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Various categories of headphones and how to choose

With the improvement of production technology and production capacity, the price of good headphones is becoming more and more popular, or the cost performance is getting higher and higher.

Although most people's pursuit of HiFi is not "fever", they also hope to hear really good sound quality. Therefore, before buying headphones, you are unwilling to be a novice or know nothing about headphones. You need to properly understand some basic knowledge, and then choose the right headphone device for you.

Let's talk about the various categories of headphones from shallow to deep, and then talk about some terms and main parameters for evaluating sound quality. There are many classification angles for earphones. The most important classification methods are: classification by shape (earplugs, head-mounted), classification by sound principle (moving coil, moving iron, etc.), classification by openness (open, semi-open, closed) , Classification by use (household, portable, etc.).

According to the shape classification, headphones can be divided into earplugs and headphones.


Generally speaking, the driver unit has a small diameter and can be worn on the outer auricle or inserted into the ear canal. Earplugs are divided into semi-in-ear and in-ear. Generally, earplugs that can be inserted into the external ear canal are called in-ear, and those worn on the outer auricle are called semi-in-ear. Regarding in-ear and semi-in-ear, some friends distinguish them into two different ways of wearing. In fact, there is no such statement. Their wearing methods are all "plugs", but the scales are different.

Head mounted:

The biggest difference in the shape of earplugs is the size. The size of these types of earphones is generally much larger than that of earplugs, and they are divided into medium-sized earphones and full-sized earphones.

Interestingly, they are differentiated by the size of the earcups rather than the size of the speakers. To put it simply, the earmuffs of medium-sized earphones cannot completely enclose the auricle, while the full-sized earphones, also known as "big earphones", can completely enclose the auricle for better sound insulation.

According to the principle of sound production, the mainstream classifications are three categories: moving coil type, moving iron type and electrostatic type.

Dynamic Headphones:

At present, the vast majority of earphones and earplugs belong to moving coil earphones. The principle is similar to that of ordinary speakers. The coil in the permanent magnet field is connected to the diaphragm. The coil is driven by the signal current to drive the diaphragm to make sound. The central protrusion of the diaphragm is the main sounding zone, while the compliant edge next to it provides plenty of excursion.

Moving iron earphones:

Inside the moving iron earplug, the voice coil is wound around a precise connecting rod called "balanced armature" located in the center of the permanent magnetic field, and is conducted to the center point of a micro-diaphragm through this precise connecting rod. Vibration and sound are generated under the action of magnetic force. Due to the late start and technical reasons, the cost of moving iron earphones is relatively high.

Electrostatic Headphones:

The diaphragm is in a changing electric field. The diaphragm is extremely thin and accurate to a few microns (currently, the new generation of STAX's electrostatic earphone diaphragm has an accuracy of 1.35 microns). The coil is driven by the electric field force to drive the diaphragm to produce sound. Due to the very high manufacturing cost, electrostatic earphones have always been a relatively niche product.

Wired or wireless headphones

If the quality of both pairs of headphones is the same, just the difference between wired and wireless, then wired headphones will usually sound better than wireless. Why? Because of the transmission method, most wireless earphones currently use Bluetooth transmission (infrared transmission in the past), and Bluetooth transmission belongs to compressed signal transmission, which is of course not better than wired earphones in theory. Bluetooth compression.

Even with the current best Bluetooth apt-X HD, it's still a lossy compression format. The data transfer rate of apt-X is only 352kbps, and the data transfer rate of apt-XHD is only 576kbps. Although Sony's LDAC is also a Bluetooth transmission, the maximum transmission rate is 990kbps, which is also lost to CD. Similarly, listening to CDs with headphones, Bluetooth wireless headphones generally hear a transmission rate of 352kbps, while wired headphones hear 1411kbps. From the data transfer rate, we can see which one has better sound quality.

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