Since they were successfully developed for the first time by Nathaniel Baldwin nearly a hundred years ago, headphones have evolved from highly dangerous and sensitive devices, such as the ones used for early radio work, into the modern technology that is comfortable, portable, less sensitive, user friendly, and customizable.
Headphones are essentially a pair of small audio speakers that are placed in close proximity to the ears. When a microphone is added to the device, it becomes known as a headset. 'Earspeakers', or 'cans', are colloquial terms used for headphones. In-ear versions are sometimes referred to as earphones, or earbuds.
Reviewing the different types of headphones and their pros and cons helps buyers decide among the many varieties. Thorough research leads to an informed decision and selection of the most suitable product. Headphones are readily available on the eBay site in numerous styles with various features to satisfy a diverse clientele.
Types of Headphones
The choice of a particular set of headphones rests with the listener and his or her particular needs and budget. A balance between portability and fidelity needs to be maintained while making a choice. Headphones that are used at home can be heavier and larger than headphones that need to be more portable. Common types of headphones include circumaural, supra-aural, earbuds, and in-ear headphones.
Circumaural headphones are full-size, corded headphones that have large circular ear pads that cover the ears. They can be designed in a way that fully seals against the ears where no external noise can intrude, and the audio is crystal clear. They are typically large in size with some sets weighing more than 500 grams, which can cause some discomfort for the listener. To cope with the size, an ergonomic headband and ear pad design is imperative.
Supra-aural headphones feature ear pads that are pressed against the ears rather than completely covering the ears. They are comparatively lighter in weight than circumaural headphones, but they offer less resistance to the intrusion of external noise.
Types of Earcups
Both circumaural and supra-aural headphones can be further categorised on the basis of earcup type. Open-back headphones, as the name suggests, are headphones that have earcups with open backs, which creates a more natural or speaker-like sound because the sound leaks from the headphones into the atmosphere. Closed-back headphones, also known as sealed headphones, have a smaller soundscape, which creates the perception that the sound is coming from within the listener's head. These headphones can block 8 to 32 decibels of ambient noise.
Earbuds are small in size, have high portability, and lack a headband. They fit in the outer ear and do not enter the ear canal. Foam pads are often included with earbuds for the comfort of the listener. Although they are convenient to carry around, earbuds are prone to falling out of the ears. Unlike many large headphones, prices start at very economical rates.
Earbuds cannot block ambient noise very effectively. In order to compensate for that, users may turn up the volume, and that can have serious consequences. On the other hand, they enable the listener to be more aware of his surroundings, which can prevent serious accidents.
Just like earbuds, in-ear headphones (or canalphones) lack a headband, are small in size, and have high portability. The difference is that in-ear headphones are inserted into ear canals. They provide better sound isolation and are less prone to falling out of the ears. In fact, in-ear headphones cancel external noise quite effectively. This increases the sound quality, but it can be extremely dangerous, as well, as it tends to make an individual less aware of his or her surroundings.
Audio engineers often use in-ear monitors (IEMs) that are, in fact, high quality in-ear headphones. For noise isolation and added comfort, manufacturers use the castings of an ear canal to make elastomer plugs or silicone rubber inserts to fit the ears. Custom made in-ear monitors are more expensive than ordinary in-ear monitors, and the resale value, considering that they are less likely to fit another user, is also quite low.
Corded vs. Cordless Headphones
If the connection of the headphones to the audio source, such as a mobile phone, portable media player, CD player, or radio, is made using a wire, it is a corded headphone. On the other hand, wireless receivers are used to capture signals without using wires on cordless headphones. Both types of headphones have their own pros and cons. Corded headphones are preferred by most users for their higher quality sound as compared to cordless headphones in the same price range. Generally speaking, cordless headphones are far more expensive than corded headphones and produce either a similar or inferior sound quality. eBay boasts a huge variety of both corded and cordless headphones.
As with other signal devices, both corded and cordless headphones do come with potential side effects, as well. Some headphones may have more of an effect on the body than others. It primarily depends on the overall quality of the headphones and the usage. As mentioned, when it comes to earbuds, they do not cancel out external noise, which may cause a user to turn up the volume in order to compensate. This can lead to hearing loss, mental illness, and heart problems. Some cordless headphones operate using strong signals that can affect the human brain. Excessive use of headphones can also cause pain in the outer ear.
Needless to say, headphones should be used in moderation to avoid any injuries or effects like masking, and all necessary precautions should be taken.
Choosing Ideal Headphones
There are many useful tips, instructions, suggestions, and warnings to keep in mind when choosing headphones. The first question a buyer should be answering is why does he or she need headphones, and what particular features should the headphones have. Next, a buyer has to decide if he or she wants a headphone amplifier. Amps not only provide some extra volume, but they also substantially help drive headphones. Price is a considerable factor in this case, as only headphone enthusiasts are willing to pay a large amount for amps most of the time.
When finalising a budget, a buyer should keep in mind that a high price does not always mean better sound. The higher price may also reflect the presence of gadgets and additional features that are not necessarily required by every user. Different headphones have different settings to balance the bass and treble. Before making a purchase, a buyer needs to determine the sound he or she likes most. An average user may not care about these differences or even recognise they exist.
A buyer must choose between open or closed headphones, and both have their pros and cons. Open headphones have comparatively better sound quality, but they leak sound that can disturb nearby people. They do, however, allow a user to remain alert to his or her surroundings. Closed headphones, on the other hand, provide an isolated environment for the listener, and people nearby are not disturbed.
A buyer can choose between circumaural, supra-aural, earbuds, or in-ear headphones. Depending on the long-term plan for use, he or she may want to select the style that is most comfortable. Different headphone community forums are present online. User experiences and other relevant information can easily be accessed to facilitate the decision making process.
How to Buy Corded Headphones on eBay
eBay features a lot of varieties of corded and cordless headphones that are suitable for a diverse set of buyers, and the eBay home page is a good place to begin your search for the headphones that are right for you. The easiest way to find headphones on eBay is to enter your query into the search bar. Once the results page appears, you can view the different varieties of available headphones that match your query. For example, if you enter the term 'corded headphones', 'cordless headphones', or simply 'headphones' into the search bar, you can find more specific or very general results.
For some queries, you might also want to view pages in the 'related searches' section to find the right item. To save on postage, you can try to find headphones that are in your local area. Once the transaction is complete, you can collect the headphones in person.
In order to make an informed decision when purchasing headphones, a buyer should know about the different types of headphones, the pros and cons of each type, changing headphone trends, and some useful tips and suggestions that make the purchase an easy one.
Circumaural, supra-aural, earbuds, and in-ear headphones are four common categories of headphones. The first two can be further categorised on the basis of their earcup type into open-back and closed-back headphones. Soundscape for open-back headphones is more spacious, as compared to that of closed-back headphones. The latter two headphone styles are ear-fitting types that do not use a headband.
eBay offers a wide range of corded and cordless headphones in a variety of brands, price ranges, styles, and conditions. With such a diverse selection available, virtually any buyer is guaranteed to find the headphones they need.