So first, the rhetorical questions - because of the subjective nature of audio, it’s difficult to really do it wrong, but I am curios about something on a more basic level and that’s the ear pads / cushions. It’s something I’ve recently been into (after building a collection of cans; god this habit is expensive), particularly how the materials affect the sound.
On a really basic level, my understanding is that velour pads might color the sound, either by absorbing some of the frequency ranges or letting them escape, and leather creates a better seal, allowing for a fuller sound. That said, you’d think there would be a particular type of pad that goes well with a certain type of headphone (i.e. velour for open back, leather for closed back). Of course, it varies wildly by build quality of the pad, and the original signature of the cans. So, with that said I’ve had some mixed results with experience.
My Sennheiser HD 558 - originally had velour pads, but they tore (this is how I started in this rabbit hole), so I got some cheap faux leather pads for them, and I was actually pleasantly surprised as the sound signature was noticeably warmer and punchier.
My AKG-K7xx - originally had velour - but I found the heat to be uncomfortable for extended use, so I opted for leather; through an unfortunate shmelt-- I mean shipping accident, I ended up with fenestrated sheep skin pads (opposed to the synthetic leather), which I was unpleasantly surprised with - while they are much more comfortable, it adversely affected the sound - it seems colder; I suspect it’s because these pads are thicker than the original.
Lastly, my Audio-Technica ATH-M50x - originally had that pleather crap and I got velour replacement pads (just for kicks), and pleasantly surprised by the results. My fear was also true, these get warm, but so does the sound - an already punchy headphone just got better, and these are now my most fun set.
Next up is my AKG M220 - the pleather pads are starting to crack to an annoying degree, and with my previous experiences, I think I’m slightly more confused than when I first started.Previously, my favorite pair, the AKG K7xx has become my least favorite, but still serviceable, especially for long term use.
So what are your experiences like? Thoughts, opinions? Let the discussion commence!