Here’s some info that might come in handy, when you want to enjoy your headphones and equipment for years to come.

The clamping force is too strong

When you buy a new headphone, chances are the clamping force is a bit too much.  This is normal and it’s important to know that the clamping will get less over time.  One thing you can do to speed up the process is putting the headphones over a shoebox when you’re not using them.

Another thing you can do is bend the headband a little.  Not all headphones lend themselves to this, so be careful though not to break the headband!

The importance of well-maintained earpads

Over time chances are your earpads are not in a very good shape anymore.  If you notice that they have become flat, it’s important you replace them.  Fully decompressed earpads have a negative influence over the overall sound signature of your headphones.  Most well-respected brands offer replaceable earpads to be ordered from their site.  If you don’t find them, contact the manufacturer to ask if they offer this.

Also do not ever machine wash your earpads as this will also speed up the aging process as it softens the material much quicker.  Just use a dry microfiber cloth to gently dust them off.  If the earpads are dirty, I recommend baby wipes.  These are alcohol-free and non-aggressive.  After cleaning with a baby wipe, use a clean microfiber cloth to gently dry them.

If there is a stain, you can also use a soft toothbrush to carefully brush over the stain.

If lots of small hairs get stuck on your velour earpads, you can also use a lint roller.

Over-the-ear earcups too small for your ears

Okay, so you bought an over-the-ear headphone and you noticed that the earcups don’t fit over your ear.  Over longer listening periods, this will create a painful feeling on your ears.

Now if they’re really too small there’s unfortunately not much you can do, besides checking if there are bigger replacement earpads available.  If they are just a little bit too small, you can try to stretch the earcups.  Put something in the earcups that is a little bit wider and leave it there, until they’ve stretched out a bit.

Watch the volume when using a dedicated amp

Always turn down the volume of your dedicated amp when switching it on and off.  Do this also when you plug in your headphones.  Some headphones sound louder than others.  Depends on their impedance.  So this way you won’t risk accidental damage to your ears or your headphones.

Also to avoid running the risk of shorting out the amp output it is very important to completely turn down the volume when you unplug/plug in headphones in the amp. You don’t want to accidentally blow up your amp!

Common mistakes using tube amps

Listen carefully…  Switch off your tube amp when not in use.  The tubes will not last forever and you will need to replace them eventually.

Operate your tube amp at room temperature!  Also, after you turn on your tube amp, let them warm up for at least one minute.  This makes sure the tubes are warmed up and perform at their best.

Be careful with the cable

The most common failure on headphones is not the headphones itself, but the cable.  Make sure you don’t bend them too much.  So don’t wrap the cable around your portable player, but pull it out.  Most portable players are relatively thin, so if you wrap the cable around it too tight, you not only put stress on the cable, but also on the connector.