Headphones give you full enjoyment of your music in an atmosphere
of intimacy and privacy without disturbing the other people around you.
The sound of a good pair of headphones is hard to beat, because headphones
are able to reproduce music more accurately- and at far lower cost-than
anything but the finest loudspeaker carefully positioned in an acoustically
perfect room. That's one reason recording engineers use headphones, rather
than loudspeakers during recording sessions.
Headphones consist of a high-quality driver element mounted in a small
housing with a padded ear-cushion and padded headband to make the assembly
fit comfortably. There are two basic types of headphones drivers: dynamic
(moving coil) and electrostatic transducer.
In addition to driver element, a number of other features influence the
sound of a headphone. The construction of the ear-peace housing has
dramatic effect on overall audio quality.
Closed or Open?
"Circumaural" or "supraural" headphones?
The low frequencies reproduction depend of the low frequency
resonance of the transducer (dynamic or electrostatic) and the distance
between the driver and the ear. The use of sircumaural earpads
prevent the leak of the sound before it reach the ear but some reflections
degrade the frequency response. The supraural (over the ear) design is
close to perfect and is used in modern transducers. The best design is
the "head speaker". Here the headphones consist of two small loudspeakers
mounted near ( but not tuching) the ears. The only electrostatic
representative is ESLAB.
Dynamic or Electrostatic?
Choose the headphone that best matches your audio system and the way
you like to listen. Dynamic headphones offer easy portability. They can be
used in a great many applications, including with TVs and portable stereos.
For relaxing at home, or for listening for extended time periods,
nothing beats the smoothness and clarity of an electrostatic headphones.
Here is an interesting opinion about "Stereo" and Headphones Listening:
"Stereo Doesn't Exist! We all want "concert hall realism" in our
living rooms. The music
lover returning home from a concert hall performance and playing a
recording of a concert hall performance and complaining of "not
sounding the same" is right. It is not the same. It is not stereo.
That's why. True stereo is totally unattainable, using a pair of
Loudspeakers juggled into "proper position", propped up at the one
end of the listening room with the listener seated at the other end.
The sound from the two speakers mixed with the room reflections, each
ear hearing both speakers (crosstalk) is not hearing "stereo". It
is only a poor simulation. It should not be called "stereo". Maybe
just "bi-channel". High Fidelity speakers in this case is an oxymoron.
True concert hall sound means hearing with two ears, two channel
signals mixed in the brain, not outside our heads, and scrambled on
the way to our heads. Like an egg, it cannot be unscrambled. Super
speakers, super amps, three channels, four channels, more channels,
rear speakers, side speakers, equalized sound, delayed sound,
surround sound, room acoustic treatment, new speakers every two or
three years, etc., etc. are all exercises in futility.
Want to hear the closest to realistic sound reproduction?
Tryheadphones. The complaint about headphones that "sound is
inside the head", as when listening to mono through them , can be the
result of poor separation within the system, such as crosstalk in
the cartridge. One advantage of CD is perfect separation. Partly to
blame is the microphone positioning. This is primarily done for
playback using speakers, or a mix of microphones (scrambled sound
again). Too great a distance between the mikes is not good. Your ears
are not ten feet apart. Nevertheless, with any stereo source, the
closest to concert hall realism is obtained only by the use of the
headphones. "Inside The head" sound can be alleviated by playing the
reduced volume while using the headphones. The speakers will be heard
as ambient sound as a result of the slight delay of sound from them,
which helps in moving the music out front.
The so-called binaural recordings made with the kunstkopf
(artificial head) are a further attempt toward realizing naturally
reproduced sound, and make for exciting listening. Get a pair of
good headphones, put on a record of one of your favorites, dim the
lights, sit back, and enjoy the absolute sound...."