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Headphones ear cups replacement. Headphone Earpads Full Guide: Replacements, Covers, and more

Headphone Earpads Full Guide: Replacements, Covers, and more!

You read a lot about the technical aspects of headphones. In our blog, we’ve covered everything from what a dynamic driver really is to explaining headphone sensitivity and impedance. It almost seems too simple to talk about headphone foam pads.

Really, it’s an area you need to think about. If you’re an avid music or podcast fan, spend time exercising, or even just need to use your headphones more now you’re working from home, your headphones earpad covers make a huge difference.

That’s why we’ve created the latest TaoTronics guide. You need to know more than the technical workings inside headphones. You deserve comfort.

This blog will explan just why headphone earpads (the foam pads that cup around your ears when you wear on-ear headphones) are so important. We’ll also be looking at your headphone covers foam replacement and the best way to find ‘cushion covers’ for your earpads.

How Important are Ear Pads on Your Headphones?

Ear pads aren’t usually a feature you judge when you buy headphones. You’ll search for comfort, sure, but that involves a lot of different factors. So why should you begin taking your earpads s-ear-iously?

They aren’t the only factors to consider, but lets face it. If your earpads aren’t comfy, then you’re not going to enjoy listening to hours and hours of music. Make sure you check out reviews that talk about th`e earpad, not just ergonomic design or a flexible headband. There are a few different names you can look for in reviews: Earpad, foam pad, cushion, ear cup, and so on.

Ear-pads are integral to the acoustic design of headphones.

If you hadn’t heard the term ‘ear cup’ and you’re thinking it sounds weird, this might help. The design is created to amplify your experience listening to music, cupping your ears to give the best possible acoustics. You know how you cup a hand to your ear when you’re trying to hear better? Same sort of reasoning.

They effectively block out outside noise.

You don’t always need noise cancelling technology, though that is a major help! The design of earpads naturally acts as a block to irritating and loud outside noises, keeping the buzz away so you can tune out the world. This extra layer of protection helps your music sound even better and more immersive.

Ear Cushion Replacement Guide

The best time to replace your earpads is when your current ones have become misshapen or uncomfortable, or when the cover on them is peeling. Our guide will help you to change your earpads and extend the usage of your current headphones. This isn’t just more affordable and comfortable, but more hygienic. Read on to learn more, or skip to the next section to learn about cleaning your earpads.

Changing Your Headphone Earpads

Step One: Find Suitable Ear Cushion Replacement. You can do this by checking the manual that came with your headphones or searching online. In some cases, replacements might have come with your headset.

Step Two: Once you know the type of earpad you need, measure your headphones to make sure you buy the right size replacement.

Step Three: Shop online!

Step Four: It should be easy to take your old earpads off your headphones. Remove the cushion by pulling it off, being careful that you don’t break anything underneath (some cushions might twist off, for instance). Make sure you don’t remove the earpad lining material.

Step Five: Fit your replacement earpad onto the headphone and secure it in place.

Headphone Earpad Caring Guide

The importance of ear cushion care

Caring for your earpads might seem a lot of work, but it’s worth it in the long run. We explain why below:

  • Save money: If you’re updating your earpads, you can use your headphones for longer without having to buy a new pair.
  • Stay comfortable: Comfort is incredibly important if you wear your headphones a lot. Make sure you’re doing the best for you and staying as comfortable as possible by updating your headphone earpads.
  • Stay hygienic: Dirt and germs can accumulate on your earpads. Now, more than ever, we’re aware of how important hygiene is. Replace your earpads and ensure your headphones are as clean as possible.

Tips for cleaning headphone earpads

If you use your headphones daily or even weekly, regular cleaning is incredibly important. This isn’t just to keep them clean and healthy for your ears, although dirt and germs can gather and live on your earpads. This can be bad for you AND your earpads. Earpads need some TLC the same as any device, and not cleaning them means dirt can built up and increase the chance of wear and tear.

Here are our top tips for cleaning headphone earpads and keeping them in the best condition.

Immediate wipe downs

Wiping down your earpads is useful every time you wear them in a significant way. That is, if you have been sweaty, in the rain, or used them indoors for over 30 minutes or so without a break. Immediately doing this gets rid of any dirt and germs that have gathered, and takes away any salty moisture that could erode or clog the surface of the earpad.

You might be carrying antibacterial wipes with you more nowadays, and they’re certainly easy to find in stores. Pick up a pack next time you’re grocery shopping so you can wipe down your earpads after you have used them.

Weekly cleanings

Similarly, weekly cleanings are important to ensure your headphone earpads are in the best condition. A wipedown is necessary, but sometimes it might not be enough. A full clean each week, using the ideas outlined below, will help you to keep your headphones hygienic and fresh.

  • DO use a Q-tip to clean into the nooks and crannies of your ear cup, getting out any extra dirt.
  • DO take the earpad off of the headphone, so you can clean the area where they connect together.
  • DON’T use excess (or even any) water near the interior, electronic parts of your headphones.
  • DON’T clean your headphones while they’re on charge.

Condition (occasionally!)

Got a regular hair care routine? Does your car get a special treatment every few weeks? It’s time you extended this concern to your headphones.

Conditioning involves treating the material your earpad is made from. This is especially important if it’s leather, as you need to treat these twice a year like you would a pair of leather shoes. If you’re going to skip any of our tips, this is probably the one most people would go for. However, it’s worth taking the time and booking a reminder in your Google calendar to make sure your headphone earpads last for a long time in a good condition.

Replace headphone pads (regularly/as needed)

As we mentioned above, you can easily replace your headphone earpads. This is important to do it your earpad becomes misshapen, the cover starts peeling, or if you think you just need to freshen them up. This can be every six months, or around 350-400 hours of use.

headphones, cups, replacement, headphone, earpads, full

Tips for caring for headphone earpads

So, you’ve learned why you need to look after your headphone foam pads. We’ve noted above how you can clean your earpads. Now, we explain why you need to make caring for your headphone earpads a priority.

  • Regular cleaning is of the utmost importance, for the reasons we outlined above. It isn’t enough to wipe down your headphone earpads once every few weeks. Doing this every time you have got sweaty or been in the rain (whether you’ve been exercising, commuting, or in a really heated Zoom meeting and then needed to take a walk) will make a real difference. Continuing to do so will likely extend the life of your earpads, keeping your headphones fresh and comfortable for longer.
  • Proper storage is also incredibly important. If you keep your headphones in their case or in a safe space, this is better for their insides AND their outside. With less of a chance of falling to the ground or being accidentally sat on, and so less impact on the cushioning in your headphones ear cup, they are less likely to become misshapen. Storing them safely also means storing them out of direct sunlight. If your headphones are oldschool and you’re finding the leather on the earpads is peeling, keeping them out of direct sunlight (especially after you have replaced the cups) will be life changing.
  • Periodically replacing your headphone phone pads and/or covers makes all the difference when you want to extend the life of your headphones overall. There’s no need to throw away your favorite pair just because the earpads are getting uncomfortable. Instead, follow our step-by-step guide above to refresh your headphones and help them feel brand new. (Though, there is an argument that keeping up with the latest technology is always worthwhile when it comes to headphones.)

TaoTronics Earpads Replacement Tips

Sometimes, you don’t need to update your earpads: you need a whole new pair of headphones. If that’s the case, we’re here for you! Head to our website for our latest selection of incredible audio technology. That includes on-ear headphones with comfortable earpads, True Wireless Earbuds, and more!

To replace your earpads or buy new headphones? That is the question.

In this blog, you’ve learned why you need to clean, care for, and replace your headphone earpads. This is super simple and straightforward to do, as our guide showed. You can keep your headphones in the best condition for longer, making sure they’re comfortable to wear (and possibly even improving the comfort!).

Keeping up with the latest technology is incredibly important. You might have bought the best on-ear headphones available in 2017, but even replacing the earpads regularly won’t make them as good as the latest on-ear headphones of 2021. Your needs might also have changed. True Wireless earbuds are the latest trend that’s here to stay, and if your colleague’s Airpods are making you envious then it might be time to make the switch. In this case, buying new headphones is the way to go.

Ultimately, you need to choose the best route for you. If you’ve bought headphones in the past 18-months or so, replacing the foam in your ear cups will make sure you have a comfortable listening journey. Your headphones will stay feeling great for another six months or more. If your headphones are older, it might be worth doing some research. If the latest pairs within your budget are better than your current pair, why not treat yourself to a TaoTronics headphone deal? It has been a hard year, after all.

How to remove and reattach ear cushions on a Razer headset

Removal and reattachment of ear cushions on your Razer headset should be done properly to prevent any damages. To find a replacement for lost or damaged Razer parts, see Where to buy Razer replacement parts and accessories (Razer Nari Dongles, Basilisk Clutch, and more). You can view the video below for instructions or review a copy of the video transcript.

Select headset model for instructions

Razer Barracuda X, Razer BlackShark V2, Razer BlackShark V2 Pro (2020), and Razer BlackShark V2 Pro (2023)

See the illustration below of the ear cushion inner parts. There are eight snap joints and two circular ribs on the ear cushion assembly while the headset ear cup has eight interlocking holders and two guide bosses. To remove the ear cushions:

  • Pry open the first lower bottom joint using a flathead screwdriver or prying tool.
  • Pull up the cushion assembly at the leatherette region and detach each snap joint.
  • After detaching all snap joints, take out the cushion assembly.

To reattach the ear cushions:

  • Align the circular ribs to the guide bosses.
  • Snap onto each corresponding interlocking holder by pressing on top of the leatherette. You should hear a clear clicking sound to ensure its proper attachment.

Razer Kraken 2019, Razer Kraken Tournament Edition, Razer Kraken V3, Razer Kraken V3 Pro, and Razer Nari series

To remove the ear cushions:

To reattach the ear cushions:

  • Put some of the cushion’s outer lip onto the ear cushion holder.
  • Insert the rest of the cushion’s outer lip gently into place.
  • Make sure it is smoothly attached.

Razer Opus

There are six snap joints on the ear cushion assembly and six interlocking holders on the headset earcup.

To remove the ear cushions:

  • Pry open the snap joints starting with the first one at the bottom using a flathead screwdriver or prying tool.
  • Do the same on the other joints in a counterclockwise direction until you have opened all six of them.
  • Open the ear cushion.

To reattach the ear cushions:

  • Press on the leather top region of one of the ear cushion interlocking holders against its corresponding snap joint. You can hear a clear clicking sound when it snaps back into place.
  • Do this to each of the snap joints until all six are properly re-assembled.

Replacement Headphone Ear Pads

Replacing your ear pads can breath new life into an old headset. Best of all you can make it your own with a fun pattern on the inside of the ear pad. I have had this headset for about 8 years and the faux leather was starting to flake off.

Step 1: Tools- Materials

-sewing machine could do it by hand if you are good with sewing by hand

-old ear pads for patterns

-Faux leather or desired cushion material

-Foam or harvest existing foam if possible

-pattern for inside ear pad

Step 2: Disassemble

Pull the old ear pad off your headphones. Use a seam ripper to dissemble the ear pad for the pattern that will be used later. If the old ones are literally disintegrating use the ear cups as a starting place for the pattern.

Step 3: Make Your Pattern

The shape of your pieces will give you a good place to start. Add an offset to the pattern so you will have room for seams. For this pattern it had 4 parts. 2 that enclosed the foam, 1 to attach the ear pad to the head phones and backing material.

Step 4: Stich and Sew

First connect the inside of the ear pad to the outside. Turn the material over to attach attachment ring. Wrap the fabric around the foam and begin lining up the inside and outside material. Sew the 2 edges together by using pins or clips. I found that I had to loosely hand sew the inside and outside and then using a sewing machine to finish it.

headphones, cups, replacement, headphone, earpads, full

Step 5: Attach Backing Material

Attach the backing material using the same technique as sewing the inside and outside material.

Step 6: Trim Excess Material

Remove extra material so the ear pad will fit better on the headphone. Reattach ear pad to headphones.

Step 7: Attach Ear Pads

Slip your ear pads back on your headphones and enjoy!

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Sony WH-1000XM5 vs Sony WH-1000XM4

With the release of the Sony WH-1000XM5, it may seem the Sony WH-1000XM4 has lost its luster but that’s not necessarily the case. While the WH-1000XM5 active noise canceling (ANC) headphones are newer, the WH-1000XM4 still stands among the best headphones available.

Whether you need a headset for conference calls or for your daily commute, both Sony headphones perform valiantly. We’ve tested each headset in and out of the lab to give you a clear picture of which one is right for you.

Editor’s note: this article was updated on May 8, 2023, to add a mention of the Focal Bathys.

What’s it like to use the Sony WH-1000XM5 compared to the Sony WH-1000XM4?

The Sony WH-1000XM5 features a modern design that trades in the notched headband track on the WH-1000XM4 for a friction rod adjustment system. With this new headband mechanism, Sony forgoes the yokes on the older model in favor of a trimmed down, cleaner look. This update offers a more custom fit but it also limits the mobility of the WH-1000XM5: you can only rotate the headphones to lay flat but can’t ball them up, meanwhile, the XM4 can do both.

The Sony WH-1000XM5 (left) diverges from the WH-1000XM4 (right) with its new headband adjustment system and cleaner design.

If you’re reading this and have larger ears, we recommend the WH-1000XM5 for the sake of comfort. Both headsets boast plush memory foam padding wrapped with soft-touch leatherette, but the padding is wider on the WH-1000XM5. No matter which Sony headphones you go with, you can replace the ear pads to extend the life of the headset.

Sony’s headphones are packed with hardware and it carries over the WH-1000XM4 proximity sensor to the fifth-generation model. With this, media immediately pauses when you remove either headset and only resumes when you don the headphones again. Sony sheathes this behind the ear cup mesh on the fifth-gen model, but it’s in plain view on the older headset. If sweat or condensation accumulates on the WH-1000XM4 sensor, this may not work flawlessly. At that point, it’s good to air out and clean your headphones. Not only will this get the sensor to work consistently again but the XM4 lacks any kind of water resistance (along with the XM5). It’s best to avoid moisture where you can.

With either headset, you get a detachable 3.5mm jack cable for wired listening, a hardshell carrying case, and a USB-C charging cable. The case for the XM4 over-ears is more oblong than the XM5, because of the flexibility on the WH-1000XM5.

How do you control the Sony WH-1000XM5 and WH-1000XM4?

Both headsets have a sensor that will automatically play or resume music as you put the headphones on or remove them.

For the most part, the WH-1000XM5 and WH-1000XM4 have the same controls, and the touch panel gestures are identical, including the ability to cup your hand over the right ear cup for ambient mode. This listening mode allows ambient noise to come through the headset for as long as you keep your hand over the ear cup, which is a convenient way to hear your surroundings at a moment’s notice.

The XM5 relabels the “Custom” button of the WH-1000XM4 as “ANC/AMB.” The function remains the same on either button, and it’s how you cycle through ANC on, ANC off, or Ambient sound mode.

How are the features different on the Sony WH-1000XM5 compared to the WH-1000XM4?

The Sony WH-1000XM5 offers the same features as the XM4, including Ambient sound controls, 360 Reality Audio and ANC optimization, speak-to-chat functionality, a custom EQ and EQ presets, and more. What makes the Headphones Connect app (iOS/Android) unique is that it gives you the option to prioritize sound quality or connection stability. If you choose to prioritize sound quality it will default to the highest quality codec available depending on your operating system, and if you choose connection stability, the app may force SBC instead.

You can also switch automatic ear detection on and off within the app for both headsets. When you turn it on, your music will automatically pause when you remove the headset and resume when you put it on. This is a nifty feature, but it can shorten the battery life, much like DSEE Extreme which upscales compressed music files.

Beyond the Sony app, you can use Google’s Find My Device feature to locate either set of headphones. You’ll need to download that app and link your headphones with the account but after that, you can tell Google to play a tone to help you locate the headphones within your apartment or check their last-known location on an in-app map.

Both Sony headsets support Bluetooth multipoint and to enable it, follow these steps:

  • Open the Sony Headphones Connect app and connect your headset.
  • Select the System tab in the app.
  • The first option reads, “Connect to 2 devices simultaneously.” Enable this toggle.
  • You cannot use LDAC with Bluetooth multipoint enabled.
  • The headset will need to disconnect from your mobile device and then reconnect.
  • After that, you can then simultaneously connect the headset to a pre-paired secondary device like a laptop.

How do the Sony WH-1000XM5 and WH-1000XM4 connect?

Each Sony headset supports the SBC, AAC, and LDAC Bluetooth codecs for high-quality wireless audio to iPhones and Android devices alike. Sony retains the headphone jack on its latest wireless headphones, so you can use a 3.5mm TRS plug on either device for analog playback too. The two differ in Bluetooth versions, with the WH-1000XM4 supporting Bluetooth 5.0 and the XM5 receiving the more modern Bluetooth 5.2 version.

Any headset that uses Bluetooth 5.2 should be compatible with LE Audio and the LC3 codec once it’s ubiquitous. LC3 data transfer rates range from 345kbps right down to 160kbps. While this appears less impressive than SBC transfer rates (240-345kbps), listeners posit that LC3 audio sounds better than SBC even at its lower transfer rates. This makes LC3 a great, compact Bluetooth codec. You can read all about the benefits of LE Audio and the LC3 codec here.

How do you pair these Sony headphones?

When it comes to pairing, you can get started in the Sony Headphones Connect app and follow the prompts there for either headset. Both headsets support Google Fast Pair along with Swift Pair for Windows 10 and up. Alternatively, you can go the old-fashioned route and hold the power on button for a few seconds and wait for either headset to enter pairing mode. (You must do this from a powered-off state.) If you want NFC one-touch pairing, you’ll need to invest in the older WH-1000XM4, since Sony dropped this feature from its fifth-generation flagship.

headphones, cups, replacement, headphone, earpads, full

Does the Sony WH-1000XM5 have better battery life than the Sony WH-1000XM4?

According to our standard testing method, the Sony WH-1000XM4 lasts 19 hours, 59 minutes with ANC on and this falls short of the 30-hour specification. The Sony WH-1000XM5 outdoes this at 31 hours, 53 minutes with ANC on. Both headsets support fast charging with it being more efficient on the newer model. Three minutes of charging the WH-1000XM5 provides 180 minutes of playtime, compared to five minutes of charge yielding 180 minutes of playback. It’s a minor improvement but still an impressive one.

Is noise canceling better on the Sony WH-1000XM5 or WH-1000XM4?

Although the WH-1000XM4 has good ANC performance, the WH-1000XM5 generally outshines it especially when it comes to blocking out sounds above 1kHz.

Sony outdoes itself again with the WH-1000XM5, improving on the already excellent ANC of its fourth-generation headset. If you really want to melt away sub-bass frequencies like a plane engine or subway car’s rumble, it will be easy to justify springing for the XM5 over-ear headphones. The Sony WH-1000XM4 does a very good job with frequencies from 20-100Hz, but the WH-1000XM5 just takes the cake, topping out at 30dB of attenuation at 75Hz.

Isolation is even better this time around on the XM5 thanks to the redesigned ear pads and headband. Frequencies above 1kHz are plainly blocked out by the headset’s ability to create a robust, physical barrier between your ears and your surroundings. Even if you turn ANC off on the fifth-generation WH-1000X headphones, incidental sounds like nearby chatter and clanging dishware will sound anywhere from one-eighth to one-thirty-second their original perceived loudness. This is bonkers. On its own, the WH-1000XM4 does a great job here too, but it just goes to show just how well the newer headphones perform.

Just be aware that if you wear glasses, this won’t necessarily be the case. That’s because the arms on your glasses will interrupt the seal created by either the WH-1000XM5 or WH-1000XM4, and let noise in. Though the ANC will adapt somewhat, a comparative lack of isolation will make your noise attenuation performance suffer.

Even though the WH-1000XM5 does an objectively better job with attenuation across the board, the WH-1000XM5 and WH-1000XM4 both stand as great choices when it comes to noise canceling headphones.

Does the Sony WH-1000XM5 sound better than the WH-1000XM4?

Cutting to the chase, the WH-1000XM5 sounds more pleasing than the WH-1000XM4 out of the box and requires less work in the Headphones Connect app EQ module. Both headsets amplify bass notes relative to the mids, and this can make it hard to hear string instruments and woodwinds during particularly busy choruses. (See: An Evening with Silk Sonic, by Anderson.Paak and Bruno Mars.)

While neither pair of headphones will knock an audiophile’s socks off, these frequency responses are similar to that of other consumer headsets, with the exception of the 2-10kHz boost on the WH-1000XM4. This treble response is much louder than our target consumer curve suggests and makes poorly mixed songs sound that much worse. The newer WH-1000XM5 has a marked rolloff beyond 10kHz, and addresses the overemphasis heard in the previous generation, meaning less EQ tweaking for many listeners.

Is the Sony WH-1000XM5 microphone better than the Sony WH-1000XM4?

The Sony WH-1000XM5 microphone quality is the best of the entire WH-1000X line, and in terms of noise and wind cancellation, outperforms pretty much any other headset on the market. Listen and compare the demos below. Help other readers and vote on what you think sounds best!

Sony WH-1000XM4 microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

As you can hear below, the XM5 handily outperforms the XM4 when it comes to sub-optimal conditions like a windy day.

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