Finding high quality headphones in a market filled with cheap, low quality models gets harder and harder every day. That’s especially true if you’re not really sure how to detect quality in headphones. We can’t all be experts on every single type of product, after all!
But it pays to do a little research and find out exactly what you should be looking for in good quality headphones. Because it is much better to invest in the best quality headphones now and have something that will last for years to come than to just go for something cheap and end up having to buy another set a few months down the road.
In this guide, we’ll take a quick look at some of the aspects that go into high quality headphones and help you understand what you should be looking for.
The Influence of Size
There are three key sizes of headphones and you will find high and low quality within each size. However, as a rule, the larger sizes are often higher quality than the smaller sizes because they are simply capable of providing higher quality:
- Full size - These are the ones that wrap all the way around your ear. As a result, they can block out the most outside noise. They also tend to have great noise cancellation technology that can also work well while music is playing. These are most often used by professionals (DJs, sound mixers, etc). Drawbacks include discomfort because the cushions tend to heat up your ears and pinch the edges of your ears. Another drawback is that they aren’t especially portable or convenient for everyday use.
- Over the ear - These are smaller than the full size. They rest on top of your ear instead of cupping around it. As a result, they can still provide great sound isolation and some do come with good noise cancelling technology. They are also way more comfortable and way more convenient for everyday use. The drawback is that there are some very low quality ones on the market. Don’t bother with the flimsy, low end products. Invest in quality.
- Ear buds - These are the smallest ones and they fit inside of your ear. They are widely popular despite the fact that they offer the least in terms of quality. However, even though they are generally the lowest in quality, they are the most portable and the most convenient option.
As you see, size does influence quality but your decision should also be based on what your priorities are.
Why Music Genre Matters
In terms of sound quality, your opinion on what is high quality will depend on how well the headphones do playing YOUR kind of music. The breakdown is as follows:
- High frequencies - For rock, pop, and other genres that are going to be getting into higher pitches, you want headphones that can handle high pitches. Not all of them are designed to do this.
- Middle frequencies - For just about every genre of music, you’re going to need headphones that can handle mids. This is especially important for rock, reggae and pop. It is helpful for hip hop, rap, and electronic but you can get away without it in these genres.
- Low frequencies - This is the lower pitches, think bass. If you’re listening to a lot of hip hop, rap, and electronic you absolutely need headphones that can provide on bass.
You aren’t going to find headphones that are equally great in all three areas. So choosing high quality based on sound means thinking about which frequencies are most important for the genres you intend to listen to.
Material And Design
In addition to the aspects above, you also need to look at what materials are used. Check for headphone cushions with high quality memory foam, for example. You want the best of the best materials if you hope to have something that lasts.
And after you’ve checked materials, you want to look at how it’s all put together. Does the stitching looking sturdy and clean? Does the headband look durable and well-shaped? Look at the overall quality of how it all fits together and, if you can, try them on to see how they fit before you make your final decision.
Bose, Beats For The Best Bass & More
When it’s good, strong, heavy bass you are after, Beats and Bose are two of the best brands to turn to. They are well loved among fans of hip hop, rap, reggae, electronic music, and other very bass heavy genres.
They also feature very comfortable, high quality headphone cushions that can easily be replaced as they start to wear out. And the cushions are great at sound isolation, especially if you get the ones with protein leather coating.
Some will criticize both brands for not having the best highs or mids. And in some models, this may be true. However, they do offer some great higher end models that provide the exceptional level of quality you would expect from a high end headphone. It’s all about shopping around and doing your research.
While there are plenty of great brands out there, we believe Bose and Beats are two great brands to start with. They offer models to suit just about everybody’s budget and they tend to put out quality products that will serve the purpose of most users. But always do your research before you settle on any particular set of headphones!