How to Find the Best Stereo Headphones for You
There is nothing like finding the best stereo headphones available on the market, but sometimes, those phones labeled "best" are not always the best ones for you. Often times, lists are created based on the popularity of a device, the brand name, and overall quality. And sometimes a reviewer may mention a pair that is perfect "except for the fact that they make your ears sweat." However, in owning yours for three years, you've not released one drop of sweat. This is why it is important to find what is best for you, despite all of the reviews. Locating this perfect choice will require research, however, meaning you can't just find a pair that look nice online then order them because there is a good chance you will be disappointed. Instead, you need to look around, test them out yourself, and make an educated choice, because if you are shopping like the wise person I know you are, you will want to keep them for more than a year or two.
Do a "Stereophile" Check for Reviews and Recommendations?
Stereophile is one of the most popular print and online stereo magazines available and it provides a "Recommended Components List" every April and October that gives great suggestions for top devices that are best in price and quality. Of course this is not necessarily where you'll find the best stereo headphones for you, but it is a great place to start. You'll be able to get a good idea of what it takes to make a great set, plus you'll get other ideas for other great stereo components - that is, if you don't already have them.
Start Your Internet Search
I am a big fan of the Internet - within reason, mind you. I say this because, just as there is a lot of great information available, there is also a lot of false information. Many people make up information for ulterior motives, so while you can trust some of what is put out there, you cannot trust it all. One thing I do to check the reliability of a source is to check other sources and see if the information is similar - but not a carbon copy. It is easy to get out there and copy exactly what someone else has written and you will found a lot of that out there. So check source after source, making your research comprehensive. Also, look at what others say about the particular pairs that appeal to you. Most people give honest reviews as a way to warn others and help them avoid wasting their money, so take their advice seriously that is unless the reviewer seems to be a "brand basher." Finally, check those that so far seem to be the best stereo headphones against your Stereophile reviews and recommendations to see which ones appear to match in quality. But remember, you might find ones that seem to the winning pair - that doesn't mean they are the best stereo headphones for you, so don't let the research stop here!
Choose Between Circumaural, Supraural, and Intraural Stereo Headphones
The terms circumaural, supraural and intraural are fancy words with simple meanings. Circumaural headphones surround the ears and are typically known as closed headphones because of their ability to shut out most noise. They are very commonly used in musical studio sessions where there is the potential for outside noises and distractions. They can also be used as headphones in the home for those who either love to feel completely surrounded by their musical selections, want to shut out people and noises in and around the home, or both. While they are a great choice for many people, they may not be the best stereo headphones for you, so keep searching!
Supraural headphones usually sit on the frame of the ear and have soft ear pads. They normally don't block out all, or even most, sound but can, often times, still give a great sound quality. Usually they are little less expensive than the circumaural headphones, which may be ideal for those who don't care to block out the world. However, depending on the padding used to cover the speakers, your ears could become irritated, so it is a good idea to find the ones that work well for you.
Intraural headphones, also known as earbuds because they fit inside the ear canal, are more commonly found for IPods and MP3 players, or any other portable device. However, if you're particularly fond of this style then they may be the best stereo headphones for you. You can find high quality in all versions, so the don't feel that you have to hold back on your decision because of the style.
Determine What Works with Your Current Stereo Components
If you already have your choice stereo components at home, then you will want to make sure that you choose the best stereo headphones for those components. While many components naturally work well with each other, some don't. And just because you buy components of the same brand does not necessarily mean that they will collectively produce the best sound. So it is important to incorporate into your investigation a comprehensive check for the best component collaborations.
Test Headphones in Person
Once you've done all of the research you can and have narrowed down your search to a few that you really think you're interested in, it's time to get out there and find those perfect headphones. You will want to visit the stores you've found that sell the ones you're looking for then ask the sales associates to let you test them out. They will normally have some CDs they can use to test them, and if you can, have them plug the headphones into the device you own or plan to buy. Once you have narrowed down your search, you're set to make your dream headphone experience a reality!
Finding the best stereo headphones for you doesn't have to be rocket science. Once you do your research and follow your instincts you'll be on the right path to finding what you're looking for. In the meantime, it doesn't hurt to sit and daydream about the best stereo headphones in the world. Before you know you it, the perfect ones will be sitting around, on, or in your ears, blessing you with the musical experience of a lifetime.