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Does the outer ear affect sound quality? Full-size better than IEM?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I've read contradictory reports while researching headphones on whether or not the outer ear affects how we hear music. The gist of these claims say that Over-Ear and On-Ear headphones sound better than IEMs due to coming into influence with the outer-ear before entering the ear canal?

 

Is there any truth to this assertion?

 

This isn't a debate between open or sealed headphones. Let's just say that both headphones are sealed and both are in the same family with the same price class.

 

Do Over-Ear headphones generally sound better (or different) than IEMs due to how they interact with the outer-ear?

 

Is there any sound science exploring this?

post #2 of 5

All I know is that the sound waveform does affect soundstage quite a bit thus I assume the outer ear does have an influence on sound imaging as well. IEMs on the other hand are not susceptible to such effects thus sufficiently deep insertions of IEMs are more linear sounding(more neutral/ flat) especially when equalised but they lose the wide soundstage of headphones.


Edited by firev1 - 9/26/12 at 6:40am
post #3 of 5

I guess the phase difference is harder to be manipulated for IEM since the distance between the ears and the driver is so close, thus the smaller soundstage.

 

Sound better? I'm not sure what's better. Sound different? YMMV. But to me, when there's thing inside my ear canal, it'll cause discomfort over time, thus reducing the pleasure of listening to music over time.

post #4 of 5

The outer ear determines direction.  That's why circumaural phones have better soundstage than IEMs.

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the information. That's very helpful.

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