Geek Girl Report: Crank Up The Volume! Which Headphones Are Right For You?
Music is a big part of my life. Whether I'm working out, traveling around or just hanging out at the house, I've got to have my music with me, usually playing at full blast. The problem is, not everyone around me appreciates my...unique taste in music, and they really don't like it when I've got it cranked up as high as it will go on my speakers. So most of the time, I enjoy listening to my beloved video game soundtracks and Japanese pop music (I told you I had unique taste in music...) on my headphones.
When it comes to headphones, you have about as many choices as you do things to listen to. From inexpensive ear buds to the high-end, studio-quality headphones, there's a pair to suit pretty much every need. Here's a look at just a few of the headphone options available to you:
The most ubiquitous types of headphones, you can find ear buds just about anywhere nowadays. Whether you prefer the hard buds that sit just outside your ear or the soft buds that fit inside the canal, you can get a decent pair for just under $20. I use ear buds most of the time because they are so convenient and cheap. However, with every pair I've bought, I've always had trouble with them shorting out on one ear or the cords fraying early. They may not be the sturdiest headphones you can buy, but for just walking around or use around the house, ear buds should suit your needs just fine.
When it comes to noise-cancelling headphones, you have two types: active and passive. Active noise-cancelling headphones have small microphones built in to them that actually takes the outside noise, inverts it, and cancels it out with an "anti-noise" that plays under the music. Passive noise-cancelling headphones are a bit simpler to explain. They seal off your ear entirely blocking all outside noises. Whichever type you prefer is up to you, but both types do a fantastic job of blocking out the ambient noise and letting you focus on your music. These are particularly useful on an airplane to block out that noisy jet engine or crying kid in the seat in front of you.
Unless you work in an audio-centric industry, (like radio production, for example) chances are you won't have much use for studio-grade headphones. And granted, they are on the pricey side. But in this case, you really do get what your pay for. These high-powered headphones are the absolute best way to listen to music the way it was intended. And if you're more into producing audio than just listening to it, you'll appreciate the "neutral frequency" feature on most of the headphones. In other words, you don't have the "bass-boosting" or "equalizer" features other headphones my have affecting your sound quality, you just get the best audio possible.
Clip-ons and Wraparounds
If you're a more active type that likes to listen to your music while you're at the gym, you might want to consider either clip-on or wraparound headphones. Clip-ons are pretty similar to the ear buds, except they have an additional clip attached to your ear for some added stability. Wraparounds, on the other hand, fit behind your head and are supported by your neck and ears. These kinds of headphones are designed to be non-intrusive and stay in place, no matter if you're doing a slow jog through the neighborhood or some high-energy aerobics.