In-ears with extra earholders or lightweight headband headphones (pictured) are good solutions for sports. Photo: Franziska Gabbert/dpa-tmn
According to figures from the industry association gfu, 15.5 million headphones were sold in 2021, which corresponds to an increase of 6.8 percent compared to the previous year. A good 60 percent of this is now attributable to wireless models, and the trend continues to increase. Which headphone is the right one depends primarily on the area of application.
Especially popular at the moment are true wireless headphones. “This means: completely wireless headphones in the form of two in-ear headphones, which can also be easily transported in your pocket when they are not in use,” says Christoph de Leuw from Computer Bild. Most models have integrated microphones: they can also be used for hands-free calls during smartphone calls, for example.
For sports, extra holders are useful
This can also work in sports, but with limitations. “In principle, wireless headphones are of course ideally suited for sports, but many small in-ears also fall out quickly during sports because they are only loosely in the ear. At the latest when you sweat a lot, the model should also be waterproof,” advises Herbert Bisges from the online magazine “Hifi.de “. A good alternative are sports models with an additional ear mount. But many joggers also went running with light ironing headphones.
If you are on the road for a long time, you may feel a general disadvantage of the mini-handset: the rather short battery life. “True wireless in-ears often have to return to their charging socket after just four to five hours, while typical headset headphones with Bluetooth, on the other hand, last for 20 to 40 hours on one charge,” says de Leuw.
In the case of headband headphones, the headphone shell sits on the ear. There are models with and without cables. Especially music lovers still rely on classic models with cable. “When it comes to the perfect sound, wired headphone models have no alternative, because a Bluetooth connection with the current codecs always entails losses compared to the classic CD resolution,” says Jörg Dames from the online magazine “Fairaudio.de “.
An impression of the ear canal for the best fit
The in-ear trend also does not ignore the high-end class – although not wirelessly. “High-quality in-ear models are definitely on the rise. Real freaks can even be individually adapted by the hearing aid acoustician with an impression,” says Dames.
Such custom-fit models are now offered by some manufacturers. “The result is excellent wearing comfort, excellent bass reproduction and, depending on the concept, less external noise,” says Dames. However, the spatial sound experience is even less pronounced than with over-ear models, but this is generally a weakness of headphones compared to speakers.
Even without the highest demands on the sound, cable headphones still have their justification. “Headphones almost always work with the cable. It doesn’t matter how much power is still in the smartphone or in the charging socket. And there is no uncertainty at all whether the headphones will connect to the device,” says Bisges. Jack plugs almost always fit. In the worst case, you need an adapter cable from USB-C to jack, if the smartphone does not have a jack socket.
Almost all sparks with Bluetooth
Wireless headphones almost all spark in the Bluetooth standard. “However, there are also some headphones specially designed for televisions that work with a proprietary radio standard, here a transmitting station is also included in the scope of delivery,” explains Christoph de Leuw.
While in the past Bluetooth headphones could only be connected to one device, more and more models with multipairing are now coming onto the market. “These headphones can then store several devices such as a smartphone, laptop and TV, which saves the user from having to pair the headphones again and again when they are used differently,” says Bisges.
The suppression of disturbing ambient noise can also be a practical feature if the wearer wants to notice as little as possible of his environment. “This usually works via a counter-sound that is generated,” explains Bisges. This function, also called Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), can be switched on and off.
80 Euros is the average price of headphones
The price range for headphones is wide and ranges from simple cable models around 20 or 30 euros to high-end headphones for several hundred euros. According to the gfu, consumers spent an average of 80 euros on headphones in 2021. Whether a universal model is sufficient or several different models are purchased is also and above all a matter of taste.
“There are very good all-round headphones that are suitable for all conceivable applications thanks to splash protection, small dimensions, long battery life and good sound and voice quality,” says Christoph de Leuw. “However, it can also make sense to use a true wireless model for mobile use and a large headphone for enjoying music at home, for example.”