Earbuds and Headphones


Earbuds are best for those who don’t have a lot of space, but still want to listen to their music. The higher-quality earbuds usually come with little cases for storage. For example, if you carry a very small purse and want to keep your device and earbuds together or have limited pocket space, perhaps earbuds are the better choice.

Earbuds are typically made from plastic material that fit inside the ear, just outside of the ear canal. They are best for listening while moving around. Inexpensive earbuds run into problems like falling out, hurting, or not fitting properly in the ears. With higher priced earbuds you’ll have a more comfortable fit and an improved listening experience. However, if you’re an Audiophile, consider the Grado’s iGi or Bower & Wilkins’ C5 earbuds.


Headphones are listening devices placed over, on, or in the listener’s ears. They allow the listener to have a personal listening experience. Headphones are nice to use while walking because they can be placed in a variety of positions. They have thicker cords as well as other options such as wireless and Bluetooth. The negative is that good headphones within your budget might be hard to find. Headphones take up more space than earbuds. The DJ-style headphones get dirty easily because most don’t come with a case.

DJ-style headphones are huge, bulky, and awesome-looking. Their structure lends itself to good sound containment, but a bad size. Music buffs get them because of the better sound quality, and less pressure exuded on the eardrum, resulting in longer listening time and less damage to the eardrum.

Behind-the-neck headphones are exactly that because of the connecting band that goes behind the neck instead of over the head. This is ideal for joggers, or people who wear hats and sunglasses. Consequently, if you have long hair and hate headphones that press your hair down or irritate your ear piercings, this type would be a good choice. There are very few things that separate this style from the DJ-style, or regular headphones.

Sound isolation

This is how well the headphones keep music in and block outside noise—nothing’s more aggravating than having to increase the volume to drown out the external environment. If you enjoy turning your music loud or play it that way to drown out background noise and the headphones are very open, you’ll end up irritating others around you. Good sound isolation will also keep you from having to waste battery life by turn up the volume to hear properly.

Earbuds and in-ear headphones tend to be better at sound isolation, due to the seal they provide in your ear; and the same with DJ-style headphones that create a sealed environment around the ear.

Frequency response

A wider frequency response (for example10 to 25,000 Hz) means you can hear more music details. Anything within that range will be fine.

Remember that you get what you pay for

Normally, more expensive headphones and earbuds are made from higher-quality materials and are better engineered, which improves sound quality. As the price goes up, you may hear stuff in your music that you’ve never heard before. Bargain-bin earbuds or headphones may last about a year with regular use, and will not sound that great. As the price increases, basic music quality will as well. Another benefit of higher quality is durability. There are people who’ve had headphones from 35 years ago that still work today because they were made to last. Consequently, when you get a proven brand that fit over, on, or in the ear such as Grado or Bower & Wilkins listening devices, you aren’t just paying for the name, you’re paying for the trusted quality.

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