Well, the WS1100iS ear pads are a bit stiffer…but their clamp isn’t quite as tight.
I think it’s a wash honestly. They both have their benefits comfort-wise, and comfort in general is a little hard to express outside my own personal experience. What fits well on my head might not fit on yours.
The WS1100iS has a weird ear pad foam material that Audio-Technica only uses on this particular headphone. It’s a dual-layer foam, with a hard layer on the bottom and a soft layer on top. The soft layer conforms to your head, and the hard layer holds the ear cups away so that they don’t compress into your ears. They feel a little bit like DT770 pads in terms of overall rigidity.
The HRM-6 takes an old-school approach to comfort, with two big memory foam pads. There’s nothing fancy about this, and there doesn’t really need to be. It’s a time-tested method, and it works well. They’re pretty clampy, but the pads carry the force okay. They’re made to double as studio headphones, so the clamp is expected. You won’t find a good studio headphone without a decent clamp.
Soundstage and imaging are also pretty subjective, and have a lot to do with how the headphones interact with your individual ears. The drivers are right up against your ears in every single headphone, so it’s things like enclosures, ear pad thicknesses, and the actual material you’re listening to that have the biggest impact on the imaging. And whether they’re open or closed back.
The WS1100iS has a slightly more open feel to it, because of the semi-open design. Neither is going to have the soundstage of popular open back headphones.
I remember you were trying to decide between the HM5 and the HRM-6 a couple of weeks ago. Did you end up throwing out the HM5’s as a contender? Are you looking for something more bass-focused? The HM5’s are pretty comfy, and they have some of the best ear pads out there. Their approach is similar to the HRM-6; two big memory foam pads.
Until you start listening to stuff for yourself, it’ll be hard to figure out what you want, exactly, no matter how many of these comparisons we go through. All of the models you’ve mentioned so far are “good.” They’re also just different from each other.
A lot of this will come down to personal taste.
For instance, someone after a sonicallyneutral, closed back headphone with good comfort would probably want the HM5 out of everything we’ve talked about. Unless they don’t like the cable. Or the build.
No headphone is perfect. They’re all a little bit different, just like our tastes in audio. That’s probably why the market is so big. Everyone is different in their tastes.
I can keep telling you my opinion, but ultimately you’ve got to get some headphones on your head! Happy hunting!