Where is the headphone trend going?

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Where is the headphone trend going?

Are wired headphones still popular or is everything only possible with Bluetooth?
Currently, the trend in headphones is actually going in the direction of “True Wireless” (you can find an overview of our previously tested models here: “True Wireless In-Ears – All cables removed” ), i.e. the complete abandonment of cables.

Smart Devices
Another important component of the current generation of headphones is the “smart” networking/linking with smartphones and other devices: Support for the language assistants Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are now also considered good manners and even help to do everyday things by voice Real-time translations are possible these days ( Google Pixel Buds – to the test ). In addition, more and more wireless headphones with heart rate measurement or step counting want to help us with fitness coaching. Industry giants such as Beyerdynamic , Sennheiser or Sonygo one step further and allow – via built-in measurement microphones – an individual sound adjustment in order to compensate for hearing impairments caused by aging, for example.

On-Ears and Over-Ears with Bluetooth
So while it is currently very popular to do without any cables with the small button headphones, the larger on-ear and over-ear headphones usually also come with Bluetooth, but a classic analog cable is usually also required to the scope of delivery. So you have the best of both worlds: you can listen to music wirelessly on the go, but at home you don’t have to retire the old stereo system, you can simply connect your headphones via cable. Especially since one must not forget that cable operation often goes hand in hand with better sound from the listeners themselves.

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Check the Bluetooth specifications carefully!
So nowadays there is actually no way around Bluetooth if the headphones are to be part of your everyday life. But you should keep an eye on the technical data and make sure that both the headphones and all the devices involved comply with the same Bluetooth specifications – this is also part of the process when buying headphones. If you want to learn more about the specifications of Bluetooth, then we recommend taking a look at our basic article “SBC, aptX and AAC: Bluetooth standards explained simply and quickly” .

Bluetooth is a constantly evolving technology and can only function smoothly if all technical devices involved play according to the same rules. The so-called Bluetooth codecs take care of the compression of audio signals. The digital signals are divided into different frequency bands and these are then encoded depending on their signal levels. This saves a lot of space, but is so lossy that you can sometimes hear it. Fortunately, there are codecs that can transfer music in (almost) CD quality. Qualcomm’s codecs are a leading example. With its “aptX” family, the manufacturer offers several algorithms that can not only process and transmit extremely high-quality audio signals, but also take on a problem which is very annoying, especially when watching films or YouTube videos: the latency, i.e. the time lag between what you see and what you hear. If dialogues are not lip-synched because the sound lags behind the image due to the many Bluetooth processing processes, even your favorite film is no longer fun.

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It is therefore best to make sure that the transmitter and receiver support something like “aptX Low Latency”. This variant ensures synchronicity in time-critical applications. However, Apple iPhone or iPad users have to do without aptX, the Californian tech giant installs the codec “AAC” (Advanced Audio Coding), which also offers good sound quality, but the sound is slightly delayed. But that’s a problem found with other smartphone manufacturers as well.

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