Wireless Headphones Tec: Bluetooth vs. RF vs. IR

Wireless Headphones Tec Bluetooth vs. RF vs. IR

Wireless headphones are the perfect companion to music-phone owners. You get to listen to music without the tangle of wires around your neck.

Wireless headsets send audio signal via a wireless technology, such as IR, RF, or Bluetooth. All these technologies come with their own merits and demerits.

While you may claim that wired headphones are less prone to interference, and they do not have any fancy circuitry messing up your audio; I would argue otherwise.  

The concept of wireless headphones Tec: Bluetooth vs. RF vs. IR is huge, and I am about to take you through the evolution of these technologies that will make you love wireless headsets.

How Bluetooth Headphones Work?

Bluetooth headphones

Some of the best wireless headphones feature Bluetooth technology. Bluetooth is an exception in that it is already a wireless technology.

A wireless Bluetooth headset connects to a Bluetooth-enabled audio device via radio waves. One primary difference between Bluetooth and other wireless Tec is the distance between devices.

Bluetooth is engineered for very small distances; the idea is that Bluetooth is personal. This technology is good within 50 meters or so.

The best wireless headphones for smartphones and gaming consoles are Bluetooth enabled. However, wireless TV headphones do normally come with a Bluetooth dongle through which the headset connects to the TV.

Here is how they work

  • Make sure both your headphones and Bluetooth enabled device (smartphone or a dongle connected to a TV) are powered on and discoverable (Bluetooth turned on).
  • Your Bluetooth headsets will find the audio device. After a device has been discovered, you can turn discovery off.
  • After no more than 30 seconds, the headphones and the device should initiate communications.
  • You may be required to enter a passkey (such as 0000 or 1234) on one device for the other device with which you are pairing.
  • When pairing your Bluetooth headset, you may be required to enter the Bluetooth headset’s passkey on your smartphone. The two devices should thereafter pair and connect successfully.
  • Once paired, the headphones and the Bluetooth audio device will connect automatically in the future.

    How RF Headphones Work?

    What is RF?

    Before you learn how to connect TV wireless headphones that use RF technology, I would like to tell you what RF means.

    RF refers to radio frequency, which is a wireless electromagnetic signal. RF signals can range from 3 kHz to about 300 GHz.

    Most different types of wireless headphones use 2.4 GHz RF technology with a remarkable wireless range that can reach up to 100 feet.

    How Do Wireless Headphones Work?

    rf headphones

    Usually, RF wireless headphones come with two parts: an RF transmitter or docking station. Most RF headset connections would require RCA audio cable and 3.5 mm-to-RCA adapter cable. 

    To avoid damaging your system, you need to ensure that all the parts are turned off prior to making any connections.

    Connect the Docking Station/Transmitter

    • Connect the transmitter to the audio output of your television (follow the instructions on the quick setup guide that comes with the headphones)
    • If the audio device or TV does not have RCA outputs, then you can utilize a 3.5 mm-to-RCA adapter.
    • Connect your AC adapter connector to the transmitter’s DC jack (5V).
    • Then connect your AC adapter plug to your AC power outlet. Go ahead and switch on the transmitter as well as the headphones.
    • The pairing indicator on both devices should begin to blink.
    • Usually, an active link between the transmitter and the RF wireless headphones is established when the pairing indicator lights steadily blue on both devices.
    • The auto-pairing process normally takes around 5 to 10 seconds.

      How IR Headphones Work?

      The other form of non-Bluetooth headphones is IR headphones. Using an IR (infrared) signal, the wireless headsets can play audio for gaming or movie.

      The technical concept of exactly how IR technology works to transmit sound is simple. IR docking station (transmitter) works well as long as the transmitter and the headphones are in direct line of sight.

      ir headphones

      The current crop of wireless models transmit using IR light as a carrier. Although different manufacturers might add a proprietary twist to the technology, in general, IR headphones work like this:

      • The two-part package includes headphones fitted with a receiver and an IR transmitter.
      • The IR transmitter powered by AC plugs into any sound device equipped with a headphone jack.
      • The right and left stereo channels are converted into two discrete carrier frequencies, compressed, multiplexed and transmitted as an IR light wave.
      • At the headphones, built-in photo receptor snatches the beam, the multiplexed signal is converted back to right and left channels, decompressed and routed to the appropriate ear as electrical signals.
      • The battery stowed in the headphones powers all the decoding circuitry and amplifies the musical signal.

        What Are Pros and Cons of Bluetooth Headphones?

        # Pros

        There is a lot to like in the wireless Bluetooth headset in addition to an exceptional cool design. Here are the various benefits you should expect from Bluetooth headphones:

          • Hands-free use: The lack of wires allows you to use the Bluetooth headphones or earphones hands free, which is ideal whenever you are jogging or picking a call when driving.
          • Configuring Bluetooth Headphones is Easy: Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows for ad hoc connection. Configuring Bluetooth headsets is comparatively easy for any user.
          • Low Power: Characteristic to Bluetooth headset is low power consumption and short functional range.
          • Low Interference: Bluetooth headphones have proved to be particularly successful in minimizing interference. This allows you to maintain a stable and clear connection for a significant duration of time.
          • Truly Wireless: The latest Bluetooth technology 5.0 provides a truly wireless connection, including more throughput, distance and speed. This allows you to enjoy Hi-Fi stereo sound quality.

              # Cons

              Bluetooth headsets have some downsides as well, which you are supposed to know before you invest in a specific pair.

              • Limited Compatibility: They work only with Bluetooth enabled audio devices. What if you do not have a Bluetooth enabled handset. For instance, some Bluetooth TV headphones would require you to use a base station.
              • Limited Range: One of the significant downsides of Bluetooth headphones is limited coverage, which normally extends up to 50 feet.
              • Higher Price Tag: Some high-end gaming Bluetooth headsets are pricier than their wired counterparts forcing gamers to dig a little bit deeper into their pockets.
              • Battery Life: You always need to recharge the battery whenever it runs out after a few hours of use.

                What Are Pros and Cons of RF Headphones?

                When I compared RF wireless vs. Bluetooth headphones, the following are the merits I found of RF over Bluetooth.

                # Pros

                • Wireless Freedom: Both Bluetooth and RF provide wires-free connectivity, but RF headsets provide good connection through walls and ceilings for up to about 300 feet.
                • Easy Set Up: Unlike Bluetooth headsets that require a stable wireless connection, RF transmitter only requires an analog audio output to connect to any audio device.
                • Wider Compatibility: The headphone’s RF transmitter connects to any sound device that has an RCA audio output or 6.3/3.5 mm headphone socket. Bluetooth headsets will only connect to devices that are Bluetooth enabled.
                • RF Headphone Transmitter Can Support Multiple Receivers: An RF transmitter can allow you to connect up to 100 receivers/RF headphones for simultaneous listening. Unlike Bluetooth, which connects to a single device at a time.
                • Long Battery Life: Most Bluetooth headphones will offer you up to 10 hours of listening, but most RF headphones will offer you up to 20 hours of listening.

                  # Cons

                  • Limited Design Choices: Unlike Bluetooth, there are less RF headset designs. Most RF headsets are either over-ear or on-ear, but you will hardly come across RF earphones (only Bluetooth earphones/earbuds).
                  • Defenseless to Interference: The exceptionally wide range of RF headsets is not immune to interference. RF interference can originate from any device that produces electromagnetic signals.

                    What Are Pros and Cons of IR Headphones?

                    IR headphones were the least favorite in my list, but I uncovered some remarkable benefits when I compared them to the other wireless technologies.

                    # Pros

                    • Zero Interference: When I compared wireless headphones IR vs. RF vs. Bluetooth, I discovered that Infrared headphones aren’t affected by other radio transmissions.
                    • Better Sound Quality: Infrared headsets are adept of producing excellent sound that may be comparable to the one produced by high-quality wired headsets.
                    • Versatile and Ergonomic Design: A greater percentage of Infrared headsets are outfitted with a foldable design for effortless storage, and on-headset control panel for easy operation.
                    • Wider Usage: Infrared headsets are fit for TVs, flip down monitor, car headrest DVD player, and car TV with infrared function.

                      # Cons

                      • Direct Line Of Sight: Infrared headphones and Infrared transmitter must be in unobstructed line of sight for a connection to exist.
                      • Limited Range: Infrared wireless headphones have approximately 10-meter range, which is remarkably short compared to other wireless technologies.

                        In Conclusion

                        When deciding on wireless headphones you need to conduct a detailed wireless headphones Tec: Bluetooth vs. RF vs. IR assessment. This will help you unmask the pros and cons to each of these technologies.

                        I have simplified things for you by doing the comparison on your behalf. Imagine this; I had to test individual headphones from each of these technologies to come up with this comprehensive comparison article.

                        Personally, I would say “wireless headphones technology” are all great. However, I find Bluetooth headphones to be a superior choice for my applications. Now, it is up to you to decide which technology is great for your needs.

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