headphones : Computer Hardware Buyers’ Glossary

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headphones headphones
Introduction The Ideal
Testing Headphones or Headset?
Impedance Shopping for Headphones
Tips Links
Connectors

Introduction

aka earphones, especially the in-ear type. Headsets, in contrast, include a microphone. For the same dollars, you can get much higher sound quality with headphones or earphones than with speakers. With earphones you can block out the noise surrounding you and the sound you are listening to will not bother others. Some have sound-cancelling logic to filter out background sound. Some earphones/headphones let you hear background sound. Some seal it out. You might use earphones on your computer sound output or on your Mp3 player. The current state of the art is the Sonomax Soundcage. It can be programmed to let through only certain outside frequencies or volumes.

Testing

Most stores now won’t let you try out headphones or earphones before you buy. There are several problems with this:

One way around this is to buy only products you have tried out belonging to a friend. You can also check out reviews from as many different sources as possible.

Impedance

Headphones for phones, laptops and PCs are under 50 Ω. High end headphones for stereo systems may be 250 or even 600 Ω which require a headphone amplifier. Your PC does not care the impedance for a USB (Universal Serial Bus) headphone/headset.

Tips

Connectors

For digital-noise-free quality, you use USB connectors. They can produce 6.1 or 7.1 or in theory any number of channels. The sound ports that come with the motherboard typically offer a connector for a 3.5 mm stereo jack. Apple products such as iPod, iPad, iPhone all use the 3.5 mm stereo jack too. Eventually, Apple may offer proprietary digital sound headphones using its lightning connector.

The Ideal

I would like a product like this, designed for home office use, which I have not seen advertised:

Headphones or Headset?

Advantages of a Headset

Disadvantages of a Headset

Advantages of a Separate Headphone/Microphone

Disadvantages of a Separate Headphone/Microphone

Shopping for Headphones

electronic product image recommend electronic⇒Bedphones Gen. 3 On-Ear Sleep Headphones - Blueto electronic home
asin B017GLFG2C
Earphones are padded, reinforced and thin to make them suitable for use when sleeping. Come in black or blue. You wear one pressed against each ear. Plug: standard 3.5mm stereo, gold-plated. Frequency Range: 20 — 20kHz. (not particularly impressive.) I bought some for my roommate. She said that even with the padding, the earphones were too hard to sleep on. Further she said the earphones would not stay in position. They work for casual use, but not for sleeping. FAQ
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electronic product image recommend electronic⇒JVC HARX900 full size Stereo Earphonesto electronic home
asin B0013P3ZOE
non-USB headphone. No microphone. Full size. Big pillowy padding. Specs.
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electronic product image recommend electronic⇒Sennheiser HD215 Headphoneto electronic home
asin B003LPTB4M
There is some confusion if this is called a HD215 or and HD215II. The HD215 may be an older version. Closed. 12 — 22000 Hz. Reviews suggest this is comfortable and durable. I concur, it is comfortable, however, the band that goes over your head is made of plastic. That suggests it will break easily. However, the foam will start to flake off after the first year. You can buy replacement ear pads. It is not USB. It comes with two sizes of jack (one screwed inside the other) so you can use it on your computer or your stereo. DJ class. It strongly cuts out room noise. You insert it in the lime green socket on your PC, and, in the control panel, configure your PC to use speakers, not headphones. It does not have a volume control on the cord. You use your stereo or PC volume controls. It has a long stretchy coiled cord. It does not get fouled around furniture the way an uncoiled cord does. This is what I have myself. I am quite pleased with it. About the only negative is it feels clammy after extended use. It was my second choice after the Beyerdynamic MMX 2 which has been discontinued. specs.
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electronic product image recommend electronic⇒Harmon AKG Q 701 Quincy Jones Signature Reference-Class Premium Headphonesto electronic home
asin B004444O46
non-USB headphone. No microphone. Lime with black accents. Three different gold-plated tips. Made in Austria. 10Hz to 39.8kHz.
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electronic product image recommend electronic⇒Bose QuietComfort 15 Headphonesto electronic home
asin B0054JJ0QW
Non-USB. Noise cancelling. Designed primarily to hook up to a stereo. Has a connector for use in airplanes. Use battery that lasts 35 hours. They use conventional cables. Goes around the ear. The Model 3 is on-ear. Bose does not divulge the specifications. They expect you to trust they will be good just because of the brand name. details. Wirecutter.com say they do the best noise cancelling.
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electronic product image recommend electronic⇒Sony h.ear on Premium Hi-Res Stereo Headphones, Lime Yellow.to electronic home
asin B015ZDH4EQ
Also come in Viridian Blue, Charcoal Black, Bordeaux Pink and Cinnabar Red. Solid vibrant colours, not just accents. Not USB. Connector: L-shaped gold-plated 4-pole mini plug. I don’t know anything that uses this format of plug directly. You would think you would need some sort of adapter to convert it into 3-pole plug that the PC uses, but some say it will work directly. 5—60,000 Hz. specs.
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electronic product image recommend electronic⇒PSB M4U 1 High Performance Over-Ear Headphonesto electronic home
asin B00AFUE7S6
No noise suppression. Top rated by Wirecutter.com. Comes in white, red, grey and black. No USB connection. Specs.
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electronic product image recommend electronic⇒Sennheiser RS 180 Digital Wireless Headphone Systemto electronic home
asin B002TLT10S
discontinued icon
Includes charging station. Non-USB. specs.
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electronic product image recommend electronic⇒PSB M4U 2 Active Noise-Cancelling Headphonesto electronic home
asin B007TTD7VO
With noise suppression. No USB connection. Top rated by Wirecutter.com. Comes in white, red, grey and black. Specs.
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electronic product image recommend electronic⇒Beyerdynamic T1 2nd Generation Audiophile Stereo Headphones with Dynamic Semi-Open Design (Silver)to electronic home
asin B015ACX03G
600 Ω Make sure your stereo is capable of driving it. Over the ear. Noise isolation.
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