Which headphones are the right ones?: How to find the perfect headphones for sports

On-Ear, In-Ear, Over-Ear. Wireless or wired. With bracket, without bracket, maybe foldable. Headphones are available in all imaginable variants, not to mention the variety of colors.

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 these are now wireless models, and the trend is rising. Which headphones are the right ones depends primarily on the area of ​​application.

True wireless headphones are particularly popular at the moment. “That means completely wireless headphones in the form of two in-ear headphones that can also be easily carried in your pocket when not in use,” says Christoph de Leuw from “Computer Bild”. Most models have built-in microphones: they can also be used for hands-free calls on smartphones.

Extra holders are useful for sports

This can also work in sports, but with limitations. “Basically, wireless headphones are of course ideally suited for sports, but many small in-ears also fall out quickly during sports because they are only loose in the ear.

At the latest when you are sweating heavily, the model should also be waterproof,” advises Herbert Bisges from the online magazine “Hifi.de”. A good alternative are sports models with additional ear mounts. However, many joggers also went for a run with lightweight headband headphones.

If you are on the go for a long time, you can feel a general disadvantage of the mini handset: the rather short battery life. “True wireless in-ears often have to be put back in their charging socket after four to five hours, while typical headband headphones with Bluetooth last 20 to 40 hours on a single charge,” says de Leuw.

With headband headphones, the headphone cup sits on the ear. There are models with and without cables. Music lovers in particular still rely on classic models with cables.

“When it comes to the perfect sound, there is no alternative to wired headphone models, 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”.

Impression of the ear canal for a perfect fit

The in-ear trend does not go past the high-end class either – albeit not wirelessly. “High-quality in-ear models are definitely on the rise. Real freaks can even have them individually fitted with an impression from the hearing aid acoustician,” says Dames.

Some manufacturers now offer such custom-fit models. “The result is excellent wearing comfort, excellent bass reproduction and, depending on the concept, less outside noise,” says Dames. However, the spatial sound experience is less pronounced than with over-ear models, which is generally a weakness of headphones compared to speakers.

Even without the highest demands on the sound, cable headphones are still justified. “Headphones almost always work with the cable. It doesn’t matter how much electricity is left in the smartphone or in the charging socket.

And there is no uncertainty as to 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.

Many headphones work with Bluetooth

Almost all wireless headphones use the Bluetooth standard. “But there are also some headphones specially designed for televisions that work with a proprietary wireless standard, and a transmitter is also included in the scope of delivery,” explains Christoph de Leuw.

While Bluetooth headphones used to only be able to be connected to one device, more and more models with multipairing are now coming onto the market. “These headphones can then store multiple devices such as smartphones, laptops and televisions, which saves the user from having to re-pair the headphones every time they are used,” says Bisges.

The suppression of disturbing ambient noise can also be a practical feature if the wearer wants to hear as little as possible of their surroundings. “This usually works via an anti-noise that is generated,” explains Bisges. This function, also known as Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), can be switched on and off.

The average headphone price is 80 euros

The price range for headphones is large, ranging 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 for headphones in 2021.

Whether a model that is as universal as possible is sufficient or whether 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 purposes thanks to splash water protection, small dimensions, long battery life and good sound and voice quality,” says Christoph de Leuw. “But it can also make sense to use a true wireless model for mobile use and large headphones to enjoy music at home.”

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