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Sennheiser rant, ...of headphones, hair and cables
hlloyge
post Oct 25 2011, 17:00
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This isn't review. Well, sort of it is.

Few years back I bought Sennheiser headphones, PX100. I've had them for a year, when cable broke at the connector. I got other ones as replacement. Year and a half, cable broke again, and there was hair n driver compartment which couldn't be pulled out. I have very strong hair, and three cats, so hair gets on the driver from time to time, and I clean them out with tweezers. But I couldn't see this one. This time no replacement, as warranty expired.
They have left me the old pair, with f****d up cable, but I can't open them to recable them.
So I bought used HD212pro, which were OK, and I had them for almost a year, and hair got in. But I can't access the drivers or the hair, because holes above the driver are so small I wonder how did even hair got in. Connector is pretty sturdy, but the cable is, oh well, 3 meters long.

I've spent 100 dollars on them. That is quite a lot of money here, my monthly income is around 700$.

I have to buy another headphones, but I won't be buying Senns again, as I don't have that kind of money - I will buy something cheaper, in range of 20$. And will take care of access the drivers, so I can pull the hair from there when needed.

When I was much younger, I had cheap Phillips headphones, which could be totally opened, cable resoldered, and driver cleaned - the protective metal cap over them could be removed.
Why aren't all headphones made like that?

This post has been edited by hlloyge: Oct 25 2011, 17:00
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MikeFord
post Oct 25 2011, 17:48
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QUOTE (hlloyge @ Oct 25 2011, 09:00) *
When I was much younger, I had cheap Phillips headphones, which could be totally opened, cable resoldered, and driver cleaned - the protective metal cap over them could be removed.
Why aren't all headphones made like that?


No idea why exactly Sennheiser switched to such flimsy cords. I talked with some of the Sennheiser people at CES a good 10 years ago complaining about the cord and they told it was thin, but kevlar or some such and plenty strong, but I have two sets of otherwise good headphones with bad cables.

I did get something of the impression they were not happy with third parties replacing cords for "audiophile" reasons.
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Martel
post Oct 25 2011, 18:27
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My opinion is that, going to $20 range, you're going to find mostly disposable headphones (i.e. no serviceable/replacable parts at all, everything glued/welded together).

Wouldn't moving into the "pro" headphone line make more sense?


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xnor
post Oct 25 2011, 18:39
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QUOTE (Martel @ Oct 25 2011, 19:27) *
Wouldn't moving into the "pro" headphone line make more sense?


It would, if he had more money to spend. I also think that most $20 cans will be glued together like the PX100 but maybe he can find cheap and decomposable headphones. Superlux comes to mind.

This post has been edited by xnor: Oct 25 2011, 18:39


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DVDdoug
post Oct 25 2011, 19:23
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Koss has a lifetime warranty!

You can get the Koss PortaPro from Amazon for $33. I own a pair, and they are highly-rated for sound quality in their price range. (I'm not "pushing" Koss, but the warranty is something to consider.)
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Satellite_6
post Oct 25 2011, 20:31
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QUOTE (MikeFord @ Oct 25 2011, 12:48) *
QUOTE (hlloyge @ Oct 25 2011, 09:00) *
When I was much younger, I had cheap Phillips headphones, which could be totally opened, cable resoldered, and driver cleaned - the protective metal cap over them could be removed.
Why aren't all headphones made like that?


No idea why exactly Sennheiser switched to such flimsy cords. I talked with some of the Sennheiser people at CES a good 10 years ago complaining about the cord and they told it was thin, but kevlar or some such and plenty strong, but I have two sets of otherwise good headphones with bad cables.

I did get something of the impression they were not happy with third parties replacing cords for "audiophile" reasons.


Really? That's interesting, even if it was a long time ago.

Sennheiser does need to improve the build quality of their headphones - even on the higher end models, i.e. paint chipping on HD 650's, HD 5XX series splitting apart.

It's sub par.

I love them for their sound though.

This post has been edited by Satellite_6: Oct 25 2011, 20:33


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xnor
post Oct 25 2011, 20:56
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I also hate the painted, cheap looking plastic. It's not very durable and some headphone models also sound bad because of the lightweight, thin plastic.

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hlloyge
post Oct 25 2011, 21:07
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QUOTE (xnor @ Oct 25 2011, 19:39) *
QUOTE (Martel @ Oct 25 2011, 19:27) *
Wouldn't moving into the "pro" headphone line make more sense?

It would, if he had more money to spend. I also think that most $20 cans will be glued together like the PX100 but maybe he can find cheap and decomposable headphones. Superlux comes to mind.


Well, I really don't want to pay more for the headphones, because I carry them out when going to work and back, and rarely at home. I have speakers at home with which I am satisfied, and I don't really need to listen to loud music. What I find annoying is having to throw away these perfectly good headphones because of some design flaw.

QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Oct 25 2011, 20:23) *
Koss has a lifetime warranty!
You can get the Koss PortaPro from Amazon for $33. I own a pair, and they are highly-rated for sound quality in their price range. (I'm not "pushing" Koss, but the warranty is something to consider.)


I had Koss PortaPro before Senns - nice headphones, but not really sturdy. That warranty is unusable here where I live, because postage would cost more than new headphones.
I will have to find some headphones. I hate breaking the news to the wife, though smile.gif
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markanini
post Oct 25 2011, 22:20
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QUOTE (hlloyge @ Oct 25 2011, 22:07) *
I will have to find some headphones. I hate breaking the news to the wife, though smile.gif

Keep it a secret ;D

I've owned two pairs of PX100. Hair certainly managed to get into the drivers, like no other phone.

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xnor
post Oct 25 2011, 22:53
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QUOTE (markanini @ Oct 25 2011, 23:20) *
Hair certainly managed to get into the drivers, like no other phone.


The problem with the PX100 is that the driver is surrounded by a plastic frame that is glued together (back and front part) with hot glue. If you try to heat the hot glue, the diaphragm will deform or melt and you can throw the whole thing away - planned obsolescence, yay!

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hawkeye_p
post Oct 25 2011, 23:22
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Had similar problems with the PX 100 (Well, not with the hair: No cats and not much from me to spend either;-)
I replaced the original plug with an L-shaped one. Not easy to solder, since the wire is very thin. But it worked,
and given your restricted budget it might be a viable option.

Edit: I really do not bear much resemblance with my avatar!-)

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HTS
post Oct 25 2011, 23:58
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Sennheiser's reputation hasn't been very good lately, some large corporations are really getting much much greedier. Have you tried to contact DeliveryMan from Head-Fi? He works for sennheiser and directly solved my cable complaint against the Canadian manager.

QUOTE
Really? That's interesting, even if it was a long time ago.

Sennheiser does need to improve the build quality of their headphones - even on the higher end models, i.e. paint chipping on HD 650's, HD 5XX series splitting apart.

It's sub par.

I love them for their sound though.
Is there such a thing as a "sennheiser sound"? Why can't other brands imitate it? All I have are Senns so I don't know how the other brands compare. But surely some brands like AKG or Maudio should be able to build top level headphones?
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Satellite_6
post Oct 26 2011, 02:16
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Well I tried an AKG and wasn't impressed. Sennheisers are exceptional IMO. I can say that right? I'm listening to the HD 580's atm.

This post has been edited by db1989: Oct 26 2011, 12:20
Reason for edit: deleting pointless full quote of last post


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HTS
post Oct 26 2011, 02:50
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Yeah lots of people didn't like the k701 for some reason.

But Sennheiser is more and more becoming a pro unfriendly brand. Most of their new product lines are rehashed derivatives with a higher price tag and lousier custsupport, and geared toward the "audiophiles". Their vintage pro lines are all closed though, which may be bad for music listening.
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hlloyge
post Oct 26 2011, 07:42
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I've usually bought cheap headphones before, because I use them mainly outdoors. Panasonic, Sony, Pioneer... and then I got Koss at a bargain, and after them I started with Sennheisers.
I don't have company preference, I usually buy something I like the sound of - that was the case with speakers, also.
My daughter had some closed Panasonics that sounded quite OK, but she's teenager, and she broke them quite fast.
I will buy headphones here because of warranty, because sending them back overseas would cost me more than new pair, sadly. And I think I will check out Panasonic and Philips models, they have sounded nice in the past, and they are much cheaper. I don't really care for brands, I just need them to sound nice to me. Only problem is, I don't have any shops that have them exposed so I can try them out. But I will think of something.
Judging by the reaction, I guess that I am not alone with that problem. It would be easier, yeah, without three cats and hair smile.gif but I can't have sterile life just because of headphones, sorry - and headphones companies should think of that group of people. I don't want to mod them, but I want to be able to clean the hair that got onto the driver, and to replace the cable with ease.

@HTS: if you google up my location, you will see that the postage really is problem smile.gif

This post has been edited by hlloyge: Oct 26 2011, 07:45
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2Bdecided
post Oct 26 2011, 12:42
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My HD580s have lasted well - even in checked luggage.

But my in-ear phones, even "respected" ones, have proved to be disposable. Amazingly the cables are sometimes strong enough these days, but if the cables don't break, then the connectors wear out, or the transducers start to rattle. But then, I carry them in my trouser pockets with keys and change etc, so...!

At most airports, you see demonstrations of Dr Dre's headphones in-store. They're over priced IMO, and not as natural as the Sennheisers, but they certainly have an extended frequency response. Other in-store demonstrations leave me wondering why anyone would bother - and that includes the cheaper Sennheisers.

FWIW I don't think the HD580s are "wonderful" - I often EQ them a little - but I haven't found anything better than I can afford. There are some insane electrostatic ones that sound better IMO, but they're not affordable or very comfortable. I forget who makes them.

Cheers,
David.
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hlloyge
post Oct 26 2011, 16:50
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I've got official response from Sennheiser in which they basically say "we are sorry, but sub-100 euro headphones are mostly non-serviceable". They are collected and 90% recycled.
To them I say, eff you, Sennheiser.
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2Bdecided
post Oct 26 2011, 17:32
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QUOTE (hlloyge @ Oct 26 2011, 16:50) *
I've got official response from Sennheiser in which they basically say "we are sorry, but sub-100 euro headphones are mostly non-serviceable". They are collected and 90% recycled.
To them I say, eff you, Sennheiser.
To be fair, they sell to a global market, and with exchange rates, earnings etc, $100 is going to seem a lot less in some countries than others. EU default warranty is 2 years. $100 for two years heavy use will seem like a bargain to some. Depends how good they are to start with of course.

I don't have any connection with Sennheiser, but when I had a problem with a dodgy Amazon marketplace seller, Sennheiser helped even though they had no reason to.


I think the problem is that some things are so (relatively) expensive that they'll never justify their worth to some people. Which is one reason why I don't own a smart phone. Whereas for others, the same thing is so (relatively) cheap and life enhancing that they'll buy one, then another, then another, ever year or so. You can't really blame the manufacturers, though you're probably right to look elsewhere.

FWIW, unless they get into the hands of my kids, I'd expect my headphones to last a decade, and that's how I justified spending that much to myself.

Cheers,
David.

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Martel
post Oct 26 2011, 18:45
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QUOTE
Why aren't all headphones made like that?
I guess it's because 99% people buying stuff like PX100 and lower don't need it (and it would only increase the assembling cost)? Nowadays, people barely fix anything themselves anymore.
I know I can fix some stuff (I did alot when I was young and had little money) but for something which may be bought again for cheap, I don't bother anymore.

Even if I used PX100 and they broke every 2 years (outside of warranty), $35-$50 a year is not going to ruin me (or you).

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DVDdoug
post Oct 26 2011, 19:08
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QUOTE
Why aren't all headphones made like that?
I assume it's cheaper.

QUOTE
...they basically say "we are sorry, but sub-100 euro headphones are mostly non-serviceable".
It's just economics... I assume Koss also simply replaces low-cost headphones if you send them in for warranty repair.

And, you are making the same kind of economic decision when you say, "Warranty repair is not worth the postage." wink.gif

It's usually cheaper to make a new one than to repair the old one. With modern manufacturing on automated assembly lines, there is very little labor, and it's typically cheap unskilled 3rd-world labor. The parts are purchased & shipped cheaply in bulk.

Troubleshooing & repair might take an hour of highly-paid 1st-world skilled-labor. And, if the work is not done at the factory, the replacement parts are purchased and stocked in smaller quantities, which is more expensive. Here in the U.S. a plumber or auto mechanic charges about $100 an hour (although he isn't paid that much). An electronic service technician is going to cost about the same. And when the repair is done, you still don't have a brand-new item.

I work at a small electronics manufacturer here in the U.S. Even without the 3rd-world labor, replacement (or replacement of an entire circuit board) is sometimes cheaper than troublesbooting & repair, because there is less labor-time to build it than to repair it!

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Goratrix
post Oct 26 2011, 22:19
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Well, my Senn MX 980 are probably the sturdiest earbuds I ever owned, including the cable. I have them for almost two years, wearing them every day and they still look like new.

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hlloyge
post Oct 27 2011, 12:09
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Yeah, well, their headphones here are almost double the price on Amazon.com, and they are not cheapest source.
I wouldn't mind spending 30-50$ on them, but I do mind spending 70-90$.
Hence my wish for repairing them.

@DVDdoug: these are headphones, not TV or stereo systems! It's either cable, solder, or burned driver. Troubleshooting lasts 3 minutes max. IF you can open the damn thing, yeah smile.gif
And I don't mind not having brand new item. I'm IT tech, I repair computers. Sometimes I just change the fan on graphic card.

I agree that sometimes is cheaper to change the whole board, for example, on digibetas, than to troubleshoot which capacitor died. But this is whole another level of troubleshooting, headphones are dead simple devices. Just like speakers, but without crossovers.

But if the option for DIY repairs would exist, then the sales would plummet, and some corporate boss couldn't show off his piecharts to shareholders and get his bonus. I think that that's all there is to it. There is no reason why that damned plastic cup couldn't be "screwed-out" to open the driver and remove the hair. Cost? Two more machines in assembly line.
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db1989
post Oct 27 2011, 12:17
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Yes, if only these people were to factor landfills into their precious calculations. To not do so is just postponing the payment. Needless to say, the costs to people (or other animals), such as third-world labour, are less likely to bite back, so they definitely get no consideration. Oh well! Praise be to the economic gods and their infinite wisdom.
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