Today, headphones are without a doubt the most popular and numerous devices for reproducing sound. There are few people who do not have at least one pair of headphones used, if not with a music player, then at least with a mobile phone. However, the penetration of headphones into different areas of our lives was gradual. The first headphones began to be used at the end of the 19th century, having found the era of gramophones, long before the advent of acoustic systems of a modern look and design.
Therefore, headphones can be very effective, having very small radiators, and freely reproducing deep bass from 20 Hz. The sound of the headphones is independent of the acoustics of the room, revealing the true character of the music recording in the best possible way. Headphones don’t need the powerful amps that traditional speakers require, many headphones suffice with handheld device amps.
The main types of headphones
Types of headphones answer the question of how they stay on the head and sit on the ears. Full-size headphones, equipped with a headband with large cups and ear cushions that completely cover the ears. Headphones, by definition, do not put pressure on the ears, therefore they are considered the most comfortable among all types. Headphone sizes do not limit designers from using large, high-quality drivers, so most of the most perfect-sounding Bluetooth neckband headphones are full-size. But large sizes can sometimes be a disadvantage, for example, outside the home and office, most music lovers prefer more compact models.
- On-ear headphonesare not fundamentally different from full-size ones, but they have smaller cups and ear cushions, not covering, but overlapping the ears. Due to their lighter weight, many music lovers choose them for listening to music on the go, however, these types of earbuds press down slightly on the ears, causing some discomfort. But, unlike full-size models, on-ear headphones do not interfere with wearing glasses and large earrings. In addition, among overhead headphones, there are often fashionable designer models that differ in different colors and original shapes. These headphones are suitable for those who appreciate the individuality of style and like to stand out.
- In-ear headphones, similar in shape to drops, are inserted into the auricle. Lightweight and very compact, these headphones do not provide uncompromising sound, but they are inexpensive and allow you to hear what is happening around you, warning the user of possible troubles.
- In-ear plugs are inserted directly into the auditory canal. However, in-ear headphones need to fit the diameter and shape of the ear canal as closely as possible for the best sound quality and comfortable use, so users often must match the ear tips by purchasing additional foam rubber tips, for example. The most expensive models of in-ear headphones offer the option of custom-made for the ears of the future owner. If the in-ear headphones do not sit perfectly in the ears, they will sound the same, especially in the bass area, and cause discomfort during long listening sessions.
Acoustic headphone design
The acoustic design of the headphones is associated with the design of the cups: open type – air from the back of the radiator freely leaves the headphones through the cup, usually made in the form of a metal or plastic grille. Closed type – the rear speaker cup is sealed, creating an acoustic chamber in which the emitter operates. There is also a third type – half open , where the emitter chamber is not completely closed, leaving a passage for air.
- Open headphonesare lightweight, comfortable, having a neutral and airy character of reproduction – in the absence of a rear chamber, there is nowhere for the body resonances that color the sound to appear. On the other hand, it is more difficult to get the deepest bass from open-type headphones, as manufacturers have to deal with a natural sensitivity drop of -6 dB / octave. In addition, open headphones almost do not cut off external sounds, are less protected from moisture and dust, and therefore are poorly adapted for use in noisy places and outdoors.
- Closed-back headphones provide increased sound isolation, cutting off external noise and preventing sound leakage to the outside. A closed chamber without any problems allows you to adjust playback even for increased bass output, even for a uniform balance of playback. No wonder most monitor headphones for professionals have a closed design. On the other hand, in some closed models, you can still notice a light body color or a weak echo from the sealed chamber. Ears may overheat (sweat) when listening with closed headphones for a long time.
- Semi-open headphones are an intermediate design, in terms of sound isolation and the nature of reproduction, they take more from an open or closed type, depending on the degree of sound permeability of the cups.