A MP3 player is only as good as its headphones or earbuds. With that in mind, it is very important to decide whether headphones or earbuds are the way to go when listening to music. For me the difference between using headphones and earbuds is relatively simple. However, for others, deciding which to use can be a difficult process. Based on my personal experiences, I will break down the pros and cons of each.
Headphones are typically bulkier than earbuds, but the sound quality is much greater than earbuds. If I want clear, rich sound quality I would opt to use headphones as they are designed to be of better quality and some come with noise canceling technology. Now, they are also more comfortable as the cans are typically coated with padding to keep your ears feeling comfortable. They fit snuggly over or behind your head, so they will not fall off easily, which is a big plus. I can’t run with earbuds as they almost always fall out, so I have to use headphones when running. To me, that makes me more likely to purchase headphones over earbuds.
I alluded to the fact that headphones are bulkier than earbuds, which is true. They are not as portable as earbuds and usually come with a carrying pouch. It is not a big inconvenience, but I enjoy keeping earbuds in my pockets for quick access. Good quality headphones also stick out since they are much bigger than decent headphones. If you take a look outside or on the subway, chances are most people are using earbuds over headphones due to portability factor.
If you purchase an MP3 player, chances are it comes with a pair of earbuds so you can listen to music right away. For example, Apple ships their own earbuds with every iPod, but many people end buying a new pair due to lack of quality. Personally, I don’t have too much of a problem with the Apple earbuds, as they are small and can fit easily inside my pocket. There are higher quality earbuds designed by manufacturers that feature noise canceling technology, similar to headphones.
Unless you are buying high end earbuds, chances are they lack quality that can be found in similarly priced headphones. They are much smaller and can’t pack the same features as headphones. In addition, they are designed to fit outside your ear canal or directly inside, which poses a danger to your hearing. Most earbuds don’t feature any noise canceling technology, so we often blast our music to reduce outside noise. This is a big no-no as it can cause permanent damage to your ear drum.
If you are looking for sharp sound quality combined with comfort, headphones may be the way to go. However, if you are looking for style combined with portability, earbuds may be the way to go. I own a pair of headphones as well as several earbuds. When running, I typically use headphones as they don’t fall off, but when going outside either for school, with friends, or just walking around, I carry earbuds with me as they are smaller and more portable. If you are still conflicted, evaluate when and where you’ll be using your music player and that ought to help you make a decision.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to let me know below.