What Is Impedance In Headphones? Guides For Newbies

5/5 - (1 vote)

To choose to buy headphones, you need to pay attention to essential specs such as speaker diameter, frequency response, and especially impedance.

Have you ever wondered: ‘what is impedance in headphones?’ Or how much impedance affects your listening experience? 

Impedance is essentially the diameter of the conductor; The larger the size, the higher the impedance, and the more electricity passes through.

This article will provide information related to impedance in headphones.

What Is Impedance In Headphones?

What Is Impedance In Headphones

What is impedance in headphones?

To make this specification easier to understand, let’s make an analogy. The headset’s lead is like a conduit for electricity.

Impedance is the diameter of the conductor; the larger the size, the higher the impedance, the more electricity passes through.

Therefore, in simple terms, impedance is a parameter indicating the resistance to the headset’s current. Usually, the impedance will result from the ratio of voltage to current in the AC circuit.

This calculation is similar to the analysis of resistance in alternating current.

The unit of measurement for impedance is Ohm. The higher the Ohm number, the harder it is to measure current. Contrast with low Ohm number.

Impedance does not affect the headset’s sound quality much because sensitivity and performance are the factors that have the most impact.

Impedance is just a parameter that helps you evaluate the current resistance in the wire, thereby reducing the amount of energy needed to adjust the headphones to the desired volume level.

Application Of Each Impedance Level

Should high-impedance headphones be used, which, as mentioned in the previous section – consume more power?

High-impedance headphones are more common than you might think. Besides, low impedance headphones are not inferior in popularity because of the following applications:

High impedance

High impedance headphones are products with an impedance level of 25 Ohms or more. This type of headset typically requires more voltage, thus consuming more power. So it’s almost impossible to find high-impedance headphones that work well with low-powered MP3 players.

High impedance is for MP3 players

High impedance is for  MP3 players

Although it takes a lot of energy, what you get in return is entirely worth it: the engine system works well, with little influence, making the overall sound better. In particular, high impedance headphones also have excellent bass reproduction.

Because of the above advantages, high impedance headphones are a must-have product in the professional studio. Or, if you want a studio-standard listening experience, you should prioritize headphones with an impedance more significant than 25 Ohms.

Low impedance

Contrary to high impedance headphones, headphones with an impedance lower than 25 Ohms will consume less power because there are fewer coils and the thickness of the wire is also higher.

Low impedance is for headset

Low impedance is for headset

Therefore, the most significant advantage of this type of headset is compatible with many different devices. You can use the headset on mobile devices, music players, and more. You also get more volume but less battery drain.

However, when using low impedance headphones, you need to accept that it is not possible to connect headphones to an amplifier that is too powerful.

See more:


To help you better understand this topic, we have put together a few frequently asked questions and answers in detail below.

What is the relationship between impedance and sensitivity of headphones?

There is no specific correlation between impedance and sensitivity. But in fact, the two parameters above have an intermediate relationship, that is, the headset’s volume.

Impedance is not an essential factor affecting volume with a headset with high sensitivity (>110 dB/V). Because of its excellent sensitivity, the product can be compatible with many sources, and when you increase the volume, the actual voltage will also increase.

The relationship is only evident when the headphones have low sensitivity (<90dB/V). With this type of headset, you have to increase the volume to achieve the same volume at the same listening level.

Meanwhile, low impedance means less tolerance for sound sources. If you increase the volume of two headphones with the same sensitivity but different impedance, the low-impedance headphones are more susceptible to damage.

On the other hand, headphones have more excellent resistance to current and are therefore more durable.

Why can’t I use high impedance headphones with my smartphone?

As mentioned, headphones with high impedance will consume a large amount of power. For conventional transmitters such as smartphones, high impedance headphones will not bring into full play their advantages.

Does high impedance give better performance?

Impedance is not a determining factor in the sound quality of headphones because impedance affects how current flows in a conductor and how much energy is dissipated.

Impedance on headphone quality can only be found in sound intensity when high headphones can easily reach louder volume than low impedance.

Of course, the sound’s volume and the sound’s quality are two completely different concepts.


Hopefully, you have answered the question ‘What is impedance in headphones?’ In summary, you need to care about the impedance level of the headset and pay attention to your transmitter.

Specifically, with low-power audio sources, low-impedance headphones will give you a more authentic listening experience.

While the sound source is as loud as the equipment in the studio, you should choose headphones with high impedance for the best experience.


0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x