Headphones for All Occasions

headphonesPerhaps you are considering a new pair of headphones for the holidays, but with so many options on the market, it can be hard to know which ones to get. Making sure the headphones you choose match how you are going to use them goes a long way in determining what will sound good.

Tech blogger Brandon Gaille wrote, “In 2014, Sol Republic conducted a headphone survey and discovered that 53% of Millennials (34 years of age or younger at the time of the survey) owned at least 3 pairs of headphones. These headphones are worn for at least 4 hours per day, with 73% of users admitting that they put them on to avoid needing to interact with others.”

Even though earbuds are a standard item that comes with many electronic devices today, about 50% of headphone users report that they never use earbuds. And yet 22% of consumers say that they only use earbuds and don’t use traditional headphones.

When considering headphone use, 87% of people say that they use headphones for listening to music. 49% say that they use headphones to watch a TV show or movie. 36% say that they use headphones for listening to the radio. Interestingly enough, only 9% of people say that they use headphones to either work with sound or create music. But what about gaming???

Gaming Headphones vs. Headsets

The gamers in our family like to use headphones along with a separate microphone (like the Blue Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone). Assuming you buy a top brand of each, this setup provides the ideal combination of the best sound quality and mic quality for gaming. Unlike gaming headphones, gaming headsets have a built-in microphone for communication. For that reason, some people find headsets to be more convenient and cost-effective when on a tight budget or short on space. But unless the microphone is detachable you won’t have any multipurpose flexibility, whereas a separate headphone and mic combo is more versatile.

PCGamer says, “There are a few things to consider when choosing a gaming headset. A good price and sound quality are foremost, but comfort is up there, too. Also, noise-cancelling mics are crucial for coms… that won’t pick up every single keypress on your mechanical keyboard.” Whether you’re buying a gaming headset or headphone for gaming, look for a pair with simulated surround sound and powerful bass.

As for wired or wireless, it really comes down to preference. For wireless headphones, you don’t want to constantly have to be plugging them in because the battery life is bad. This would defeat the purpose of being wireless. For wired headphones, you want to make sure the cable is long enough to reach your PC so you can freely turn your head without tugging on the cord.

3D Insider reports, “The latest trend in headphones seems to be focused on innovation – noise-canceling headphones, headphones that deliver richer audio, and gaming headphones with very low latency. There is also a growing demand for highly durable headphones with some sort of weather-protection, making them perfect for listening to music while working out in the gym or while out for a run.” Technavio adds that headsets with equalization mode is one of the major trends being witnessed in the global gaming headset market (via BusinessWire).

Our Recommendations

Here are two examples of what we use…

LyxPro HAS-10 Headphones – “If you’re serious about music or gaming, you’ve got to get these professional closed-back wired headphones. They have neodymium magnets for superior audio quality and a wide dynamic range. The soft leather headband and ear pads are super comfortable, and rotate 180° for single ear use. These adjustable headphones are made of durable stainless steel and aluminum for strength in a lightweight design, and the screw-in jack won’t accidentally get pulled out. Two different connectors are included to fit a range of electronics. The noise-blocking aspect reduces outside sounds and helps you to concentrate. This product has a low price point, but everything about it is high quality – even the sturdy gift box with its satin cloth interior.” ~J.O.

Bluetooth WorkTunes – “These are excellent, sturdy, and super comfortable. I listen to music on my phone and the sound is so clear, all I hear is the music, it’s awesome how it cancels out the outside noises. Just wearing the headphones for peace and quiet would be amazing, or they’re really useful when working in a noisy environment like mowing the lawn. With Bluetooth you don’t have to worry about a cord pulling out all the time if you’re moving around. They are cushioned so well that I even take them shooting. Another good thing is, if you have a big head these headphones fit well. The last ones that I had were too tight and squeezed my ears.” ~R.O.

Did You Know…? Headphone designers have to balance human preferences with scientific limitations. Click here to learn about the physics, anatomy, and psychology of headphone technology.

What is your favorite type or brand of headphone? Leave a comment below!

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