What are the types of headphones and how they differ

Often when there is a discussion of some type of earphones, many there is a misunderstanding. Sometimes it is too difficult to understand, than differ from in-ear-ear and full-size from the invoices. The phrase ”monitor headphones” evokes the image of a gamer with a headset, and ”reinforcement” remind me of the site. Most people just do not know those terms and brings them just one word ”headphones”. Actually not all that difficult and the main types of headphones just a few. Let’s refresh their memory and understand what you should choose.

Headphones are quite different.

First and foremost, you should decide what headphones are divided into groups according to three main criteria:

  • Housing design
  • Emitter design
  • Acoustic design

Some combinations of the above are only one option and cannot overlap with other categories. But, first and foremost, it is necessary to determine the structure of the body. For 90 percent of users this is enough, and this characteristic is the main when choosing headphones.

The contents

Housing design headphone

Usually the headphone housing design is divided into four types.


The normal ear is familiar to all.

This type is well-known for affordable smartphones and old players. Earlier, before the appearance of other variants, these headphones were the most common. Now they can be found mostly in tour buses and other places where it is necessary to distribute individual headphones that cost a little more than 12 cents.

The main disadvantage is the low quality sound in inexpensive models, and poor insulation from external noise. Because of this, the sound quality will suffer even more. However, if these headphones are made good, in a quiet room, they will sound relatively good.

A variety of these headphones can be called has gained popularity after the release of EarPods counterparts. Often they are put in a set of OPPO smartphones and sell in cheap stores.


In-ear headphones are the most popular.

In-ear headphones, they are droplets or plugs began to gain popularity a little more than 10 years ago and have since become the most common method of listening to music for billions of people.

The main advantages of this type of headphones include high sound quality, good protection from outside noise and strong bass. Only downside is idiosyncrasy. Personally heard the opinion of these headphones, which was to ensure that the person does not like, when in the ear tucked a finger. To each his own, what can I say.

For convenience it may be advisable to try to change the ear pads (the same rubber part, which is included in the ear). Usually in the set there are three sizes, but some manufacturers put up to a dozen options, but the most expensive models are even equipped with ear cushions of various types — rubber, silicone, foam and so on.

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I have long enjoyed it these headphones, have not yet moved on to other options. Though still carry a wireless in-ear headphones. They are especially convenient for use during exercise.


Headphones do not love it, but they also have fans.

Headphones quite often there are those who do not want something sticking in your ear. The essence of these headphones is that ears are attached to the two ears connected by a headband. Are relatively inexpensive models of decent quality.

Among the main structural differences between these headphones can be note the presence of the more expensive options comfortable padded headband and soft ear cushions (the part that is adjacent to the ear). Sound quality differences and, as a rule, they directly depend on the cost of the headphones. The rule ”the more odd the better” here overall.

Most in the headphones many people do not like the fact that they compress the ear, which from this very tired even after a short time of use. I am one of those people and prefer to refrain from using this type of headphones.


Full-size headphones or cover the whole ear, or do they fit it inside.

This category is a bit larger than it might seem at first glance. It is generally believed that those full-sized headphones that cover the ear entirely unlike overhead, but still rely on him and not on his head, placing ear entirely inward.

The second option is sometimes referred to as a monitor, but I have a different opinion, which is increasingly common in recent years. According to this view headphones are not allocated in a separate group and also belong to the full-size. Then, as you like, but they are really closer to the subtype of the full-size. I myself mostly use such headphones Bose QC35II. They are good because they don’t press on the ear and allow long to use them comfortably.

Another advantage of these headphones will be higher quality sound. Membrane liners and gags usually has a size of about 10 mm, overhead up to 20 mm and about 30 mm. full-size Some professional models even go up to 70 mm.

Headphones with bone conduction

This type of headphone is even hard to call headphones. They are just attached to the skull in the temple area and transmit the vibration to the bone. The principle of operation is based on the fact that part of the sound we hear not with the ears, namely the vibrations of the skull, which are transmitted to the inner ear.

It seems to have headphones, or they don’t. But the sound is still there.

These headphones are not widely popular, though you can achieve greater security, for example, when riding a bike. Their use results in an interesting effect when the sound comes from the head. That is, it is just there and all. It felt very unusual.

Since we're talking about headphones, here's a selection of the best smartphones for listening music in 2019.

Sometimes these headphones are used by the military in conjunction with the system that reads the vibrations of the larynx. Such means of communication do not give the high quality, but have their advantages that can be important during a battle or special operations.

Emitter design headphone

Dynamic headphones

This is the most simple, inexpensive and common emitter design. It is based on the membrane which are connected to the coil, forcing it to oscillate under the action of alternating current. Such a design has pros and cons. But it is the combination of availability and sufficient for most sound quality makes this type of radiator is very popular in all types of headphones.

Headphone design with dinamicheskim radiator.

Electrostatic headphones

The emitter of electrostatic headphones is a thin membrane that oscillates in the acoustic field. The main difference from the previous type is substantially reduced inertia. Such membrane can more clearly work out the sudden changes of the signal.

Of electrostatic headphones. A strange name and equally unusual product.

To work these headphones need more voltage compared to other types of membranes. This leads to the necessity of using a special amplifier. But the tension not so high that headphones are considered dangerous. The only drawback is the open design, which is found in most models. That is, they are more suitable for home listening. In the subway with them to do nothing.

Isodynamic headphones

Sometimes called the isodynamic planar transducers. They represent the membrane, which is applied to the voice coil. The design is placed in a powerful magnetic field and from the sandwich to extract the sound. We can say that this type of membrane is an attempt to combine the advantages of both dynamic and electrostatic transducers.

To work isodynamic radiator you might also need an amplifier. The design of these headphones can be both closed and open, and the distinctive feature is the relatively low sensitivity that one must consider when choosing.

The view is nothing unusual, but it is not so simple.

The advantage of this emitter is the large area of the membrane. This leads to the fact that the sound becomes more detailed. In addition, they do an excellent job with high frequencies, ideal for listening to music in digital formats High Resolution. However, the price of these headphones bite and starts from a few tens of thousands of rubles.

Reinforcing headphones

This is one of the most progressive types of in-ear headphones with excellent sensitivity and very high fidelity.

These headphones are for those who need good soundproofing and high quality sound that can match even monitor headphones with high-class. The basis construction is based on a ferromagnetic plate of U-shape around which the voice coil is located. The electrical signals cause fluctuations in the magnetic field, in which the anchor is rotated back and forth around its axis, transmitting the force on the membrane. The result of such exposure, the diaphragm and reproduces the sound waves that we hear.

The approximate scheme of work of reinforcing the headphones.

The only, but significant drawback of reinforcing the headphones is a smaller frequency range. But manufacturers have learned to work around the issue, complementing the design of the dynamic emitter. The use of additional drivers that allows you to get a very good sound picture, but this design emphasizes all the flaws of the track. So you need to choose music of good quality.

Acoustic design headphones

Closed headphones

To determine the closed headphones is not difficult. In their case there are no holes or slots. This usually allows to achieve better isolation from external noise, but these headphones can be more dangerous.

Also there is a perception that closed headphones are more dangerous to health, so as to have a greater impact on the eardrum, but this opinion was refuted many times.

As usual with all technologies there are pros and cons. Have closed design good insulation.

It should also be noted that closed headphones can be of any type and with any type of emitter. The same applies to open headphones.

Open headphones

Not difficult to guess that the open headphones are the opposition closed. That is, they have holes or slits for the smaller dependence of the membrane from the pressure inside and the penetration of external sound inside. Sometimes this is a side effect, and sometimes the opposite idea.

Openings on the case are different.

Evolution of open headphones to consider headphones with a microphone on the external part of the body that allows you to enable the transparency mode and without removing the headphones to hear everything going on outside. You can even combine the advantages of closed and open design. The user will choose what he wants.

What types of headphones exist?

There are other ways of dividing the headphones, but there and so all is clear. For example, it is not necessary to explain what ”wired” and ”wireless” headphones. Although, it is worth noting that the higher version of Bluetooth for wireless headphones, the higher the sound quality and range. The most expensive models are equipped with Bluetooth 5.0, but it can be found in more affordable models. Of course, for them the smartphone must also support this Protocol.

If you go into deep detail, you can find more 100500 characteristics of headphones, but you have to understand what they need. To listen every day is quite suitable dynamic drivers in any case. If you want to bother with uncompressed formats, warm-up and other audiophillia, it is necessary to delve into this issue. If no such desire, you can just buy earbuds at the local supermarket. But before buying a better test headphones. Find a store where such a possibility is, as a rule, is not difficult.

Among the ordinary mass consumer headphone rule ”more is better” overall. Just remember that the transition to more expensive headphones one-sided. You just can not come back and will always buy something better. And audiophile be short-lived.

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