Sturdy Headphones?
December 4, 2009 10:49 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend a DURABLE pair of headphones, primarily for computer use?

Just broke a pair of cup-over-the-ear headphones after a weak, cheap plastic hinge broke. I'm so sick of this--every pair I buy lasts maybe two years before some crappy plastic part snaps off. It's not like I'm hard on the things: I just put them on, wear them for a few hours, and take them off. I'd like to find a pair of decently comfortable headphones that will last a good long time. Price is not necessarily the biggest factor--e.g. $100 is insane for a pair that will last the typical two years, but if it'll last 10 years it's a good investment.

Can anybody help me out?
posted by gabrielbenjamin to Technology (28 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
What was the model that broke? How much do you wear them?

I've had two pairs of Sony MDR 7506 (also available in a similar version called the V6), both of which are at least 10 years old. I also have a pair of Sony MDR-D66 which are about 5yrs old and show no signs of letting up and I will hopefully have them for decades to come. Both of these have endured high-volume periods without flaking, as well.

Grado makes probably the swiveliest cans, and people really like the SR-60s & 80s. I'm guessing the Sennheiser HD280s will probably make an appearance in this thread as well.

All of these have replacement parts available. is a good headphone resource.
posted by rhizome at 11:15 PM on December 4, 2009

Sony 7506, like rhizome just said.

I've had mine for nearly 10 years, and just replaced the earpads for about $18.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:22 PM on December 4, 2009

Grado SR-80. I've had mine for about 8 years. Use them with my computer every single day.
posted by autojack at 11:25 PM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

I've had my Sennheiser HD600's for 10 years, they've been througha rough life, still work really well.
posted by iamabot at 11:29 PM on December 4, 2009

My Sennheiser HD280s are plastic, but closer to the Nintendo 64 variety than the plastic spoon variety. They're doing great, sound great, and were pretty cheap.
posted by floam at 11:55 PM on December 4, 2009

Koss Pro4AA's will not break, and if you somehow manage to break them, they have a lifetime warranty. Of course, they are a rather heavy for long-time wear, but they're the most solidly built headphone I know of. If indestructibility was the primary concern, these would be my very top recommendation.

For a regular user, however, I'll put in a second vote for Sennheiser HD600s, as mine have been in pretty great condition for the past 7 years or so. And, they're very comfortable for long-time wear, but depending on the situation you're in, an open headphone might not be appropriate.
posted by paperzach at 12:01 AM on December 5, 2009

Grado SR-60's. Same construction as the SR-80's, cheaper, and you won't hear much difference if you're powering them from a sound card (the SR-60's might actually sound better). They're the most indestructible headphones I can think of, among those currently in production.
posted by paulg at 12:24 AM on December 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

I had a pair of Sennheisers that lasted for 6 years under pretty constant use. Now have a pair of Sony MDR V6s that are holding strong so far. Comfortable, good reputation, good sound. I actually would have gotten the Grados, though, except that in the end I decided I wanted the isolation MDR V6s.
posted by devilsbrigade at 12:38 AM on December 5, 2009

DJ headphones can handle a lot of abuse. That said, my pair (Sony MDR V250? something like that) relies on loctite for its structural integrity after about 7 years. But the first 5 of those were commuting, being stuffed in bags etc. And they're only $20-30, and sound good enough for music through onboard audio or other non-pro equipment.
posted by gijsvs at 1:21 AM on December 5, 2009

Sennheisers will last forever. Mine are going on 5 years and look and feel like new.
posted by twblalock at 1:46 AM on December 5, 2009

I picked up a pair of DJ Sony MDR-V700's from eBay for $45 7 months ago and I can tell you their the best headphones I've ever used. I'm not sure whether their too durable or not but they seem to be going very well. I would definitely buy another pair if these broke.

Your ears will start to hurt after a while of using these because the sound is so clear you'll just want to keep turning it up and up and the frequency is unbelievably high so you will hear things you haven't heard before using standard dodgy headphones, all the more reason to keep turning the volume up lol.

The only problem that i found was that I'd liked the lead to be longer so I bought an 1.5 meter (no sure of imperial length) gold plated extension for $3 again using eBay and I'm as happy as can be. No more need to worry about poor quality sound.

Ohh and the gaming experience is awesome, you can easily judge the position of footsteps playing multilayer games such as Counter Strike: Source.

I highly recommend these headphones.
posted by Bacillus at 2:07 AM on December 5, 2009

Another vote for the Grados, unless you care about sound leakage. If it is for a home computer and nobody else is going to be around, they are a great choice. For my commute and at work I use the Sony V500, closed swivel cups that have been fairly sturdy. Sound quality isn't amazing, and they have some terrible reviews on Amazon, but I've had them about two years and they show no sign of breaking down on me yet. When they do go I'll probably grab a pair of the Sennheisers.
posted by sophist at 2:24 AM on December 5, 2009

Another vote for Sennheiser.
posted by fire&wings at 3:47 AM on December 5, 2009

Sony 7506, like rhizome just said.

I bought these on an ask.mefi recommendation 8 years ago, and they are still going strong. Nothing better for the money. And Sennheiser are all-plastic, we've had two pairs break at work.
posted by fake at 4:00 AM on December 5, 2009

I have had good luck with the Beringer HPM-1000 for $14.00 you cant beat the price.
Amazon Link
posted by jmsta at 4:22 AM on December 5, 2009

Despite the all-plastic nature I'll vote for Sennheiser. My current at-work pair is six years old and still sounds fantastic.
posted by hijinx at 4:23 AM on December 5, 2009

I've been very happy with the Sony MDR V150 that I bought a little over 3 years ago for about $25. They've taken a fair amount of stuffing-in-bags and general knocking around, they're comfortable, and they sound good. And it looks like they've gotten cheaper in the interim.
posted by usonian at 4:55 AM on December 5, 2009

Sennheisers. I have the EH-150s for work because I got them reasonably cheap and they block out most of my coworkers' noise.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 5:26 AM on December 5, 2009

If durability is your prime concern, you might want to look at educational suppliers, who make headphones designed to withstand the tender attentions of schoolchildren. Perhaps not the best for comfort or sound quality, but if you want to still be using them in 10 or 20 years, that's the way to go.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 7:20 AM on December 5, 2009

I'll toss in another vote for Sennheisers. I usually use a pair of the HD570s which are now discontinued, but are roughly equivalent to these.

The HD280 is closed-ear, and the pressure from them pushing on my head was a bit much. I bought a pair of the 202s a few years back for something like $20 and they're okay. I'd say just do a bit of research and look around for which one suits you the best.
posted by gchucky at 7:44 AM on December 5, 2009

I have a pair of Bose triport's that I have used appx 30 hrs/week for 5 years. The headband did break last year but I sent it back to the company and they replaced it. Based on comfort durability and awesome customer service I'd recommend them.
posted by chickaboo at 8:16 AM on December 5, 2009

Check out the EX-29 Extreme Isolation headphones, used by professional musicians and sound engineers. (I'm a very satisfied user, with no financial interest in the product.) No better headphones for under $100.
posted by davcoo at 11:02 AM on December 5, 2009

wow, what an awesome thread. I just bought the MDR7506s now because of this!
posted by randomstriker at 12:19 PM on December 5, 2009

nthing Sony MDR 7506.
posted by axismundi at 1:09 PM on December 5, 2009

Can't find that anyone has mentioned the Panasonic RP-HTX7s... I've had mine for about two years and they have been sat on, left laying around, dropped, generally well used, and show no sign of being anywhere close to breaking. I use them primarily for watching video on my laptop. They were somewhere between $60 and $70 at Fry's or Target (and come in a lovely variety of colors). They are not noise-cancelling, but the thick foam earcups block outside sound around the apartment just fine (including the TV).
posted by lhauser at 3:22 PM on December 5, 2009

I've have the same problem. After seeing two or three pairs of really nice headphones break into pieces, I got these bose earbuds. Great sound quality, and no hinges or headbands to break. Comfortable too! They have soft rubber attachments for three sizes of ear.
posted by Truthiness at 4:06 PM on December 5, 2009

Sennheiser HD-25-1. Simple, rugged construction, not totally over-the-ear, but good sound isolation nonetheless. They pack down small too.
posted by anthill at 7:40 PM on December 5, 2009

Another vote for Sony 7506s. I will never pay for Sennheisers until they redesign their cables- they fail way too easily. I've seen more than one pair with bad cables straight out of the box.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 9:47 PM on December 5, 2009

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