Wireless vs. Wired Headphones – Let the Battle Begin!

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Once upon a time (okay, not that long ago), headphones were ‘reserved’ solely for rebellious teenagers in transit – going to and from school, blasting their favorite tunes. Thankfully, their popularity has risen, and now everyone is able and willing to soak their ears in that sweet soul food that we call music. But, a new beast rears its head, and that is a myriad of choices. A troublesome challenge, in fact. The enthusiasts, athletes, gamers, workers are all frozen still and, more often than not, left alone to deal with this mighty and fearsome thing. But worry not for we are here! Let us stand together, fierce and bold! We shall slay the dragon together! (Or at least make a good choice that will, hopefully, last for a couple of years.)

“For increaseth knowledge, increaseth sorrow.”

We did say that a good pair of headphones should last for at least a couple of years. That’s why they should be considered an investment. So, should we invest without even knowing what is profitable? No. We learn, inform ourselves and only then reach a conclusion! Our ears and our hearing are precious! Even the least demanding among us should take care in their quest, the search for that Holy Grail of headphones! What are the reasons? Let’s increase only the knowledge, so keep up and let’s find out!

First, we must set a couple of rules, benchmarks… the basis of our comparison. And as they come in all shapes and sizes, let’s get this first out of the way.

First and foremost, headphones should feel comfortable, even after extended periods of use!

Next up we have:

  • Technology
  • Quality of sound
  • Extras / Accessories
  • Price

All good? Let’s proceed to the next level!

Choose your champion!

Wireless Headphones


Transition to modern technologies can sometimes be difficult, so what is the deal with going wireless, instead of the old ‘tried and tested’? THERE IS NO WIRE! (Ba-dum tsss!) Done.

Okay, okay, no more jokes. For now.

What is the deal? What is the offer? If we are to simplify it, it’s freedom! (Not the ‘Mel Gibson’ kind of freedom tho’.) Along with comfortability, we can prance around the house or street while in a phone call. Or we can stop worrying about entangled wires. We don’t have to sit as close to our desks, or we can game with greater immersion. Maybe even see a movie without disturbing anyone else’s nap time. We can also run and jump without thinking that our phones, players, or even boomboxes (Old-school, why not?) will hit the ground. Pretty neat, huh?

But before we start rushing and clearing out the stores this very moment, let’s talk about other points as well. Quality of make is a deciding factor. With proper maintenance, they are not supposed to fail us mid-way through our screaming (Pardon, singing) sessions. And Aerosmith’s ‘I don’t wanna miss a thing‘ is a good song, by the way.  But we could always go for ‘It’s my life‘ by Bon Jovi. Back to the topic at hand.

  • Technology – Battery life

What is it that undermines our freedom so? Most often it is the battery life. Yes, we have a long history of sticking batteries in just about anything, so now it’s their turn. Imagine this:

You are the MVP of the fast-paced FPS game, immersed, or the main character of a kingdom in distress that you are about to save, transcending the world of mortals. You exist in a realm of bytes and pixels, and nothing can stand in the way of your guns blazing! Or you unsheathe your blazing sword of +5 damage to the unholy, triumphant! Three beeps and poof! “Player disconnected.” And if they are flashy, with all those LED lights and vibration, keep an eye on that battery charge more often.

  • Technology – Compatibility

It is like iPhone has something against the 3.5mm audio jack, so they are trying to force this technology in on the market. So we also need to take into consideration our devices. Can they support this tech? TV’s, PC’s, consoles, tablets, phones… it’s all about the manufacturer’s details.

  •  Quality of sound

In the very beginning, wireless headphones used 1.1 Bluetooth tech. Awful compression and sound distortion ensue. A little bit of time goes by, and companies figure out how to resolve this. Today we can enjoy 3.0 Bluetooth tech as a standard. But the upper echelon of the headphones society comes equipped with 4.0. Data storage is no longer an issue, so no need for horrible compression. No compression equals no distortion. Great! Not so fast, what about the signal? And that is a story for another time. Might make a great bedtime story for a physicist.

  • Extras / Accessories

As we already stated, good headphones are an investment. It’s not that they require a lot of babysitting, but a couple of accessories should help. Specialized cases for storage, stands for charging, cleaning kits, they all come in handy. It is sufficient to say that wireless headphones lack none of the above and that your favorite pair will be safe and sound (Get it?).

  • Price

Since this is still relatively new technology, they are priced a bit higher than their wired counterpart. The very same goes for the extras. As with anything in life, it’s a matter of ‘How deep does your pocket go?’ and ‘How much are you willing to spend?’. But we can be sure to expect them with a higher price tag.

Wired Headphones


“Music is given to us specifically to make an order of things, to move from an anarchic, individualistic state to a regulated, perfectly conscious one, which alone ensures vitality and durability.” – Igor Stravinsky

The old and faithful will deliver!

Wired headphones have been giving us music and sound for a long time. With excellence! ‘Old, true and tried’ almost traditional. We are also sure that there are people who still do enjoy untangling those wires.

  • Technology

As for the tech, rest assured, the 3.5mm audio jack isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon. All of our devices are going to be pretty happy with almost any kind of headphones we plug in. Except for iPhone. It can be that the iPhone is sad and missing its audio plug? Who can tell?

P.S.

There is no battery to worry about.

  • Quality of sound

The quality of sound depends solely on the manufacturers choice of materials and components. But wired headphones are known to deliver a more constant and stable sound. Signal loss can happen only with damaged cords and jacks. We don’t worry about the range or signal strength here.

  • Extras / Accessories

Bountiful! From cases to display stands, with and without LEDs, even custom ordered and custom made. Price range may vary, based on your preference.

  • Price

From ‘How the hell can this be so cheap?!’ to ‘An arm and a leg.’ The depth of the pocket and the willingness to spend are the only two things that matter. But, it is worth to note that wired headphones do usually come cheaper than wireless headphones, quality range wise.

In conclusion

Distinct advantages and disadvantages vary from one use case to another. There is no such thing as ‘one size fits all’! And both offer a line of products for the hearing impaired as well! But there is an ideal pair for every listener out there. Do you like the freedom of movement and are meticulous with things that you own? Or the recharging of battery feels more restrictive than the lengthy cord? What does feel, fit, sound and look better? Overall lifestyle plays a huge role in making any choice, including this one.

Wireless versus wired headphones? Which champion did you choose? Let us know in the comment section!


Hello, my name is Danny Brown.

I am writer and editor at HeadphonesEncyclopedia, I’ve been reviewing all kinds of electronic devices, audio and video equipment for almost a decade. My specialty is audio equipment and I have a strong passion for headphones, speakers, and home theater systems. I spend hours and hours testing and evaluating audio equipment in order to offer you unbiased reviews. Since we all have different tastes when it comes to sound, don’t take my reviews for granted. They can offer you a lot of useful info but you should definitely test (hear) the headphones/speakers before making the purchase.

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