Earphones come available in a number of shapes and sizes, which can be categorized according to four main types. In choosing which of these models to purchase, one should put into consideration how well a particular earphone performs, the convenience of its design and how much it would cost.
The Circumaural earphone model is also known as the Full-size earphones (or headphones) as it is equipped with large circular ear pads that surround the wearer’s ears completely. As such, it is designed to filter out external noise, fully immersing the user in the sound being pumped into their ears. Hence, it is the earphone type of choice for practically all deejays. Due to their size, circumaural earphones tend to be somewhat heavy, with some weighing more than 500 grams. The standard sizes are approximately 35 mm for a jack plug with an adaptor or about 6.3 mm (1/4”) for one with a larger stereo jack plug.
Supra-aural earphones were originally designed for personal stereos and the Walkman which came out way back during the 1980’s. However, this earphone type is still in use and remains readily available even today. This model has ear pads which sit directly on the wearer’s ears as opposed to fully encompassing them. Perhaps the downside to this is that it does not minimize outside noise as well as the circumaural type. Much more lightweight than that said model, supra-aural earphones measure around 15 mm in diameter for its ear pad cushions, while its headband measures about 120 mm long.
Also known as In-ear headphones, the Earbuds are much smaller earphones that are directly placed outside the wearer’s ear canal, but does not completely cover it. Again, like the supra-aural model, the earbuds aren’t too effective in blocking out external sounds, which is why they are typically used with the volume way up. Nonetheless, it remains a favored earphone type by virtue of its convenience and reasonable price. Its suitable and most preferred size is an input plug measuring about 3.5 mm with a cable approximately 1.44 mm in length.
Also known as In-ear monitors (IEMS), Canalphones are somewhat similar to earbuds, except that the former are directly inserted into the wearer’s ear canal. This model’s design allows it to function like earplugs, isolating the user from outside sounds much more effectively than the two previous earphone types. Canalphones come in 2 varieties: Universal, which are designed to fit practically any ear canal size, and Custom, which are specifically fitted for particular individuals. Because of the work involved, custom canalophones cost much more than universal ones. Among the most suitable sizes available are a cord length of about 1.2 mm, a weight of around 3 grams, and approximately 13x21x12 mm in dimension.