Headphones can be broadly classified by their usage under three different types : Studio, Consumer and Gaming.
In this section, we highlight headphones which are made for professional work such as for mixing, recording. So what are some of the features that distinguish a studio headphone from the others?
Studio headphones are built so that they do not break easily. They are meant for harsh field recording work environments where they have to be used regularly with other audio equipment and may have chairs rolling over the headphone cables at all times. Due to their tough usability, they also have easily swappable parts , so that if a part breaks another part can be ordered from the manufacturer and be easily replaced.Therefore studio headphones tend to be more “chunky” as they consist of more metal parts and are not as stylish as compared to consumer headphones.
Studio Headphones are tuned such that the source audio is rendered as much as possible to the ears of the listener. Therefore every detail or sound variance in the recording , mixing or compression can be heard. Things such as background noise, sound distortions, even human mistakes such as bad editing are made clear which makes this headphone appropriate for recording, mixing and/or audio engineering. Studio headphones thereby are said to provide a much richer sound.
Examples of some good Studio Headphones available in the market are: Beyerdynamic DT770 priced between 200-300 SGD, Shure SRH440 priced between SGD 150-200.
Consumer headphones are the most universally recognised, widely used headphones.
So the features to identify a consumer headphone are the following:
Consumer headphones are made with the consumer in mind. They are sleek, compact, customisable as they come in various colors so that the consumer feels good using them and can match them accordingly to their style, mood, personality. While in terms of design, consumer headphones are the best among the three types, the trade-offs might be the comfort, build and the sound of the headphone.
Consumer headphones are packed with features such as multiple device compatibility, wireless functionality, phone control and call support and active noise-cancelling making it ideal for listeners who want to use their headphones for multiple purposes.
Consumer headphones have warmer sound signatures with a more boosted bass and relaxed treble which makes it ideal for listening over a long period of time. Consumer headphones may not provide accuracy in rendering of the source audio, but due to its pleasant sound signature they are ideal for marathon listening of either music or other audio used in games, movies.
Examples of good consumer headphones available in the market are: UrBeats3 Collection priced at SGD 100-200, Bose SoundSport Headphones priced at SGD 200-300 and Sony MDR-1000X which are priced at SGD 500-600.
An ideal gaming headphone is versatile enough to be used for long term usage and has features which allow the “gamer” to be completely attuned to the gaming environment. So listed are some of the features to look out for in gaming headsets:
Gaming headsets are distinguishable from the other types as often they have the option of virtual surround features, various software or hardware solutions packed in to deliver the complete gaming experience.
Gaming Headsets also come with the option of retractable or removable headphones for those who want to use their headsets for not just gaming. This feature also allows the user to change the headphone according to the game where he may choose to engage/disengage the microphone.
To be used for gaming marathons, comfort should be considered. Certain Gaming Headsets have suitable material used in the headband and ear cups which make them ideal for prolonged usage. Light weighted gaming headsets are also favoured for this feature.
Examples of good gaming headsets available in the market are: Hyper X Cloud priced at SGD 100-200, Razer Kraken PRO V2 priced at SGD 100-150 and Turtle Beach headsets which are priced from SGD 50-200.
In summary considering all the above, hope this would make the hunt for the right headphone much easier.
The images shown below display a typical Studio Headphone, Consumer Headphone and Gaming Headset