Ear over head OR the other way round

4 years ago

Well, before we jump into this topic, let me tell you, I am talking about earphones and headphones. From telephone to smartphones, and then may be to invisible mobiles in the future, it has an amazing history. Just like the revolution of telephone, even headphones have their own antiquity. Though used interchangeably, earphones and headphones are basically two different devices. Earlier headphones were only used by the athletes and trainers, while they worked out, but now it's the new normal. Be it a school kid or an old person, everyone prefers using headphones thereby rejecting all the surrounding noise.

In the era of airpods, let's invest our time in knowing the history of its ancestors: earphones and headphones. Headphones and earphones are also known as sound transducer technical fields. (Transducer is a device which converts physical energy to electrical energy.) 

Well, these devices make sound more lively, so let's give a look at what they are made of. Before choosing a perfect headphone/ earphone it's always better to know a bit about them. Being part of the same family, they have below mentioned components in common along with few others.

  1. Driver/Diaphragm: Ever wondered how the signal from mobile enters the headphone/earphone and turns into a tune which doesn't make you sit silently? Then your answer to the question is this specific component present in the headphones, the driver. This is nothing but a transducer and plays a very important role in these devices. Drivers have a magnet, diaphragm and a voice coils inside it. Note one thing while buying, the smaller the diaphragm the better the output will be provided.
  2. Cable: Yes, it’s that very part which is badly treated, but its role is sure to not be forgotten. But let's level up its importance by knowing its role in headphones. It connects the speaker of headphones to its jack. It acts as a path for the signal to flow from your device to the headphone or earphone. But do remember one thing, when cable is entangled, it leads to weakening inner wires and leads to lowering the life of headphones/earphones.
  3. Jack: Well, I just introduced it in the above paragraph. It’s nothing but the hard piece present at the end of the cable which you plug in to your device.
  4. Speakers: You must have come across an untutored person, calling your headphones/ earphones as speakers. Well, they were not wrong in all sense. Speakers and drivers work hand in hand. These are the components which can cancel the noise and you can listen to the smallest sound in the music track. They basically invert back the version of noise from outside to cancel the unwanted noise. 
  5. Microphones: The reason why you can attend a call or even live streaming on a gaming channel using headsets or earphones is this very component. They come in two types: omnidirectional and unidirectional, where according to me, unidirectional mics should be preferred as they pick up sound only from one side.

What is headphones:

To define headphones in technical terms: “It is a pair of transducers worn on the head with cups that are present on or around the ear”. Now, since we know the components of the headphones, specifically headphones have one more important component called headband. It goes over the head and is an essential part of the device, which physically connects ear cups together. And the other component is ear cups, which may or may not allow air into ears. And yes not to forget the cushions, which together forms a headphone. Headphones of different types are classified on the basis of types of cups.

  •  Open back: In this type the cups are designed to allow air to enter and escape. 
  •  Closed back: Just the opposite of the above one, these types of headphones provide massive noise cancellation.
  •  Circumaural: Here the ear cups fit around the ear.
  •  Superaural: Here the ear cups sit on the top of the ear.

After becoming acquainted with parts of headphones, it’s time to peek into knowing the few best headphones one should have.

Best headphones:

1.Sony WH - 1000XM4

Qualities: Dynamic, lightweight, comfortable and sensational sense of timing, detail rich sound and also has bluetooth connection.

Battery life: 30hr

Charger: USB-C type

Link: Click here.

2.Sony WH-1000XM3:

Qualities: All round sound quality, best noise cancellation, comfortable and can be connected by bluetooth.

Battery Life: 30hr

Charger: USB-C type

Link: Click here.

3.AKG Y50BT:

Qualities: Dynamic, punchy, rhythmic, clear and bluetooth connection is also available.

Battery life: 20hr

Link: Click here.

With this background of headphones, it's time to know about a device which is similar, yet different in a few sense or rather I will call it cousin of headphone i.e earphone.

What is earphone:

Its design is opposite to headphones, earphones sit in the ear canal and hence its driver produces sound within the ear, unlike headphones where the sound is created around the ear. Drivers and cables work similar in earphones as that of headphones. The cups are replaced with housings of design, which can be placed within the ear canal. Let's give a look at some good earphones:

1.Sennheiser CX 80S wired Headset:

Good Qualities: Comfortable, 3.5mm headphone jack, well balanced sound quality, single remote and microphone, 1.2m long wired cable.

Link: Click here.

2.OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z bass edition

Good Qualities: Wireless, 9.2mm dynamic driver, dust and water resistance, rich vocals and deeper bass.

Battery life: 20hrs

Link: Click here.

3.Skullcandy Ink’d Wired in-Earphone:  

Qualities: Noise isolation, built-in microphone is in-line remote to control media and calls, extra bass.

Link: Click here.

In spite of all the similar parts in headphones and earphones, they definitely have some differences. 


  1. Design: One of the basic and most common differences, which anyone can notice, is its design. Earphones are the ones which can be inserted in our ear canal, while headphones are designed to be worn on/ around our head. 
  2. Usage: Headphones are preferred while watching a movie or to enjoy some high quality sound effects. But it has come to the realization, after its usage for a long time, it gets hot and sweaty. On the other hand, earphones are small in size, can be used for listening to songs while walking or in the gym. It's lightweight and portable design makes it an ideal device to be used.
  3. Portability: Earphones being small or rather a trimmed version of headphones can be carried anywhere and hence are easily portable. While, headphones are a bit bulky and not as easy to carry as earphones.
  4. Sound Quality: There is a reason why headphones are preferred while watching movie or in a PC game, it's because of its capability of awesome sound experience. It can block out the external noise and is also good at capturing bass tone, which makes the listening experience more awesome. 

Well, deciding which one is awesome than the other is not less than opening a can of worms. One should definitely prefer a device according to its use, because of course using an earphone for gaming won't make you feel having fun. Though earbuds, airpods and any small yet cool earphone may grab a lot of youth attraction, accepting the fact ‘old is gold’, everyone prefers using these headphones and earphones as per their use.