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Is there a difference between oval and circle shaped headphones?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I just realized I've never actually owned a pair of circle phones, so I was wondering what the slight differences were, if any. Comfort? Soundstage? Aesthetics?

post #2 of 21

I think that comfort might be to biggest perceivable difference with oval being most comfortable. Technically there might be some differences in sound stage but you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference IMO. Many manufacturers have gone to the oval shape now. 

post #3 of 21

It depends , some of the Beyers are amazingly comfortable whereas the HiFiMANs being circular are horrid to wear for long sessions , the sound difference will be affected by the foam and layering , more the space more noticeable dips at a particular frequency 

The first headphone to have a high tech earpad was the dt48 by Beyer 

post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTechAgent View Post

It depends , some of the Beyers are amazingly comfortable whereas the HiFiMANs being circular are horrid to wear for long sessions , the sound difference will be affected by the foam and layering , more the space more noticeable dips at a particular frequency 
The first headphone to have a high tech earpad was the dt48 by Beyer 

I don't think the shape of the HiFiMan's pads is so much the problem as the weight of the headphone and the padding in the pads. I have AKG K550s with round pads that, like the Beyers, are perfectly comfortable.
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


I don't think the shape of the HiFiMan's pads is so much the problem as the weight of the headphone and the padding in the pads. I have AKG K550s with round pads that, like the Beyers, are perfectly comfortable.

If you notice the inner part of HiFiMAN EarPads have a vinyl rim which is very think , that causes severe itching after long sessions 

post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


I don't think the shape of the HiFiMan's pads is so much the problem as the weight of the headphone and the padding in the pads. I have AKG K550s with round pads that, like the Beyers, are perfectly comfortable.

Here it is ...

 

post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrTechAgent View Post

If you notice the inner part of HiFiMAN EarPads have a vinyl rim which is very think , that causes severe itching after long sessions 

I've never experienced the itching myself with my HE-400s, but OK. However, I would imagine that you could have the same problem with an oval shaped headphone that has that vinyl rim.
post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


I've never experienced the itching myself with my HE-400s, but OK. However, I would imagine that you could have the same problem with an oval shaped headphone that has that vinyl rim.

Right 

post #9 of 21

For me comfort is the biggest difference.  The smaller the overall head contact area, the more comfortable I find it to be.  The K1000 after a decade+ still to me remains the most comfortable wearing "headphone" ever made.  IMHO bigger cans can be unbearably warm, with big pleather earpad models adding sweat and perspiration to the mix.

 

Some headphones can change their sonic character with positioning.  So in many cases larger earpad models that allow a lot of different positions (up/down/left/right), allow you to fine tune with positioning over/around the ear.

post #10 of 21

Oval pads tend to fit better so long as the interior is deep enough, but I think round looks nicer. My favorite lookers are DT880 (2003) and Stax SR007A, but I don't own them because I don't enjoy the sound of Beyers enough and I'm not rich enough to be buying Stax.

post #11 of 21

I can't say this with absolute certainty, but I believe that, all else being equal, the circular pads are going to have a greater internal volume (since they'll have to be larger in order to fit an ear) and thus will end up with a wider sound. At the very least, there will be more "air" to the sound.

post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SomeGuyDude View Post
 

I can't say this with absolute certainty, but I believe that, all else being equal, the circular pads are going to have a greater internal volume (since they'll have to be larger in order to fit an ear) and thus will end up with a wider sound. At the very least, there will be more "air" to the sound.

I think there is some validity to this.  The two broadest imaging dynamic cans are the K7XX and HD800, are also two of the biggest.  The DT880 and GS1000 are no slouch either and are likewise rather BIG.  Planar / electrostats have always been HUGE, and generally they are not found to be closed in sounding.  I think there's enough of a consensus out there to say that *generally* larger headphones image better.  The thorn in the arguments side though would be the requirement that "all else being equal".  Which is an impossible hurdle to get around... Except for Grados where you can very easily increase/decrease soundstage and space with pad changes, and everything else remaining identical.


Edited by kramer5150 - 3/17/14 at 2:34pm
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by kramer5150 View Post
 

I think there is some validity to this.  The two broadest imaging dynamic cans are the K7XX and HD800, are also two of the biggest.  Look at how Grado achieves its soundstage with various pad sizes.   Planar / electrostats have always been HUGE, and generally they are not found to be closed in sounding.

 

On the flipside, the VMODA are notoriously cramped on the ears and are also known for a smallish soundstage. Additionally, people have said that putting the XL pads on (which are more spacious) increases the soundstage. 

post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SomeGuyDude View Post

I can't say this with absolute certainty, but I believe that, all else being equal, the circular pads are going to have a greater internal volume (since they'll have to be larger in order to fit an ear) and thus will end up with a wider sound. At the very least, there will be more "air" to the sound.

I think you guys are probably right. Bigger cavity inside/around the ear probably does tend to help with better soundstage and imaging.
post #15 of 21

A bigger earpad give a illusion of bigger soundstage, but not a real bigger one  (Somewhat hard to explain) IMO. The change in round or oval shaped pads is the comfort in my experience, but if the round pads are big, no problem. However create a seal with the round pads is not easy for me.

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