Headphones have been around since the 1970s. These were large cans that sit around the ear and provide an alternate way to listen to music instead of through speakers. Things changed when “music on the go” became hip with the arrival of portable music players in the 80s, most famously – the Sony Walkman. This signal the arrival of smaller headphones and in-ear headphones.
The portable music took another giant leap with the debut of the Apple iPod in 2001. It came with a pair of sleek white earbuds and the popularity of earbuds or in-ear headphones skyrocketed. Suddenly, earbuds were all the rage for listening to music on the go.
Today, things are changing again. Over-the-ear headphones are becoming popular again and are becoming a fashion statement.
So which is the right one for me? A lot depends on your needs. They all have their pros and cons.
If you are constantly on the go and will be listening for long periods, earbuds or in-ear headphones will be better. They are light, easy to grab and go, and do not mess with your hair. Most earbuds are not as good sounding as over-the-ear headphones, but higher end models like the Sennheiser IE800 puts an end to that debate. If your lifestyle involves outdoor activities and going to the gym often earbuds would be the perfect choice.
But for really deep bass and heavy rock, nothing beats over-the-ear headphones (or circumaurals). These headphones have bigger drivers and thus are able to deliver deep bass that earbuds can’t do. Being larger they are less portable but recent models like the Beats Studio are light enough and makes a fashion statement too.
On-ear headphones (or Supra-Aurals) like the Beats Mixr cover your entire ear surfaces but don’t seal them completely. These are more comfortable than over-the-ears and feels less hot for extended use.
If you travel by air often or work in a noisy environment, you may want to consider noise canceling headphones like the Bose Quiet Comfort 3. These are generally more expensive but they provide a relief from the constant drone of aircraft engines or the noisy environment you are in.