Wired earbuds are very nice, right? But a run in the field or workout in the gym will soon show you the need for something better.
If you are into fitness and outdoor stuff and like having your favorite recordings handy, wireless earbuds can be really worth it. Until recently, you would have had to make some compromises in selecting a good model for everyday use.
Years ago, Bluetooth earbuds were among the more expensive wireless accessories that could be purchased by consumers. Functionality, audio performance and battery life were limited, and only early adopters were patient enough to give these things a go.
But wireless earbuds are rising in the market, with many incorporating the latest advances while providing decent value. These can be slightly tricky to select for and use, although it can be fun to figure out why.
One thing’s for sure: you will have a blast trying on many pairs as you search for one that wears comfortably, sounds great, and doesn’t cost the earth.
Why Go Wireless
Music enthusiasts always desire a smooth, clear, and even soundstage that conveys their favorites with a lively presence.
But as is all too common, the conventional models packaged with the majority phones are wanting in performance. Stock models typically do not perform well, even leading phone models fail to include premium in-ear headphones of a quality pleasing to serious listeners.
Thankfully, owners can always upgrade to superior designs, for a wave of decent and reasonably-priced Bluetooth earbuds have come out in the market. A variety offers different levels of comfort, audio fidelity, flexibility, and operating life, qualities that were previously unavailable together at reasonable prices.
Snap Guide to Wireless Earbuds
Wireless earbuds are tiny in-ear headphones that transmit digital audio between sources separated by several feet, via Bluetooth wireless frequencies. Smart listeners will look for models that efficiently reproduce their favorite tracks with increased audio fidelity.
There are a number of considerations you should go over when choosing a good pair of wireless earbuds.
The majority of earpieces feature supple tips formed from foams or silicone rubbers. Fin-like accessories supplement or are integrated into a number of models, to keep the housing in place in the ears.
Some versions are designed with flexible stems that are meant be bent and looped over each ear, for an even more stable hold as you move around. These hang onto the rims of the earlobes, whereas the fins press into the flash of the outer ears. These accessories can be very useful for users who tend to be physically active and always out.
The plusses of wireless connectivity can be compelling in busy times when you prefer to take calls or enjoy music. This can be especially convenient when you are doing chores, workouts, or heading out and about.
Newer designs deliver digital streams over multiple connections with greater efficiency and reliability. The technology enables dependable links with a wider range of Bluetooth sources as well, including auto and computer sound systems.
Different wireless types are designed to meet the needs and want of various listeners. Earbuds that manage recordings and calls have controls in their ear pieces or built into their connecting cables, which are typically bulkier than those of wired designs.
Housings are often constructed with lightweight plastic or metallic materials. A great number are designed with slanted shells that allow the wires connecting the ear pieces to droop down. A few feature flexible jackets that bend up to let you loop the wire over each ear.
Most have connecting wires that drop, although the winding versions do retain better stability. The latter arrangement also ensures a comfortable fit without falling off as you engage in spirited activities.
Tips affixed to the ear pieces are good at passively isolating the ear canal against nearly all surrounding sound. However, physical seals on their own cannot dynamically reduce ambient sound. That role is better performed by electronic signal processing, which continually captures audio in the immediate environs then reshapes it for quieter audio reproduction.
Less advanced noise reduction systems will fully eliminate lower frequency signals that continually repeat in simpler forms. Patterns that vary in rhythm or strength and present complex pitch and tonal qualities are not handled well by earlier-generation technologies, though.
Active noise cancelling
More advanced noise cancelling systems inject inversed sound patterns into the feedback loop, cancelling most complex noises.
A good number can counterbalance the repetitive mechanical buzzing of room air conditioners and also airline and train cabins. A tiny minority of the priciest, most advanced designs from the likes of Bose and Sony are actually able to recognize and eliminate noisy conversations and the shrieks of playing children.
The majority of noise cancelling schemes do generate a nearly-inaudible hiss as a byproduct of their operation. Such are more likely to be more perceptible during quieter musical sections or call pauses, especially with very dynamic classical or acoustic genres.
The artifacts can be more pronounced with inexpensive noise-cancelling earbuds. Still, for those caught in noisy settings, it can be worthwhile exchange given the pleasantly quiet listening that is made possible.
Ease of Use
Not many cares for a mess of drooping cables or integrated modules that are cumbersome to use. Designers are progressively bringing out smaller and more lightweight modules.
Most are integrated into anti-twist cables, are easier to control and allow for convenient status checks at a glance. The most advanced designs incorporate these functions into neckband-style models that rest lightly around your collar.
Models with active noise cancellation generally offer clearer calling and recording quality as well. Their circuitry is highly optimized to reject or reduce undesirable ambient noise picked up by multiple microphones. This results in less noisy calls as well as musical sessions that often remain enjoyable in most public settings.
With so many capable wireless earbuds out there, you can always find a pair with a level of comfort and quality that uplifts your daily life. Many wireless earbuds offer performance as good as that of regular wired models. The best noise-cancelling models provide quiet and immersive music sessions wherever you find yourself.
We advise you to enjoy your own music as you try out new wireless earbuds at store displays. Playing your favorites on various models will let you quickly vet their individual fit and quality.
Put on anything that draws the eye, setting apart those that wear and sound well, for later and more thorough testing. By keeping both your mind and ears open, you might yet bring home a great pair that you would not have considered otherwise.