[box] Can-Confusititus: An affliction typically occurring when consumers are trying to choose a pair of good headphones appropriate for their tastes, needs, and budget. Symptoms include extreme confusion when searching for headphones, listening to false and empty advertising claims and endorsements, and making purchases based on features at the expense of sound quality. Consumers may or may not be aware of said infliction at time of infection.[/box] The good news is... if you are reading this blog, you are probably not a victim! But with so much conflicting information out there, it's easy to find many who are. In fact, confusion starts with general headphone terminology. The terms headphone "style", versus "type", versus "feature" are all used interchangeably depending on the informational resource. Waters are further muddied when referencing a particular headphone type; for example a full-sizeheadphone is also called an around-the-ear headphone, while the technical term is circumaural headphone. In-ear headphones, those that nest in the middle ear canal (as opposed to earbuds that sit in the outer ear) are are also known as earphones, ear canal headphone, or in ear monitors (IEM's). Then there's the term "noise cancelling". What a mess. Many people (we would go so far to say most average consumers) simply don't know that "noise cancelling" refers to specific electronics used to cancel outside noises, usually with an emphasis toward low frequencies. They also may not know that passive noise blocking can occur with a traditional closed, or sealed, headphone, which simply creates a seal at the ear cups and naturally keeps sound from leaking in, or out, of the headphones. While noise cancelling technology has improved over the years, a closed headphone will nearly always outperform a noise cancelling dollar for dollar in terms of sonic quality. Closed headphones typically block about the same decibel level but usually are not as effective in blocking low frequencies. Your problem is our mission. These are just a few misconceptions that we try to dispel every day on the phone while speaking with the afflicted. So, we thought it may be time for the Headphone Samurai to take a stab at clarifying some of the major headphone types, and more importantly where and why they are most effectively used.
That said, there is a lot we did not cover, so please tell us what we missed and which headphone types or styles you would like to know more about. And, please pass this on to anyone who may be suffering from Can-Conufusititus... the good news is, there IS a cure!
The new Sennheiser PXC 550 wireless headphones are the epitome of high-end noise-cancelling smartphone-ready Bluetooth audiophile headphones. Our opinion is we may have a new leader in this very popular headphone category.
The newest Bluetooth 5.0 scheme has just become available. That bodes well for the future of improved Bluetooth headphone sound coming soon. Meanwhile, we've found a few pretty good Bluetooth headphones ready for your footloose wire-free jams now.
At only 25% the cost of its stunning big brother - the $4,000 Focal Utopia - the Focal Elear delivers at least 90% of the Utopia's deep sound quality and lightning-fast dynamic grasp. That highly impressive math is why the Elear is clearly the 'bang-for-the-buck' winner in audiophile headphones.