Recommendation for a robust set of in-ear headphones with mic (for iPhone)

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by mmilton, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. mmilton

    mmilton New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2013
    Messages:
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    Hi - first time poster. Would be v grateful for any guidance.

    I'm no audiophile ... my ears can't tell the difference between a £20 pair of headphones and a £200 set!

    My problem is that whatever pair I try, the sound dies in one ear after anywhere between 2 months and 18 months of use. More often than not, the fault develops within the warranty period, so it's not been a problem getting a replacement or refund.

    But I'm getting a bit sick of spending so much time dealing with returns and replacements!

    I have had the same problem whether I spend £12 or £50 ... I have tried all the following:

    Skullcandy Ink'd (4-5 pairs)
    Skullcandy Titan
    Skullcandy FMJs
    KitSound KS1 Colours
    Novero Brooklyn Tangle Free
    Shure E2C

    The sound has been great on all of them except the KitSound which are a bit bass-heavy for speech podcasts.

    I always take care not to pull on the cable to remove the headphones from my ears and unplug them from the iPhone - and when not in use, I coil them loosely around my fingers.

    So my question is - can anyone please recommend a model with a thicker or more robust cable or jack, that is less likely to develop this kind of fault after just a few months of use.

    Ideally I would like to spend under £30, but would be prepared to spend more if that would greatly reduce the likelihood of developing a fault. I am hesitant to spend more because the Shures were the most expensive headphones I have ever owned (around £90) with a thicker than usual cable, and they died after 14 months.

    Many thanks in advance for any advice
     
  2. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    Charleston South Carolina
    Do you know for sure which parts failed in each case? Is there any possibility that earwax would have gotten into the drivers?
     
  3. mmilton

    mmilton New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2013
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    It usually seems to be where the cable connects to the jack, as initially the sound cuts out intermittently in one ear, but returns when you wiggle the cable where it connects to the jack.

    That's certainly possible on my latest novero tangle-free buds. On those one ear is dramatically quieter than the other, but the sound has not actually cut out altogether in either year. Is there anything I can do to cure this if there is wax in the driver? Or to prevent it happening in future?

    Thanks
    Miles
     
  4. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    I was walking through this list again today, musing on all the brands and models I want to buy and listen to at length. I took a big gamble and bought the Sennheiser IE800, which has a couple of safety features: One is a cable that detaches some way down the cord, but that doesn't protect the connections at the earpieces unfortunately. The other is extra meshes embedded in the eartips that catch wax before it gets to the second mesh on the earpiece itself. There are some brands that detach the cable at the earpieces, but how practical that is I don't know, unless the earpiece is far more robust than the removeable cable. If it were me, I'd probably get several sets of something like the Soundmagic E10 etc., or try to find a brand with cable that detaches at the earpieces. Then get some q-tips or similar and keep an eye on the interior of the eartips after each use to see if there's anything that needs to be wiped out.

    In Ear Headphones - Ear Canal In Ear Monitor Headphones (IEM)
     
  5. RobinHiFi

    RobinHiFi Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,325
    Hi mmilton

    If you decide to spend a bit more then the Shure SE215 would be a good option as it has a replaceable cable.

    IEMs have a bit of a fundamental flaw. Copper makes the best cable material but is soft and brittle and the cables on IEMs have to be light to stay in your ears. There is no perfect way of armouring such a light cable - this is the only reason cables don't go as much on larger headphones - there are several full size headphones where the cable weighs as much or more than the cans themselves.

    Inexpensive earphones which rarely have cable faults -

    Pioneer SE-CL521-K In-Ear Sound Isolating Earphones Black
    £17.95

    RHA MA350 In-Ear Sound Isolating Aluminium Earphones (MA-350)
    £29.95

    SoundMAGIC E10 In-Ear Sound Isolating Earphones Black & Red
    £34.99
     
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