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Thomann's Cool Online Guides: Headphones

2. General Information

Headphones are worn on the head and function to project sound directly into the user’s ears. They usually consist of two cushioned cups or earpieces, a head strap and a cable. A soft strap the fits over the head and connects the earpieces. Usually, the cable is attached to one of the ear cups and is connected to the music player or mixing desk. Professional headphones usually have 1/4 (6.3mm) jack connectors whereas those designed for personal music players feature a 3.5mm connector, also known as a mini-jack. Some headphones include an adapter (1/4 to mini-jack or vice versa). Some DJ style headphones have only one earpiece, so the user can hear both the main mix and tracks being cued.

Headphones tend to block out or mask other sounds, isolating the user from the environment. This characteristic makes them valuable to musicians, sound engineers and anyone seeking an intimate, focused listening experience. The converse is true too, as headphones are usually also designed to allow you to listen to music without disturbing others around you.

Younger music fans often choose featherweight earphones that are worn in the ear, but for musicians and studio engineers these lightweight earphones are no substitute for the accuracy of the larger drivers found in high quality headphones. These consumer-grade earphones are not to be confused with much more expensive IEM’s (in-ear monitors), which are designed for stage use in place of conventional wedge monitors. This type of earphone (often including a custom tip moulded to the contours of the user’s ear) blocks out a great deal of ambient noise and features small drivers designed for maximum fidelity in compact form. IEM’s are usually attached to a belt-worn wireless receiver. Drummers (who usually don’t need to move around) can avoid the expense of the receiver and simply connect their IEM to a monitor send from the mixing desk.

A visit to an audiologist is necessary in order to have custom moulds created for these pricy but useful items. A professional musician’s hearing is worth protecting, regardless of cost. For more information, please consult our Online Advisor on in-ear monitoring. Full-size headphones aren’t used on stage very often though sometimes you will see a drummer wearing them while playing to a click track – usually a clue that at least some of the ‘band’ sound is not live. Some drummers will use IEM’s in these circumstances, but others who don’t like the isolation or cost may prefer to use ordinary studio headphones, slipping them on or off as required for songs with loops or click tracks.

When choosing headphones you should first determine whether you need an open or closed back model. Closed back headphones usually have a plastic shell that covers the back of the ear cushions, blocking out ambient sound to provide much more isolation than open designs. Open headphones are often more comfortable to wear for extended periods, as closed back headphones tend to be heavier and clamp more securely to the head. Closed back headphones are also better at preventing the sound of the headphones from leaking into the environment, useful both for discreet listening in public places and in the studio, to prevent the backing track from spilling into open mics.

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Conditions of participation
Terms and Conditions for participation
in online competitions

Note: Participation in an online competition runs independently from any purchase at Thomann GmbH. The following Competition Rules apply when participating in any online competition run by Musikhaus Thomann:

  1. Competition

    1. The competitions are organised by Thomann GmbH, CEO: Hans Thomann, Hans-Thomann-Straße 1, 96138 Burgebrach, Germany.
  2. Participation

    1. Competitions are only open to persons of full age.
    2. To take part in the competition you must answer all questions correctly, fill in the registration form and submit your entry to Thomann GmbH by pressing the "send" button.
      By pressing the "send" button the participant accepts the aforementioned terms and conditions.
    3. The participant is responsible for entering their email and/or postal address correctly. Entries to the competition will be logged electronically.
  3. Qualifying Entrants

    1. Staff of Thomann GmbH and any cooperation partners and their dependants are excluded from participation.
    2. Should these conditions of participation be violated, especially by using illegitimate means, Thomann GmbH reserves the right to exclude persons from the competition. In case of such violations prizes can be withdrawn and claimed back subsequently.
  4. Announcing the winner

    1. The winners will be notified by Thomann GmbH by email or in writing and their names may be published on the homepage www.thomann.de. The winner accepts this form of publication explicitly.
      Should for whatever reason the winner not claim their prize, then a new winner will be drawn.
    2. The prize presented to the winner may not be identical to the item description. There can be deviances regarding the model, colour etc.
    3. The merchandise prizes will be sent by Thomann GmbH or by one of its contracting delivery companies, per freight forwarder, courier or postal service to the postal address indicated by the winner.

      The delivery is free of charge. Only extra transport costs and customs/duties must be covered by the winner. In the case that the delivery has to be made through a freight forwarding company the freight forwarding company will contact the winner to arrange delivery timings.
    4. An exchange, cash alternative or replacement prize is not possible.
    5. The claim to the prize or replacement of the prize cannot be assigned to a third party.
  5. Data protection

    1. The participant accepts explicitly that Thomann GmbH saves all necessary data for the duration of the competition and forwards them exclusively for purposes related to the winning process to the respective cooperation partner, who is also permitted to save the personal data only for the duration of the competition. The participant is free to withdraw his entry at any time. Please direct the withdrawal to:

      Thomann GmbH
      to the data protection officer
      Hans-Thomann-Straße 1
      96138 Burgebrach, Germany
    2. Thomann GmbH is obliged to consider the regulations for data protection according to the Federal Data Protection Law (BDSG) valid at the conclusion of the competition. In this context the general data protection regulations under notes regarding data protection should be noted.
  6. Liability

    1. Thomann GmbH will be released from any obligations by handing out the prize.
    2. Thomann GmbH is not liable for the insolvency of a cooperation partner and the resulting consequences for the implementation and processing of the competition.
  7. Other

    1. Legal proceedings are barred.
    2. The law of the Federal Republic of Germany applies exclusively.
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