Large-headed man needs help finding headache-less headset
November 14, 2012 3:30 PM   Subscribe

I have an absurdly large head and most (95%+) headphones don't fit me. Fellow big-headed headphone-wearers, please recommend to me a pair of wireless headphones/headset that are wide and tall enough that they won't give me headaches! (Special conditions: no earbuds, clipons, etc. Needs to be headphones.)

Here's what I'm looking for, separated into must-have qualities and would-like ones. (All of these are really "must-have" qualities, but with my large head size I realize I'm going to have to compromise somewhere.)

Must: Headphones/headset. I'll use a separate mic if I *have* to, but when I'm at my computer (which I'm at 16+ hours a day) I use skype, play games, etc, so having a boom mic on the headset is really needed. Plus a separate mic will render the whole "wireless" condition moot.
Must: Wireless. Wireless. Wireless. I'm so sick of having wires.
Must: Over the ear with large earcups (my ears are absurdly large as well, sigh) so my ears don't get sore.
Must/Would like: No bluetooth. I have a pair of bluetooth headphones, but they have zero chance of working with anything but my PC and mobile devices, and I don't like that. Plus bluetooth has audio quality issues (from what I've read) and the connectivity sucks (in my experience, anyway).
Would really like: Base station that takes multiple inputs (optical, analog, whatever) so that (hopefully) I can hook up multiple lines to it like I did with the Astro A50's that I tried (more details on that below).
Would really like: PC/XBOX compatible would be preferred, but PC compatibility is a must, since I can probably buy adapters to turn XBOX audio into something they can read.
Would like: Good quality audio. At this point that's the lowest on my list, though, since I just want something that fits!
Price: IDGAF. the Astro A50's were $300 and if I could find a pair of headphones that met all (or most) of my needs, I'd pay triple that. I love to listen to music while I work and I love to get rich audio from movies/games, and it's getting pretty old having to rely on crummy/inferior headsets or clipons.

What I've tried:
- Most recently (returning them tomorrow): Astro A50's. I loved them but they were too tight on the sides and too short by a good 1-2 inches, so they hurt the sides of my head and the top, too. I got headaches after 10 minutes of using them, even after I removed the top cushion. If they had been 2+ inches taller and not so tight on the sides I would have kept them and never let them go. Bonus: They worked with my PC and my XBOX at the SAME TIME. SCORE!
- Plantronics Audio 355 multimedia headset. This is what I use most of the time since it's light enough that even though it's too small, it doesn't give me immediate headaches. I still get them, though. And the audio suuuuuucks. Aaaand the earcups on them are about 1/2 the size they need to be to fit me.
- Air-fi bluetooth headphones. These are probably the best (comfort-wise) I've found so far even though they still hurt after a while. The bluetooth connectivity is iffy with my computers but they're tall enough and they don't pinch very much on the sides. Downsides are the bluetooth, crappy sound, the fact that they're not over-the ear (sound leakage) and general poor quality construction

I also have several pairs of earbuds and clipons (my Audio-Technica ATH-EW9's are what I use most of the time) but I can't get good, rich sounds out of them, plus they're wired and don't have a microphone.

I hope I included enough details that someone out there can help me out. If you can recommend a pair from a place that has a good return policy, that'd be swell. Thank you!!
posted by ofcourseican to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
(Oh, I forgot to add: if I can't get something that meets these hopes and dreams in a wireless version, I'll move to wired if I must. I really don't want to, but I'll compromise there if I need to.)
posted by ofcourseican at 3:35 PM on November 14, 2012

Not that they meet much of your criteria, except i think they'll fit a big head:

I have a pair of sennheiser HD 280Pro's that seem to me like they expand pretty far. Those might work for you. I like them, although they are pretty loud on a PC, i usually keep the volume way down to ~15% or so.

They make a version with a microphone, but the cost increase is pretty steep. $99->$265
HMD-280 (280 with mic, i think)

You may want to investigate other DJ/PRO style headphones, they seem constructed much better than regular or gaming headphones.
posted by TheAdamist at 4:19 PM on November 14, 2012

For all questions about headphones, I would try

To answer your question, the ATH M50 will meet many but certainly not all of your requirements.
posted by demagogue at 7:29 PM on November 14, 2012

I don't have a big head, so I know not of your plight, but a construction element you might want to look for is a gimbaled suspension. These styles of headphones typically have flexible, self-adjusting headbands. Together, you get a grasp on your head that is light on the sides and typically very light on the top of your head. Look up AKGs (e.g., K140, K240, K271 MkII) for an example of what I mean. The last headphones I bought (K271 MkII) were built this way, and I probably won't go back to the other way.
posted by Mikey-San at 7:33 PM on November 14, 2012

I think you should check out professional headsets intended for the broadcast market. In particular Beyerdynamic and Sennheiser makes headsets intended for television production crews. The adjustment mechanism on these 'phones will be light years beyond consumer computer crap. You might need an adapter for them; it's likely they will have a 1/4" connector ans/or the mic will be broken out into it's own connector. One source that you could try would be Markertek. They are not particularly cheap.
posted by werkzeuger at 6:24 AM on November 15, 2012

P.S. If you go the pro route make sure they're stereo. A lot of production cans are monoaural.
posted by werkzeuger at 6:25 AM on November 15, 2012

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