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Taking care of your headphones


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Short story: How do you guys take care of your headphones? Especially when traveling?

Long Story: I'm getting tired of having my phones break every 6 months. I used not to care much about it a few years ago, because I only purchased 5$ philips phones and though they were nice. Then I got to listen with my pair of AKG 414p, and it was like a whole new world to me. However, I started to have cable malfunctions with AKG about 9 months after my purchase. I've tried to fix it, but without much success. They tend to break again 2 weeks after I fix (aways the left speaker).

So then I got a pair of Bose IE2 Earbud. Couldn't be happier with them, as they had similar (if not better) quality then my AKG, and were more portable. They broke last week, same problem with malfunctioning cables(only the left speaker is working now) , only had them for 6 months.

Now with the AKG I was aware that I misused them. I didn't cared much about how I plugged/unplugged the phones, and the cables aways got stuck on tables while I was walking. It was no wonder how they broke. But I took every care I could with the Bose pair, yet they broke even faster!

So now, before I use yet another 200 bucks on any headphones/earplugs (I live in brasil, headphones around here are about 1.5 times the normal price due to taxes), I want to know. What can I do in order to NOT have these phones break once again? Money don't grow in trees, and I can't afford buying a new pair of phones every 6 months.

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I've had this same pair of Beyerdynamic DT880 phones for about 4.5 years now, and I've only had to do one repair, which was fixing a frayed cable for one of the earpieces. Fairly easy fix, really.

Anyways, I do a few things:

1. Don't let anyone else grab them unless I'm right there supervising. Seriously. If you don't absolutely KNOW that the person using them is going to baby them as much as you, don't let 'em use your good headphones.

2. Don't stretch the band out over the top of your head to put the headphones on. Just slip them on from the front of your face, and that'll save a lot of wear on the band.

3. Have a dedicated place for them, and then keep them there when they're not being used. For me, that's just hanging on the side of my desk, but it's a fairly secure place with very little traffic.

4. DO NOT WRAP THE CORD TIGHTLY! This is one of the biggest mistakes I see with people and their headphones. If you must wrap the cable, give it a LOT of slack out of the earpiece(s), and THEN wrap the cable.

5. You're already on track with this, but invest in a pair of solidly-built headphones. No plastic crap, cos that breaks quickly. Metal construction is where it's at. Bonus: these are usually easier to work on, too, since they're held together with screws instead of glue.

I haven't broken a pair of headphones beyond a simple electrical fix in a few years, so hopefully this helps you do the same!

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You might consider buying headphones with a detachable/replaceable cord. I'm not sure what, if anything, is available in whatever your price range is, but my AKG K702s have a cord that attaches to the headphones with a mini XLR plug.

Beyond this, I think not to bundle or wrap the cord is probably the single most important piece of advice you can get.

Edited by Moseph
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Have your good headphones for personal enjoyment/mixing/etc, and cheap headphones for traveling and other rough moving experiences.

When I travel I love taking my Sennheiser HD280 pro's because it blocks a good portion of the noise from the outside. When I'm on the bus, ferry, or skytrain and only have my little iPhone earbuds, I can't stand all of the noise bleed. People talking, the noise from vehicles, downtown, etc.

The only downside to having my sennheisers with me is that i have to unpack and pack them into my backpack so often, which over many months will be lots of wear and tear. I usually opt for sound quality and use my sennheisers anyway. If i'm just going for a walk around the park or something I'll usually just take the iphone earbuds though (and sometimes it's just nice to listen to the birds)

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