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Acceptable Average Headphone "Life span" (for the Price)

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

How many months, years should a Headphone last before it dies based on how its priced?

 

I ask this because I notice I change Headphones frequently more vs. Speakers(PSB B6) at home which is now running for almost 3 years.

 

 

post #2 of 6

Months? Years!

 

A good headphone should last many years if handled with normal care. If it's a portable headphone I recommend something that lasts, like a Sennheiser 25-1 II or a Beyedynamic T51p or DT1350 these things will last and can be repaired easily when something is wearing down.

 

This refers to "good" headphones. They don't have to be expensive to be good though. Some Tascam, Superlux and other cheap headphones can outlast more expensive but flimsy headphones by decades. 

 

Also, what do you mean with "until it dies" which part of a headphone? The driver is certainly designed to last decades with normal use.

 

Cheers,

K

post #3 of 6

Drivers - yes.

 

However:

 

1. 3.5mm phono plug - these don't go bad as quickly as 3.5mm jacks, but it's an indicator of a lack of robustness.  In many cases, the wiring is small, the strain relief is not strong enough and eventually you end up with intermittent contact.  They're simply too small to maintain good electrical contact over a period of years (there's a physical limit in the surface-to-surface contact).

 

2. Foam - unfortunately, there's nothing permanent about foam.  It will decompose over time.  If the foam is sealed within another material, it may last longer.  Nevertheless, it's going to fall apart eventually.  Exposed foam may go in a couple of years (Grados?), depending on use and exposure to human oils/hair treatment.  Sealed foam may go for several years more.

 

There was a model of Koss headphones in the late 70's - early 80's, the Pro4X.  It used foam in the cans' outside edge to provide the swivel motion for a better fit on the ears.  Once that foam started to deteriorate, it affected the very structure of the headphones.  It was impossible to replace and they stopped supporting the phone, despite their lifetime guarantee.  Same thing with PortaPro's - the ear pads are what everyone thinks of first, but the temple pieces are foam, too.  They will deteriorate over a few years and start decomposing on your head.  The good thing about PortaPros is that Koss continues to support them and probably will for the foreseeable future.

 

Grado pads last a reasonable period, but they will decompose after a few years, too. Grado regular bowls are easy to replace and after-market companies make them, too. However, JMHO, but I'd think twice before getting their phones with the "G" cushions. Those things are huge and expensive. It's not "if," but "when" you have to replace them.

 

Bottom line, if you want the headphones to last, try to buy something with easily-replaceable foam.  Headphones with strange can shapes or proprietary pad arrangements should be avoided, unless it's a huge company with a history of supporting particular models for years (decades?).  For instance, I wouldn't hesitate to invest in the Senn HD580/600/650 line (also agree with the HD25-1), but you might look twice at some Sony's.  Sony makes so many that a particular model may not be supported in a couple of years, so spare parts might be difficult/impossible to get.

 

3. Pleather - this is not an issue with some phones, but with others - decomposition is infamous.  The Sony MDR-V6 is one of the latter.  Used extensively in recording and broadcast studios, they are often ordered by the case with an accompanying number of replacement pads (often velour).  The pads will get replaced as soon as they pull them out of the boxes.

 

It may be that pleather is actually the same material in many cases as foam itself.  In the case of the Sony V6, the pleather will split if you're lucky - if not, you'll notice black flakes all over your ears and head one day.  Things get much worse from there.  With the V6, this can occur in less than a year! Still, the V6 is so ubiquitous that many after-market companies sell replacement pads for it (Pearstone).  The Beyerdynamic DT-250 pads will fit as well and are a great upgrade.  Interestingly, except for the pads - the Sony V6 is one of the most "bullet-proof" phones available and will last well over a decade with proper care.


Edited by tomb - 3/18/14 at 5:43am
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koolpep View Post
 

Months? Years!

 

A good headphone should last many years if handled with normal care. If it's a portable headphone I recommend something that lasts, like a Sennheiser 25-1 II or a Beyedynamic T51p or DT1350 these things will last and can be repaired easily when something is wearing down.

 

This refers to "good" headphones. They don't have to be expensive to be good though. Some Tascam, Superlux and other cheap headphones can outlast more expensive but flimsy headphones by decades. 

 

Also, what do you mean with "until it dies" which part of a headphone? The driver is certainly designed to last decades with normal use.

 

Cheers,

K

 

^ what the person above this post said. Plus maybe the wiring? Sometimes the sound from the left or right channel dies then I get.. lazy on bringing it to a service center :)

post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by rexFi View Post
 

 

^ what the person above this post said. Plus maybe the wiring? Sometimes the sound from the left or right channel dies then I get.. lazy on bringing it to a service center :)

 

I can only recommend one headphone then:

 

Sennheiser HD 25-1 II in plastic or aluminum. You can buy every part of it as a replacement and repair it yourself as it's very modular and build to be replaced by the user. Driver, cable, headband, pads, every part of the headphone can be ordered separately and is extremely easily user replaceable.

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koolpep View Post
 

 

I can only recommend one headphone then:

 

Sennheiser HD 25-1 II in plastic or aluminum. You can buy every part of it as a replacement and repair it yourself as it's very modular and build to be replaced by the user. Driver, cable, headband, pads, every part of the headphone can be ordered separately and is extremely easily user replaceable.


The price of that model here is almost the same as the Momentums though, I'll read about its durability on the Momentums thread vs. that one I guess.

Thanks.

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