Can I use my headphones while working with the wood?
Headphones come in very different forms, which can vary depending on the intended use. The next sections deal with the shape of the ears, the construction of the ear cups and the types of headphones such as wired and wireless headphones.
We differentiate between construction forms that have to do with the concern with the ear and the features.
- Over ear headphones
- On-ear headphones / on-ear headphones
- Headphones and headset (headphones with microphone)
- In-ear headphones / earphones
These are explained in more detail below.
Over ear headphones
In this type, the ears are completely enclosed by large pads. Over-ear headphones are comparatively large and heavy, so they are not the most mobile.
But with them the highest sound quality is possible. They also offer the strongest soundproofing.
On-ear headphones / on-ear headphones
Here, medium-sized pads lie on the ears instead of enclosing them. On-ear headphones can be made very compact.
They are very mobile and the first choice for many DJs due to their easier handling when putting on, taking off and listening to one side.
Headphones and headset (headphones with microphone)
Choose a headset if you regularly need headphones AND a microphone. The classic German term for this is "headphone-speaking combination", suitable for air traffic controllers, radio commentators, etc. In general, they ensure that your hands remain free at the workplace.
They are also very popular today for team communication in multiplayer games or streaming for Let's Plays and the like.
In-ear headphones / earphones
Earphones or in-ear headphones (short form: in-ears) sit in the ear. Your plugs are pushed an inch into your ear canals.
They are many times smaller, lighter and hardly noticeable with the right earmolds. Since they offer by far the greatest freedom of movement, they are essential for sports and musicians who want to listen to themselves or their bandmates during a live performance.
This term can be used to distinguish it from in-ears - it refers to all headphones whose earpieces are firmly connected to one another via a bracket.
Reading tip: in-ear monitoring
The design of the headphones or their auricles has a decisive influence on the sound. A note: The tips below apply in general, but there may still be differences between different manufacturers and models.
With an "open" headphone, the outside of the auricle is perforated, slit or otherwise permeable to sound - from the inside to the outside and vice versa. Optimal conditions for ...
- Particularly spatial, "liberated" sound
- Good air circulation and low heat generation
When headphones are designed to be closed, the shells are locked, which means that hardly any sound penetrates inside or outside. The advantages:
- Working and listening to music without (loud) ambient noise
- People in the area are not disturbed
- No crosstalk into the microphone during recordings (especially vocal recording)
A compromise between open and closed, i.e. a mixture of the mentioned advantages and disadvantages of both types.
In our experience, they could be characterized as follows: Open enough for good spatiality in the sound, but not closed enough to avoid crosstalk into the microphone or to offer a high level of sound insulation.
More on this: Headphones difference: open, closed & half-open
Up to this point we had it from the different construction of the ear cups, the construction forms of the headphones in general and technologically - now we come to the different types from wireless headphones to in-ears.
Wireless headphones / wireless
If you want freedom of movement and easy commissioning without tangled cables, you need wireless headphones. With all the comfort you have to consider two things:
- Power supply via batteries is absolutely necessary
- With Bluetooth (see below), digital-to-analog converters must be installed
After all, today's wireless headphones usually have a running time of two-digit hours and high-quality Bluetooth models have good converters on board.
The short-range wireless technology Bluetooth is the dominant standard for wireless headphones on devices such as smartphones, tablets & Co.
Digital signals are sent via Bluetooth, up to a distance of about ten meters. Normally this enables perfect transmission quality, similar to DAB radio. The good sound "only" depends on the integrated converter and the quality of the headphones themselves (membranes, voice coils, etc.)
It is also possible to pair the transmitter (smartphones etc.) and receiver (Bluetooth headphones). After being separated in the meantime, the devices “remember each other” and are automatically connected.
Wireless headphones / wireless headphones
The term "wireless headphones" also includes those that do not receive via Bluetooth, but rather via infrared or the 2.4 gigahertz frequency band, which is used for WLAN, among other things.
These copies usually only work with a certain transmitter (the supplied combination of charging station and antenna) or very similar models from the same manufacturer.
Such wireless headphones can transmit analog or digital. With the former, a slight hissing noise can be heard, but the range is very high - up to 100 meters are possible.
Reading tip: wireless headphones
Noise canceling headphones
Headphones with Active Noise Canceling (or Cancellation) operate active noise suppression: They "listen" to ambient noise with one or more small microphones and then mix a signal to the normally played music that is supposed to suppress the noise to a large extent.
This mixed signal is the so-called counter-sound or anti-sound for microphone recording - in reverse polarity (wave troughs and peaks neutralize each other). This works particularly well with monotonous, even noises such as in road, rail and air traffic.
For this technology, the appropriate electronics and a battery must be integrated. This increases the weight a little and the noise suppression is limited in its duration.
All about Active Noise Cancellation
Headphones for monitoring during recording
In the studio or on stage, musicians can use headphones to listen to themselves and / or accompanying playback music. If you stand close to the microphone - for example when recording a vocal - closed headphones are the top priority. With open or semi-open models, the sound from the headphones would be quietly heard in the recording. This can hardly or not at all be remedied in audio editing.
Headphones for this application do not have to sound as balanced and differentiated as those for mixing (see below).
Guide + leaderboard: recording headphones
Headphones for mixing and mastering
A wide transmission range (deep bass, lofty heights), balance of the frequency ranges, good spatiality, accurate dynamics and more are important here.
The sound insulation does not play a role, so that headphones in an open design with their generous spatial sound are very popular.
Info + top models: headphones for mastering & mixing
When it comes to DJ headphones, the properties listed below are particularly important. You can get background information, further information and a market overview with models from € 20 via the link below.
- Robust construction
- Spiral cable fed on one side
- Flexible joints for one-ear hearing + wearing around the neck
- Strong shielding from outside noise
- More dynamic, louder, not too "sharp" sound
Discover the right one: DJ headphones recommendation
Only in-ears can be used as sports headphones. They stay stuck even with physical movement, are very small and light. In addition, they do not restrict the body's freedom of movement as much as normal headphones.
Wireless versions with Bluetooth for easy pairing with smartphones are particularly practical. However, most sports headphones have a cable - the two earphones are connected to it and are practically »captive«.
In addition, sports headphones should be insensitive to sweat and splash water, which makes them easy to clean. We recommend models based on the IPX5 standard:
- IPX4 - protection against splash water, washable with a damp cloth
- IPX5 - Washable under running water (»water jets«)
- IPX5 - protection against strong water jets
- IPX6 - Withstands brief immersion
- IPX7 - Withstands permanent immersion
Headphones for children
Safety standards should be observed, especially with children's headphones: certification according to the European safety standard EN71 is a plus point.
Equally important is an automatic volume control or limitation to protect the offspring's hearing. Of course, the comfort should also be right - with moderate contact pressure and soft cushions (ear cups and headband).
If you are looking for headphones for your smartphone / cell phone, the best thing to do is to look out for these things:
- High sensitivity for sufficient volume
- Integrated microphone for phone calls
- Cable remote control or buttons / touch fields on the housing for ...
- Answering calls
- Jump to the next piece of music
- Increase and decrease volume
You are probably looking for wireless headphones so that you can watch TV in comfort. And you probably already have a television set that should now be accompanied by the right headphones.
So check which audio outputs your TV or receiver has. At least one of these outputs should match the corresponding input on the transmitter of the wireless headphones. Preferably via a single cable, i.e. without an adapter or adapter cable for translation.
To be able to completely immerse yourself in a movie or your favorite series, noise-canceling headphones are recommended. A small wheel or plus / minus buttons for quick volume control are also practical.
USB headphones are almost always a headset for private or professional communication via Skype & Co., multiplayer games and more. With an integrated microphone that can be folded out or bent into shape. Because a USB cable can be used to ...
- Play sound from the computer or console
- Record / send the microphone signal
For PC & consoles: Gaming Headset Guide
With some wireless headphones - with or without a microphone - the USB port (increasingly USB-C) serves as a charging socket for the battery.
Here you are probably looking for a relatively slim headset or USB headphones, i.e. headphones with an integrated microphone. There are analog or digital models:
- Analog: works via the integrated sound card of the PC (kl
- Digital: Works via the USB interface of the PC
Digital PC headphones are the easiest to set up and use: Plug in a single cable, set the headphones in the desired software for playback / recording, and you're good to go.
Any commercially available headphones can be used as airplane headphones with a small adapter. This adapter has a socket and two adjacent plugs in 6.3 millimeter format (mini jack).
Are you looking for headphones with noise canceling against aircraft noise? In a chapter above and a separate article you will learn how this works and which models are recommended.
Apart from that, closed models with a high level of sound insulation are of course best suited per se.
Headphone test winner 2019
There are also new headphones this year that stand out from the crowd and that we would like to introduce here. The selection of our headphones recommendations ranges from studio to consumer - there is something for everyone.
The Fostex T60RP is a real eye-catcher.
These headphones from the traditional brand catch the eye with their elegant wood look, with which they fit perfectly in any studio or living room. The wood is African mahogany, the ear pads of which are made of synthetic leather.
Its orthodynamic technology promises particularly low resonance vibrations when the membrane is excited. This is guaranteed by the patented RP membrane, the principle of which can also be found in other models from the manufacturer.
Its differentiated sound is aimed at audiophiles as well as for work in the recording studio.
Street price: 299.00 euros
The Neumann NDH 20 shows that the manufacturer is also very good at studio headphones.
This model is the debut of the Berlin manufacturer, which was previously more known for microphones and loudspeakers. What remains the same, however, is that this device is also aimed at recording studios and scores points with its sober sound.
The closed headphones also offer accurate sound transparency as well as very good impulse fidelity and spatiality. The closed construction and the soundproofing of the ambient noise are ideally suited for recording.
Its folding construction and first-class workmanship make these headphones a good companion for on the go.
Street price: 499.00 euros
The Focal Listen Professional is designed for the recording studio and brings color to it.
Focal Listen Professional
The French manufacturer wins over the hearts of its audiophile customers from year to year - no wonder, because the makers themselves are real music lovers and value the details. All the components of these headphones contribute to the sound - right through to the ear pads.
The membrane of this model is made of a Mylar-Titanium alloy. It has a conical shape, which, according to the manufacturer, ensures very high transparency and accurate dynamics.
The closed headphones are ideal for recording sessions in the recording studio. Due to its 32 ohm impedance, it does not place too high demands on the headphone amplifier and can also be turned up quite loud on the MP3 player. Its low weight also makes it a loyal companion on the go.
Street price: 229.00 euros
The t.bone HD 2000 NC headphones come with a sound-suppressing technology that makes them perfect for living room enjoyment.
t.bone HD 2000 NC
These wireless headphones with Bluetooth from Thomann are aimed at price-conscious users who do not want to forego technological features such as active noise canceling.
The t.bone HD 2000 NC connects to each receiver via Bluetooth protocol v4.1 and can be used there for up to six hours at a time. And that with active noise cancellation activated.
It offers freedom of movement of up to 10 meters (depending on the environment), but can also be connected via cable. The circumaural model has a loud 97 dB - enough to work undisturbed in the studio or watch TV.
Street price: 59.00 euros
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In the following we have compiled some of the most important or famous headphone brands for you. There are numerous other manufacturers that have not been considered at this point.
The French manufacturer comes from the corner with audiophile HiFi demands and now also offers studio headphones and models for consumers. The story begins in 1979 when the company focused on speaker drivers.
One of the largest traditional brands - excellent studio headphones were and are made by hand in the Heilbronn factory. The first model was made in 1937. For some time now, the company has been putting out its feelers in the consumer market and is also convincing there with high-quality models.
One of the headphone brands par excellence. For many decades, Lower Saxony has been drawing attention to itself with innovations and today everything is offered that is available in headphones. From simple, inexpensive PC headphones (headset) to extravagant, tube-amplified models for audiophiles.
The Berlin manufacturer Neumann has become known for its microphones. Since the takeover by Sennheiser, various loudspeakers and studio headphones have been successfully positioned on the market.
The manufacturer has excelled mainly for casual, private listening at home, on the go and during sports. Not least in the area of noise-canceling headphones they have been able to convince in recent years, but the portfolio is constantly being expanded.
In the USA, JBL has a sonorous name in the audio sector and today the products are becoming more and more popular in this country too. If you are on the road for professionals in other areas (especially with speakers), headphones are primarily aimed at private users.
One of the most renowned specialists for in-ear monitors. For years, earphones have been manufactured specifically for musicians who want to listen to their voices or their instruments on stage. The range includes made-to-measure models (“Custom Fit”) and now also wireless ones.
The Viennese company has a glorious tradition; the first headphones were launched on the market as early as 1949. Together with Sennheiser and beyerdynamic, they have had a lasting impact on the radio, television and sound studio market. Headphones of all kinds are offered, whether for studio use, DJing or private use.
The electronics manufacturer from the Netherlands was founded in 1891 and is still there today. When it comes to headphones, there is a sizable range for music listeners of all ages, for sports and more.
The Japanese electronics giant is deeply rooted in the headphone segment. The range includes some studio classics, hi-fi models of all quality classes, in-ears and, recently, first-rate noise-canceling headphones.
The youngest company on our list is from the USA. After the company was founded in 2003, it offered mobile phone headphones, and later the range was expanded to include sports headphones and gaming models with surround sound. Backpacks, bags & Co. complete the holistic range that is aimed at a young audience.
Another Japanese company with a strong tradition in the professional field that also has a good reputation for headphones. The product range has long been very broad in terms of headphones and in-ears - for home and recording studios, live mixing and DJing, but also for gaming and more.
- Headphone driver
The drivers built into headphones - roughly speaking, the membranes, voice coils and the technology behind them - can be constructed in different ways. These types are common: dynamic, magnetostatic and electrostatic, each with different advantages and disadvantages. So-called balanced armature drivers can also be used exclusively with in-ears.
- Headphone Impedance (Ohm)
The impedance, measured in ohms (Ω), is one of the factors that determine how loud headphones can get. Ultimately, the decisive factor is the sensitivity, but the ohm number gives a good indication of the possible uses of a model (e.g. 16 Ω = loud enough for smartphones / 600 Ω = powerful headphone amplifier required)
- Transmission range
Indicates roughly how deep the bass and how high the treble can sound in Hertz (Hz). The lower the first Hertz number and the higher the second, the better. Theoretically. Different measurement methods and inaccurate information on data sheets make direct model comparisons difficult. There are also many other, mostly more important quality criteria and ultimately you have to check for yourself how good headphones sound.
- Distortion factor
Roughly speaking, a measure of the tonal distortion caused by the enrichment of overtones when a signal is reproduced via headphones. The distortion factor (or the largely identical similar measured value for THD ("total harmonic distortion") hardly plays a role here. Current models have a negligible distortion factor that is barely audible.
- Headphone care
Follow our tips so that you can enjoy your copy for a long time and it always remains clean and aesthetically flawless. What should you watch out for with in-ears and large headset headphones? What smart tricks are there with home remedies? That and more in the article.
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