[SOLVED!] Side-By-Side: Circumaural Vs. Supra-Aural


Different people expect different things from their headphones so the community is unable to reach an unanimous verdict about Circumaural vs. Supra-Aural. To help music enthusiasts make a wise investment, I have decided to write an in-depth comparison that covers both styles of headphones. Down below is everything that you must keep in mind about Circumaural and Supra-Aura headphones. Read to the end and decide which style is the one for you. 


Ear cupsRest on the outer part of the earsEncircle the ears 
ComfortComfortable for short sessionsComfortable for extended use
Noise IsolationMediocreExcellent 
Sound Good but the bass might be lacking.Outstanding, especially once it comes to bass. 
HandlingPortable which makes it suitable for on-the-go useBulky so it’s best for stationary/home use

Circumaural Vs Supra-Aural: Analysis


In case you don’t know, Circumaural headphones have an over-ear design and their large ear cups cover the entire ears. Meanwhile, Supra-Aural headphones have small ear cups that rest on the outer parts of the ear. As the large ear cups of Circumaural headphones don’t squeeze on the ears and the padded edges feature soft contact surfaces, the level of comfort is fantastic. On the contrary, the small ear cups of Supra-Aural headphones exert pressure on the ears and cause soreness over time. As a result, Supra-Aural headphones fall behind their Circumaural counterparts in terms of comfort, especially in draw-out listening sessions. 

Of course, the dimensions of Circumaural headphones lead to less than ideal portability for most of the time. While people like Circumaural headphones for their level of comfort, many still opt for Supra-Aural headphones to ease handling. 

Noise Isolation

In use, Circumaural headphones create a tight seal around the ears that blocks out environmental sounds so they score well once it comes to noise isolation. Regarding Supra-Aural headphones, since they cannot guarantee a complete seal around the ear; noise isolation is not one of their strong suits.


To put it plainly, Circumaural headphones produce great sound with clear audio and deep bass. They don’t obstruct the ears, deliver superb seals and make use of large drivers that give the best audio. In the case of Supra-Aural headphones, the quality of their sound is decent but is not as good as that of Circumaural headphones. Moreover, they only offer partially effective seals and include small drivers that change the overall experience.


Nowadays, music enthusiasts use Circumaural headphones for home listening, studio monitoring, and other situations where noise isolation is necessary. About Supra-Aurals headphones, they prove popular for on-the-go listening, portable use and situations where awareness of the external environment is a criterion.

A Guide To Headphones Shopping

Wireless Or Wired

It all comes down to a competition between convenience and quality. Wireless headphones use Bluetooth and they remove the hassle of untangling tangled cables. The weakness of wireless headphones is that the signal is susceptible to interference and reduces their performance. Wired headphones ensure superior sound quality but you have to plug them into the music source which restricts your movement.

Battery Life

All things considered, battery life is a factor that only applies to wireless headphones as they depend on internal batteries for power. You should take into account how long the battery takes to charge to 100%  and how well it holds the charge. A quality battery that holds power is your best bet, especially if you are making long trips where you don’t have many chances to charge them.


Headphones experience a lot of strain as you use them and it only worsens if you loan them out to other people. You must seek well-built headphones made from sturdy materials to withstand regular use and occasional bumps.


You should aim for one pair of headphones for all your devices. Get a versatile option that boasts necessary connections for smartphones, computers and so on. Wireless devices should connect to all Bluetooth devices but you should get common adapters and connectors for your wired headphones as a precaution. 


Manufacturers sometimes add features to make their headphones more accessible and visually appealing so don’t forget to consider those. For instance, a number of headphones make provision for touch control, app integration, voice commands, …


You should go to a website or community forum for your selected headphones and read some customer reviews to see what to expect. Besides that, it won’t hurt to use the brand’s reputation to gauge overall satisfaction and reliability of the product before buying.  

Keeping Headphones In Working Order: Suggestions 

  • Regularly clean the headphones with a soft cloth to eliminate dust, moisture and oil buildup.
  • Put headphones in a cool, dry place to protect them from moisture and heat. If possible, store headphones in a headphone pouch/case outside of use to protect them from physical damages.
  • Pay attention to volume levels so you don’t strain the headphone drivers and optimize their longevity.
  • Heck and replace worn-out ear pads to enhance audio quality and comfort.
  • Inspect the cable regularly for wear and tear to maintain its functionality.