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Confused Which Headphones To Buy? Let Your Music Taste Decide
Most of us spend a considerable amount of time wearing headphones - be it listening to music, podcasts, playing games, or enjoying episodes of our favorite TV show. Many of us would likely be looking to upgrade our audio accessories, but with a plethora of options on the market, it's hard to pick the right one.
Choosing the right pair of headphones involves keeping several things in mind. A customer should be able to consider all the aspects of human elements including subjective, artistic, and scientific. So let's understand how to pick the right headphone for you. But first, let's understand the science behind it.
The Science Behind Sound
In scientific terms, sound is made of vibrations that feature several low and high-pressure zones. These vibrations are known as the cycles of a sound wave. The frequency is determined by calculating the number of cycles occurring in one second. As the frequency goes higher, the pitches go higher as well.
Researchers refer to frequencies in hertz, so a 100 Hz sound goes through 100 cycles of low and high pressure per second. The loudness of a sound is measured by the maximum pressure of a wave. As the pressure increases, the sound becomes louder. To produce sound, headphones push an electrical signal into these cycles that human ears recognize as sound.
Human ears act as sensors, allowing them to hear a wide range of pitches and different levels of loudness. When sound reaches the eardrum, it turns air vibrations into mechanical vibrations of the small middle ear bones. These vibrations are converted into electrical signals by sensitive nerves, and the brain interprets them as sound. Though humans can hear a wide range of pitches ranging from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, human hearing isn't equally responsive to all frequencies.
Headphones Take A different Approach
Headphones work exactly in the opposite way - they turn electrical signals from a smartphone or computer into vibrations in the air. Most headphones feature a magnet, a wire coil surrounding the magnet, a diaphragm to push air, and a suspension to hold the diaphragm in place.
When electrical signals move through the wires inside the headphones, the current changes and the magnet starts moving. This creates pulses of high and low pressure, eventually producing the music that the wearer hears. While this seems like a simple process, factors such as the size and material of the magnet and diaphragm prevent a speaker from producing a perfectly identical output of the input, which causes distortion.
While no headphone is capable of recreating the signal, there are several ways to distort that signal. The reason that two similarly-priced headphones could sound different is that they distort signals differently.
Preference Of Listeners Play Huge Role
Apart from the aforementioned complications, listeners have a big role in deciding an ideal pair of headphones. Factors including age, culture, and music taste all affect the kind of frequency distortion one prefers. Personal music taste is as important as anything else.
Some buyers might opt for bass-heavy headphones, while some might prefer less distortion for listening to classical beats. Headphones made for the hearing impaired highlight frequencies between 1,000 Hz and 5,000 Hz, as it helps them listen to speech properly. One can play bass-heavy tracks on these headphones, but the results might not be impressive. So choosing a headphone that matches how they will be used in long term is important.
It means the design of the headphones, the music produced by the artist, and the human experience all come together to form a perception of "good" headphones. However, despite all of that, there's no perfect way to tell which headphone is good; so, just choose your favorite song and put a pair of headphones on, and you'll have your answer.