What Do The Specifications On Earbuds In-Ear Headphones Mean?


Quick Navigation

What buyers are most concerned about when they go to buy earbuds in-ear headphones are the physical appearance, the price, and the brand. Though these factors are also important to check, it is very important to check the technical specifications too. Technical specifications of earbuds in-ear headphones are mostly written on the packaging.

You would have seen these technical specifications while shopping for earbuds in-ear headphones. If you seem not to understand what they mean, in this article, you will understand what the specifications mean.

Before then, let’s take some time to understand earbuds in-ear headphones:

Earbuds In-ear Headphones

Headphones are of three different types. A distinction is made between in-ear earbuds and those that are worn on or over the ear. One of the uniqueness of earbuds in-ear headphones is that they are compact and lightweight. They are ideal for use in your spare time or while exercising.

Earbuds in-ear headphones muffles ambient noise because they are worn in the canal of the ear. You are not completely cut off from the outside world, but you can fully enjoy your music. Also, they mostly come with different sizes of sleeves, so there is always a fit that fits any size of ear.

Pros And Cons

They are light and compact.

They are easy to store.

They mute ambient noise.

They are with different sizes of sleeves for the perfect fit.

They are not usually comfortable for everyone.

Some may even drop out of the ears quickly.

Now, let’s proceed to what the specifications on earbuds in-ear headphones mean:

Frequency range

The frequency range of earbuds in-ear headphones indicates which sound frequencies they can reproduce. Low frequencies produce low sounds (like the bass) and high frequencies produce high sounds (like treble).

Most models have a range between 20 Hz and 20 kHz. More expensive headphones have a wider frequency range: between 16 Hz and 40 kHz. These are frequencies that you may not hear immediately, but that does affect the overall sound quality.

Human hearing is between 20 Hz and 20 kHz. If the frequency is below 20 Hz, you will not be able to hear the lyrics of the music well but only feel the bass. It is recommended that you choose the widest possible frequency range if you use the earbuds in-ear headphone professionally.

Noise cancellation

Noise cancellation is the cancellation of ambient noise. This can be done passively, by earbuds in-ear headphones, by closing the ear canal to muffle ambient noise. But there are also some with active noise canceling – a special technique that detects ambient sounds and then filters them out (sometimes up to 95%). You will only hear your music.

Also, read about noise canceling and noise isolating headphones‘.

Wireless (Bluetooth)

Various techniques are used to make wireless contact between the playback device and earbuds in-ear headphones. This is so that users can experience unlimited freedom of movement while using the device.

The most common use here is Bluetooth. Simply put, Bluetooth is a radio connection for data and sound at close range. Almost all smartphones have this function on board. Near Field Communication makes it possible to simply hold your tablet or smartphone against your earbuds in-ear headphones to connect.

Keep in mind that wireless earbuds in-ear headphones require charging. You can also see some earbuds in-ear headphones with NFC. You can also connect wirelessly with this. You do this by briefly holding your earbuds against the smartphone or tablet.

Remote Controls

For operation, it is important that your phone device connects to your earbuds. Some remote controls on some earbuds only work with iPhone devices, while some work with both iPhone and Android devices. Often the remote control is integrated with the cord, but with Bluetooth models, it is usually processed on an ear cup.

Therefore, make sure that the remote control on the earbuds is compatible with your device.


Most earbuds have a microphone so that calling with it is also possible. This way, you can easily make phone calls without holding your smartphone. Make sure that your smartphone is compatible with the connection options of the earbuds. Otherwise, the microphone may not work.

Closed-back or Open-back

Earbuds that are open-back models let in more ambient noise – This is particularly safe for you if you actively participate in traffic. Earbuds that are closed-back model allows little or no ambient noise, which is designed for noisy situations.

Also, read about open-back vs. closed-back headphones for gaming


Hi-Res (also known as Hifi) offers higher sample rates so that you can enjoy the original sound without loss of quality. Sound is not reduced (as happens with MP3), so all details remain audible. The frequency range is often enormous. Make sure that you also stream or download Hi-Res music for optimal results.


This is about resistance. It is expressed in Ohms. Impedance indicates how much energy your earbuds require from your smartphone or tablet. A higher level of impedance means that the amount of energy your earbuds need will be more. Your smartphone or tablet must be able to handle this.

Therefore, it is best to choose the type of earbuds with an impedance between 16 and 50 ohms for your smartphone or MP3 player. If the resistance is higher, it will be difficult for your phone to handle the power, and you will only get a very soft sound.


Earbuds consist of two speakers that are incorporated with the headband. These ‘speakers’ are called drivers. The most common driver is the dynamic variant. There are electrostatic variant drivers, which are costlier than the dynamic variants but give more detailed sound.

More advanced equipment gives optimal sound. The third variant is the balanced driver. This is a special technique designed for earbuds specifically.


This is simply a measurement of the volume on your earbuds. It is usually measured in decibels(dB) and sound pressure levels(dB Spl). The range of sensitivity is between 0db and 85db. 0db is similar to complete silence, while going beyond 85db can lead to damage of the hearing. You can know if the sound is too loud if people around you have to shout to communicate with you. If you keep the sound volume high often, it may have adverse effect to your hearing when you are old.

Also, read about what are volume-limiting headphones

Power Capacity

This is simply the charge capacity of earbuds in-ear headphones’ batteries. This information is usually on the package of the headphone. It’s important to know how long the earbuds in-ear headphone can last before charging again.


Now that you know what the specifications on earbuds mean, you will be able to select the best earbuds that suit your need.