Comfort over sound, what pair of headphones should I get?
Mar 6, 2012 at 3:14 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 34


New Head-Fier
Mar 6, 2012
I'm looking for the most comfortable pair of over-ear headphones (that one can find easily)
Sound quality is not as important to me. I want to be able to where headphones for more than 12 hours a day in a row without my ears hurting.
I should note that I have large ears.
I've searched the forums on Head-Fi, the best thread I could find was 
this one:
Unfortunately, the thread was from 2006, and a lot of the headphones mentioned are not easy to find.
It seemed to me like the consensus on that thread was that the HD590s were the most comfortable pair of headphones (and I really like Sennheiser) -- of course, I can't find them anywhere on the internet.
Are the HD598s just as comfortable as the HD590s?
My budget is <$300, cheaper is better obviously, but I want to get very, very comfortable headphones.
What is the most comfortable pair of over-ear headphones that both fits a large set of ears and is available online?
In addition, noise cancellation is a plus -- are the HD 380 Pros comfortable?
Mar 6, 2012 at 3:23 AM Post #2 of 34
Most comfortable for <$300, IMO, would be the Denon D2000s. And yes, I have some really big ears.
Mar 6, 2012 at 3:26 AM Post #3 of 34
The HD 590 is very different from any current production Sennheiser; here's a picture:

They've also been out of production for quite a long time. 
I've read that the HD 380 is just as clampy as the HD 280, if not worse; I'd pass on them based on that.
Now to actual suggestions:
IMO, the absolute bar to beat would be the Sony MDR-F1. They're the lightest fullsize headphones I'm aware of, and have very large earcups relative to their weight; you almost forget you're wearing them half the time. The upside is that the sound quality is also great (okay let me qualify a few things: I don't like "bassy" headphones and I listen fairly quiet in a fairly quiet environment). They provide zero isolation though. You can get them from AudioCubes (which is very easy, but you'll probably wait a week or two for them to make their voyage from Japan). 
Some other models to consider:
Sennheiser HD 580/600/650
Bose AE1/AE2 (unless they press on your temples; most people don't have this issue, try them before you buy)
Ultrasone (various models with velour pads; they're all more or less similar in design).
I've read that the Sony MDR-777 (Altus HD) are a potential alternative to the Bose AE, but they tend to cost more (and I've never tried them to confirm comfort or sound); but that's also something to consider.
The general formula for a comfortable headphone is:
- Lightweight
- Low pressure exerted on head (auto-sizing headbands, large earpads, and large cups get this)
- Open-back (contributes to lightweight and allows ventilation)
- Velour/Escaine earpads (allow breathing and are soft)
- Fabric headband independent of actual support (like Audio-Technica or Sony), OR a very light headband (like Denon or Bose) 
Sony really got all of those things right with the F1; I'm assuming that the Audio-Technica ATH-AD series are just as good (many of them are nearly as light as the F1, have Escaine or velour earpads, have the 3D Wing headbands, and are open) and some of them probably sound better (this is just based on how well regarded they are; for all I know they're expensive bologna though). 
I would avoid synthetic leather/pleather/vinyl earpads wherever possible; natural leather is somewhat better, but still gets "hot" relative to fabrics. 
There's not a whole lot of headphones that fit perfectly into this archetype; a lot of very comfortable headphones (like the Denon and Bose sets) use synthetic leather earpads - their biggest issue will be heat over time. The upside is, they isolate and contain sound better than something like the MDR-F1 or Ultrasone HFI-2400. 
Mar 6, 2012 at 4:01 AM Post #4 of 34
Phones you should put on your head and see if you find them to be comfortable:
Senn HD 598
Beyer DT 770, 880 and 990 lines
Shure SRH840
AKG K 240 Studio--for a budget oriented choice.
CAL's--also a budget choice, but might be too small for your ears.
Mar 6, 2012 at 6:56 AM Post #5 of 34
I find the Beyer DT250 very comfortable. They were designed with wearing them over long periods in mind.
They don't have noise cancellation. But they are closed and isolate reasonably well for what they are.
Mar 6, 2012 at 6:59 AM Post #6 of 34
The HD598s are very comfortable. Can't go wrong really. 
Mar 6, 2012 at 7:30 AM Post #7 of 34
I'd suggest the DT-770.  Extremely comfortable, even moreso than the D5000 (and since it has velour instead of pleather pads, it won't even get sweaty), and while not noise cancelling, it has good isolation.  I'm not sure how large your ears are, but I'm of slightly larger than average height and there's room to spare in the cups for my ears, as the cups are fairly wide and deep.
Mar 6, 2012 at 7:37 AM Post #9 of 34
Another possibility are Audio-Technicas. The AD900 are the most comfortable headphones I've tried, period... They are enormous and very lightweight. You just forget you are wearing them.
The AD900 doesn't isolate at all, but AT's closed models might be worth looking at.
Mar 6, 2012 at 8:46 AM Post #12 of 34
Does anyone currently know the best place to buy the D2000s? I'm in Australia so shipping is a bit of an issue, but I've seen the prices vary greatly. The best I can find is accessoryjack at $280 + $20 shipping.
Mar 6, 2012 at 11:18 AM Post #15 of 34
598 you barely feel on your head, comfortable but nothing that makes them more comfortable than wearing nothing... my dt770s on the other hand feel like you're wrapped in a cocoon of warmth and sound.  Really comfy like a nice old chair.  I'd like some beyer earmuffs lol

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