What are the best headphones for me? Headphones come in many forms. On these pages we explain the types of headphones and commonly used techniques, so that you can make the best choice for your head, style and music taste when buying headphones.
What is the difference between ‘on-ear’ and ‘over ear’ headphones?
The first thing you should know before buying headphones are what types of headphones are available in the market. With on-ear headphones – also called ‘supra aural headphones’ – the ear pads rest on your ears. As a result, the headphones do not close completely, so you can also continue to hear ambient noise, which is safer if you listen to music on the bike. This also works the other way, so your environment can also hear your music. On-ear headphones are therefore less suitable for public transport, for example.
With over-ear headphones – also called ‘circumaural headphones’ – the cushions are all around your ears. As a result, you are more closed off from your environment and you hear less ambient noise than with on-ear headphones. Over-ear headphones are generally more comfortable because they do not press on your ear, but also heavier. If you want to be completely isolated from your environment, choose headphones with noise canceling.
What types of wireless headphones are there? You should know before buying headphones
There are three ways to listen to music (or TV) wirelessly. Read in detail about type of headphones here.
Bluetooth or NFC headphones
Nowadays all smartphones, computers and tablets have Bluetooth, so pairing is a breeze. You let your device search for Bluetooth devices and your headphones are paired within seconds. Bluetooth is also on some TVs, so you can also watch TV wirelessly.
In addition to Bluetooth, some smartphones have NFC (Near Field Communication). You can connect even more easily, by simply holding the devices together – such as with contactless payment, for which NFC is also used.
Headphones for watching TV
Some headphones work with radio frequencies (RF) and are especially suitable for watching TV. This way you can watch TV without disturbing others, or watch TV at your own volume – for example if the volume has to be higher for you than for others. These headphones have a transmission station / charging station that you connect to the headphone jack of your TV (or other devices with a headphone output such as audio sets). This station then connects wirelessly to the headphones. Two things to watch out for with radio frequency headphones:
- Make sure your device has a headphone output
- With most TVs, there is no sound from the speakers when something is in the headphone output. If this is undesirable, check how this works for your television (in the menu or manual).
What is noise canceling?
Noise canceling headphones have become extremely popular recently because they really cut you off from the environment. Noise canceling headphones work on the principle of anti-noise. Sound consists of sound waves with a certain shape (amplitude). Noise canceling headphones measure the ambient noise and respond to it with a signal reversed to the ambient noise. The ambient noise is thus canceled and you only hear what you want to hear. Ideal for on the plane, times when you want to concentrate or simply don’t feel like ambient noise.
There is a difference in the degree of noise canceling between different headphones and price ranges. In general, more expensive headphones also have better noise canceling and reduce ambient noise better (or even completely). Read more about noise cancelling.
You have wireless earbuds and full wireless earbuds. Some wireless earbuds do contain a cable between the earbuds, which lies in your neck. You connect the earbuds with bluetooth, so you don’t have a wire to your phone, which can get in the way, for example, when exercising. You charge the earbuds with a USB cable.
Fully wireless earbuds (‘true wireless’) are truly 100% wireless for the most freedom of movement. When you’re done listening, put the earbuds in the supplied charging case, which immediately charges the buds – you also need to charge the case from time to time, of course. With touches or buttons on the caps you control the music or telephone calls.
Make phone calls and control the music with your headphones
Bluetooth headphones usually have a microphone for hands-free calling and buttons on the ear cups for, for example, taking a call, previous / next music track or the volume. That way you don’t have to take your phone out of your pocket for these things. Very safe and easy.
Wired headphones and earbuds often have the microphone and the music controls in the wire.