Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tip of the cap: selling parts

Old vs. new

About ten years ago I sprang for a set of headphones.  I spent about a hundred bucks on a set from Sennheiser called the "HD 25 SP."  I liked them for a couple of reasons:

1) good isolation from outside noise
2) deep, physical bass

In the intervening years, I did a lot of things, including moving back and forth across the country, getting jobs, losing them, traveling various places...meanwhile, mp3 players became popular, which were then eclipsed by smartphones which also played mp3s.  Headphones can be very handy and these got their fair share of use -- especially since their noise isolation rivals the popular active cancellation models.

(Audio side note...keep in mind that the active models really work best at blotting out static white noise, like a plane engine, while a set with passive attenuation will cut all sound equally, without batteries or impacting sound quality.  Also, though I understand the noise cancellation itself is very good, you pay a premium for anything labeled "Bose," and that premium may not always be reflected in the sound quality.)

My pair got pretty beat.  As a member of our disposable society, I probably should have just tossed them and found a better pair.

There was only one problem: I couldn't find anything I liked better.  At least, nothing with the same level of isolation and sound quality, unless I wanted to pay a lot more.  Sure, I could upgrade to the HD 25 SP's big brother, the HD 25 (basically the same headphones with some nicer features, very popular with DJs and sportscasters) or just plunk down another hundo for a set of the HD 25 SP II which replaced my set.

Both options seemed pretty silly, especially since the only problem was that the pads were a bit ratty, as you can see on the left -- the pad's "skin" had started to separate around the edges.  I attempted a patch with some electrical tape at some point...with mediocre results.

Along the way, I'd found a link to a set of replacement pads.  The pad attachment on these things is a bit fiddly, so I'd forgotten about it...until earlier this week, when I plunked down to get a set of replacement pads from good old B&H.

And tonight, thanks to the quick shipping, the old phones are as good as new, or at least as close as I can tell.  Sennheiser: classy move making these pads available and selling them through reasonable channels.  You might not have sold me another pair of headphones, but you have earned yourself my recommendation.

So: if you're on the market for some sweet cans, check out the Sennheiser HD 25 and SP.

Things to be ignored during this article:
1) the Bittman article from the Times used for staging.
2) the fact that the "DJ" on the Sennheiser pages is always wearing the same headphones...which don't match the ones on the page you're looking at...