Headphones – Understanding the differences
We choose too seperate headphones into two main catgeories but truthly you could split it much further. The two main types we choose to specify is open and closed back but they are also both broken down into superaural and circumaural. On top of this they could then use a dynamic, electrostatic or planar magnetic driver.
We think open and closed backs are probably the biggest seperator of two headphones because of their sound differences and also the situations you use them in. Open backed headphones don’t isolate as such and leak sound so you will not have any fun using them on the go. Closed back headphones fair a lot better on the go because the driver is sealed off and these can provide great isolation, although not usually as much as an earphone.
For both open and closed headphone you can get superaural and circumaural model. Superaural are headphones that sit on your ears and circumaural completley engulf your ears. These of course offer different comfort, isolation and portability.
In terms of drivers, dynamic are by far the most commonly seen, these are a simple driver system using a magnet and voice coil to vibrate and create sound. Planar magnetic headphones are becoming more frequent but still cost a higher premium. They tend to have a very low sensitivty and be very hard to drive with people even getting them involved with speaker amps. Finally you have electrostatic and these need a special amp that is designed to energise them specifically. Anyway, enough babble, choose one of the sections and read some reviews!