Headphones Guide: What do ohms actually mean for Headphones?

Headphone impedance

When you go shopping to buy headphones, sometimes you will find there is an option to choose the impedance of your headphones, and that could range in various numbers, such as 8, 32, 250 ohms etc.. If you are stuck at that, here is a simple explanation which will make you understand headphone impedance a little bit better.

What is Impedance?
It’s an electrical definition, which implies the measure of protection that is offered to alternative current while traveling through a circuit. The voltage made from the source tries to constrain the current through a circuit. This current faces resistance in its course from one terminal to other. This aspect is named as impedance. It’s deliberate in ohms. The more the impedance is, the lesser current goes in, bringing less power for the headphones to behave as they are supposed to. The lower impedance operates the exact inverse way, it drives more current to the audio speakers, bringing louder sound in a specific voltage.

Headphone impedance is not an indicator of “quality” among headphones (which means higher ohms doesn’t mean better sound quality). A lower impedance headphone doesn’t necessarily sound better than a higher-impedance headphone. The impedance of headphones is usually designed to get a reasonable amount of volume at the right voltage of the equipment. Many pro headphones have large drivers and they are expected to be run from a higher-voltage professional amplified equipment, therefore they have a  high impedance and they need more power to deliver high audio levels, while low impedance will have less power required for them to have a good amount of volume on a low-voltage audio source.

Low-impedance headphones are easier to get louder and don’t use much power from the source you’re using it from. High-impedance headphones put out more sound and they are most suitable for home, studio use, while low impedance headphones will work better with portable phones and music players, and other portable devices.

So which one to pick and why?
Basically, if you want to use your headphones at home and use them for example with your Computer, Laptop then you should probably stick with a high-impedance ranging from 55-600 ohms.

But, if you want to use your headphones on multiple devices like phones, tablets, and other small devices then you should stick with low impedance ranging from 8-60 ohms. Even though you still could use a high-impedance headphones on your phone and other devices that require low impedance if you used an amplifier to make them function like they suppose to be.

There are other good reasons to use an external amplifier but the main thing that may require you to buy one is because of the low volume with higher-impedance headphones, but that only happens on the devices that have low impedance.

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