Tag: what are good headphones

Open Back vs. Closed Back Headphones

Open Back vs. Closed Back Headphones

When looking for a new pair of headphones, if you dig deep enough into your research you’re going to come across open back and closed back headphones (also referred to as the acoustic principle of a headphone). If you aren’t a headphone connoisseur you may wonder what the difference is between the two. The basic answer is that both are exactly what they sound like; a closed back headphone has fully enclosed ear cups to give you excellent noise isolation whereas open back headphones have open ear cups that allow sound to flow out into your surrounding environment (not exactly rocket science). Headphone drivers produce sound in two directions (toward your ears and away from them), closed-back headphones block the sound headed away from your ears while open-back headphones let that sound go out into the world.

Sennheiser Urbanite

Sennheiser Urbanite Closed-Back Headphones

There is, however, a little more to the open-back vs. closed-back headphone difference than just whether your headphones fully seal your ear or leave it open to the environment. Each design offers its own specific advantages and disadvantages and, if you’re looking for the perfect pair of headphones, it is important to understand the differences between the two as well as their intended applications.

Closed-Back Headphones

Closed-back headphones are the most commonly available headphone type, in part, because they are more versatile than their open-back counterparts. One of the primary advantages closed-back headphones offer is noise isolation. They’re designed to keep sounds from the surrounding environment out while not letting any of your music escape into the world.

Blue Mo-Fi Headphones

Blue Mo-Fi Closed-Back Headphones

From a sound perspective, there are some drawbacks to closed-back headphones. In general, closed-back headphones can limit the soundstage of your music. Basically, this means that they can make your music sound like it’s coming from a single point rather than spread out across a stage (also described as the music being “in your head” rather than all around you). Closed-back headphones typically offer fairly robust bass performance because of the fully enclosed chamber. They also allow you to really focus on the technical aspects of your music.
If you’re in the market for a pair of headphones for travelling, studying at the library, while at the office, hitting the gym or even working at a music studio, closed-back headphones are the way to go.

Open-Back

Sennheiser HD800

Sennheiser HD800 Open-Back Headphones

A pair of open-back headphones provides you with a completely different listening experience than a closed-back headphone. Open-back headphones feature grills or perforations on the earcups that allow air and sound to flow in and out of the headphones. Drawbacks of this design include anyone around you hearing your music and the ambient noise around you seeping into your music. As a result, you’re really only going to want to use them in quiet environments where you aren’t going to disturb anyone.
Because of their design, open-back headphones, as you’ve probably realized by now, are capable of producing a much wider sound stage than closed-back headphones. Open-back headphones generally offer much more realistic sounding audio because of the wider soundstage. This gives you a much more immersive listening experience and makes you feel like you’re at a show.

As a result of their open design and lack of isolation, open-back headphones are only recommended for using in your home or any quiet environment where you’re alone and not going to bother anyone. You won’t be able to fully enjoy open-back headphones in a noisy environment because your music will get so tainted by the ambient noise around you.

Choosing What’s Best for You

Nobody can tell you what the right style is for you, it all depends on your listening preference and what you’re planning to use it for. If you’re just looking to get lost in your music at home after a long day at work, a pair of open-back headphones might be the way you want to go. On the other hand, if you’re in the market for a pair of headphones at the office or for studying in a library, you’re probably going to want to pick up a pair of closed-back headphones.

 

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How to Select a Pair of Headphones

Choose the Right Headphones for You

A good pair of headphones allows you to enjoy an awesome listening experience almost anywhere. Whether you are playing video games on your laptop, watching movies on your portable DVD player, or listening to music on your MP3 player, a good set of headphones provides realistic sound that will leave you in your own entertainment world.

Most audio components come with stock headphones, but these stock headphones usually do not maximize your listening experience. If you want to enjoy crisp, detailed sound, using a pair of aftermarket headphones will create a more desirable listening environment. If you listen to rap or hip hop, look for headphones with greater bass and wattage capability to provide bass beats. Earphones with greater sensitivity and frequency ratings will bring greater clarity and more accurate sound. You should choose a pair of headphones based on your preferred style of music.

Without question, everyone enjoys a pair of headphones that can reproduce accurate sound. Professional quality headphones enable you to distinguish even the slightest differences in sound. These professional DJ or monitoring headphones are perfect for disc jockeys and professional mix artists. Even if you’re not a DJ, you will enjoy using a pair of high quality headphones to create a private listening environment at home or in the office.

Some headphones include a built-in microphone, which allow you to partake in hands-free phone calls. You can switch from music to a phone call with the switch of the button. For example, if you are listening to music on your iPhone, as soon as you answer the call, the music will pause. After you end the call, the music continues on.

If you are an active person who enjoys working out, jogging or other outdoor activities, portable headphones and earbuds are a must-have. These ear buds are specially designed for active use. The designs include over the head, around the neck and in-ear ear buds. The tight fit design helps prevent them from falling off while you work out. Some are even water and sweat resistant. Overall, these extremely lightweight headphones are built to last and will not interfere with your workout.

Finally, wireless headphones are the ultimate companion for in-car video systems. Wireless headphones enable the rear passengers to enjoy a movie while the people in the front seats listen to music over the front speakers. You can also use wireless headphones at home to watch TV without waking others. You can relax on the couch and enjoy the sound without having to worry about tangling any wires.

Select a pair of headphones based on your music tastes and listening habits. A pair of ear buds might be great for the gym whereas you may prefer to purchase a professional quality pair for sedentary listening environments. So make a selection based on your intended listening application, and enjoy the music!

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