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page title icon Do Headphones require a Power Source?

| Updated on January 30, 2021

Did anyone out there recognize how headphones have become our ”the most basic” necessity?


It actually did and that too quite promptly that we could not figure out how precisely it went to own such value in this fastest-growing world.

For sure, our need or maybe the craving for technology made it take place but we were so absorbed in the track that we least care about the details.


Now as we need it every moment of our lives, we not only understand its primacy but we also try to dig deeper into its science.

For this very reason, the question arises, how do headphones work?


Do they need any power source?


Do headphones work without any power source?


If they need, how do they pull it and from where?


Isn’t it strange that this headphone named thingy has been existing in this world since the early 20th century but we are still unaware of this basic idea behind its functioning?


Here we are, with all the questions in your mind, along with the good answers, so you can know more about what you use the most part of your day!


Headphones and Power Source?

Headphones are just a smaller version of speakers because the idea was genuinely drawn from the operating scheme of speakers.


Just as speakers require an apparent power source, in the form of electricity, to regulate and produce the music, the headphones also expect such a source but in a quite different manner.


Since the technology has matured to be so striking in terms of evolution, the science of things is now so complex that you require complete understanding and not just surface knowledge.


So headphones do actually require a power source, more or less, but this trade of power is not so prominent that it comes to the notice as in the case of speakers.


Wired and Wireless Headphones: Power Consumption

The power consumption varies directly depending upon the type, size, shape, advanced features (active noise cancellation, electrostatic drivers, amplifier, and also the receiver).


So it can be said that if your headphones pose exceptionally heightened details, the power consumption can be likewise elevated and vice versa.


Wired Headphones and a Power Source

Wired headphones work pretty contrasted to the wireless headphones.

So when the wired headphones are connected to the (let’s suppose your smartphone), it will draw the power source through the audio jack from the device it is plugged in.


As now you have plugged it in your mobile, the headphones will draw a little much power from your mobile’s battery.


But this transferring of power, in the case of wired headphones, occurs only when the music is in action.

For instance, if you have plugged in your headphones to your mobile but the music is turned off or in easy words, there is just connection but no action, the power will not be pulled out.


This is simply because the headphones have an amplifier in it and since all the headphones work on the blueprint of loudspeakers, the digital to analog converter does the essential job.


After plugging in and turning ON the music in your phone from any app, the analog converter converts the digital signal received and sends it back to the wire which we listen to in the form of music.

Meanwhile, it comes about with that slightest fraction of power used to alter the signals.


Wireless Headphones and a Power Source


Wireless headphones grind on a broader level than the wired headphones so the power rate is also superior from the wired headphones and it is justified.


Since there is no wire involved, there is no direct way of transformation of signals.

The other way or the wireless way runs with greater power consumption involving the Bluetooth signals to proceed so.


When you connect the wireless headphones with the device, the process of power pulling starts right away unlike wired headphones where the power is consumed only when the action of music starts.


Therefore, if your wireless headphones connected to the device seems like the battery dying continuously even without music played, you should know where it is going.


The science or logic behind this is that the moment you make the connection, the signal is first sent to the receiver of the headphones which converts this digital pattern into analog and the music plays.


The power consumption percentage intensifies the moment you start using the noise-cancellation feature side by side listening to the music.

But still, this ratio is much lower than what we may find in speakers.


A good headphone range to get started in this case are Ambient headphones, know more about it here.

What is the difference between the wired and wireless transmission of signals?

In the wired headphones, the transmission process occurs a little faster and it emerges before the signal is responded to by the wire which takes it straight to the headphones.


On the other hand, in the case of wireless or Bluetooth headphones, the signal at first submits to the receiver (wireless signal transmission) in the headphone and is then analog or amplified.

However, the difference between both types of headphones is evident through the presence and absence of wire.


How can we know how much power the headphones will draw?

In headphones or mini speakers, the power rate is estimated through the impedance value.

The average impedance rate of headphones we usually use is around 30 to 32 ohms and above which can straightforwardly vary from headphones to headphones (type, size, brand, etc).


On the contrary, the impedance value in loudspeakers is quite less than this which often starts from 3, 4, or 5 and hence it also varies.


Now higher the impedance, lower the power required, and lower the impedance, higher the power required to proceed.

Since the headphones incorporate high impedance value in comparison to the speakers, they demand less power than the speakers.


Why are headphones compared with the speakers for the need of power?


Both speakers and speaker-alike headphones require the power to produce the music but the amount of power both of them require is directly proportional to the amount of music they present to us later.


Speakers or the loudspeakers are connected to the PC or other high-end devices to compensate for maximum sound coverage.

Therefore, the power consumption will also be greater for the greater energy they tend to produce, in the form of music.


Headphones are often connected to smartphones or maybe even PC for the limited sound system and here a smaller concentration power can do about good.


As a matter of fact, if you switch the commitments, you will better understand this relation of power input and output.


If you try to connect the loudspeakers to the small devices or cheap handsets, the device will fail to make up the power required by the amplifier of the speaker and it may burn or in other scenarios, not produce the sound at all.



Here is a tip, if you are a wireless headphones owner, make sure to charge your device with some good amount of battery before you plug in your headphones.

Because these headphones will drain your battery dead before the relative moment you realize it!

Whereas, the wired headphones owner can go on keeping their cool.

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