General headphone discussion

A place to ask/discuss all your random headphone questions and thoughts about headphones… expect topics to be moved here if they are too general.


What’s everybody’s favorite shape? (ie. round cups, suspension strap/ oval cups, single band)

Being comfort oriented, for cups, I like large round cups with big ear openings (ala Audeze LCD2). For headband, I like either suspension straps or contoured padding with relief at the top of the cranium like on the Sennheiser HD600 series.

As far as looks, I find the design of high end Focals like the Clear to be very aesthetically pleasing, with flowing lines, interesting textures and a good sense of solidity without being huge.

All-time most comfortable are the discontinued AudioQuest NightHawk and NightOwl series. They had an elastic suspension strap (top) and floating/rotating ear cups.

It’s hard to beat Focal for a good balance between comfort and strength.

Fashion…I don’t know and don’t ever consider it. I wear Sony noise canceling or IEMs in public.

I found Audio Technicas 3d wing system quite comfortable. I still have my R70x that uses that headband type. I like large round cups.


For me are the Susvaras/He1000 (HiFiMan Suspension and Headband) and the AE2C/Ether flow (Dan Clark Audio Suspension and Headband).

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Don’t care about the shape of the ear pieces as long as the padding is good.
The manufacturer just has to have a headband that acknowledges not everyones skull is a perfect flat on top.

Sennheiser HD280 Pro gets that right, AudioTechnica sometimes gets it (3D wings, F yeah!), AKGs floating strap… eh… K72 is nice, K712 hurts after a while (3-ish hours).

Comfort is a big part of my headphone enjoyment. When I found out that these were no longer made I was cursing my bad luck!

It’s not so much the shape as low clamp force that is most important to me. Apparently I have a big head. :nerd_face:

Anyway my favorite shape seems to be large circular ear cups, velour pads with decently stiff memory foam, and a suspension strap. I suspect I will prefer suede pads, but I haven’t tried any - yet.

Interesting. This is currently my most comfortable pair of headphones. Did you try working the leather of the strap a bit to soften it up? I’ve heard that helps but I haven’t felt the need myself.

I tried the fenestrated sheepskin Dekoni pads with the K712 and found them to be way to flimsy/soft. Also prefer the higher breathability of the factory pads.

A lot of interesting replies. Clamping force and good pads do make a difference.

For comfort, I like on the ear foam. Koss Porta-Pros with Yaxi pads. Grados with S or L cushions. I very much like the light clamping force and L cushion Grado RS1e with the leather headband and classic Grado headphone attachment style - probably not a coincidence that ZMF uses a similar arrangement.

My old STAX SR-5n has a round over the ear cup, light clamping force and light weight.

Once we go to over the ear, questions of heat and clamping force always come in. The Sennheiser HD-580 has fairly light clamping, and oval over the ear, and stock velour pads. Not bad. I have to see if the new pleather Yaxi pads which slightly increase the force are worth the slightly better soundstage. I love the sound, but not the force of the HD-6xx. The Hifiman HE-560 is better, but bigger, heavier and sort of klunky. I have a feeling that I would have issues with a HEDD, given how I feel about the Hifiman.

You realize of course, that your question as written, has probably tempted several of us to write highly suggestive replies about large pear-shaped cups, firm, but soft to the touch . . .

Sorry. I didn’t realize my question may have caused bias. I’ll try to fix it.

My favorite for comfort is upside-down teardrop+suspension strap (ex. DCA A2C)
My favorite for looks is round cups+single band (ex. Sony MDR Z1R, AudioTechnica ATH WP900)

No no! don’t change a thing. Not bias but urge to type audio erotica.

Her heaving pear-shaped pads caressed my ears. I could almost hear the the bass slam pulsing, causing slight compression on the soft leatherette…


My most comfortable headphones are my NINO Final Carbon Mk3.1. These are superb comfort-wise both on the head and on the ears.


My most comfortable over ear headphone is the HD800S.


I get what you are trying to say.
I apologize for my thick-ish skull.

I’m with @pennstac on the PortaPros as far as comfort, I forget I am wearing them.

As far as aesthetics, the Meze Empyrean look amazing to me and I understand they are pretty darn comfortable also.


The Stax SR-007 is my favorite for comfort and fit. The pads rotate for optimized fit with the head, and they are fairly lightweight.


A few months ago I started writing a series of emails to friends about what I’m learning from my (relatively new) hobby of headphones. They encouraged me to post them to a blog, so I edited them into blog posts and put them up on Some are kinda reviews, more just impressions, and those I’ll post to the appropriate thread but the rest I’ll put here if that’s ok.

Here’s the first:

FYI I don’t make any money from this. Medium does have a paywall, but no ads. However I’ll always post the “friend link” here which gets around the paywall anyway.

Nice! Given your love of speaker like staging, I highly recommend trying cross feed or even better, this:


Dude. Off topic, but couldn’t help noticing your profile pic and wanted to say I will never forget hearing Lateralus through an Elex and Feliks Audio Echo + Bifrost 2. It was unbelievable. The metallic edge was taken away and the bottom end got a nice welcomed heft. Also recommend OTL tube amps if you enjoy speaker like experiences.This community is very responsive. Everyone is more than happy to share their discoveries from what I’ve seen.

All that I’ve come to collect over the years is on my profile if you have questions or want to talk about anything.