Considering purchasing new headphones? Explained: Impedance and OHMS

“Impedance” and “Ohms” are terms that almost everyone comes across while looking for a new set of headphones. The phrases are usually not explained and are placed on a spec sheet with some numbers. As a result, questions arise.

When it comes to headphones, what are impedance and ohms? How does impedance affect the sound quality of headphones, moreover?

Don’t be concerned. We’ve already done the legwork for you, so you don’t have to. Let’s look at what impedance and ohms represent and how they influence sound quality.

What Is Impedance in Headphones?

We must first consider electrical resistance before discussing headphone impedance. Impedance will make a lot more sense once you understand electrical resistance.

When electricity flows via a wire, it encounters electrical resistance, which impedes current flow. The resistance of different cables and conductors varies. Consider a water pipe to comprehend electric resistance better. The amount of water that flows through a pipe varies depending on the line. Some tubes have a wider diameter, which facilitates flow. Pipes of smaller diameters, on the other hand, have a restricted flow.

A conductor’s resistance is measured in ohms. In other words, every conductor has an electrical resistance that prevents electric current from flowing freely.

The electrical resistance of the driver unit inside the headphones is the impedance of headphones. Impedance is measured in ohms because it is resistant. Headphones typically have an impedance range of 8 to 600 ohms.

“Low impedance headphones” are headphones with an impedance of fewer than 25 ohms. “High impedance headphones” are headphones with an impedance of greater than 25 ohms.

How Does Impedance Affect Headphone Sound Quality?

Impedance has a significant impact on headphone sound quality. For example, the sound quality will suffer significantly if you don’t correctly match headphones with audio sources based on their impedance.

The greater a set of headphones impedance, the better the sound quality. However, amplifiers are required to drive headphones with high impedance values. The loudness will be too low otherwise.

The Beyerdynamic Dt770 Pro, for example, comes in a 250-ohm version. You’ll need to connect these headphones to an external amplifier to utilize them.

On the other hand, lower headphones need less power and can be used with phones and portable music players. However, headphones with impedance levels of less than 25 ohms have a more melancholy sound quality than those with higher impedance levels.

What Are the Best Impedance Headphones?

If you’re looking for headphones to casually listen to music on your phone or computer, headphones with impedance values of less than or equal to 25 ohms will suffice. Get high impedance headphones with an impedance rating of more than 30 ohms if you want audiophile-grade gear to use in the studio or to listen to uncompressed, high-fidelity music.

In short, choose low impedance devices if you desire convenience and accessibility. You’ll also have to cope with high-impedance if you want studio-quality headphones. In the latter instance, you’ll also need an amplifier.

Ensure that your headphones are paired with the appropriate audio equipment.

For a decent listening experience, headphones must be paired with the appropriate audio equipment. When low-impedance headphones are connected to external amplifiers, they can be blown out, resulting in poor audio quality.

Similarly, headphones with an impedance of fewer than 30 ohms will result in a significantly muted and uneven audio experience.


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