Extra Features: Headphones often come with extra features such as swiveling earpads (great for DJs). Don’t forget about comfort either. In-ear earphones are excellent for certain purposes (e.g. exercise) but they’re not always the comfiest to wear for long periods of time. Contrastingly, large over-ear headphones might seem unwieldy or clumsy but they’re generally very comfortable.
Wired Headphones Buyers Guide
Despite seeming a bit of a retro personal audio solution, wired can often be the best way to go. As briefly mentioned in our introduction, having a direct signal ensures that the transmissions are free of outside interference which can be a big problem with wireless transmissions.
The electronic circuitry can better send, delegate and establish the data that the electric audio inputs are communicating. This, in turn, means the drivers can respond more accurately to the stimuli and ultimately reproduce a more authentic reproduction of the information they are given.
Wired options do have their drawbacks, and we live in an increasingly wireless-based world with many day-to-day activities made more convenient by its use. This means that many are quick to dismiss a wired set in favor of a modern Bluetooth upgrade.
There are many applications, however, which rely on a true signal and the wired ancestors of the world gone by are simply better suited. There are some key factors to consider which can help offset and manage the majority of wired sets shortcomings.
What To Look For When Buying Wired Headphones?
You first need to consider what you require from a set of headphones. To do this you have to examine your lifestyle and how you intend to use the headphones. This will help you settle on a style. We have showcased a host of options which ought to be self-explanatory, but if you need a little inspiration see our expert tip below.
Once the style is narrowed down then first the build quality, then the audio quality needs to be considered. This will obviously have some budgetary constraints but the majority of shoppers will find themselves pleasantly surprised with what is available at the low end if you know what you are looking for.
The materials used should be the best quality your money can afford. In the lower price regions, some manufacturers are only able to deliver such an affordable deal after they have slashed production costs, the easiest way to do this without too much thought is to use cheap materials but some outshine others in terms of comfort and durability.
Over-ear models should be generously cushioned, ideally with something skin-friendly as your ears can become quite hot, especially with a closed-back over-head set of headphones.
They should have a good range of adjustment too as wearing them for long periods can cause headaches if they are ill-fitting. A sturdy but flexible headband can help with this and again they should provide some padding or be made from strong rubber so they aren’t hard on your head.
In-ear models must be ergonomically designed with tips made from safe materials such as silicone, preferably coming with a range of tip sizes to choose from to guarantee a comfy fit.
No matter which you choose the internal components need to be well-engineered and of good quality. The manufacturing plays an important part, premium quality parts, and components will provide sub-par audio if they aren’t put together well.
As far as audio quality is concerned, you want to find a set with a broad frequency response and accurate tuning, which comes down to the engineering itself and the processing capabilities.
The circuitry itself is responsible for the way in which the drivers can perform. The internal speakers of a set of headphones all function in the same way but not all are as efficient as the next and this is important to understand.
All of those we have looked at in this article are neodymium driven which has quickly become the industry standard if you have audiophile tastes and a bigger budget you might want to source a ceramic magnet set or a beryllium driven pair.
If the bass is important to you then you should set your sights a pair with bass optimization to counter distortion risks and all importantly look for large diaphragms. The extra space they provide helps with the low-frequency response and produces better bass performance.
What Are The Drawbacks?
The biggest problem with wired sets can be tangling and also the area in which they are connected to the internal components can be subject to a lot of rough-handling and inevitably long term wear and tear can result in breakage.
Y-leads are less prone to tangling, but they present 2 entry points which can be weak spots. A single-sided cord half the entry points reducing the potential for breaking but they are more likely to tangle on you.
A detachable cord eliminates the weak spot entirely but can still tangle-up.
Ideally, you want something with reinforced entry points or a plug-in, pull-out cord system. The wires themselves can be tangle proofed by an outer covering usually woven textiles or plastics. Having a double-twisted wire or braided wire can often help counter tangling as well.
Headphone sets are in such high demand that companies are selling them like hot-cakes, so the good news is you won’t be short of options when looking for a suitable wired set.
The essential thing to think about is your intended use which will help you to determine what kind of headphone set you need and the capabilities it should be graced with.
We have rounded up a good selection and have linked a few other articles in our expert tip below for a nose and we are happy that our buyers’ guide should give you all the essential information you need to make a savvy wired headphone purchase.
If you are still undecided on the style you need, why not read one of our style defined headphone articles? We have plenty to choose from to help you, such as; 10 best gaming headphones, 10 best headphones for working out, 10 best travel headphones, and 10 best headphones for music.
Did you Know
The first set of headphones were invented by Nathaniel Baldwin in 1910 but they were initially ridiculed until the US Navy ordered 100 pairs and changed everyone’s minds.