Recommend really durable, cheap headphones for lending at a library?
April 29, 2009 10:38 PM   Subscribe

Could anyone recommend me a pair of cheap (under $50) and very durable headphones for lending out at a library? It should be designed with the goal of surviving some gratuitous quantity of abuse and then being cheaply replaced. Other criteria include around-the-ear cups, a long (3m minimum) cord, and a standard (2.5mm?) computer audio plug. Noise cancellation, great fidelity, and adjustability not essential. Pretty is a downright disadvantage, since we don't want people walking off with them. What happened to those massive abominations of puke-colored shatterproof plastic we used in elementary school, that could facilitate a multimedia class and a game of catch equally well?
posted by d. z. wang to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
These are the modern version of the indestructable powder-blue ones we always had in school, but stereo, with a 1/8" jack (which should be compatible with most computers). The cord's too short, but I'm not sure you'll find many with built-in longer cables. You can always add an extender.
posted by I EAT TAPAS at 10:48 PM on April 29, 2009

The main thing you need to do is get headphones that you can replace the ear pads on cheaply and regularly. Hygiene, y'know. I have worked in both a library and a radio station where we went through a lot of headphones.

Any library supply company will have what you're looking for, try Demco.
posted by wingless_angel at 11:16 PM on April 29, 2009

As "I EAT TAPAS" mentioned above, you likely want a 1/8" jack which is 3.5mm, not 2.5mm.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 11:21 PM on April 29, 2009

Mercenary Audio has some good cheap headphones for $24/each. They're actually pushing these for utility use in recording studios, so they're probably pretty decent (but I haven't tried 'em myself).
posted by ryanrs at 11:35 PM on April 29, 2009

I'd suggest Extreme Insulation headphones. The go at around $30, provide good insulation and audio quality as well as a sturdy build.
posted by mathiu at 1:08 AM on April 30, 2009

you should maybe spray paint them orange or something to prevent theft.
posted by sully75 at 4:20 AM on April 30, 2009

Response by poster: @Mathiu: I was looking for headphones that play audio, not ones that insulate.

The Mercenary Audio headphones look great, but it has a 1/4in plug and a short cord. That's not necessarily a problem. It might even be an advantage, since most people don't play audio through things with 1/4in jacks. But do you know of a 1/4in->3.5mm adaptor/extender? I could chain two separate components together, but that's one more piece to lose. I'm having trouble googling it because the numbers get mixed up--Google doesn't seem to recognize 1/4 as a discrete word.
posted by d. z. wang at 6:30 AM on April 30, 2009

The trick is to use like terms. Like, "6.35mm Plug to 3.5mm Socket Adapter."
posted by lizzicide at 7:33 AM on April 30, 2009

Okay, apparently 1/4" also translates to 6.3mm... Guess they aren't interested in hundredths of a millimeter. In any case, these $5 adapters would work. A lot of my Google search results are of the UK variety, strangely. Good luck.
posted by lizzicide at 7:40 AM on April 30, 2009

We've got a bunch of these Kensington Hi-Fi Headphones at work and they're pretty good as semi-disposable headphones -- cheap (less than $15!) and relatively durable, with decent audio quality. (And they've got a 9ft cord and 3.5mm jack.)
posted by eleutheria at 8:59 AM on April 30, 2009

I remember using the bulky KOSS PRO4AA headphones that were able to take a lot of punishment from middle school and high school students and continue to work. J&R sells them for $58.99 with free ground shipping.
posted by plokent at 9:20 AM on April 30, 2009

My public library uses the cheapest headphones that we can find (I believe they're about a dollar a set), and, if somebody steals or breaks 'em, we don't sweat it too much. It's an alternate approach, anyway.
posted by box at 10:13 AM on April 30, 2009

My library checks out Sennheiser (HD 457) headphones for use with computers, etc.
posted by Riverine at 4:40 PM on April 30, 2009

Sennheiser HD 201s are pretty good and pretty cheap. They have super long rubbery 10ft. cord.
posted by chairface at 1:37 PM on May 1, 2009

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