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Why Are Headphones So Popular?

14 min read

The popularity of headphones is caused by several factors. In the lives of many people – as in my own life – music takes a very important place. Unfortunately, in today’s crazy world, most of us live fast, often on the move. Usually we aren’t alone at home, and yet not everyone wants to listen to music at the same time, not to mention listening to different genres. In both cases, the ideal solution is to buy headphones or, more and more often, a whole set with a headphone amplifier – depending on your needs, either stationary or portable. Another important reason may be that a well thought-out purchase of headphones practically always allows you to enjoy your favorite music in a better quality than you would get if you bought a traditional stereo at a similar price.

Wait, hold on a second. I’m not saying that headphones ARE better than stereo speakers when it comes to listening to music. Headphones generally allow us to have a much more intimate experience, especially the noise cancelling ones. Speakers, especially sound systems with a powerful subwoofer, allow us to “feel” music. You can feel the bass in your chest and the sub-bass is smashing your internal organs. Well, to each his own.

Is it True That You Will Always Get Better Sound Quality From Headphones Than From Speakers at Comparable Prices?

Apart from the extreme cases – rare but possible – where we would compare extremely good speakers to extremely unsuccessful headphones, this rule will always be true. However, at a certain, when we hit the ceiling, it’s possible to reverse this rule.

Which Models of Headphones Have Been in Production For The Longest Time and Why?

It’d be a good idea to start with the Beyerdynamic DT 48 introduced to the market in 1937 and manufactured to this day. This record will probably be difficult to beat, although there are many models that have had an equally large impact on our perception of headphones. For example, Sennheiser’s first open headset, HD 414, was introduced in 1968. To this date, more than ten million units of this model have left the production line. Sony MDR-V6, AKG K240, Koss 4AA, Grado RS-1, and even such popular headphones as Koss Porta Pro. There’s another model that immediately comes to my mind – the legend of the Sennheiser brand, whose production began in the last millennium. These headphones appeared on the market around 1996. In 1995, Sennheiser launched the jubilee version of the HD 580, which then became the HD 600 with minor modifications. All similar headphones remain in production for as long as there is still demand for them. And of course that doesn’t come from nowhere. Not all of these models are outstanding and one hundred percent versatile, but they have all contributed to setting certain standards to which all later models had to be matched.

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What models could we name as the most famous headphones of all time?

 It’s a very difficult question – Headphones addict will certainly have his own opinion and his own point of view. Practically every large company that manufactures headphones has made models that today can be called legendary. Sennheiser would surely exhibit an extremely high-end Orpheus headset for such competitions. For many, these are the best headphones ever made by a human being. These sets were produced almost 25 years ago in a relatively small number of 300 pieces. It’s one of the few products that gain in value over time and significantly. HD 600 or today’s flagship – HD 800, not to mention professional models – could also enter the competition. For Beyerdynamic, one of the most important brands for audiophiles, their professional headphones are certainly the DT 770 and DT 990 models in various variations. AKG offers audiophiles the K 701 and Q 701 models, as well as the once produced flagship K 1000 and one of the most expensive headphones – K 3003. However, there are also many other companies, such as Stax, Grado, Koss, Shure, Ultrasone or Audio-Technica, and more consumer brands like Sony, Philips, Panasonic or Denon. Each company could put its representative on the list of the most famous headphones of all time and each company would be right about that.

When Has The Greatest Technical Progress Been Made With Headphones?

There have been many milestones in the history of headphones. Once upon a time headphones were simply two loudspeakers connected to each other by a headband and connected to the source device by a cable, but today we have wireless models on the market, with active noise reduction, with microphones for making phone calls, not to mention the high-end headphones that use the latest technologies available on the market. If we take a look at the high-end models, the production methods and materials of the headphones have certainly improved. On the other hand, the market is still flooded with large quantities of cheap headphone-like products, but in search of progress we should look at people with extreme budget. Today there are even multi-way headphone models available, whose housings are made to be from the exact casting of the ear of the future owner. Such extravagant solutions have been available for a short time. It’s also impossible to forget about the influence that electronic devices – players, portable helmets, converters, computers, sound cards and finally smartphones and tablets – had and have on the development of headphones. To a large extent, they shape the needs of customers looking for headphones.

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What is The Direction That the Development of Headphones is Heading Towards?

We will continue to observe high activity in the segment of headphones for mobile devices, as well as various types of wireless models. In the audiophile headphones segment there’s a huge competition in the field of high-end models – by not only already recognized, trusted and respected manufacturers, but also relatively new companies that are fighting for their place in this cruel world. Some of them managed to win a piece of cake in a relatively short time and take a permanent place in the head league. What will happen next? It’s already very difficult to predict, so let’s leave it to our imagination.

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