APPLICATION - Get the right headphone for your listening activity!
Find the activity below that matches your headphone use, and we'll help you find a way to get beautiful music into your head no matter what you're doing.
Travel: Going somewhere? Here's what you'll need to bring your music along for the ride.
Whether it's airplane, train, or the carpool van, the most important aspect of travel listening is to isolate yourself from external ambient noise so you can relax and enjoy your journey and your tunes. When you have effective ambient isolation, you can also listen enjoyably at safe volumes since you won't have to overcome noisy settings by turning up the music.
The best isolation possible is achieved with in ear headphones, which provide around -20dB to -35dB of isolation along with excellent sound quality in the best models. However, some people have difficulty wearing them comfortably, and it can be inconvenient if you have to keep pulling them in and out of your ears.
The next best isolation factor is provided by noise cancelling headphones, which provide about -15dB to -25dB of isolation. The biggest downside with these cans is that noise-cancelling circuitry adds to the cost of the headphones while not providing the best overall sound quality. The battery powered noise-cancelling design is most effective for airline or train travel.
Closed headphones offer the least isolation at around -10dB to -20dB at best and do not effectively isolate the low rumbling frequencies of airplane and train travel. On the upside, closed headphones can sound quite good and comfortable to wear at good prices. They will also function beautifully in many other listening environments such as offices or dorm rooms.
Your ears are a beautifully designed early warning system and much of their work happens subconsciously. If you use in ear headphones that totally block out ambient sounds, casually walking across a parking lot becomes potentially dangerous.
When you engage in outdoor sports, it is important to use headphones that allow you to hear your surroundings. And it's equally important to turn your music down far enough to hear external sounds. The truth is, we don't ever really recommend using headphones while participating in active outdoor sports. Its just too risky for yourself and others.
Anyone who exercises at the gym knows that great music is a huge asset to a workout routine. After all, what else than your favorite playlist could get you motivated at 6:30 a.m.? When selecting active-use and exercise headphones, it's important to consider where exactly you'll be doing most of your listening - indoor or outdoor.
Indoor exercise at the gym or in your home is usually best accomplished with in ear headphones or closed headphones, which isolate at varying levels from outside noise and distraction. When running, walking, or cycling outdoors, you need open headphones, such as an on-ear style, that allow you to hear traffic and other potential hazards.
In all cases, your headphones will work as hard as you do and must withstand varying conditions, have sweat-proof properties and flexible cords for easy stowaway. When purchasing headphones for exercise, we recommend focusing on durability, fit and comfort over extreme audio fidelity, although most listeners will find themselves happily satisfied with our recommendations. Of course, lightweight headphones will "jiggle" less on your head than heavier cans.
Headphones For Running & Jogging
The above headphone recommendations work for running and jogging, but only in an area that is completely isolated from traffic, like on a running track.
We help you select headphones for television and movie watching.
Headphone recommendations and our advice on getting the best audio possible from your computer.
Accurate and bullet-proof headphones for professionals, DJs and studio use.
The three major requirements for headphones in the rough and tumble world of professional use are 1) the headphones must sound good and have a fairly 'flat' un-hyped audio response; 2) they should be closed/sealed design so that the listener is isolated from ambient sound; and 3) they need to be durable enough to survive a working environment.
Quality headphone gear is a great addition to your audiophile listening room.
Although we think headphone systems for audiophiles are most often used as a way to get a superb listening experience in varied locations, there are a couple of undeniable reasons to get a high-end headphone rig into your listening room.
Most importantly, the true high-end of precise audio resolution today exists on the best audiophile headphones.
Big room speakers will always present the physical intensity of sound better, but headphones deliver complete isolation and deep intimacy with the recording in a far more immersive way than speakers. If you find yourself hearing things on your big rig but can't quite make out the textures and tiny nuances, a listen on top audiophile headphones will make every minute musical detail plainly apparent. The comment we get most from audiophiles is that they regularly hear things on the best headphones that they've never heard before on their $50,000 speaker system. Additionally, a killer audiophile headphone system will deliver a listening experience that's just as musically satisfying as a big speaker system, and do it without disturbing others late at night.
If you missed any of our Headphone 101 introduction to headphones series, click on the topic of your choice below!