And fourth, many child psychologists agree that good classical music for young children can have very possitive effects on the child’s mental and psychological development.
What About Wireless Headsets And Headphones?
Wireless headphones allow the listener to enjoy his sounds without any connecting cables to stumble over or tangle. There are three basic kinds: IR (infrared) headphones, RF (radio frequency) headphones, and Bluetooth. Each kind has its advantages and its limitations.
Infrared Wireless Headphones
Wireless infrared headphones offer the clearest and cleanest sound of any kind of wireless stereo system. The sound source connects to a transmitter which sends a high frequency infrared light signal, much like the signal from a tv remote. Since the signal travels by invisible light beams, not by a radio signal, there is no static. But ir headphones have their limitations. You can walk around without tripping over any connecting cables, but since the infrared light signal cannot travel through walls, you have to stay in the same room where the transmitter is.
There are probably three applications where the listener can enjoy the clear sound of ir wireless stereo headphones. Inside a car is one place, since while you’re driving or riding along your stuck inside next to the ir transmitter anyway. Infrared headphones also make the perfect wireless headphones for tv listening because, while you’re watching, you’re not going to be moving to where you can’t see the screen. And third, they may be the best gaming headset because, while you use your wireless PC gaming headsets, you are always close to your computer.
What’s The Difference Between Wireless RF Headphones And A Bluetooth Headphone?
Actually, Bluetooth headphones and rf headphones are both different kinds of radio frequency headphones. Basically, any set of wireless radio headphones that is not designated as Bluetooth is automatically classified as rf headphones.
Bluetooth is a standard of features used by a worldwide community of 20,000 companies which make wireless electronic equipment. These companies belong to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (also known as the Bluetooth SIG). All Bluetooth electronic instruments use the same basic wireless technology that connect one device to another over short distances, using UHF short wavelength radio signals between about 2.400 and 2.485 GHz. Class 2 Bluetooth devices (the most common type) have a range of about 33 feet, whereas class 1 Bluetooth devices have a range of up to about 300 feet.
These standardized features allow components from different companies to work together, so that a user can connect a Dell computer to a Samsung wireless headset, a wireless Radio Shack speaker, a Logitec wireless keyboard, and a Staples wireless mouse. Standardized Bluetooth technology makes virtually any Bluetooth headset compatible with iPhones, Android phones, Smartphones, or virtually any kind of mobile phone or device.
Bluetooth technology uses a very low power to keep the signal at a very safe level. This low power level also keeps one wireless device from interfering with another, and also makes the connection very secure so that nobody can listen in using another device.
Wireless rf headphones, on the other hand, may operate on frequencies anywhere between .9 GHz to 3.2 Ghz. They may have a range of up to 300 feet because of a powerful signal. However, this powerful signal does have its drawbacks because it can cause some interference with other rf wireless devices. Also, some credible sources consider a powerful radio signal to be unhealthy, and it is well established that prolonged exposure close to a very strong radio signal can damage the retina of the eye, so you don’t want to sit real close to a transmitter. It’s never necessary to be near a transmitter, anyway.
“Hi Fi” stands for “high fidelity.” Hi Fi Headphones are sets of wearable audio equipment which can reproduce a certain quality of “fidelity” sound, that is, sound that very closely matches the original recordings or sounds as they are heard in nature. No set of sound equipment can match the natural sounds exactly. However, some high definition audio headphones match the sounds of nature so closely that the human ear cannot tell the difference between the reproduced hi fi sound and the real thing as it is heard in nature.
Everyone has some use for some kind of headphones, but nobody wants a set of headphones that will turn his listening into a painful experience. One person may just want some cheap headphones that he can use for his computer or his cell phone. Someone may be a professional who doesn’t mind buying professional headphones, even though they may cost more, because he needs them for his job, and his livelihood may depend on it. And some want the best audiophile headphones just for the pleasure of listening. But whatever the case, there is something out there that can meet any need and fit almost any budget.
If you shop for headphones in a store you may be able to try out a pair, but your selection may be quite limited. If you shop for headphones on line the selection is virtually endless, and you might even find some special deals. The problem is, when you shop for headphones on the internet, you can’t try them out first. So you have to rely on reading articles about the product and on the testimonies of others who have tried them out and written reviews.
The purpose of this site is to make your research easy. Hopefully, if you are researching some headphone product that is reviewed on this site, you will find on that one review page anything that can be learned on the internet about that product.