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On-ear Headphones

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On-ear headphones are suited mainly for sports and outdoor listening. They tend to be lightweight, compact, and designed to fit comfortably in your ears or on them.

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How to choose on-ear headphones

Design

  • Ear-buds - significantly suppress ambient noise. Compared to similarly priced flat on-ear ear-buds they have better sound are more comfortable.
  • Flat buds - tend to be cheaper, don’t really block ambient noise, and their audio quality is generally lower compared to in-ear ear-buds.
  • On-ear headphones - similarly priced on-ear headphones have better sound than the two above-mentioned types, but they are not as secure; they are more suitable for the gym, cycling, and other sports where they are less likely to fall out of your ears.

earphones, ear, ear buds, seeds and ears

Connectivity

  • Wired headphones (3.5mm jack) - have better sound compared to similarly priced wireless headphones, but do not provide as much freedom of movement.
  • Wireless headphones (Bluetooth) - no wires means great freedom of movement (Bluetooth headphones have a range of about 10 meters from the playback device). On the other hand, they have built-in batteries, so they must be recharged on a regular basis.
Connection Type/CompatibilityNotebookSmartphoneTabletMP3 Player
3.5 mm jack
Bluetooth

The data in the chart are merely indicative. Connecting headphones to a particular playback device requires that both devices support the same connection type.

Construction

  • Closed - excels at isolating noise; you don't hear ambient noise and people around you can't overhear what you are listening to.
  • Open - provides faithful music reproduction (less distortion), does not isolate noise.
  • Semi-closed - compromise between the closed and opened ones, particaly isolates noise

Useful features and technology

  • Volume control located on the ear cups or wire.
  • In-built microphone lets you take phone calls without taking off your headphones (if you listen to music on your phone).
  • AptX and AAC - codecs for Bluetooth headphones that ensure higher quality sound, close to that provided by the wired type of connection.
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