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Headphones To Please Any Type of Audiophile
by: Erica Cuffsmith
There are many different types of headphones on the market today. This is in high contrast to the headphone market just a few decades ago, where your choices were either studio monitor headsets (the big, clunky type worn over the ears) or cheap portable units.

There have been many advances in headphone technology over the past few decades, and now the consumer has a plethora of different shapes, sizes, styles and technologies to choose from. "Ear buds", "Back phones", "Canal phones" and "electrostatic headphones" are just a few of the types offered in today�s high tech headphone market. In the article we will review the different types of headphones available today and touch on the features and benefits of the individual types.

For the home user, the main type of headphone that is purchased would fit in the "studio monitor" category. This style of headphone has been around for years and certain models have not changed in years. The studio monitor is the standard "over the ear" variety that are common in radio and music studios. They typically have a � inch plug (as opposed to the smaller 1/8 inch or mini plug). Vendors of this type of headphone include AKG, Sony, Sennheiser, Grado Labs and Fostex. They are available "closed" and "open" varieties. Audiophiles will typically tell you that the open variety sounds more robust and has a fuller soundstage, at the expense of sound leakage (people around you will be able to hear what you are listening to and vice versa) that is not as noticeable in closed variety �phones which provide a higher level of sonic isolation.

For the listener on the go, there are many varieties to choose from. Ear buds are a very popular type of headphone which are commonly included in the packaging when you purchase a new audio player. These bud type headphones slip into the outer ear and provide minimal isolation from the outside world. While there are a few exceptions, the majority of bud type headphones on the market are cheap and do not sound very good to the discerning ear.

If you like the small form factor of buds but want something with a little more oomph, you may wish to consider canal phones. Canal phones are much like buds, but actually fit inside the ear canal (buds never make it past the outer ear lobe). Because they actually fit inside the canal, canal phones provide a much better seal than ear buds which allows for a higher degree of sound isolation and bass response for the listener. Silicone or foam ear plug type tips allow for comfort and safety during prolonged use. Be prepared to shell out a little more cash for the better quality canal phones, as vendors such as Etymotic and Ultimate Ears have models which sell between $350-$1000 USD.

The last type of phone we will discuss is back phones. Back phones are very similar to the open, circum aural phones popularized in the 70s and 80s, with the notable exception of the headband�s placement which, instead of being over the head like the older variety, is behind the head, which results in a more comfortable fit for athletics or the listener on the go.

No matter what you are looking for, there are many different types of headphones out there to suit your needs. Have fun shopping and happy listening!

About the author:
Erica Cuffsmith is a headphone fanatic and webmaster of All Headphones, a top website for everything about headphones. For more details, please go to


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