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fed up with earbuds that die after a year, need suggestions

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hi all -- over the past three or four years I have gone through three sets of earbuds. I started with, if I recall correctly, a pair of Klipsch S4s. After a year or two of use, the wire casing had disintegrated in several spots and they eventually stopped working. I then replaced them with a pair of Etymotic HF-5s, which suffered from the same problem after a year. I sent them in and they were replaced under warranty, but the replacement pair broke about a year later as well. This time the wire casing is intact, but the right earbud abruptly stopped working and then the left gave out a few months later.

 

I'm not a hardcore audiophile or anything and was totally satisfied with the sound quality and comfort of both sets. The noise isolation was great. The only problem is the durability.

 

Are there any decent sets of noise isolating earbuds that cost less than $150 and aren't complete crap in terms of durability?

 

Thanks in advance for your help!

 

 

Side note- I am almost certain that the problem with the most recent set is also with the wiring. If you manually fiddle with the wire right at the jack the sound will briefly come back on. I've managed to keep it working for a minute or two if I find the exact right spot and hold it extremely still, but this is obviously not a viable fix.

post #2 of 5

Let's see ... you've gone through multiple sets of earbuds (good quality ones, at that) from multiple mfrs and you still seem to think the problem is with the earbuds?

 

No offense, but maybe you should be looking at how well (or how badly) you take care of them. ;) 

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 

I have definitely considered this, but I'm not really sure what I could be doing differently. When inserting/removing the headphones I make sure to grip the jack and not the wire and I try to protect the wire as much as possible. It does occasionally snag on things, but I don't see how this could be avoided.

post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by swarmofseals View Post
 

I have definitely considered this, but I'm not really sure what I could be doing differently. When inserting/removing the headphones I make sure to grip the jack and not the wire and I try to protect the wire as much as possible. It does occasionally snag on things, but I don't see how this could be avoided.


Do you use a case - or do you wad them up in a drawer?  Do you use a lapel/shirt collar clip or do you wait for the snags to pull directly on the driver connections?  Do you get them sweaty and never clean them?  Do you leave them sitting out in the sun or in a hot car (or freezing weather), which will eventually crack the rubber and insulation?

 

With proper care, there's no reason they shouldn't last for years.

 

As for the jack connection, 3.5mm jacks will always be a problem. There's simply too little contact area and not enough metal in the springs (since they have to fit into such a small diameter jack) for them to last very long without becoming "twitchy" in electrical contact.  The best thing to do is to cut down on the plugging/unplugging where you can.  There again, if you're using them in a portable environment, it's best to wrap the wire ahead of the plug around a belt loop or something similar.  If something snags the wire, the combination of wrapping the lead around a belt loop and using a collar clip will ensure that the snag force is not directed at the jack or the bud drivers.

post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 

Generally when I store them I wrap them gently around my ipod and only unplug them when I am switching to a different device, and I definitely don't leave them out where they might get exposed to extreme temperatures. One of them had a clip and the other didn't -- I try to use the clip when I can, and otherwise try to run the cord under my fleece and out the collar so as little of the cord is exposed as possible for snagging. Of course, this isn't always possible. I hadn't thought of the belt loop thing though, so I will definitely try that.

 

The strange thing is that I've never had these problems with crappy apple headphones or whatever other bargain bin earbuds that I'd use before I decided to upgrade. They had some malfunctions, yes, but they often lasted longer than these have!

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