Headphones are rapidly conquering a very large part of the market. This is partly due to the success of the Beats by Dr Dre. A brand, set up by Monster and now owned by Apple, that has managed to sell headphones worth hundreds of Euros. Something unprecedented in those days.
There are basically three types of headphones: in-ear, on-ear and over-ear. What’s better, can’t be said, because it’s taste. One user loves in-ear, another swears by on-ear or over-ear. In addition, a pearl can be found in every segment. There are great in-ear monitors and beautiful on- and over-ears. From dynamic to electrostatic and planar.
For many people, a headphone is something that goes with them. And in that case the headphone will be used with a smartphone or mobile player. It is important that the player can control the in-, on- or over-ears. This has mainly to do with the headphone’s resistance. With a mobile player around 32 Ohm is desirable. You can go a bit higher, but don’t try to drive a model with a resistance of 300 Ohm or more with a smartphone or mobile player. Unless it is specifically designed for that purpose.
We always test headphones quite thoroughly. If it’s new, we play it well first. Preferably we put them on our headphone amplifier – a Sennheiser HDAV 800 – for 200 hours. After those 200 hours we will – if possible – measure the model with our Harry Headphone test setup. This is in fact a computer, connected to a USB interface with a microphone amplifier and test software. That software can do sweep, noise and distortion measurements. We try to do that in as quiet a space as possible. We had the Void, but unfortunately it is no longer available after the move (lack of space).
Apart from the measurements, we will of course just listen. We do this with several players. From smartphones to mobile players and headphone amplifiers.
Alpha Audio - Haarlem - Netherlands