Headphones for the Cranially Endowed

Discussion in 'Headphones' started by MrTeaRex, May 31, 2017.

  1. MrTeaRex

    MrTeaRex His head's not fat, he's my brother!

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    Headphones for the Cranially Endowed

    My father’s side of the family has all been blessed (?) with unusually large heads. When first starting in headphones several years ago, and researching gear to seek out and audition, I was able to find plenty of information about the audio characteristics of each model. However, information about the fit, especially for large heads (and how a reviewer defined a large head), was scarce. This led to many instances of wasted time, effort, and/or shipping funds to find and try a headphone based on it’s audio characteristics, only to discover it was never going to fit my colossal dome in the first place.

    Now that I’ve had a chance to try a decent mix of headphones, I thought it might be beneficial to share the results. Headphone manufacturers do not usually publish sizing information, most likely because the mechanisms that impact fit (padded vs. suspension headbands, “wings”, risers, gimbals, etc.) vary wildly in their points of contact with the skull, shape, materials, flexibility, adjustability, and range of motion. For example, the length of the headband on Headphone X may measure longer than the headband on Headphone Y. However, because of the curvature of the headband on Headphone Y, it fits larger heads. As an alternative, I’ve provided some basic measurements of my head and a list of how different headphones fit me.

    Hopefully, this information can be combined with the quality audio information already available on this site to help other cranially endowed people identify potential candidate headphones. Suggestions to make this information more valuable, your own experience with fit, or creative big head jokes would be appreciated.

    Why Fit is Important

    In addition to the obvious comfort benefits, fit impacts the audio characteristics of a headphone. Factors such as the position of the driver in relation to your ears and the seal of the pads on your head can affect frequency response and soundstage. For more specifics, the measurement gurus on this site are way more qualified describe how fit affects their measurement rigs and how that translates to the listening experience.

    Disclaimer

    As with clothing, headphone fit is subjective and personal preference. The only way to truly know if something fits is to try it on for size. Just because something fits my enormous noggin, doesn’t mean it will fit your mammoth noodle. The list below is provided to help identify some cans you may want to try.

    My Head
    • Hat Circumference: 25.25 in / 64 cm
    • Hat Size: 8 US (XXL)
    • Height: 6.5 in / 16.5 cm - measured ear canal to top of head (straight line)
    • Curvature: 17 in / 43 cm - measured ear canal to ear canal (curved line over the top)

    Update: Big Ears!

    Several responses have suggested that this would also be a good place to share headphone information related to big ears. Fortunately, I have relatively normal ears and can't provide much insight here. (Or maybe that's unfortunately, since my vast coconut with regular ears is probably pretty funny looking.) However, I'll attempt to keep a current list of links to the posts in this thread that include ear or ear pad measurements and related headphone compatibility. The headphone list has also been updated to utilize a symbol for gear that is reported to have potential issues with big ears.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2017
  2. MrTeaRex

    MrTeaRex His head's not fat, he's my brother!

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    Legend (credit to @Torq ’s Life after Yggdrasil thread) :

    (-) - indicates a headphone that did not fit comfortably

    (~) - indicates a headphone that fit with full extension of the risers or headband, but required odd (and potentially compromising or uncomfortable) positioning such as the headband being placed far forward or backward on the head

    (=) - indicates a headphone that barely fit with full extension of the risers or headband

    (+) - indicates a headphone that fit with additional adjustment room to spare

    (!) - indicates a headphone that has been reported to have potential compatibility issues with big ears


    Headphones
    • AKG K550 (-)
    • AKG K701 (-)
    • Audeze LCD-2.1 (-) -- [Update: Audeze currently offers extended yoke rods. Thanks, @Daveheart.]
    • Audio Technica ATH-AD2000 (+)
    • Audio Technica ATH-AD1000x (+)
    • Audio Technica ATH-M50 (~)
    • Audio Technica ATH-R70x (-)
    • AudioQuest NightHawk (+)
    • Beyerdynamic DT1350 (-)
    • Beyerdynamic DT880/DT770/DT990 (~)
    • Beyerdynamic T1.2 (=)
    • Bowers and Wilkins P7 (-)
    • Creative Aurvana Live! (=)
    • Denon AH-D5000 (=)
    • Denon AH-D7200 (~)
    • Fischer FA-003 / Brainwavz HM5 (+)
    • Focal Elear (~) (!)
    • Focal Spirit Pro (-)
    • Fostex T50RP MK2/3 (+)
    • Fostex TH-X00 (=)
    • Fostex TH500RP (=)
    • Fostex TH900 (=)
    • Grado PS-500 (~) (!)
    • Grado SR-325 (~) (!)
    • HiFiMAN HE-400S (~)
    • HiFiMAN HE-500 (=)
    • HiFiMAN HE-6 (=)
    • HiFiMAN Edition X v2 (+)
    • Kennerton Vali (=)
    • Koss Porta Pro (~)
    • NAD VISO HP50 (-)
    • Oppo PM-2 (=) (!)
    • Oppo PM-3 (=) (!)
    • Meze 99 Classics (~)
    • Monolith M1060 (~)
    • Mr. Speakers Aeon Flow (=)
    • Philips Fidelio X2 (+)
    • Sennheiser HD25 (+)
    • Sennheiser HD598 (~)
    • Sennheiser HD600/HD650 (+)
    • Sennheiser HD800 (=)
    • Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 (+)
    • Shure SRH1840 (-)
    • Shure SRH840 (-)
    • Sony MDR-Z7 (=)
    • Stax SR-L700 (+)
    • V-Moda Crossfade M-80 (-)
    • ZMF Eikon (=)
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
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  3. Daveheart

    Daveheart Friend

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    I haven't had to use them personally to achieve a fit, but Audeze offers extended yoke rods that may affect how their LCD models fit your head. Also, the stock model isn't on your list, but I think that they offer a larger frame for the Abyss. Other than that, I'm not sure that I've got anything else to add. At a 7 5/8 hat size I don't have fit problems with most cans.
     
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  4. Mshenay

    Mshenay Barred from loaner program. DON'T SEND ME GEAR.

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    Oh gawd, I've never measured my head... but my wife describes it as a big egg, that said... the AKG K550 was horrific to fit... I lost seal all the time with it. I can also say that the wing system on the ATH AD system is the real deal! Though I should be thankful, as the DT 880 fit me comfortably, as does the Eikon an classic Hifiman HE series...

    still good thread, thanks for the information!
     
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  5. pippenainteasy

    pippenainteasy Acquaintance

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    Big ears can be an issue too. For example Focal earpads pinch the edges of my ears which hurt after a while, which resulted in me using the MrSpeakers Ether ES pads to fit around my ears instead of on top. With my ears the Utopia/Elear are basically on-ear headphones.
     
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  6. MrTeaRex

    MrTeaRex His head's not fat, he's my brother!

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    @Daveheart - The information about the extended yoke rods from Audeze has been added to the list. Thanks!

    @pippenainteasy - Fortunately, my ears are not as large as my head, so I can't comment on that element of fit. However, I can see how ear size would be just as important as head size.
     
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  7. shipsupt

    shipsupt Admin

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    I've got a big melon myself, so thanks for putting this information up!

    It would be great if we can all share some data on this. I'll make the promise to measure my head and make some comments about the stats I have.

    I think it's a great place for everyone to comment on ears and pads as well because it seems my big listening holes match well to my larger than average brain container.
     
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  8. zonto

    zonto Friend

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    Agree. Great thread idea.

    Ear size is the only reason I can't wholeheartedly recommend the Oppo headphones (PMx2 hurt my ears after 30+ minutes). Grados are also horrible for that same reason. Of the headphones I've owned since, in order of "big ear" comfort: HD800 > Utopia = HD6x0. Posted about it, with some measurements, here: http://superbestaudiofriends.org/in...eam-of-consciousness.2669/page-18#post-101019. My ears are taller than they are wide, but they kind of slide in the cup cavity on Utopia/Elear, so the pads aren't pressing down on the lobe or helix.
     
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  9. frenchbat

    frenchbat BritishBat's arch enemy - Friend

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  10. Zed Bopp

    Zed Bopp Friend

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    Great idea for a thread!

    I have a big melon too and with most headphones I range between few "clicks" left to fully extended.

    V-Modas
    come to mind first when thinking about too small extensions, especially M80. M100 fits me kinda without a cap, but it's still too tight. K701 was a real nightmare. For starters, I just hate those kind of up-pulling headbands... And these didn't extend enough. And those horribly painful nubs on the headband too, oh my god. (Not to mention the completely out-of-whack & bassless SS.) A complete disaster for a large head. AKG K81 was a huge no the second I tried to fit them on. Way too small.

    In general, I think Sennheiser and Beyer have pretty nice extensions. HD600 & 650 seem to have crazy amounts of "clicks" (for most) to spare.
     
  11. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Very good idea for a thread. If one can't wear a headphone comfortably, it doesn't matter how good it is in any other way.
     
  12. Claritas

    Claritas Friend

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    Size Matters - Earpad hole measurements


    Yup. I've been bitching expressing my concern about this since Momentum came out. (See first comment.)
     
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  13. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    If HD598s are (~) for you, never try HD280s. At the same width the clamping force is much tighter and the headband goes flat - they'd only work if the top of your head is flat or missing.
     
  14. MrTeaRex

    MrTeaRex His head's not fat, he's my brother!

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    The original post and list has been updated to include big ears and reference the appropriate content.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
  15. ButtUglyJeff

    ButtUglyJeff Stunningly beautiful IRL

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    I personally think large headed people have to worry more about creating more "clamping force" with their heads pushing out against the ear pads. That's where I find the Grado L-Cush pads to be torture (those are the pads on the ps-500 and sr-325)

    The Beyerdynamic dt-1350 are quite the squeezers, even with the yokes split all the way open. Those do have more clamping force then I would like...

    Btw, I part of team "hat size 8" too
     
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  16. MrTeaRex

    MrTeaRex His head's not fat, he's my brother!

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    @ButtUglyJeff - You’re absolutely right, clamping force for large heads is one of the most important factors in the list. The information about big ears was a corollary to the big head discussion (and the reason behind creating a separate indicator). For example, a couple of people have reported issues with their ears and the Oppo headphones, but I had no problems with the sizing or clamping force and listed them as a fit (but marked them with the big ear indicator).

    FWIW, I was able to shift the Grados around to make them moderately bearable, but the DT-1350 squeezed a small part of my brains out my nose. We should start a band called Hat Size 8.
     
  17. Erikdayo

    Erikdayo Friend

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    This is a very useful thread. I don't think my head is quite as large as yours, but it must be pretty large. Should measure sometime soon. I fully extended the headband on both the Elear and HD800S so I've worried that eventually I might purchase a headphone and it just wouldn't extend enough to fit well.

    I often find that when I am interested in a headphone many people claim it's very comfortable, but when I try said headphone it really bothers me after a little while and can even give me a headache.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2017
  18. starence

    starence Acquaintance

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    The TH-X00 fits my big fat noggin pretty well, but the earpads are torture for those with large ears.
     
  19. Luckbad

    Luckbad Traded in a unicorn for a Corolla

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    Throw JVC DX1000 up there as fitting huge heads and ears.

    The most comfortable headphone in existence for people with large ears and head? Sennheiser G4me Zero. Unfortunately it sounds like a gaming headphone. Massive, ultra comfortable earpads with an angle built in. The old PXC 450 also had even slightly larger pads but if your ears stick out they can touch the noise cancellation driver.

    Brainwavz HM5 is probably worth a mention.

    For earpad sizes, I have a page that I stopped updating a long time ago, but there are a decent number of measurements:
    http://www.basshead.club/earpad-sizes/
     
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  20. MrTeaRex

    MrTeaRex His head's not fat, he's my brother!

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    @Luckbad I believe the Brainwavz HM5 and Fischer FA-003 are clones (at least as far as the external components), so I added it next to the existing FA-003 entry. The original post has also been updated to link your post.
     

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