3 Important Questions to Ask before Buying a Headphone

3 Important Questions to Ask before Buying a Headphone

Freedom of movement, sound quality, ambient noise … These are just some of the criteria to consider when buying a headset. Be sure to test the headset on the device with which you intend to use it. In this way, you will avoid a bad purchase. Find out the best earbuds under 50 here!

3 Important Questions to Ask before Buying a Headphone

3 Important Questions to Ask before Buying a Headphone

More or less ambient noise

Depending on your use of your headset, it may be more interesting to opt for an open rather than a closed model. Furthermore, the elimination of background noise can also be useful in several cases.

Closed helmets have a tightly closed resonance chamber and thus provide relative acoustic insulation in both directions: they leave little or no ambient noise, and vice versa, the sound of the helmet does not “leak” the environment. Generally, such models are used for professional purposes (eg by engineers, sound technicians or dj). In the picture below, you can see that the shells are totally opaque, which is typical of closed models.

Like closed helmets, the open helmet also has an arch that surrounds the head. However, openings or openings have been provided in the shells to let the air pass through. These headphones provide a more generous and very faithful sound, they are often preferred for high fidelity listening.


Elimination of background noise

The majority of helmets (including closed models) allows more or less background noise. If you want to listen to your music without being disturbed, a headset with elimination of background noise can also be interesting. On these models, an electronic device integrated in the cable or the shells filters the sound frequencies and neutralizes unwanted noise. Such a helmet can not counteract strident voices, but only constant noises, such as the motor of a car or a fan.

Noise Elimination

Most headphones with background noise elimination nevertheless produce parasitic noises (also called white noise), a kind of slight constant humming. Sometimes it’s barely audible, but in the worst case, such white noise diminishes the sound quality.

It is therefore practical to be able to disable the elimination of background noise in a quiet place in order to enjoy an optimal sound reproduction. Some models work as an ordinary headset, others do not. All models equipped with this device are not able to attenuate the ambient noise with as much efficiency.

With or without wire?

For optimal sound quality, a headphone connected to your player is still the best solution. Another advantage over a wireless model is that it works without batteries. The disadvantage is that your freedom of movement is limited by the length of the cable (2.5 to 4 m). However, many wireless models can be used today with or without wires. This can be useful when the batteries are flat or when you want to listen to your music with the best quality.

If you opt for a model with cable, preferably choose a copy with removable cable. A fixed cable will break more quickly, for example when you pull it. In addition, a fixed cable is less easy to replace.

All wireless headphones work with built-in rechargeable batteries. Some use a specific type of battery, which you can only replace with batteries of that brand. And of course, these batteries are often more expensive than standard batteries. The battery life may vary greatly depending on the model.

Through a wireless connection, you not only have greater freedom of movement, but can also broadcast the same sound through different headphones at the same time. Wireless headsets generally operate by infrared, radio frequency (RF) or Bluetooth. Infrared and RF can be used on all devices with a headphone output.

With infrared audio headphones, the sound is transmitted via a separate transmitter (connected to the sound source). The headphones incorporate an amplifier and a receiver that converts infrared signals into sound signals. This wireless connection offers great freedom of movement, as long as there is no obstacle between the transmitter and the headset (a visual connection is required). Disadvantage: the infrared connection provides a lower sound quality, sometimes with background noise and distortion. In addition, the connection can be hindered by bright light, such as the sun for example. An infrared audio headphone is great for watching TV for example.

Radio-frequency (RF) headphones receive sound as well as infrared headphones via a transmitter connected to the sound source. To be able to receive sound, the headset and transmitter must be set to the same frequency. You have total freedom of movement, as radio waves are not obstructed by obstacles. Some models have a range of 200 m. Like the infrared models, the sound quality decreases slightly. In addition, RF is very sensitive to interference, for example with tv, when the transmitter is too close or in the presence of similar devices in the vicinity. Nevertheless, you always have the choice between 2 or 3 channels of emission.


Bluetooth headsets are directly connected to the sound source via the Bluetooth connection of the transmitter. To be able to receive sound, you must enter a password (found in the manual) and pair the headset with the transmitter. With NFC, it’s less complex. Simply put your headset and tablet or smartphone together to establish a Bluetooth connection. The latest Bluetooth standard (Apt-X) delivers high-quality stereo sound.

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