Bone conduction headphones (BCH) are some of the newest entries in the world of specialized wireless Earphones and Headphones. After all, they are using a different kind of way for you to listen to your music. But, as cool of a breakthrough as Bone Conduction Headphones may be, are they really that good? Not only in terms of sound quality but also bass? Or, better yet, do they even have bass?
While bone conduction headphones aren’t known for bass, they still do have great bass. The bass rumbles through your cheekbones and can be a completely different experience depending on the format you are playing them with and compared to your regular Headphones. Bone conduction headphones have come a long way in the last few years and have also improved in terms of their bass quality.
At this point, it is too early to tell whether or not bone conduction headphones are the future of the wearable audio industry. Bone Conduction Headphones, as we have spoken of many times in past articles, in our opinion, are not a replacement for your headphones but an addition to your “audio tools.” They are steadily improving not only in sound quality but also in terms of their bass, which we will have to talk about.
Do Bone Conduction Headphones Have Bass?
How Bone Conduction Headphones Work
Yes, we are fully aware that the name “Bone Conduction” does sound a bit scary to some because of how it might make you think that it is making use of your bones (they actually do) when you are listening to your music. However, for you to understand how bone conduction headphones work and know whether or not they have bass, we have to talk more about the background and the tech behind these earphones.
Going back to your basic science, sound is created when objects vibrate. When you speak, your vocal cords vibrate to create sound. The same goes for when you are strumming a guitar as the vibrations created by moving the guitar strings against tension creates the sound you wanted to make. Even hitting your head against a wall creates a vibration that will immediately translate into that thud.
The sounds produced by vibrations result from how air is affected by the movement of the objects. For example, when you hit a drum, the drum moves inward and immediately bounces outward. Moving inward and outward creates vibrations that will travel through the air as soundwaves that are dependent on the positive and negative movements that created the vibrations.
Bone Conduction Soundwaves
So, how does this relate to bone conduction headphones? Well, it’s because bone conduction headphones are making use of the same kind of fundamentals that produce soundwaves but in an entirely different way.
Instead of producing sound the old-fashion way, bone conduction headphones do it by making use of a few bones in your head. This is where the fundamental aspect of vibrations comes in as these headphones send the vibrations into the bones located near the top of your jaw so that the sound is immediately registered in your ear and brain.
In other words, the bone conduction headphones do not actually produce sounds, but they are the ones responsible for producing the vibrations that will allow the bones in your head to produce the sounds. It may sound otherworldly, but it really is a simple way of applying the fundamentals of producing sound.
In comparison, most headphones or wearable audio pieces fill the air with vibrations coming from the drivers in the headphones themselves. They will then redirect the sounds into your ears instead of allowing the soundwaves to scatter throughout the entire immediate space around you. It really is like wearing smaller speakers that direct or funnels the sounds into your ears.
Do They Produce Bass?
So, yes, they produce bass, and going back to the main topic, about whether or not bone conduction headphones also produce deep bass. For starters, the bass is a type of low-frequency sound reliant on air pressurization. In other words, the deeper the air pressurization is, the deeper the bass will be.
In that sense, when you see headphones with the best bass quality, they are over the ear headphones and usually bigger in size and cover your ears, and this affects air pressurization better to create deeper-sounding bass. So, if you haven’t noticed, that is the exact reason why bass drums are larger than the other type of drums.
Considering that bass is so reliant on air pressurization, does that mean that they cannot produce bass? Does the lack of air pressurization in the vibrations that they produce also mean a lack of bass? Well, not exactly.
While it might be true that bass relies heavily on air pressurization to produce deeper sounds, that does not really mean that the vibrations that BCH sends to your head are not capable of producing bass. Remember here that, like all sounds, the bass is produced by vibrations lower in frequencies than regular sounds. As such, that means that BCH can still produce bass when they send vibrations into your head, albeit not in the same manner as normal speakers and headphones do.
Bass Quality On Bone Conduction Headphones
Truth be told, even though BCH are still capable of producing bass, that doesn’t always mean that some of these headphones are the same at producing the type of bass quality you want to hear from speakers and traditional wearable audio devices. It also depends on the manufacturer and what setting you are playing your music back in.
There can be a substantial difference in your playback’s sound quality depending on what audio player you are using on your system, as shown above. We have done direct testing to analyze this, and there is a definite difference.
Let us also go back to how deeper-sounding bass relies on how deep the vibrations are in the air. Air pressurization is a major factor when it comes to affecting the depth of the bass, and that is not something that can easily be replicated by the vibrations that are happening in the bones found right above your jaw.
Even though bone conduction headphones do have bass, you cannot always rely on them to have the deepest bass because of how it can be difficult for them to replicate how speakers and normal headphones do it. In your case, if you love music that has deep booming bass, you might want to use your bone conduction headphones for only certain activities, especially if the depth of the bass of the music you love listening to is a part of what completes your experience.
Improved Bone Conduction Systems and Better Bass
In theory, the quality of bass that BCH should actually sound better and cleaner compared to regular headphones even though they may not have the same kind of depth. The reason is that using bone conduction headphones means that there are fewer obstacles that will affect the quality of the bass. So, as long as the bone conduction in your head is working fine, you will be able to experience bass better in quality but without the depth of normal headphones.
As we recently talked about in some other articles also “Apple Creates Another New Patent: Air & Bone-Conduction Headphones” and “Facebook Patents Pioneering Hybrid Bone Conduction Audio Devices: Smartglasses, AR/VR.” Both of these companies see the benefit of Bone Conduction use in their glasses and many designs and patents.
The U.S. Military also uses bone Conduction devices for some of their airmen and soldier’s communication systems where obviously hearing your surroundings is a benefit. Some of the Hybrid patented designs from Facebook incorporate multiple hearing channels in a single pair of glasses or a VR application in a headset.
Bone Conduction Headphones For Safety
As we have discussed many times in the past, we are a proponent of headphone safety, and one of the purposes of BCH is safety. If you are listening to music or an Audiobook while running or walking your dog, these headphones leave your ears open so you can still hear your surroundings.
One of our many articles on bone conduction headphones is “Are Bone Conduction Headphones Really Safe For Me?” and addresses the question of headphone safety.
Traditional headphones direct sound into the eardrum, and it becomes the main sound we hear, blocking out other noise. Because bone conduction technology works differently from your typical earbuds, it uses sound differently.
Bone conduction headphones do not isolate sound like regular headphones. These headphones bypass the eardrum, so it does not go directly into the cochlea and allows you to hear your outside surroundings safely. Simultaneously allowing you to listen to your favorite music and do other activities where you are aware of your surroundings is necessary or makes sense for safety reasons.
Best Bass Headphones
If you are looking for bone conduction headphones that produce the best bass, here are the ones you should look out for:
- AfterShokz Aeropex
While the bass of the AfterShokz Aeropexis bone conduction headphones are different than traditional headphones as explained in our article above, they have actually improved from the previous models and are now producing a richer quality of bass.
In many circles, AfterShokz Aeropex is actually the best in terms of the overall quality of sounds when stacked up against the other bone conduction headphones on the market. So, even if the bass quality is far from perfect, you are still going to enjoy how great the sound quality is coming from these bone conduction headphones.
If you are interested in the AfterShokz Aeropex, you can check them out here.
- AfterShokz Trekz Air
The AfterShokz Trekz Air used to be the flagship bone conduction headphones of the company before it got supplanted by the Aeropex. However, the bass in these bone conduction headphones are still equal to the more advanced model. There is still a lack of deep bass but that shouldn’t be something to expect from bone conduction headphones. But what we loved about the AfterShokz Trekz Air is that it has a more balanced quality of sound compared to the Aeropex even though the latter is far superior.
Check out the AfterShokz Trekz Air on Amazon through here.
- AfterShokz Titanium
The AfterShokz Titanium is at the lower end of the AfterShokz lineup of bone conduction headphones but it does have some bass, which can be quite surprising given that it is cheaper than its older brothers. Like the Air, it carries a more well-balanced sound quality that is slightly inferior to that of the more expensive option.
Check out the AfterShokz Titanium here if you are looking for the AfterShokz bone conduction headphones’ cheaper variant.