When it comes to buying earbuds, you get what you pay for. Cheaper sets can get the job done, while pricier pairs are better engineered and built to last.
To choose the right pair, you must look within and ask the next questions. Do I want earbuds that are just good enough for podcasts and to pay attention to my mom's voice on the other end of the phone? Or do I want audio fidelity so crisp and true to life that it feels like a musician performs right in front of me?
If you're looking for the best sound you can get, here are some specs to think about before purchasing your next set of earbuds.
How to Choose Earbuds
Though earbuds are less bulky than regular headphones, their small size means they can't quite match the panoramic sound quality of over-ear headphones especially when it comes to lower-end frequencies. Still, that doesn't mean you can't get great sound.
If you care a lot about quality sound reproduction, look for drivers in the 12 to 15 millimeters range. And if you really care about sound quality, research each pair’s frequency response curve. This tells you how the earbuds will color the sound by adding EQ or sweetening to emphasize certain frequencies.
When it comes to removing background noise there are two terms to know: sound isolation and noise cancellation.
Sound-isolation earbuds put a barrier between the outside world and your ears allowing the music to funnel in while cutting down on background ambiance.
Noise-canceling buds get a bit crazier invented. They listen in on the world around you with a tiny microphone then they recreate a copy of that sound wave whip it upside down and mix it with the signal going in your ears.
If you're getting earbuds to use while you exercise, look for sweat-resistant or even waterproof material. If you're running or cycling, you might want to look for buds with an open-back design. This allows you to hear what's going on around you. Also, if you really sweat or have juicy ear holes, you might want to look for earbuds that come with bands or over-ear clips to keep buds from popping out during workouts.
There are different earbuds and options for different ears. Remember your ears are worth wearing the best earbuds.