What are the headphones?

Exhaustive headphones tutorial

Headphones are the miniature form of loudspeakers, hanging on to ears. They deliver same music at a personal level with good bass,less noise and directly to your heart through the ear canal.  When buying such an important device, one should know more about acoustics (pitch & Loudness), type of headphones.

Headphones give you a great listening experience as compared to traditional speakers which allow the sound to escape through them. This gives less clarity to music.  Headphones are unidirectional and allow a small amount of air through them, hence canceling noise from the outside. This gives a personalized way to enjoy music.

Headphones are made in a range of different audio reproduction capabilities depending upon the purpose. Headphones let us enjoy quietly into our own imaginary worlds.

Headphones are a miniature version of loudspeakers fixed to ears. Loudspeakers move the air in a room. Headphone only has to move the volume of air inside the ear canal.

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Exhaustive headphones tutorial

When you are spending a bundle of dollars, for buying a headphone,  you need to know some lingos of audio and type of headphones. 
There are a variety of sounds in our environment, ranging from faint sounds like birdsong and rustling leaves to louder sounds like music, yelling, and industrial noise.

The human hearing range is called the audible range. Pitches and loudness levels, which we hear before feeling discomfort is the human hearing range.  The absolute borders of the human hearing range are 20 to 20,000Hz. Our hearing is most sensitive in the 2000 – 5000 Hz frequency range. The most important sounds we hear every day are in the 250 to 6,000 Hz range. Sounds with frequencies below 20 hertz are called infrasound. Infrasound is too low-pitched for humans to hear. Sounds with frequencies above 20,000 hertz are called ultrasound.

Headphones tutorial will first talk about sound components,pitch and loudness

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You can understand “PITCH” by some examples:

Low Frequency-A bass drum, a “rumble,” thunder, or a man’s deep voice are all examples of low-frequency sounds

High Frequency-A shrill whistle, birds chirping, squeak, squeal, or a child’s voice, mosquito sound are all examples of high-frequency sounds.

Loudness/intensity in dB

Low dB ( Soft )-Clock ticking, a person whispering and leaf rustling. 

High dB (Loud)Lawnmower, a car horn, and a rock concert.Fire Alarms
When a bird chirping (High frequency-High Hz) is soft it is Low dB. When it is loud it is High dB. At the same frequency, it may be loud or soft. High frequency does not mean it is loud. The basic properties of sound are: pitch, loudness, and tone.

Understanding Pitch and Loudness

1. A bass sound or instrument is the deepest low frequency notes. Bass instruments and singers are in the lowest part of the musical range, like the low rumble of a bass guitar. For most people bass quality and quantity loom large when judging headphone performance. Bass supplies the music’s weight and power. Good headphones give heavy bass output. A decent set of headphones can play low-bass frequencies very clearly. 
2. The standard for most headphones is 20 to 20,000 Hz which is generally accepted as the audible frequency range for manufacturing.
3. In headphones, ratings include a plus/minus deviation (ie ±3 dB). This indicates how far the sound deviates from a neutral or “flat” response; the lower the number the better.

Unit “Hz”  IS PITCH and unit “dB” IS LOUDNESS (volume)

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Open Back Headphones

Open back headphones allow air to pass through their ear cups to the speaker element. Open-back headphones are open to the air at the back as well as the front. They are loosely set on or over the ears.No Pressure is built and it does not affect sound, No echoes are formed in headphones.

Expensive high-end headphones have open backs because it helps them sound more natural and clear. But it can not stop ambient sound so noise cancellation is low.

Open back Headphones are good for
1.critical music hearing
2.High-quality audio files
They are not good in open, office, airplanes as they can not cancel outside noise,also called passive noise (noise isolation).

Closed Back Headphones

These headphones are completely sealed around the back. Tightly fitting on or over the ear. They don’t allow outside noise to mix with music. Also, no sound escapes, no noise bleeding ( leaks to outside). But the quality of sound is little less than open back headphones. They can be used in busy places and also in airplanes.

In -Ear Headphones

In-ear headphones provide 20dB to -35dB noise isolation and active noise isolation to the extent of 15dB to -25dB. Passive noise cancellation is best in earbuds. Also, there is no sound bleeding ie no disturbance to neighbors..They are most convenient for use in the gym, in busy places and easy to carry. 

Over-Ear Headphones are also commonly known as full-size, circumaural or around the ear headphones. They are traditionally large headphones with earpads fitting around the entire ear of listeners.

Over-Ear headphones come in either open or closed ear cup designs and can offer stellar sound quality and excellent comfort. Over-ear headphones are very popular because they can provide a comfortable fit, with innovative features like noise cancellation and hi-fidelity noise and good bass.

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When cushions of headphones encircle the ear,they are referred to as the circumaural type. This isolates the listener from external sounds, improving the quality of the sound.This separates external sound from what the listener is hearing. The circumaural style also helps prevent others in the area from being bothered by “leaking noise” (noise bleeding).

They are the popular choice of headphones among audiophiles, musicians, and pro gamers. Although notably bigger in size, they provide an immersive experience to the user that is second to none.

Most of the models of over-ear headphones support 7.1 Dolby surround system. This would essentially enable you to hear the approaching footsteps of your opponent or provide you an exhilarating movie experience.

 If you are a musician and record an extended play, an over-ear headphone would skillfully isolate the sounds of different instruments to enable you to focus on each of them.
Some of models come with Active Noise Cancellation technology (ANC), blocking noise vigorou

When it is about comfort, an over-ear headphone is indeed the most comfortable option out of in-ear and  on-ear headphones. In-ear headphones have portable convenience.We do not recommend on-ear headphones.Although most high-end brands of headphones offer wired types with exorbitant price tags, wireless headphones could be more expensive than wired ones for the same quality. The wireless supports great mobility.

Some of the decorations on a headphone are cosmetic: They add little or nothing to the quality of the sound. But it’s important to remember that headphones have to be comfortable to wear for a reasonable amount of time.

The softly padded earpieces and foam padding across the top of the headband make these very comfortable. The plastic they’re made from is light enough not to press on your head but strong and durable enough to withstand wear and tear.

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It has been observed, most people prefer heavy Bass (low-frequency notes). Headphones may well be designed to emphasize bass frequencies.  The bass is the audio frequencies between about 60Hz and 250Hz – the lower end of the entire set of frequencies that humans can hear

But be careful of products that draw too much attention to their “bass response.” at the expense of decent fidelity across the entire spectrum of frequencies from 20Hz to 20,000 Hz.

What is High Frequency Sound

Highs are the upper part of the audio frequency spectrum. The notes of a  standard flute or violin are good examples of highs in a song. Highs notes tend to distort when bass and high octaves kicks together. A song with good highs makes it sound ‘lush’ or ‘sweet’.So headphone should not crackle on high octaves.

Headphone test -left right ears test

Buying headphones involve lot of primary preparations.Please refer to blog on “how to select headphone”. Follow these simple tips and you won’t go  wrong. The sound is very personal and one person’s idea of sweet acoustic might be another’s idea of a noise.

Do not follow the reviews only. If you’re going to go by online reviews, read widely and critically, and check well-informed professional reviews. I suggest to visit the shop and try them physically. Choose one which has acoustic of your choice and comfortable fitting for ears.

Different types of music exploit different parts of the sound spectrum (drum and bass will necessarily make heavier use of lower frequencies than classical music).So one pair of headphones might not sound equally good for everything you listen to. Listen to your familiar music and possibly with your own audio source.
Looks, flashy colors and other cosmetic designs should be the last factor in deciding a headphone.
We conclude-Over the ear headphone has great comfort of wearing, good noise cancellation, somewhat music leakage and poor in portability.

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