Feeling overloaded by information about earphone technical specifications? Read our easy guide to understanding your earphone spec and all will become clear
This is the range of frequencies that the speakers can play sound through – if an earphone has a frequency response of 20Hz – 20KHz, it can play sound between these two frequencies, one low, one high. It won’t cope well with anything well above or below these frequencies.
In simple terms, the frequency response represents the earphone’s bandwidth.
Earphones usually range between 12-22Hz at the low end, and up to 20-22KHz at the high end.
The impedance is the amount of resistance that the speakers offer to electrical current flowing through them. Common earphone speaker impedance ranges from between 4 and 32 Ohms.
Usually the impedance won’t come into play when you’re using the earphones, as most people won’t use an amplifier. However, if you are using your earphones with an amplifier, check the impedance and get one that matches the number on your earphones.
This is a concept called ‘impedance matching’ that maximises the sound coming from your earphones.
The power capacity is the maximum amount of power that the earphones can handle.
Power is the value of Voltage x Current. All earphones have a maximum power handling capacity and too much power can destroy the speakers.
For earphone use with computers, iPods, Mp3 players etc, you don’t need to worry about this rating, however you do if using with them with an amplifier.
“It’s all about Drivers!”
Drivers work a lot like loud speakers in the earphones and range in size between 7mm and 40mm. In order to enjoy excellent sound in any earbuds, a stronger driver will improve the overall sound. Drivers tend to really boost the bass and give an overall richer listening experience.
A ‘Dynamic Driver’ works just like the traditional one in a big ole speaker!
Sensitivity is measured in decibels (db) and sound pressure levels – but let’s not make this complicated! The lowest audible sound at 0db – this is as close to total silence you can get while still giving humans the ability to hear something. You don’t want to hear anything higher than 85bds, as this can cause hearing loss.
When purchasing a pair of earphones you want something that can get loud enough to fill your head, but not blow your brains out; leave that to nightclubs! To protect your ears, the rule of thumb is if somebody has to shout in order for you to hear them, your music is too loud!!
The plug, or jack, is usually one of two sizes – either 3.5mm or 2.5mm. The dominant type is currently 3.5mm.
Just how long the length of cord or wire is! Typical values are around 3-4 feet, and you’ll usually see the metric equivalent on the packaging too.