Music is life. If you don’t have it, you don’t have anything. It is no longer necessary to work hard to listen to the sound. Sometimes we want to enjoy it more quietly and intimately, or in parts of the world where others do not want to hear us. At such times, we can enter into our imaginary worlds with headphones.
No matter what we’re doing, audio devices are pretty much necessary, whether we’re listening to a song, reading an audiobook, or watching a video.
Now, the first question is: how do headphones work?
- Headsets as transducers convert audio signals (electric energy) into sound waves (mechanical wave energy).
- The drivers respond to the signal via electromagnetic, electrostatic, or piezoelectric principles and cause a diaphragm to move, producing the sound we hear.
The hands-free revolution is making more and more people happy, but others are still wary of understanding and using this new technology.
- 1 Why It’s Important to Know How Headphones Work
- 2 What Are The Principles Of Sound Reproduction?
- 3 3 Major Headphone Components
- 4 3 Main Headphone Drivers
- 5 Wired Vs. Wireless: Which Is The Best
- 6 Wired Headphones
- 7 Wireless Headphones
- 8 Conclusion
Why It’s Important to Know How Headphones Work
It transforms electrical signals into mechanical energy by vibrating. However, it is a complicated process that involves several electronic devices. Modern technology has taken this invention to unimaginable heights to meet current needs.
Having a basic understanding of how headsets work can help you choose between various options. The difference in component quality can have a significant impact on sound clarity. There is a substantial difference in price, specs, and overall quality between the two similar models.
What Are The Principles Of Sound Reproduction?
In general, headphones and loudspeakers use the same concept of converting electrical signals into audible sound waves. The music player sends alternating electrical current to the audio devices through a cable and mini speakers.
In order to make a magnetic field, the driver sends a signal to the voice coil. It is surrounded by a permanent magnet during audio transmission, and an electric current attracts and repels the magnet.
The voice coil produces approximately half the sound, which is attached to the cone by suspension material. Material repeatedly vibrates between 20 and 20,000 times per second, causing a change in air pressure in front of the cone and generating sound.
3 Major Headphone Components
The device is made up of three key components. There may be some additional parts and pieces, but without these three, there is no sound:
Magnets are at the heart of your headphones. You can’t use it without magnets. There are two tiny magnets involved, one fixed and one moveable. These magnets move the coil. This movement produces sound.
The Voice coil
The coil is charged with electrical signals that change the coil’s magnetic properties depending on the current.
The diaphragm is the key component of a headset since it vibrates very rapidly along with the electrical signal. Diaphragms are made from paper, wood, plastic, and metal. Superior materials will ensure the best sound quality and will protect your hearing from noise.
A great pair of headphones for a guitar amp on the market is made from plastic because it is rigid and light. However, the bio-diaphragm is the best choice for sound quality, as it can withstand intense vibrations.
3 Main Headphone Drivers
It’s important to remember that it works on the same principle as speakers, in which they convert electrical energy into sound by magnets to vibrate the air and create sound.
This whole operation would not be possible without the driver. Electrical signals enter your headset through the cord and reach the driver unit first. Sometimes it is not easy to understand how drivers work.
Dynamic Driver Unit
It uses three components for its working: a permanent magnet, a diaphragm and, electromagnetic coils.
It works primarily because of magnets. Specifically, there are two in each earcup. One magnet is permanent, meaning it stays in place and doesn’t move, whereas the other is a moving electromagnet.
When your earcup receives an electrical signal, it is sent to the electromagnet, which response quickly to the pattern transmitted or sound reproduction.
When it switches polarity, the electromagnet is rapidly attracted and repelled from the permanent magnet, causing it to vibrate. The electromagnets are held together by a thin membrane called the diaphragm that controls their vibration. In addition to vibrating the electromagnet, the diaphragm also vibrates – which is what we call sound.
Planar Magnetic Driver Unit
These are very similar to dynamic ones, but there are some differences as well. Howevctors, like small wires, thin magnetic conductors are spread over the diaphragm rather than moving an electromagnetic coil with magnets.
Additionally, several magnets are placed behind the diaphragm in place of one permanent magnet to make sure it can properly react to electrical current passing through the conductors—when the polarity of the electrical current changes, the diaphragm vibrates and produces sound.
Electrostatic Driver Unit
Lastly, electrostatic drivers are a vital aspect of some of the most famous headphones ever made.
Compared to other types of headsets, electrostatic headphones use a diaphragm that moves instead of magnets. It is made of a diaphragm made from a thin, electrically charged sheet that sits between two conductive plates.
There is a positive charge in one plate, whereas, in the other, there is a negative charge. The electrically charged film moves in a circle when electrical charges pass through the two plates, affecting air and producing sound.
Wired Vs. Wireless: Which Is The Best
The debate over wired and wireless headphones has continued for the past few years. It doesn’t look like it’s going to end any time soon. Because of their key features and benefits, it might be difficult to choose between the two devices:
Better Sound Quality
The sound quality of wired headsets is generally better than that of wireless ones. These devices connect straight to the music player through the 3.5 mm audio jack. It doesn’t suffer from proximity problems and interference issues that come with wireless headsets.
No Battery Included
A wireless headset does not require batteries to operate.
Simple And Easy To Use
Simply plug it into the audio jack of your smartphone, and you’re ready to go.
A Cable-free Experience
Using wireless earphones eliminates the hassle of dealing with cables and cords.
Any Bluetooth-enabled device can be easily connected to your wireless headset through an effortless and quick connection.
The current earpiece models on the market today also come with improved ergonomics in addition to being wire-free. In addition, they tend to be more comfortable to wear than other traditional ones.
Understanding the science behind them is not only interesting, but it can also help you choose the best pair. It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for headphones with a large diaphragm for better sound quality or a closed-back, noise-canceling model to reduce ambient noises. You can enhance its performance by knowing how each component works within the device.
Although this audio device is becoming increasingly technical, the principles of sound transmission remain the same. Modern headsets offer noise cancellation features and Bluetooth connectivity to improve your comfort. It may help to understand how your favorite models work so you won’t be less confused when replacing them.
Aharon is a music artist and blogger. He is passionate about music and currently doing bachelor’s from University Of Istanbul in Turkey. Aharon loves to know about the latest musical instruments and products and his passion took him forward to start a blog on it. He aims to provide unbiased product reviews of musical instruments that help other newbies to know what exactly they want in order to know that they are spending their money on a right product