In all likelihood, you have been to a live music or rock concert and heard the thunderous thumping coming from several giant loudspeakers at the venue. From there you know for sure that sound can pack an immensely powerful punch. Sound is fascinating and it's almost impossible for us to imagine life without it
However, sometimes we just want to enjoy our music more intimately and quietly or in locations where others may not want to hear or share what we're enjoying. For instance, planes and trains are already noisy enough; just imagine the kind of cacophony and chaos that would be there if we all came with our massive stereo systems!
On such occasions or situations, a set of top rated earbuds lets us peacefully and quietly retreat into our own worlds. According to 2016 AES International Conference on Headphone Technology , in 2015, over 300 million sets of headphones were sold. However, the truth is that millions of these users never really get to listen to their favorite tunes except on the standard earbuds that were part of their phone package.
For some people, that’s fine, but once you actually get to listen to one of the top rated earbuds, I can assure you never again will ever desire to go back to your old and ordinary phone earbuds.
Types of Headphones
In all likelihood, especially if you are under 20, you are getting most of your music online or from a portable device. Unless you want to go back to the cumbersome CD player, if you want to enjoy your music on-the-go, you will need to get some of the best ear buds available today.
But how can you know what are the best in ear headphones for your needs, or what are the different types? Let us walk together and look at the different types in the market today.
These headphones have been designed to fully surround your ears and hence completely block out all external noise. Because of their bigger sized speakers, these typically provide great sound quality – particularly in terms of solid bass response. However, the flipside is their large size.
On earbuds are smaller compared to over-ear headphones, although larger than in-earbuds. Rather than surround, these are placed on top of your ears. They are some sort of middle ground in terms of portability and sound quality. You can get a quality one for under $200
In-Earbuds and In-Ear Monitors
The most important advantage that comes with in-ear buds is their portability, thus very convenient for the on-the-go user. Because they are small and fit well in your ears, it makes them excellent for use on your phone or for sports like running.
If you are keen during live music concerts, you might have noticed some artists wearing little earpieces as they perform. These are known as in-ear monitors. Besides allowing the artists to hear themselves, they can also hear the other instruments as they perform live on stage.
IEMs have been designed slightly different from the standard earbud, as they are tuned to compensate for any sound that may have been lost by an improper or imperfect seal. Having observed the above, the question you are likely to ask yourself is how can you tell for example what is the best headphones for running without first using it?
My definitive guide is meant to assist you understand and choose the best headphones that will serve your listening expectations.
Buying Guide For Best Earbuds And Headphones
Earbuds With Mic
Earbuds With Mic
Earbuds With Mic
In-Ear Sterio Headphones
Bluetooth Sports Headphones
The ErgoFit is available in 3 pairs of ultra-soft earpads (small, medium, large) towards ensuring that you get the perfect fit for any ear size or shape. With these snugly fitting soft earbuds, you can fully enjoy listening to your favorite tunes. With 9 different color variations available, I am sure you will find one that appeals to your taste and mood.
The 9-mm large neodymium drivers generate a wider frequency response compared to most other earbuds in this segment. This is certainly a top contender for the best ear buds as it provides the listener with a fuller sound listening right from a deep base to a thrilling treble.
A long 3.6-foot color-matched cord offers the flexibility needed for your active day. With these with these top earbuds from Panasonic, you have the freedom to express your unique personality.
These top rated in-ear headphones from Bose are guaranteed to give you clear, deep sound from those tunes you love. They are highly durable in design and can withstand all the rigors you can expose them to daily.
The exclusive Bose TriPort technology ensures you get crisp highs and lows that are truly natural-sounding. The acoustic ports are well positioned with the aim of resisting any sweat and the weather, and the hydrophobic cloth is excellent at keeping all moisture out.
The Bose Sound Sport is available with a protective carrying case, a clothing clip and you can choose from 3 pairs of Stay Hear tips, large, medium and small. These proprietary Stay Hear tips will stay in place comfortably as they conform to the shape of your ears.
In Bose Sound Sport, you meet one of the best quality earbuds that have been engineered to go anywhere you wish!
Engineered with dual-driver acoustics power and very lightweight, the reimagined wireless product from Powerbeats is made for the sportsperson. It delivers outstanding performance and premium sound that you will find handy during those rigorous workouts.
Powerbeats 2 is compact with a flexible earhook for a secure and comfortable fit. Taking calls hands-free is easy and you can also adjust your music with the available no-slip-grip RemoteTalk control.
Key features of the Powerbeats 2 Wireless include a quick start guide, cable management clip, six-hour rechargeable battery, micro USB cable, and carrying case. It is possible to pair using the Powerbeats2 Bluetooth function within a range of 30 foot.
Besides being sweat resistant, this in-ear headphone is available in 4 pairs of multi-shaped/sized eartips qualifying it as one of the top earbuds available today.
Wood, because of its unique acoustical properties provides the best possible sound reproduction. Symphonized NRG noise isolating headphones are uniquely handcrafted using real wood.
Neodymium magnets Symphonized natural wood headphones provide enough power that brings out top-quality acoustics.
These are the ideal headphones for most of your smartphone and other mobile devices. This is possible because of their durability, superior strength, deep base, excellent noise isolation, and remarkable distortion-free volume levels.
This is one of the most durable earbuds in the market today. They surround you with high- fidelity energizing sound as if you are physically right there at the live concert or performance!
Critically acclaimed as one of the best quality earbuds in the entire M-Series, the ATH-M50x Professional is perfect for long studio sessions or on-the-go. They offer outstanding comfort and deliver accurate audio. The tightly contoured earcups are excellent for sound isolation and are made of durable, yet comfortable pro-grade materials.
The ATH-M50x is highly regarded for its exceptional clarity, accurate and deep bass response. The special design contours snugly around your ears for remarkable sound isolation when you find yourself in loud environments.
A major point of strength is that the ATH-M50x cable is detachable. The M-Series is among the best quality earbuds, offering an unmatched mix of build and audio quality that gets the studio work perfectly done.
Buying the Best Ear Buds
It is easy to know how a new dress or shirt will look like even without trying it on. But how are you going to tell or know what a set of headphones will sound like without getting the opportunity of listening first? The fact is that sound is something very personal and one individual’s idea of acoustic heaven could turn out to be another's idea of extreme noise.
Varying types of music exploit diverse parts of the broad sound spectrum, so one set of top earbuds brands may not sound or come out equally good for the different music genres you listen to.
I have many times being asked, what is the best headphones in terms of features like mic and Bluetooth connectivity, and if you follow my simple guides below, you won't go wrong.
Beware of the Bass
According to Steve Guttenberg, the public in general, and the youth in particular, have their own varying biases, generally geared towards heavy bass. This in turn, has prompted manufacturers into mass production geared to satisfying that demand by focusing on bass-heavy headphone models.
Beware of headphones being marketed as best quality earbuds that tend to draw too much attention to the "bass response", ignoring other equally important features like sound fidelity. This could be why some of them come cheaply under 100 dollars.
Open or Closed Headphones
Open headphones typically sound better when pitted against the closed-back kind. This is because they allow more free sound movement inside with less distortion. If your headphones are for private home listening where other people are chattering away or for TV listening, you may be better off with a closed-backed pair.
If you intend to listen to music using your headphones on a plane, bus, or plane, the best choice will be closed-backed headphones as they reduce most of the background noise. Nor will they disturb those near you. Or perhaps you want to have your headphones help you sleep
Small Earbuds or Big Headphones
When considering this aspect, think about the locations where you're most likely to be using the earbuds—and how. For example, is the convenience of portable earbuds more important to you than the higher fidelity?
In general, big over ears headphones have better sound than small earbuds—the reason why DJs prefer wearing big phones ("cans"). However, it is important to note that you can still get high-quality earbuds (usually more expensive) just as you can get high-quality headphones.
If you are asking yourself what is the best headphones for listening on the move, earbuds are generally your best bet. If you want to listen to music or even TV, without getting disturbed or disturbing others, bigger headphones are usually better.
Normal or Noise-Canceling
If you're listening to your music in a noisy place, background sounds can seriously interfere with the quality of your listening experience. In such an environment, noise-canceling phones are of great help and they are available in two main types.
The passive noise-isolating types make a perfect seal with your ear canal, thus blocking out unwanted sound from slipping in. They are also some of the best earbuds for sleeping.
On the other hand, active noise-reduction earbuds and headphones come with a small microphone on the outer case. The little mic samples the background noise and an inbuilt circuit compensates for that noise automatically
Passive noise-isolating headphones are very effective and typically very low-tech. Active noise-canceling phones offer more comfort when worn, but they will in most cases need their own power source or battery especially when they are your choice for best earbuds for sleeping.
There's no real reason to go for noise-canceling headphone if you're listening to your tunes in a quiet place or at home. In general, passive noise-isolating headphones tend to be cheaper compared to active ones that can even cost over a 1000 bucks.
Headphone Jack Plugs Size
Earbuds are typically available small jack plugs (1/8" or 3.5 mm) while bigger headphones usually have plugs double that size (1/4" or 6.3mm). However, note that if you acquire cheap earbuds, you may not be able to use them on your TV or on a big stereo unless you also acquire an adapter for them.
On the other hand, the best earbuds for studio purposes come with 3.5mm adapters and 6.3mm plugs so that you can also use them on smaller equipment.
The basic rule when buying loudspeakers generally holds true even for the best earbuds. Steve Guttenberg informs us that manufacturers are very aware that the majority of us like bass, and that the preference of most headphone buyers is based on bass production
When you closely study the broad range of headphones manufactured by reputable companies across the market, you are likely to notice a distinct correlation that exists between price and quality. The low-end earphones are basic, good, and relatively inexpensive while the high-end headphones are studio recording quality and they cost much more.
Nearly all portable devices usually come to you with their "default" standard headphones as part of the package. However, there's absolutely no reason why you cannot upgrade. If you want to know what is the best headphone try one of the top rated earbuds I have reviewed above and you’ll be pleasantly surprised how different and much better your music sounds. You will be amazed when you begin to hear sound effects and instruments you didn't notice previously.
Product images sourced from Amazon.com