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headphones

Buying Guides - Headphones

Ask Yourself These Questions...

Do you want mobility as you listen?

If you want to move freely, then wireless may be for you. Wireless applications include late-night TV-watching and general sound enhancement for the hearing impaired.

There are two types of wireless headphones. The first is RF or 900 MHz, which uses a radio frequency to transmit the signal. This type of frequency can generally penetrate walls in a normal-sized home, offering greater headphone mobility. The second type is Infrared, which is a "line of site" product that allows very limited mobility.

Keep in mind that you may not be near the media source when using these headphones, so you should consider separate volume and balance controls, auto tuning, noise filters, extra batteries and recharging time.

How do you want your headphones to fit?

When you're wearing headphones for an extended period, fatigue could be a factor. Your ears could feel pinched if the ear cups are too small or the headband could be too tight. Make sure the headphone has a good headband adjustment range and large enough ear cups.

What sound quality do you require?

There are several specifications and features to consider that affect sound quality. Frequency response is probably the most important. For example, headphones with a frequency response that reads 20htz to 20,000htz would be better than one that reads 50htz to 15,000htz. The smaller first number indicates better bass reproduction and a higher second number indicates superior quality highs.

What style is right for your listening purposes?

If you require a pair of headphones for a personal stereo, a simple over-the-head set may be all you need. Closed ear cup and open ear cup are other features that affect the quality of sound. The closed style would help reduce any outside sound interference. This style gives the impression of more bass and the stereo effect (or imaging) is about 90 degrees, stretching from one ear to the other over top of the head. The open ear style allows some outside noise but offers balanced sound reproduction with almost 360 degrees of stereo effect.

How much do you want to pay?

Prices will vary for different headphones. Inexpensive replacement headphones for your portable music players are available for as little as $10, while full, corded headphones can be as much as $600. Wireless headphones will cost you more: from $80 to $400.


Consider These Important Features...

  • Sound quality. Only your ears can tell you what provides the best sound for you, so try them out and experience the sound first hand.
  • Style. There are several stylish headphones such as ear buds, behind-the-neck and ear clip styles to chose from.

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