Thursday, June 6, 2013

Gel ear pads - the solution for headphone isolation

In my last article, there was an important topic I did not touch: noise isolation about these headphones. Such closed-back cans provided much better noise isolation than open-back type such as Koss KSC75, well enough for enjoying music in, say, crowded shopping centers or a library with teens of white female and/or Asian.

However, they all do not provide adequate noise isolation for music on a bus, airplane and etc. If you need such level of isolation, so far the only solution is the gel ear pads made by David Clark for pilots. These pads are as quiet as what in-ear headphones are and they are extremely comfortable too! One stone, two birds, not many such times in life. Even better, they do not cost much, only $20/pair, as much as the OEM ones for ATH-M50.

As you can see, they fit perfectly on the ATH-M50, no wrinkles at all. They are heavier than the original ones though, 3.25 oz vs. 0.65 oz. This is the only downside, putting salt on the cut - my only complaint about the ATH-M50 is its weight.

Another thing worthy of mentioning: the pads block the front holes and the result - more bass (see my last article for details on this regard):

As you see, these pads do not come with filters. What you can do is to get a roll of no tear toilet paper ($1 in Dollar Tree) and cut two oval pieces as filters. Put the roll in the toilet and wait for your wife's screaming!

I also tried these gel pads on the Koss TBSE1, but they do not fit so well and still not so comfortable, although isolation becomes much better (but not as good as they are on the ATH-M50). You can see the big wrinkles, the pads do not block the front holes though:

I have no intention to try these pads on the Incase Sonic, because they are the lightest headphones in its class and any added weight rune that beauty.

So, if you need both comfort and isolation, ATH-M50 + gel pads by David Clark  is by far the only solution, a good one. On a summer bus with AC full on, the noise is low enough for me to enjoy my music. I can still hear people around me but I cannot tell what they are talking about. Before, I could hear their each and every word.

These pads are very easy to put on the M50, as easy as the original ones, if not easier. Some people say too tight to put on, I don't know what they are talking about.

More on gel pads

The pads you see in above photos are made by David Clark. There are similar pads made by 3rd parties for (note: not "by") David Clark, which are much shallower and should be avoided.

The center one is made in USA by David Clark, the other two have no brand name:

The ones made by David Clark are well packed with an instruction sheet that also says clearly company info etc. The ones made for David Clark come with nothing else, like sliced ham.

The deal break is: they are much shallower, won't be comfortable:

I don't even bother to open them and sent them right back to amazon. Wasted my $5 for shipping. The right one to order: sold by Gulf Coast Avionics (I have nothing to do with this seller other than bought my above pads from them through amazon).

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