which beats headphones to buy Understanding Wireless Sound Technology
VDU’s / Computer Monitors: Troubleshooting Tips, Tutorials Reviews Of The Latest Greatest Computer MonitorsBluetooth In bluetooth headphones, a low power radio signal is used to digitally transmit the sound. At the moment, Bluetooth headphones are relatively thin on the ground. MP3 player manufacturers are slowly beginning to include the technology, but Apple seems to be stubbornly refusing (third party accessories are available). The limited range puts them in the same league as infrared, but the portability of Bluetooth devices makes it much more suitable for walk around listening. As it is a radio technology, line of sight is not required so you can listen to music on your phone without having to take it out of your pocket.
So how do I connect it all together?
The general principles are the same for all three types, but may be implemented differently. your CD player or TV, there needs to be a transmitter. In the cases of IR and radio, this is usually a small basestation that needs a mains power supply (IR and radio use more power than Bluetooth) and needs to be connected to the headphone socket of the source. Bluetooth, on the other hand, tends to be built into devices such as mobile telephones, or you can get a Bluetooth usb dongle a small (mine is smaller than my thumbnail) transmitter to plug into your computer. Battery powered Bluetooth transmitters are also available to use with non Bluetooth devices such as iPods.
The headphones contain the receiver circuitry and a small amplifier as well as a battery pack to power them. The mains powered transmitters usually serve as chargers for the headphones, connecting to them via a short cable or a charging cradle.
Which one should I choose?
There are three factors to consider: the base station, the range, and the size of the headphones.
Taking the last of these first, IR and radio tend to be larger, over ear headphones,
as they need to enclose larger batteries, while bluetooth headphones are available in a wider variety of designs from traditional over ear to funky lightweight headsets incorporating microphones (for use with your mobile phone).
The base station for IR and radio will need a power socket. Wireless refers to the absence of a wire tethering the headphones to the source, not the entire contraption. Mine (Sony MDR RF800R) have three wires coming out of the base station: power supply, audio connection (plugs into the headphone socket), and a wire to plug into the headphones themselves to charge them. The presence of these wires makes it a chore to move them from the TV to the hifi or computer and in practice I don’t do it.
The range may seem like a limiting factor, but it really depends how you want to use the headphones. IR headphones seem to me to be ideally suited for TV use you need to be able to see the TV, so if the base station is on top of the TV, the headphones will be able to see it. Also, you tend not to walk around the house watching TV but will more likely sit directly in front of it at a distance of about 2 or 3 meters.
Bluetooth, on the other hand, has a similar range, but you are probably carrying the source (MP3 player or mobile phone) about your person. You are unlikely, in this situation, to have a power socket following you around, so Bluetooth, if you must have wireless, is the only answer.
The greater range of radio headphones makes them well suited to general listening where you might be in one place for a while, then want to move somewhere else. I use them at my computer,
sitting on the sofa and cooking dinner.