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Your iPod sounds only as good as the headphones you use to listen to it. For normal use, the stock Apple iPod headphones may work perfectly fine. However at some point you may wonder is there are any iPod headphones out there that could offer crisper highs, more booming lows and better overall sound quality. With that being said, if you're only going to buy one iPod accessory, you should make it a new pair of headphones or ear buds.

Whether you're an average listener looking to replace your ear buds with something that comes sans wires, or you are looking for top audiophile sound quality, a quick Google will show that there are a variety of options to satisfy any ear, and any price range from a few dollars to hundreds.

The integral things to look for when purchasing a pair of headphones for your iPod include the:

  • Ability to accurately transmit the sound
  • Comfort level
  • Affordability
  • Durability

There are a few different things you need to consider. First, what kind or style of headphones do you want? iPod earphones are usually sold as ear buds simply because having a larger, full size pair of headphones partially defeats the purpose of the iPod being the size it is and having the portability it does. Since ear buds fit directly in your ear, comfort can be a bit of an issue if you have overly large or small ear canals so keep size in mind when buying. Ear buds are the most portable, the lightest to wear and can produce fairly high quality sound making them a perfect fit for an iPod, or any portable player for that matter.

Another common style of iPod headphone is the supra aural ones. These are simply speakers surrounded by pads that just sit on your ears and are fixed with band that goes over your head or behind your neck. Supra-aural headphones are extremely comfortable to wear, however they are not nearly as portable as a pair of ear buds and are not favored by some people as they mess up hair or can interfere with hats or earrings and can fall off when being active (jogging, doing yard work etc.).

The third type of headphones is the more full-sized circumaural headphone. This style of headphones fully covers the ear and is worn over the head. They have the ability to produce the best sound quality, in part because of their size and ability to block outside noise, and in part because larger and better sounding components can be fitted inside them. Because they are the largest of headphone styles, they are also the heaviest and the least portable. In fact they’re not really considered portable at all and are best suited for home or studio use. So they’re fairly uncommonly used with an iPod or any potable music player simply because they’re big, heavy and can be uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time.

Once you decide which style of headphones you’d like to purchase, your next major decision is whether you want them to have any ability to block outside noise and/or if you want them to be without wires.

Noise canceling headphones are great if you travel a lot, are in an all round noise environment or just want better sounding audio. They can also reduce the likelihood of causing hearing loss, because they allow you to listen to music at a lower volume and yea they do come in all shapes, sizes and styles, however they are more expensive than a non noise canceling set.

Wireless headphones are fantastic because there's no cord needed so you’re free to roam around your home or office and don’t need to worry about cords getting caught in earrings, zippers or being an all round annoyance. A transmitter simply sends a signal to a receiver in the headphone that reproduces the sound in your ear. There are two different types of wireless headphones depending on the technology platform they use.

The cheaper models use infrared (IR) technology which transmits an infrared signal within line of sight of the transmitter, much the same way your television remote works.

The higher quality, more expensive models use an RF or radio frequency signal which allows the transmitter to transmit through things like your pants or jacket pocket. The most popular RF models use Bluetooth technology which keeps things small, transmits up to 30 feet and enables a batter life that rivals eight hours.

Here are some things to watch for when you purchase a wireless headphone:

  • Weight and comfort, nothing will give you a headache faster than a heavy, uncomfortable headphone set.
  • Make sure the volume control is easy to access and simple to use.
  • Are the batteries rechargeable? Better yet, does it come with an adapter that you can plug directly into the wall?
  • Do they come with any type of carry case or carry bag?

No matter which style of headphones you decide to buy, it’s always important to try them out first to ensure that they are comfortable to wear and don’t cause listening fatigue. If you aren’t able to try before you buy, then make sure they come back with a money back guarantee.