With so many different headphones out there and so many different, strange terms being used to describe them and what they can do, shopping can get understandably overwhelming.
In this quick guide, we will give you a few essential tips for how to figure out what it is you need and what you should be looking for so that you can find the best headphones for you. We’ll also give you a few recommendations to help you get started!
What You Should Be Looking For in Good Headphones
Here is a quick breakdown of the key aspects you need to be researching when you consider buying any headphone:
- Size - You’ve got full size headphones that wrap all the way around your ear (providing the best noise isolation but making your ears very hot in the process). You’ve got over the ear headphones that rest on top of your ears (providing very good noise isolation while being much more comfortable). And you’ve got your ear buds that go inside your ears (providing some noise isolation and being the most portable and convenient option).
- Music style - The kind of music you generally listen to will influence which kind of headphones you need. For bass heavy beats, you want something with great lows. For something more poppy or with a light of violin, flute or other higher pitched tones, you’ll want headphones that have great highs. For everything in between, you’ll need something with great mids. In either case, you’ll need great mids because even on bass heavy songs, the vocals will likely be more in the middle frequencies.
- Noise cancelling or not - All headphones offer a certain degree of sound isolation, meaning they can block out sound. But some headphones take this an extra step by offering noise cancellation which means they play back an inverted version of the interfering outside sound so that your ears cannot register the outside noise.
- Purpose - Are you a professional DJ? Are you using these headphones in a sound studio to record? Are these just every day headphones for when you are commuting to and from work? Are your planning to use these on your runs or at the gym? What you intend to use your headphones for and how often you plan to use them will influence the size and style that you want. As a rough guide: ear buds are better for running; over the ear are better for everyday use; full size are better for professional needs.
These are a few of the most important aspects you will need to look at. With these guidelines, in mind, it’s time to put your new knowledge to the test by taking a look at some actual headphones!
A Few Great Options to Consider
The following headphones are some of the ones we find to the best for many purposes and needs. However, apply the guidelines you just read about above to determine if they are the best headphones for you:
- Bose - this brand makes a lot of really great headphone models that fit a few different price points. The higher end models are worth the extra price. And if you are looking for something with great lows and mids (for all your hiphop, electronic, reggae, and other bass heavy needs), these are a great choice. There are also some models more focused on highs and mids that are better tailored to the rock or pop fans out there. They also excel in noise cancelling technology so if that’s a priority, you should definitely check out Bose’s selection of noise cancelling headphones.
- Beats - When you do your research, you’ll find that Beats and Bose are often pitted against each other. You’ve got your loyal Beats customers and your loyal Bose customers and they rarely seem to cross over. However, we think that it’s better to keep an open mind. No brand is perfect for everyone and if you go model by model, there are definitely going to be some Beats models that are better than some Bose models and vice versa. Beats are ideal for those who need something for very bass heavy music that doesn’t have a lot of mids (think deep, heavy electronic music with no vocals for example). They are also super stylish and nice looking which doesn’t really affect the sound, admittedly. But, still, when you’re walking down the street, it is nice to be wearing something that adds to your look instead of looking like some big, bulky headband overtaking your head. They’ve got a nice selection of wireless headphones as well (in ear and over the ear!)
These options are a great place to start and may end up being the best headphones for your needs. But we do recommend reading plenty of reviews and checking out some other models before you make your final decision. It always pays off to do that extra bit of research before you decide to invest your money in something!
The recommended headphones above are great models to consider. That doesn’t mean you have to buy those or that there aren’t any other great headphones out there.
But these suggestions will give you an idea of what kind of quality you can expect at which price points. They can also serve a wide range of needs and serve as great points of comparison if you are looking at other headphones.