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Wired headphones are making an unexpected comeback

by xyonent
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Sound Vision Wired Headphones.png

OPINION: We live in the age of wireless devices. There are probably very few electronic devices in your home that can’t be connected wirelessly.

We all agree that’s a great thing: wireless is more convenient, wireless is less clutter, and wireless devices fit into our lives better than they did 20 years ago.

But are they better? When it comes to headphones, it’s easy to say that wired headphones are better in terms of sound quality than wireless ones. You won’t suffer from wireless interference or dropped connections, and in this sustainability-driven age, wired earphones have less tech and no batteries to charge.

Admittedly, there’s no noise cancellation, which will be a disappointment for some, and for those who like to multitask, you can’t connect to two devices at once.

But over the last few years, I’ve been seeing more and more people putting on wired headphones. After being forgotten about in favor of wireless headphones, wired headphones seem to be coming back into people’s consciousness for some reason I’ll never understand.

Some say this is a Gen Z trend, but I have seen older people using wired headphones, perhaps because they want a simpler experience without the hassle of charging the battery, noise cancelling isn’t as effective, or for fashion-conscious people, wired headphones stand out more for their aesthetic.

Perhaps that’s because wired headphones are often more affordable than other wired headphones.

But wired headphones have their own problems. A few years ago, Apple EarPods were cheap and not particularly durable. They were the kind of headphones that came free with your iPhone or iPod and you immediately wanted to throw them away and replace them with better earphones. I remember they had problems with the jack (the contact plate had problems after a while) and also the issue of having to hide the cable to prevent it from getting caught on something and causing the earphones to fall out of your ears.

Focal Hadenys Wired Headphones
Image credit: Trusted Reviews

But I don’t think I’ve ever received so many wired headphones to review so far this year – headphones from Meze, Austrian Audio, Final, Grado, FiiO, Focal, Beyerdynamic, Kefine, Sennheiser, Sony, Campfire, and even wired office headsets from EPOS, to countless wireless headphones that offer a wired listening option from DALI, Bowers & Wilkins, Shure, and more. There’s also the reality that wired headphones encourage the use of DACs, and that you’ll need a USB-C adapter if your headphones don’t have a 3.5mm jack.

This just goes to show that nothing ever disappears completely, we just adapt to new circumstances: the rise (and re-rise) of wired headphones doesn’t mean they’ll return to their former glory, but their convenience isn’t always the only thing they offer.

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