Bluetooth Headphones: Going Wireless with Your Favourite Audio

Bluetooth headphones offer you a wireless listening experience. What should you know before investing in a pair of cable-free earphones? By Paul Cherry, Sunday, 6th January 2019
Many models of noise-cancelling headphones can now connect wirelessly to your devices via Bluetooth

Many models of noise-cancelling headphones can now connect wirelessly to your devices via Bluetooth

Wireless headphones can set you and your audio free. By using this cable-less headphone technology you can rid yourself from tangles with a pair of Bluetooth headphones.

Here’s why wireless may (or may not) be the best earphone choice for you.

Why Go Wireless?

Bluetooth headphones offer a number of benefits over their cabled cousins;

  • No more leads – headphones that have Bluetooth capability can connect wirelessly to your media player (as long as it has Bluetooth too) and the majority (if not all) of today’s smartphones, tablet devices and laptops offer Bluetooth connections to up to 7 headphones, speakers, etc. simultaneously.
  • Getting active – if you like moving around with your audio, wireless could make for the best over-ear headphones; this cable-free system has a standard operating distance of 10 metres, so headphones like our Sony MDR-ZX770BNB or Lindy BNX-60 set you free in your office or living room.
These Sony MDR-ZX770BNB wireless Bluetooth headphones feature playback controls.

These Sony MDR-ZX770BNB wireless Bluetooth headphones feature playback controls.

  • Not just a one-way street – wireless earphones don’t just receive, they can reply. Bluetooth is both a communication process and a system, which means that these cans don’t just passively accept audio signals from your tablet or phone, they can also return commands such as ‘pause this track’, ‘skip this song’ or ‘receive my voice commands’  – for the technicals among us this feature is called Audio Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP) – and some of the best over-ear headphones allow you to make hands-free phone calls with them. This cable-less control system puts you in command without being tied down with leads.
  • Interference unlikely – when paired with headphones, a Bluetooth transmitter creates a Personal Area Network (PAN) and this connection sits inside of one randomly chosen channel out of  79 within the 2.4 GHz radio band (this band is technically known as the Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) band).
    The ISM band is also used by other wireless household devices like baby monitors, some Wi-Fi routers, and garage doors remote controls; so how does your Bluetooth ensure you’re interference free from other users? To get around this potential problem, the Bluetooth transmitter in your laptop or smartphone will use a clever technology called SSFH (Spread-Spectrum Frequency Hopping) changing the channel slice it is using 1600 times per second, and paired wireless Bluetooth headphones will accompany your transmitter seamlessly on its high-speed journey, offering you uninterrupted listening.

Bluetooth: the Best Over-Ear Headphones For You?

If you’re thinking that Bluetooth headphones could be the best over-ear headphones you’ve ever heard of, here’s some other things to consider before ditching their cabled counterparts;

  • Low power, but power nonetheless – wireless headphones require an on-board battery in order to receive and reply with signals, many of our noise-cancelling headphones such as Sony-MDRZX750BN house their own rechargeable battery and spare lead in case they run out of juice. However, some of the best over-ear headphones in the wireless stakes will last up to 15 hours on a single charge (like our Lindy-BNX60).
  • Limited wireless range – Bluetooth is a very low powered communication system designed to preserve battery lift between mobile devices, hence its range is often limited to just 10 metres, so if you want to go to the end of the garden with your cans, you’ll need place your transmitting device near the back door!
  • Staying safe – a wireless life encourages more movement while wearing headphones and while we applaud this, please stay safe. While listening to wireless Bluetooth headphones you could be prone to potential accidents. Always avoid using headphones while driving, crossing the road or cycling, or operating machinery that relies on audible safety warnings!

A profile photo of Paul Cherry

About Paul Cherry

Paul is the founder of Place Over Ears and came up with the idea of hiring headphones door-to-door after a train ride to London with his mum in 2007. Launched in 2015 with just 6 pairs of headphones, Place Over Ears' hire service now supplies audio kit to UK and international customers.