How to know if headphones have good bass: 11 ways to tell


1. Do you want normal bass or deep bass ?

 

Well I bet you did not know that there are levels to bass, but there are.

 

You will discover later that the sensitivity and impedance play an important role in determining the bass that your headphones or earphones have.

 

Before we decide whether or not a set of headphones has good or bad bass lets look at how to distinguish between deep bass and “traditional” bass.

 

When we speak of deep bass we speak of the audio frequency range between 16 and 60Hz.

 

To get deep bass you very often need a sub woofer and an AV receiver or alternative source component.

 

Deep bass is the type of bass most commonly associated with home theater systems and other very loud audio devices.

2. At what frequency (Hz ) can you hear bass ?

 

As mentioned above deep bass is any where from 16-60Hz.

 

At this frequency, you not only hear the bass, but you can even feel the bass.

 

Normal or traditional bass ( or just bass) is in the frequency range of 60 to 250 Hz.

 

For most music tracks the bass signals lie any where from 90-200Hz.

 

At around 250 Hz, the frequencies can add a warmth to the bass without the bass losing definition.

3. Sensitivity

 

One of the specs that will determine the level of bass produced by your headphones is sensitivity.

 

It is not very common that people talk about bass and sensitivity, but this is critical in determining bass performance.  

 

The sensitivity of a pair of headphones is measured by decibels or DB for short.   

 

To cut a long story short, there is a direct correlation between the level of sensitivity and the extent to which your headphones pump out that hard bass.

 

The higher the sensitivity of headphones measured in DB, the louder they will be and the more they will extenuate the bass. 

 

Lets explore this concept a little further. 

 

What the average person does when they cant hear the music or they want to hear the bass from say, Still Dre by Dr Dre, they turn up the volume, which is intuitive.

 

A more sensitive pair of headphones will ensure that you do not have to up the volume as much.

 

More sensitive headphones also have other additional positives in that it is safer for your ears, as loud volumes can negatively impact hearing and with grater sensitivity , there is less power consumption. 

 

At a more technical level sensitivity refers to the loudness of a set of cans (headphones ) at a specific level of power.  

 

So when comparing 2 headphones side by side, the one with the higher sensitivity at power level x will be louder.   

 

Have you ever wondered why the small headphones you buy at wall mart, are no match for the likes of Sony and Bose, even if you are using your laptop with both of them to listen to music.

 

Well this is one of the reasons for that. In general terms the range from soft to loud in decibels is between 80 and 120, with 80 being quite soft and 120 being quite loud. 

 

4. Impedance

 

I will try and explain impedance in simple terms. Impedance is a scientific term that can get very complex and can be accompanied by complex formula.

 

Lets provide a layman explanation of what constitutes high and low impedance and why it matters when we are talking about headphones. 

 

When a headphone is set to have low impedance it means that less power is required to get a particular level of audio. 

 

So with low Independence earphones , you will be able to get decent amount of audio from low frequency amplifiers such as cell phones etc.

 

This would typically be the case for headphones with an impedance of roughly 24 ohms (the unit of measurement of Impedance).

 

When we start getting to impedance levels of 24 ohms and higher, the upper audio levels can only be achieved with amplifiers with high levels of power.

 

Any potential damages from over loading are guarded against as a result. With higher impedance headphones you can use them with a versatile set of equipment.

 

As one of the most important terms in the headphone Eco system,many argue that it should be the first thing on the totem pole of  a discussion or evaluation of headphones.  

 

Arguably one of the most important aspects of the impedance of the headphone is that it informs us of the number and types of devices that can be used to play music.

 

So essentially with low impedance headphones, even if your turn the volume on your headphones up exponentially, the sound will be fairly meek.

 

If you would like to make use of your 36 ohm headphones but all of your music is in your smartphone, then the best thing that you can do is get an amplifier, and this may indeed solve the problem.

 

But of course, one might be wondering, why would I get a high impedance set of cans to begin with ?

 

Secondly, carrying around a smartphone, headphones, and an amp can be a lot of work.

 

The answer is in the ability to produce detailed sound. As a result they can be pricey but well worth it. Here are some examples of higher impedance headphones

 

5. Drivers

 

Within a headphone the driver converts electrical signal into sound. Drivers are generally measured in mm. The correlation between the headphone driver and the sound is not always linear.

 

One reason for headphones generally having larger drivers is due to the fact that the headphones are generally further from the ear drum and the earphone is generally in the ear phone.

 

(In this case by headphone , I mean the over ear type and by earphone ,  I mean the in ear type, but throughout this article the two terms are used interchangeably)

 

Although on average the higher output is driven by larger drivers.

 

The drivers will vary in size and range from as small as 8mm to as large as 50mm.

 

Now that you know what a headphone driver is, will it assist in boosting the bass of the headphones ? Well that will depends on the type of driver that exists in the headphone.

 

The different driver types are Moving-coil driver, Electrostatic, Electret, Planar Magnetic, Balanced armature and a Precide driver,

 

Further details on these driver types can be obtained in the following link

 

For purposes of this article we will discuss dynamic drivers. When you are reading about headphones, particularly the over ear type, manufacturers tend to brag about 40mm dynamic drivers.

 

Dynamic drivers make us of large diaphragms. Dynamic drivers have the ability to push out powerful bass, whilst achieving the requisite amount of pressure, without using lots of power.

 

So yes a large dynamic driver can impact the bass but not always.

 

Some headphones have what is known as Dual Drivers.

6. What are dual driver headphones ?

Dual driver earphones/headphones are essentially headphones operated by 2 drivers or where each earpiece has 2 speakers.

 

One set of speakers serves to deal with mid range and high frequencies and the other is meant to handle bass. This creates richer and more detailed sound that makes music sound better.

 

Dual driver headphones provide LESS DISTORTION and MORE EFFICIENCY, and are the DJ’s favorite set of cans.

 

7. Compare and test Different types of headphones/earbuds

 

The first step is to test out as many different headphones as you can. Also make sure that you test out each headphone with the same song.

 

That way you will be able to see which headphones have the loudest bass. In order to determine how powerful the bass is you have to compare the headphones to something.

 

The next best thing to compare them to would be a sound system. Keep in mind though that your headphones are going to be right up against your ear, and if they are too loud they can potentially damage the ear.

 

Go to the internet and read as many reviews as you think are necessary. Most website manufacturers have product reviews on their websites where people discuss not only the performance, but what else the headphones can be useful for.

 

In addition to the manufacturer reviews read the product reviews on Amazon for more details.

 

If the budget allows, go for the bigger more trusted names. The reason for this is that they put a lot into R&D and design so you know that you are getting a quality product.

 

Secondly the manufacturer is unlikely to oversell what the headphones can do as they could damage their reputation.

 

Despite the fact that they are pricey , the sound quality is also generally very good.

 

8. Which Earbuds have the best bass ?

 

The discussion above has largely circled around over ear or on ear headphones. However I believe that it is important to discuss earbuds.

 

There are many different type of headphones that would qualify as ear buds. This ranges from the white apple earbuds that sit on the outer ear canal and hang down the ear , to the so called in ear monitors (IEM) which are the ones that go directly into the ear and can be wired or wireless.

 

I have spoken at length regarding the headphones that make use of dynamic drivers. Many in ear monitors contain dynamic drivers as well.

 

These tend to have a richer and deeper bass level than the in ear monitors that feature Balanced armature drivers.

 

For a discussion on drivers please refer above. If in ear monitor earbuds are your cup of tea then here is a list of headphones that includes some quality in ear monitors that one can use and achieve some quality bass

 

9. Make use of Bass Boost

 

Now the total amount of bass in your headphones will be limited by the device that you have and the type of headphones that you have.

 

I recently purchased a non expensive set of earphones which promised a lot in terms of bass.

 

But as soon as i tried them on I realized that the bass was very disappointing, at least in terms of what was proposed by the manufacturer.

 

Certain headphone manufacturers have optimized their headphones for Bass. When most people think of bass, they think Beats headphones.

 

The following article shows the best ways that you can boost the headphones on your speakers, and in summary you can.

 

1. Boost headphone bass on windows.

2.Boost headphone bass on Mac.

3. Get an amplifier

4. Get Quality Bass enhanced headphones

5. Boost headphone bass for Android

 

10. What headphones are good for bass ?

 

Here is a list of the top  3 headphones that in my view have the craziest amount of bass. I think you will truly be dazzled.

 

3. SkullCandy Crusher Best Bass Headphones

 

  • The secret behind the Bass performance of the scull candy crusher headphones is the 40mm dynamic drivers and the additional sub woofer drivers that deliver rich quality bass, and an immersive audio experience.

 

  • There are many bass levels to chose from that allow you to find the perfect level of bass

 

  • the Skull Candy crusher headphones are full Bluetooth headphones and pack an unbelievable 40 hours of battery life with 2.5 hours of charging.

 

  • Additionally the Skull Candy crusher headphones feature a quick charging function that offers 3 hours from 10 minutes of quick charging.

 

  • The headphones also include memory foam ear cups and Superior noise isolating capabilities.

 

  • Check out more details  here

 

 

2. Sony 1000 XM3

 

Arguably the best headphones in the market. This is from an overall standpoint of having excellent bass and overall quality sound.

The Sony WH1000 XM3 headphones are the upgrade to the Sony WH1000-XM2 headphones.

 

Now the XM2’s were in my opinion the flagship over ear wireless Bluetooth active noise canceling headphones along with the original Bose QC35 II.

For an indepth review of the Sony 1000XM3 Click the following Link

 

1.  Beats Studio 3 wireless headphones

 

For all the controversy surrounding beats they sure are well regarded for their bass. The studio 3 wireless headphones is perhaps not best known for its over all quality, but definitely takes the cake when it comes to the headphones with the best bass.

For an in depth review of the Beats Studio 3 wireless headphones  follow this link

 

11. How do I choose a headset ?

 

Test them out

  • You can read all of the reviews that you want but at the end of the day, you only get a feel for the quality of a set of headphones by making sure that you test them out.

 

  • Feel the headphones from the ear pads to the slider, and test out the sound with different songs.

 

 

Do you want noise cancellation or noise isolation

 

  • Noise cancellation or isolation is for those times when you would prefer to drown out the outside word abut be immersed in your music.

 

  • Cancellation is a whole lot better than isolation , but comes at one hell of a premium. These can be especially useful when at the office and you want to concentrate and when you are on your morning commute and do not want to hear the city traffic or other passengers on public transport.

 

 

Are you going to use them for gym ?

 

  • Headphones these days are versatile and dynamic in that they can be used for a verity of applications.

 

  • Even at the gym you may want to intensely focus on your work out, without hearing what others have to say.

 

  • Sometimes a little music or motivation in your ear can give you the inspiration that you need.

 

  • Sometimes you may even want to take a swim and headphones can be a perfect under water companion.

 

  • Decide if you want to use them for gaming

 

If you are interested in using your headphones for gaming then there are a few things that you must make sure of:

 

  • Determine the platform that you will be using the headphones for

 

  • Will they be wired or wireless

 

  • What level of comfort do you need (Think material, headband, ear pads and ear cups)

 

  • What type of sound do you want (stereo, virtual, dimensional)

 

 

Do you need them for sleep ?

 

  • This is not a typo. Headphones can even help you sleep. Sometimes a restless mind needs to be distracted by something calm.

 

  • This is where sleeping earphones come in handy. Some even double as gym headphones.

 

  • Having some smooth tunes or binural beats can help induce melatonin.

 

  • And thus help you get the sleep that you not only need but deserve.

 

What type of headphone do you want?

 

  • Headphones/earbuds/Earphones , whatever you want to call them, come in various shapes and sizes.

 

  • It used to be the case that headphones where generally over the ear and at the top of the skull and earphones where solely in the ear.

 

  • Now days you can choose from in ear/on ear/over ear/wireless/wired/true wireless and so many more variations

Decide if you need Bluetooth

 

  • Most decent headphones have some kind of Bluetooth. But sometimes you do not want anything fancy and just need to listen to some tunes and watch the day go by.

 

  • The main difference here is that with Bluetooth headphones, you can listen to your entertainment without the need for wires and generally you connect to multiple devices.

 

  • Non Bluetooth headphones on the other hand are generally wired and you can connect to only 1 device.

 

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