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Headphones Buying Guide

Sep 10, 2008
Headphones can offer you many solutions to your audio world. They allow you to listen to your favorite music privately, without disturbing anybody. They let you watch TV late at night without keeping anybody awake. They can even reduce the amount of outside noise with select models. So obviously there are many reasons to own headphones. The problem is there are as many models available as there are reasons to get them. So when it comes down to making a purchasing decision, you must think about what you will be using the headphones for.

Below you'll find a list of things that our product specialists recommend our customers to look for when buying headphones.

Jack Compatibility: Make sure that the headphones you plan on purchasing will work with whatever you intend to use them with. For example, if the headphones you purchase come with a 3.5mm mini plug but the stereo you plan on using requires a full sized output, your headphones wouldn't work. Of course, you can buy an adapter for this type of situation, which often isn't too expensive.

Comfort: Since you might be listening to your headphones for long periods of time, it is important that you find the style that is most comfortable for you. You might want one that fits directly into your ears, one that goes over your head, or one that goes behind the neck so you can preserve your hairstyle. Note that listening to loud music with headphones for prolonged periods of times can lead to hearing loss.

Sealed or Open Design: If one of your main reasons for getting headphones is so that you don't disturb those around you, consider getting headphones with a sealed design, as less sound will slip out. This is due in part to the fact that the headphones "seal" around your ears, keeping more of the sound waves in the headphone cups compared to the open design.

Wire Length: You'll hate your headphones if it requires you to stay abnormally close to whichever device you plan on using them with. In order to prevent this, check to see how long the wire is on the headphones so you won't have to keep your device too close. If you can't find headphones that have a wire long enough for your needs, consider getting wireless headphones, which can give you more range than wired headphones.

Outside Noise: If you plan on using your headphones in noisy and distracting areas, consider getting noise-canceling headphones. These work with small microphones, which pick up the noises outside and then play a signal that cancels them out. This lets you listen to your music in peace, without any annoying outside noise.
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