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Headphones and Earphones Audiophile 101 | Part 3: Headsets, Headphones & Earphones: How to Tell the Difference

Headphones and Earphones Audiophile 101 | Part 3: Headsets, Headphones & Earphones: How to Tell the Difference

Headsets, Headphones & Earphones: These terms are freely tossed around the internet with little regard for accuracy, but there are some key differences between them. We tried to thoroughly explain all of them so you could know exactly what you need and what you should be looking for. 

1.A brief definition of Headsets, Headphones & Earphones:  

  • Headsets are ear-worn speakers (or a single speaker) coupled with a microphone for interactive use with telecom systems, intercoms, or computers. But keep in mind that the term “headset” is often used to denote head-worn audio devices of all three types. Today, you can find headsets with one or two earpieces delivering mono or stereo sound. They have the mic, the headband that connects the earpieces (in case the model has two earpieces) and the cable that is connected to the source of sound or a small device receiving the signal from the source of the sound. 
  • Headphones: A pair of headphones is two simple speakers attached to a band. This then goes across the top of the user's head. This means the speakers are positioned directly over the ears. This provides a personal, immersive listening experience where the sound source delivers its brilliant sonic payload directly into the ears.
  • Earphones: Dispensing with the large design of “cans” or padded ear muffs which nestle the headphones speakers in, the earphone is effectively an in-ear speaker. Inserted into the ear canal, earphones provide an even more direct connection to the sound source. They move even less air than headphones. 

2.Advantages and Downsides of Headsets, Headphones & Earphones:

  •  Headsets are ideal for communications hearing a clear voice without high levels of noise from the surroundings to cut the external noise and reduce echo. It doesn't emphasize on the soundstage, sound space, timbre of the music, etc. 
  • Headphones: Normally there are cushions that are placed around the speakers and over the ears for comfort and sound insulation. Headphones provide a very personal and what may be termed immersive listening experience. Unlike true loudspeakers, headphone transducers do not need to move large volumes of air and therefore they can deliver a very impressive sound. However, the experience is different from that of speakers as the sound is heard in the plane of the headphones and does not come from in front of behind.
  • Earphones are often a catch-all term for speakers that rest over or inside the ear or fit directly into the ear canal. The design of the earphone has a knock-on effect on noise canceling. What's more, some people find them uncomfortable to wear since they sit within the ear canal. For those who like or even prefer the earphone experience, however, the reduced bulk and ergonomic contours can be quite comfortable. 

3.Application of  Headsets, Headphones & Earphones:

  • Headsets are ideal for a wide range of uses. They are the natural choice for voice over IP communications with services who want to talk with someone in private such as Skype, as well as interfacing with a phone system. Headsets are also perfect for playing online games with voice communications,in gyms where fitness instructors use them at group classes... With a headset, listeners are immersed within their listening experience.
  • Headphones emphasize quality stereo sound for listening to music, movies, or games. Headphones have evolved quite a bit from the head-cramping cans of the seventies and eighties, although the types favored by audiophiles retain their sound-isolating, around-the-ear design.
  • Earphones definitely cut down on the bulk of traditional headphones. That makes them the ideal choice for people on the go. They are therefore the typical choice for athletes, runners and gym-goers rocking their MP3 players while getting some exercise.
In the end, it comes down to the intended use and personal preference. Whichever you choose, you'll find a fine selection at HiFiGo!   
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