One of the biggest considerations you have to make with on or over-ear headphones is whether you want a pair that is open or closed. If you pose the question to someone who does not know a lot about headphones, they may get really confused. And for those who are not aware – a closed headphone is one where you cannot hear the sound when the headphone is being worn on someone’s ear, and you are standing in their vicinity. But with an open headphone, even if the person is wearing the headphones on their ear, you can still hear what they are hearing to a large degree.
With this in mind, we have to state that you are not going to find it easy to use open headphones if you are taking them on the go. If you are on the train or the bus or at work, and you are using open headphones to watch movies or listen to music, everyone around you will hear what you are hearing. It is a little muffled, the sound that comes out to someone who is sitting next to you when you are using open headphones, but it is fairly loud.
The only downside to closed headphones is the fact that the sound stage feels a lot more limited. Because open headphones are open, you are going to get a soundstage that feels really massive. For instance, if you are listening to the audio for a movie, with an open headphone that has a large soundstage, you can really hear where all the different noises are coming from in your vicinity. With a closed headphone, it sounds as though all the sound is coming from the same source and direction.
The best way to make a choice is to try out each pair at a physical store and figure out what is going to work for you.