Headphones vs Earbuds: What the Pros Choose and Why?

Headphones vs Earbuds: What the Pros Choose and Why?

Any producer or mixing engineer worth his salt will tell you that when it comes to “headphones vs earbuds”, there’s one choice for the true master soundsmith (If that’s not a word…it sure as hell is now). Nobody starts out as the big cheese and many of you would already know that earbuds are cheaper (I mean, they probably came free with the last smartphone you got) so I thought I’d take the time to convince you up & coming Dr. Dre’s to invest in that pair of bulky showstoppers that you thought you didn’t need.


Earbuds (The Contender)

Don’t get me wrong, earbuds are no slouch. Their ability to insert directly into the ear canal allows great isolation from outside ambience, such as traffic and, you know…nature and stuff (Note: Noise isolation is not Noise Cancelation…I’ll explain later). Their size also makes for great portability and discretion so they’ll never look out of place. Whether at the gym, or just waiting for the bus, you won’t get stares with these hanging from your ears. That being said, some do complain about discomfort but I guarantee there ain’t nobody complaining about how much these bad boys cost. So for the everyday consumer this would actually be pretty cool. Even, cooler is the fact that more and more manufactures are making versions of these that are completely wireless, adding to their fashinable appeal and capitalising on current trends.


Headphones (The Titan)

Okay first off, not every pair of over-ear headphones (or “Circumaural” if you like to act like you know stuff) is going to be top of the line. You’re definitely going to pay more but boy is it worth it.Their size may be off putting, and the overhead fit may be a concern to those that wear glasses (or care way too much about their hair), but the advanced speaker designs allow for some serious amplification and they are far more effective when it comes to providing total Noise Cancellation.

Noise Cancellation uses something called active noise control. By incorporating a microphone, they are able to measure ambient sound and create a new wave that is 180 degrees out of phase with the associated wave of noise.

It’s rare to find this kind of technology in an earbud that can do the job equally if not better than the much bigger cousin. But above all else, living that producer life means being at the top of your game and being able to hear everything as crystal clear as you can.


Biased Much?

If you ask me there’s no two ways about it. Eventually you will simply demand more out of the gear you use and the level you’re aiming to achieve will encourage you to wanna hear everything as clearly as humanly possible. I can’t say it enough and as your own skill develops you’ll definitely understand why. So don’t be shy to pick up a great pair of over-ear headphones because, if you’re like me, you’re probably going to use them for a pretty long time. If you would like to share your own thoughts and experiences with either then feel free to comment below. For more, see my Skullcandy Hesh 2 Review.


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4 thoughts on “Headphones vs Earbuds: What the Pros Choose and Why?

  1. Chris

    I’d never consider mixing down or mastering with ear buds – I only ever use them as a guide to see how bad my music can sound!
    Earbuds are generally awful with the low end – and they magnify sibilance like crazy!
    Do you find this problem with your finished mixes? I kind of use them as near fields to what people will be hearing through their phones and devices…

    1. Ryan

      I agree that they are good as a reference to what the average consumer would experience but like you said, it’s never good for a final mix/master. I intended to inform those new to the art that may not have the knowledge you and I would’ve gained through experience. And you’re right, without that low end man…I’d never be satisfied.

  2. Anis Chity

    I personally prefer Earbuds over headphones, earbuds are small-sized and can comfortably listen to music while I am running.

    I just don’t like the headphones lifestyle lol

    Thanks for sharing this post and have a good day! 🙂

    1. Ryan

      Exactly. Earbuds are the better choice for the average consumer but, for the aspiring producer I’d say headphones are the way to go.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 😀

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