There are a couple of variations when it comes to earbuds and headphones
and we all have our own preferences. It’s best to read up on the
different kinds in order to better choose which type will best suit you.
Each type has something different to bring to the table so knowing what
the advantages of one over the other will allow you to make the most
out of a purchase.
Normal earbuds are the ones that you get as stock earphones when you buy an mp3 player or an iPod. They’re the ones that sit just outside your ear. These are ok but they tend to leak sound when the volume is cranked up too high. They also have little to no isolation so most people who use these normally do so only in relatively quite places otherwise they need to turn up the volume. These are perfect for people who don’t like invasive earphones though
In-ear monitors or Canal Phones
In-ear monitors are the ones that plug up your ears. They’re naturally great for isolation and are the cheap alternatives to noise cancelling headphones. They also usually have better base than most other types of earphones provided that you’re able to create a good seal. Most in-ear monitors also come with plugs of different sizes so it’s easy to find one that’ll fit your ears.
Clip-on, Headband and Neckband Earphones
There are both normal and canal versions for these. These are mainly used by people who like to listen to music while working out. The clips/band keeps the earphones in place while the user is exercising. They also stabilize the wires as well so that it doesn’t get in the way.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
Real noise cancelling technology is normally only found in headphones. They use active noise cancellation which is different from passive noise cancellation used by canal phones. Isolation is great because outside noise is cancelled so you’re able to listen to the music without any interference. The problem that most audiophiles have with these types though is that the noise cancellation technology can often offset sound quality. There are really good ones in the market that retain good SQ but they tend to be very expensive. If you can afford them though, noise cancelling headphones are great for travelling.
Circum-aural headphones are the ones that fully cover your ear. They’re the really big ones that have pads that can contain your whole ear. These normally produce better isolation and don’t leak sound because the good seal it creates. They can be a bit hot though because they’ll work the same way ear muffs do. So you might start sweating if you’re in a humid or hot area.
Supra-aural Headphones are the ones that have pads that just sit on your ears. They just clip onto your ears so they don’t always have good isolation. These are fairly comfortable though and won’t cause you to sweat when you use them. Most portable headphones are supra-aural because these tend to be smaller and lighter than circum-aural ones. These can leak some sound if volume is cranked up too high.
Open Back Headphones
Some full sized headphones have open back designs to create an airier and more open sound signature. It’s not advisable to use this in public areas because the open design will allow it to leak sound even at low volumes. These are really only for studio and home listening. The idea behind them is that the leak is forgivable as long as the desired sound signature is achieved.
Headphones Noise Cancelling