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Headphones Guides


There is an enormous difference between listening to something with low-end earbuds or headphones and with a set of good headphones. Whether it is for music, gaming, working, or another activity, the right pair of headphones can totally change the experience. There are many styles and brands that all have their own characteristics.

What is the difference between open and closed back headphones?

Open and closed back refer to the ear cups. Most models have closed backs, which means the ear cup is totally closed on the outside. On an open back model, there is a grille on the outside. Open back models have good sound detail and depth because sound waves do not bounce off the back of the ear cup and move back towards your ear.

How are on-ear and over-ear headphones different?

On-ear models rest on top of your ear, while over-ear ones have larger cups that go around the entire ear. Over-ear designs are more isolating. The difference mostly comes down to comfort and preference, because both types will deliver the same kind of sound. Joggers in particular may want over-ear models, because they will stay in place more easily while in the act of running.

What is soundstage in headphones?

Soundstage is that feeling of hearing the instruments arranged around you, as if you are sitting in the middle of the band. For gaming, it is what helps you identify the direction a sound is coming from. Some headphones specialize in soundstage. Ear cups with open backs have good soundstage because they allow for perceived spacing between the instruments and depth in the sound. Having strong soundstage makes audio engaging and realistic.

What is coloration in headphones?

Coloration refers to the change that the speakers and circuits impart to the audio. Some models, called monitors, try to be as neutral as they possibly can so they pass on the source with no changes. Others add, for example, enhanced bass, warmer midranges, or sharper high notes. This comes down to a matter of taste, and coloration makes different models suitable for different genres and uses. Often, a brand will be known for having a "house sound." Grados is known for detailed bass and Sennheiser for soaring highs, among others. Gamers will typically want an accurate and detailed sound, so they want a more even coloration. In some cases, a model will have an option to switch on some kind of modification, such as a bass boost. This adds coloration, or will have its own equalizer that you can use to modify the sound.

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