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On Ear versus Over Ear comfort?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I know the gold standard for audiophile headphones is over ear configuration which tend to be larger and heavier.  By contrast, on-ear type is generally lighter, more compact and many times open and transportable and also used more widely for recreation. 

 

But...there is that niggling and sometimes elusive fit aka ergonomic issue with headphones...some of us being more sensitive than others...me being in the latter camp.  So the question looms since both headphone types abound...for some of us...is the comfort deficit of over ear headphones too high?...no doubt some will prefer the comfort of over ear headphones along with companion great SQ.

 

I maybe evolving to the on-ear group...inspite of trying many over ear phones and experimenting with different ear pads and head band clamping pressures.

 

So who has given up on over ear headphones because they bother the tapestry of face/jaw nerves and muscles around the ears?..but by contrast are perfectly comfortable with on ear headphones which don't aggravate these sensitive areas?

 

If so, which model over ear headphones do your really like which has either low headband clamping force from the factory...or the headband can be bent to tune clamp pressure?

 

Many Thanks.

post #2 of 19

I prefer the comfort of over ear , to on ear, even if you disregard the sound quality difference.

The weight is not issue, nor any "clamping force" , nor any pressure on "my jaws" both for my hd595 and hd800 I can wear them for hours, and forget I'm even wearing them.  In contrast I  don't like much the comfort of my hd25 II 1 although I'm getting used to them. I  just can't forget I'm wearing them. A bit like wearing too small shoes.

But if you need something more portable/compact, on ear can be a solution, although I  still prefer IEMs (which are not top in comfort, but ultra portable).

post #3 of 19

Heya,

 

On ear and me are just not friends. I've tried with several on-ears. Loved the sound. Hated the fit and seal. Unfortunately getting a good seal and seating is very important with on-ears, or they don't sound right and lose a lot of their low end. I like the portability. I like the lower profile. But again, if it seats wrong, it's a pain, and this is exacerbated if you were glasses. I really enjoyed the ESW9A and M80. Great lush sound. But getting a seal with the M80 was annoying. The ESW9A was easier to get a seal with it's wider/round pads. But even then I found myself wanting completely around the ear cups because even a little wind I could hear, and I knew I wasn't fully covered or sealed and it was annoying.

 

End of the day I stick with big, deep cups. I wear premium DT770's as portables. Clamp pressure is very light, seal is fantastic. Not super huge, and has a nice sleek design (premiums look so much better than pro's).


Very best,

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks a lot guys.  MalVeauX...greatly appreciate the advice and really all the great advice you provide on this forum.

You have taught me a lot.

I just picked up some new DT-990 Premium 600 ohm which as you well know are somewhat renowned for their comfort as well as slightly embellished sound signature which work well for my aging ears.  Out of the box, they just aren't as comfortable to me as say my Senn PX100 II...now that I have had a chance to spend more time with them.  But that has changed a bit per my tweaks below.

 

I am an engineer and design is my thing.  You guys have taught me a lot about sound.  I understand pressure, leverage, stress etc.  I will tell you what I have done so far.  I have bent the headband on my DT-990 Premiums...Premium model as you know already doesn't have stout clamp pressure...part of my calculus for getting them.  As I was self diagnosing about how the pad pressure was bugging me...I determined that the pressure was along my jaw and under my earlobe...perhaps exacerbated by slightly large ears...much not grotesquely so. :)   All this stuff is individual as you know...I too wear glasses at the computer which is another contributing factor.  So how the pad draped along my jawline and behind my ear at the bottom was discovered to be my major pressure point. Of course with my background, a myriad of different permutations came to mind...including assymetric ear pads etc.  Upon removing the pads and studying the design a bit, I stumbled on a trick to bias the ratio of ear pad pressure top to bottom.  To be a bit more nuanced, by reducing the headband clamp pressure, now the pressure of the pad was reduced at the temple...but the pad by the weight of each ear cup was causing the cup to rotate and still apply a bit too much pressure along the bottom edge of the ear pads.  This somewhat highlights the possible dynamic that a strong headband clamp maybe more comfortable because it evens out  pad pressure more uniformly top to bottom.  By shimming with some cloth  between the base of the fork up top and the top of the cup..this freezes the hinge of each cup such that they can't just fall..aka rotate down into my jawline.  Now I can tolerate sustained listening intervals without discomfort.  Not elegant...but effective.  I only wished freezing the hinge on both sides of L & R cup could be achieved by design.  It could of course with some mechanical modding.  This way each of us could tune the pressure of each ear cup top to bottom.  Sorry to be pedantic but wanted to share this tip if others love these headphones but are getting a bit too much pad pressure along the bottom when relaxing headband pressure..

 

Lastly, I am slightly less concerned about clamping pressure you mention as it relates to SQ.  I am a bit more focused on comfort as to me even with light pad pressure, these headphones sound outstanding.

 

Kind Regards.

post #5 of 19
Quote:

Originally Posted by 2wheelfan View Post

 

 Out of the box, they just aren't as comfortable to me as say my Senn PX100 II...

Well I  can imagine that the PX100 II are more comfy , but they offer no isolation.

It's a  kind of on ear without clamping force, and lightweight.

I'm not sure what is  the best sound quality , you can get with that kind of headphone.

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by extrabigmehdi View Post

Well I  can imagine that the PX100 II are more comfy , but they offer no isolation.

It's a  kind of on ear without clamping force, and lightweight.

I'm not sure what is  the best sound quality , you can get with that kind of headphone.

You are right of course.  I was speaking purely about comfort.  The PX100II is a whale of a little headphone as you know...but not in the same sphere of the DT-990 for sure.  The tweak to my DT-900's has made them much more tolerable...to the point I will keep them...if nothing else but to mod and futher refine the fit.  Couldn't be happier with the sound.

Thanks for your comments.

post #7 of 19

I actually found the DT770 far less comfortable than my HD650. Didn't notice the high clamping force that people frequently mention, but then again I bought mine used and they've been well worn-in.

post #8 of 19

I actually had this same concern (pressure under the ear lobe) while seeking out a pair of over the ear headphones. I eventually settled on the DT770's (250OHM) and I have to say they are incredible comfortable.

I can wear them for hours at a time with little to no discomfort.

 

Regards,
 

post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by calipilot227 View Post

I actually found the DT770 far less comfortable than my HD650. Didn't notice the high clamping force that people frequently mention, but then again I bought mine used and they've been well worn-in.

Can you explain in what regard you find the HD650 more comfortable than the DT770?  I am interested as I believe the feel of the DT770 and DT990 to be similar if not identical...and the DT-990 as mentioned is what I have.

I haven't tried the HD650 but I understand it has deep and large ear pads which may work better for a guy like me.  I understand the clamp pressure to be a bit higher on the HD650.  Anybody know if the HD650 headband can be bent as readily as Beyerdynamics DT-770/880/990 which is quite easy to tweak?

post #10 of 19

The headband (not the plastic part, the metal arms that connect to the earcups) can be easily bent to relieve the pressure. I found the cups of the DT770 too small, they would always put pressure somewhere on my ear. The HD650 pads are the perfect size and shape to completely encircle the ear, and they're deep enough that your ears shouldn't touch the drivers.

post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by calipilot227 View Post

The headband (not the plastic part, the metal arms that connect to the earcups) can be easily bent to relieve the pressure. I found the cups of the DT770 too small, they would always put pressure somewhere on my ear. The HD650 pads are the perfect size and shape to completely encircle the ear, and they're deep enough that your ears shouldn't touch the drivers.

Thanks calipilot.  Comports with what I read about the HD650.  I may very well have to pick one up.  I have the same issue with DT990.  Ear pads are a bit small for my ears as well and a bit shallow.  The other inexplicable thing about the ear pads on the DT-990 is the very hard inside diameter edge of the veleour pads near the dust cover.  This seems to be a pretty outrageous design element.  Why would Beyerdynamics  compromise room inside the ear pad...accoustics?....especially with such a hard inner edge of the ear pad where a large ear would press?

post #12 of 19

Over ear (circum-aural) at home, and in ear for everywhere else. This is just the best way to go in my opinion.

 

My Q701 have the perfect amount of clamp and never hurt the side of my head. They are huge, open, and require at least a moderately powerful amp so portability is a no-go. 

 

Away from home I use my GR01 IEM's. They sound very close to the Q701 in terms of overall frequency response, are small and portable and do just fine out of my iPhone 4 headphone jack. 

post #13 of 19

I've only ever used cheap on-ears. My brother has some Bose ones, but I don't really know about the comfort since I've only ever used them for a short amount of time. So I, also having glasses, associate on-ear headphones with ear-pain. I've also only used cheap circum-aural and in-ear phones and neither create the discomfort of the on-ears. YMMV

post #14 of 19

I think that the Grado SR80is with L-Cush ear-pads were the most comfortable headphone I've ever worn. I see what you're saying, as my HE-400 just seems to be less comfortable. I have small ears, so the L-Cush pads actually went around my ears and formed a good 'seal'.


My $0.02.

post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonb View Post

Over ear (circum-aural) at home, and in ear for everywhere else. This is just the best way to go in my opinion.

 

My Q701 have the perfect amount of clamp and never hurt the side of my head. They are huge, open, and require at least a moderately powerful amp so portability is a no-go. 

 

Away from home I use my GR01 IEM's. They sound very close to the Q701 in terms of overall frequency response, are small and portable and do just fine out of my iPhone 4 headphone jack. 

Thanks Jason.  I tried to find a decent pic of the Q701 ear pad but couldn't.  Is the ear pad on the Q701 a cup or is it flat?

Also...the two wire band looks easy to bend if need be.  Do you know if it can be tweaked?

Thanks again.

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