15 Comments on Headphones: In-ear vs Over-ear or On-ear

  1. Javier Jordan Avatar

    I own a pair of Sony MDRZX750BN bluetooth headphones. They are the on ear style. After awhile, my outter ears begin to really hurt. Can you recommend an after market over the ear cushion pads?

    • That’s a tough one—I haven’t had much experience with those. I always wear review headphones for about a day to see how they feel (do they cause my ears to sweat, do they hurt, etc).

  2. sachin Avatar

    Hello Client.

    Iam from India and need to buy headphones and need your help. I need budget headphones( 20 USD to 40 USD ) but the issue is i have a bit sensitive ears. so I want to listen at normal level or else it ill hurt my ears.The issue is as follows.

    Public transport here (trains ) here are noisy. I want to listen to education videos while travelling and I do not want to increase the volume to prevent ear damage.

    I have heard that noise cancellation “in ear ” phones are better for noise cancellation and so one does not need to increase the volume . and they will be good for noisy places like a train.

    On the other hand, noise cancellation “on ear” headphones do not prevent much noise and one needs to increase the music volume. So which will be a better choice for me. In ear or on ear ?

    Also I need earphones with mic and i want the mic to work on laptop and smartphone too. Iam considering on ear sony MDR-XB450ap or in ear audiotechina cor 150is……… so pls guide which one to choose with the e above conditions mentioned in above paragraphs

  3. David Avatar

    Very informative and helpful article. But I think, for me, it’s going to come down to price. I’m looking for the best price for the best headphones, I’ve tried very high price over the ear headphones and they were mind blowing but I can’t afford them, so I need to keep it below $100 so I need to know which is better in my price range.

  4. Pingback: How to Choose Headphones - ecoustics.com

  5. Max Jones Avatar

    I’ve always wondered about the debate between in-ear vs over-ear headphones. I usually tend to use in-ear headphones, for the simple fact that these headphones are smaller and easier to just throw in a pocket like you said. When portability isn’t an issue however, I love having bigger over-ear headphones to give me the better quality sound! For me the debate still remains, but I think that having both options keeps me happy!

  6. Soren Avatar

    In my experience:

    Earbuds are awful. They leak more sound than headphones, they cause unbearable pain after just an hour of use, and all sound quality goes out the window. I would never recommend these to anyone. If I want awareness of my surroundings (at work for example), I just unplug one ear.

    Supra-aurals are incredibly comfortable. Sound quality isn’t as good as circum-aurals, but good enough for me. But because I wear glasses, headphones cause ear pain after prolonged use (up to several hours, depending on the cushion foam type).

    IEMs are the best for me. I’m not much into bass, but good IEMs can still deliver a good dose. The sound isolation and clarity is unmatched by the other types, and they usually come significantly cheaper. With good foam tips I can go to sleep wearing a pair of IEMs and not have any pain next morning, though I wouldn’t recommend it if you have an expensive pair. That leads to the only problem with IEMs. They’re just not as durable. The longest I’ve had a working pair for was 2 years I think. But there are plenty of great brands/models you can buy for under $50 and still have amazing sound.

    For foam tips I buy foam plugs, snip them in half and use a soldering iron to melt a hole through. Pretty sketchy but very effective. You can buy them from online or get custom tips made of silicon but I’m not that big of an audiophile to invest in those.

  7. jeremy Avatar

    What about AXUM? finally, someone is making wireless headphones for RUNNERS!!!! and not just another gaming/Netflix earbuds… to be honest, I really doubt that there’s a better pair of this completely wireless earbuds – can’t wait to get mine https://goo.gl/RT6t6p

  8. BV Avatar

    I’ve always used the Jabra sport coach (special edition) with comply foam tips. But now I have broken them by accident, and I would like a better sound quality and better or at least the same quality of noise cancellation.
    I want to cancel out static noise, but voices are almost just as important to me.

    Right now I’m thinking of the Sony mdr-1000x.

    But what do you think will be better for noise cancelling?
    An ANC over ear headset or a pair of in-ear headphones with comply foam tips?

  9. Cam Avatar

    Looking for some help. My wife and I watch TV together and she complains that I always have the volume too high. If I turn it down to where she likes it, I can’t make out the speech over the background noise. Can you tell me if there are wireless headphones out there that I can wear and turn the volume up and my wife can set the ‘room’ volume to a setting for everyone else. Our TV is a Samsung 55 Smart [no bluetooth] Do I need a new TV? Thanks, Cam

  10. Kaden Flowers Avatar

    I personally HATE on ear headphones for comfort and sound quality, because i wear glasses and my ears don’t like pressure against my glasses. With on ear headphones they just push my ears so hard against my glasses that it is unbearable and it doesn’t make a full seal around your ear either so some of the sound quality is lost. With over ear headphones they only push against my glasses and not the ear so it doesn’t hurt to wear them on your ear while also sealing against your skin completely so that you don’t have any loss in sound quality.

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