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What Is Headphone Impedance and Why Do Ohms Matter?

by Josh Koop | Last Updated:   6 months ago
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Have you ever put on a brand new pair of headphones and just could not believe just how good the sound experience is? There are a lot of factors that are in play when it comes time to know just how good a pair of headphones’ sound experience can be, so why do ohms matter in headphones?

When looking for quality sound you care about the Ohms as higher impedance (25 ohms or more typically) require more power to deliver on their higher quality audio performance. The lower the ohms the less power required to power them but conversely also comes the worse overall performance.

If you are being totally honest with yourself, sound experience is probably the biggest thing you look for when it is time for you to invest in a new pair of headphones. That is why OHMS is a very important thing to consider when you are on the hunt for a new pair.

So in this article, you will have the chance to understand just why Ohms matters in a pair of headphones.

Understanding What OHMS is and How it Works

The brief summary of what OHMS is that it is the unit of measure when calculating impedance. If you are unsure of what impedance is, it is the property of headphones that slows down the flow of electrical through it.

If your headphones have low impedance, they are made to be plugged directly into the source you want to listen to so those headphones can now more efficiently bring you sound from the lower input signal.

If the headphones you bought have an ohms value of under 25 units, you probably have noticed that they take very little energy or power to produce sounds at a very high level.

Some good examples of low impedance headphones are those that work great with weak amplified type equipment such as things like portable music players, phones, and other portable type devices.

If the headphones you have purchased are more on the higher impedance scale, you will notice quite the vast level of difference in your sound quality. Higher level of impedance in headphones is usually measured when they have an ohms value of over 25 units.

These high level headphones are usually made for applications that need to be done in studios where a lot of different things are connected together from one main source.

As you probably guessed, when your headphones are on the higher level of impedance, they are going to need a lot more power than those that are on the lower level. This is needed so the headphones can deliver such high levels of audio.

Another positive about having headphones that use a higher level of impedance is that they are both protected from any possible damage that can come with overloading and they have a much wider selection of audio equipment that they are easily compatible with.

Knowing How Much OHMS Is Right For You

Now that you are aware what exactly ohms is and how it is measured, it does not mean you can just run out and get the headphones with the highest measurement of ohms and have the greatest headphones experience you can possibly imagine.

What level of ohms you should have in your headphones is all very dependent on what you are planning on using your headphones for.

While it is true that headphones with a higher level of ohms provide a better sound experience than headphones that have a lower level, what you are using them for is simple than you will notice no difference at all.

For instance, if your only reasoning for these headphones is to plug them into your laptop and listen to music or watch movies, you will only be wasting your money spending it on high level impedance headphones because you will get no difference from them at all compared to if you use lower level headphones.

If you are looking for a pair of headphones for your phone, this when lower level headphones are best suited so you can get good sound quality while not having to worry about not breaking the bank for a pair.

The biggest thing to remember when it comes to low level impedance headphones is that they go best with portable devices. That is what they are specifically designed for. So while you may want the headphones that give off better sound quality, save your money cause they will not give it to you while you watch movies from your phone.

Be careful though, too many people buy high level impedance headphones for such devices and try to turn the volume up really high. All this does is raise the risks of you ruining your headphones quicker than they usually would.

As it pertains to when you will notice the difference which high level impedance headphones can give, there are a few instances. If you are working with equipment or machines that are on the larger side and a bit more high tech, this is when a higher level of ohms headphones will do right by you.

So if you are someone who has a large boom box or stereo system, this is when you will completely hear and feel the difference between lower level and higher level impedance headphones.

You will not be able to do whatever you are listening to justice if you use headphones that have an ohms value of under 25 units.

So while you may not think you will find yourself ever needing these types of headphones, it is vital for you to know that there are certain ways you can improve your listening experience by simply having the right headphones.

Final Thoughts on Why Ohms Matter in Headphones

In the end, ohms does matter quite a bit when it comes to your headphones. But at the same time, it really only makes a sizable difference if you are someone who likes to listen to things from all different kinds of equipment.

While the more ohms your headphones have will give you a better sound effect, it all comes down to what device you are listening to.

So before you go out and spend a lot of money on high level headphones, make sure you are going to use them to their max, otherwise, you can get the same effect using low level headphones.

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