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Question about isolation/leakage

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hello!

 

My question: are there headphones that don't sacrifice comfort for good isolation and low leakage? I have an issue with headphones that have good isolation/low leakage in that the clamping force is usually too strong and the part where the cups press on my jaw gets very uncomfortable after less than 10 minutes of use. 

 

 

 

I bought and tried the following:

 

NVZ XPT100 - great comfort. good isolation. wife could hear everything playing at 50% volume on my ipod. Didn't like that they didn't fold for increased portability. Also wasn't a fan of input cables going through both cups. Loved the sound signature

 

M-Audio Q40 - great isolation and low leakage. Could play songs around 70% before wife complained. replaced the stock ear pads with shure 840 pads. Been stretching them for 3 days, clamp force is still too strong. Cable seems like it isn't very durable. LOVED how these sounded. 

 

Shure 440 - comfortable, similar level of isolation/leakage as the XPT100s. Didn't love the sound signature. 

 

ATH m50s - Same issue as with the q40s comfort-wise. Definitely less clamp force after stretching for a couple days. But seemed to leak a lot more afterwards. Sound was good at first, but then I noticed the muddiness a lot of people complain about. 

 

 

I guess when all is said and done, the comfort is slightly more important to me than the sound. I can't enjoy the sound if I can't keep the headphones on. I can't stand IEMs, which I know is the obvious solution. And I know that over the ear cans won't have 0% leakage, but I just was wondering if you guys have any suggestions on what I should try next. I heard a lot of good things comfort-wise about the CAL!s but I am looking for a set that can fold for portability (unless some of you who bring your cans with you everywhere can provide insight on long term convenience of foldable/unfoldable cans?). I just started my journey into the world of hifi (ignorance is bliss in terms of my wallet...), so I'm trying to keep my budget under $150 on my first pair (returned all the ones mentioned above).

 

Edit for clarity: I know I can't get the perfect headset to meet all my needs, so here is the list of traits I am looking for in descending order of priority:

 

1. Comfort

2. Minimal Leakage

3. Sound

4. Portability

5. Isolation

 

Thanks!


Edited by Dubear - 2/1/14 at 11:29am
post #2 of 8
I suspect your requirements and expectations are too high. You don't want IEMs, but you do want high isolation, but you also don't want high clamping force, but you also do want portability. I'm sorry, but all those requirements simply can't be met - and that's why you are struggling to find the answer - there simply isn't one.

First question: Have you tried to adjust the clamping force by *carefully* applying pressure to the top of the headband? This is not a good idea if the headband is plastic (it can crack) but if it is metal, it *might* help - if you are VERY careful to apply even, downward pressure. Do this at your own risk!

There are plenty of other closed headphones you can try - for example, the Sennheiser HD280 Pro or HD380 Pro, but they can also have fairly high clamping force. There is the Brainwavz HM5 (and it's variously named siblings), but they are not portable/foldable. There is the Logitech UE6000, but it is out of your price range and the isolation is really just OK (but it does have ANC). There is the Sony MDR-10R - again out of your price range and the isolation won't be any better than the M50 and the other closed cans you have tried.

I will also ask the other obvious question: What IEMs have you actually tried? Have you tried different size and style of tips? Ever tried Comply foam tips? Or Shure black foam tips?
Edited by billybob_jcv - 2/1/14 at 11:16am
post #3 of 8

I think the only headphone that meets what you are looking for is the Mad Dogs.

 

They have good isolation, great comfort and have the best sound for a closed headphone under 300.

 

There is nothing that i know of that will do everything that you are asking for under 150.

 

https://www.mrspeakers.com/MrSpeakers-Mad-Dog-Alpha-Pad-Fostex-T50RP-headphone 


Edited by Ginron - 2/1/14 at 11:26am
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply billybob. You are right about expecting too much haha. I guess I should have used better choice of wording when asking for suggestions. I understand that there is no perfect head set, and I am more looking for something that fits what I'm looking for the best (but not perfectly). I guess it would be easier understood if I listed what I am looking for in descending order of priority:

 

1. Comfort

2. Minimal Leakage

3. Sound

4. Portability

5. Isolation

 

Hopefully that is more clear?

 

I successfully stretched the m50s, but like I said, the leakage increased dramatically. So I was posing the question to see if that's just what I have to live with (high comfort = high leakage). The Q40s were pretty resilient to stretching, as I think the headband is plastic. The XPT100s are one of the siblings of the HM5. I might go back to those if I can't find anything more portable. 

 

As for you question about IEMs; it's not so much a comfort thing as a personal almost phobia of sorts. I can't stand having anything IN my ears haha. Q-tips, ear plugs, fingers etc.; I'd have to be VERY desperate to put them in my ears.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ginron View Post
 

i think the only headphone that meets what you are looking for is the Mad Dogs.

 

They have good isolation, great comfort and have the best sound for a closed headphone under 300.

 

https://www.mrspeakers.com/MrSpeakers-Mad-Dog-Alpha-Pad-Fostex-T50RP-headphone 

 

I was actually looking into those. Someone on the q40 thread mentioned buying the alpha pads to replace the stock ones. Do you think that the ear pads have enough of an effect on the comfort to negate high clamping force?

post #6 of 8

The Alpha Pads are the most comfortable ear pads i have ever had, and that is coming from someone who has owned the Sennheiser HD 558.

 

I think they would give a huge boost to comfort on any headphones you can use them with.

 

The only problem is that they cost 60 dollars which seems a little silly (spending half the price of the headphones on pads). 


Edited by Ginron - 2/1/14 at 11:47am
post #7 of 8
Leakage and Isolation are two sides of the same coin. You might *think* you have good isolation, but what is really happening is that you are turning up the volume to overcome the outside noise, and that is also increasing the leakage.

The reason I said your expectations are too high is only partly because you listed all the requirements - it is really because you said that headphones like M50, SRH440 and Q40 did not meet all your requirements. If those didn't work, then I suspect that anything else I can come up with also probably won't work for you.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

Leakage and Isolation are two sides of the same coin. You might *think* you have good isolation, but what is really happening is that you are turning up the volume to overcome the outside noise, and that is also increasing the leakage.

The reason I said your expectations are too high is only partly because you listed all the requirements - it is really because you said that headphones like M50, SRH440 and Q40 did not meet all your requirements. If those didn't work, then I suspect that anything else I can come up with also probably won't work for you.

Very good point. I was just using the same volume levels to gauge isolation and leakage. But back to my original question, are leakage and comfort directly related? Do I just have to listen to music at lower volumes so that less sound leaks out if I want a comfortable set? Or do I have to just shell out x amount of $$ to get a pair of headphones that provide comfort as well as minimal leakage (like the pair that Ginron suggested). 

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