Headphones To Please Any Type of Audiophile

By: Erica Cuffsmith

In sharp contrast to what was available in the market just a few decades ago, there are a surprising number and variety of headphones on offer for the discerning consumer today. In the past all you could get were the studio monitor stets, the big chunky ones worn over the ears, or the inexpensive portable units.

There have been many advances in headphone technology over the past few decades, and now the consumer has a plethora of different shapes, sizes, styles and technologies to choose from. "Ear buds", "Back phones", "Canal phones" and "electrostatic headphones" are just a few of the types offered in today's high tech headphone market. In the article we will review the different types of headphones available today and touch on the features and benefits of the individual types.

The home user would go in for a studio monitor category headphone. This style of headphone has been around since ages and some models sold in the market are still the same.The studio monitor is a standard "over the ear" option that are common in radio and music studios. They Regularlyhave a inch plug (as opposed to the smaller 1/8 inch or "mini" plug).

Audiophiles will typically tell you that the "open" variety sounds more robust and has a fuller soundstage, at the expense of "sound leakage" (people around you will be able to hear what you are listening to and vice versa) that is not as noticeable in closed variety 'phones which provide a higher level of sonic isolation.

For the listener on the go, there are many varieties to choose from. Ear "buds" are a very popular type of headphone which are commonly included in the packaging when you purchase a new audio player. These bud type headphones slip into the outer ear and provide minimal isolation from the outside world. While there are a few exceptions, the majority of bud type headphones on the market are cheap and do not sound very good to the discerning ear.

If you like the small form factor of buds but want something with a little more "oomph", you may wish to consider "canal" phones. Canal phones are much like buds, but actually fit inside the ear canal (buds never make it past the outer ear lobe). Because they actually fit inside the canal, canal phones provide a much better seal than ear buds which allows for a higher degree of sound isolation and bass response for the listener. Silicone or foam ear plug type tips allow for comfort and safety during prolonged use. Be prepared to shell out a little more cash for the better quality canal phones, as vendors such as Etymotic and Ultimate Ears have models which sell between $350-$1000 USD.

The last type of phone we will discuss is "back phones". Back phones are very similar to the open, circum aural phones popularized in the 70s and 80s, with the notable exception of the headband's placement which, instead of being over the head like the older variety, is behind the head, which results in a more comfortable fit for athletics or the listener on the go.

There are so many types of headphones that can cater to your needs. Thus enjoy your shopping and happy listening.

Copyright 2006, Erica Cuffsmith, All Rights Reserved. This article may be published on web sites or in newsletters provided this notice and the resource box is included without ammendment.

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Erica Cuffsmith runs the All Headphones, web site that focuses on a range of resources about the many advances in headphone technology over the past few decades. For more details, go to: www.allheadphones.com

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