With the advent of the iPod and then the iPhone, listening to music on the go became more and more mainstream, no longer just for the die hard music fans, but also for those purely social music lovers who can now listen while commuting or even exercising.
The main decision most people have to make is what they will use to listen to their music – in-ear headphones or on-ear headphones. Listening quality versus portability.
Particularly when you’re out and about, size and portability are crucial, but most in-ear headphones – even the expensive ones, don’t have the sound range that larger on-ear headphones can provide with their larger drivers.
Personally I prefer in-ear headphones, I’m not that concerned about the reduction in quality and the portability in-ear headphones provide makes it worth it when I’m travelling.
The only time I re-think this is when I have to travel on a train or plane – both environments are so noisy I opt for over-ear headphones to isolate the background noise and be able to hear what I’m listening to.
The benefits the sound isolation brings however can be a drawback in real world situations. For example walking through a town centre, or crossing roads is more dangerous when you cannot hear what is going on in the world around you. It can be a significant risk if you can’t hear traffic around you, or if someone speaks to you.
Ultimately I think a good set of each is the best compromise, allowing you to pick the best solution for what you’ll be doing and where you’ll go. Good quality headphones and earphones can now be picked up without having to spend a fortune too, so spend some time reading reviews and test a few pairs out in the shops until you find something that works for you.