Terminology

  • Amplifier (amp):
  • Analog (audio): Analog audio refers to the method the audio was recorded. Cassettes and vinyl are forms of analog audio. The opposite of analog is digital. Digital audio is a representation of sound waves by taking samples of the audio at a set rate.
  • Balanced: No frequencies are emphasized over each other.
  • Bass: Low frequencies.
  • Body: Fullness of sound.
  • Bright: Emphasis on treble
  • Circumaural: Type of headphone where the headphone sits around the ear, or “over-ear” headphone
  • Closed (headphone): Headphones where the back of the headphone is closed. These type of headphones generally leak less sound than open back headphones.
  • Colored: Does not have a balanced frequency sound reproduction. Typically used with negative connotation.
  • DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter):
  • Fidelity: Ability to accurately reproduce sound.
  • FLAC: Is a digital audio format that is lossless. It is one of the highest available resolution types of digital audio formats.
  • Frequency: the rate at which something occurs or is repeated over a particular period of time or in a given sample.
  • Frequency Range: the range of signals that the headphones reproduce. The range of audible frequencies to the human ear is usually considered to be in the region between 20 and 20,000 hertz.
  • Highs: high pitch frequencies, generally above the 6,000 hertz range.
  • Impedance: the effective resistance of an electric circuit or component to alternating current, arising from the combined effects of ohmic resistance and reactance. Important, when looking at headphones that require or would benefit from an amp.
  • Midrange (Mids): generally frequencies between 250Hz and 6kHz.
  • Open (headphone): The back of the driver is open to the air. Generally causes headphones to have greater soundstage and detail but less bass impact
  • Peak (frequency): the highest frequency a headphone reproduces
  • Soundstage: the ability to visualize the placement of musical instruments and vocalists in a music recording. Headphones that have an open sound, and almost sound like you are in the room with the musicians.
  • Sub-bass: frequencies lower than 100Hz. These frequencies are more “felt” than heard.
  • Treble: frequency or range that is at the higher end of human hearing.