In this article, we will look at the differences between different impedance headphones. We are going to see the famous 32 vs 80 vs 250 Ohm Headphones battle and find out which one of the 32, 80 and 250-ohm headphones you need to pick according to your daily life requirements.
Different impedance levels such as low, medium and high create striking differences in how you use and pair your headphones and to what devices.
Importantly, refer to the below list to distinguish below different impedance levels and where do the numbers lie to get a fair understanding of each category:
- Low impedance – 40 Ω or below,
- Medium impedance – 80 Ω – 250 Ω,
- High impedance – 250 Ω and above.
Now, you know what I mean with different impedance levels; you can easily understand the rest of this article. Also, we will look at the 32 vs 80 vs 250 Ohm Headphones.
Firstly, What is Ω or ohm?
Now, we don’t have to know the entire topic of impedance here. Only knowing a few important things will get the job done for us. So, let’s see a few essential facts about impedance and, in turn, how impedance affects your headphones.
The symbol Ω or ohm refers to impedance and calculates the level of opposition that a circuit provides to the electrical flow. Here, it means how much resistance the headphones offer to the electrical flow through them. The level of impedance decides resistance offered by the headphones.
Headphone Impedance Levels
So, why should we care about the impedance levels of headphones before buying one?
Let’s see this by dividing the headphones into three categories impedance-high, medium, and low.
|headphone category||impedance value||Uses|
|low impedance||equal or lower than 32 ohms||casual listening / daily use|
|medium impedance||between 80 to 250 ohms||depends, read the respective section|
|high impedance||greater than 250 ohms||studio with proper amplification available|
Low Impedance headphones & their Uses!
Lower impedance headphones having an impedance of 32Ω offer less resistance meaning that they can be powered or driven by lower voltage devices like a mobile phone. So, if you have a low impedance headphones, you do not need to invest in a headphone amplifier.
Additionally, low impedance headphones will give you massive volume levels when connected to high voltage devices, headphone amplifiers, or audio interfaces. Mostly, such headphones are made for people who want to listen to music or stream videos/movies casually.
Due to low impedance, you can use these headphones across various devices no matter how powerful they are. The lower ohm value headphones need very little power to give a really awesome sound.
In short, most of the earphones or headphones you see in daily life are low impedance headphones. This makes them highly accessible to use on multiple devices without worrying about factors you consider while using high impedance headphones.
The most famous example of a 32-ohm impedance headphone is the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 32-ohm variant. You will see this as a standard studio gear in any home recording studio. This headphone is an industry-standard.
A cool thing about the DT 770 pro is that it offers sheer sound quality and a comprehensive frequency response despite being a low impedance headphone. These two features make it one of the best studio headphones for mixing and mastering in home recording studio.
Medium Impedance headphones & their Uses!
The headphones with medium impedance or 80 ohm headphones serves the middle ground and aims to give you the best of both the worlds.
These headphones give you better volume than 32-ohm headphones which can be useful in a studio environment where you want that extra volume levels that you cannot squeeze from low impedance headphones.
Another thing is that the medium impedance headphones are more inclined towards studio use. You can use them for casual listening but with these headphones, you are entering into professional audio.
Do you need a headphone Amp for 80 ohm headphone?
Well, it depends mainly on the listener’s preference! If you think that you are getting enough from your headphone without an amp, then it is best to listen to your gut. However, in most cases you are going to need an amp for 80 ohm headphones.
Furthermore, after testing many 80 ohm or medium impedance headphones, I can tell you that you need a headphone amp to get the best out of these headphones. These headphones cannot get enough driving power from low-voltage devices.
Also, those medium impedance headphones that don’t seem to require an amp can also benefit significantly if you plug them into an amplification unit.
High Impedance headphones & their Uses!
High impedance headphones exist due to high-powered studio gear or broadcast equipment. In this case, you do not want to plug in low impedance headphones because they will either blow away or damage your ears by relatively higher volume levels.
Higher impedance headphones need a higher voltage or power to produce an excellent and clear sound. So, you will need a device that provides enough amplification to reproduce a good sound from these headphones.
Also, plugging high impedance headphones into low voltage devices like a mobile phone will not produce decent sound. In short, the same high impedance headphones with clean and bold sound quality with proper amplification will face problems in reproducing sound when you connect them to lower voltage devices.
Proper Environment for high impedance headphones
One of the best environments, for example, where you can use a high impedance or 250-ohm headphone is a recording studio.
A recording studio has different studio gear (like audio interfaces and mixers) or units that generate enough power to squeeze an excellent sound quality from high or 250-ohm impedance headphones.
Beyerdynamic offers many high impedance headphones. Another popular and industry preferred high impedance headphone is Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro. It is an excellent budget option for mixing and mastering due to its open-back design.
On the other hand, the DT 770 Pro is one of excellent budget headphones choice for recording vocals, instruments, and mixing referencing due to its closed-back design.
Is Higher impedance better for headphones?
After testing both Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro variants of 32 ohms and 250 ohms, I can tell that the differences are pretty noticeable.
Here is a quick answer!
In short, higher impedance headphones are often better than lower impedance headphones as they provide wide frequency response, better sound quality, and an immersive sound stage. However, a downside is that they require an amplification unit like an audio interface or a standalone headphone amplifier.
Also Read: Can you mix on headphones?
Therefore, if you consider yourself an audiophile or work in a professional audio environment like a recording studio, I recommend going with higher impedance headphones. Not to forget, home studio artists with a proper setup to aid these headphones can hugely benefit from high impedance headphones.
Advantages of high impedance headphones
Here are few main advantages that come with high impedance headphones:
- Deep and extended bass response,
- Clean and detailed high-end response,
- Enhanced sound stage and stereo width,
- They are suitable for studio workspace where most of the equipments provide high voltage and power.
Need of headphone Amplifier or an Amplification Unit
The actual need for a headphone amplifier or an amplification unit like an audio interface comes when your headphone fails to reproduce desirable sound. High impedance headphones are generally the case when you connect them to low voltage devices like a mobile phone.
Therefore, a headphone amplifier becomes necessary in such cases to power up the headphones to a level so that they can produce adequate sound.
Best 32 ohm headphones – Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro
If you have decided to go with 32-ohm headphones, then I have the right product that you can opt for, which is none other than the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 32 ohm variant.
So, why go with the DT 770 Pro?
There are many reasons why I would choose the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro headphones.
These closed-back headphones are among the best studio headphones that fall right within the budget of most home studio artists and audiophiles.
They sound exceptionally well for their price and offer a detailed high-end with a deep and extended low-end response. Even though we are talking about the 32-ohm variant, they excel in providing a wide sound stage and incredible sound quality.
Not to forget, for home music producers and mix engineers, these closed-back headphones offer superb versatility. You can use them to casually listen to music or reference your audio mixes and master them if you are a home producer.
Additionally, as they are closed-back headphones, you can use them to record vocals and instruments without worrying about sound leaking into the microphone as they isolate the sound pretty well.
Beyerdynamic DT 770 – 32 ohm vs 250 ohm
The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro studio headphones come in three models, But here in this section, we will cover the two extreme ends, which are 32 ohms and 250-ohm models.
The 32-ohm variant of the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro is great to pair with mobile devices. You can pair them with mobiles, tablets, and even laptops without needing any headphone amp or separate amplification unit. All these devices will be able to power the drivers of these headphones sufficiently to get them to produce decent sound.
If you have a home recording studio setup, then the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 250 ohm variant can be quite a good investment for your studio. This headphone requires a dedicated amp to get considerable loudness out of them. In simple words, if you use them without any amp, they will not sound to their full potential.
Is 80 ohm or 250 ohm headphones better for gaming?
If you want headphones for gaming and casual listening purposes,
then, it is best to choose medium impedance headphones rather than high impedance headphones.
80-ohm headphones will provide enough loudness and clarity across the frequency spectrum you need while playing games. On top of that, you will also require a headphone amplifier or an amplification unit to get the best out of your gaming headphones.
Going for high impedance headphones is an overkill, and these headphones will not come cheap.
While buying headphones, people often don’t usually look at headphone impedance. But, this is a bad practice. It may lead you to a bad choice which I don’t want to happen with anyone.
Going for flashy brands and colored sound may seem reasonable in the short term, but it will leave a deep ocean of headphones undiscovered for you in the long run.
This blog covered how impedance affects a headphone’s features, and you must pick your choice accordingly. Lastly, I hope you got to know the differences between 32 vs 80 vs 250 Ohm Headphones. And which headphone impedance variant is going to be perfect for you.
Not to forget, do let me know in the comments if you think I missed an important points.