November 24, 2008 11:24 AM   Subscribe

My headphones have broke again - the plastic parts that connect the headphone to the headpiece. I use my headphones everyday, and find that no headphones are durable enough to handle me. Maybe i need to stop going to places like futureshop to get headphones, but i thought that by spending 100 bucks that it would be somewhat quality, but it isnt.

I would like headphones that have the following:

- are foldable (so i can put em in at the top of my backpack) - bonus if the ear pieces are designed to come off
- have padding around ears to lessen surrounding noise
- have a quality wire
- have no plastic parts on the part that goes around the head - it is always this that breaks on me somehow. Sony last time around, this time phillips

I dont want to spend over 175ish, but i really want something that sounds good and is durable - any suggestions?
posted by figTree to Shopping (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I've used the same pair of Sony MDR-7506 for 6 years now. I'm not sure if your looking for something this large or not. When these finally do break, I'll just get another pair. The only wear so far is some of the covering around the padding on the ears has come off.
posted by mge at 11:35 AM on November 24, 2008

I have the Sony V6, which is very similar to the 7506 above. I've had the plastic frame break after I sat on it, but a little epoxy fixed it nicely. They seem to be robust; I've had them for a long time, and they seem to be pretty reasonable.
posted by bsdfish at 12:07 PM on November 24, 2008

Grado SR-80. $95. Metal headband construction. Earpieces rotate 90 degrees so they pack flat (not quite "foldable" but pretty close). Great quality cable throughout. Soft earpad upgrade makes them more comfortable and lessens noise leakage.

I've worn mine all day five days a week for over five years and had zero problems. When the old foam pads wore out, I just replaced them. I don't carry them around in a backpack every day, but I think they would be durable if I did. Get the SR-125 ($150) if you want better sound quality. My tinnitus-ruined ears can't tell the difference.
posted by autojack at 12:08 PM on November 24, 2008

I've been happy with the Sennheiser HD280 Pro. It does use plastic for the headband, but mine have only recently started to break after nearly four years of use. The earpieces fold up and in. Never had any problems with them otherwise, and they sound great.
posted by sinfony at 12:23 PM on November 24, 2008

Those Grados are great for sound but aren't that durable for traveling. I've had two pairs and both times the same thing has happened: the ear piece comes right off the headband. Its nothing a little crazy glue can't fix though.

I go through ear phones like mad, mostly because I listen to my music way too loud and becuase I'll jam them in my backpack with all my other crap when not in use. The best pair I've had was a pair of Koss PortaPros. Pretty cheap at $55 and the sound was good. They were the most durable and folded up quite small. The headband was metal as were the hooks to keep them folded up. They died...I've since gone through the two pairs of Grados and a pair of JBLs since then and my favourites are still the Koss. If you can find a pair, I say get them (if you don't like them I'll take them :D ).
posted by LunaticFringe at 12:44 PM on November 24, 2008

Have you considered in-ear earbuds like the Shure e2c's? Mine are at least four years old and still working just fine.
posted by paanta at 12:50 PM on November 24, 2008

Well, I'm not sure these fit all your requirements, but I've been pretty happy with my Sennheiser PX100's. They have great sound, fold into a nice travel case, and are fairly durable.
posted by mistikle at 1:02 PM on November 24, 2008

Seconding the Grado (I actually have the SR-60s, which are cheaper, but still perform great). They also have excellent customer service. In the 5-6 years or so since I purchased them, I received quick and low-cost solutions to the two issues I had with them.
posted by Brocktoon at 1:16 PM on November 24, 2008

You need to tell us a little more - is it ok if sound leaks out of the headphones to the people around you? Do you need to block out the sounds of others?
posted by demagogue at 1:38 PM on November 24, 2008

I had a pair of fairly expensive Sony earbuds go bad after a few months. I wrote a professional (yet curmudgeonly) letter to Sony explaining how silly it was for them not to make a pair of earbuds capable of more than a few months of use. They express posted me a new pair (to France where I was on internship) and they've been great ever since. The replacements were a different model and considerably more robust.

My suggestion is to pretend it's the 1800s and write a letter. You'd be surprised what $0.42 can do.
posted by KevCed at 2:02 PM on November 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you're a bit flexible on your requirements, there are some pretty unique earbuds made by Sleek Audio that come with removable cords that connect the plug to the earbuds. They're a little more expensive than you'd like, but if its the cords that are breaking on you, then this might be less expensive in the long run, because all you have to do is replace the cords if they break.

I haven't used these myself, but they got a good review on Wired.com
posted by WilliamWallace at 4:28 PM on November 24, 2008

Seconding the PortaPros, only caveat being they're almost entirely wrong for you according to your requirements. They're open, so you get to hear your neighbors, and your neighbors can hear you, and if you have large ears the hook arrangement that allows them to fold tends to hit the top of your ears, but they're cheap and have surprisingly good audio fidelity for the price. But the real plus is that they have a lifetime warranty. Buy a pair and pick up a replacement set when they first pair start to fail, and send the old ones on over to Koss for repair. I think they might charge a minimal handling fee, but nothing too onerous. But heck, they're $35 on Amazon.
posted by Kyol at 5:57 PM on November 24, 2008

I really like the Shure earbuds, and they have a lifetime guarantee on most (maybe all?) models. I got a pair for my boyfriend, and he broke them fairly quickly - he's really hard on headphones - but they repaired them very quickly at no charge.
posted by me & my monkey at 7:04 PM on November 24, 2008

seconding happiness with the Sennheiser PX100. I use mine all the time. They have a good case, and they fold up nicely even if you don't use the case.
posted by milestogo at 7:07 PM on November 24, 2008

Consider looking through the headphones that BSW offers. Broadcast Supply Worldwide is the place that TV and radio stations go, and their gear obviously gets used heavily. AKG is a big name, but those also tend to be big headphones.
posted by intermod at 7:07 PM on November 24, 2008

Thirding the Sony 7506. Robust, cables never fail, good isolation.

Sennheiser make some lovely sounding cans but their cables are JUNK. I've seen plenty with faulty cables right out of the box.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 10:56 PM on November 24, 2008

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