Have you ever wondered how headphones are made? Due to their high demand, we seem to have extensive knowledge about headphones. People from all walks of life use headphones – athletes, gamers, or music lovers, for the simple pleasure of listening to music daily.
They are simple to set up, and with innovative technologies, we learn how to optimize their power. In terms of care and maintenance, we’ve come up with smart methods on how to prolong their lifespan, too. Due to their utility and entertainment value, headphones have become an extension of ourselves.
But do you know headphones are made? In this article, you will learn about how headphones are made, from the types of materials used, the types of headphones and the prevailing manufacturing process.
But before we dive into that, let’s first look at the history of headphones.
Table Of Contents
- 1 What is the origin story of headphones?
- 2 Materials Used in Headphone Production
- 3 What Are The Essential Components Of Headphones?
- 4 How Are Headphones Produced?
- 5 What Are The Different Types Of Headphones?
What is the origin story of headphones?
It was in 1910 that electroacoustic transducers were developed, and equipment converted electrical signals to corresponding sounds.
This was a much-welcomed technology as it complemented other breakthrough technologies in the early 20th century, namely telephony and radio technology.
Electroacoustic transducers use a different technology from loudspeakers, as the former enables an individual user to listen to an audio source privately. This technology developed was important for first-wave telephone operators and radio technicians.
Soon after, a man named Nathaniel Baldwin invented the first set of headphones in good working condition. He sold the technology to the US Navy, and the military sector and related industries initially used it.
The earbuds from this era were even utilized as hearing aids for those who were suffering from hearing impairment. Over time, headphones rose in popularity, and the average people wanted to have them, too.
In 1958, jazz musician John C. Koss produced the first stereo headphones. It was the next big thing after transistor radios became a staple in households across the nation. Just like the transistor radio, headphones ultimately revolutionized our listening habits.
Materials Used in Headphone Production
Headphones are smaller components that work together to enable us to listen to music, news, and anything auditory in private.
Here are the rudimentary materials used in the production of headphones. These are basically the same materials used when Baldwin invented the first headphone.
The latest headphone models add more advanced versions of the same materials and the latest technologies that enhance our listening experience.
Here are the basic materials that are used in the production of headphones:
- Artificial leather
- Memory foam
- Other metals
Today’s most common design is the “against the ear” configuration. This design features speakers held by a piece of plastic wrapped with foam and leather. This headphone is meant to bend around the heads for optimal functionality and aesthetics.
What Are The Essential Components Of Headphones?
Here are the essential components that you will find inside headphones:
The headphone unit’s anterior and posterior portion, which neatly covers all components, facilitates safe and efficient application into or over our ears. They typically feature cushions, which reduces the risk of swollen or sore ears.
This component holds the case together and ensures that the headphones do not fall apart.
Wires transmit the audio signals. In the case of wireless headphones, Bluetooth technology is used to carry the signals.
This can be found at the back portion of the speaker. A large percentage of a headphone’s weight is attributed to the installed magnet inside a headphone.
This acts as an electromagnet whenever current passes through it. It is the same type of coil that is used in guitar pick-ups.
It is a plastic cone that produces a sound when it vibrates.
All of these components are extremely sensitive; hence utmost care in handling is always recommended. Expert professionals and technicians usually handcraft top-notch headphones.
How Are Headphones Produced?
So how are all these materials and components assembled into a headphone? Here’s how the production process works:
- Once a design has been finalized, molding machines shape the plastic components.
- A winding machine winds the copper wire around a cylinder. The standard count for the copper coil is ten thousand winds, but as a general rule, the more coils, the better the electromagnetism.
- The resulting copper coil now becomes a voice coil which a technician with a transparent diaphragm or plastic cover then seals. For the seal, a small amount of glue and UV light s used for best results.
- The voice coil is then installed into a strategically positioned housing to produce the best sound.
- A miniature loudspeaker goes through a series of frequency range and distortion tests before it undergoes final assembly.
- Installation of wires in the strain relief of the adjustable band is completed. The logo and other pertinent details about the headphones are stamped onto the finished product.
What Are The Different Types Of Headphones?
To date, headphones come in various designs, materials, and technologies. These same set of elements determine the pricing and application of headphones. All these headphone types carry their own set of benefits and drawbacks; hence the best headphones for you may differ from what is perceived as the best model for others.
They are the most common and are made from durable materials; hence they have the most extended lifespan and are used in sports and by runners. The most common materials used in earbud production are sturdy plastic materials such as polycarbonate and polyester.
This is the largest and bulkiest headphone type as they cover both ears. They are made from various materials, the most popular of which are genuine leather, faux leather, and polyurethane.
The ergonomic design of in-ear headphones perfectly fits into the ear canal. This headphone type is typically made from plastic, rubber, and medical-grade silicone.
Against the ear
Also called supra-aural headphones, this design is made from PVC, artificial leather, memory foam, and rubber. This is popular among gamers or musicians who use headphones for extended periods.
Now that you have extensive knowledge about headphones, you’ll have a greater sense of appreciation for how they have made our lives more melodic and magical.