General headphone discussion



Well contrary to the rabbit hole I’m trying not to waste money, not improve performance. My portable headphones need new pads and the pads they came with are currently out of stock.

They said they are unsure when they will be in stock, so my only option is to buy something that may possibly make them different or unpleasant or not use them at all cause the pads came completely apart.

So of course the answer is it depends. Don’t know which portables, don’t know if they’re on-ear or over ear. You mention alcantara or protein leather - both man-made products.

Dekoni and Brainwavz are both reputable replacement pad manufacturers for a wide variety of headphones. Yaxi also makes good replacements for a few headphones.

Yes, the material can affect the sound. Putting tape around foam earphones affects the sound. Thick or thin - how far the headphone drivers are from your ear affects the sound and soundstage. How deteriorated the foam is can affect the sound.

If you have very expensive headphones you have people telling you which of Zack’s pads are best, or if you have Grados, how Beautiful Audio sews beautiful sound into the pads. But some manufacturers just use Brainwavz or Dekoni. So I’d try one of those to start with, won’t break the bank. They try to make things in the same ballpark as the originals.

How does all of this stuff affect things? Way beyond my paygrade, but sound does reflect differently off of different materials. and it probably travels and/or is absorbed differently in different densities of foam.
But if your pads are shot (mine were on my old Sennheiser HD-580s and after 20+ years I replaced them) ANY of the decent pads will not be wasting money. I got Yaxi’s for the old Senns. My Nectarsound Hive e-stats came with Brainwavz.


The least complicated answer was already provided by pennstac. The rabbit hole symbolizes a seemingly endless maze of passageways that one takes.
Of the aftermarket pads that I have experimented with, they have been fraught with failures in one way or another. All of that wasted money served as tuition educating me to no longer spend money on experiments with aftermarket pads. While I did achieve momentary improved sound with velour pads on ZMF Aeolus for a short while, my headphones finally blossomed once I acquired factory ZMF pads that were recommended by the ZMF.
Why not inquire for recommended pads for the model of headphone you speak of? Perhaps then you might just purchase one pair of recommended pads until you the actual pad comes back in stock. You will most likely be disappointed if you simply purchase pads recklessly.
What I would chose to do in order of preference:

  1. Wait for factory replacements
  2. Purchase recommended pads until factory pads become available
  3. Contact ZMF, Dekoni and other manufactures to see what they suggest for your headphone
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My headphones don’t come with any aftermarket products. They are only sold by the manufacturer. Therefore I assume that the padding doesn’t really change, only the outer material.

Edit: also go figure the alcantara is probably sold out for a reason lol, which raises concern

As stated it isn’t to improve sound just not hurt it. It may also be the opposite switching to different pads may improve. That’s why I was wondering what if any differences there maybe strictly between the different materials.

Alcantara was what came with it, and I do very much enjoy that. But protein leather is the only available option. The pads are not shot, I just messed up and left them in the car when it was hot so the glue cooked and the material came free exposing the pads.

I do have the option I guess of DIY repair if that makes things simple or just buy the protein leather and see what happens.

Just assuming with some of you guys with more experience or point me to someone that does or an article/post/thread which can help me further evaluate what route to take.

Definitely not the end of the world.

Your question might be better suited for someone like Zach from ZMF - someone who tunes headphones and can tell you exactly what changes when swapping different pad materials; maybe even why it changes.

What I can tell you is the same that others have: aftermarket pads can certainly change the frequency response, and it’s rare that it’s for the better.

Dekoni is good about taking FR measurements and showing the change on their website, which is pretty cool. I wish all aftermarket pad manufacturers would do this, but I understand why they don’t. And there are others (such as Resolve and DMS) that have acquired pads and measured the differences, posting the graphs and subjectively heard changes to forums. That stuff is invaluable IMO.

What is the headphone you’re looking for replacement pads for?


M&D MW65 [20 characters]

Cool. Looking at their website, it appears they only have the walnut colored leatherette pads available, so I see what you mean. Did your set of headphones comes with the leatherette or the alcantara?

I didn’t even know that Mogen David made headphones. With the holidays coming up, maybe I should look for a pair.

Hmmmmm? Lol

As stated previously when I was in the market for bt headphones I ordered a bunch of different brands. Senn’s etc

I found the only two to meet my criteria of what I believe is quality sound/my pref was the beyerdynamic lagoon/traveler, both being the same headphone with different color schemes I believe. Plus this MW65, which I ended up preferring more. Also I never tried the original MW65, I purchased one which was a collab which came with the alcantara pads @Nuance Not sure what the difference maybe if any with different pads, as I assume that’s the only real difference.

I think it is a Be coated driver, but it just says Be so who knows. Very inoffensive and seems neutral. I requested Andrew to test them, but I guess he couldn’t get a pair and didn’t want to pay for it as they are fairly expensive in the BT market.

Also with noise canceling in mind they beyerdynamic sounded better with it off and these headphones sound better with it on, specifically level 1 nc. And do a fairly good job or better than anything I heard with nc on

Furthermore I did get them at 40% off so that was also a big part of keeping them. At full price I may have just stuck with Beyer and lost nc