Tag: headphones

On Headphones

Gave up on wired headphones some time ago. Because as I well knew the audio jacks on computers and phones wear out quickly.

Now I had settled with Fueladture headphones. Only problem is they have two weak points, on the rotator hinge for each phone, and on the crossover band. It’s sort of a shame – the electronics are pretty good with 45 hours on a charge and audio that isn’t awful.

But someone had the same headphones and we kept going through them because they’d fail at one of the points mentioned above. So email wise I subscribe to a few lists – and one article was Best Bluetooth Headphones – so I I saw a pair with metal phone brackets, a flexible crossover, same 45 hour time and price is close to what the Fueladture’s cost.

So I ordered someone a set  – we dutifully put them on the charger until the red light winked out. Pairing them on Windows 7 went smoothly. Finally added them someones machine – and they sound pretty damned good. Plus they don’t suffer the failure modes of the Fueladtures. So I ordered myself a pair as my Fueladtures are cracked.

They’re Avantree headphones – and on Amazon of course.


Oh another thing – these all have NFC chips in them but our phones don’t do NFC for a reason.  The only possible failure point I see on these is the wire that goes up to the headband/crossover. But I don’t think that’ll arise as an issue.

Simple headphone repair

So I’ve got a pair of Subjekt headphones that I REALLY like.


They sound FANTASTIC. Put it this way with some inferior brands of headphones I found myself having to crank the volume pretty high. This one, 1st or second bar it plenty loud enough.

But I sat on them by accident and broke the screw mounts on the right side. But hot glue to the rescue – I just put a dab on the three stumps and mashed it together and presto, headphones repaired and functional for another day.

Didn’t have to re-wire anything which was very nice.

A song to test audio gear

Ok, I may not agree with everything 2 Live Crew did, but damnation Megamix III is a phenomenal tune for testing bass response in audio gear. Be it amps, speaker, headphones, the test is as follows:

Set your volume to 25%.

Play this song:

First time I ever heard this was around 1990/91 – it was on a road trip to Florida in a rented Lincoln Continental and of course the car had the premium sound system.

The bass in this song is phenomenal. And it’s been my go-to for audio testing since then.

I just tested out the new Subjekt headphones – that bass response is there at the 25% level. Best $30 bucks I’ve spent in awhile.

On Headphones

I’m a headphone freak. I have them on a lot. I like to be able to listen to music, watch movies etc. without the outside noise filtering in.

I had been using the Subjekt headphones – they were plastic and suffered from wear to the point where the swivel head on them would break.


Subjekt has since updated the design – the phones no longer swivel and rotate. But the phones do have flexibility so they seal to the ear.

New Subjekt On Ear headphones

They sound pretty damned good. I think these might work for some time. Total cost was $30.

I had been using these:

cheapie headphones

Those cheap headphones sucked and not in the good way. Granted for < $10 they did the trick but the SERIOUSLY attenuated the signal. Put it this way, listening to music on these I’d have to crank the volume to almost 50%. With the new Subjekts it’s around 15% and perfectly audible.

Since my track record with the destruction of headphones is pretty consistent I cannot justify spending more than $50 on any given set.

I class them as wear items – as in they wear out. Just like keyboards, sneakers, shoes, and clothing.

New Headphones

So I figured out that the in ear phones I had were causing the inner ear thing to go a little nuts so I started looking at over the ear phones aka headphones.

I looked at the Bose Quiet Comfort 3’s and quite honestly passed over them. They’re overpriced ($300) and their noise canceling is pretty much nothing but amplification. In order to do true noise cancellation you kind of have to predict the future. Then you can shoot out a wave front that is the inverted phase of the signal. DSP has brought that goal a lot closer but it just isn’t fast enough to counter most noise.

So during my digging I remembered Grado Labs. I recall having heard about them when I was doing my radio days. The most rave reviews were for their Prestige series SR80 headphones.

We’d used Grado cartridges on the turntables at the radio station I was working at back in the 80’s. And they had a very sweet sound so I figured I’d look at their headphones.

I first looked at their SR60’s. They are supposed to be good but the SR80’s have four conductor connecting cables and thicker ear cushions. The four conductor thing is interesting because it means you get a Y split with two conductor lines running to each side. But it makes no difference at the connector end because two of the grounds get tied together anyhow.

Grado Labs Prestige Series SR80
Grado Labs Prestige Series SR80

They have a rather retro look to them and I like that about them. The fact that they’re made here in the U.S. fairly close to home also played a part in my decision.

They sound if you’ll pardon the expression, fucking awesome. I queued up some George Duke and some P-Funk to try them out and I’m in heaven. The frequency response on these babies is fantastic. The bass is right there but event the high notes are sweet. I note that they are really optimized for Jazz, for example I queued up Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” and then some Ramsey Lewis, and Incognito. Talk about blown away.

They are a little leaky, in other words you can hear it clearly both inside and outside. But hey, it’s more fun to share your music anyhow.

The absolute best part of this is the price. You can get the SR80’s for $95 on amazon.com

Seriously, if you’re in the market for headphones check out the Grado line. I’m fairly sure you won’t be disappointed. The headphones come with a one year warranty but I’ll be honest, they look to be easily serviceable even if they break after that first year.

I’m also thinking about a pair of their iGrado’s. They’re about $70 and more adapted for mobile use. They use the same drivers, matter of fact most of the Grado Prestige and iGrado lines uses the same drivers.

I’ve been using them for about two weeks now, on the train, at home etc. Something else I noticed, I’ve seen at least two other people bumping through South Station in Boston wearing, you guessed it, Grado SR80’s.

The new headphones

Yes – again. The HD Pro’s have trouble holding charge and syncing now. So I decided – wired headphones again.

I searched around and found these:

They’re by an outfit called Symphonized. And yes – they’re wood. They sound fantastic.

One thing I do like about them – note on the bottom of one of the drivers – that’s a jack! One of the biggest issues I’ve had with headphones is the cable from them to the device always breaks. But even the cable they provide is nice, cloth covered too.

The company only sells on Amazon which is interesting. I’m seeing a lot of business moving to Amazon and Facebook of all places.

Paid $69 for the phones – well worth it. And now I’ll take the Inland HD PRo’s apart – and replace the stupid USB connector with a mini connector. Then maybe it’ll charge again.