The current market for headphones gives the user a wide range of options for how they can listen to their music. If you’re on the go, at home or in public, headphones can be suited for all budgets, needs and styles.
Connections and types of Headphones can play a big part in how you listen to your music. Do you want something to listen to on the train? In the car? Or whilst you’re moving around the house? All these options can be accommodated for with the right type of connection.
If you’re looking for a particular connection type or are just seeing what’s available on the market, we’ve lined up three different categories of headphones with a few examples in the range.
These models are all ideal for the standard user: For music, film audio and audiobooks. We’re going to look at three different types of connections commonly available on headphones and how they’re used- These are: Cable, RF & Bluetooth
Cable (Audio Jack connection)
An audio jack connection is the simplest link between device and headset. It is a cable between the headset and headphones. The natural advantage is the cable, unless broken, is a direct link between the device and ear that cannot lose contact. Most headsets have built-in cables but some are interchangeable, meaning you have option of upgrading to a higher connection or simply a different colour. Cabled headphones also have the advantage of not needing any external power.
The Monster NCredible NTune are lightweight On-Ear cabled Headphones. The headset is designed to be a featherweight option for use all day whist still keeping a robust frame. We tested the headphones out and about during the day and were really impressed with the quality sounds and how comfortable the fit was on various head sizes. The Monsters were clear with a strong bass and produced a great sound for something of such small size . They struggled a little with noise cancellation on ultra-quiet tracks but on the whole felt like a good grade of kit. Designed as stylish and simplistic they wouldn’t look out of place on anyone out and about in town. The interchangeable cable has a ‘Control Talk’ microphone/remote for use with programs such as Skype or Mobile devices as well as doubling up as a stop/start button for your music on the go.
Bluetooth is a great connection option for headphones as it cuts out the need for wires, whilst still keeping a pure connection. Bluetooth transmits signals over radio-waves at a short distance so the signal is strong and power efficient. It’s perfect for use with headphones as your personal area network (PAN) is at a short range, meaning the signal is strong giving you a great connection. Bluetooth is very power efficient and can be used at any point as long you’re in range of your twinned device. It’s a great technology to use if you’re in a car or the house and don’t want wires to tangle everything up.
The Xenta BT507EBY are an entry level set of Bluetooth headphones ideal for use in a car or when you simply need your hands free. They are compact and minimalist so won’t take up much room and are charged via USB so no need for a bulky charger. The Xenta’s have a built in microphone and can take calls on the go. The sound quality is of a decent standard but not the same as standalone headphones or something of higher value. The headband style makes them perfect for runners and those needing to keeps their hands free.
Wireless RF is the term used for other devices that use a radio frequency (RF), these headphones have a much larger scope of frequencies and can therefor transmit over a greater distance. RF devices can sometimes suffer in high traffic areas as other frequency can interfere with your signal, however this would only be in very busy areas. The RF headsets are fantastic for use around the home or in a large area. You can set up your broadcasting device in one room and listen to the signal in the garden.
Sennheiser RS110 II RF Wireless Headphones
If you’re looking for a quality set of headphones in the mid-range price bracket the Sennheiser RS110’s are a fantastic option. Of the four we tried out for this article the Sennheisers’ were the best in overall sound quality and noise reduction. The wireless range is very impressive, we managed two floors and nearly 90 meters away before we lost the signal! The adaptive ‘Tune’ function on the headset meant we could change the frequency to find the strongest channel for optimum broadcast and no interference.
The RS 110’s receive a wireless signal from the transmitter, the box is a little bigger than you would usually find but Sennheiser believe it can broadcast the signal 150m under good conditions. These headphones are perfect for home use as you have freedom to walk around the house without the worry of losing single or getting tied up by wires.
Blaupunkt 112 Comfort Wireless Headphones
We were particularly intrigued by The Blaupunkt 112’s Wireless headphones. This set is almost a hybrid in headphone terms. It has the standard RF ability to broadcast over a decent range (30m) throughout your house, whilst also having the option of portability.
An ultra-small, USB charged, transmitter and long lasting battery life means the Blaupunkt’s are portable enough to be used on the go. Simply put the transmitter in your pocket and have the wireless headphones as you walk. Then when you get home, leave the transmitter around the house and use the wireless to walk free-reign around your home. It’s the best of both worlds and much easier option than interchanging between a Bluetooth or wired set.
The headphones come with a number of connectors to link your various devices and a spacious carry case if you need to store everything. Sound quality is again good quality but could be improved a little on external noise cancellation. The padded phones are very comfortable on the ear and mould nicely to your head shape.