A basic guide to circumaural and supra-aural headphones.

I enjoy headphones a lot because they are a cheap way to have the best quality available for a decent amount of money, if of course you don’t buy the super high-end products of Grado, Stax or any other established brands.

Headphones are private, sound amazing, portable or at least transportable and for the stereophiles out there they are also collectibles.
The world of Headphones is a growing one, there are amazing forums on the internet about the subject, be advised that some of this places can be a bit unfriendly to newbies.

Anyway there are four types of headphones; circumaural, supra-aural, earbud, and in-ear.
All have good and bad sides, today I’ll write only about the ones I enjoy the most, the Circumaural and Supra-aural headphones:

Circumaural or around the ear are usually big and heavy but have amazing quality with a good amplifier. This type of head phones can only isolate you from the outside noise if they are closed-back, any open back will leak/receive sound to the exterior thus they are truly for home use.

Supra-aural or over the ear
are really good for commuting to work but in most cases don’t isolate sound as good as around the ear headphones.

My advice on choosing this two types of headphones for commuting is:
If you live in a noisy area buy the closed back around the ear headphones with a nice portable amplifier. Open backed headphones aren’t good for commuting but they can be nice if you need to hear the exterior noises, but remember people around you will hear everything and judge your bad taste in music because of that.
Over the ear headphones are easy on most portable players so you don’t really need an amplifier, they don’t isolate the outside noise but people will not dance with your music like it happens with open-backed around the ear. If you need really portable headphones for travel these are the ones to buy!

My advice for home listening is:
If you want the typical Hi-Fi sound go with most open backed headphones doesn’t matter if they use normal dynamic drivers or electrostatic ones. Some people also like the sound of monitor circumaurals because they are more analytic and can show the good and bad of a song, professionals love these types of headphones because they don’t color the sound like most Hi-Fi ones and they don’t leak sound if needed in studio recording, plus usually monitor headphones are built to receive greater amounts of abuse.

Remember, this is the basic guide to headphones so I didn’t write about electrostatic drivers, noise canceling or other head fidelity jargon.

On a personal note I only really enjoy these two types of headphones because ear buds and the in ear monitors hurt my audition a lot.

Above all try to hear them or at least read many reviews around the net before you buy some headphones .
Don’t be afraid to have a little collection of headphones, it’s normal for head fidelity fans.

Enjoy your music.