Looking for under-$60 headphones with detachable cord
March 23, 2013 11:40 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for an under $60 set of headphones with a detachable cord/cable. Every corded headset I've bought has failed because of the cord, so being able to replace it is important.

I would be using this mainly with a laptop and tablet, and possibly with a phone, to listen to music and videos, and some games.
Microphone not important.
I prefer over the ears or on the ears.
Portability is nice, but not that necessary.
I mainly listen to pop and electronic music.
Headphones I am considering now: RHA SA950i, Koss R-80, Superlux HD668B, Skullcandy Hesh.
posted by shoyu to Shopping (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Unfortunately, most of the headphones designed for cable replacement are marketed to the audiophile crowd and thus aren't in the $60 range.

Would you be willing to consider replacing the cord yourself with a soldering iron? If so, that unlocks your options a lot more. I ask because I had a pair of Grado SR-60s that were the greatest headphones ever (and, if I remember correctly, cost almost exactly $60 when I bought them), until the cord failed. These headphones were not designed for cord replacement, but I followed some internet videos to recable them anyway. Basically, I opened up the headphones by melting the glue holding the body together with a hairdryer, desoldered the defective cable, and soldered in the new cable. It required about $10 in parts and half an hour of my time, and then I got to keep my beloved Grado headphones. I'm not particularly handy with a soldering iron, either--it's just that easy, if you have the patience to try it.

Maybe this isn't exactly what you're looking for, but it's at least something to consider.
posted by wondercow at 12:26 PM on March 23, 2013

They're in the ear pieces, but ironbuds are modular, well under $60, and designed to be repairable.
posted by bswinburn at 12:31 PM on March 23, 2013

I have the Graco 60s and would recommend them. What about preemptively making them removables by splicing a jack and plug into them yourself? Easier than the glue melting exercise wondercow describes.
posted by phearlez at 12:36 PM on March 23, 2013

Response by poster: No, I wouldn't be willing to use a soldering iron. I am not interested in doing modifications to headphones.
posted by shoyu at 12:50 PM on March 23, 2013

Instead of splicing a jack, you can just wait until they break and splice the cord over the break (assuming that the break is typically on the middle park of the cord). I've done this with some super cheap earbuds.

If they tend to break more at the attachment point, you can reinforce that area with a flexible plastic like Sugru. If you taper your reinforcement correctly, there will be no specific bend point and the cord will be much less likely to break.
posted by anaelith at 12:50 PM on March 23, 2013

Just got these ... So far so good.

posted by tilde at 12:55 PM on March 23, 2013

Grado sr 60's are fantastic for the price point, and the cords take quite a bit of abuse. When they finally fray, take them to your local neighborhood stereo repair shop, and have them replace the cord. This will be fairly inexpensive, but if you do go the repair route, you could have them install a removable cord for slightly more cash. I had a shop do this to a pair of sr60's and they work great.
posted by furnace.heart at 1:59 PM on March 23, 2013

Koss PortaPros have a lifetime warranty... send 'em in if the cord breaks.
posted by Slap*Happy at 2:31 PM on March 23, 2013

I highly recommend the Monoprice 8323 headphones (~$23), which have a detachable cord (in fact, they come with two cords in the package: a short thin one and a very long thicker one). They have received rave reviews, and have a sound quality that FAR outmatches the price.

The build is also very robust. I bought a pair for my teenage brother, who is really rough on headphones and eats through them in a matter of weeks, but he's had the Monoprice 8323 headphones for months now and they're still in great condition.
posted by w1nt3rmut3 at 2:51 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Sennheiser hd-280.

They're an older model now, and regularly available on amazon(link) as ""USED" like new!" for almost exactly $70. I got mine that way and i couldn't tell that they weren't new, i think they had just been open box.

I bought some just like those seriously 4-5 years ago as an answer to your exact question, and they're still perfect. I haven't even needed to change out the cord. You can though, and it's only around $10-12. It's held in with a screw, you open a little door and disconnect and unscrew it. This is part of what has made it last so long, imo. General build quality is in the higher range of what i've ever seen too, up there with the old sony MDR-v6's.

I have yet to hear a pair of less than $100 headphones that sounded as good as these, especially for electronic music. The bass isn't incredibly strong with a phone/ipod, but plugged in to a laptop or desktop they're solid. and if you plug them in to something like the cheap(under $20) FiiO headphone amps they sound amazing.
posted by emptythought at 4:44 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

The AKG k-240 has a detachable cord (mini-XLR); you might be able to find in near your price range.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 5:48 PM on March 23, 2013

Thirding the monoprice headphones. I own some much more expensive headphones, but these are the ones I use almost all the time ...
posted by bsdfish at 10:50 AM on March 24, 2013

If they are failing at the cord end, you can buy a short 1/8 male to 1/8 female extension cable, which will take the strain off of the headphones and will likely be much cheaper than replacement headphone cables.
posted by markblasco at 11:29 AM on March 24, 2013

Just a warning about detachable cords, I had these Philips 'Snug' headphones, which come with a detachable cord. The cord still broke at the connection point to the ear, above the detachable length after less than a year of fairly light use.
posted by Ned G at 5:33 PM on March 24, 2013

Response by poster: I bought the Monoprice 8323 headphones, and I'm pretty satisfied with them.
posted by shoyu at 1:05 PM on April 27, 2013

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