How to choose the right headphones: Our Buying Guide

How to choose the right headphones: Our Buying Guide

Confused about which headphone to buy? Don't know much about audio and how headphones function? Don't worry, get to know everything from this simple audiophile guide.
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You may be reading this article on your phone or on your laptop, and I can guarantee you that there must be a pair of headphones at an arm’s length to you. Of all the gadgets that impact one in the everyday run of life, headphones are at the top. We run with them on, we take them to bed, we wear them on trains and planes - some of us even go to sleep having them on!

In addition to their audio qualities, headphones have become a fashion accessory. Providing a good sound is certainly the top priority under consideration but having headphones with a good-looking design or a sign of belonging to a musical genre also carries weight in the buying decision.

When it comes to music, everyone has their own preferences. Whether it is rock, EDM, classical or jazz; from genre to language, music is always appealing and entertaining. So what kind of Headphones will appeal to your musical leanings?

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Psst! Here's a cheat sheet for you: If you’re only going to read one thing, read this. Here are the most important things to ask yourself and know when choosing your next pair of headphones, in a condensed form.

  • How do you plan on using them? Are you looking for headphones for listening on the go? Or headphones that create an oasis of private space while in public with noise cancellation? Your use case influences what headphones you buy. And there are several types.
  • What type of headphones do you want? On-ear headphones rest on your ears, while over-ear headphones cover your entire ear. And though in-ear headphones aren’t best for an immersive experience, they are portable and can go right into your pocket.
  • Do you want wired or wireless? A wired headphone guarantees a signal translation with minimal loss but will keep you tied down to your device. A wireless one, on the other hand, is compact and easily portable. Limitations include a limited battery life, hassle of charging and a compromised lossy sound quality.

Selecting a headphone can be broken down in steps for convenience and better understanding. Let us understand the various parameters for selecting headphones better.

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Every headphone is designed keeping a particular user in mind. Like studio professionals prefer an over-ear with a flat frequency response due to their need of listening to tracks accurately for prolonged periods of time. Similarly, people who like listening to music on the go or during their commute would prefer in-ears. If you are a bass-head or someone who likes EDM, you’d want a bass-heavy pair. Microphones were once deemed as a bonus when you purchased a headset, but today it’s a highly sought-after feature given that so many of us are relegated to working from home.

Other than utility and everyday use, genre also plays an important part while investing in a pair. Rock, Pop, Funk, Classical, Folk, Country or EDM - your perfect headphones should favour your favourite genre.

Keep your purpose clear while selecting the type of headphone you want. If you’ve figured out this bit, you’re almost halfway there.

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Now that you know what your use case is, it’s important to get the fit right. Headphones are of three types namely in-ears, on-ears and over-ears. In-ears are headphones that fit comfortably inside the ear. On-ears are headphones that rest on the ear, beaming evenly between larger over-ears and small in-ears. They are light and portable as well. Over-ears are larger headphones that sit around the ear and isolate it.

Select a size that appeals most to you. If you want your headphones to be light and portable, go for in-ears or on-ears. If you want headphones that are comfortably large and give better audio response, Over-ears are your fit. Whatever be the design, make sure they fit you and your style of usage well.

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Regardless of the design, headphones offer you an option of doing away with those pesky wires. Having taken care of step one and two, this can be an interesting step to consider. At first glance, this may sound like a great idea. As with everything, there are pros and cons. You gain mobility, but also compromise on quality. This is the chief difference and a deal breaker for audiophiles.

Wired always has a better audio response. But for those who want to tune into their favourite tracks while travelling or working out, wireless is a better option. With constant leaps in headphone technology and evolution of audio codecs, wireless audio has come advertently close to that of wired. One more disadvantage of wireless headphones, they’ll need charging from time to time. Remind you, these batteries don’t last ​​forever. So, make sure to look at all the features of wireless headphones before cutting the cord, metaphorically speaking.

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Besides wireless and wired, headphones also offer add-on features like microphones and buttons to control playback and volume. The ability to converse without picking up your phone or change tracks at the touch of a button is definitely an appealing feature. Here’s our Headphone Gurus’ detailed guide comparing Wired headphones against their wireless counterparts.

In a nutshell: After checking on your purpose, design, mobility and setting a price, you’re halfway there. It may seem like a herculean task at first, but as you tick the right boxes for each of them, it seems like a cakewalk.

I hope this helps you narrow down and pick the perfect pair, even then, if you feel like you’re getting swayed away by options or confused between choices, you can always chat with our Headphone Gurus on WhatsApp. We’ll help!