Due to the current Covid-19 or Coronavirus crisis, many countries have enforced strict confinement rules. As a result, a lot of us are stuck at home and are working remotely, helping our children with their schoolwork and trying not to go stir crazy. No easy feat! Shared living spaces can become noisy and it can be hard to get any work done or even just relax for a while. This is why owning a good pair of headphones is essential during lockdown.
Headphones for working from home
When working from home, the distractions can be endless: your partner’s Zoom meeting, your kids playing in the living room, the neighbors’ baby crying… Suffice to say, it can be very hard to concentrate. Putting on a pair of Bluetooth headphones is a good way to let everyone in your home know that you’re working and don’t want to be disturbed.
A pair of circumaural (over-ear), closed-back headphones can be an effective tool for helping you concentrate when working from home. The passive isolation from a pair of headphones with this design will dim exterior noise without completely blocking it out in case you need to keep track of what your children are doing, for example. The Dali IO-4 Bluetooth headphones are a stylish and comfortable option with their typically Scandinavian design and generously padded headband and earpads for maximum comfort during long listening sessions. Thanks to their dynamic transducers with paper fiber cones, these headphones provide a transparent and balanced sound.
If you don’t have to remain aware of your surroundings, you can invest in a pair of noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones to completely block out all distractions. The Dali IO-6 is the companion model of the Dali IO-4. Its only distinguishing feature is the active noise cancellation system that reinforces the already excellent passive isolation provided by the earpads and closed-back design.
There is a very wide range of active noise cancelling headphones available on the market with models for all tastes and budgets. For example, the Sennheiser HD 4.50BTNC Wireless is equipped with two omnidirectional microphones, making it the perfect solution for videoconferencing. Other notable models in the same price range include the Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2. Comfortable and offering a pleasant and dynamic listening experience, these headphones incorporate an OpenMic button that allows you to adjust the level of noise reduction. An advantage shared by the Technics F70 with their Hybrid Noise Cancelling System that includes three different noise cancelling settings.
The Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones are a reference when it comes to noise cancellation systems. The system has three different settings: the Waiting mode that lets voices through, the Walking mode that allows you to hear certain noises around you, and the Travelling mode that filters out all background noise. The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, which we were lucky enough to review, boast an adjustable noise cancellation system with no less than 11 different levels!
Headphones to escape the lockdown
In order to stay sane during the lockdown, it is also very important to take some time to relax and watch a movie, listen to your music or play a video game. A pair of headphones that allow you to be fully immersed in your music or in a movie are an ideal solution to escape the current situation.
This lockdown can be the perfect opportunity to rediscover your music collection with a pair of high-quality, hi-fi headphones. Models with an open-back or semi-open back design offer an extensive soundstage and a highly realistic and spacious restitution to fully immerse you in your music. A model that has been continuously lauded by the specialized press is the Meze Empyrean, a pair of hi-fi headphones equipped with exclusive Isodynamic drivers developed in collaboration with Rinaro Isodynamics. It is important to note that open-back headphones don’t isolate the listener or those around them. Consequently, they are more suitable for those who have a separate listening room. If you’re worried about disturbing others, a pair of hi-fi headphones with a closed-back design such as the Focal Stellia will better suit your needs. These luxurious hi-fi headphones are made in France and feature proprietary transducers with pure Beryllium domes. They can be paired with the Focal Arche headphone amplifier and DAC, designed specifically to power French brand’s headphones.
If you want to watch your favorite movies, TV series and concerts in the evening without disturbing your family, you may want to consider a pair of TV headphones. The German manufacturer Sennheiser offers several models of TV headphones, including the Sennheiser RS 175-U system that is comprised of the Sennheiser HDR 175, a pair of closed-back, circumaural wireless headphones with a transmission range of up to 100m, and the TR 175-U multi-purpose transmitter and charging dock. A second pair of Sennheiser HDR 175 headphones can be added to this set if you want to enjoy your movies with another person.
Another way to pass the time during the lockdown is by playing video games. A good pair of gaming headphones will allow you to enjoy an immersive gaming experience. The Audeze Mobius (you can read our review on the blog) is a high-end model that can be used with a computer or game console via a wireless Bluetooth connection or a wired connection. These gaming headphones feature iconic 4” Planar transducers from the American manufacturer. They also benefit from a 3D spatialization system able to detect the user’s head movements to adapt the sound restitution in real-time.