It is odd to read, but technically earphones are types of headphones with the name ear-fitting headphones! Normally by the word Headphone we mean a pair of small loudspeaker connected with a bridge designed which is intended to be worn on or around the head to cover the ears. On the other hand, by the word Earphone we mean a pair of tiny loudspeakers, pocketable by design, intended to be worn on the pinna of the ears – closer to hole of the ear or sometimes inside the ear canal. It is possibly normal to become curious to compare earphone vs headphone pros and cons. In this article, we have discussed the types and practical usage of earphone and headphone.
Earphone vs Headphone : Pros and Cons
Obviously, earphones are small and pocketable but headphones are bigger. Also the production cost of ordinary earphones are lower. A headset is a headphone or earphone combined with a microphone. So the form factor and cost are among the common reasons of why commonly earphones like things are included with modern mobile phones. A non-too-much technical classification of the headphones are :
By design of the ear pads :
- Over-Ear Headphones or Circumaural Headphones
- On-Ear Headphones or Supra-aural headphones
By sound isolation :
- Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
- Passive Noise Cancelling Headphones
By type of earcups :
Over-Ear Headphones or Circumaural Headphones comfortable fit and great for longer listening sessions. Problem is their size and higher cost. On-Ear Headphones or Supra-aural headphones produces more accurate sound than earphones. But they are often tight and can become uncomfortable to use for longer time. Active Noise Cancelling Headphones block-out the background noise but can be pricey. Passive Noise Cancelling Headphones usually tight fitting and are bad to wear. Open Headphones provides natural sounding audio and intended for the studios. Closed-back more common. So Circumaural Headphones with Active Noise Cancelling and Closed-back design are superior headphones.
Sony MDR-1000x is good example of such Circumaural Headphones with Active Noise Cancelling and Closed-back design headphone with whopping $400 price tag. Similar quality from other brands cost similar like Bose QuietComfort 35. Sennheiser HD 280 Pro is probably cheapest in this category with comparable sound around $125 price range.
Sennheiser HD 800 S is example of Circumaural Headphones with Active Noise Cancelling and Open-back design. Price is like MacBook Pro.
As we mentioned above, earphones are actually a subtype of headphones. For the sake of this article, we are considering them as separate entities. A non-too-much technical classification of the earphones are :
- Common earbuds design
- In-ear design
- Mixed fitting types
IEMs or In-Ear Monitor earphones are built to shield from the sounds coming in from the outside world, are designed to fit into ear canals, thereby providing a passive noise isolation. These are often the best earphones. Coming to the pricing of the best earphones, Bose SoundTrue Ultra costs $125 and possibly the best. Apple AirPods costs $250.
Conclusion on Earphone vs Headphone Pros and Cons
Earphones typically are less expensive than headphones, lighter, less bulky and don’t affect hairstyles or interfere with glasses or earrings. But earphones deliver inferior sound quality compared to headphones, especially when it comes to bass tones. If you heard earphone better than headphone, the case was possibly some other factor. Earphones are practical, cheap option in many situations. You should read audiophile websites for review of costly earphones or headphones before purchase. This article simply provided an overall idea.