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When selecting headphones for a particular job, there are many different specifications, attributes and general terminology for them What do they all mean?
Even if you understand what these headphone specifications mean, it is not always clear what difference it may make in practice. Sometimes it may be important - other times not.
Understanding the headphone specifications and terminology can help you cut through all the sales literature, or help talking to a sales assistant when buying a pair of headphones.
Open & Closed Back Headphones
One of the first things seen in the description for many headphones is that some are described as being open back and others are closed back headphones.With closed back headphones you have a trade off.Fully closed will isolate more sound (for the listener and away from any bystanders) because of less ambient interference. But, as sound is about air pressure – with a speaker moving the air in front of it to create sound, and by default the air behind it will move as well.If that air can’t move as freely (being fully closed creates a build up of pressure), it will affect the movement of the speaker and therefore affect the fidelity of the reproduction. Whether that difference is notable by the listener is another question.