Corded Headphones with Volume Control Buying Guide

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Headphones are essentially tiny speakers designed to sit over a listener's ears. The first headphones were used for radio communications in aircraft. In those days, adjusting a radio headphone to sit more comfortably on the user's head could result in a shock to the user. Modern headphones are much safer.

Today, headphones are no longer a specialist accessory. They are readily available at electronic stores, department stores, and online. They are used with mobile phones, portable media players, both at home and in the workplace. Headphones are available that suit any budget and any application, from tiny, affordable earbuds, to large, high fidelity circumaural headphones used in recording studios. Advances in amplifier and speaker technology allow today's headphones to deliver dynamic sound with little or no distortion. And they can be had at prices that would have been unthinkable just a few decades ago.

Buyers shopping for corded headphones with volume control should read below to find out the benefits of such a device, and to learn about the many types of headphones on the market.

Why use Corded Headphones with Volume Control

While wireless headphone technology has advanced greatly in recent years, there are some very real advantages to using corded headphones. Corded headphones are reliable and time tested. They require no setup at all. Users can plug the headphone into the audio device and start listening right away. Most corded headphones do not use batteries, and are ready to use at any time. They are not subject to wireless interference, and when used for sensitive communications, they are much more secure than are wireless models. Corded headphones with volume control allow users to adjust volume levels without reaching for their audio device. The volume control is typically a part of the cord.

Types of Corded Headphones

There are many types of corded headphones for sale. They are classified by several means: by the technology used, by size, and by shape. The following sections discuss some of the more common descriptions and technologies buyers encounter when shopping for corded headphones.

Headphones can be large devices that cover the listener's ears completely, or small devices that fit into the ear canal. This classification is one of the most common ways to define the type of headphone.

Circumaural Headphones

Also known as "over-the-ear" or "full size" headphones, circumaural headphones have large, circular or elliptical earpads that completely cover a listener's ears. Because of this feature, circumaural headphones can be made to block out external noise. These headphones are large, and are usually used in non-portable settings, such as in recording studios or at home.

Supra-aural Headphones

Sometimes called "on-ear" headphones, supra-aural models have pads that press against the ears, but do not completely enclose them. This type of headphone is generally smaller and lighter than circumaural headphones. Since the ears are not completely covered, listeners hear more ambient noise.

Intra-aural headphones

As the name suggests, intra-aural headphones feature speakers that are placed in the ear. There are two main types of intra-aural headphones, earbuds and canalphones.

Earbuds

A more portable type of headphone, an earbud (or earphone) is a very small headphone that fits into the outer ear. The speakers face the ear canal, but are not inserted into it. Earphones are not attached to a headband. Though the term "earbuds" does not generally refer to in-ear headphones, some manufacturers call their in-ear headphones "earbuds", which can cause some confusion. Earbuds do not provide much noise isolation, and there is a risk that users might increase the volume to unsafe levels in order to block out external sound.

Canalphones

Also called in-ear canal headphones, canalphones are similar to earbuds. They have tiny speakers, and do not attach to a headband. They are also highly portable. However, unlike earbuds, canalphones are inserted into the ear canal. Unless they are custom-made, canalphones usually come with a set of rubber or foam sleeves that fit different sized ear canals. Canalphones block external sound because they close the ear canal. They are also less likely to fall out. High quality canalphones are called "in-ear monitors", and are commonly used in the music industry.

Headphones with Extra Grip

Some headphones provide extra means of attachment to listeners' ears. They hold the headphones in place while users are engaged in sports or other activities that could cause the headphones to fall out. The two main types that buyers encounter are:

Both on-ear and in-ear headphones are available with these options.

Open-back and Closed-back Headphones

Buyers looking for circumaural and supra-aural headphones find that they are available with two types of earcup enclosures. If the backs of the headphones' ear cups are open, then it is an open-back headphone. If the backs are closed, then it is a closed-back headphone. Open-back headphones allow more ambient sound into the headphone, but produce a more natural sound.

Noise Isolating Headphones

Headphones that reduce the amount of ambient noise reaching the ears without the use of active noise cancellation are called noise isolating headphones. These are generally canalphones, or closed-back headphones of any type. The amount of noise blocked by noise isolating headphones ranges from 8 to 12 dB for closed-back headphones, to 10 to 15 dB for in-ear headphones.

Noise Cancelling Headphones

Unlike noise isolating headphones, noise cancelling headphones use active noise control to reduce ambient sound. This is done with the help of one or several microphones placed near the ear. The microphone generates a signal that matches the ambient noise. Electronic circuitry then creates the opposite, or "anti noise" signal, in the headphone speaker. The anti-noise signal effectively cancels out ambient noise. Active noise cancellation is better at cancelling lower frequencies than higher ones. Most noise cancelling headphones also feature other, passive forms of noise isolation, to block higher frequency ambient noise. Noise cancelling headphones allow users to listen to audio at low volume levels in noisy settings, such as within an aircraft. They can also be used to reduce ambient noise even when the user is not listening to audio.

Coiled Cords Vs. Straight Cords

Corded headphones are generally available with two different types of cords: straight or coiled. Coiled cords resemble telephone cords, and are usually coiled in the centre with straight sections at either end.

Types of Plugs

Corded headphones are attached to amplifiers or other devices via a connector or jack. The most commonly used jacks today are the 3.5mm "minijack" stereo connector. This connector was developed in 1979 by Sony, for use with portable Walkmans. The larger 6.35mm (1/4") jack is used in fixed home or studio equipment. Adapters are readily available to convert connectors between these two standard sizes.

Headphones with Microphones

Typically called headsets, headphones with microphones are useful for communication. They can be used on computers with VOiP clients, with cellphones, and with radios. Headsets for use on computers are available with standard connectors or with USB connectors. USB headsets are believed to be superior when used for communication with computers and laptops. Headsets allow users to handle other tasks while talking, since their hands are free.

Headphone Terminology

There are several technical terms that buyers encounter when searching for headphones. This section explains some of the more common terms.

Impedance

As impedance increases, more voltage but less current is required to drive the speakers. Lower impedance headphones offer louder sound for lower voltage devices. Newer headphones use lower impedance drivers so that they can be used with portable, battery-powered electronics that have lower output voltages.

Armature

The armature of a headphone is the part that vibrates and creates the soundwaves. When using a single armature, all frequencies of sound need to be produced by this single armature. Since it is difficult to achieve a full range of sounds with a single armature, most headphones that are made this way do not produce sound with the widest range.

Mid- and high-end headphones use more than one armature, sometimes combined with a crossover (a device that directs sounds of certain frequencies to one armature or another). This allows each armature to handle a particular range of frequencies, resulting in better sound quality.

Buying Corded Headphones with Volume Control on eBay

Buyers looking for corded headphones with volume control of any kind can find a large selection on eBay. To begin, visit eBay's homepage and enter search keywords into the search bar. If looking for something particular, buyers can enter more specific search terms. For example, entering the phrase "over ear headphones with volume control" returns a list of all the corresponding over ear headphones available on eBay. After selecting a category, buyers can filter results based on many criteria, including brand, colour, intended use, and other features.

Before committing to a purchase, buyers are advised to make sure they are buying from an authorised dealer. This ensures that headphone warranties are valid. Buyers should also determine the seller's return and exchange policy. If this information is not readily available on the item page, buyers can contact the seller directly.

Conclusion

Corded headphones with volume control are useful accessories that enable users to listen to audio while ensuring privacy. There are many different types of headphones. Some of the common methods of classifying headphones are by their shape or their features. Circumaural and supra-aural headphones feature headbands, and sit on the outside of users' ears. In-ear headphones, on the other hand, do not have headbands, and are fitted inside users' ears. Buyers should also understand the difference between "noise isolating" and "noise cancelling" headphones. Noise isolating headphones use passive means to block ambient noise, while noise cancelling headphones use active noise cancellation technology to digitally cancel external noise. Headphones with microphones are used for communication. There are specially designed headphones for sports that are made to stay on even when the user is active. Headphones with more than one armature generally produce better sound than those with only one. Corded headphones with volume control are available in electronic stores and online. Buyers in search of headphones online finds that eBay offers a wide variety to suit all budgets and tastes.

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