We tell you whether wired headphones are really better than wireless ones, deserve Beats attention or not, whether it is worth buying headphones without bass, and much more
Headphones are an indispensable gadget in the modern world, which is needed both for games (the sound quality, for example, often depends on the victory in a network match or how scary a horror game will be) and for listening to music. We have already talked about the right choice of gaming headsets . And this time we will help you separate the truth from fiction about headphones as a whole, because myths about electronics are the main thing that prevents you from making the right choice when buying.
Myth number 1. All headphones sound the same
There are no two pairs of headphones that sound exactly the same (this applies even to two different copies of the same model). Much depends on the sound source (both hardware and software), as well as the way the sound is transmitted.
If you listen to music from your smartphone through online services, then headphones with good characteristics will not be able to reach their full potential. At the same time, listening from a Hi-Fi player with a built-in amplifier will immediately make the difference between some Sennheiser HD 206 and HD 280 Pro.
Myth number 2. Headphones without bass are bad
Models without bass at all are rare – more often they are simply weak. The low frequencies (which are responsible for the bass) are often attenuated on audiophile and studio headphones to make the sound more neutral. Otherwise, the boosted bass will interfere with the high frequencies from the reproduction of the sound of the instruments. This is especially critical for classical and orchestral music.
But if we talk about very low-quality headphones, then they often reproduce only mid frequencies at the minimum acceptable level. This also gives the effect of the lack of bass, which gave rise to the myth.
Myth number 3. The more expensive the headphones are, the better they are.
This is not really a myth. Expensive earbuds generally have better build quality and materials, and better tuned frequencies. But already in the middle price segment there are many models with very high quality sound. At the same time, among the more expensive models, there are often samples that do not particularly stand out in sound, and their “premium” quality is achieved by more expensive body materials and a good design (which is also not bad).
And, of course, there is no point in expensive headphones if you don’t have a Hi-Fi source or at least a good sound card.
Myth number 4. The best headphones are made by AKG / Pioneer / Sony and the rest of the brands are trash
AKG, Pioneer and Sony are some of the oldest headphone manufacturers. But even the specialization of their products is different. AKG mainly focuses on monitor (neutral) sound, which is more suitable for professional audio work. Pioneer produces expensive audiophile headphones with a slightly colored sound (the bass is a little more powerful, the treble is bright). And Sony works in all categories and often makes universal solutions.
Myth number 5. Beats – worst / best headphones
Beats are usually praised by fans of the brand and scolded by audiophiles. The latter – for hiding the specifications and wireless sound transmission in many popular models (we will talk more about wireless sound below).
In general, for wireless headphones that are usually used outdoors, convenience is much more important than sound quality. And in terms of convenience, Beats products have set many trends: from a pause when removing headphones to touch control on the cups with gestures.
As for the price, the Beats are far from the most expensive headphones, even among the dynamic ones (not to mention the magneto-planar ones).
Myth number 6. The best headphones are monitor headphones (with linear frequency response)
Headphone sound profile cannot be made completely linear (frequency response HiFiMan Arya)
This is a popular misconception, which is usually argued that the most neutral sound allows you to hear audio content the way the sound engineer intended. In fact, when mastering music of popular genres, it is taken into account that it will mainly be listened to with “bass” headphones. Therefore, in monitor rooms, it will sound too bland.
At the same time, for movies and games, models with slightly raised low and high frequencies are more suitable – and this is not at all a monitor sound with a slightly curved frequency response (frequency response – a sound profile depicted by a graph from 20 to 20,000 Hz).
Myth number 7. Wired headphones are better than wireless
On the whole, in terms of sound, yes. In most cases, wired headphones sound better than their wireless counterparts. The fact is that the bandwidth of a Bluetooth connection is much lower than a wired one, and the audio data has to be compressed. Plus, wired models are always cheaper.
But there are many situations where it is better to opt for wireless headphones. The most obvious is convenience. In the wireless model, you can walk around the entire apartment, leaving the player (or other sound source) in its place. In addition, all wireless headphones have a built-in DAC (audio chip). A quality D / A converter makes the sound much nicer than raw, especially if you don’t have a good separate audio board.
Well, if you still have a good sound source, then you can take wireless ones with the ability to connect via a wire – you get the most universal solution.
Myth number 8. Open headphones are better than closed ones
For the most part, open headphones (with a “mesh” on the back of the cups) sound better than closed ones – the sound is more airy and natural, therefore music lovers like this type of headphones very much. Unfortunately, open devices have very significant disadvantages: weak bass in most models (except for semi-closed ones), as well as poor noise isolation. The latter makes such headphones unsuitable for use at night or in noisy rooms: your music will be heard by everyone around you, and you will hear all the surrounding sounds.
Myth number 9. Noise cancellation completely drowns out sounds from outside (which is why it is dangerous)
Noise cancellation is passive and active. Passive is just a closed case and dense ear pads. And for the active one, an external microphone system is used – this is the only way to almost completely “turn off” sounds from the outside. The passive copes with the noise of vehicles or household appliances, but not with voices and other harsh sounds.
As for the danger of using noise cancellation, the active one has a transparency mode – when you hear music in the headphones and the world around you at the same time. It is also achieved through external microphones, so it cannot be in models with passive noise cancellation. So it is better to use either models with active noise canceling or without noise canceling at all outdoors.
Myth number 10. Any headphone needs an amplifier or a good sound card
The better your headphones are, the better source they need. And for a good source, good headphones are desirable. The opposite is also true – the simpler your headphones are in terms of performance, the more unpretentious they are. So most of the popular budget models have a resistance of no more than 32 ohms, to unleash the potential of which even a smartphone is enough.
The amount of resistance (impedance) in Ohms is responsible for the depth of the sound. And only for models with 100 or more ohms, a powerful audio interface (or a good sound card) with a built-in headphone amplifier is needed.
Summarize. The main thing in any acoustics is the detail of the sound, not the brand, the high cost of materials or the amount of bass. The highest quality sound can be obtained only through the wire, but this is not always convenient, and not always necessary – many listen to music from a smartphone through services and are happy with everything. In addition, you can fully enjoy the “reference” sound only if you have an expensive source and in no less expensive headphones with active noise cancellation (or in the quietest room).