How Much Do I Need To Spend?
Yes, it’s possible to get a fairly decent set of headphones for €50, but as with most things, you get what you pay for. If you want a pair of headphones that are comfortable, are built to last and sound great then you will need to spend more than €50. Simply put, cheap headphones won’t last and life is too short for subpar sound so why bother? Headphones are arguably the most important part of your personal audio system, whether used with your phone or your computer, on the go or at home, so now is not the time to scrimp. The real question is, what do you need, what do you want and how much are you willing to spend? Once you answer these questions, it will be a lot easier to figure out the right headphones for you. The most important part of choosing the right headphones is making sure that your money is well spent and that you get what you pay for. Sifting through hundreds of products and reviews can be daunting so let’s take a look at the things to consider.
Closed Back v Open Back
Closed back headphones are completely sealed and designed to insulate you from external noise. They also limit the music leaking out of the earpieces - which can usually happen with open-back headphones. Closed-back headphones will block out a more outside noise, meaning better isolation. In general, closed back headphones are ideal for commuting, blocking out external noise or recording audio but today's higher end closed back options can often compete with the higher end open back.
On the other hand, open headphones are designed to allow audio leakage out of the earpieces. They don't block out surrounding noise. However, open-back models can often sound more natural and clear as opposed to their closed equivalent. Open headphones are useful if you need to remain aware of your external surroundings and because they are a little more sensitive, they need to be treated with some TLC. Most high end headphones will be open back and they are ideal for listening to high quality audio files or at-home listening.
Do I Need an AMP or a DAC?
A DAC, or a digital audio converter is an essential device for enhancing your sound. Usually built into computers, smartphones and tablets, an external DAC will significantly improve your sound quality leading to a superior audio experience, and the same applies when it comes to enjoying music through your headphones. However, deciding whether or not you need an external DAC will depend on the quality of your headphones. For many listeners, the built in DAC could be sufficient but for those chasing an upgraded or purer listening experience, an external DAC will provide that.
Likewise, a dedicated AMP used in conjunction with your headphones could help drive your headphones to their true potential. Built in headphones AMP’s have limited power so investing in a separate could make all the difference to your listening experience.
Do I need ANC (Active Noise Cancellation)?
Realistically, ANC doesn’t actually improve the sound quality of your headphones, it simply removes outside distractions which results in clearer, uninterrupted sound. ANC headphones are useful for those who spend a lot of time commuting or find themselves surrounded by outside interference. ‘Situational awareness’ can be limited when using ANC, however many models now boast an ambient or transparency mode which can amplify surrounding noises instead of cancelling them out completely.
Browse our extensive range of Headphones from brands such as Sennheiser, Hifiman, Grado and Audeze or call into our Dublin store today to find out more. We can help you find the headphones that are perfect for you.