In recent years, with the improvement of global production technology and production capacity, the price of good earphones has become more and more civilian, or more and more cost-effective. At this time, there is a group of not many people. They have certain financial ability. Although the pursuit of HiFi is not a "fever", they also hope to hear really good sound quality. Therefore, before buying earphones, I don’t want to be a little white or know nothing about earphones. You need to understand some basic knowledge properly, and then choose the right earphone device. Therefore, Zifan hopes to help such friends by sharing these contents on Lei Xue. This is our original intention.
So let's talk about the various categories of headphones from the superficial to the deeper, and then talk about some terms and main parameters for evaluating sound quality. There are many classification angles of earphones, the main classification methods are: classification by shape (earplugs, head-mounted), classification by sound principle (moving coil, moving iron, etc.), classification by degree of openness (open, semi-open, closed) , Classified by purpose (home use, portable, etc.). The following is a detailed analysis from these perspectives.
According to the shape classification, earphones can be divided into earplugs and headsets.
Beats in-ear headphones
Earplugs generally refer to earphones with a small driver unit that can be worn on the outer pinna or inserted into the ear canal. Earplugs are divided into semi-in-ear type and in-ear type. Generally, earplugs that can be inserted into the external ear canal are called in-ear type, and those worn on the outer auricle are called semi-in-ear type. Regarding in-ear and semi-in-ear, some friends divide them into two different ways of wearing. In fact, there is no such saying. Their wearing styles are all "plugs", but the scales are different.
The biggest difference in appearance between headsets and earplugs is the size. The size of this type of headset is generally much larger than the earplugs, and is divided into medium-sized earphones and full-sized earphones. What is interesting is that they are distinguished by the size of the earmuffs rather than the size of the speakers. To put it simply, the earmuffs of medium-sized earphones cannot completely cover the auricle, while full-sized earphones, also known as "big earphones", can completely cover the auricle and achieve better sound insulation.
According to the principle of sound production, there are three main categories: moving coil type, moving iron type and electrostatic type.
Moving coil earphones: At present, most earphone earplugs are moving coil earphones. The principle is similar to ordinary speakers. The coil in the permanent magnetic field is connected to the diaphragm. The coil drives the diaphragm to produce sound under the driving of the signal current, the center of the diaphragm The protruding position is the main sounding area, and the compliant edge next to it can provide sufficient stroke.
Advantages of dynamic headphones: First of all, the technology is very mature and the cost is low. On the whole, dynamic earphones sound more relaxed and natural. The low frequency of non-in-ear dynamic earphones may be slightly insufficient, while the low frequency of in-ear earphones will be much more abundant. In terms of sound quality, mid-to-high-end dynamic earphones have a good dive and a deeper sense of hearing.
Moving iron earphones: Inside the moving iron earplugs, the voice coil is wound on a precision connecting rod called a "balanced armature" located in the center of the permanent magnetic field. The structured precision connecting rod is conducted to the center of a miniature diaphragm. This piece of iron vibrates and produces sound under the action of magnetic force. Due to the late start and technical reasons, moving iron earphones cost more.
The advantages of moving iron earphones: The sound unit of moving iron is relatively small, which can effectively reduce the area of the ear part and can be put into the deeper ear canal part. Therefore, a soft silicone sleeve has a good sound insulation and anti-leakage effect compared to traditional earplugs. In addition, the sound of the moving iron unit is very sharp. Its strengths include resolution, speed, instant dynamics and sound density.
Electrostatic earphones: The diaphragm is in a changing electric field. The diaphragm is extremely thin and accurate to a few microns (currently, STAX’s new generation of electrostatic earphone diaphragms are accurate to 1.35 microns), and the coil drives the diaphragm to sound under the drive of the electric field. Due to the very high manufacturing cost, electrostatic headphones have always been a relatively niche product.
The advantages of electrostatic earphones: First of all, the diaphragm can be made extremely thin and light, which will bring faster speed, better transient response, and stronger detail expression. Second, the diaphragm of the electrostatic earphone is a completely flat diaphragm sandwiched between the positive and negative two parallel fixed polar plates. The electric field received is completely uniform, so it can be linearly driven without split vibration.
According to the degree of openness, earphones can be divided into open, semi-open and closed types.
Open earphones: Generally speaking, they have a natural sense of hearing and are comfortable to wear. HIFI earphones that are commonly used for home appreciation can leak sound, and vice versa, the outside sound can also be heard. The earphones exert less pressure on the ears. Most headphones on the market are of open design.
Open earphones are currently a more popular style of earphones. The feature of this type of model is the use of sponge-like microcellular foamed plastic to make sound-transmitting ear pads. It is small in size and comfortable to wear. It no longer uses thick sound-dyed pads, so there is no sense of isolation from the outside world, and the sound can be leaked, and vice versa, the outside sound can also be heard. If the earphone is open to a high degree, you can hear the sound from the other side unit, forming a certain mutual feed, making the listening feel natural. But its low frequency loss is large, and some people say that its low frequency is accurate. Open earphones generally have a natural sense of hearing and are comfortable to wear. They are commonly used in HIFI earphones for home appreciation.
Open earphones are generally easy to recognize. There are many small holes on the outside of the earphones. They are basically open earphones, but there are exceptions. For example, Beyerdynamic DT660 is a real closed earphone, although there are many outside the earphones. The small holes are just for decoration.
Semi-open/semi-closed earphones: Semi-open earphones combine the advantages of closed and open earphones. Some semi-open earphones also use a multi-diaphragm structure, in addition to an active active diaphragm , There are also multiple passive slave diaphragms, making the low frequency plump and soft, the high frequency bright and natural, and the level clear.
Enclosed earphones: The earmuffs put a lot of pressure on the ears, and the pads are also made of soundproof materials, which can isolate external noise, and people around you will not hear the sound from the earphones. Closed earphones have clear sound positioning, strong sound envelopment, and better low-frequency flexibility. They are more common in the professional monitoring field, but the sound field of this kind of earphones is not as wide as the open earphones. At the same time, it also has a somewhat false feeling. Another disadvantage is the bass. Serious sound staining.
Classified by purpose, earphones can be divided into household, portable, monitoring, and mixing.
Home: Home headphones generally pay more attention to sound quality, but have sacrifices in appearance, portability, and are more difficult to push. They require a more powerful front end to exert their strength.
Portable: When considering sound quality, this type of headset must also take into account portability and appearance. After all, no one wants to go out with their ugly headset.
Monitor: The monitor earphone is the earphone without timbre rendering, which can hear the most realistic sound quality without any modification. Generally used in recording studios, dubbing studios, TV stations, radio stations, MIDI studios and other fields.
Mix: Mixing headphones are a kind of monitor headphones, suitable for DJ music monitor headphones.