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With so many options available to bring music closer to your ears, identifying which headphones you need based on how you’re going to use them can be challenging. You might be looking for something audiophile-grade for studio work, or maybe you’re just looking for a pair that actually stays in your ears while jogging. The good news is whether you’re a gamer, need some tunes during your workout, or if you’re looking for a hands-free option for your cell phone, you have lots of options. Today they come in such a variety of styles, levels of sound quality, and price points, that there won’t be a problem finding a pair that suits your lifestyle and needs.
At the top of most people’s list will be sound quality, and the levels available are as varied as the styles of headsets on the market. With today’s cutting-edge technology, even small headphones can carry rich sound. Something important to consider when selecting your headphones is frequency response and sensitivity. These, combined with driver size unit and the advancements in noise-reduction technology, have placed high quality sound within the reaches of almost anyone.
Type and Functionality
What you plan on using the headphones for will also help determine what kind you need.
If you’re a gamer, a DJ, an audio producer, or just want to listen to your tunes while sitting on a comfy couch, a pair of larger, over-ear headphones is your best solution. Over-ear headphones tend to offer the highest quality sound with the ability to block out environmental noise, so you can do whatever it is you do in peace – and without disturbing others. These headphones sit at the higher end of the spectrum of offerings. Please note that some gaming headphones are platform-specific, so they’ll only work with the device they were designed for – depending on how they’re connected to your system. Speak with a Product Expert in-store for more information.
Those constantly on the go are probably looking for something a little smaller that they can quickly swap from their music player to their laptop on the fly, and easily pack away when not in use. In which case, a comfortable set of in-ear headphones (also called ear buds) will do the trick. Ear buds are found in all price points, with higher end models including features like swappable in-ear buds, and sound isolation technology.
On-ear headphones are something of a hybrid of over-ear and in-ear headphones, with a selection of styles and designs to suit just about every taste and purpose. They sit on top of your ear (rather than engulfing it), and are usually more compact than your typical over-ear model. Many on-ear models have larger drivers that deliver bigger sound, and come in a selection of colours and styles.
Style, Fit and Comfort
Chances are you don’t want to pair a set of earbuds with your home production studio or home theatre system, and wearing over-ear DJ headphones while jogging isn’t particularly practical. Regardless of how you plan to use your headphones, Future Shop carries hundreds of different models in varying styles, colours, and fits, so it’s never hard to find a pair that are comfortable.
The continuing development and advances in audio technology offer professional quality sound for the average listener. Everyone can benefit from the advances that have made the purest sound both accessible and affordable.
Noise Cancelling Technology
Developed for use by pilots, noise cancelling technology operates on the principal of eliminating unwanted low-frequency noise (such as that created by airplanes) by adding phase-inverted anti-noise. Small microphones pick up the surrounding ambient noise and then generate an identical, but opposite signal. As a result, the two signals almost cancel each other out, so the sound coming through the headphones is much clearer. This function requires batteries.
Noise Isolation Technology
Unlike noise cancellation, noise isolation (sometimes called sound isolation) is found in in-ear models and uses a passive system that seals the headphone in your ear canal, preventing unwanted ambient noise from ruining the mix. While not as high-tech as its active counterpart, this small function does a great job of keeping out most unwanted noise. Most headphones that include noise isolation come complete with different sized ear cushions that accommodate a large range of ear sizes, and they don’t require batteries.
Call Control and Microphone
With smartphones quickly reaching near-ubiquitous status, millions of people now have their phone, media player, and internet device on them at all times. As a result, manufacturers have started making headphones that include a small microphone that lets you take and make calls, hands-free, and even adjust audio levels and change songs at the same time.
The length of the cord on your new headphones might be an afterthought, but it shouldn’t be. Too long and you’ll find yourself constantly burdened with ravelling, unravelling, snagging, tripping over, and untangling them. Too short and accidentally yanking them out of your ears or off your head will be an all too-familiar experience. We can’t tell you how long your cord needs to be. But if you consider how you’re using your headphones, you should be able to come up with your ideal length.
Headphones with Adapters
Sometimes you want to listen to your music through your home theatre, and sometimes you want to listen to it on your iPod. The problem is higher-end A/V and pro audio equipment usually comes with a 1/4-inch headphone input, while your iPod or iPhone accepts a 3.5mm jack. If this is the case, look for a set of headphones that include an adapter that gives you full compatibility with both.
3.5mm to 1/4-inch Adapter
As mentioned above, not all audio sources accept the same size plugs. Most personal media players and smartphones have a 3.5mm jack while high end A/V and pro audio gear usually comes equipped with a 1/4-inch jack. If you own equipment that only accepts the latter, you can pick up an adapter that will let you connect your headphones to almost any audio device without problems.
You know those times when you want to share a song – or part of a song – with a friend? And they like it? And you end up having to share your headphones with them? With both of your necks bending at an awkward 45-degree angle so that you don’t accidentally yank the headphones out of your ears? But you do anyway? A splitter will allow more than one pair of headphones to be connected to a portable media player or audio device, so the person you want to share with simply needs to plug in their headphones to hear the same thing you do.
Headphones are the best way to get up close and personal with your media – whether it’s music, games, or movies. A high quality pair not only takes the aural experience to the next level, it also provides hours of comfortable wearing, with an array of optional features, too. Future Shop carries hundreds of different models, styles, colours, and types to suit just about person or purpose. Check out our selection online, or head into a Future Shop location near you.
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