Hi-Fi Headphones Buying Guide

Not only do Hi-Fi headphones provide an excellent sound experience, they also keep your neighbours and family members happy.


Do you love your music? Do you like to listen to your tunes at top quality? Whether you want to turn the music up loud without disturbing others around you, or you want to get the most out of your new MP3 player, this guide will help you select the right headphones for you.

Fit and comfort

It is not uncommon to put a pair of headphones on in a shop and find them quite comfortable for the minute or so that you're browsing tracks and checking them out in the mirror. Get them home, however, and by the end of the first album or movie, your ears are aching -- on the inside and the outside. If you are going to wear headphones for hours on end, make sure they sit over and outside your ears -- the larger the cup size, the better. Similarly, a soft fabric will minimise the pressure on your ears and head while ensuring the least number of gaps that let sound both in and out of the cups.

Circumaural headphones

While cups and straps can cause physical pain after an hour or so, things like bass boost can have a similar effect on your ears. Many consumer-level headphones are designed for listening to certain styles of music and, as a rule, this means they have a certain level of 'sweetening' built into them. In other words, they have the equivalent of an EQ preset that is designed to make music sound 'better'. This is the major difference between Hi-Fi headphones and monitoring headphones used in professional sound recording. If you plan to use headphones while writing music or making soundtracks on your computer, for instance, look for a pair that has a 'flat' frequency response. Similarly, if a model has a bass boost or any other equalisation feature, make sure it can be disabled -- unless you are prepared to live with it permanently on.

The style of cup is also a large factor in headphone comfort, especially over long periods of use. For closed cups (otherwise known as "circumaural", "closed-back" or "sealed" cups), the larger the cup is, the more comfortable the headphones will be. The opposite is true for open cups (otherwise known as "supra-aural" or "open-back" headphones). Soft fabric and a padded leather strap will also help. The headband design can make a difference. Some people find that over-the-ear or "hanging" style headphones reduce the pressure on the ears, thereby making them more comfortable over longer periods. Alternatively, behind-the-neck headbands can have a similar benefit, although you may find that this design adds more to the aesthetic properties of the headphones than to its comfort. In any case, make sure the strap is fully adjustable -- it should have leeway on both sides when it is adjusted to fit comfortably. Rotating cups also make it easier to fit closed-back headphones to maximise comfort and minimise sound leakage.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags hi-fi headphonesheadphonesdigital musicmp3 players

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

GoodGearGuide Staff

Good Gear Guide
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?