Behind the head earphones: 9 Best Behind The Neck Headphones In 2022 (Review With Pros & Cons)

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The 4 Best Neckband Headphones – Summer 2023: Reviews

  1. Table of Contents
  2. Intro
  3. Best Headphones

    1. Best Upper Mid-Range

      1. Best Budget

        1. Best Cheap

          1. Notable Mentions
          2. Recent Updates
          3. All Reviews
          4. Discussions

          Updated Jul 04, 2023 at 11:06 am

          By Theresa Ketterling

          Not long ago, if you wanted wireless earbuds with active noise cancelling (ANC), or even just a good battery life, neckband headphones were the way to go. However, companies have been getting better and better at cramming these powerful features into ultra-compact truly wireless earbuds.

          While neckband headphones might seem outdated, they’re still very popular. Many people prefer that you can put them around your neck and forget about them. You can enjoy having your music at arm’s reach all day without worrying about dropping your earbuds or forgetting where you put them. Even though truly wireless technology is catching up, neckband headphones generally have better ANC, microphone, and battery performance.

          We’ve tested more than 730 headphones, and below, you’ll find our recommendations for the best wireless neckband headphones. If you’re looking for our top picks of other earbuds or in-ear headphones, check out our picks for the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds and in-ears, the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds for running and working out, and the best noise cancelling earbuds.

          1. Best Neckband Headphones

            Sony WI-1000XM2 Wireless

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            Neutral Sound

            7.0

            Commute/Travel

            7.7

            Sports/Fitness

            7. 6

            Office

            7.3

            Wireless Gaming

            5.7

            Wired Gaming

            7.4

            Phone Calls

            7.4

            Type

            In-ear

            Enclosure

            Closed-Back

            Wireless

            Yes

            Transducer

            Hybrid

            Noise Cancelling

            Yes

            Mic

            Yes

            See all our test results

            The best neckband headphones we’ve tested are the Sony WI-1000XM2 Wireless. These headphones are the next generation of the Sony WI-1000X Wireless and feature more intuitive controls and a more flexible neckband. They feel well-built and come with a great hard case to help protect them when you’re on the go. Thanks to their active noise cancelling (ANC) system, they can block out a very good amount of ambient noise at the office or during a commute. They have roughly eight and a half hours of continuous battery life and support multi-device pairing, meaning you can connect them to your smartphone and PC at the same time. You can also plug them in and use them wired if the battery dies at the wrong moment.

            Fans of bass-heavy genres like metal may find their sound lacking in thump and rumble, but they have a very accurate mid-range response that makes them well-suited for vocal-centric content like podcasts or pop music. You can customize their sound profile with the companion app’s EQ and presets. Unfortunately, their in-ear fit can be fatiguing over time. The buds can also fall out of your ear with moderate head shakes, which is disappointing if you want to wear them during a run in the park. On the plus side, they come with several differently-sized pairs of ear tips to help you get the best fit.

            See our review

          2. Best Upper Mid-Range Neckband Headphones

            Sony WI-C600N Wireless

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            Mixed Usage

            7.0

            Neutral Sound

            7.0

            Commute/Travel

            7.4

            Sports/Fitness

            7.7

            Office

            6.7

            Wireless Gaming

            5.5

            Wired Gaming

            5. 5

            Phone Calls

            6.5

            Type

            In-ear

            Enclosure

            Closed-Back

            Wireless

            Yes

            Transducer

            Dynamic

            Noise Cancelling

            Yes

            Mic

            Yes

            See all our test results

            If you want premium-quality performance at a lower price, check out the Sony WI-C600N Wireless. These neckband headphones are less pricey than the Sony WI-1000XM2 Wireless but have many of the same features. The build quality is decent, and they’re lightweight and comfortable enough to get you through a long run without in-ear fatigue. They also have a lot of slack between the buds and the neckband, so you won’t have to worry about them ripping out of your ear if you turn your head the wrong way. However, their nearly six-hour battery is slightly disappointing. Though it’ll get you through a few workouts without needing a recharge, they won’t last a whole workday without needing to plug them in.

            Out of the box, these headphones have a warm sound profile with a touch of extra bass to give genres like hip-hop and EDM ample punch and rumble. However, voices and sibilants sound muddy and dull. If you wish to change the sound profile, their companion app has a graphic EQ and presets, allowing you to fine-tune the mix. Their ANC also performs well and isolates you from low rumbling noises like a bus engine, chatty co-workers, or whiny PC fans. However, their mic is only mediocre. Making calls with them make your voice sound muffled and thin and easily drowned out by moderate background noise.

            See our review

          3. Best Budget Neckband Headphones

            Beats Flex Wireless

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            Neutral Sound

            6. 9

            Commute/Travel

            7.7

            Sports/Fitness

            8.1

            Office

            7.0

            Wireless Gaming

            5.4

            Wired Gaming

            5.3

            Phone Calls

            6.0

            Type

            In-ear

            Enclosure

            Closed-Back

            Wireless

            Yes

            Transducer

            Dynamic

            Noise Cancelling

            No

            Mic

            Yes

            See all our test results

            Try the Beats Flex Wireless for a neckband without a neck-breaking price tag. They’re technically neck cable headphones with a thin, flexible cable instead of a more rigid neckband, but you may find this design more comfortable for all-day portability. They’re also one of the best neckband earbuds for Apple users, thanks to their W1 chip, which lets you seamlessly pair them with other devices in your Apple ecosystem.

            Their bass-heavy sound profile delivers a touch of extra thump, rumble, and boom to mixes, making them nice for genres like trap and RnB. They’re also well-built, last roughly 11 hours on a single charge, and come in a few different colors, so you can find a look that matches your style. However, they lack ANC and struggle to block out bass-range frequencies, like engine noise, during a commute. Due to their in-ear fit, they do a much better job cutting down office chatter.

            See our review

          4. Best Cheap Neckband Headphones

            Sony WI-C310 Wireless

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            Neutral Sound

            7. 5

            Commute/Travel

            7.4

            Sports/Fitness

            8.0

            Office

            7.0

            Wireless Gaming

            5.4

            Wired Gaming

            5.3

            Phone Calls

            6.6

            Type

            In-ear

            Enclosure

            Closed-Back

            Wireless

            Yes

            Transducer

            Dynamic

            Noise Cancelling

            No

            Mic

            Yes

            See all our test results

            If you want to stick to cheap headphones, the Sony WI-C310 are the best neckband earphones we’ve tested. Like the Beats Flex Wireless, these are neck cable headphones with a light and flexible cable connecting the earbuds. They’re less comfortable and well-built than the previous pick but come with several ear tip sizes to help you find a good fit and in-line controls for calls and music. They don’t have an ANC feature but do a good job of cutting out mid-range noise, like background conversations. Their roughly 17 hours of continuous battery life can easily last through your workday and commute.

            Their sound profile is more neutral than the Beats’, with clearer and brighter voices and instruments, which makes them a good choice for vocal-centric content like podcasts. Their sound lacks some thump and rumble, but overemphasis in the high-bass range adds warmth and body to your audio. However, they don’t have a companion app or have features like an EQ or presets for sound customization, which is a downside if you like to tweak your headphones’ sound profile to suit you.

            See our review

          Notable Mentions

          • Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear/HD1 In-Ear Wireless:
            The Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear/HD1 In-Ear Wireless are neckband headphones with longer battery life than the Sony WI-1000XM2 Wireless. Their app has a parametric EQ, but they don’t perform as well and are much more expensive.
            See our review

          Recent Updates

          1. Jul 04, 2023:
            Replaced the Sony WI-C200 with the Sony WI-C310 because the C200 are out of stock.

          2. May 05, 2023:
            Updated our picks to reflect product availability.

          3. Jan 31, 2023:
            Quality of life text update for better flow and readability.

          4. Nov 24, 2022:
            Rearranged article to make it easier to find what you’re looking for. Added the Jabra as the ‘Best Upper Mid-Range’ pick.

          5. May 16, 2022:
            Added the Beats Flex Wireless as ‘Best Neckband Earphones For iPhone’. Moved the Sony WI-C310 Wireless to Notable Mentions.

          All Reviews

          Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best neckband Bluetooth headphones and best wireless neckband earphones to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn’t worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

          If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our wireless in-ear and earbud headphones reviews. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection.

          Intercom, Race Fan, and 2-Way Radio Headsets
          – Rugged Radios

          Rugged’s ‘clear hear’ headset technology delivers crystal clear voice and audio.

          No More shouting – All day comfort – Awesome Music quality – enjoy the ride

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          Experience the ultimate comfort, style, and performance of Rugged Radios headsets! Our intercom headsets feature hard wired coil cords with durable NEXUS style plugs for offroad communication compatibility. The dynamic noise cancelling microphone and large, comfortable gel ear seals offer industry-leading, clear-hear audio performance.

          Our two-way radio headsets feature a 5-pin port on the headset. When combined with dozens of optional two-way radio cables, you can connect virtually any handheld radio to a Rugged Radios headset. Connect to anything!

          Keep the conversation going clearly with Rugged Radios headsets. 

          Hear the clarity of headset communications and music when connected through your intercom system.

          find the right headset for your intercom system or 2-way radio

          INTERCOM HEADSETS

          • Hard wired heasets
            NEXUS jack connection
            Most popular intercom headsets Dynamic noise cancelling mic
            Adjustable volume control

          EXPLORE

          TWO-WAY RADIO HEADSETS

          • Connect to most 2-way radios
          • Reliable communication
          • Dynamic noise cancelling mic
          • Multiple styles and options
          • 5-pin universal radio port

          EXPLORE

          RACE FAN HEADSETS

          • Ideal for NASCAR fans
            Connect multiple headsets
            Talk with friends in the stands
            Protect your hearing
            Connect a Nitro Bee or scanner

          EXPLORE

          INDUSTRIAL COMMUNICATION HEADSETS

          • Rugged built headsets
          • Connect to 2-way radio
          • For high-noise job sites
          • Multiple headset options

          EXPLORE

          INDUSTRIAL COMMUNICATION HEADSETS

          • Cable free communication
          • Wireless connectivity
          • Volume control on eardome
          • Full flex mic boom

          EXPLORE

          HEADSET CABLES FOR INTERCOM & 2-WAY RADIO

          • Headset cables
            Extension cables
            Adapter cables
            Coil cord and straight cord
            5-pin and NEXUS cables

          EXPLORE

          HEADSET ACCESSORIES AND REPLACEMENT PARTS

          • Gel ear seals
            Cloth ear covers
            Replacement mic muffs
            Replacement headset hardware

          EXPLORE

          INTERCOM HEADSETS

          Experience the ultimate comfort, style, and performance of Rugged Radios intercom headsets! Our hard wired coil cords feature durable NEXUS style plugs for offroad communication compatibility. The dynamic noise cancelling microphone and large, comfortable gel ear seals offer industry-leading, clear-hear audio performance.

          Keep the conversation going with all day comfort and style! 

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          HEADSETS FOR TWo-WAY HANDHELD RADIOS

          Available in over the head or behind the head styles, Rugged 2-Way Radio Headsets provide reliable communication in high noise environments including auto racing, industrial, and heavy equipment operation. Choose your cable for easy, seamless connectivity to either your 2-way radio or intercom!

          Our industry-leading DNC microphone for clear transmissions and Clear Hear speakers for unsurpassed audio performance provide best in class communications.

          Rugged headsets are built to perform in extreme noise environments – combining the latest technology and firm, yet comfortable fit for optimum communication.

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          HEADSETS FOR RACE FANS

          Talk over the noise and keep your ears protected at the race track! Our race fan headsets allow for crystal-clear conversation with your friends while at the track. Easily add unlimited headsets to keep your entire group talking – no intercom needed! Add an individual scanner or Nitro Bee Race Receiver to each headset, or share your scanner with the group to stay tuned in to the race day action.

          Simply link your headsets and share the experience with everyone! Our race fan headsets work with 3-pin linkable headsets from other manufacturers!

          Hear conversation, not noise.

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          INDUSTRIAL COMMUNICATION HEADSETS

          Industrial grade headsets for rugged environments.

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          WIRELESS COMMUNICATION HEADSETS

          Wireless connectivity in high noise environments.

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          HEADSET CABLES

          Connect your headset to your Rugged intercom system. Shop headset cables, extension cables, adapter cables, and more.

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          EXPLORE ALL HEADSET CABLES AND ADAPTERS

          HEADSET ACCESSORIES

          Replace or refresh your headset accessories for all-day comfort. Find gel ear seals, cloth ear covers, replacement straps and hardware to keep your headset feeling fresh and new.

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          EXPLORE ALL HEADSET ACCESSORIES

          how to choose headphones / Sound and acoustics

          Sounds play a much greater role in our lives than it might seem at first glance. They orient us, with the help of sounds we exchange useful and not very information. And the sounds collected in harmony can affect our mood. Scientists have repeatedly proved the connection between the health of living beings and the sound background that accompanies them daily. Perhaps it is precisely because of this invisible connection that many seek to surround themselves with pleasant music by purchasing audio equipment – amplifiers, players, acoustics.

          For many, the sound in their ears is not just a way to kill time in transport, it is also a way to get their own space, which is sometimes so lacking in everyday life. For this space to be comfortable and cozy, it is necessary that the headphones fit perfectly – fit well and, of course, have a pleasant sound. Picking up your pair of headphones is no easier than, say, finding nice clothes for yourself. Store shelves are bursting with hundreds and hundreds of models at a variety of prices – from “ruble – bucket” to those that cost thousands of dollars.

          How can one not get lost in the variety of shapes and characteristics? The answer is simple – you just need to figure out for yourself once and for all the classes and varieties of these devices. After that, you should think about which class of headphones is best suited for your purposes, and then navigate according to your financial capabilities.

          ⇡# Ways to mount headphones on the head

          The shape of the head is different for everyone, so the same model of headphones can be ideal for one person and be completely unacceptable for another. To satisfy all requests, designers and designers have come up with a lot of ways to mount headphones on the head of a music lover.

          The classic ‘bow mount’ or ‘headband headphones’. The arc of such headphones goes around the head, pressing cups with emitters to the ears.

          The second option is the hook. Headphones are two hooks that cling to the ears, holding the capsule with the speaker against the ear canal. Since this mount uses the same principle as glasses, this option will not be very convenient for those who wear frames all the time.

          The third option for wearing headphones is the occiput. Similar to the previous one, with the difference that the hooks are connected by a light shackle passing along the back of the head.

          The fourth option is inserts. These are small portable headphones that are usually attached to a smartphone or MP3 player. They are simply inserted into the auricle and, as it were, lie there. This option has many drawbacks – the headphones do not fit snugly into the ear hole, so the quality of the transmitted sound usually suffers. In addition, this type of fastening in the ear is unreliable – with active movement, they fall out.

          Some in-ear headphones are available. One of the most successful solutions, in our opinion, is the Twist-to-fit design from the German manufacturer Sennheiser. This mounting option allows the headphones not only to lie in the auricle, but also to catch on it with an additional element. A similar improvement can be seen from other well-known manufacturers of portable headphones, such as BOSE.

          The fifth option is in-ear headphones (sometimes called vacuum headphones). This type of portable earphone delivers sound directly into the ear canal. In-ear headphones have a flexible silicone tip (like those on a doctor’s phonendoscope) or special memory foam. These tips are inserted directly into the auditory opening, literally plugging it. For a perfect fit, in-ear headphones usually come with three pairs of interchangeable silicone eartips of different sizes. The result of this tight fit is a stunningly high degree of isolation from external noise. These headphones can even be used as earplugs.

          However, this design has its drawbacks. Firstly, the load on the hearing aid increases, and with prolonged listening at high volume, such headphones can quickly “plant” your hearing. Secondly, the ear hole does not “breathe” and wearing in-ear headphones for a long time can cause discomfort, such as itching of the skin.

          Headphones may differ in another design feature – the way they fit to the head. So, for example, models that completely cover a person’s ears are called full-size, or monitor.

          Headphones that simply fit over the ear are called on-ear headphones.

          It’s not just in-ear or in-ear headphones that can be portable. Models with a headband can also have a folding design, and the most expensive ones are equipped with a convenient cover or even a carrying case.

          ⇡ # Differences in cup design. Open and closed headphones

          First of all, we pay attention to the fact that all headphones are divided into two large classes – open and closed. These words are to be taken literally. Closed headphones prevent sound waves from escaping from the earcups. The case of the right and left cups of such devices does not contain any holes on the side that is not adjacent to the listener’s head. The walls of the cups of such headphones are usually quite massive, and the material from which they are made often has the ability to dampen sound vibrations. As a rule, closed-back headphones have a noticeably higher degree of passive noise reduction.

          In open headphones, somewhere on the case, usually on the back of the cups, you can see a mesh of holes. These holes are necessary for sound waves to propagate in the same way as in the natural environment, which contributes to a more realistic, believable sound of the headphones.

          The sound character of closed and open headphones is different. Since the sound wave is repeatedly reflected from the walls in a closed cabinet, the lower range becomes more assertive, which does not correspond to the nominal sound of the audio material. For musicians, it is preferable to work with open headphones, since this design does not distort the frequency response and sounds more reliable.

          Headphones with a closed design usually have a characteristic strong pressure of the cups to the head, and not everyone likes it. These headphones have much better sound isolation compared to open ones. From this follows another advantage of the closed design – the listener in such headphones does not hear the surrounding sounds, and others do not hear the music directed to the ears of the music lover. In open headphones, sound waves pass out, so loud music will “buzz” quite legibly for a person standing next to you.

          Sometimes you can find semi-open or semi-closed type headphones for sale – these are headphones whose design cannot be attributed to either open or closed. Usually this is called open headphones with good passive noise reduction.

          ⇡#Active Noise Cancellation

          Inexpensive headphones use one way to suppress external noise – passive. Usually it is achieved through the design of the ear pads – soft inserts that soften the fit of the ear cups to the head. However, this method has its limitations. Headphones with the best passive noise cancellation are 35-37 dB.

          To enhance the effect of reducing ambient noise, engineers have come up with a way to suppress unwanted acoustic vibrations with similar waves with opposite phase. Headphones that implement this idea are called “headphones with an active noise reduction system.” The design of these headphones contains a hidden microphone that picks up background noise. The received signal is processed by the electronic unit of the device, and then a phase-reversed signal is generated. The emitted sound dampens background acoustic signals and reduces overall noise by 70-90%. The active noise reduction system, even in expensive models, somewhat spoils the original sound, limiting the dynamic range of the model. Nevertheless, if you like to listen to music in rather noisy places, such as the subway, bus, plane, such a system will come in handy.

          It uses batteries that last for a maximum of 3-4 days of continuous operation. Active noise canceling technology does not eliminate all noise, it is most effective only in a certain low frequency range (for example, from 25 to 500 Hz).

          ⇡#Specifications: what to look for

          Headphones also differ in technical specifications. You should not take the numbers and graphs on the headphone packaging too seriously. The data provided by the headphone manufacturer is primarily intended for those buyers who, when choosing, are guided not by their ears, but by “smart” numbers and colorful charts. There is some truth in the parameters indicated by the manufacturer, but you need to understand that the frequency characteristics without specifying the harmonic distortion coefficient are worthless, and a flat frequency response graph does not at all guarantee high sound detail. Nevertheless, if you want not a single sales assistant to be able to “hang noodles” on you and fuse the stale goods, you should understand the basic parameters.

          ⇡#Frequency range

          The first is the private range. The wider its borders, the better for sound quality. For some, this statement is not entirely clear. Moreover, if you start thinking about this parameter, you can come to a completely different conclusion: “Why pay extra for too wide a frequency range?”

          Let’s remember a biology textbook – a person is able to make out sound in the range from 20 Hz to 20 kHz. This is at best, in practice, the audible area for many is much narrower. Many people stop hearing already frequencies of 15 kHz and below. However, it is not uncommon for audio device manufacturers to list frequencies two, three, or more times higher in the specifications of their products. For what?

          When manufacturers of stationary acoustics go beyond the audible limit, this makes a certain sense. The fact is that theoretically a person feels ordinary sound not only with his ears, but with his whole body. Therefore, the greatest audiophiles are convinced that they are able to feel music literally with their bones. In the auricle, as is known from the same textbook on biology, fortunately, there are no bones. Therefore, if a range is indicated in the headphones that goes far beyond the audible frequency, even an audiophile with very good hearing and very sensitive ear cartilage will not hear the “extra” hertz.

          And yet, if you see numbers on the headphone box that go beyond the audible area, that’s good. This gives reason to believe that drivers (the so-called speakers, sound emitters in headphones) do not work in the boundary mode and therefore have sufficient potential to more accurately, without distortion, transmit audible frequencies. Of course, there is only one way to check this for sure – by putting on a pair of headphones and listening to them.

          ⇡# Driver size and power

          This parameter says little. Many manufacturers like to proudly put numbers on the box, say, 50 mm or 40 mm. The diameter of the speaker is its size, and nothing more. Such a trick is designed for the usual stereotype – most buyers consciously (or subconsciously) believe that the larger the acoustics, the better their sound. The manufacturer seems to be trying to say: “See how huge speakers we used? Can you imagine what a cool sound they have – at such and such a size!

          Sony MDR-XB1000 headphones have a driver diameter of 70 mm!

          In fact, this indicator is often meaningless. The power of the device is another matter. This setting determines the output power of the speakers and affects their volume. The higher the power, the brighter and richer the sound – more bass, more accurate interpretation. But high power headphones (2000-3000mW) will drain your portable device battery faster.

          ⇡#Sensitivity

          There is a certain category of users who use the word “loud” to describe the sound, for example – “these headphones play very loudly. ” Despite the fact that not a single connoisseur of high-quality sound will use this word in a conversation about audio, considering it amateurish, there is a certain meaning in this definition. For the volume of the sound, such a parameter as “sensitivity” is responsible. The higher it is, the stronger the sound (at the same power). Headphones with sensitivity 95-100 dB and above can be considered good.

          ⇡#Resistance

          This is a rather important parameter. If you choose headphones for the player, it will not be superfluous to check which headphones with what impedance it is designed for. Typically, portable audio is designed to work with low-impedance headphones that have an impedance of 32 ohms. But if you connect headphones with a resistance of 300 ohms to the player, this does not mean that you will not be able to hear the sound – they will just sound quieter. High-impedance headphones are rarely used, their resistance is calculated in kilo-ohms.

          One of the most visual ways to represent the sound of headphones is with a graph of the device’s frequency response (AFC). Usually this is a curve that describes the transmission of certain frequencies by headphones. The less sharp bends it contains and the further it extends on the graph, the more accurately the headphones reproduce the original audio material. According to the frequency response, bass lovers can immediately determine whether these headphones are suitable for them or not – there should be a “hump” in the low-frequency region. The higher the graph is, the louder the headphones sound.

          Beats by Dr. Dre Studio

          Flat frequency response is not a guarantee of high sound quality. This is just a premise to think that the sound is balanced, that is, no frequencies fall over and do not stick out, do not hurt the ear.

          ⇡ # Harmonic distortion factor

          Harmonic distortion factor is perhaps the only parameter that objectively indicates sound quality. If high sound quality is important to you, make sure that the harmonic distortion factor of the model you choose is less than 0. 5%. Headphones with more than 1% harmonic distortion can be considered mediocre.

          If you did not find this characteristic on the packaging or on the official website, this is a reason to think: perhaps the manufacturer has something to hide. You don’t have to look far: the Beats by Dr. Dre Studio has a harmonic distortion of 1.5% at 1kHz.

          On the other hand, pay attention to which frequency this characteristic is given. The harmonic distortion factor is not constant throughout the frequency spectrum. Since the human ear hears less intelligibly in the low-frequency region, less than 10% harmonic distortion is acceptable in the low-frequency range, but no more than 1% in the frequency band from 100 Hz to 2 kHz.

          ⇡ #Cable

          In the description of headphones, you can often find the term “one-way / two-way connection.” This means that these headphones are designed in such a way that the wire fits either only one of the earcups, or has a Y-shape and fits both cups.

          Single ended headphones

          Two way connected headphones

          Balanced and unbalanced cables generally refer to portable in-ear or in-ear headphones. The design of headphones with a balanced cable means that the wire is in a Y-shape. The unbalanced cable allows you to throw the longer wire of one of the headphones behind the neck. These headphones are more comfortable to wear – when not in use, they just hang around the neck.

          The cable may also be listed as “flat” in the headphone description. This means that the headphone wire is shaped like a telephone cable, popularly referred to as noodles. The advantage of flat cable is that it does not tangle.

          The wire on studio headphones can be twisted, that is, twisted into a spiral.

          ⇡#Cable may not be needed

          Headphones do not have to be connected to the sound source with a wire, there are also wireless versions that can work remotely without any connecting cables. Models of wireless headphones (with rare exceptions) have a lower sound quality, which is explained by losses during signal transmission over the air, and sometimes by data compression.

          Wireless earbuds are powered by built-in power supplies that typically last from a few hours to several days. The source of signal transmission is the base. The base can be a fixed docking station connected to any line input, or a portable module connected to any analog sound source or USB port.

          Wireless models use three main signal transmission methods – radio, infrared, and Bluetooth. When transmitted over radio frequencies, sound is inevitably accompanied by radio interference. The infrared option is a thing of the past, an outdated technology that requires the listener to keep their receiver sensor on their headphones within line of sight of the transmitter. Wireless headphones using Bluetooth technology have a relatively short range, about ten to twenty meters, while radio headphones can work at a distance of up to 100 meters or more. Many portable devices, including smartphones and MP3 players, can work with Bluetooth wireless headphones.

          ⇡ # A few words about headsets

          Headphones with a microphone are called a headset. The microphone can be unfastened, turning the headset into regular headphones, can be rotated to the side when not needed, or can be rigidly fixed to the connecting cable of the device.

          The computer headset can be connected either directly to the headphone and microphone jacks on the sound card, or using the USB audio adapter that may be included.

          Many well-known headphone manufacturers have recently begun to release special modifications of their time-tested models, endowing them with support for Apple devices. Models such as the Sennheiser MM 70i and Koss PRODJ200 have an additional microphone and remote control for quick access to some smartphone options. However, mobile headsets are a separate class of devices with a large set of functions, the consideration of which is beyond the scope of this review.

          ⇡#Understanding brands

          Despite the variety of brands of headphones on sale, there are certain names that have earned a reputation and are in demand among connoisseurs of good sound. Some of the “tested” names are: AKG, Beyerdynamics, Sennheiser, Audio-Technica, Grado, KOSS, Philips, Sony, Fostex, Denon, Bose, Shure and more.

          It is interesting that many companies offer dozens and dozens of models of headphones, but all these different headphones are made using similar technology, so often their “accent” is very similar. If you’re a classic rock fan, you’ll probably like most of the KOSS models that have punchy bass. AKG models are famous for their very beautiful high-frequency detail, and Sennheizer headphones usually have a relatively flat frequency response.

          If you look at the assortment that is offered to headphone lovers, you can see that every second brand has dozens or even hundreds of models in stock. To enable users to better navigate their products, many well-known manufacturers use certain product labeling principles. A striking example of “smart” headphone labeling is from the German company Sennheiser. In the name of these models there is a letter prefix, which can say a lot about the design of certain headphones.

          • CX and IE series – in-ear headphones;
          • MX – in-ear headphones;
          • HD – classic headphones with headband;
          • RS – wireless headphones, base plus headphones;
          • HDR – Extra pair of wireless headphones;
          • OMX – in-ear headphones with hook-type mount;
          • OCX – in-ear headphones with a hook-type mount;
          • PMX – on-ear or in-ear headphones with occipital arch;
          • PXC – a line of headphones with an active noise canceling system;
          • PC – computer headsets;
          • HME – headset models designed for pilots and crews of aircraft and helicopters.

          And if there is an “i” index at the end of the model name, it means that it supports work with Apple devices – it includes a four-pin plug, a microphone on the wire and a remote control for controlling some device commands.

          For the most popular headphone models, some manufacturers produce separate sets of ear pads that you can buy and replace yourself if the original inserts lose their appearance from time to time – they crack or wear off.

          ⇡ # How to find the perfect headphones?

          In fact, even with oscilloscopes and other measuring instruments, it is difficult to find an objective evaluation criterion for headphones. How to compare different models?

          Based on the principle “the more expensive the better”? But there are also inexpensive little-known headphones that sound no worse than branded ones (we wrote about one of the models in the article “Superlux HD669 (Axelvox HD 272): an exception to the rule.”

          Focus on power? But this indicator is also nothing One of Philips’ top headphones, the Fidelio L1, has only 200mW of power, but their sound is guaranteed by a ‘golden ears’ control panel of people with exceptional hearing.0003

          Does not give an idea of ​​the quality of the goods and the frequency range, which is so fond of writing on the boxes of headsets and headphones. As mentioned above, not every person can hear the reference 20 Hz – 20 kHz. And if the boundaries of the range are much wider than this frequency band, the proverb “The deaf will not hear, so he will lie” begins to be justified. Only human imagination can say how beautifully the speakers transmit the violin at 30 kHz.

          Not much more informative is the microphone frequency range in the headset descriptions. Logic dictates that the wider the band, the more “natural” the sound should be. In practice, this turns out not to be the case at all. It all depends on the design of the microphone, as well as on the protective filter, which eliminates harsh breathing and extraneous noise. Moreover, in the line of, say, Plantronics, there are quite a few headsets that are equipped with a DSP electronic sound filtering module. This unit very effectively extracts extraneous noise, emphasizing the sound on the voice. At the same time, the microphone frequency band in such models, according to the technical specifications, looks more than modest, and speech sounds more natural than in expensive “gaming” headsets.

          So how do you make up your mind about headphones? Some audiophiles—those who think they can tell the difference between the sound quality of regular cable and ultra-pure oxygen-free copper cable—have come to rely not on their own ears, but on glossy magazines and charts produced by a device called the “artificial ear. ” . Maybe this is “according to science”, but not everyone will agree with this statement.

          It must be said that those who are looking for the perfect sound formula have a hard time in life – they are constantly forced to swallow sarcastic jokes about “warm tube sound”. Not everyone who sneers about “crystal-clear sound” is right, and not all “audio addicts” can tell the difference between $400 and $4,000 amps.0003

          At the same time, it is quite difficult to find real opponents in a dispute about high-quality sound. To meet the opinion that expensive audio equipment is a waste of money is not a problem. However, the reasons for this thought may be different. For example, let me ask you: when did you have your hearing tested? Most likely – a very long time, or maybe never at all. You do not feel discomfort when talking with friends, so why should you go to the doctor? But the fact that a person does not need to shout into his ear is not yet a guarantee of his perfect hearing.

          Encyclopedic information that a person hears the range from 20 Hz to 20 kHz is an extremely optimistic statement. In real life, the audible spectrum is much narrower. Yes, you can see for yourself. Here is a simple “clumsy” way to test your own hearing. In the foobar2000 player, open the File -> Add Location menu and type tone://20000, where the number is the frequency in hertz.

          Did you get a bad result? Dont be upset. Firstly, the results could be influenced by the technical characteristics of the headphones, sound card or acoustics, and secondly, there are not so many people who can boast of absolute pitch. In addition, to enjoy music, you need only one thing – a sense of beauty. It is not the ear or the liver that is responsible for the latter, but some particularly cunning organ called the “human soul”, the position of which no doctor can show you. In the end, Beethoven did not hear his Ninth Symphony due to deafness, but this did not prevent him from getting such an ovation at the premiere that the audience had to be calmed by force.

          So the answer to the question “How to choose the best headphones for yourself?” sounds impossibly simple: “Put on and listen!”

          Spatial audio and head tracking control

          AirPods (3rd generation), AirPods Pro (all generations), and AirPods Max create surround sound when your device plays supported TV shows, movies, or music, or during FaceTime calls immersive cinema experience using spatial audio and head tracking.

          How spatial audio works

          To learn more about spatial audio, connect your AirPods (3rd generation), AirPods Pro (all generations), or AirPods Max to your iPhone or iPad.

          1. Put on your AirPods and make sure they are connected to your device.

          2. On your iPhone or iPad, open Settings, then tap the name of your AirPods at the top of the screen.

          3. Touch Spatial Audio.

          Using Personal Spatial Audio

          On iPhone X or later, you can create an accurate representation of the shape of your ears and head to customize your personal spatial audio. A personal spatial audio profile adjusts audio to better match your hearing and syncs across all of your Apple devices running iOS 16, iPadOS 16.1, macOS Ventura, tvOS 16 or later that are signed in with the same Apple ID.

          To use Personal Spatial Audio, do one of the following:

          • Without taking your AirPods out of the case, open the lid and hold the case close to your iPhone, then follow the on-screen instructions.

          • On your iPhone, open Settings, then tap the name of your AirPods at the top of the screen. Tap Personal Spatial Audio, then tap Personalize Spatial Audio.

          To learn more about setting up Personal Spatial Audio, see the Apple Support article Use Personal Spatial Audio with AirPods and Beats.

          Stop using Personal Spatial Audio

          To stop using Personal Spatial Audio on all your devices, do one of the following:

          • iPhone or iPad. Open Settings, then tap the name of your AirPods at the top of the screen. Tap Personal Spatial Audio, then tap Don’t Use Personal Spatial Audio Again.

          • Mac. Choose Apple menu > System Preferences, click the AirPods name in the sidebar (you may need to scroll down), then click Stop using personal spatial audio again.

          • Apple TV. Press and hold on Siri Remote, select AirPods, then select Personal Spatial Audio.

          To use Personal Spatial Audio again, set it up on your iPhone.

          Manage spatial audio and head tracking on iPhone or iPad

          You can set up spatial audio and head tracking for each supported app using Control Center.

          1. Put on your AirPods and make sure they are connected to your device.

          2. Open Control Center, tap and hold the volume control, then tap Spatial Audio in the bottom right corner.

          3. Touch one of the following options.

            • Off Turn off spatial audio and head tracking.

            • Static. Enable spatial audio without head tracking.

            • Head tracking. Enable spatial audio and head tracking. The audio you listen to will sound like it’s coming from your iPhone or Mac.

            The selected settings are saved and automatically applied the next time the application is opened. For example, if you tap the Static option while listening to a song in the Music app, the static mode will automatically be used the next time you play the song in that app.

          To turn off head tracking for all apps on your iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > Accessibility > AirPods, tap the name of your AirPods, then turn off “Like on [device]”.

          Controlling spatial audio and head tracking on a Mac

          When playing supported TV shows, movies, and music using spatial audio and head tracking, you can get sound from all directions at the same time (on a Mac with an Apple chip and macOS 12.3 or later). Spatial audio and head tracking can be turned on or off for each supported app.

          Spatial audio is not available for all applications or all content.

          1. Put on your AirPods and make sure they are connected to your Mac.

          2. Click the AirPods icon in the menu bar.

            If your AirPods don’t appear in the menu bar, choose Apple menu > System Preferences, then click Control Center in the sidebar. On the right, click the pop-up menu next to Sound and select Always Show in Menu Bar. (You may need to scroll down).

          3. Select one of the following options under Spatial Audio.

            • Off Turn off spatial audio and head tracking.

            • Static. Enable spatial audio without head tracking.

            • Head tracking. Enable spatial audio and head tracking. This way the sound will follow the movement of your head.

          Control Spatial Audio and Head Tracking on Apple TV 4K

          You can adjust spatial audio settings for each supported app using Control Center on Apple TV 4K. You can also turn head tracking on or off for all apps. (Requires tvOS 15.1 or later.)

          Spatial audio is not available for all applications or all content.

          1. Put on your AirPods and make sure they are connected to your Apple TV 4K.

          2. Open Control Center, select your AirPods, then select Spatial Audio to turn this feature on or off.