Pros and Cons of in-ear and over-ear headphones?

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Pros and Cons of in-ear and over-ear headphones?

What are in-ears?
In-ears are plugged directly into the ear canal. This means that the energy consumption is very low and the built-in membranes only have to be moved a little to achieve acceptable volume levels. Sometimes in-ears are also equipped with so-called ear buds (the best-known example is the white Apple EarPods). Here the earphones are more likely to be “hung” in the ear, which some people find more comfortable.

What are the advantages of in-ear headphones?
The advantages of in-ears are their size: they are small and light. Due to their design, they usually offer a good grip – ideal for sporting activities. In addition, they are easy to store away. When you don’t need them, they fit in any jacket pocket. Due to their design, in-ears are plugged directly into the ear canal or, as with the so-called ear buds, directly in front of it. This means that the energy consumption is very low and the built-in membranes only have to be moved a little to achieve acceptable volume levels.

The disadvantages of in-ears compared to on-ears or over-ear headphones
With in-ears, the sound source sits quite close to the eardrum, which sounds very direct and close, but also carries the risk of hearing damage and excessive isolation from outside noise. This can be life-threatening, especially on the road. In terms of sound, inexpensive in-ears in particular do not offer the depth and spatiality that over-ear headphones, for example, offer. Also, the active noise canceling usually doesn’t work as effectively as the ANC on on-ear or over-ear headphones.

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What is the difference between over-ears & on-ears?
Over-ear headphones are circumaural and have larger diaphragms. With over-ears, the pads rest on the ears.

The advantages of over-ears or on-ear headphones
Over-ears, i.e. headphones with circumaural headphones, but also their smaller brothers, the on-ears with over-ear cups, have larger drivers or membranes. Thus, the tonal range – especially as far as naturalness is concerned – is greater. Due to these designs, the air in front of the ears and the auricles primarily influence the sound. This is therefore more spatially differentiated and classical or jazz recordings in particular create a broad stage in our heads on which we can precisely assign the individual instruments. It can therefore be said that listening with large headphones is more like our natural hearing. Another advantage: passive noise canceling is better with over-ears.

What are the disadvantages of over-ears and on-ears?
The size and weight may certainly be a disadvantage for some, but the contact pressure is also a factor that should not be underestimated: If the headphones are too tight, there is an uncomfortable feeling of pressure that can become painful. In addition, heat development becomes an issue during longer listening sessions. Especially in the warm season, the over-ears or on-ears can become a sweaty affair and cloud the enjoyment of music.

However, one cannot say in general that one design is superior to the other in terms of sound. Both in-ears and over-ears have excellent sound representatives of these genres.

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