Headphones and earphones are great ways to enjoy music, but not all headphones are the same. Some deliver pretty high-quality sound as you plug or pair them with a music device, and some require some tweaks in the headphone settings.
Whether you have expensive or cheap headphones, there’s always room to improve their music quality. In this guide, we will share some tricks and upgrades that help you enhance music quality.
You can apply these methods to headphones, earphones, and speakers. Note, these methods will not make any massive difference, but hopefully, these will make noticeable differences.
Before we explore these tricks first, let’s look at what music/sound quality means.
What Does Sound Quality Mean?
Sound quality varies from person to person. You may not enjoy the same music as I do, but we all agree that quality music/sound is music with clear vocals, loud (loud enough we can listen easily), well mixed, and mastered.
But how can we decide one music quality is better than the other. Usually, we can measure sound quality subjectively and objectively.
Subjectively the listener listens to the music, and as per his/her experience, he/she shares his opinion whether the music quality is good or bad. On the other hand, objectively, we can measure the music/sound quality with the help of tools specially made for audio works.
These tools measure headphone frequency response, impedance, sensitivity, etc., and gives us an idea about the sound/music quality.
Now let’s find out which things can boost the music quality on a pair of headphones.
Get Better Headphone Music Quality
1. Setup The Headphones Correctly
The very first thing you need to do is set up your headphones correctly. Make sure the adapter is plugged correctly. If you have Bluetooth headphones, there’s nothing you need to do. If you set up the headphone wired connection correctly, you have nothing to do you can set up to the next one.
If you have wired headphones and connect them to your PC(Window 10), here is the step-by-step guide to properly connecting headphones.
Go to Setting > System > Sound > Click on Sound Control Panel > new window will pop up with four tabs Playback, Recording, Sounds, and Communications. You have to click and choose Playback and select the headphones option.
2. Wear “L” And “R” Side Correctly
It may not seem a big deal, but it makes the difference in music quality. The audio producer or the person who mixes the music considers both sides, so for better music quality, it is important you wear the right side.
Nowadays, almost all headphones are labeled as the “L” and “R” side. It’s the same with earbuds/earphones. Check the side carefully and wear them as they are labeled “L” in the left and “R” in/on the right ear, so you listen exactly as the audio/music mixer wants you to.
3. Setting Earbuds / Ear Cups
If you have earphones/earbuds, make sure they are properly sitting in your ears, so you listen to the right amount of bass, and that they block outside noise properly.
If you find the earbuds too tight or loose, try to change their ear tips and find a comfortable one that fits in your ears properly.
On the other side if you have on-ear or over-ear headphones, try to change their position by moving up/down/left/right and find where they fit comfortably and properly.
So they deliver good bass and clear music without increasing the sound at full volume.
4. Change Earpads
Earpads are another important part of a headphone that makes a noticeable impact on sound/music quality and comfort. Generally, stock earpads are not good enough so that you can order a new one, and the good things are that almost all good headphones allow replacing earpads.
Earpads with leather, memory foam, or velour material are more recommended. They offer excellent seals, which offer noise isolation and let you feel better bass. Brainwavz Velor Replacements Ear Pads are highly recommended.
They are compatible with almost all popular headphones and brands, including ATH-M50X, SHURE, AKG, HifiMan, ATH, Philips, and more.
5. Get An AMP OR DAC
Another important point that can be crucial in music quality is headphone impedance and the platform you drive them. Impedance measured in ohms, and it varies from headphone to headphone.
In simple words, the lower the impedance, the easier it will drive, and as the number goes up and up, you require more power to drive them. Around 32-ohm impedance is ideal for portable devices such as mobile phones, computer devices, and more.
50 and less than 50 ohms can be driven easily, and you’ll listen to quality music as they mean to deliver. As the number goes above and above, getting a dedicated amp or DAC will be necessary. So all you have to do here is check your headphone specification where the impedance is mentioned.
You can check impedance online and also on your headphone box. If the impedance is under 50 ohms, you can easily drive them on low-power devices. Otherwise, you have to get an amp or DAC. High impedance headphones also deliver more detailed, clear sound, but you should connect them with a powerful power source.
6. Media Player
Along with amp or DAC and other things, the play source of music is also important. Smartphone media players are not as good in terms of high-quality music, so having a dedicated media player can boost music quality.
However, you can adjust the mobile setting if you don’t want a dedicated amp. Our next tip is about the EQ setting of mobile phones to maximize the sound quality.
7. EQ Setting of Smartphone
Having said above that, by changing EQ settings, you can improve headphone music quality. You can change the EQ setting in a media player on any platform, whether you have a smartphone, laptop, or dedicated media player.
Go to settings and find EQ settings on your device media player, and make some changes until you find a setting that sounds good.
These are the best tips that will help you to make better sound quality in your headphones if you still have not found any improvement. Unfortunately, your headphones are not capable of delivering better sound quality than that.
Here we recommend you upgrade your headphones. But before you check for another pair of headphones, here are some things that might help you choose better ones that deliver better sound and music.
8. Upgrading your Headphones
In your headphones upgrade the first and most important thing you should consider is the headphone’s impedance. As mentioned earlier, the impedance is an important factor, so choose wisely.
Find out where you will plug your headphones most of the time. Are you listen to music on smartphones, computers, laptops, or plug into a dedicated amp/DAC. When you are sure which platform you will use to listen to music.
Now go back and choose the headphone with an impedance that can easily be driven. For smartphone and portable devices, below 50 ohms impedance is fine and for more powerful devices, go for around 100 ohm impedance. As you go above 100 ohms, you should have a powerful source to drive them.
Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro is a great example of headphones with lower, medium, and high impedance. As it is one of the most popular and high-quality headphones available in 32, 80, and 250 ohms.
- Once you decide how and on which platform you will use your headphones.
- Next, choose between wired and wireless.
- Choose between open- and closed-back headphones. The difference between the two is open-back headphones let you hear outside sound clearly, and they leak the sound as well, but they deliver more neutral and wide sound stages. On the other closed-back headphones block the outside noises and do not let the inside sound out, but they have narrow soundstages and are less comfortable than open-back headphones.
- Instead of picking a headphone with an unknown brand because of the low price tag, choose a headphone from popular and reliable brands such as Audio Technica, Sennheiser, AKG, Beyerdynamic, Bose, and so on. Here you can find out more about the best headphones brand.
- Lastly, check the headphone specifications, frequency response, sensitivity, and which type of music it delivers. If possible, listen to your favorite tracks so you can decide better.
Improving your headphone’s music quality doesn’t require you to overwhelm. With some fundamental but important steps, you can improve your headphone music quality, but it varies and depends on which type of headphones you have.
We shared the basic tips for any headphones to improve sound quality, and after trying those tips, if you still cannot improve, you have to upgrade your headphones. We also shared some points that might be helpful to consider while choosing a new headphone.