There are quite a few specs you should know from magnets to wireless technology before buying a pair of earphones. At first, they might sound confusing. What is the frequency response? And what about impedance?
But don’t worry, we’ll guide you through all the lingo you should understand to make the best purchase ever. The more you know about earphones, the more your next pair will fit your needs and lifestyle perfectly.
Let’s go through each of these attributes, one by one.
1. Frequency Response
Frequency response is the frequency range that can be covered by earphones. Generally speaking, the bigger the range, the better.
A bigger difference between the minimum and maximum value refers to a larger range coverage. For example, a frequency range of 4-24,000 Hz is larger than one of 15-24,000 Hz.
Impedance refers to the earphone circuit’s resistance to the electrical signal. The higher the impedance is, the less electric signal gets through. In other words, lower sound levels are produced in this case.
We recommend picking earphones with a lower impedance, better if less than 25 Ohms.
Low impedance is fine if you plan to use the earphones with a small portable device – for example, your phone doesn’t come equipped with powerful built-in amplifiers.
However, if you use devices that have built-in amplifiers, we suggest opting for earphones with high impedance, better if over 35 Ohms. High impedance earphones work the best with devices equipped with heavy-duty amplifiers.
3. Voice Coil
Voice coil refers to the coil wire that can be found inside earphones. It can be made of copper, aluminum, or copper-clad aluminum.
Aluminum, in particular, produces a highly sensitive sound. However, it can’t withstand prolonged use like copper. For this reason, CCAW is the most used coil wire you can find in earphones these days.
Infrared is, at times, also used in earphones. However, you need to be in the line of sight for this technology to work.
For this reason, this option should be opted out unless you want to use your earphones only for Home Theaters.
5. Acoustic System
When it comes to earphone specs, the term “acoustic” refers to an earphone’s design.
A closed acoustic system stops noise from passing through the earphones to and from the outside environment. On the other hand, an open acoustic system doesn’t stop noise from passing. This means that other people around you can hear what you’re listening to.
Closed acoustics doesn’t necessarily equal noise cancellation. It’s not even for sure soundproof or stopping outsiders from hearing completely what you’re playing. If the volume is high, the sound will still leak. So, only good-fit closed acoustic earphones can efficiently reduce noise from and to the external surroundings.
Nowadays, most consumers prefer to go for closed headphones for the high sound quality and high privacy level they can provide.
6. Noise Cancellation
Noise-canceling earphones are more than earphones that block outside noise. This type of earphones actually picks up outside noise and then cancels it out while playing the sound.
Noise-canceling earphones are ideal for audiophiles.
Sensitivity is usually measured in dB/mW. This spec refers to how much sound (calculated in decibels/dB) the earphone can produce for one milliwatt of the electrical signal.
When the sensitivity is high, the sound you get will also be higher. The sensitivity values of most earphones range typically from 80 to 110 dB.
As the most common wireless technology used for earphones, we’re pretty sure you have already heard of Bluetooth® before. A Bluetooth-paired device can pair with any other Bluetooth-paired device if it’s within a 10-meter radius.
Bluetooth is a very secure wireless technology. The side note is that the sound quality of Bluetooth earphones is not the best, especially if compared to other wireless technologies.
We recommend buying Bluetooth earphones if you don’t want to use them primarily with TV but rather with other devices.
9. RF (Radio Frequency)
RF earphones work with a radio frequency that can cover a much larger area than Bluetooth ones. They come equipped with a transmitter (charging station) into which you need to plug the audio device. Then the transmitted audio will be received by the earphones.
RF earphones are ideal for watching TV or when working on a PC. The sound quality will be better than the one of any Bluetooth earphones. However, you should also expect to get some interference in the transmission from other RF devices transmitting at the same frequency.
This situation is luckily not that likely to happen as often as you might think, but it’s still good to keep this in mind for the future.
10. NFC (Near-Field Communication)
Besides Bluetooth, you might have seen a specification saying that the earphones support NFC.
When you buy a pair of NFC-enabled earphones, you can tap or get close to another NFC-enabled device, such as an iPhone 6/7 or the Samsung S/Note series – and both devices will be immediately paired together.
It’s great to have NFC earphones if you already own other NFC devices to pair it with.
With the word “diaphragm,” we’re referring to the thin membrane placed inside earphones that vibrates and produces sound. You can find diaphragms designed with different materials and into many different shapes, including cone, dome, and horn.
There is no perfect material or shape. It’s all up to the manufacturers to produce the best sound with the design and material they’ve picked.
12. Magnet type
When reading the specs of most earphones, you’ll find magnet type with values of “Neodymium” or “Ferrite.” Luckily, you don’t need to pay special attention to this specification.
Neodymium is the most used magnet in modern electronics. It’s stronger than Ferrite, and that’s why most earphone manufacturers usually design the circuit in a way that makes the most of the magnet type used.
Magnet type affects the production costs of a pair of earphones. However, besides this aspect, there’s not much you should be worrying about when it comes to magnet type.
Sum it Up
We hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as we did when writing it. Of course, earphones have many more specs that could be described in detail. However, once you grasp these basic ones, you’re set for buying a pair of earphones that are worth your money.
If you want to buy your next pair, there’s not a better place than Teknistore. You can find all the best budget earphones in different styles, colors, and budget ranges in our store. Plus, you can save extra money with our free shipping policies.
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