A Buyers Guide to Choosing the Right Headphones

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A Buyer's Guide to Choosing the Right Headphones

Listening to music while on the go, whether it be on a train, walking down the street, or anywhere else is a popular activity. Advancements in technology have allowed anyone to listen to their favourite songs, audiobooks, and podcasts with an iPod, or other MP3 player, that can be carried in a pocket. Even mobile phones can store and play music. Of course, with so many people listening to so many different kinds of music all at once, it is not only useful, but polite to have a good set of headphones. Headphones allow the user to listen to music privately. Further advances in technology have made it possible for headphones to produce music at incredibly high levels of quality.

Headphones can be purchased in any electronics store as well as online via eBay, but there are a few things that buyers should consider prior to making a purchase. Buyers should be aware of the many styles of headphones that are available, as well as the various individual features. Certain specifications can make one set of headphones stand apart from another. Knowing about different headphones allows any buyer to enter into a transaction with a clear understanding of how to find the right headphones for them.

Headphone Styles

While all headphones are designed to cover both ears in order to provide a listener with a stereo music experience, different headphones aim to accomplish this task in many unique ways. Some headphones are designed to be highly portable, and can thus be carried easily in a pocket. Others are meant to provide the best sound quality possible, regardless of size. Most headphones are meant to be used with portable audio devices, but some are meant to be used with dedicated home audio systems, or even in a recording studio.


Earbuds are the most common, and usually the least expensive, type of headphones. They frequently come packaged with devices such as the Apple iPod. Earbuds are very small and are designed to be as portable and as unobtrusive as possible. Earbuds are used by inserting them into the ear canal, where they can provide listeners with audio they need, while preventing external noise from interfering. Earbuds are so small that those who wear earrings typically do not have any issues with them. As useful as earbuds are, they are far from perfect. In many cases, earbuds can become extremely uncomfortable when worn for long periods of time. The biggest problem, however, is that earbuds do not always offer an optimal musical experience, due to their small size. For this very reason, many music lovers tend to opt for more elaborate headphones as opposed to earbuds.

In-Ear Monitors

In-ear monitors are similar to earbuds in that they are designed to rest inside of the canal of the ear. The difference is that the in-ear monitors usually have a soft and flexible rubber end piece, that extends down further into the ear than earbuds. This means that they are more comfortable than earbuds over an extended period of time, and that they also do a better job of keeping outside noise from interfering with listening enjoyment. In-ear monitors have the same drawbacks, in terms of audio quality, as one would find in earbuds. While they are inexpensive, in-ear monitors are usually not the first choice of passionate music fans.

Supra-aural Headphones

Supra-aural headphones, or on-ear headphones, are those that are large enough to rest over the top of the outer ear. In many cases, this means that they employ a foam pad that rests just against the ear. These headphones are typically bigger, which means that there is room for better components that ultimately leads to better audio quality. However, the audio quality can vary, and it is important for a buyer to read specifications and reviews before making a purchase. Because supra-aural headphones rest on top of the ear, they allow for more outside noise to leak in, as opposed to other noise-cancellation headphones. This may actually be a factor in the favour of those who need to be aware of what is happening around them while they enjoy their music.

Cincumaural Headphones

Cincumaural headphones, also known as over-ear headphones, are similar to supra-aural headphones in that they do not go inside of the ear canal. Instead, they are designed to go around the ear. This is accomplished with a cup design that can fit the entire ear inside. Audiophiles generally prefer cincumaural headphones to other styles. This is because they are capable of producing extremely high quality sound, while preventing interference from outside sources.

For the most part, these headphones are used for home stereo systems, or in recording studios, but many music lovers do use them with their MP3 players for portable music. The only potential issue with cincumaural headphones is that they can be quite bulky and difficult to transport. The size also means that anyone with earrings typically have problems wearing them, unless the earrings are removed when listening.

Headphone Features

Regardless of what style a set of headphones is made in, there are different features that can be used to further set them apart. These features are usually designed to make using headphones more convenient, but may also play a role in how much that a set of headphones might cost.

Wireless Headphones

Wireless headphones are extremely useful when on the go. This is due to the fact that wireless cords do not require any kind of wiring that can become tangled, or caught on something. The two most popular ways wireless headphones operate are through Bluetooth technology or a wireless RF signal. Bluetooth is a very popular method of connecting wireless devices, but it could potentially be difficult to manage at times. The reason for this is that a typical bluetooth signal compresses the data, which means that in some cases the audio quality is diminished. This issue requires the user to constantly adjust their settings in order to listen to the music properly.

A wireless RF signal is just like the signal that a computer or other device uses to connect to. While this is very handy indeed, it could cause a problem in that interference can cause the audio quality to deteriorate. Wireless headphones, by nature run on batteries, and for that reason, may be inconvenient to many users who wish to listen for extended periods, or those that loathe buying expensive batteries.

Noise Cancelling Headphones

Some headphones have a built-in device that actually monitors outside noise, and produces sound on the same wavelength. This has the benefit of cancelling out the original noise, making for a more pleasant listening experience. Some users employ these headphones while on airplane, or in other public transportation situations where engine noise can be a burden. In these cases, users may often use the headphones to create white noise, without playing any music at all. Noise cancelling headphones have higher power requirements than other headphones, and tend to be quite a bit bulkier. The size may be an important factor for anyone who values portability and weight above noise reduction.

Control Features

For many headphone users, it is incredibly inconvenient to have to remove an MP3 player or mobile phone from a pocket, just to have to change the volume or to skip a track. For this reason, some headphones have volume controls built into the cord connecting the headphones to the device. This allows users to customise their listening experience with the utmost comfort. This is particularly useful for those who want to listen to their music while exercising, or those who have placed their device within several layers of clothing. Some headphones also have a microphone on the cable, so that anyone listening to music on a mobile phone can answer calls and communicate instantly, without having to actually touch their phone.

Buying the Right Headphones on eBay

Headphones come in pretty much every possible style and contain all or some of the features that are desired. Almost any type of headphone set that anyone can think of, can be found on eBay. Not only that, but the discriminating buyer can find headphones that are new or used, many of which are cheaper than they would be elsewhere. To examine every kind of headphones available on eBay, all you have to do is enter a broad search term, such as 'headphones' into the search bar on the eBay home page. Of course, it is also possible to modify the search to find headphones in a particular style, or with certain features in mind.

Learn About the Item

As with any purchase, it is important to thoroughly read the product description. This can let you know if there are any flaws or defects in the product, as well as what the specifications are. Likewise, it is always a good idea to read seller feedback and ratings. Some sellers have received the coveted "Top-Rated Seller" status, and are therefore known to sell quality merchandise.


The right pair of headphones can make it possible for anyone to listen to whatever they want, without bothering anyone and without being bothered as much by their surroundings. Headphones are almost always compatible with a number of different devices, including MP3 players and mobile phones. Users can therefore be choosy about what style of headphones they want, as there are significant differences in style that have an effect on the audio quality, as well as on comfort and price.

At the same time, there are many features that can be found in almost all styles of headphones that can alter the listening experience. These features may also have an effect on how big the headphones are, or how much they cost to maintain. It is important for anyone buying a set of headphones to evaluate these styles and features prior to purchase. In so doing, they can determine which headphones are right for their own unique situation.

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