What to look for in your over-ear headphones

Over-ear headphones are used by many in different environments. From offices, libraries, on the bus etc. Some headphones can have a high price range and list all these features and designs that some may find confusing. Here are some factors to look for when deciding your next headphone purchase.

First off is comfort,

There are many designs of headphones in the market today. It is important to figure out which is the most comfortable as some users may spend hours with their headphones on. There are some important factors that determine if a headphone will be comfortable for you. A big factor is the ear pad design. Every person’s ear can be different, small, big, round, pointy etc. It is always important to look at the shape of the ear pad and see if it fits you. If you have large ears then you wouldn’t want small ear pads putting pressure on your ears. Another factor is types of padding. This will vary between top tier headphones and low tier pairs. Some high end headphones will feature memory foam, leather padded designs while some may feature generic foam. There are still great padding in cheaper headphones for example the HyperX Cloud is less than 100 dollars and features the same memory foam padding as other brands. It is always important to see which you would prefer and if you would care a lot about the padding.

How you use your headphones is also important. Do you move around a lot, are you constantly listening to music or always have a pair of headphones on etc. All these are factors when buying a pair of headphones. There are 2 important factors that we will compare.

Wired vs Wireless

Wired:

Pros:

  • No need to charge
  • Usually has better sound quality
  • More compatible with some devices

Cons:

  • Wires can tangle and dangle
  • Some wired headphones use different ports, USB, 3.5mm etc. Adapters may be needed
  • Once a wire is cut, hard to fix

Wireless:

Pros:

  • No wires
  • Can take anywhere
  • Bluetooth range is increasing each model
  • Quality has been increasing each year

Cons:

  • Battery life can deplete quickly
  • Wireless features can disconnect randomly
  • Not compatible with every device. (Some in-flight entertainment systems on planes only accept 3.5mm wired connections)
Wireless headphones have been advancing in technology such as charging stations from Sennheiser

The other factor is the difference between open back headphones and closed back. This makes a large difference in how you use your headphones.

Open back means that the sides of the headphones have holes that go through to your ear. This allows for air to breathe through the headphones and allows for a more natural and deeper listening. The downside of the open back design is a higher chance of damaging the insides and no noise isolation as you can hear things around you and some people may hear what you are listening to.

Open back headphones are more visible from the sides

Open Back

Pros:

  • More natural sounding, better audio quality.
  • Typically more comfortable due to more airflow
  • Better quality on audio files

Cons:

  • Little noise isolation, not good for public spaces
  • People may hear what you are listening to due to open holes
  • Lifespan can be affected due to open area in the headphones
  • Can have a flimsier construction

Closed back as the name suggests has the opposite features of a open back pair of headphones. Instead of holes on the side, it completely blocks out the sides of the headphones. This means, the only way air can get inside the headphones is through the speaker inside. This design allows for noise isolation, a denser and more secure build but results in a downgrade in audio experience due to the isolation.

Closed back headphones compared to open back, have a closed side for isolation

Closed back

Pros:

  • Noise isolation for both ends
  • Higher life span
  • Better construction
  • Better for public spaces

Cons:

  • Audio quality lacking compared to open
  • Can be a heavier build
  • Lack of airflow can affect comfort

Both styles of headphones will do their job well. Its your choice on which benefits are more worth for you and if you fit within these environments of listening.

There are many other factors that help determine which pair of headphones is best for you. It is always recommended if you can try the pair before hand at local computer stores or other retailers. Remember to always factor in your lifestyle and how you would use headphones in your daily lives. It can help determine between wired or wireless and open-back or closed-back headphones.

Here at Big City, we offer some great headphones from American Audio. We carry the BL-40 and BL-60 closed back headphones which are a great choice for your next headphone purchase.

– Benson Lam

AMERICAN AUDIO BL-40 CLOSED BACK HEADPHONES

AMERICAN AUDIO BL-60 CLOSED BACK HEADPHONES