Circumaural vs Supra Aural Headphones

Circumaural vs Supra Aural Headphones (Comparison)

You might have listened to both of these terms which are purely related from a technical aspect. You surely need to understand these terms as both types of headphones have their unique advantages and disadvantages. These terms may be complicated to you when your first buy your headphones because you may get confused about the different types of headphones available in the market.

Quick Fact: Audiophile love to have Circumaural headphones while people who love traveling own Supra Aural headphones.

We will be guiding you in the detailed comparison of both these headphones and make it easier for you to decide and purchase the type of headphones that suit you most.

What Are Circumaural Headphones

Circumaural headphones are the ones that have ear cups that completely surround the eras from all sides. They are larger in size as they cover the whole ears area and they are heavier in weight too. They are also called “over-the-ear headphones.” They are famous for equalizing the lack of portability with superior sound quality.

Best Circumaural Headphones

Sony WH-1000XM4
Wireless Noise-Canceling

Sony WH-1000XM4
Wireless Noise-Canceling



  • Provide extra comfort to ears
  • Superior sound quality
  • Prevent sound leakage
  • have noise canceling ability
  • More volume and sound base
  • Circular and larger ear pads cover the whole ears
  • Bit more expensive
  • Bulky and heavyweight
  • The larger circumference of ear padding causes heat if used for a long time.
  • Wider headphones can be uncomfortable for some people.

Circumaural headphones have wider padding around ear cups which makes your ears contact-free from ear cups and you experience better noise cancelation. They are designed in a way that air does not pass through the headphones which makes the sound from the headphones feel more clear. 

You can switch between different volumes without any sound leakage. They are more popular among music enthusiasts and audiophiles as Circumaural headphones can provide clean and minor sound details which is why they are the best studio headphones in the market.

Circumaural vs Supra Aural Headphones

But, they are more expensive due to their larger drive, huge body, and good packaging which increase their direct manufacturing costs.

But, due to the broader headband, the use of prolonged headphones can get warmer which affects your ears.

How To Wear Circumaural Headphones?

These circumaural headphones have a headband and ear cups that rest over the ears and cover the earscartilages completely.

You should wear them properly, the headband and earcups must be properly placed. Because, if they are not fixed accurately, you may not get full functionality from them. Due to the passage of air through headphones, sweat might be produced.

As they are bulky, they feel uncomfortable wearing them and you may feel tired from wearing them for a long time. So, you must take short intervals if you have to wear them for a long time.

What Are Supra Aural Headphones

Supra Aural headphones are headphones that have their earcups to rest on the ears instead of over-the-ear headphones which cover the whole ears. They are also known as in-ear headphones. They have smaller drivers which tend to provide lower sound quality. Supra-aural headphones are more compact and portable.

Best Supra Aural Headphones

Beats Solo3
Wireless On-Ear

Beats Solo3
Wireless On-Ear 



  • They completely sit in the ears.
  • More suitable for daily lives
  • Low in weight and have smaller drivers
  • More affordable
  • Allow air to pass through the headphones, so better air circulation
  • Circular and larger ear pads cover the whole ears
  • Don’t block the whole ears
  • Lower sound quality due to smaller driver
  • Don’t provide any external noise cancelation.
  • Sound leakage due to air passing through them
  • Low sound volume and bass

Sometimes, you may need to get aware of your surroundings as supra-aural headphones rest on the ears, there is no sound isolation and reduced blockage of external sounds.

They allow the air to pass through them which is good for you when you have to use them for a long time and your ears don’t get warmth which keeps them normal. So, they provide transparency to outside noises. But, they are not able to provide you with clear and minor sound details yet deliver good sound quality. 

Circumaural vs Supra-Aural Headphones

Both headphones are the best in their specific groundings and context. Circumaural headphones are good for audiophiles they provide more clear sound and prevent external noise and are more comfortable. Supra-aural headphones are not very comfortable but they are good for long terms use like for traveling. They are more compact and portable and are good for casual use.

But, you should follow some factors which will make it easier for you to decide and buy according to your required features.

(i) Comfort

Circumaural headphones are more comfortable as they do not go inside your ears and sit above your ears. They are good for long-term use due to increased comfort level but you must take intervals during your listening periods. They can warm your ears as there is no air passing through the headphones which is why they block external sounds and give you clear and comfortable sound.

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(ii) Isolation

Circumaural headphones are much better when it comes to isolation. They have wider drivers and big ear cups which block the external sound completely. Audiophile love using circumaural headphones because they provide more clear and minor sound details as there is no air passage through the headphones.

They have memory foam that adjusts the ear cups according to the shape of the ears which increases the comfort provided to your ears.

best Circumaural Headphones
best Supra aural Headphones

(iii) Sound leakage

Circumaural headphones are the best as there is no sound isolation. Over-the-ear headphones have more chances to offer sound leakage. Circumaural headphones cover the ears fully which reduces the chances of sound leakage and isolates the sound.

Read About: Why Are My Headphones So Quiet

(iv) Price

If you are concerned about budget, you must note that Circumaural headphones are more expensive and they can cost you a lot due to the premium features they provide. So, you should check the full details and pricing of all the headphones before you decide to buy them.


Circumaural headphones vs Supra-aural headphones?
The main difference between Circumaural headphones vs Supra-aural headphones is the structural design and placement of headphones which specify their usage and comfort.
Circumaural headphones cover the full ear and provide better sound isolation. Supra-aural headphones rest on the ears and allow the air to pass through them, causing more sound leakage.

Circumaural headphones are good for audiophiles and they are the top priority for music enthusiasts. Supra-aural headphones are good for casual usage and are good for traveling.
I hope you have enjoyed the article and if you have any queries, don’t hesitate to comment below.

Over-ear headphones usually come in large ear cups which fit around the ears and don’t lie inside the ears. On-ear rest on the top of ears and they have smaller ear cups.

The headphones are designed to give you high sensitivity and a wider frequency range.
Mostly, they are used for testing precision and sound replication.

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