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It’s the age old myth that wired headphones provide better sound quality than wireless. But, with the latest advancements in wireless technology, sound quality has rapidly improved in recent years with wireless headphones. Bluetooth headsets worldwide jumped from 116 mil lion units sold to a whopping 140 million units in just three years, proving we’re a global population that are looking to “de-cable” from our headphones.
A quick search will garner thousands of results listing out the infinite pros and cons of wireless and non-wireless headphones. It’s a minefield of information and we’re breaking down some of the key points here.
Ever since the first wired headphones launched into the market back in 1910, some still view these as the more dependable choice in the audio world. When there’s a physical cable to plug in there’s less chance for connectivity issues and a perceived benefit to quality sound. Wired headphones connect to devices using an AUX in connector, with most using a 3.5mm headphone jack. Sound quality is perceived to be better because there is a lack of interference and lag. People get nervous about “cutting the cord” between their device and their ears because the sole reliance is then on the Bluetooth connectivity to transmit music and sound.
Some prefer the simplicity of knowing that a ‘plug and play’ mechanism is their only step to receiving high quality sound. There are also no charging issues as the cable is ready to go always. All that’s needed is a playback device with a headphone port and you’re away laughing. However, wired headphones come with their limitations and for most, the cable is one of the biggest issues. If you are stationary most of the time then being plugged in and attached via a cable won’t be a big challenge, but if you are someone who like to move around constantly the cable comes at a disadvantage. No matter how long the cable is, you can never be too far from your device!
Most wireless headphones can be split into three different categories: wireless earphones connected via a neckband, wireless on-ear headphones, and wireless over-ear headphones – all are battery-powered and use Bluetooth to connect to a smartphone, laptop or portable music player. AfterShokz is entirely unique in their own category where headsets aren’t quite over-ear or on-ear - they are open-ear, leaving a user free to experience sound naturally through the ear-drum at the same time as via cutting edge bone conduction technology.
When we speak of wireless headphones, one of the first obvious pros that come up is “freedom”. Freedom to move about your day and activity without being shackled to a device that limits your range of movement. With wireless headphones, you can freely walk between the office, kitchen, sofa, and garden without missing a word from the podcast or song you were listening to. Wireless headphones open up a world of opportunity for joggers, cyclists, and even swimmers with complete waterproof headsets like the AfterShokz Xtrainerz.
Any qualms about Bluetooth reliability and connectivity can be quashed as technology continues to improve at lightning speed. Nowadays, it’s standard for almost all devices to have Bluetooth. As mentioned earlier, wired headphones are generally perceived to have a better quality sound because Bluetooth can only handle so much information through signal and connection. However, this tends to only apply if data-heavy files like FLAC and WAV formats are being used. Most average listeners won’t know what these formats even are, because it’s very difficult to distinguish a difference between those files and something like a Spotify or Apple Music stream.
If you are looking for headphones for sports and daily activities, wireless headphones might be a good choice.
If you are chasing for sound quality (HiFi), or really cost-beneficial one, we would recommend taking a look at wired headphones.