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Why You Need a New Pair of Awesome Headphones

Posted In Technology devices - By Techtiplib on Thursday, November 13th, 2014 With No Comments »

Humans can put up with all kinds of hardships: people talking in the cinema, bad audio from flat screen televisions, noisy neighbors and builders interrupting us whilst we’re trying to sing along to our favorite records, to name but three.

Okay, so these might seem like the epitome of first world problems but, whilst these are issues that can enrage even the most Zen-like of individuals, it seems odd that most of us are happy to suffer all kinds of interruptions to our enjoyment when we’re on the go.

 

Headphones

Let’s face it: with most of us now carrying around a fairly decent multimedia library on our smart phones, laptops, and tablets, we are able to access the coolest sounds and newest videos with a single click, no matter where we are. Enjoying media on the move is increasingly becoming the norm, and yet we are struggling to find the hardware to keep up with the experience. A player and storage device is just the start of it. When did you last buy a new pair of earphones?

The headphone marketplace is big business these days, even though the vast majority of us seem content to settle on the generic, in-ear buds that we got free with our device. And it’s true that even the most basic models now come with a decent bass kick and some rudimentary attempts at noise isolation. But with so much time and money spent on designing new, state-of-the-art headsets, what exactly can you expect to get for your money?

Fashion

Today, headphones market themselves as a fashion accessory, and brands position themselves so that the earphones you choose speak volumes not only about you, but also what you are likely to be listening to as well. Ironically, this began in the early 2000s, with the iconic, all-white ear-buds that came free with the Apple iPod. Minimal and distinctive, they became a fashion accessory that you could only get by buying the player itself.

Big, bold, and block colors are the current way to go in the headphone world. But at the other end of the spectrum the hipster love for upcycling and anything vintage means the old Sony Walkman headsets from the 1980s are also making a comeback – just don’t expect the sound quality to be that hot!

On The move

Choosing funky looking headphones is all well and good, but practicality is king when you’re listening on the move. Pretty much every brand from has a fold-away model on offer now, and it really can make the world of difference. If you like to listen on your commute, or like to spend a long journey composing beats on your laptop, then a fold-up set of headphones is ideal.

Your second consideration is the irritation of ambient noise. A little murmur in the background can often be ignored. But trying to block out the bustle of everyday life during the dramatic part of a movie can spoil the whole experience. If noise reduction is important to you, then you have two options: cancellation or isolation.

Sound experience

The real test for headset quality comes in the audio reproduction. Sure, some commercial brands might be set up to sound meaty and bassy in the shop when you try them out, but real, crystal clear audio is an expensive business. And when you’ve paid out for that, you want to be able to hear it. That’s where noise cancellation comes in. High specification brands offer amazing noise cancellation features that simultaneously record the ambient sounds, and broadcast an inverted frequency signal so that it tricks your ears into not hearing it. The results can be amazing, but be prepared to dig deep for this cutting edge technology. Read more How to determine good headphones from the bad?

The more affordable option is noise isolation, which involves a physical barrier or seal being created between the headset and your ears. You can have noise isolators on headsets, or earbuds, and the results can range from the brilliant to not so hot.

However you choose to spend your cash, you’ll find that there is the perfect set of headphones for you – whatever your style, budget and listening habits. So don’t stick with the generic, or make do with the default set that came with your player. Find the set for your lifestyle.

Images by ozmafan, Kris Krug and William Brawley, used under Creative Commons license.

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