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 - be it athletes, gamers music lovers, and for the simple pleasure of listening to music daily.
They are simple to set up, and with innovative technologies, we learn about ways on 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 types of materials used, types of headphones, and the prevailing manufacturing process.
But before we dive into that, let’s first take a look back at the history of headphones.
What is the origin story of headphones?
It was in 1910 that electroacoustic transducers were developed, and equipment that 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 used a different technology from that of loudspeakers, as the former enabled an individual user the ability 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 it was initially used by the military sector and related industries.
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.
Fast forward to 1958, jazz musician John C. Koss produced the very 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 made up of 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 set of materials used when Baldwin invented the very first headphone.
The latest headphone models add more advanced versions of the same materials and added 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
The most common design that we see today is the “against the ear” configuration. This design features speakers that are held by a piece of plastic that is 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 most important components that you will find inside headphones:
the anterior and posterior portion of the headphone unit which neatly covers all components, which in turn 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 headphone itself does not fall apart.
These components 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 the sound when it vibrates.
All of these components are extremely sensitive; hence utmost care in handling is always recommended. A top-notch headphone is usually handcrafted by expert professionals and technicians.
How Are Headphones Produced?
So how are all these materials and components assembled to a headphone? Here’s how the production process works:
- Once a design has been finalized, moulding 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 is then sealed by a technician with a transparent diaphragm or plastic cover. For the seal, a small amount of glue and UV light s used for best results.
- The voice coil is then installed into a housing that is strategically positioned 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 a wide variety of designs, materials, and technologies. These same set of elements determine the pricing and application of headphones. All of these headphone types carry their own set of benefits and drawbacks; hence the best headphone for you may be different from what is perceived the best model for other individuals.
They are the most common and are made from durable materials; hence they have the longest lifespan and 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 a variety of materials, the most popular of which are real 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 of how they have made our lives more melodic and magical.