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The Best Bluetooth Headsets for 2023

The traditional Bluetooth headset, once the only game in town, is now one option among many. The single-ear headsets of 10 years ago have largely evolved into stereo Bluetooth headphones, almost all of which include microphones for calls. That means many people might want to head over to our list of the best wireless headphones and the best true wireless earbuds. Most have microphones and call control buttons, and we detail call quality in each review. If you’re looking for Apple’s AirPods Pro, for instance, or anything like them, those are in the true wireless earbuds roundup, not here.

This roundup is for people who prioritize voice calls above all else, so it’s a collection of single-ear voice headsets and headphones that have big boom microphones. A Bluetooth headset with a good microphone is lighter than most music headphones and has better audio quality than most earbuds. If your work requires you to make calls all day, those factors matter.

Picking the right headset might seem simple, but there’s one obvious challenge: It’s tough (and not completely sanitary) to try products out before plunking down the cash for them. But a major component of a headset’s success depends on how it fits and feels—and that varies widely from person to person, or even from ear to ear. Other important factors include sound quality, design, style, battery life, and extra features.

Read on for the top models we’ve tested, followed by all the main points you should consider when shopping for a Bluetooth headset.

Deeper Dive: Our Top Tested Picks

Jabra Evolve2 65

Best for Microsoft Teams

4.5 Outstanding

Bottom Line:

The Jabra Evolve2 65 Bluetooth headset gets the important things right, like a comfortable fit and good mic clarity, and really knocks it out of the park with excellent stereo audio performance.


  • Excellent mic clarity
  • Powerful bass depth and clear treble for music
  • Comfortable design
  • Compatible with Microsoft Teams app, with dedicated onboard controls


  • Can be annoying to properly dock headset for charging
  • Audio playback between simultaneously paired computers and phones can get complicated


Learn More

Jabra Evolve2 65 Review

Jabra Evolve2 75

Best Headset/Headphones Combo

4. 0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

Though pricey, Jabra’s Evolve2 75 Bluetooth headset is comfortable, sounds excellent for calls, and doubles as a capable pair of noise-cancelling headphones.


  • Excellent clarity from retractable boom mic
  • Quality audio performance with rich bass and bright highs
  • Good active noise cancellation
  • Exceptionally comfortable
  • App includes EQ and customization options


  • Expensive
  • Default audio sculpting won’t appeal to purists


Learn More

Jabra Evolve2 75 Review

Plantronics Voyager 5200

Best Lightweight Headset

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

The Plantronics Voyager 5200 headset continues to set the standard for Bluetooth voice quality, but this model is a little less comfortable than previous generations.


  • Long battery life.
  • Won’t fall off your ear.
  • Long range.
  • Built-in voice commands.
  • Completely reversible.
  • Solid noise cancellation.


  • Ear hook takes some finesse to fit perfectly over glasses.
  • Not quite as comfortable as previous Voyagers.


Learn More

Plantronics Voyager 5200 Review

Plantronics Voyager Focus UC

Best for All-Day Video Calls

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

The Plantronics Voyager Focus UC Bluetooth headset combines quality music playback with fantastic voice quality and unrivaled comfort.


  • Very comfortable.
  • Long battery life.
  • Excellent voice quality.
  • Balanced sound signature for music.


  • Bluetooth only.
  • No wired option.


Learn More

Plantronics Voyager Focus UC Review

Antlion Audio ModMic Wireless

Best Modular Boom Mic

4. 0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

Antlion Audio’s ModMic Wireless lets you add a boom mic to your favorite pair of headphones to use as an alternative to a dedicated gaming headset.


  • Excellent sound quality.
  • Clever design.


  • Limited to PC and PS4.
  • Expensive.
  • No onboard gain adjustment.


Learn More

Antlion Audio ModMic Wireless Review

BlueParrott B550-XT

Best Boom Mic Quality

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

The BlueParrott B550-XT Bluetooth headset delivers excellent voice intelligibility in loud environments, making it perfect for noisy jobs that require clear wireless communication.


  • Excellent mic clarity with solid intelligibility even in loud situations.
  • Comfortable.
  • Can be controlled by voice using app.


  • Expensive.
  • App could be more useful.


Learn More

BlueParrott B550-XT Review

BlueParrott C300-XT

Most Versatile Design

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

The single-ear BlueParrott C300-XT Bluetooth headset delivers strong clarity and environmental noise reduction for making calls from especially loud workplaces.


  • Wideband audio allows for strong voice clarity.
  • Effective noise-canceling mic.
  • Excellent range.
  • Rugged build.


  • Cumbersome customization and firmware update process.
  • App doesn’t always recognize paired earpiece.


Learn More

BlueParrott C300-XT Review

BlueParrott M300-XT

Best Noise Cancellation

4.0 Excellent

Bottom Line:

BlueParrott’s M300-XT Bluetooth headset is affordable, comfortable, and delivers clear voice quality in loud work environments.


  • Affordable
  • Superior voice intelligibility in noisy environments
  • Comfortable ear gels


  • Not fully waterproof
  • Getting a good in-ear seal takes a bit of work


Learn More

BlueParrott M300-XT Review

BlueParrott S450-XT

Best Battery Life

3. 5 Good

Bottom Line:

The BlueParrott S450-XT Bluetooth headset delivers decent stereo music performance with excellent outbound sound quality for over a day’s worth of use.


  • Long battery life.
  • Wired and wireless options.
  • Excellent outbound noise cancellation.


  • Bass-heavy at the expense of midrange.
  • Bluetooth quality isn’t great if connected phone isn’t out in the open.


Learn More

BlueParrott S450-XT Review

JLab JBuds Work

Best Affordable Stereo Headset

3.5 Good

Bottom Line:

The JLab JBuds Work over-ear Bluetooth headset delivers good mic clarity and decent stereo sound for a reasonable price.


  • Solid mic clarity
  • Mono and passive wired modes
  • Impressive battery life


  • Audible hiss during stereo audio playback
  • App adds little value


Learn More

JLab JBuds Work Review

Buying Guide: The Best Bluetooth Headsets for 2023

What’s the Difference Between Bluetooth Headsets and Headphones?

Stereo headsets aren’t just for listening to music. They also make calls, often quite well. So if you’re thinking about a pair of wireless headphones to rock out to, you may not need a separate mono Bluetooth headset.

Plantronics Voyager Focus UC
(Credit: Plantronics)

That said, stereo headsets are usually bigger and heavier than mono headsets, and while an over-the-ear pair of headphones may be great at listening to calls, the outbound noise cancellation abilities of their microphones may not be up to heavy street noise. The stereo headsets in this roundup are optimized for calls and often have boom mics that focus on your voice and exclude everything else. We compare the two options more decisively in our roundup of the best headsets and headphones for your home office.

Call Quality and Noise Cancellation

Call quality is an issue in both directions; a headset might sound full and crisp in the earpiece, but then transmit a thin, robotic version of your voice to the person on the other end. Make sure that good (or at least acceptable) call quality is mentioned in the review of any headset you plan to buy.

How well the other person can hear you when you’re in a speeding car with the windows down or in your office on a VoIP call can quickly separate the good performers from the bad. Headsets with two or three mics usually perform the best because at least one of those detects and cancels ambient noise with adaptive digital signal processing algorithms.

You definitely pay a premium for advanced noise cancellation, but depending on what you need your headset for, it might be worth it. We test noise-cancelling performance in every one of our reviews. For more on noise cancellation, head over to our roundups of the best noise-cancelling headphones and the best noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds, as well as our article on how we test noise cancellation.

BlueParrott C300-XT
(Credit: BlueParrott)

Battery Life, Comfort, and Range

A guiding principle with mono headsets: If you don’t want to charge, go large. Bigger headsets mean more room for big batteries. 

Comfort is a very personal choice. The best in-ear headsets have a range of fit styles—for instance, several different sizes of eartips, plus an option for an over-the-ear hook if headsets always fall out of your ear. If you absolutely can’t bear to put something in your ear, go for an over-the-ear stereo headphone pair.

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The Best USB Microphones for 2023

Most Bluetooth headsets offer about 30 feet of range before they start popping badly or devolving into digital artifacts. Larger headsets with stronger antennas have a bit more range. BlueParrott’s products, for instance, tend to have very good battery life and range, but at the cost of size and weight.

How Much Should You Spend on a Bluetooth Headset?

The sweet spot for a mono Bluetooth headset is around $100 and you can often find discounts that bring the price down a bit if you shop around. A good stereo headset generally runs between $150 and $300. The headsets in this roundup are on the high end of that price range because we focused on the absolute best-performing devices for people who rely on their headsets all day.

You can still find a decent headset for under $50 and sometimes even a really good one because headsets tend to stay available in retail channels for a long time after the manufacturer discontinues them. Cheaper Jabra, Motorola, and Plantronics headsets work fine; they just aren’t up to the performance standards of the more expensive category leaders. Typically, they are a bit clunkier and don’t offer as effective noise cancellation, but, then again, you aren’t paying a premium for it.

Do All Headphones & Earphones Have Built-In Microphones? – My New Microphone

Since remote work has become the norm in our digitally advanced world, wearing headphones and earphones equipped with microphones has become advantageous. By cancelling out the environment’s noise and laser targeting the speaker, it allows for much easier discussion on video calls, virtual meetings, and more.

Do all headphones and earphones have built-in microphones? Not all headphones have built-in microphones. Though many headphones/earphones have a mic installed internally or inline, many budget models do without, lowering their cost. Furthermore, professional and audiophile-grade headphones rarely have mics since they’re designed specifically as headphones.

Within the headphone industry, there are various upmarket and budget choices you can select from. Therefore, for brands to enter a market, they usually need to add or take away features to suit that price point. Because of this, some cheaper-priced headphones might not include a built-in microphone, so you’ll need to check the device’s features before purchasing.

How To Identify If A Pair Of Headphones Has A Built-in Microphone(s)

Maybe you’ve already purchased headphones or earbuds, and you’re trying to distinguish whether they have a built-in microphone or not. Luckily, this is easy. To make this straightforward, you’ll want to become knowledgeable on the three different types of built-in microphones common to headphones.

1.  Internal Microphones

The most common microphone that comes with headphones is a MEMS or ECM. Each of these is positioned around the device and built into the internal case. Since they’re located the furthest away from the mouth, the audio on the receiving end isn’t the best.

There’s usually an indication to identify an internal microphone on headphones. In most instances, it’s a small hole (this may or may not have a microphone symbol next to it) located on the bottom of the ear cups. The most optimal position for a microphone is the closest to your mouth, which is generally this part of the device.

2.  Inline Microphones

If you’re struggling to find an internal microphone on your device, then the next option you’ll want to search for is inline. Before doing anything, these are only attached to wired headphones and earphones.

Locating them is straightforward because they’re physically added to the cable. By running your fingers down your headphone cable, you should find a rectangle compartment with three buttons: volume up, volume down, and pause. Now you’ve found this, search for a small hole as this will be the microphone.

The advantage that inline microphones have over internal types is that they’re often closer to the mouth and further from the headphone drivers. This allows for better voice audio. In some higher-budget devices, they might even have a clip that you can attach to the collar of your t-shirt, making the audio even clearer.  

3.  Boom Microphones

Additionally, the headphone could also have a boom mic. Undoubtedly, this is the most apparent microphone attached to headphones because of its nature. Boom mics are commonly found on gaming headsets, so you’re not muffled. They can be retractable, detachable, and adjustable for optimal comfort.

Understanding the different microphones that circulate the headphone market makes it easier to identify if your device has one attached. However, you should know about the different microphone variations as these could significantly impact audio quality.


The two different microphone types are called MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical system) and ECM (electret condenser microphone), which are used in headphones because they can be designed remarkably small. Here’s what you need to know about them:

Microphone Name MEMS ECMS
Description The MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical system) is the newest innovation of small mic technology. They’re the most superior option because of their significant updates. An ECM (electret condenser microphone) is the “older brother” of the MEMS, but it’s still widely used in various headphone types.
Key Advantages Compared to older models, they require less energy to operate. MEMS mics are resistant to electrical and heat interferences, which generally cause static noise. Cheaper to manufacture and easier to replace if damaged. By design, ECMs are more resistant to water than a MEMS.

To learn more about MEMS mics and electret condenser mics, check out the following My New Microphone articles, respectively:
• What Is A MEMS Microphone? (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems)
• The Complete Guide To Electret Condenser Microphones

How To Choose The Best Headphones With A Microphone

Understanding the above is superb, and by developing this knowledge, you can invest in a headphone that’ll cater to your microphone needs. However, this isn’t the only consideration you should think about when deciding on headphones. To achieve this successfully, you’ll want to ask yourself the following questions:

Where Will Phone Calls Be Made?

When searching for your “best” headphone choice, you’ll want first to decide where most of your usage will be with them. The two categories you should be thinking about are:  

  • Quiet places: With this application, you won’t need any noise-reduction features
  • Loud places: In this environment, noise-reduction features are pretty much mandatory for practical audio

As you can imagine, using a headphones microphone in a quiet atmosphere won’t need any “special” features to help with the audio output. However, noise-cancelling/reduction features are essential for the recipient to hear you clearly in busy cafes, offices, on the go, and much more.

Noise-cancelling is perfect for reducing background noise and targeting your voice but is known to cause some distortion. Without noise cancelling, the mic will output significant background noise, but the sound quality will be much clearer.

How Vital Is Comfort?

Unquestionably, the more comfortable your headphones are, the more expensive. Therefore, you’ll want to understand how long you’ll wear these headphones.

If you’re going to use these daily for numerous hours, investing in a more expensive and comfortable headphone will be much more beneficial. It’ll make long voice calls much more bearable, providing you better satisfaction with the device.

Is Sound Quality Crucial?

Headphone sound quality isn’t as crucial as the mic audio for some users. If you fit into this category, you can undoubtedly save some money by purchasing a lower sound quality headphone equipped with a good microphone. Again, this will depend highly on how you’ll use the device, where, etc.

After reading the above, you should have a more comprehensive idea about if all headphones have a built-in microphone and how to identify them. Hopefully, your existing headphone has one. If not, you have enough knowledge to invest in a pair that will provide you with the ultimate amount of benefits.

Microphones & Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Microphones are not only incorporated into headphones are earphones for telephony purposes. They’re also a necessary part of active noise-cancelling (ANC) technology.

Active noise-cancelling utilizes active circuitry (requiring power) to effectively produce an “anti-noise” signal in the headphone driver that cancels environmental noise by means of phase cancellation.

To do so, the ANC circuit must have a microphone. The microphone will capture the environmental noise as an audio signal. This audio signal is then phase-inverted and added to the headphone signal to help cancel out environmental noise.

These mics are typically ECMs, and each earcup generally has its own microphone(s). All active noise-cancelling headphones and earphones have built-in mics, even if none are used for telephony. The differences in ANC circuits are largely defined by the positioning of such microphones.

Feed-forward active noise-cancelling works with a microphone placed on the outside of the headphones. The mic pickups up environmental noise, and the ANC circuit produces the anti-noise signal without ever “hearing” the intended audio being sent to the headphone drivers.

Feedback active noise-cancelling works with a microphone placed on the inside of the headphone ear cup. That way, the mic can hear the intended sound of the headphones along with the environmental noise

To learn more about noise-cancelling headphones, check out the following My New Microphone articles:
• How Do Noise-Cancelling Headphones Work? (PNC & ANC)
• Passive Vs. Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones
• Do Noise-Cancelling Headphones Work With Or Without Music?

Professional & Audiophile-Grade Headphones

Professional and audiophile-grade headphones hardly ever have built-in microphones. They are designed solely for the purpoI’vef monitoring audMicrophone’sy (for mixing and mastering engineerBuyer’seproducing audio in the most musical ways possible (for audiophiles).

The addition of a microphone in such headphones would add complexity to the design and even play a small role in degrading theI’veio due to additiMicrophone’signals being carried throuBuyer’scable.

These headphones, including in-ear monitors, are expensive because they’re either very accurate or otherwise awesome-sounding. The price has to do with their sound reproduction rather than their two-way telephony capabilities.

For professional-grade headphones with built-in microphones, look for pro audio (or even aviation) headsets.

Choosing the right headphones or earphones for your applications and budget can be a challenging task. For this reason, I’ve created My New Microphone’s Comprehensive Headphones/Earphones Buyer’s Guide. Check it out for help in determining your next headphones/earphones purchase.

Choosing the right microphone(s) for your applications and budget can be a challenging task. For this reason, I’ve created My New Microphone’s Comprehensive Microphone Buyer’s Guide. Check it out for help in determining your next microphone purchase.

How to set up the microphone in the headphones on the computer and phone

Set up the headset with microphone on the PC

Before you can set up the headphones with microphone on the computer, you must connect them. The system unit has 2 connectors for connection, pink for a recording device and light green for speakers and a headset. The easiest way to work with USB headphones – they fit any version 2.0 connector, of which any desktop PC has at least three.

If your headset has standard 3.5mm plugs, you first need to decide where to plug them in. If the headphones and microphone share a cord and mini-jack, you need a combo jack to connect. Usually phones and some laptops have one – if it is not available, you will have to buy a special adapter.

For a regular computer headset with two separate plugs, the connection process will be the easiest. Plugs of different colors are inserted into the corresponding connectors on the front or rear panel of the system unit. Laptops have the same ports located on the front or side.

Checking operation

After connecting the headphones, check that they are working properly. To test the sound, it is enough to turn on any music file, go to a site with audio or video content, or even just move the slider on the volume control.

The microphone is checked in the following ways:

  1. Turn on the voice recorder application (“Sound Recorder” in the list of standard Windows functions). Check if you can record sound with headphones or not.
  2. Use a special program to set up the microphone in the headphones.
  3. They go to Skype, where there is a sound test function – Echo / Sound Test Service. Run a test and check the operation of recording and reproducing devices.

If the test showed normal operation of the recording and reproducing part of the headset, we can assume that its connection was successful. If you have problems, you should get acquainted with several ways how to set up headphones with a microphone on your computer. The first is the activation of the device in the system.

Activating and configuring the microphone

It is recommended to configure the microphone using the list of connected Windows devices in two cases – if there is no recording at all or the sound is too quiet.

To check and change the headset parameters, perform the following actions:

  • Find the speaker image in the lower right corner, right-click on it to open the context menu and select “Playback devices” first.
  • In the window that opens, find the speakers and select their use by default in another context menu. Set the device settings to “Stereo”.
  • Return to the device list and switch to the Recording tab. Do the same steps to turn on the microphone. Instead of settings, choose properties and levels.
  • Check the operation of the headphones and recording device in any convenient way. If there is no sound, check the serviceability of the headset and connectors, the presence of the necessary drivers.

When connected to a laptop, two microphones can be seen in the list of recording devices. The first is standard, built-in, the quality of which is usually worse. It is usually used as a fallback when no other microphone is available. To use an external device for talking or recording in different programs (for example, Skype or Discord), you should select it “by default” in the system settings.

Setup using Realtek HD Audio

In addition to the standard system tools, you can configure the microphone using a special program – Realtek HD Audio. It can be found on most laptops and PCs. You can find the utility by going to the “Hardware and Sound” tab through the computer’s control panel.

The procedure is as follows:

  1. Open the utility.
  2. Go to the microphone tab.
  3. Set the volume level of the recording device. If it works quietly, set the maximum value.
  4. Set gain. If the device is phoning or making noise, the parameter is set to a minimum.

If you have a second microphone (on a laptop or monoblock), you can select the default device – just like in the Windows settings. You can also set the recording sensitivity here.

Tips for finding the right volume

To improve the sound quality, you can try adjusting the microphone settings in Realtek HD Audio or the recording devices tab. The algorithm for choosing the optimal volume and gain value is as follows:

  • Set gain to 0%, volume to 50%. Check the quality of the recording using any program or utility.
  • Increase the volume level to 80%. Check again.
  • If the recording is still hard to hear, add software gain – 1 step equals approximately 10 dB.
  • When enhancing the sound, add amplification step by step. When the sound is normal, go to the volume settings.
  • If you still hear almost no sound when you set the gain and volume to the maximum, then the headset is not suitable for this computer or is broken.

Before you set up USB headphones with a microphone, you should know that for some models you can only change the volume. There is no gain in this case. To improve the sound, you will either have to replace the headphones, or bring the microphone as close to your mouth as possible.


If changing the settings does not lead to normal operation of the headphones, it is worth performing additional checks. The first is a performance test of the headset and connectors. To check the device is connected to another PC or phone. If neither sound nor the ability to record appeared, the problem lies in the headphones.

During normal operation of the headset, another audio device (for example, speakers) is connected to the same connectors on the computer, checking the correct operation of the input and output.

The next test step is to increase the volume on the mixer. You can call it by right-clicking on the sound icon and selecting the appropriate item. All sliders must be moved up as much as possible, increasing the volume of both playback and recording.

The last method requires reinstalling the sound card drivers. You can determine what software you need for it in the “Device Manager”. In the properties of the card, find the “Hardware ID”, copy all the text and paste it into the search bar of the browser. This method of setting up a microphone from headphones requires a restart of the operating system and in most cases solves a problem that could not be dealt with in another way.

Android headset microphone setup

Microphone problems are much less common on phones than on PCs. Usually, the connected headset is automatically detected and does not require any audio or recording settings. If the microphone still does not work, there may be three reasons.

  1. Broken headphones. The problem is checked by connecting another headset and is solved by buying a new device.
  2. Phone connector problem. Another smartphone or computer is used for verification. If the reason is confirmed, the gadget will have to be taken to the service.
  3. Lost system settings of the mobile device.

The user can solve the problem with the settings on his own, without contacting specialists. To do this, just go to the engineering menu by entering a special combination in the dialing menu. For most models with MTK brand processors, enter *#*#54298#*#* or *#*#3646633#*#* . Combination *#*#8255#*#* is for Samsung Exynos CPU. In the menu, you will have to find the Hardware section and open the Earphones and Mic tab. Here you can adjust the volume and sensitivity of the external or built-in microphone.

Settings for Apple gadgets

Branded headsets for iPhones and iPads usually do not require settings. For example, each AirPods has a built-in microphone that allows you to chat or use a voice assistant.

By default, the gadget’s settings are set to “Automatic”, thanks to which any part of the headset perceives sound. When using only one earphone, it automatically becomes a microphone. The user can configure only the right side or only the left side to record and perceive sound.

If the AirPods do not play or record sound, there can be three reasons – communication with the mobile device is broken, the headset is broken, and the microphone settings are out of order. The first problem is solved by re-synchronization, the second requires repair or replacement of headphones. The Mute key on the iPhone will help you fix the settings.

Another, less common, but also noteworthy cause of playback or recording problems is the use of an incompatible headset. The situation arises when buying non-original Apple headphones and is solved only by switching to real AirPods or EarPods.

See also:

  • Vacuum headphones for every budget
  • How to connect headphones with microphone to PC=”content_internal_link”>




Olga Dmitrieva

Mobile Devices and Home Appliances Direction Editor

Headphones with microphone: Three selection options | Articles | Audio and video equipment

Almost all modern headphones are equipped with a microphone. Phone headsets need it for calls, work headphones for video conferencing, and gaming headphones for voice chats. So whatever headphones you choose now, most likely, you will have to focus not only on the sound quality and speaker characteristics, but also on the microphone.

Today we will discuss how to choose the right headphones with a microphone.


Three main parameters

Housing design

There are four different headphone categories based on the type of construction.

Earbuds are the cheapest type of headphones that are becoming less and less popular now. They are still handed out for free (for example, on airplanes and long-distance buses), but they are almost never bought for permanent use.

These headphones have average sound quality and no isolation from external noise. Nevertheless, the popular Apple AirPods are made according to this principle, but they are distinguished from the rest by calibration, technical features and price. So among the liners, they have become an exception.

The in-ear headphones are droplets with ear pads. They are now common among smartphone users. Thanks to soft rubber or silicone ear cushions, they sit well in the ear and block out extraneous noise.

The reproduction quality of these headphones is often very high, they transmit both bass and treble well. These are Marshall Major II headphones, some models of Beats and other popular brands.

Different types of headphones. Photo:

On-ear headphones are large headphones, they are worn over the ear, but soft ear cushions do not completely cover the ear, but only “overlap” on top of it.

Most often, devices of the middle segment have this design. They sometimes sound good, but isolation from ambient noise leaves much to be desired. And all precisely because of the design, it physically transmits more sounds than other types. These headphones sometimes have a padded headband, but can put pressure on your ears, especially if you use them for long periods of time.

The over-ear headphones are the most expensive type of headphones. This includes monitor devices that are used in sound engineering or editing, and headphones for music lovers, and devices for home cinemas. The ear cups of the full-size earphone cover the entire ear, so they create comfort during long work or rest. The ear cushions are soft and very large, and the headband is almost always soft and covered with a special material: artificial leather or fabric. These headphones are known for their high quality sound.

Driver type

Photo: Dynamic headphone design.

Dynamic earphones work according to a specific principle. The basis of this principle is a membrane that vibrates under the influence of current and transmits sound. This whole structure is so small that it allows you to create miniature headphones. This is how most of the headset models familiar to us are arranged. You should not expect professional quality sound reproduction from these headphones, but you can count on the full transmission of all frequencies and high volume.

Armature headphones are noticeably larger due to a completely different system. They also have a membrane, but it fluctuates not from the current, but from the turns of the movable armature. In order not to go into the details of the physical and technical device, we note that such headphones provide high sound insulation, transmit sound with high quality, but are able to reproduce fewer frequencies than dynamic headphones.

Acoustic design

Open-back earphones. Photo:

In terms of acoustic design, everything is very simple and understandable almost “by eye”. Headphones closed type have no openings on the case. This design allows you to provide high sound insulation – others do not hear what is playing in the headphones, and the sounds from the outside are not audible to those who put on the headphones.

The open earphones are provided with openings through which air flows to the speakers. Thanks to this, the headphones produce a clearer sound and level out echo waves, but are limited in the location of use. They do not drown out extraneous noise, in addition, the music you listen to is heard from outside.

Headphone specifications

Professional monitor headphones often do not have a microphone. Photo:

Headphones have several indicators that can be found in the description of the characteristics. To make it simple and clear to choose, we will indicate the name of the characteristic and note the limits within which its value should be in order to be able to count on high-quality sound.

  • Frequency response. The standard value is 20 – 20,000 Hz. It is in this range that the sounds that the human ear recognizes are located. It may change with age, but for headphones and any other audio playback devices, it remains the standard. It is not necessary to look for a wider range, because the likelihood that you will distinguish additional sounds is extremely small.
  • Impedance. This is the headphone input impedance. The value itself is not very clear, but the main thing is to know which indicator is ideal for your music playback device (smartphone, computer, stereo or player). When it comes to standard headphones, 16-32 ohms is the optimal value.

Wired or wireless headphones

Today’s headphones can be either wired or wireless. The only difference is in the connection method. If the wired ones are enabled via a 3.5 mm jack, then the wireless ones are synchronized with a smartphone via Bluetooth or a radio channel. In the latter case, an adapter is used for communication, which works via a USB port.

Almost all modern smartphones do not have an input for wired headphones, so it is best to choose Bluetooth models for them. For players or laptops, you can still use wired headphones.

If you decide on a wireless model, you should choose one that supports the latest versions of Bluetooth. Otherwise, interference may occur in crowded places, especially if the phone is in a bag or pocket.

Water resistant

Water resistant is a feature that is important for those who buy headphones for sports or walking. It depends on her whether the headphones will survive the fall into the water, the ingress of raindrops or sweat. For the home, such models are not necessary to choose.

Noise reduction

This characteristic is important for those models that do not have noise reduction in the design. The software noise reduction of wireless headphones affects the battery, but it allows you to limit extraneous sounds.


Headphones with boom microphone. Photo:

We choose headphones with a microphone, so we will give this device a separate item. A good microphone should record or catch a voice without interference, cut off extraneous noises or sighs during a conversation.

The microphone is usually located either on the wire next to the volume buttons or, in the case of wireless headphones, on the case.

If the headphones are large gaming, then they may have a gun microphone. This is the most advanced option.

Guns are most often condenser microphones. They have wide audio frequency and better transient response and are the ones used for recording.