Before you jump right in and buy a set, it’s a good idea to stop and think about the main ways you plan to use them, because a pair that are great for use in the gym might not be the best solution for listening in the comfort of your armchair. For such a simple device, headphones vary a lot more than you might at first realise. At Pick Your Best we spend a lot of time identifying how different technologies suit different lifestyles to help us match people to the right devices, try using our Product Chooser to find the right set of headphones for you.
Here we describe the main reasons we think people will want to wear headphones for listening – if you have another idea please do contact us and tell us – we’d love to hear from you.
Audio can relieve the boring bits of travelling. A pair of small headphones that fit in your ear or just on them, will give you the joy of audio on the move while remaining fairly discreet about it in public.
If you seek the ultimate listening experience at home – then high-quality headphones that are large and fit over your entire ear give the clearest, highest quality sound. If you have the time to sit back and relax you probably don’t mind a cable, but if you want to dance around or get things done while listening then going wireless will probably help.
Audio can provide the motivation you need to power through your exercise. In-ear headphones that are a comfortable fit are a good choice – but if you are particularly active you might want the extra security of an ear hook, because we don’t your tunes falling out to be the excuse to slow down or stop!
Monitoring that perfect synch needs headphones that will completely block external sounds so you can focus on the cued up track. Larger, over ear headphones will suit you best, and those that are higher powered will allow you to play the music loud without distortion.
Zone into your own world with a pair of headphones that have technology to actively block out external noise. You might also find it useful to have a microphone, for those times when you have to speak to others on a conference call.
If it’s just as important that your headphones look good as well as sound good – then you are in luck as today headphones come in multiple different styles and colours, so you can choose a set that give real impact to your style.
For most people any of the headphones available in Pick Your Best will sound great. If you are serious about sound and have the budget then you can opt for the very best - but you will need the very best audio device to make this worthwhile (streaming audio or CDs won't be good enough).
Noise cancellation headphones use a technology that reduces the amount of background noise (chattering people or the rumble of the train) so that your music is unspoilt. Look for this if you regularly listen to your music in noisy environments, or simply want to block out the outside world.
We have identified 3 types of headphones. In-Ear have small earbuds that fit snuggly inside your ear, perfect for those on the go. On-Ear sit on top of your ear, whilst they let in some background noise they are generally comfortable, light and easy to carry around. Over-Ear models are the biggest, sitting over the top of your entire ear, helping block out the outside world. They generally offer the highest sound quality.
If you don't want wires getting in your way and you can afford the extra cost you can opt for a wireless pair leaving you free to move around untangled. Most wireless headphones can connect to your phone or music player using a technology called Bluetooth. However there are some advanced headphones that use a dedicated transmitter that you need to plug into your home hifi system.