The headphone market continues to grow, and devices come in every conceivable variety, not to mention the wide range of colors.
According to figures from the German industry association gfu, 15.5 million headphones were sold in Germany in 2021, an increase of 6.8 percent over the previous year. A good 60 percent of them are now cordless models, and the trend continues to grow. When choosing the right headphones, it will be necessary to take into account the use that will be given to them.
True-Wireless headphones are especially popular right now. “These are completely wireless headphones in the form of two earphones that can be easily carried in a trouser pocket when not in use,” says Christoph de Leuw of the German specialist magazine Computer Bild. Most models have built-in microphones, and can also be used, for example, to talk on the phone. hands free mode.
These also lend themselves to running and sports, but with limitations. “In principle, wireless earphones are, of course, ideal for sports, but there are many small models that easily fall out during sports because they don’t fit well in the ear. When you sweat a lot, you also need a model that is waterproof”, advises Herbert Bisges, from the German digital magazine “Hifi.de”.
The expert believes that sports models with an additional ear fin or earhook are a good alternative, but that many runners also use lightweight headband headphones.
The most common disadvantage of mini earphones is the short battery life. “Completely wireless in-ears typically need to go back to the charging socket after four to five hours, while conventional Bluetooth earphones last 20 to 40 hours on a single charge,” says de Leuw.
In the case of headband headphones, the ear cushions sit on the ear. There are corded and cordless models. Music lovers, in particular, continue to rely on classic corded models. “When it comes to perfect sound, there is no alternative to wired headphones, because a Bluetooth connection with today’s codecs always comes at a loss compared to classic CD resolution,” says Jörg Dames of the German digital magazine “Fairaudio .of”.
The in-ear trend is also seen in high-end headphones, even if they are not wireless. “High-quality in-ear models are very popular. Real hobbyists even have them customized by an acoustician,” explains Dames.
Several manufacturers now offer these custom models. “The result is excellent wearing comfort, superb bass reproduction and, depending on the concept, less external noise,” explains Dames.
However, he continues, the spatial sound experience is still less pronounced than with over-the-ear models, which is often a weak point of headphones compared to speakers.
Even without the increased demands on sound, wired headphones have their justification. “Wired headphones always work, regardless of how much battery is left in the mobile phone or charging case. And there is no uncertainty about whether the headphones will connect to the device, ”says Bisges. The classic jack connectors are very reliable, and, in the worst case, a USB-C to jack adapter cable is needed if the mobile does not have the corresponding socket.
Headphones with Bluetooth standard
Almost all wireless headphones use the Bluetooth standard. “However, there are also some headphones specially designed for televisions that work with their own wireless standard, in which case a transmitter station is also included in the scope of supply,” explains Christoph de Leuw.
While in the past Bluetooth headsets could only connect to one device, there are now more and more models with multiparity. “These headphones can store multiple devices, such as smartphones, laptops and TVs, which saves the user from always having to re-pair the headphones when they change usage,” explains Bisges.
The suppression of disturbing ambient noise can also be a practical feature if the user wants to hear as little as possible of their surroundings. “This works through an opposite cancellation signal to the headphones,” explains Bisges. This feature, also called Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), can be turned on and off.
The price range of headphones is wide. Whether a model that is as universal as possible is sufficient or whether several different models are purchased is also a matter of taste and necessity.
“There are very good all-purpose headphones that serve every conceivable purpose thanks to splash-proof protection, small dimensions, long battery life, and good sound and voice quality,” says Christoph de Leuw. “But it can also make sense to use, for example, a True-Wireless model for mobile use and a pair of large headband headphones to enjoy music at home,” the expert points out.