Learn About Headphones

Become an Expert

Whether you have a background in audio or are brand new to headphones, there's always more to learn. Headphones.com is a dedicated resource for everything to do with headphones - everything from information that can help you make the right choice for the type of sound you want, to the vast body of knowledge on headphones in general that our community members have developed over the years.

If you're new to high performance headphones and you want to learn, this is the place to get started. This section will also get updated with links to more in-depth information as more gets published.

The Basics

There are a number of different types of headphones. From over-ear to in-ear, the following links explain the differences among them.

Amps, DACs & Sources

Headphone Amplifiers

A headphone amplifier is simply a miniature power amplifier specifically designed to drive the tiny speakers inside headphones. Headphone amps are most useful with certain power-hungry high-impedance audiophile headphones that can benefit from the improved clean power of a dedicated amp. A headphone amp can improve detail resolution and dynamic range extension and maximize overall musical clarity.

Because headphones are often used with portable devices, some headphone amps are battery-powered for use on the go. 

Some headphone amps also include built-in digital to analog converters (DACs) with a USB or optical port to connect directly with a laptop, PC or tablet, as well as optical and coaxial connections for compatibility with other digital audio sources.

Read more about headphone amplifiers here.

Digital to Analogue Converters (DAC)

Every common device that you connect a headphone to (laptop, tablet, phone), will have a DAC in it. This is what's used to convert the digital signal your device is sending, to the analog signal the amplifier receives (and eventually your headphones or speakers).

There are many different types of DAC chips that get implemented in various devices, but the problem with conventional devices is that the DAC unit is integrated with the rest of the system, and not isolated on its own.

Read more about DACs here.

Measurements & Frequency Response

When doing research on which headphones to buy, you'll inevitably come across frequency response measurements of some kind. When approaching these measurements, it's important to have some understanding of what they mean.

Learn about measurements and frequency response here.

Learn about source equipment measurements here.

    How Does Frequency Response Impact Sound Signature?

    In order to get an idea of the headphones you're most likely to enjoy, it's important to also understand how different frequency response ranges impact sound signature. That way when you see a frequency response graph, you'll know how deviations from a given target are going to impact the music that you listen to.

    Learn how frequency response impacts sound signature here.

    Additional Information

    Now that we've covered the basics, some of you may want to go more in-depth and learn more about headphones. More information and topics will be added here over time, so continue to check back for links to additional information as it gets published. In the meantime, you'll find additional information in The HEADPHONE Community Forum. This is a great place to ask questions if you're looking for anything specific.

    Additional Guides