Why Are Headphones Called Cans? What Are Other Names For Headphones?

Why are headphones called cans? Cans are slang for headphones. Earlier, people used to shorten the technical term for convenience. Read on to know more about canned music.

In the early 1800s, people used cans as slang for headphones. Some radio operators termed the word cans to play music from a rotating cylinder. 

It sounded like they were listening to music that is built from tin cans. And when packing the cylinders and making them available to the public, it was known as canned music by the people.

In this article, let us further look at

  • What are headphone cans?
  • What’s another word for headphones?
  • What is a slang term for headphones?
  • What are cans in music?
  • What to look for when buying a headphones
Why Are Headphones Called Cans

Headphones: Small Loudspeaker Fixed To The Ears

Headphones (also known as cans by artists and DJs) work as a speaker. The only difference between them is their size. A loudspeaker sets the air moving around the room so you can hear it.

At the same time, a headphones speaker moves the air inside the ear only.  

What’s Another Word For Headphones?

Many people call headphones earphones, earspeakers, and cans.

Some headphones are like bone conduction. The user moves it around the back of the head and places it in front of the ear canal.

What Is A Slang Term For Headphones?

Most of the audio industry in the early years used to call headphones cans. It looks like a circumaural headphone that can surround the ear flap. 

Why Are Headphones Called Cans

Terms People Use For Headphones.

  • Cans. People use this slang for headphones.
  • Earphones Or Earbuds. Some telephone operators built headphones in the late 19th century to keep their hands free. In the beginning, the sound quality was average. But later, there was an invention of good quality headphones. Musicians started using earphones to monitor their systems, and then iPod users started using them.
  • Earpiece. The earpiece is a part of instruments like a telephone or stethoscope. Its position is either against or put into the outer part of the ear. It has two units that you can plug into your ears. 
  • Noise-Cancelling. In the later years, there was an invention of noise-canceling headphones. These headphones reduce unwanted sound using active noise control. So when you place the microphone near the year, the electric circuit uses the mic signal and generates an anti-noise signal.
  • Open Back. These are types of headphones that pass the sound through the back of the user’s earcup. It gives an accurate and natural sound.
  • Reference Headphones. Most professionals use headphones to reproduce the entire frequency range that a human ear can hear.
  • Sound Isolating. These headphones reduce the unwanted sound from entering the ears either through snug fit or use foams that help reduce ambient noise.

You might like to read: Can You Use Headphones Without A Sound Card

What Are Cans In Music?

Cans are slang for headphones people used in the early 1800s. Some people still use it in the recording studios. Most recording studios or any field that uses any equipment having a long word generally use a short term for convenience and coolness. 

Earlier, when people used headphones while recording, they shortened the word to phones. They then started calling it cans, concerning the old trick of combining two cans through a string and making a telephone.

In 1877, Thomas Edison built a phonograph that used to play sound from a rotating cylinder. While packaging the cylinders and making them available to the public, people started calling it canned music. 

Later, where there were televisions, people began using the term canned music. This led to a new technique called lip-syncing. The artists pretend to perform their music while they play the recorded music in favor of live sound.

Though the artists were capable of performing live as well, since the performers or artists were performing for the first time live and millions of people watched them, they needed to raise the stakes of their live performances. Also, there were very few opportunities at that time, they did not want to look foolish, and the people will listen to their performances in the years to come. In today’s time, karaoke music is canned music.

Why Are Headphones Called Cans

What To Look For When You Buy A Headphone?

Try Before Buying

In any good electronic shop, you will find headphones that you can test before buying. You can even have a look at your friend’s headphones and listen to theirs. Try looking at different headphones and buy the best one you like.

A Small Earbud Or Big Headphones?

Think of a portable earbud or high-fidelity headphones. However, bigger headphones will have a better sound quality than earbuds. You will find most of the DJs wearing headphones which they often call cans.

You will find a lot of good-quality earbuds that work as great as any headphones. But if you want to listen to any music at home, earbuds will work fine. Usually, bigger headphones are suitable for audiophiles.

You might like to read: Are Wireless Headphones Good For Gaming

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

How To Fix A Quiet Bluetooth Earbud?

To fix this issue, you need to go to the Bluetooth settings in your smartphone and enable the media volume sync option. It will let the phone volume sync correctly with your headphone’s sound.

Can You Use AirPods In Water?

No, AirPods are not waterproof. The AirPods Pro is water-resistant, but still, you need to avoid getting it wet purposely. However, it will work with a bit of water splash. The 2nd generation AirPods are not waterproof at all. So you need to be careful and don’t let it wet.

Why Are Headphones Called Cans

Why Is My Left Headphone Much Louder Than The Right One?

So what causes this issue? The issue maybe with your audio channel. That is the signal that converts from the audio source to the speakers. The signal usually splits between both sides of the headphone. It sends the same amount of sound to both speakers.

So Why Are Headphones Called Cans? 

Most DJs and other people working in radio broadcasting try to avoid long technical terms and give their short names. Most people use cans as slang for headphones for convenience and coolness. The canned music mainly was pre-recorded and played while lip-synching in music.