Earbuds or over-the-ear headphones? A concise guide for the discerning audiophile.

About Me
Busking for extra money

I had some training as a musician, and around Christmas, I hit the streets with my brother to earn some spare money busking. We used to perform acoustically, but we couldn't keep it going for as long as we wanted. When we switched to using a microphone and a proper speaker, we could stay out there for longer and attract more passersby as our music sounded clearer and more professional. This blog has some tips for other buskers looking to buy some audio visual equipment to help increase their music quality (as well as increase the amount of money they make!).

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Earbuds or over-the-ear headphones? A concise guide for the discerning audiophile.

19 December 2016
 Categories: , Blog


When it comes to listening to music for personal enjoyment, most serious audiophiles prefer headphones. While an expensive speaker system can still provide an excellent listening experience, people who like to enjoy audio (and visual) content – without causing excess noise pollution – will regularly turn to headphones. But what kind of headphones should you purchase? Naturally, the answer to this depends highly upon your listening requirements. For example, if you want noise-cancelling headphones, over-the-ear headphones are typically the way to go. However, noise-cancelling headphones aren't the exclusive domain of over-the-ear headphones; in fact, there is a slew of in-ear earbuds that offer the same noise-cancelling functionality.

Then there are wireless headphones. While most serious audiophiles still prefer wired headphones, casual listeners might prefer the convenience and manoeuvrability that wireless headphones can provide. There are some downsides with wireless headphones, however, and that includes a slight reduction in audio fidelity (in some cases), battery issues, and potential audio dropouts. Moreover, it also makes them easier to lose, especially as they aren't physically connected with your device. While this guide is focusing on which style of headphones are right for you, the pros and cons of wireless headphones is definitely something you should consider seriously.

If you're a DJ, go for wired. In fact, when it comes to any kind of DJ equipment, wireless connections tend to be a bad idea. The last thing you want is for your headphones to run out of juice or your audio to drop out mid-set. In some cases, such as the iPhone 7, having wired headphones becomes more complicated. With the adoption of the new AirPods, Apple have cut out the long-established 3.5 mm headphone jack. If you use such a device and don't want to deal with annoying dongles, then either purchase headphones that work with the Lightning adapter or, better yet, don't buy a phone that doesn't have a 3.5 mm jack.

If you're a movie enthusiast (and you like to watch movies through headphones), over-the-ear headphones tend to provide a richer soundscape. Many over-the-ear headphones can also provide virtual 7.1 surround sound, which will give you a much richer sound experience than standard stereo. The same can also be applied to music, of course, although surround sound on music albums is less common. Many people buy both over-the-ear headphones and in-ear earbuds, so think about your style and what you want in a pair of headphones and then make an informed decision.