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How to Choose Headphones – Part 2 Cost and Sound Isolation

After you have decided between earbuds and headphones the next step should be fairly obvious, decide what is in your price range.

1. Evaluating the sound isolation feature of the headphone: Isolating the sound means how much music can be heard without any exterior noise. It is very irritating to increase the volume just to override the sound of traffic. This feature also helps in saving battery life by preventing useless increase in sound just to hear properly.

The best types of earphones which block sound are in ear headphones and earbuds. The huge headphones worn by DJs also provide the same effect by creating a sealed cover around the ear.

While buying the huge DJ type headphones, make sure to see whether they have a closed or open back. The open ones sound more natural, but people will hear the music and you will also hear exterior noise. These kind of headphones work well in home where you have a quiet atmosphere. On the other had closed headphones are better at isolating noise and make the music sound better. The bad point is that they are a bit uncomfortable. Many people like the closed ones because of a strong bass effect and their ability to isolate sound, while some prefer the open backed one for their natural sound.


What a local LA man carries with him.
What style fits you?
Headphone Choices!

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

2. Check the frequency range. The wider the frequency range, the more you can hear. Usually 10Hz to 25,000 Hz will be recommended.

Also it’s important to see the sound curve, response curve of frequency, sound signature or whatever it is called. The higher the lower end on the graph, the more bass you will experience. This is not an indication that the bass will be precise or good. Example: Beats headphones are known to have a very strong bass but the bass is considered to be very heavy and boomy without any precision.

Most headphones which fall under $100 will have a U shaped curve, which means their mid range is cut. They will sound very good to the ears in the beginning but you won’t be able to distinguish between other layers of music. One the other hand flat response headphones don’t have any range and all layers can be equally heard. If a person is used to U curves, then they won’t enjoy flat response headphones and consider them quite boring.

3. Only if you are willing to pay a good amount of money, consider noise cancellation feature. This will cost you above 250$ if you want a good one. Noise cancellation is not considered value for money as lot of times the music also gets cancelled, and thus you will be forced to turn up the volume. There are few brands which provide noise reduction. They are Etymotic or Bose. These brands have spongy earplugs which fill the ear canal and prevent exterior sound leaks inside. You can use cheap over-ear protectors over the ear buds to cancel most ambient noise. If you are very choosy and fussy about it, then you can even consider low costing noise cancellation earphones from brands like Panasonic. They cost about 50$.

4. Do not ever forget to test them before buying. The best way to know the features and sound of the headphones is to test them out. If your friend owns one, try them out or go to a store which will allow you to try them. Keep some money in hand, about 200$ and walk into an electronic store which has a 30 day return policy. Before trying on any headphone, make sure you remove the earwax from the headphones or earbuds.

5. An important thing to check is the impedance of the headphones. If you want to listen to the best sound, match the impedance of your headphone to your audio device. Measured in ohms, if it does not match, then you will have to turn up the volumes more that the one of a matched pair.

6. The last step is to use your own ears to analyze. You are the one who is going to use the headphones everyday and it is very important to be comfortable with it. There might be cheap earphones which sound similar to a costly one. Go for the cheap one in that case. The sound quality does not change with the price. Remember to keep in mind the build quality of the headphones. Are they going to last for long? Is price really a concern if they are much cheaper?

How to Choose Headphones – Part 1 Headphones or Earbuds

Before we begin, the first thing you have to do is toss whatever pair of headphones or earbuds came with your phone or MP3 player.  I am not sure why they even come with those now a days because the quality provided is nonexistent. The complimentary headphones sound like you are listening to music down the hallway! Whether you choose headphones or ear buds, consider investing in a medium to high quality pair, trust us it is well worth it.

 

 

 

 


Star your struggle by deciding which product path you are going to travel down.

Earbuds:

Earbuds are the top choice for people who have minimal space, but still listen to music. The advantage is you don’t have a bulky pair of headphones laying around in your prime real estate. The high-quality earbuds, like SoundMAGIC E10 or Brainwavz S0 come with a case to store the earbuds and to keep the cord untangled. This prevents them from getting ruined or from dirt entering the ear pod. Earbuds are excellent on a smaller budget primarily due to the fact that there is stiff competition in the $50 to $100 dollar price range for this type of product.

Every cheap earbud I have purchased (I’m looking at you Apple), has had significant failure points always starting with the the earbud not fitting properly into my ear. This leads to my ears hurting or me breaking the cheap plastic casing on the earbud.  You get what you pay for.

Headphones:

Headphones are great for enjoying music while you in a static place, or out for a leisure walk. Many people think these would be difficult outdoors, but they can be very comfortable when you wrap them around your neck. I have noticed that with headphones I am always able to enjoy the deeper bass noises as well as the higher treble noises.  The main pinching point I find with headphones is that I always over spend on a quality pair. A $100 pair of headphones easily outperforms Sony’s $200 earbuds.  That being said, the headphones can be bulky, take up a ridiculous amount of space in a gym bag, and are not the best for working out or running.

Conclusion:

Whenever I go out to purchase a quality pair of headphones I am always drawn to the headphones with noise canceling technology, until I see the price. Coming back into reality I will always look for Sony MRD-1000X or the Razer Kraken headphones. These both have spongy earmuffs to block out any external sound and also insulate your music from other people around you.

If earbuds are more your style, which is the case for me when I workout definitely search for the Brainwavz S0 earbuds. Both of these brands fit comfortably in my ear and will not come out when I am out for a run or dancing by myself in the kitchen.

Noise canceling headphones

What kinds of noise do noise-canceling headphones cancel?

If you find it difficult to concentrate during work or even during school due to ambient noises, we highly recommend taking a look at some of our recommended noise canceling headphones.

How do they work?

Noise canceling is different from noise isolation headphones, which only prevent outside noises from reaching your ear by creating a seal around your ears. Noise canceling headphones utilize a different type of technology called destructive interference. In this method, an equal and opposite, noise described as the ‘anti-noise’ is generated by your headphones that cancel out the original and distracting noise.

The technology behind this is created by allowing an external microphone that monitors and creates the equal and completely opposite noise that it detected. This opposite noise will cancel out the sound distraction and the result is complete and utter silence. An info-graphic of this process is included below:

The external noise source is combined with the anti noise to remove the resulting noise.
Cancellation of an external noise by utilizing an anti noise.

What noises are canceled by this technology?

This technology has existed since the 70’s, and was originally designed by the engineers working at the speaker company Bose. Rumor has it that during a flight to Europe an engineer found the engines to be so disturbingly loud that he set off on a cruse to create a headphone that would remove or subdue the noise of a plane engine. As a result these are effective against both high and low frequency noises.

The operating range of this technology can work as high as 80 decibels. It should be noted that these respond to the noises outside of the headphone the ideal scenario for these is for a constant sound because a sudden sound may not be detected in time to completely cancel it out. Therefore, sounds such as slammed doors or a cry in the middle of the night for dad will generally be heard through this technology. With that being said, the best case to use these is for a constant humming or a constant noise distraction in the background.

Combining this noise canceling technology along with the sound insulating technology can and does provide high quality headphones that will allow you to concentrate on your music by removing those pesky distractions.

Benefits of white noise

Many people discuss the benefits of white noise for a massive array of reasons. The benefits of white noise have been discussed by health care professionals and hearing doctors as a way to temporarily reduce anxiety or to increase focus and concentration.

In the interest of dispelling some myths about white noise, this article proves to show where it comes from, what it is, and how it can be useful.

What is white noise?

To start off, lets say what it’s not. It is more than just the sound you hear every day. It is much more calming, and essentially a signal of equal intensity across a wide span of different frequencies.

When hearing a white noise, sound at all frequencies are being flooded into your ear drum, the same way white light represents all the wavelengths of light. While variation may be present, the concept still stands. Essentially, a white noise creates a blanket of sound that overlays all the existing sound, giving you a calm, cool, and collected focus.

White noise for the home

The most popular use for white noise is for aiding people who need help sleeping due to hearing disabilities, health conditions, or to add a calming sensation. It is excellent for sleeping for numerous reasons, the first and most importantly, is by providing a distraction to the brain. To remove stress, your mind will focus on the noise instead of floating your thoughts through your mind while you are trying to sleep.

Standard phone with headphones and a white noise playlist.

White noise for studying or working

White noise is proven to increase concentration in the workplace. By playing white noise through your speakers or over a radio, workers are not frustrated to talk or make their own noises to fill the deadly silence that can exist in some work places. Additionally, workers are more free to ignore sounds others make such as shuffling of feet, adjusting of chairs, hum of fans, or even others phone calls. White noise is a great alternative to music, because the lyrics cannot be a distraction to the listener.

White noise for vacationing

Bringing a white noise playlist on the road is a great way to focus on the road, reduce stress associated with travel, and not to be distracted by music while driving at high speeds. Many people claim that it’s not possible for them to sleep on a plane, however we have found that through the use of white noise playlists, many people find that this allows them to better fall asleep on planes. It proves to dampen the engine noise, the crying, the chatting passengers, and gives the listener something to focus on as they doze off.

Sound Insulation for Windows

For most people interested in soundproofing, they don’t know where to begin. Of course, the obvious solution is to hire professionals who know how to soundproof windows, but in most cases a go-getter attitude is all you need to do it yourself. Plus, by doing it yourself you’ll benefit by saving money and learning a new skill!

You should step aside to professionals when it comes to installing soundproof windows, but if this type of remodeling is not necessary for you, we may have just the sound proofing tips that you are looking for to get you started.

That being said, if DIY soundproofing is up your alley and in your budget, keep reading to find some fantastic DIY window soundproofing tips that we have compiled through our experience to get you on your way.

Why would you be interested in soundproofing windows?

With the growing problems of noise pollution, especially in densely populated areas or an apartment with many roommates, sound dampening or sound proofing is of growing importance. Common sounds like construction noises, the music your neighbor plays all throughout the night, children crying, or even just the bustle of every day life may seep inside your home and become a distraction or even worse, a health hazard. You can be left with interrupted sleep schedules, depleted concentrations, or business conversations being interrupted.

The purpose of your window is to let things such as light, air, and atmosphere into your home. If you live in a noisy area, it also lets sound in, even when closed. Taking steps to soundproof your windows and doors can go a very long way toward reducing the noises, allowing you to have a restful sleep throughout the night, reduce stress, and have a more homely feel.

A grey soundproof piece of tape was applied to a wooden window sill to dampen the noise allowed through.
Window sill which contains a thick sound proof tape

How to get started with DIY window soundproofing

The easiest wins in soundproofing a window come from sealing off any air gaps in the existing windows with foam or sealants such as caulk. In this step a properly installed window is critical to soundproofing. The addition of insulation tape to the bottom of the window and the bottom of the window sill (where the window touches the base when it is fully closed). After these easy areas are sealed where sound can get through are fully enclosed with caulk or the sealing tape, you should a dramatic decrease in noise pollution from the outside.

If after, this step you find that a reduction in noise is still necessary look into applying soundproof materials to the walls surrounding the window.  There are multiple options when ti comes to do this but the most common is adding sound proof acoustic panels and sound proof tape. If you are not comfortable or would like assistance installing soundproof insulation, it is recommended to contact your local window contractor to assist throughout this process.

DIY window soundproofing tips

Make sure your window is in acceptable condition (no cracks or breaks – that could be where the noise pollution is coming from!)

    • If your window is cracked, you can attempt to repair it, if it is small enough. Otherwise, the more reliable solution is to get the pane replaced before any sound proofing begins
    • After the window is insulated for sound, a cheap blackout curtain can further aid in the prevention of noise, as well as light.