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Learn How to Change Headphone Ear cups in 3 Simple Steps

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro left earcup

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The pads of any headphones are a crucial part of the set, providing us with comfort and ensuring the sound is smooth. However, these parts can’t last forever, and at one point their quality will degrade and diminish the benefits the user can reap. And many are left wondering, “How to change headphone ear cups?”

You may be one of them, especially if you’ve noticed that your headphone set isn’t performing its best lately. Today, we’ll guide you through the process of replacing headphone pads in a few simple steps, but first, let’s discuss the reasons why you should do it in the first place. How to change headphone earcups guide, go!

Do You Need to Replace Headphone Cups and Pads?

Given that the current market of headphones and headsets features thousands of high-quality models available at fairly approachable prices, many people simply buy a new set whenever the old one feels even slightly off. 

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro headphones
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro headphones

On top of that, the latest versions of iconic Sony, Sennheiser, and Bose are being launched quite frequently, so again, people are upgrading their rigs instead of wasting time on fixing their old cans. 

However, if you’ve found a good model that fits your needs and you don’t feel like wasting hundreds of dollars on a new set, you may as well learn how to replace the pads and cups – this skill will be useful for you whenever you decide to purchase an upgrade too. 

Why and When do Headphone Cups Need Replacement?

The cups and pads of headphones absorb sweat, oils from hair, dust, and various tiny particles over time. 

It could take weeks, or months for an average person to notice that the pads on their headphones look dirty; more often than not, years pass by before the cups and pads look degraded and start to smell. By this point, you’ll want to replace them for both hygienic and aesthetic reasons. 

Replacing Headphone Earcups, Foam, and Pads

The difficulty of this process largely depends on the design of the cups of your headphones. In certain cases, it’s easy enough for a layman with zero technical skills to do in a few minutes, but in other cases, you’ll need to be accurate, patient, and skilled enough to not ruin your cans. 

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro earcups side view
OneOdio Monitor 60 Headphones (See full review)

Whatever the case may be, our guide will help you tackle any challenge. Let’s start with the first step on how to change headphone earcups.

Step 1: Find Replacement Parts

Most headphones come with replacement pads, but you’ll have to check with the brand you’ve bought the model from for replacement earcups. Even if you’ve purchased the cans online, you can order replacement parts from the brand that made them by just typing the name of your particular model. 

If this is impossible (the brand doesn’t manufacture or sell replacement pads, foam, or cups), you’ll have to measure these parts yourself. It’s important to note that the measurements of the entire earpiece are relevant, not the actual size of the pads and cushions. 

After taking the measurements, you can search online for anything similar if the replacements for your model do not exist. 

Step 2: Check the Pads for Adhesive

If you are lucky, you can remove the old foams and pads with bare fingers without damaging the construction or cups. This is typically the case with pads that aren’t glued or stitched to the cups. 

Glued foams and pads won’t budge a millimeter, so don’t proceed if you either spot the glue marks or feel that prying the pads requires anything but the least amount of strength. 

Step 3: Gently Pull the Pads from the Base

If you can remove one portion of the earpad from the cup, it’s highly likely that the entire part isn’t glued to the base. Pull the rest of the pad slowly; some spots may be hard to reach with your fingers, in which case you can use a pair of tweezers to complete the process.

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro earcups back view
Monitor Audio 60 Ear Pads are cushy

Removing Glued Pads, Foams, and Cups

The process of removing glued parts is drastically different, as you could damage the drivers and completely ruin the headphones by accident quite easily. Follow these steps to do it properly:

Step 1: Use Tweezers to Unstuck the Pads 

You probably could remove the pads with your bare fingers even if they are glued to the base, but you’ll risk damaging the speaker casing this way. Use tweezers instead, and you’ll have more accuracy and get to hard-to-reach spots easily. 

There should be a small gap between the pads and the casing. If you can’t see it, try to feel it with the tweezers. The solidified adhesive feels much differently than hard plastic, so when you find it, insert the tweezers into the groove, and begin prying the pads from the cups. 

Step 2: Pry Small Portions with Patience

The smaller the dent you make, the lesser the chance of damage to the driver casing becomes. Take your time to rotate the headphones and pry the pads bit by bit. 

It’s possible that the adhesive did not solidify with the same intensity across the cups, so you should expect certain parts to be extra resistant. If the glue is too persistent, you can soften it with a mixture of ammonia and dish detergent. Again, make sure that it doesn’t enter the casing, as it could damage the electronic parts. 

Step 3: Placing the Replacements

In both cases, after you’ve removed the original pads, you now need to place the replacement parts. If you’ve ordered a set of properly-fitting pads and cups, the process is fairly straightforward. Place the replacement pad in the center, and gently envelop the casing with it. This is the final step of our guide on how to change headphone earcups.

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro earcups in different angles
KZ T10 Headphones (see full review) – not sure I’d try to change those ear cups but could be done

Cleaning the Earcups 

After you’ve removed the pads and foam, you’re probably going to see chunks of debris, which could be a mix of scraped glue, dirt, dust, and sweat marks. It’s important to thoroughly clean the cups before you place the replacements.

It’s generally recommended to use a cleaning solution that you’re generally using for cleaning electronics. A toothbrush could help minimize the damage to the casing, although scrubbing is almost unavoidable for old sweat marks and chunks of strong adhesive. 

Conclusion: How to Change Headphone Earcups

Changing headphone cups, foam, and pads is usually not a terribly difficult process. The steps contained in this guide apply to the replacement process of the majority of headphone models. 

However, certain ones are a bit more complicated, in which case you should take your headphones to a professional. This is especially important for cans with ‘permanent’ pads that you’d have to take apart to replace their pads. We hope that you’ve found this guide helpful and wish you the best of luck with the process. Stick to the instructions, be patient, and you’ll have your favorite headphones sorted out in no time!

A musician with over 2 decades of experience in studio recording. Audiophile, always in pursuit of the perfect set of headphones. King Crimson fan.


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