What Does Headphone Impedance Mean and How to Choose the Right One?

What Does Headphone Impedance Mean and How to Choose the Right One?

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Two of the terms you will come across while purchasing a new headphone these days are headphone impedance and ohms. Even though people have a fair idea regarding the driver size, frequency response, and sensitivity of headphones, many have little to no idea regarding impedance.

So, what does it mean? And should you consider it while you are looking for a new pair of headphones? This discussion will guide you through! You will get to know about the terms and can eventually understand the impact of ohms and impedance on headphones.

Read More: How to Check Airpod Battery Levels on Android Phones: 4 Best Ways[Tips]

What Exactly Is Headphone Impedance?

First of all, you should have a fair understanding of electrical resistance. So, when electricity flows through a conductor or a semiconductor, it faces some resistivity. Now, what is a semiconductor or conductor? Wires, metals, and other things that can conduct electricity fall under that criteria.

Nonetheless, you can understand the resistivity by considering a flow of water. The flow will gain different speeds in different pipes. And if you add any restriction between the line, the speed will deter. The same principle applies to the conductors that are conducting electricity.

What Does Headphone Impedance Mean and How to Choose the Right One?

On that note, ohms represent the resistance of a conductor. The higher the ohm, the higher the resistance. And if you consider the headphone impedance, it means the electrical resistance for the driver units. Now, as it is also resistance, ohms represent its value.

Now, if you take two headphones side by side and compare them using a headphone impedance calculator, you will understand impedance’s impact on power draw.

For example, a pair having 32 ohms headphones impedance can require 22.4 milliamps, while the same pair of headphones with 16 ohms impedance will require 31.6 milliamps.

How To Choose The Right Headphone Impedance?

The topic of choosing the correct impedance will make the discussion of headphone impedance matching or bridging come up. So, what does this term mean? It refers to the idea of matching the source and headphone impedances together. And that makes the headphone offer better overall performance.

What Does Headphone Impedance Mean and How to Choose the Right One?

Now, when it comes to headphone impedance 16 vs 32, you need to consider the source. If you plan to listen to music on a smartphone or a portable device, the 32 ohms is less recommended as it will require comparatively high power. On the other hand, if you are using a home theatre system, any of the two will be fine.

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In short, headphone impedance refers to the resistance of the drivers. It is represented by ohms, and it impacts the power requirement of the headphones, which will eventually play a huge role in the sound quality of the drivers.

Images: Bose

Slava is a man of mystery and no-one seems to know exactly where he is at any point in time. When he isn't enjoying writing about all things audio and technical he can be found researching his next project of interest. The man never rests.

This post was last updated on 2024-05-20 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.

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