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How do wireless headphones really work and which one is the right one for you?

Posted by Lalit Rangani on


 How Do Wireless Headsets Really Work?


There are actually three ways that wireless headphones work:

  • Radio                                       
  • Infrared
  • Bluetooth
Lets have a look at them one by one. First, the Radio headphones. Probably the first technology amongst the three. The way it works is that the transmitting devices sends outs radio signals over the FM frequency and this frequency is caught by the receiving headphones. The problem with this technology is that there may be other devices around that interfere with this frequency such as the house radio. But the good part is that it can be received around walls or floors since radio frequency waves are flexible.
Now we can compare this to the Infrared method. The way that this operates is that the transmitting device sends out sound signals from the source as an infrared beam or IR for short. The receiving headphones must be in visual contact of the transmitting device to be able to receive it, pretty much like how you will use the remote control on your TV. Communication is only possible both the transmitter and receiving headphones are in visual sight of each other. 
Lastly is the Bluetooth path, not many people may know this but Bluetooth is radio technology. But a short range technology and therefore most devices can only transmit this low-power waves to a distance for only about 10 metres or so. It operates on the ISM band which is not licensed centred at 2.4GHz. The transmitter sends out these signals but the receiver does not need to be in the line of sight such as required by the infrared method. 
Whats Right For You?
Well it actually depends on how or where you would like to use it.
At home watching television - The infrared headphones would best suit this purpose. Since you would not want any radio at home interfering with the audio and you probably will be in the line of sight watching the screen any way. This will allow the infrared beams to reach your IR headsets.
Out and about in your garden - For this you want the radio headphones since you will probably will be behind a wall from your audio source and the radio frequencies can bend around structures to get the sound to you. If you have IR headphones then the sound signals will not get to you since they will be blocked by any structure that comes in between you and the audio source.
Listening to your personal device - Then you would want the bluetooth headsets since you can put away your iPod or Smart phone and yet the bluetooth technology would allow the sound signals to move from your device to your headsets.

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