The most common question I come across a lot of times is whether earbud size affects the sound quality or not. Does the large or small earbuds have anything to do with the sound quality? So, in this guide, I will share what I’ve experienced so far.
Yes, the size of the earbuds can affect the sound quality. If your earbuds fit perfectly into your ear canal, then this will block out all the unwanted noise while delivering high-quality sound.
Choosing the right earbuds can affect your listening experience. And when it comes to earbuds size, it’s equally important to know about the right size for better sound quality.
How Does Earbuds Size Affect Sound Quality?
Here’s how the size of your earbuds can influence the sound quality in different ways:
The driver size refers to the size of the audio driver unit responsible for producing sound. It’s usually measured in millimeters “mm” representing the overall diameter of the unit. An audio driver used in earbuds is made up of two parts, the diaphragm, and a voice coil.
Smaller earbuds usually come with smaller drivers with limited frequency response. This is the reason why you don’t feel deep bass when using small-size earbuds. This is the reason why you hear distortion and noise while listening to music at higher volumes in small size earbuds.
On the other hand, larger drivers produce deeper and more pronounced bass tones as they support a wide range of frequencies.
So, the bass response in larger earbuds is much better as compared to smaller earbuds. If you like deep bass in earbuds, then go with the large-size earbuds.
Likewise, the treble and mid-range are also affected by the size of your earbuds. Smaller earbuds struggle to produce higher frequencies, resulting in a muffled sound.
The physical size of earbuds has a lot to do with the acoustic properties of the sound. Larger earbuds provide enough headroom for sound waves to propagate and reach your ears, resulting in better sound quality.
Whereas, the smaller earbuds don’t have enough area for sound waves to fully propagate, resulting in poor sound quality. This affects the mid-range frequencies as the sound waves have limited space to provide a full range of notes.
Fit and Seal
The size of your earbuds decides how well they will fit inside your ear canals to create a seal. Earbuds that properly seal your ears block out external noise completely to produce high-quality sound.
Earbuds that are too small in size or the ones that have smaller ear tips may not fit properly inside your ear canal, thus affecting the sound quality.
Comfort and Ergonomics
Although small-size earbuds are lightweight and comfy when you plug them into your ears, still the comfort part is subjective. If earbuds don’t fit securely into your ear canals, they can cause discomfort over time.
Large-size earbuds offer better ergonomics the small-size earbuds. You can wear them for a longer time without any pain in your ear canals. A secure and comfortable fit produces less fatigue and higher sound quality.
Audio isolation plays a very important role in shaping the overall sound quality of earbuds. It refers to the ability of your earbuds or headphones to block out external noise.
So, the size of your earbuds also decides how good they would be in audio isolation. Now I cannot say here that large earbuds are better than smaller ones when it comes down to audio isolation.
The most important thing here is how well those earbuds would fit inside your ears and isolate the audio. Even the small size earbuds could come with Active Noise Cancellation to block unwanted noise from the background.
Soundstage and Imaging
The size of earbuds can affect the perception of imaging and soundstage. Large-size earbuds can allocate more soundstage, which helps in detecting the sound in different locations.
This can influence the audio quality in situations where spatial awareness or 3D sound experience is highly needed like playing games or watching movies.
Impedance is the measure of earbuds’ resistance to the electrical current. It’s the Impedance that decides how loud a sound you would hear if you pair your earbuds with a smartphone or PC.
Usually, lower Impedance allows your headphones to reach higher volumes easily. Whereas if the Impedance of your earbuds is over 32 Ohms, then you will hear a faint sound.
How to Determine the Right Earbuds Size for Your Ears?
Now as you know that earbud size has a lot to do with the sound quality, Here’s how you can choose the right size earbuds with respect to your ears.
Measure Your Ear Canal
Measuring your ear canal could be a difficult task as there is proper equipment available for this. However, you can simply measure your ear canal size by putting the top of your finger inside it.
If you still find it difficult, then you can visit an audiologist to find out the right size of your ear canal. Audiologists have the right tools to measure the overall size of your ear canal.
Earbuds Fit Test
For this, I would recommend you to go to your nearest electronics store. You can test different earbuds there to determine which one snugly fits into your ear canal.
Gently insert the earbuds into your ears, making sure they’re properly oriented. After wearing the earbuds, try to shake your head gently or jump to see if the earbuds stay intact within your ear canals.
For instance, if there’s no shop nearby and you are ordering your earbuds through Amazon or Walmart, then go with the earbuds that come with medium-sized ear tips. This is the default size that comes with most earbuds as it tends to fit most people easily without any issues.
Test for Comfort/Seal
Make sure that the earbuds sit comfortably into your ears without causing pain or discomfort. If you feel your earbuds are too tight into your canals, then try any other size until you feel comfortable wearing them.
Also, check that the size of earbuds that you choose fully seals your ear canals to prevent any external noise from coming in. You will experience a noticeable reduction in the ambient noise if the earbuds properly seal your ear canals.
If the medium-sized ear tips don’t provide a comfortable fit or a good seal, try the smaller and larger sizes, one at a time.
So, the size of your earbuds directly influences the overall sound quality. Choosing the right size is fairly easy as all you need is to measure your ear canals and try different ear tips that snugly fit into your ears.
Right-size earbuds won’t loosen up as you travel or shake your head. Also, the right earbuds fit would result in a perfect seal around your ear canals to produce better sound.
I’ve been writing about gadgets for over 7 years now. I have a strong taste for music, no matter if it’s pop or classic. My passion for music has enabled me to come closer to audio equipment. I like writing and sharing my personal experience with audio equipment that passes by me.