This Is How You Buy The Right Headphones


Headphones or headphones can no longer be removed from the street scene today, and we also see them appearing more often in offices. And in gaming, they can be the difference between life and death.

But the headphones don’t exist. Often a compromise has to be found between price, sound quality and ease of use. With this guide we try to get you started.

For what hears what is an expression that certainly applies when buying headphones. Those who want to spend as little as possible will have to make concessions in terms of sound quality and take a step back in terms of comfort.

At the other end of the spectrum, we see over-the-top headphones for which you have to dig deep in your wallet to reach the top in sound quality.

So list in advance what the most important requirements are for you. Are you going for sound quality or rather wearing comfort such as wireless headphones? Or are you perhaps looking for headphones that, thanks to active noise cancellation, block all outside sounds as well as possible during your daily train ride?

In any case, keep in mind that the more requirements you set, the faster the price rises. It is therefore important to set a budget


1.  Type of headphones according to design:

The first step is to determine the design of the headphones. Broadly speaking, we make a distinction here between three types: over-ear, on-ear and in-ear (earplugs).


These headphones sit securely around the hours so that less outside noise seeps through. The large, soft ear cushions do not push on your ears so that they remain comfortable even during longer listening sessions. However, not everyone finds them comfortable or likes the ‘closed off’ feeling.

Often they play the card of sound quality with better drivers and better acoustics. If sound quality is paramount, then you will certainly find something to your liking in the over-ear headphones category.

A disadvantage is that you are less likely to take these over-ear headphones with you, due to their size. They are therefore ideal for home use or music during office hours.


On-ear headphones are pretty much a compromise of all important features. With this variant, the ear pads rest at your hours so that ambient sounds can still be heard. As a result, they do not have the sound quality of the over-ears.

For long-term use, they are a bit more comfortable to wear than the in-ears. In addition, they are more compact, making these headphones very useful on the go.

AudioTechnica Open Ear Headphones are Extremely Comfortable Ear-fitting Pads and people are more interested in it.


On paper, in-ear headphones – or earphones – hold most of the trump cards. Due to their compactness, they are very popular with athletes and for those who take the headphones everywhere. They are light, compact and come in many different designs: with a piece that fits around your ear, with a fin, with a band around your head, and so on.

In practice, many fail because of the wearing comfort and the sound quality. Usually they just don’t sit well in the ears, and the models with the better sound quality even have to be placed extra deep in the ear canal, with all the inconveniences that this entails.

2.  Listen to music wirelessly

One of the decisions you will have to make is choosing between wired or wireless headphones. Via Bluetooth you stream music wirelessly from your smartphone to your headphones.

Regarding the autonomy of the battery: wireless in-ears can last at least three hours on a single charge today, and they can be charged quickly (and mobile) in the meantime thanks to the included charging cases.

The larger headphones even last thirty hours or longer. This is partly due to a new Bluetooth version that requires less power than before.

Significant steps have been taken in recent times to take wireless listening to a higher level. For example, there is the Aptx variant of Bluetooth, which provides a more stable and better signal, and thus increases the sound quality. In addition, there is now also a successor, AptX-HD, which gives the sound quality a solid boost again.

In addition to Bluetooth, other technologies are also available such as LDAC from Sony. It is therefore important to take the specs and see which wireless variant the headphones support.

Where battery life used to be the limiting factor, you can already see over-ear and on-ear headphones that can easily last for tens of hours, so you can wear them for several days without having to charge once.

Another evolution of the wireless headphones is that they increasingly come with their own app for the smartphone, where you can indicate sound settings or the degree of noise reduction. You can also get an idea of ​​the remaining battery life.

3.  Active noise cancellation

Today, a version with active noise cancellation is available for almost all types of headphones. This allows us to significantly reduce most ambient noise such as traffic or airplane noise, so that the music gets all the attention. With these headphones you can completely shut yourself off from the outside world.

These headphones work as follows: small microphones pick up the surrounding sounds and produce a kind of counter-noise that cancels out the incoming sounds. The result is considerable damping of certain sounds.

When active noise cancellation is turned on, the headphones will consume a little more power. In the unlikely event that you run out of power, you can connect most wireless models wired.

4.  What are you going to use the headphones for?

Now that we’ve gotten to know important features like design, wireless or not, and active noise cancellation, you need to think about what you’ll be using the headphones for.

Headphones for sports require a lot different properties than headphones that you use for gaming, or one that you use to listen to music on the bike. We are specifically thinking of the following scenarios:

Office and commute

Headphones for office use best meet two conditions: good isolation from outside noise – think of the noisy telephone conversations of your colleagues – and a long wearing comfort so that you get through the day without red ears.

In terms of headphones, you quickly end up with the over-ear headphones with active noise cancellation (or noise canceling). Commuters or students, especially those who regularly use public transport, also benefit from such a noise reduction function.

For noise canceling headphones, the price difference can increase if you choose between a wired or wireless version. The wireless variant is quickly more expensive.

Sports headphones

The athletes among us will agree. Headphones should be as comfortable as possible, with the necessary freedom of movement. In theory, it is best to choose in-ear headphones that are wireless and sweat-resistant or waterproof.

Gaming headsets

Headphones for the gamers among us take a slightly different approach. The best sound quality is not a goal in itself, but they must, for example, be able to nicely indicate the direction of the sound. Wouldn’t you like to know if someone is stalking you, or where the bullets rain come from?

Also a strong bass, for the reproduction of explosions or crashes, is an added value. They are also quite comfortable for long playing sessions, and have a good microphone for communication with fellow players. A stable wireless connection is a must for wireless gaming headsets.

Audiophile: high-end headphones

If you want to sit back and listen to a good pot of music, you should look for a copy at the well-known HiFi brands. They put a lot of effort into sound quality, and the headphones are often finished with quality materials.

Anyone considering more expensive high-end headphones is not done with just purchasing those headphones. The entire chain – the way the music travels from the source to your ears – must also be in order. In the first instance, think of a headphone amplifier or a DAC – a digital-to-analog converter.

The better headphones can also handle high-resolution audio or hi-res audio, allowing for more detail and a more complete sound to be heard.

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