Earbuds vs Headphones

by Walsh on December 31, 2012

Headphones vs EarbudsWith the rapid and efficient progression of technology in this day and age, all things music equipment related seem to be getting smaller, more portable and more accessible. But do these newer more “advanced” models of equipment really translate to better music quality and sound?

In the case of earbuds vs headphones–massive strides are constantly being made for both categories, but when it comes to making a decision about which to buy, you will find it is a lot more simple than you think.


Studio Headphones


In terms of sound quality, headphones are the way to go. Just by judging their size, it is easy to tell that they provide a much more complex sound to the listeners ear. What many fail to recognize is that they come in different models that are used in different ways. These models include the “Supra-Aural” style which covers just over your ear surface, but does not fully seal them from outside noise. This style could be used recreationally for your ipod, or even computer, but when it comes to recording music it is better to look at other options.

For those that will be listening to their songs and critiquing the music as they hear it, it is much better to use over-the-ear headphones. These are specifically designed to fully enclose your ear and block out all outside noise–if you have a quality pair. When listening to your music, you want to be free of all outside noises that may convolute your sound. Decent headphones is always money well spent.



Obviously, the size of our ears aren’t going to be getting much smaller any time soon, so for now, headphones will have to remain big and bulky for the most part. Their size alone gears them more towards in-studio use primarily, so if you are looking to take them with you on the bus or subway, things won’t be very easy for you.

People also often complain about ear irritation after wearing their headphones for too long. When you’ve been working on a track for hours everyday for two weeks, you’ll notice that they begin to irritate the rims of your ears and can eventually become an issue in the long run.





The main advantage that earbuds have over headphones is their size. Because they are so small and portable, you can wear them virtually everywhere, allowing you access to your music at all times. On a bus, simply take out your smartphone, plug in your earbuds and you can access all the beats your ears desire right there on your way to work.

If you end up buying a pair of in-ear earbuds, you’ll find that they come with several different rubber fittings. These are extremely important!  Not only do they provide you with different sizes so that the earbuds will fit perfectly, but they can also effect the sound of your music if used incorrectly. You want to strike a balance between comfort and isolation from outside noise so make sure you do some test trails before you make any judgements about the quality.



Yes, size does matter. While accessibility is high, earbuds do sacrifice sound quality simply because they cannot produce many of the effects headphones can. In terms of creating, recording and editing, you can get buy with an extremely high quality (and expensive) pair of earbuds, but you will be a sacrificing some key aspects of your music without headphones.


All in all, it boils down to where you are at in your career and what kinds of things you can afford. Both products can serve extremely valuable purposes, the trick is using them in the way they are meant to be used….

Stay tuned for more earbud and headphone product reviews!

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Lightner December 31, 2012 at 8:43 pm

I am currently using the Sennheiser HD 650 Headphones, they work great for listening, producing and mixing. Highly recommend them!!


Duryea January 2, 2013 at 3:45 am

I use Jlab J4 earbuds. I’ve found that they outperform almost every pair of headphones I’ve used before or since in terms of overall sound quality. I even think they sound better than Skullcandy aviators and Beats by Dre Solos. If I could afford the studio Beats or their Bose counterparts, I would have them, but since my enthusiasm for my music is dampened by the fact that I’m a poor high school student, I can’t afford $100+ price tags. Fact is, $40 for the Jlabs is a bargain. If you want sound on a budget, definitely check them out.


Spectre Spook October 5, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Studio beats bump like a dream. If you take care of your equipment, they’ll last you, If you bring them with you everywhere they’ll break within a year. Excellent investment if you’re also willing to commit energy to the upkeep and care


buy rap beats online March 1, 2013 at 9:19 pm

Wish this would have been Monitors vs. Headphones vs. Earbuds – go a little more in depth


Walrus159 October 2, 2013 at 1:40 am

For me earbuds on the go but if I am at home I don’t want to use either earbuds or headphones in my opinion they are both crap so speakers it is, at least they can shake my desk and that is important with gaming.


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