Headphones’ sound and comfort are quickly replacing earbud use. For a while, earbuds were a trend so kids could sneak their iPods or cellphones into class without detection. But, how many times a year are earbuds replaced? Sure, they’re getting cheaper at the stores, and that’s why kids are their biggest purchasers.
According to CNET, the best headphones range from about $200 to a bit over $400 for a rich, clear sound. The comfort of the headphone cupping your ear is important because, let’s face it, when we plug our tunes in we’re typically planning on staying to enjoy the ride for a while. Why not do it with class, style and comfort?
Headphones were invented years ago, as far back as the late 1800’s, Smithsonian tells us. Of course back then they weren’t used for stereos, but naval operators. Nathaniel Baldwin created the device in his kitchen and the Navy was pleased, but being a polygamist from Utah, he couldn’t leave the state. The U.S. Navy had him sign a document stating the price wouldn’t increase for the cost of the headphones, and they were happy. Meanwhile another Utah based company, Wireless Specialty Apparatus Co., got involved and made Baldwin another deal which he took.
In 1957, a new name became synonymous with headphones called Koss Corporation, who made the design for phonographs after the World War. But, the first people to actually experience the engulfing stereo sound of the headphones were Germans.
Now that we have the history of the headphones out of the way, let’s get down to the real reason we’re here. Santa’s just around the corner and we need to fill him in on our reasons for needing them more than ever.
As a mother with a teen crying incessantly about his ongoing need for headphones, I told him I wouldn’t spend $200 on something that will last a short time. He’s responsible, but his sticky-fingered sister—well, let’s just say she’s in elementary school. Rather than invest a lot of money for a terrific pair, I got him a lower rated version of Skullcandy, running about $75 and they look pretty cool, too. Skullcandy is aware that real candy gets old after downing a couple of pieces and suggests filling the stockings with earbuds and Bluetooth speakers. Hey, it’s a thought for little kids.
The cool kids would probably prefer a set of Beats headphones from Dr. Dre. These headphones are designed specifically for listening and jamming while skating, biking, or other mature activities of older teens. Most of these sets come wireless, but the sound adjustment can be hard to find.
Those headphone sets costing less than $100 aren’t going to do it for musicians or adults looking for the best sound experience. You may want to consider noise-cancellation headphones with the reputation of the Bose name for quality you can trust. Bose creates earphones, over-ear headphones, and even aviation headsets costing over $1,000.
Most headphones come in a variety of styles ranging from padded headsets, wireless, Apple ready, Android and Samsung devices, Bluetooth, etc. A lot of them fold up for easier convenience of carrying or storing them.
Gizmo’s rating of headphones is simple and encompasses two questions, sound quality and design.
- “Exceptional sound quality. This is a no-brainer. While the quality of the hardware is paramount, I also looked for headphones that were either well tuned, easily customized, and ideally both.”
- “Great design. This is about more than good looks—although that’s important, too! Great design also means that the features like controls and connectivity should be intuitive and dependable.”
According to Gizmo, the best overall set of headphones is going wireless with the Parrot Zik 3.0. With these bad boys, the headset can adjust the volume, change tracks, or even answer your phone with a simple touch of your finger. The battery life boasts 18 hours of battery life, and the detector will pause the music when you put them around your neck. This way you don’t have to do more than remove them to hear that your mother has been calling you to dinner when your sister flaps her arms as if landing a plane. Your music will be paused. As if that isn’t enough, the “Text-to-Speech” function announces the name of your incoming call using your smart phone with Siri or Google.
Headphones are obviously better than earbuds for those who have nothing to hide. If you’re asking Santa, you have nothing to hide anyway, do you?
[Image via Shutterstock]