Essential parts of a pair of headphones
This is the band that connects the two ear cups. It rests on top of your head when being worn. It usually will have some padding for comfort and adjust in some way to accommodate different head sizes.
See Also: Earcups
These are the housing units for the speakers, connected by the headband. There are two types of containers; On-ear and Over-Ear.
See also: Headband: On-ear: Over Ear
The ear pads are a padded material cushion that is attached to ear cups. When worn these pads rest between your head or ear and the Ear cups. They can be made from many materials and are sometimes replaceable.
See also: Earcups
Put simply; headphone sensitivity is the measurement of how much sound pressure a driver can make, how loud the headphones are basically, given a certain amount of power. Do note that this will not tell you how loud the headphones are on its own, as you need to take impedance into account too. This can be useful when comparing headphones with the same Impedance, however, in general, the headphones with a high sensitivity rating will be louder.
See Also: Impedance: Driver
When headphones are plugged into a power source, i.e., mixer or iPod, the amount of power drawn from the source depends on how much the mixer or iPod provides and the Impedance of the headphones. As impedance measures electrical resistance, headphones with a lower impedance will draw more power than others will a higher rating. Alongside sensitivity, this can be used to work out a headphones loudness. Impedance tells you how much power is drawn from the source, while Sensitivity tells you how much of that power is converted to sound.
The frequency response of a pair of headphones can be graphed to allow you to see how the headphones perform at different rates. All drivers have individual biases, meaning that some may have more bass while some may have louder ‘highs.’ When available these graphs can be used to compare models, allowing users to get a good idea of any differences in sound without having to test both pairs manually.
See also: Driver
Frequency response graph comparing two headphones
This is the range of frequencies that the headphones are capable of producing. Found on every headphone spec sheet, these particular figures can be misleading. You would be forgiven thinking that the wider the range, the better, however, this is not always the case. Human ears only hear between 20hz-20,000hz, so anything outside this irrelevant. For a much better idea of a pair of headphones performance, check its frequency response.
See also: Frequency response
Closed headphones are always used fo DJ headphones. They have much better noise reduction, a must for loud DJ Booths. The sound leakage from these headphones is much less too, allowing for use on buses, planes, and trains, etc.
See also: Noise reduction
Open back headphones
This term is given to headphone’s that have open ear cups, allowing for air to pass through the cups over the speaker and onto the ear. These give a much truer sound, similar to if you were listening on speakers and are therefore preferred by producers. Open back headphones can’t be used in full spaces because they do block any of the outside noise. For this reason, they are an absolute no-no for DJ’s. They also leak a lot of noise so are not very good in public spaces either.
See also: Ear Cups
This is the metal connector at the end of the cable that plugs into your mixer. Sometimes gold, at times silver (gold is better), there are two main sizes. Most mixers take a ¼ inch jack, whereas most computer and portable music players take a ⅛ inch jack. DJ Headphones usually come with ⅛ inch jack and a ¼ inch adaptor.
1/8 inch jack and 1/4 inch adapter
Noise reduction refers to a headphone’s ability to block out external sounds from the surrounding area. For DJ’s this is especially important for one ear monitoring and big club situations.
The driver is the device that makes the sound.
This is the term given to ears cups that sit on the ear.
This is the name given to ear cups that fully cover the ear. This can give the headphones better noise reduction while the size of the ear cups allow for bigger drivers.
See Also: Noise Reduction