Circumaural Vs Over-The-Ear Vs Supra-Aural – Best Comparison 2023

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Written By Benois






Everyone desires good audio quality, be it for some random daytime music session or to enjoy all the significant sound effects while watching a movie. For this, we go looking for the perfect headphones. 

Now, this is where it gets a bit complicated, and the question starts  

What are the best headphones? 


What are the best headphones to buy for your specific needs? 


Which headphones are worth the price? 

Circumaural Vs Over-The-Ear Vs Supra-Aural

There’s a flood of questions that aren’t as simple as they seem but worry not. This is what we are here for—presenting you with some of the best options. 

You do not need to be an audio enthusiast for getting the right headphones, but some pointers are required still cause the choices are MANY, and with everyday advancements in technology, it’s a given. Every brand has its little feature to add or something some innovation to put forth.

It’s like a bit of adventure while surfing online or looking at a store, all flooded with a variety of products, from EARBUDS headphones to IN-EAR headphones to OVER EARS headphones, all with their pros and cons. The final choice comes down to what you desire the most cause no one headphone is the BEST.

It’s all about the choice. Among these options come circumaural vs over-the-ear vs supra-aural headphones. Now the question is, what do these have to offer? How are they different from each other? What features are there in each of them?  

Well, these are the question you’ll get the answers to in this article. 

Different Form

The most visible and essential thing that different headphones get categorized into is the form. Form influences the way your they are worms and sometimes also the features that can be offered. 

In the market as of now, there are four primary forms of headphones and earphones: 

  • In-ear 
  • Over-the-ear 
  • Circumaural 
  • Supra-Aural

In our article, we’ll go through three of these; circumaural headphones, over-the-ear headphones, and supra-aural earphones. We’ll look through the differences and similarities between them to help you choose what you like the best. 

The first thing to look at can the placement of these headphones or how they are worn. Over-the-ear headphones rest on the outer surface of the ear, while circumaural and supra-aural headphones are worn around the ear. Unlike circumaural headphones, supra-aural headphones do not completely cover the ears.  

Now let’s look into more details about each. 

Circumaural Headphones

These are bulky large-size headphones, sourcing you with all the tiny bits of audio details. They are the choice headphones for audio enthusiasts


Circumaural headphones come with large cups that surround your ears. The speakers reside within these cups and provide you with complete sound isolation. The oversized earpads here absorb all the unnecessary outside noises, and you get to notice all the minor sound details. These earpads are made up of comfortable materials like leather and feel pillowy on your ears. 

How To Wear 

These headphones come with a band resting on your head and two earcups that cup over your ears. The earcups cover your ear cartilage entirely and so prevent any sound from leaking out. Its closed-back styles block external noise, and this can produce sweat, so it’s better to take a rest in between wearing them. Their bulky size also makes wearing them for a long time uncomfortable. 

There are good and evil both on the plate when you look at circumaural headphones. 


  • No sound leakage  
  • Excellent sound isolation and noise-canceling 
  • Fantastic sound quality giving you the most precise and filtered listening experience 


  • The bulky design weighs down when used for a long duration 
  • Completely covering ear cups can overheat your ear and become sweaty 
  • The wide headband can sometimes cause irritation 

Over-The-Ear Headphones

Just like circumaural headphones, over-the-ear headphones also lie in the same category as “full-sized” headphones. These cover your entire ear and are great for noise isolation


In over-the-ear headphones, the ear cups and the headband together make up a bulky large-sized headphone.  

The design makes them more optimum to use at home to carry around as the weight can cause discomfort to your neck. The ear paddings here rest behind your ears, making them comfortable to wear for long durations.  

You get two categories of over-the-ear headphones: 

Closed-back over-the-ear headphones offer you excellent noise isolation. When you put them on, outside noise gets muffled, and on turning on the music, they eliminate it. These are more popular among consumers as they are seemingly more affordable than open-back ones. 

Now for the open-back over-the-ear headphones, the significant difference that you see is the completely open back. You can see the internal circuits in this. Though they do not block out the outside noise, the sound quality offered is excellent. 


  • Decent enough sound quality and noise isolation. 
  • Durability is the best feature of these headphones. 


  • A sizeable bulky design limits outdoor use. 

Supra-Aural Headphones

SUPRA-AURAL headphones are more minor than circumaural headphones; they rest on the ears but do not completely cover them. These are a more pocket-friendly option, and a good choice for the average user looking for pretty easily portable headphones and who aren’t much into noise isolation and such. 


These headphones have a more straightforward design, are more lightweight, and are easier to carry around without trouble. SUPRA-AURAL headphones seem more suitable for casual everyday use as there is no noise isolation. They provide you with complete transparency to outside noise, and the sound quality is pretty decent. 

Best choice in cases where you want to enjoy your music time yet be aware of the outside world. 


  • Affordable and easy to use, suitable for casual use 
  • Continent to carry around 


  • No noise isolation, and so there is sound leakage too. 

Basic Similarities and Differences

Circumaural vs. SUPRA-AURAL headphones: 

  • Both the headphones rest over-the-ear one is larger other is smaller. 
  • Circumaural provides you with all minor and excellent audio quality, while Supra-aural lacks in case of noise isolation. 
  • The lightweight supra-aural headphones make them more portable, plus they are much more affordable than circumaural headphones.  

Circumaural vs. Over-the-ear headphones:

  • Both of these come under the full-size headphones category. 
  • The noise isolation and sound quality offered here are excellent. 
  • The difference comes in the place meant of ear pads, in circumaural earpads rest on the ears while in over-the-ear headphones, earpads rest over the ears.  


Conclusion – Circumaural Vs Over-The-Ear Vs Supra-Aural

At the end of the article, we hope you got the information that you came searching for and reached some conclusion. 

If seen technically, the final choice is purely based on your need and how much you are willing to accomplish those needs. 

While the circumaural headphones offer excellent sound quality, noise-canceling, and no sound leakage, all of these features come with just as outstanding a price tag. They seem more suitable for studio use. If you are looking for something casual, something to carry around while traveling or such, then supra-aural makes up for a great choice. 

It all depends on your listening choices and how much amount you are ok with spending on it.