Music Headphone Buying Guide — The Different Headphone Styles



Thinking about getting a pair of music headphones to listen to your music? How do you find best stereo headphones to fit your needs?

In today's marketplace there are a large number of headphone manufacturers and models to choose from. Headphones have become increasingly popular because music is everywhere we are; it's on our phones, MP3 players, and laptop computers. The newest generations of slimmed down headphones bring high resolution music or home stereo sounds directly to our ears no matter where we are.

There may or may not be one style that will fit all your needs. Whether you prefer snug fitting earbuds, or full size "cans" (stereo headphones) is a matter of personal preference, and there is nothing wrong with owning more than one pair of course. How you plan on using your headphones will also be a big determining factor in what models will work for you.

With this being said, the first step to choosing a pair of headphones is deciding what style or styles will work for you.

Below is a breakdown of the different styles of stereo headphones:


You are most likely familiar with earbuds as the headphones that typically come free when you purchase an MP3 player, iPod, iPhone, iTouch, smart phone, etc. These tiny headphones seat inside the ear canal. Earbuds are very small, making them great to travel with, they provide moderate to good isolation from external noise, and are fairly low cost. However, they do not typically provide the highest quality audio reproduction, can be uncomfortable over long periods of use or for those who do not like things in their ear canal, and they also have tendency to fall out during running or other physical activities.

Sport Headphones or Clip On Headphones

You may remember this category of headphones as the yellow headphones that used to come with the yellow colored Sony Walkman. Nowadays some of these models have a plastic like hoop that goes over the top of the head, around the back of the neck, or clip onto the ear. These are the type I personally like to use when running, or lifting weights at the gym. They stay on your ears a little better than earbuds during activity, do not need to be put in your ear canal, do not overheat your ears, are portable & easy to travel with, and are fairly low cost.

Ear Pad Heaphones

The pads from these headphones sit on your ears as opposed to in your ears (like earbuds) or fully encase your ears like (full size circumaural headphones). They tend to be fairly comfortable, can provide high quality audio reproduction, do not overheat ears as much as fully sealed headphones, are typically moderately priced. However, they can become uncomfortable over long periods of use because they push down on the ears since they sit on them.

Fully Sealed Headphones

These headphones are also known as "cans", stereo headphones, ear cup headphones and even a few other names. Basically, they seal around the ear, so that it is fully enclosed, which helps to eliminate outside noise while producing a very high quality audio listening experience. These headphones provide the highest quality audio listening experience delivering full broad range of sounds, and eliminate outside noises. These headphones can overheat ears & be uncomfortable over long periods of time, they are typically not as portable as the first two styles above, and they can be quite expensive depending on the model.

Noise Cancelling Headphones

These headphones help eliminate noise by creating anti-noise. You may have seen people on the airplane using this type of headphone to help eliminate the whining noise of the jet engines, while also listening to music or perhaps not. These headphones help to reduce ambient noise, allow you to listen to your music at lower volumes, and can produce very high audio quality. Some users may be bothered by the pressure created to eliminate ambient noise (those with really sensitive ears), they can be bulky & heavy, use traditionally batteries for power, and can overheat ears.

Wireless Headphones

With advancements in technology these types of headphones are becoming increasingly popular in today's marketplace. They have no cords to keep you tethered or to get you tangled. These headphones usually can not provide the audio quality of a wired headphone, they can be expensive, and also can be bulky & heavy.


Source by D. Starr