Tips & Tricks

tipsandtricks

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.

10 thoughts on “Tips & Tricks”

  1. Wim Van Meensel

    Hi Jurgen,
    Great tip with the tubes! I’m a guitarplayer and all my guitar amps are tube amps, because the sound is simply much nicer and warmer than on non tube amps.
    I don’t know for a hi-fi tube amp, but most guitar tube amps also have a standby switch, which allows the amp to warm up without letting a signal through, so it makes sure that the tubes are not used during warmup.
    And when i shutdown the amp after playing, i leave the standby switch as is and i directly power down the amp. That way all the remaining power will be first drained out of the amp, and after that i reset the standby switch in standby mode again 🙂

    You have a lovely website by the way 🙂

    Greetings from Belgium!
    Wim

    1. Hey Wim, nice to see a fellow countryman on my site 🙂
      It seems like you know how to properly operate your tube amp, excellent! I’m no expert in guitar amps, but the principle will be the same, I guess, with a headphone tube amp. Interesting to read that you leave the standby switch as is, so you can drain the power out of the amp. That’s a cool tip!
      Anyway, thanks for stopping by and have fun jamming your guitar, buddy!

      Cheers!
      Jurgen

  2. Hi, very useful tips. I admit I didn’t know about the over-the-ear earcups that can be too small for the ears, now I realize that I’ve been making this mistake for some time so I have to buy another set, because I’ve tried with stretching them and it doesn’t really work, I think they’re much smaller than my ears.
    Anyway, thanks a lot for these tips, I’ll come back to your site in the future 🙂

  3. Hi Jurgen

    I was going through your site, and could not help to leave a comment. Your website is really good looking and I like your articles a lot. I was thinking about getting a new headset. I have been looking at the new beats solo. would you recommend them?

    keep up the good work, and do not stop writing!

    -Sondre

    1. Hi Sondre, thanks for the nice words! As a matter of fact, I do recommend the latest Beats Solo. Unlike its predecessor, it is actually pleasant to listen to. It is not a headphone to be used if you want the most neutral audiophile sound signature, but it’s a fun headphone that performs good with genres like pop, EDM and hip-hop.

      Cheers!
      Jurgen

  4. This information was very helpful. I find myself having a difficult time with picking the right kind of headphones. Most of the ones I have end up hurting my ears after awhile.

    I was a little confused on what you meant by clamping force? It would be helpful if you could explain that a little further.

    1. Hi Kristena,

      Thanks for the tip! I will see if I can add this explanation on the site 🙂 Meanwhile, I will explain it to you.

      Clamping force means how much the headphones press onto your head. Some have a high clamping force and this can be annoying after a long period of time. Others have very little clamping force and you can wear those all day, without feeling the pressure on your head. One problem with a low clamping force is that these headphones tend to not sit stable onto your head and can easily fall off if you move too much.

      Cheers,

      Jurgen

  5. This is a very detailed article about headphones and proper care of your headphones in order to help them last longer. I’m amazed that there is so much to know about headphones! Honestly, I’ve always purchased cheap earbuds that I can just plug into my iPhone. My boyfriend is the one that loves good quality headphones because he says the sound has a richer quality to it. I’ll definitely be showing this to him. Thanks!

  6. Travis Smithers

    Well I must say that is some good “TIPS & TRICKS” on taking care of your headsets to insure there longevity. I do find like you say about how tight some of the headsets can be.

    The biggest one that bothers me that you talk about is when the ear peaces are to small and tend to make your ears hurt after prolonged use. Getting bigger or stretching the ear peaces out definitely makes good sense.

    Also thanks for the cleaning tips as well.

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