It’s not a huge secret that I like headphones. A lot.
Headphones are an obsession for me that borders on unhealthy; on any given day, I devote quite a bit of time to looking at, thinking about, and listening to headphones.
As you’re reading this, I’m probably thinking about headphones.
Unfortunately, one thing I’ve also learned throughout my headphone cravings is that most people don’t think too much about their headphones. Most people will grab whatever is the smallest, the biggest, the cheapest, or the shiniest set of headphones they see, and continue through their day. Listening to bad sound.
And that thought keeps me awake at night.
Okay, that last part isn’t true. I sleep soundly at night whether you’re listening to the best or worst headphones in the world. But just so that my beauty sleep remains un-interrupted, here are some tips on how to buy headphones that you’ll love.
Decide where they will be used the most.
While there are some headphones that are good, all-purpose models, much like everything else in today’s world, most manufacturers have settled for creating headphones that fit into specific niches.
If you find yourself mostly mobile, smaller headphones will be your best bet. I feel silly enough walking around with a wire coming out of my pocket, so large, obvious headphones aren’t going to make me feel any less silly. There’s also safety concerns: most large headphones are built to be noise-isolating, which is great in the library or at a coffee shop, but less great when you’re crossing the street or in traffic.
I’ve had more than a few pairs of headphones that sounded incredible, but couldn’t pass the test when it came to wearing them for more than a few minutes.
For some people, in-ear headphones are the bees-knees (I will make that phrase come back into style); for others, they feel like the precursor to invasive head surgery. Some people find ear-buds simply mahvelous; others find it akin to shoving sharp pebbles into their ears.
And, of course, cup style headphones have their own issue of padding versus sound – more padding means more stuff between you and your music, but also means that they don’t feel like you’re putting your head into an iron maiden (the medieval torture device, or the band depending on how you feel about them).
Decide what you feel is comfortable, and stick to headphones that meet that requirement.
I’m going to keep this one brief: headphones should not sound like you’re listening to them underwater, without bass, or like you’re attending a concert with a rotary phone.
The “shiny” doesn’t necessarily refer to the look of the headphones (although white-gold, diamond-studded headphones probably qualify). The “shiny” are the features beyond how a pair of headphones sound. Built-in microphones; iPod controls; bottle opener – all very good things to have, I’m sure, but none of these will affect your sound.
Should you buy a pair of headphones just because of the “shiny?” I don’t recommend it. With the number of headphones available, sound quality, comfort, and convenience can usually converge onto the features you want (and if it’s that important, a specialized device will usually work better).
Bringing it all together
Take some time to explore the fields of headphones we have available at Vann’s. User reviews are a great way to find out if a pair of headphones will work for you, but only if you view it through your own personal lens of style, comfort, sound, and “shiny.”
After you’ve done that, post your favorite headphone picks in the comment section, or the strangest “shiny” thing you’ve found.