Planning to buy a new pair of headphones ! Which one do you like to be your next music companion?
Often such a question pops up in our minds when we are looking for a new headphone or even during the replacement of an older model. Can’t blame the selection process as one can get confused as there are a number of brands with advanced features in the market.
To help you ease the process, today I am giving here below a few areas that you need to concentrate on while buying wireless headphone. So shall we begin?
Let’s start with the obvious. Budget always plays an important role in the selection process of a new accessory. Often the marketing hype catches up to us and we end up looking for high-end accessories that are too expensive.
Often, what we would need is a good music accessory that can be a long companion to our daily life and can have multiple functions. Of course, high-end wireless headphones do serve their purpose but it is not often our choice to spend huge amounts of money just for a pair of wireless headphones.
It is best to decide a budget while purchasing a good wireless headset rather than randomly selecting a piece and spending enormous amounts of cash on it. An easier way to do it is to shop around and look for trails to take a hands-on experience.
Often budget and purpose of the headphone go hand in hand which determines the type of headphone you will buy.
If you are looking to chill at home and want to play your Xbox games or watch HD movies without disturbing people around then there are RF headphone systems that give you a brilliant experience once you hook the system to your entertainment unit.
But if you are a person who needs music while travelling or while working out, then a cheaper Bluetooth would be more suitable. RF headphones are bulky and more suited for indoors while sleek designs are most suitable for people who are constantly outdoors.
Type of headphones
Here type would refer to the design of the headphones you would like. If you were looking for a closed seal type of wireless accessory then an in-ear headphone would be the best for you.
But, if you are looking for luxurious comfort, then an on-ear headphone that cups your ears with soft leather cushions or foams can be the best one for you.
This does not mean that in-ear headphones are bad or lesser than on-ear ones; it is all about the comfort and feels you would want from your wireless headphones.
Often on-ear headphones are bulky, add extra weight to your head, and prove to be a nuisance while travelling in crowded buses and trains.
From a storage point of view, the in-ear headphones are smaller and a little compact as compared to on-ear headphones, which can be a little bit, even after folding them.
This category can be split into many sections below:
Bluetooth or RF
Bluetooth and Radio Frequency (RF) are the two types of wireless technology that is available in the market. Bluetooth is used frequently, as it is compatible with many wireless devices as well as can be used while travelling.
Unlike Bluetooth headphones, RF headphones need a transmitter that needs to be installed to a power source, which means they are meant only for indoor use.
The battery life also varies a lot with the type of technology you use; for instance, Bluetooth headphones, due to their smaller size may hold little or less power as compared to larger on-ear headphones both Bluetooth and RF.
Finally, it boils down to the usage, which would dictate the type of headphone you would end up choosing.
Truly Wireless Headphones
This category of headphones is the ones similar to iPods. Small, in-ear headphones without and wires that just sit inside our ear canal and do not have any extensions are the typical characteristics of these headphones.
These are usually expensive and come from branded companies. Owing to the compactness and relatively new design, such wireless headphones needs extra care and the sound quality expectation can range from brand to brand.
What separates this from the others is the IPX rating, which stands for Ingress Protection, and the x stands for minutes or meters.
If you are a sports enthusiast then your headphones will endure sweat, water, dust and other aspects that you will be exposed to.
Not all wireless headphones can endure such conditions and therefore require an extra protection feature that usually comes with sports headphones. Some of the headphones in this category can be used even while swimming but they are expensive and relatively new to the market.
If you want an audio experience of extreme clarity, then noise cancellation is for you. For the audiophile in you which looks after all the subtle beats in music, active noise cancellation features can be a real lifesaver, blocking away all the external noise and just delivering pure music to your ears.
The sound quality depends on the drivers or what is known as the actual audio output instrument in a headphone.
In wireless headphones, the sound quality depends on different technologies like using a moving coil for dynamic drivers, balanced armature drivers, planar magnetic drivers, electrostatic drivers, etc.
Dynamic drivers are used in all headphones; balanced armature drivers are used in in-ear headphones due to their small size, while planar magnetic and electrostatic drivers are the largest in the group and are usually used in built-for-home over-ear headphones.
Apart from this, there are aspects like closed- and open-back driver enclosures, frequency response, sound-staging and imaging, impedance and a lot more nitty-gritty stuff that can be technically boring.
However, the above areas are more than sufficient to help you decide which type of wireless headphones you need according to your use. You can also read our blogs for details on different brands and best lists on different budgets.
Martha studied Jazz and has a diploma as an audio engineer under her belt. In addition to her work in front of and behind the control room window, she works as a music journalist, among other things, tests around 90-100 wireless headphones a year. Quality is her credo!