Do headphones not last as long these days?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by super chimp, Jun 6, 2015.

  1. super chimp macrumors 6502a

    Mar 21, 2008
    Just to explain in the last ten years I've gone through umpteen headphones made by a variety of brands be they Sennheiser, Bose, Sony etc at various price points and I find myself thinking I am doing well if they last eighteen months. A lot of the times it seems to be the same issue of the connecting wires coming lose on them. Though I've had a couple of other things go wrong. Yet when I was a teenager I had a pair of relatively cheap Sony Walkman headphones and they lasted over ten years in spite of some pretty heavy usage. It's like headphones just aren't as hardy these days.
  2. xSinghx Suspended


    Oct 2, 2012
    I guess it depends on what you mean by price points. I've used these:

    The only problem I've had is some of the covering for the ear cushion peeling off. Technics is pretty much a dead brand now, and the link I provided is overpriced by about $50 or so relative to what the list price should be but anything that's generally speaking above $150 from a major brand (not Beats) should take a beating and be relatively good to you.

    If I had to buy new today I would probably go with something from Pioneer (or maybe Audio Technica).
  3. JoelTheSuperior macrumors 6502


    Feb 10, 2014
    London, UK
    I guess it depends on what you're buying. I have some Beyerdynamic DT770s and granted they don't really ever leave my room but they've held up wonderfully.
  4. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Mar 21, 2014
    Portland / Seattle
    Ditto the comment by JoelTheSuperior. I own a pair of old Grado SR80 cans - I've replaced the foam L "cushions" that came with them with far more comfy S Cushions. They sound great and they look about the same as they did when I bought them. A couple of months ago, I ponied up for a new pair of SR325e cans - and they're even more sturdy with alu instead of plastic and a thicker cord which I wouldn't want to get hit with, and the SR325e sounds splendid. Both Grados I own are more durable looking than all of the Chinese-made headphones I see at the nearby Best Buy.

    I just bought a pair of Beyerdynamic T51i cans for out and about, I'll see how they hold up - I spent under $20 for an expedited replacement plan just in case, which I didn't have to worry about with the new Grados.
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    My AKG K240 have a replaceable cord. Uses a mini-DID jack. I don't seem to have a problem, even with way-cheap $30 headphones.
  6. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Well, they do say that modern capitalist production is partly predicated on the concept of 'inbuilt obsolescence'. Actually, I still remember my shock when my Professor of Political Philosophy explained this concept to me quite a few years ago.

    Having said that, some products still last well, but the other old adage applies, namely that - to a certain extent - you get what you pay for.

    Personally, I use Bowers&Wilkins headphones and find them superb. I have had my P5s (granted, the drivers and leather was replaced once) since 2011, and absolutely love them.
  7. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Mar 21, 2014
    Portland / Seattle
    Funny, and true...

    I studied civil and industrial engineering, with minors in environmental engineering - and marketing. In that marketing, we were taught several "models" of success, and failure - of which one describes your professor's teachings in this regard, IMHO.

    The ideal, perfect model was created years ago by Proctor & Gamble - adding the word "Repeat." to the end of the "Apply. Lather. Rinse." instructions for shampoo, about doubling consumption with the addition of one word to their labeling.

    A successful business model is that used by many automotive manufacturers, especially back in the 50s/60s by Ford/GM. Sell a solid product, then upsell and provide accessories and branded consumables (like windshield wipers).

    Then, there's the "fatal" implementation of an enterprise resource planning model by Tektronix - I've used their oscilloscopes. They built a bulletproof product, saturated the market - then died when they sold a product that never really needed servicing to everyone in their target market. I'd bet those scopes and meters I used in college 25 years ago still work flawlessly...

    I like Grado Labs' approach - build better drivers, tweak the model number (SR125/SR125i/SR125is/SR125e), distribute to tech/music rags so the ad budget is kept low, and make sure everybody sells at the "retail price".
  8. Cromulent macrumors 603


    Oct 2, 2006
    The Land of Hope and Glory
    My pair of Audio Technica headphones are definitely built to last. I'd highly recommend a pair. I have the Audio Technica ATH-M40x headphones which are pretty cheap considering how good the sound quality is. I've had them for over a year now and absolutely love them. They get daily usage. The cord is very well made and sturdy.

    I used to by cheapish in-ear headphones and they were all rubbish. Cheap cables and poor sound quality. Once I had invested a bit more in a decent pair of headphones the difference was night and day.

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