Yeah. Well I've arrived at this conclusion: Since the inner rings has nothing but frame behind them, i dont think they are not directly affecting the sound. But I will say this: the inner rings aim to make sure the pads remain sturdy, stiff (not at all in a bad way) and kind of firm. Id like to add the words FRESH and PUMPED yet still soft and comfy. Pads normally change shape and compress to adjust to the clamp, much like using the cushioning. These always stay in shape much like a sports bra (hehehe). Like tight and stiff kind of (still with comfort), if ur getting my drift. Thus, sound travels straight, directed and focused and delivered the same way every time. The pads wont press in or behave differently on different heads or behave differently at different times and dont press or come back out or stuff. They stay stiff and sound stays consistent every time. I think that is all the rings do, but does indeed make sense in the longer and continuous run. I think that's why the sound actually changed for me when i tried angled brainwavz sheepskin pads and it may happen with almost any other pd since the stock pads are completly filled with foam and plastic sheet really pulls everything tight and then its glued to stay firm and stiff. This sturdiness of pads may also add some optimization to other stuff. For example i did get that sturdiness to an extent on the brainwavz hybrid pads for my JvC ha sz1000. My two cents.