Whether Size of Earbuds Impacts Sound Quality


Listening to music on headphones gives you joy. To better have the sound quality, earbuds’ size, their quality, and driver are of great importance. Therefore, you must keep these things in mind before you buy a pair of earphones. If you want to purchase quality headphones, you will be surprised to get numerous brands and styles available in the market. Given these choices, it becomes hard to choose the right pair. The specs that come with earbuds are very technical and complex. For their complexity, you may easily get confused.

Another thing that also affects the sound quality is the size of the earbuds. In this article, we will throw ample light if their size were of any importance as far as the sound quality is concerned. Along with that, what this article is about what a proper size of headphone driver should be to experience a good sound quality. Moreover, ear size differs from person to person. So, the need of choosing the right-sized earphones become more important. After reading this article, not only will you be able to know everything about the subject but you will also be able to select the right pair.

What A Headphone Driver Is

Before analyzing how the driver affects the sound quality, it is important to know about the driver itself, its components, and how it works. It is a transducer element in the earbuds. Saying differently, being a component inside earbuds design, it converts audio signals (electric energy) into sound waves (mechanical wave energy). As far As the most common type of driver is concerned, moving-coil dynamics headphone drivers come to mind. However, there are some other notable driver types such as electrostatic, magnetostriction (bone conduction), magnetic, and balanced armature.

Generally speaking, when audiophiles and buyers are concerned with driver size, what they are discussing are moving-coil dynamic drivers. To be more specific, they are considering the diameter of the diaphragm of this type of driver. There are three main components of drivers that play an important role in their size and the sound quality they produce. Below is their explanation.

1: Magnet

It generates a magnetic field that affects the overall sound quality of your earbuds.

2: Voice Coils

It does move the diaphragm in order to create the sound you listen to when an electric current passes through these voice coils.

3: Diaphragm

It creates sound waves by vibrating picked up by human ears.

How Driver Size Impacts the Sound Quality

Simply put, the larger the driver is, the better bass it will create. But that does not mean earbuds that come with larger drivers always tend to produce better sound quality than the ones with smaller driver sizes. It is not that simple. A number of factors come into play when it comes to producing a better sound. In the later section, everything is given about how driver size impacts the sound quality of your headphones.

Is Bigger Always Better?

The size of standard earphone drives ranges from 8mm to 15mm in diameter. On the other hand, the driver of a headphone set comes in the size from 20mm to 50mm in diameter. Generally speaking, the loudness of earbuds depends on the size of the drivers. Due to this, many people believe the bigger size of drivers is essential for the better sound quality of your headphones. However, this is not the case entirely true. There is no doubt in the fact that a larger diaphragm results in cleaner bass. But earbuds that come with large drivers also find it hard sometimes to reproduce high frequencies (treble).

Although bigger drivers can produce higher outputs, this does not better their overall performance of sound quality. Instead, what creates a big difference are the variation of the materials of the driver and the quality of the driver unit. For instance, take Google’s Pixel buds or any other set of tiny headphones. This model of earbuds comes with quite small drivers. Despite this, they are capable of producing a very good sound quality that is much better than other models that have larger drivers.

Moreover, another brand, Audio Technica also substantiates the stance, small earbuds fit in your ears perfectly and provide high sound quality. This brand is famous for two high-end models such as the M50X, and the M40X. The former accompanies 45mm drivers while the latter comes with a driver size of 40mm. Now you may assume that the M50X with its 45mm driver size produces a better sound than the other model. To your surprise, that is not the case. Both the models are tuned very differently. For instance, the M40X is designed around a more neutral signature and a flatter. On the other hand, the M50X has pads, tuning, and enclosures that are designed to produce a slightly aggressive response. In both these models, the enclosures of the cups and types of padding used clearly influence the sound quality of the driver used. 

Concluding Remarks 

There is no blinking to the fact that the size of the driver inside headphones affects the frequency range and output of earbuds. However, the size of the driver does not have the final say when it comes to the sound quality of headphones. Therefore, wise it is not to make your decision dependent on this factor alone. Other factors also such as the type of the driver and the frequency range impact the sound quality. In some models, their impact is a more obvious and determining factor than drivers.

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