Headphones or Earbuds?

Which is better, headphones or ear buds?  I hear this question all the time.  The simple answer is, headphones are better.  Their wider frequency response, larger drivers, or speakers, and over the ear molded padding make for a more comfortable and realistic listening experience.  But actually, the question itself is too generic.  When determining which is better, we need to ask what the application is.

For example, which is better for surfing, headphones or ear buds?  Ear buds are smaller, lighter in weight, and do not block peripheral vision.  Some earbuds are advertised as waterproof.  It is difficult to say the same things about headphones.  Also, headphones are more susceptible to damage during wipe-outs, due to their larger mass.  Of course, either style is useless without a waterproof audio source, such as an MP3 player.

So, which is better for listening to classical music?  Again, this question is a bit too generic.  Are you at home, sitting in a comfortable chair with a glass of wine in your hand (headphones), or are you listening between periods at a hockey game, with a cold Molson’s in your hand (ear buds)?  OK then, which one is better for driving?  Trick question!  Neither is better.  Most states have traffic laws restricting any type of headphone use while operating a motor vehicle.

Which is better, headphones or ear buds?  It all comes down to personal preference and intended use.  Either choice will give you hours of listening enjoyment.  The choice is yours.

So...Tell me what you think. Go ahead. I can handle it.