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On-ear headphones are the headphones you remember from years past – they sit on your ears, rather than protruding into them or fully encompassing them. The earpads are typically covered in foam or some other cushion, and have a plastic or metal band connecting the two. Some on-ear headphones clip directly onto your ear, like the Bluetooth ones that are sometimes packaged with cell phones.
Pros and Cons
First, the pros: on-ear headphones often offer better sound quality than in-ear headphones, and can be listened to at a lower volume with better dynamic range. They’re much less portable than earbuds, however, and can let in a great deal of ambient noise because the ear isn’t entirely sealed. In addition, many don’t appreciate the “earmuff look” on-ear headphones give. Still, they are very traditional headphones that deliver good sound quality and comfort for those who don’t like sticking earbuds directly into their ears.
Who Should Use Them?
On-ear headphones are good for those who need to pay attention to the depth and sound of what their listening to – on-ear headphones often provide higher quality dynamic range and sound than their in-ear counterparts. You’ll often see those in music or movie production using on-ear headphones. They can also be used for travel, especially those that offer active noise cancellation, to soften ambient noise.