Fans of headphones are fond of touting the benefits of an expensive pair of headphones over the experience of full speakers. Many people believe that headphones are superior to equivalently priced speakers entirely, and certainly with regard to any solitary experience. There are several points on which fans of headphones like to focus.

  • Focus and direction: a pair of headphones delivers sound directly to your ears, requiring less complicated design and a lot less by way of material to produce high quality sound. Left-channel sound is delivered to the wearer’s left ear, and right-channel sound to their right ear, while speakers deliver both channels to both ears simultaneously—all the time.

  • Noise cancellation: while wearing headphones, outside noise is either fully or partially cancelled out—even without noise cancellation functionality. This is particularly true of over-the-ear headphones, and it’s a popular benefit. It’s often expressed as making headphones clearly superior to speakers for solo music listening.
  • More economical: by dint of requiring less material, less engineering, and less skilled craftsmanship than a larger, more complicated speaker, headphones are frequently cast as offering better-quality sound than an equivalently priced speaker, regardless of what kind of speaker it is.

Each of these are valid points, but they fall far short of being absolutely comprehensive. There are a number of other considerations which the arguments in favor of headphones gloss over. Here are a few other factors to bear in mind when deciding whether or not to spring for floor-standing speakers.

Surround Sound Experience

Headphones cannot match the quality of sound produced by floor-standing speakers. A high quality set of speakers, properly engineered with the right components, can produce far more realistic and flat sound than any tiny headphone cones. Flatness, in this case, refers to a lack of fluctuation away from realistic sound, across the full spectrum of sound frequency which humans are capable of hearing: in other words, it’s a good thing.

Floor-standing speakers can be included in a home theater setup to produce a depth and richness of sound that’s on a par with anything provided by a fancy movie theater. Position your speakers to focus the sound appropriately, and you can custom-tailor your experience to your exact preferences. This can be done at websites like speakerxpert.com

Full, Rich Sound

The lack of precision engineering required for headphone speakers, relative to that which floor-standing speakers require, isn’t entirely advantageous. It’s true that the close proximity to the listener’s ears makes the job easier, but it also results in inherent distortion for certain sound ranges—particularly high-frequency sounds.

The engineering that goes into floor-standing speakers will ultimately produce a much-higher quality sound than anything which headphones have to offer. There are certain exceptional headphones which can provide a similar sound quality across most of the audible range, but these headphones—which usually come with pricey brand names—lose their economic advantage, and they typically still fall short at some point within what humans are capable of perceiving.

A Solitary Experience

Speakers are a solitary experience, which may be fine for many people under most circumstances. However, the moment you want to enjoy music in someone else’s company, or watch a film with a friend or a loved one, the drawback of headphones becomes readily apparent.

Floor-standing speakers can be re-positioned, or have various settings changed, to meet the optimal sound requirements for any audio-intensive activity. It’s possible to position floor-standing speakers to replicate most of the advantages of headphones, without cutting out the potential for enjoying music or movies with friends and family.

Tom Parillo

Tom Parillo

I am interested in all things technology, especially automation, robotics and tech that helps change how society will live in the future.