Nothing beats headphones for getting up close and personal with your favourite tunes or movies. A good pair of headphones will be able to pick out the smallest details in your favourite songs or soundtrack, things you may never have noticed before. Here’s how you can find a pair of headphones that are perfect for you, whatever your taste.
1 Music to your ears
Everyone has their preferences. You may prefer headphones that emphasize more bass or perhaps ones that provide more detail at higher frequencies. Try to listen to several pairs of headphones before buying, so you can find a pair that best suits your taste.
2 Sound quality
Pay attention to the overall sound quality as well. Some factors to listen for include sonic details such as individual instruments or voices. High frequencies and vocal sections should not sound harsh.
If you’re design-savvy, it’ll be important to buy a pair of headphones that not only sound good, but look good as well. There are plenty of styles and colours to choose from, which means you should be able to find something that looks perfect for you.
4 Open or closed?
Headphones are often described as “open-backed” or “closed-backed”. Open-backed headphones use cases with outward-facing vents. This allows air to move in and out of the case more easily. Some feel this design produces better, more natural sound. The trade-off is that it lets more background noise in — a problem if you listen to music on buses or trains.
Closed-backed headphones use sealed cases. While some feel this distorts the sound, the closed-back design means little background noise can be heard.
It’s best to listen to a few headphones before deciding whether to buy open- or closed-backed designs — only you will know which sounds best for your ears.
If you use your headphones on the go, consider a set that is light and small enough to fit in your pocket or bag. Some manufacturers make larger models that can be folded, so you get larger headphones that offer better sound yet are relatively compact.
If you exercise with your headphones, consider a wireless pair so there won’t be any cables in your way.
6 The sound of silence
If blocking out background noise is a concern, consider noise-reduction headphones. Passive noise reduction headphones use earpieces that form a seal with your ears, which blocks out most background noise.
Active noise-reduction headphones use a small microphone to sample background noise.
A built-in electronic circuit “reverses” this noise and plays it into the headphones, cancelling out most of the external noise. Be sure to compare these to conventional headphones before buying.
7 Fit and comfort
Lighter headphones are generally more comfortable. This doesn’t mean you should ignore larger models. Those from reputable manufacturers usually have extra padding that makes them more comfortable, so they may not feel heavy when in use.
8 While testing …
Listen to your favourite tracks so you can find a pair that matches your musical tastes. If your favourite section of a song — say, a guitar solo — sounds better on a particular pair, it will be easier to spot the difference if you’re familiar with the track.