Choosing headphones can be confusing, yielding some common misconception. For example, many believe that the Bluetooth headphones sound like a tin can, and a large speaker size has a positive effect on sound quality, and subject only to this when buying. Tell what specifically affects the size of the speakers and what to consider when choosing headphones.
Myth 1: in-ear headphones can’t sound good due to the small size of the speakers
Any speaker works on the following principle: in the center speakers are placed a magnet around it is wound a coil through which a current flows from the source (smartphone or player). A varying current in the coil affect the generated electromagnetic field to her. In the result of interaction of two magnetic fields (from permanent magnet and the AC coil) coil is displaced and actuates a diaphragm whose vibrations produce sound waves.
The diaphragm is the most important part of the dynamics, because its properties determine the quality of sound. The ideal membrane should be simultaneously maximally stiff and lightweight: stiffness necessary for the clear transmission of sound without distortion and a long attenuation, lightness depend on the sensitivity and volume level.
In in-ear headphones use tiny transducers with a diameter of about an inch. Due to the small size of the membrane is very light and agile. At the same time, it is tougher than the larger membrane with the same thickness.
All of this makes in-ear headphones a number of advantages: they require less amplification and a well-practiced sharp and quick sounds. Of course, it’s hardly fair to cheap “gags”. But if you don’t go to extremes, it is possible for the sane to take the money the FiiO EX1. If you choose from more upscale models, look to the Master & Dynamic ME03 (all the nuances of the model we mentioned in the review), and search excellent dynamic “plugs” will be finished.
Myth 2: the bigger the speaker, the higher the sound quality
We talked about the advantages of small speakers, but they have shortcomings? For example, the tiny membrane is not able to move a large volume of air. This weakens the impact of low frequencies. It would seem that the problem could be the increase in the size and dynamics of its membrane. But all is not so simple.
As mentioned, the most important membrane properties are the stiffness and lightness. With increasing diameter affect both the parameter, which can lead to distortions of sound. To understand, about what speech, here are animations showing the behavior of the membrane in a simplified form.
It looks like a normal reaction of the membrane on signal — and-forth motion generating a sound wave:
If you reduce the stiffness of the membrane, its surface starts to deform during the oscillations. Deformation can be the following:
At higher frequencies of deformation are summed up and the picture is the following:
Such behavior of the membrane dramatically increases the level of distortion in the sound, especially at high frequencies. To avoid this, manufacturers are trying to increase the rigidity of the membrane, napisa a coat of light metals such as titanium or beryllium. However, this solution exacerbates the problem of a large weight. So full-sized headphones with large speakers usually require much more power compared to “plugs”. If the source lacks capacity, and the membrane is sufficiently rigid, the impact of low frequencies would really be better than the in-ear headphones with small emitters. Otherwise low and high frequencies can be controlled worse and felt simplified: the bass loses speed and intensity, the top crumbles and becomes dirty.
All of the above applies including overhead headphones. However, the developers realize that the majority of owners use as a source of smartphones, so in these headphones is rare to find emitters with a diameter greater than 40 mm. One of the exceptions of steel Audio-Technica ATH-SR5, in which applied a 45-millimeter speakers of our own design. This headset is suitable for those who can’t stand in-ear headphones, but looking for a solution for listening to music on the go.
Myth 3: a large speaker gives you a wide frequency range
When choosing a watch on the specified frequency band, and assume that its value is related to the size of the speakers. This approach also spread manufacturers, indicating a wider frequency range for headphones with large speakers. But is it really?
Take two models of headphones: the first have 40-millimeter speakers with the specified range 10-30000 Hz, the second one 70-millimeter speakers with a range of 4-120000 Hz. And now look at the amplitude-frequency characteristic (the dependence of loudness on frequency) of both models obtained with one measuring stand. Here’s a chart for the first the headset:
But for the second:
*Data taken from innerfidelity
In both cases, any signs of sound detectable by supersensitive microphones, are lost at a frequency of about 25 kHz. Why, then, the formal characteristics are so different from objective measurements?
The fact that in the range above 30 kHz are the individual harmonics and distortion and noise, to a small extent passed on membrane dynamics. To enable these data, the manufacturer can significantly expand the specified frequency range.
For the consumer it means nothing. First, useful information about the sound signal of such high frequency is not contain. And secondly, people with perfect hearing can hear frequencies up to 20 kHz. With age, the upper limit of audibility is lowered, and by the age of 30 most people do not perceive a sound whose tone above 16 kHz.
From all this we can draw the following conclusions. A speaker of any size capable of covering the full audible frequency range. In turn, manufacturers may not specify the methods of measurements, and denote the maximum value of the frequency range taking into account harmonics and distortion. There is no deception, only a competent marketing course.
What headphones to choose
Perception is always individual and depends on many factors. But still there are criteria to distinguish the quality of the sound is subjectively good, and they are not associated with the size of the headphones, their frequency range, and sometimes even with the price. It is a good testing attacks (sudden and rapid sounds), control and balance low and high frequencies, absence of dips and peaks in key areas of the frequency range. Quality headphones meet all of these requirements and well-played music of all genres, and their supply is not tiring with prolonged listening.
The article has considered only dynamic headphones, because they are the most available and common. Speaker technology is simple and refined, and their potential is limited by the physical properties of the membrane. Today there are much more effective types of sound emitters, such as reinforcement (balanced armature) and planar-magnetic. The last are the most expensive, but planar-magnetic technology allows to achieve the highest resolution, speed and smoothness of sound which are unattainable for traditional speakers. One of the last examples of the family of planar steel HiFiMan Edition X, they combine all these advantages. Like other isodynamic headphones, they need a powerful stationary source, therefore this option is suitable only for listening to music at home and in a relaxed atmosphere. In favor of home use play open-acoustic design and high cost.
If you need to get the highest quality sound on the go, the best solution would be in-ear earphones with armature drivers. Unlike speakers, these radiators are simple to acoustic design, so the devices based on them do not have holes in housing and provide better sound insulation. Other important advantages of the reinforcement set — excellent speed characteristics and high resolution: when listening to multi-instrumental fast music their isolation from the dynamic model are obvious. However, the high cost and increased demands on the source that make them not a mass product.
Not to be mistaken when choosing headphones, it is enough to take your source to come to a showroom where you can listen to different models, and evaluate them in your favorite music. It does not neglect any types of headphones. In recent times, even among wireless headsets enough balanced models, regardless of price — there are inexpensive KOSS BT539ithat will appeal to fans of pop genres, or the ultimate Audio-Technica ATH-DSR9BT trying to poach on the wireless standards of the audiophile. It is important to listen, analyze, and choose.
- Bermocoll Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 confirmed with new photos
- Story in footage from tapes to Blu-ray — how to change the size of video games
- Smartphone from the Creator of Android was almost non-repairable
- Insides #1077: Kirin 980, Apple iPhone 8, Blackview S8, Doogee BL12000
- TV from LG and Bang & Olufsen silently moves around the house (9 photos + 2 videos)