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Before you start buying headphones, even if you don’t change your mind, it is interesting to know what types of (common) headphones there are on the market, what they are used for, and what their advantages and disadvantages are.

I myself, since I am immersed in building this website, have been surprised by keeping an in-ear headset -which I have always hated so- trying it out for the reviews.

What kind of headphones can you buy?

  • OVER-EAR or circumaural
  • ON-EAR or supra-aural
  • CLIP-ON or clip-on
  • IN-EAR or Intra-Aural
  • Classic Earbuds

OVER-EAR

Auriculares over-ear o circumaurales
Over-ear headphones

The classic headphones that surround the ear. The drivers (internal speaker) are large, allowing a higher frequency range -especially in bass- and a greater punch or attack. Most studio or hifi headphones are of this type, as well as gaming or audiophile ones.

 

ON-EAR

Auriculares on-ear o supraaurales
On-ear headset

Smaller than the over-ear, they rest on the ear instead of covering it, making them somewhat more uncomfortable to wear, and with less capacity in frequency response. However, they are usually foldable and more wearable.

CLIP-ON

Auriculares de clip o clip-on marca KOSS
Clip-on headphones

Headphones that rest on the ear with the help of a clip. Slightly smaller than on-ear drivers but lighter and easier to carry in a ball or even pocket. Widely used for sport or movement.

 

 

IN-EAR or Intra-Aural

Auriculares in-ear o intraaurales
In-ear headset

The in-ear earphones are inserted into the ear canal, sealed by the pressure of the ear pads and considerably isolated from the outside world. They can have a great sound quality (and a high price) although they do not have the bass punch of the over-ear.

 

Classic Earbuds

Auriculares de bot贸n o earbuds airpods
In-ear earphones

The classic headphones that go into the ear without penetrating the ear canal. Due to their construction and placement, they achieve the worst results in terms of sound quality: almost no bass, low mid-range with very little presence and low punch. They are the most economical and their popularity has plummeted.

Open, closed or semi-open

Diferencias entre auriculares abiertos y cerrados
Open earphones / Closed earphones

Only within the over-ear and on-ear types (headset) are there open and closed subtypes.

Open headphones usually sound better. By simply having an outer grille, there is less pressure on the driver membranes, offering a more precise and immediate response to audio signal changes for clearer listening in the more subtle sounds.

Se帽al de audio en auriculares abiertos
Audio signal with changing dynamics

Due to that open space inside the glasses, the standing waves and reflections are reduced, creating a wide musical scene or soundstage.

The closed headphones are sealed at the back of the drivers, preventing sound from escaping, isolating the user from outside noise. This isolation can be very useful for music production, studio recording and DJ work. The sealing tends to enhance the lower frequencies and slightly taint the definition and naturalness of the music scene.

Without being a strict rule, most high-end headphones are the open type.

Auriculares semiabiertos AKG K240
Semi-open earphones

Less common are semi-open earphones, located halfway between closed and open earphones, offering some of the advantages of open models but with enhanced bass frequencies and decent isolation.

Gaming headset or headsets

Auriculares gaming Corsair HS70 wireless
Corsair HS70 wireless gaming headset

Gaming headphones are over-ear headphones that surround the ear with a built-in microphone. They can be open, closed or semi-open. Some brands complement them with technologies such as 5.1 surround, 7.1, super-human effect, and other resources at the software level

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