Your Guide to Buying Headphones on eBay

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Your Guide to Buying Headphones on eBay

Over the decades, music players, laptops, and tablets have become increasingly more advanced and ever more capable of dealing with high-grade media, including music and videos. Everything, from the latest hit song to a recent TV series, can be viewed on all kinds of different devices and media players. With the rise in quality of music and media players of all kinds, however, finding the right headphones is more important than ever before. After all, what is the use of having clear digital music and audio production, for example, if the headphone the music is played on does not do it justice?

Fortunately, finding and purchasing quality headphones is easy with the online auction site, eBay. On this website, consumers can shop for different types of headphones, from small, compact travel items to large, studio-quality devices. By just learning a bit about how the purchasing process works on eBay, a consumer can leverage this auction website to find an ideal pair of headphones.

Buying Headphones on eBay

There are several ways to approach buying a pair of headphones on eBay, but one of the easier methods is to utilise the site’s search bar interface. When you visit the site, you can find the search bar located on any page on the site. This interface allows you to enter a search term to find listings that are related to the term. For example, when shopping for headphones, you might enter a term such as "earphones" to begin your search. If you have a more specific type of headphones in mind, then you may enter a related search term, such as "Sony in-ear headphones", to narrow your listings.

Before placing a purchase order on eBay, however, a consumer can benefit from understanding a little about headphone technology. Additionally, the consumer should consider the different designs available on the market and the various features that come with headphones.

Headphone Designs and Styles

Headphones come in a range of styles and designs, each of which brings different benefits which may have appeal for different tastes and preferences. Issues such as wearability, comfort, sound performance, and portability are all addressed by these designs.

Intra-Aural or Ear-Fitting Headphones

There are actually two types of headphones which are worn in the ear and are actually distinct designs, but are often nonetheless conflated into one type of headphone. One is the earbud, which is worn just at the outside of the ear canal where the outer ear begins. The other is the in-ear headphone, which features a long, canal-shaped structure which can be inserted part of the way into the ear canal.

Earbuds can be advantageous for consumers who listen to music in busy areas and on the street, as the headphones can allow ambient noise in and keep users aware of their surroundings. In-ear headphones, which are sometimes called canalphones, can be isolating, as they completely block out external noise.

Supra-Aural Headphones

Supra-aural headphones are designed to be worn outside the ear. They feature small round, padded earpieces that rest on the outer ear. Supra-aural headphones can be more comfortable to wear than in-ear headphones or earbuds. They are lightweight units that do not isolate the ear, thereby letting some external noise in. Supra-aural headphones were the more common type of headphone for commercial users of portable media players for much of the 1980s and 1990s.

Circum-Aural Headphones

Circum-aural headphones, also commonly known as full-size headphones, are worn around the entire ear and have a large, heavily-padded design and structure that isolates the ear entirely from external noise. Full-size headphones are the units more often used in studio and professional settings.

Ear Cup Designs in Supra-Aural and Circum-Aural Headphones

There are two types of ear cup designs that can come on either supra-aural or circum-aural headphones and can affect the listening experience. One design type is the open-back ear cup. This style allows some external noise in so that the listener has the sensation that they are hearing the music from an outside source. A closed-back design on the other hand, completely seals off the listener so that he or she can have the sensation that the music is actually coming from within the ears themselves.

Headband Designs on Headphones

The headband designs that hold a pair of circum-aural or supra-aural headphones onto ears can vary as well. Circum-aural headphones can have sturdy, wide headbands or dual strap headbands, each of which is designed to deliver stability. Adjusters above either earpiece can allow the headphones to be perfectly positioned over the ears, depending on the size and width of a user’s head.

Supra-aural headphones can have a lighter-weight version of the over-the-head design, or a second design type, the behind-the-neck strap. Behind-the-neck straps use a band that wraps around the base of the head at the back of the neck, with the earpieces hooking onto each ear from behind. There are also supra-aural headphones which just latch on to each ear via ear hooks with no band connecting the two earpieces.

Technical Considerations When Buying Headphones

There are certain technical considerations that consumers should keep in mind when purchasing headphones. These issues, such as impedance, sensitivity, and the presence of technology such as noise reduction units or equalisers can directly affect the selection of a pair of headphones.

Impedance in Headphones

As small dynamic loudspeakers, the performance of a set of headphones can be defined by its impedance. Impedance basically defines how much resistance the circuits of a pair of headphones put up to the voltage delivered to them. Headphones with low impedance are typically in the range of 16 to 32 ohms, and headphones with high impedance can register anywhere from 100 to 600 ohms.

The impedance of headphones is important to consider, because it affects how a pair of headphones performs when ported with various players. In order to deliver the ideal frequency response and undistorted sound, it is generally recommended that a media player has an output impedance less than one-eighth of the impedance of the headphones it is driving. If the output impedance of a player is high in comparison to the headphones, the music played on it can have a good deal of distortion.

Low impedance headphones can play louder and more efficiently than higher impedance units, but should be used with a more powerful digital media player or device. Higher impedance headphones are more tolerant of a player’s weaknesses, but they can deliver a lower volume performance for the same output level addressed by a low impedance headphone.

Sensitivity of Headphones

The sensitivity rating of a pair of headphones is another consideration that consumers should look at when purchasing headphones on eBay. The sensitivity of a headphone essentially defines how loudly it plays when driven by a specific amount of power. Headphone sensitivity are "dB/mW" and "dB/mV", or the sound pressure level measured in a regular ear for a 1 kHz sinusoidal headphone input of either 1 milliwatt or one millivolt. A solid sensitivity rating can be anywhere from 90 dB or 100 dB and higher.

Noise Reduction Technology in Headphones

Noise reduction in headphones can work in one of two ways: passively and actively. A pair of headphones with passive noise reduction technology basically uses its structural design to block out external interference, such as on a pair of closed-back headphones. Active noise reduction is done by actually creating a signal that works to reduce or neutralise incoming sound waves. Various noise reduction technologies and designs can block out anything from 8 dB to 15 dB, on average.

The Purchasing Process on eBay

Once you have familiarised yourself with the different types of headphones available and run an associated search, you can begin looking at listings in detail on eBay. If a title of a listing looks particularly relevant to your needs, click on the title. This takes you to the product’s details where you can also find useful information such as the payment methods accepted by the seller or the shipping costs of the item.

Evaluating the Sellers on eBay

When you are on the detailed listing page for an item, you can also access the seller’s page and detailed information by clicking on the seller’s highlighted name. On the vendor’s page, you can look through feedback which has been submitted from other customers. You can also look through the seller’s list of past auctions to get an idea of the merchant’s range. Making sure that you are dealing with a seller who has a consistent and quality track record can go a long way towards ensuring that you get the right pair of headphones that satisfies your needs.


A pair of quality headphones can be the perfect tool for enjoying music and media privately and on the go. Modern headphones extend a range of styles to end users, from subtle, lightweight, in-ear designs to studio-grade, full-sized headphones that deliver comprehensive performance and comfort. Headphones also offer consumers the option of performance-enhancing designs and technologies that can help ensure that music is clear and free of interference from outside sources.

Whether a consumer is looking for a quick travel solution, such as earbuds, to use with a digital media player or a larger pair of headphones to use with a home stereo system, the online auction site eBay offers a diverse catalogue of options. With its easy-to-use search interface and detailed listing pages for items and sellers alike, eBay allows customers to quickly access all the information they need. The website’s many functionalities are designed to help the consumer find an ideal pair of headphones with which to enjoy music and other forms of entertainment.

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