10 Most Durable Headphones

Are you tough on your belongings? Find yourself replacing your cellphone at least once a year?

Then you should definitely consider checking out our Most Durable Headphones list, which is loaded with tough as nails headphones that you can bring anywhere and not have to worry about being gentle!

No matter how much money you want to spend for new Headphones, if you get any from the table below, they’ll have top notch durability.

Anyway, below is the table of contents for better orientation.

10 Most Durable Headphones

PictureModelRatingTypePrice
​V-MODA Crossfade M-100​4.5Over-Ear$ ($200-$300)
Review
​Beyerdynamic DT-1350-80​4.2Over-Ear$ ($200-$300)
Review
​Munitio PRO40​5.0On-Ear$ ($80-$120)
Review
​Koss ProDJ100​4.0Over-Ear$ ($80-$120)
Review
​Audio-Technica ATH-M50x​4.6Over-Ear$ ($120-$200)
Review
​AKG K181DJ​4.2On-Ear$ ($80-$120)
Review
​Sennheiser HD25-1 II​4.4On-Ear$ ($120-$200)
Review
​Sony MDR-V6​4.6Over-Ear$ ($80-$120)
Review
​Philips O’Neill SHO9560​4.0Over-Ear$ ($30-$80)
Review
M-Audio Studiophile Q403.2Over-Ear$ ($120-$200)
Review

Most Durable Headphones Reviewed

1-top-pickV-MODA Crossfade M-100

 

v-moda-crossfade-m-100
V-MODA Crossfade M-100 ($200-$300)

Design

Offered in base colors of matte black, shiny black, and white silver,

the Crossfade M-100’s look is half-modern and half-retro.
The retro part of the design includes wires extending from the headband to the circumaural (over-the-ear) earcups and the metallic plates,
which can be removed from the outer panel of each ear and replaced with a variety of colors and textures (19 in all, though some of the colors,
like hot pink and “croc skin” red are decidedly un-retro).

The hexagon shape of the earcups gives the headphones more of a modern look.
Ample cushioning on the underside of the headband and the earpads make the set extremely comfortable.

 The Kevlar-reinforced cable is removable,
which adds value to the headphones; if the cable eventually fails, you only need to replace it, and don’t need to send everything in for repair.
It can be plugged into either earcup, which is another nice touch, especially with the included cover to insert into the unused connection point.
The M-100 also ships with a stylish, sturdy zip-up carrying case with a carabiner fastened to it. The headphones

 

fold down into it, but the case is still on the bulky side.

V-Moda Crossfade M100 inline

A microphone sits around chin level on the cable, with a remote control for mobile devices further down.

The remote has a single button for answering and ending calls, controlling track navigation, or toggling playback;

it depends on whether you’re on a call or listening to music, and how many times you tap it.

Performance
On tracks with intense sub-bass content, like The Knife’s “Silent Shout,”

the M-100 delivers a thunderous low-end response with no distortion even at top, unsafe volume levels.

At reasonable listening levels, the sub-bass still comes through loud and clear;

it doesn’t overwhelm the mix because the highs and high-mids also get a decent amount of tweaking, but the deep lows remain the most powerful part of the mix on this track.

Moving on to Bill Callahan’s “Drover,”

we get a better sense of how this deep bass response plays out with a less dense mix.

The drums get a healthy extra dose of deep lows that’s perhaps a bit more than necessary.

However, the added lows are not over-the-top, and provide a nice anchor for the mix.

Callahan’s baritone vocals also receive a healthy amount of added richness, but again not to the point that things sound unnatural,

and the treble edge of his voice gets enough presence to maintain a sense of contour and command of the mix.

The guitar strumming also benefits from the high-mid and high frequency presence, and what emerges is a sound signature that has both powerful,

deep lows and pleasantly bright definition in the higher registers.

At times, though, the high-mids can feel slightly dialed back compared with the lowest and highest frequenices.

On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild,” the attack of the kick drum loop gets just slightly less high-mid emphasis than it wants,

but still enough to maintain its presence, and nearly slices through the mix as it can do on some more high-mid focused pairs.

Through the M-100, it’s the lower frequency sustain of the drum loop and the sub-bass synth hits that grab the attention.

Even at low volume levels, the M-100 packs a powerful, articulate bass response.

On classical tracks, like the opening scene in John Adams’ “The Gospel According to the Other Mary,”

the M-100 shines by providing the lower register instruments with some added richness and power while never going overboard.

Meanwhile, the already prominent higher register strings, brass, and vocals get just the right amount of edge and brightness.

This is a sculpted sound, and less likely to appeal to purists seeking true flat response than it is to music lovers who happen to like a little added bass with crisp mids and bright highs.

At some moments in the final scenes of this opera you can hear sub-bass rumbles that sound like a subway train in the distance.

They’re clearly in the mix, but they’re almost unnoticeable on flat-response headphones and certainly not highlighted.

This is a pair of headphones that reaches down to serious sub-bass levels and turns up the volume.

A true timeless masterpiece constructed from exotic materials and tested to rigorous military standards you should definitely pick V-MODA Crossfade M-100

 

Pros:

  • Excellent mobile headphone, really great chest-hitting bass, fairly detailed, non-fatiguing treble, folding mechanism is sturdy, modular design
  • Comfortable, non-fatiguing, portable w/mic and controls, very enjoyable sonic presentation (musical, w/adequate detail)

Cons:

  • Shallow earpads, odd presentation of instruments/soundstage, too much bass, laid-back midrange, laid-back upper-treble, fragile zipper on case
  • Slightly recessed lower mids.


Beyerdynamic DT-1350-80

beyerdynamic-dt-1350-80
Beyerdynamic DT-1350-80 ($200-$300)

Build Quality :

My first thoughts upon opening the typically plain Beyerdynamic packaging were, “At last, an HD25 competitor”.

Indeed, in typical Beyerdynamic fashion, the DT1350 is built like a tank. Whereas the HD25 emphasizes easy disassembly,

replaceable parts,
and lightweight construction,

the DT1350 goes straight for the Panzer approach with its ample use of industrial-looking metal and minimal moving parts.

 

Comfort:

For a headphone with more metal than plastic in the construction, the DT1350 is quite light and compact.

Naturally,
the plastic HD25 is lighter still and has a slight comfort advantage with the velour earpads, but the difference is small.

Clamping force is a bit higher with the Beyerdynamics but whereas the HD25 relies on the earpads to distribute most of the clamp,
the DT1350 hangs some of its weight on the headband as well.
The cups have a very good range of motion and the padding,

though firm for good isolation, remains comfortable even for lengthy listening sessions.

Isolation :

Slightly better than what my HD25 manages with vinyl pads.

Without a doubt the new standard for portable headphones.

Sound :

The sound of the DT1350 is emphasizes balance and control,
with excellent presence across the frequency spectrum and few peaks and drops.
The low end is deep and impactful but remains tight and controlled at all times.

The bass is not thin but it is quick and slightly dry, perhaps even a bit low on note decay time. In comparison,

the note presentation of the Sennheiser HD25 is softer but the Sennheisers have more of a mid-bass hump for added punch and power.
The bass of the DT1350 is not lacking, however, and sub-bass is a touch stronger than with the Sennheisers.
Interestingly, with amplification, the sub-bass gets stronger still – high-efficiency Tesla drivers or not,

performance at the very limits still seems limited with portable devices.

if you’re looking for Flexible split headband with 90-degree swiveling ear cup   then Beyerdynamic DT-1350-80 is a very good choice.

 

Pros:

  • Accuracy, neutrality, bass, highs, build quality, lack of distortion
  • Very accurate sound, the best isolation ever from on-ear ‘phones, great design with a double head band for a perfect head fit, built like a tank.

Cons:

  • Clamping force, uncompromising with inferior sources
  • They might press too much on your ears, but one gets accustomed to this. They might also get a little warm, but not too much.


Munitio PRO40

munitio-pro40-high-performance-headphones
munitio-pro40-high-performance-headphones ($80-$120)

Design

Up close, the Pro40 definitely strike an impression of quality.

Personally, we’d prefer them in all-black, but the thin gold band that borders the exterior of the earpieces definitely adds a taste of flash without crossing the line to ostentatious.
The band is made of titanium-coated aircraft grade aluminum, giving an exterior preview of what’s inside.

Comfort

Though they’re a bit heavy, the Pro40 are plenty comfortable on the ears thanks to a smooth coat of leather surrounding the amply-padded earpieces.

The headband wears on the top of the head faster than some we’ve tested, and we wished for a similarly thick layer of padding from the earpads up top.

Still, they were easily wearable for a couple of hours at a time, especially due to the headphone’s low ear-fatigue.

Performance
The Pro40 delivers very powerful, intense audio—you can turn these headphones up much louder than you should ever need to,
and even on tracks with intense sub-bass content, like the Knife’s “Silent Shout,” they will not distort.

At reasonable listening levels
the sub-bass is still delivered with a serious boost, but Munitio at least balances things out by also providing a substantial boost to the high-mids and highs.

Build Quality

Overall build feels fairly solid on the Pro40. The headband adjustments slide on rails on the underside of the headband and feel quite sturdy.
There is no pivot or rotation here, which often makes for a weak joint on other headphones. The literature says aluminum and polymer construction.

I’m guessing the aluminum must be the framework inside. On the outer surface it looks to be all plastic, but there’s a bit of extra weight to the headphone.

The cups are actually not connected directly to the headband.

The headband ends in a pair of large rings,

and the entire driver and earpad assembly pivots on a gimbal system within this ring, giving free movement in two axes to fit the earpads to your head. It’s rather akin to AKG headphones.

It’s not a huge amount of movement (maybe +/- 10°), but it should be sufficient for most people.

The earpads are very nice, made of a protein leather and feel like they will last a long time.

The materal feels thick, and there’s good padding inside (possibly memory foam, but I’m not sure). The headband stretches quite wide and feels strong enough and can probably take a couple drops on the floor, but I wouldn’t bend or twist it like a V-Moda headband.

I wanted to take the Pro40 apart, but honestly can’t find a good starting point. There are no visible screws, and the earpads are quite firmly glued down and held in with small tabs.

Pad rolling does not look to be an option for this headphone. There isn’t much padding on the headband to speak of. Instead, the entire underside is a soft-ish rubber.

It appears to be a custom formed piece that wraps around a small lip inside, rather than glued.

The provided cables are nice and thick. The cloth cable is a bit thinner and comes with remote buttons; it’s light but kinks a little.

The coiled cable is rubber and thicker/heftier. Both feel solid and capable of withstanding a little abuse.

Both have straight 1/8” jacks on one end (for plugging into the Pro40), and a straight threaded 1/8” jack on the other to fit with the provided adapter.

All in all,Built out of aircraft-grade aluminum and high strength polymer, with ultra soft over-ear pads the PRO40 is as comfortable as it is rugged.

 

Pros:

  • lots of bass
  • durable build

Cons:

  • sub par sound for the price


Koss PRODJ100

koss-prodj100
koss-prodj100 ($80-$120)

The Koss ProDJ100 is a pair of portable, closed, over-ear headphones currently priced at ~$50 on Amazon.
They are known (or not) for their good build quality and bang-for-buck.

While opinions on them differ on Head-Fi, I decided to give them a try, as well as compare the stock pads to modded HM5 pads.

Comfort :

The DJ100 is circumaural in size but the cups aren’t very deep on the whole.

Clamping force is fairly low and the headphones still remain comfortable for quite a while when worn.

A side effect of the low clamping force and loose fit is that the DJ100 is slightly less stable when worn on-the-go than some of the other sets in its class.

Isolation :

The slightly shallow fit limits isolation somewhat but sound leakage is extremely minimal.

 

Sound :

Despite having impedance and sensitivity identical to the ATH-M50 and Denon DN-HP700, the Koss Pro DJ100 exhibits higher dependence on amplification than both – and it’s not just the need for power.

Synergy plays a huge role with the headphones and many amps simply don’t mesh well with them.

A neutral or slightly mid-centric amp is preferred – I had good results with the Tianyun Zero, iBasso D10 (stock caps), and a mini3.
Skipping the amp altogether is a poor idea – the DJ100 only reaches a fraction of its full potential unamped – the ATH-M50,

Numark PHX Pro, and even the Denon DN-HP700 sound noticeably better straight out of my portable players.
With a proper amp the low end tightens and increases in quantity, the soundstage opens up, and the upper midrange and treble become smoother and less fatiguing.

Naturally, the DJ100 does not become a completely different headphone with the addition of an amp but it’s enough of an improvement to make me unwilling to use them without one.

Mids:

I don’t really know how exactly to describe the mids… Imagine some honey, really thick and luscious.
Then dilute it with some of water and sprinkle some table salt on it.

Essentially that’s the mids – it’s not exactly thick and luscious,

but not really thin either. In my opinion they do shine the most, but that’s also because I listen to a lot of vocal music.
The upper mids are especially prominent, making them a good choice for female vocals.

For example, listening to this track showcases to which the upper mids stand out – Solji’s voice sounds very vivid and forward.

They are really detailed as well, probably the best I’ve heard since the glory of FLC8S. But then you can’t really compare a $300 IEM to a $50 headphone, right?

With that in mind, the Koss Pro DJ100 extends the bang/buck of the other Koss headphones featured in this review to a whole different price range – a great proposition for budget-conscious buyers.

Pros:

  • Mids, Overall details, Soundstage (after pad switch)
  • Crystal clear vocals, neutral, lightweight, LOTS of detail, amazing Imaging, good soundstage, forward mids

Cons:

  • The annoying coiled cable, Stock pads
  • Slightly rolled off highs, lack of bass to some, needs amp, coiled cable, requires burn-in


Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Reviews

audio-technica-ath-m50x
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x ($120-$200)

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones offer excellent build quality and very detailed,
balanced sound with tight bass.

They’re also very comfortable and have slightly more cushiony earcups along with a detachable-cord design (three cords are included).

Design

Pretty much every review of the M50x points out that they are virtually identical to the older ATH-M50s.

Because, well, they are. But Audio-Technica did a good job of making subtle tweaks,

such as adding a removable cable and tweaking the sound profile ever so slightly. Almost everything else is the same, from the padded band to the swiveling earcups

Sound

For many high-end enthusiasts, a flatter frequency response—meaning all notes are relatively the same volume—is prized.

Not only can you more easily equalize your music that way,

but you also tend to have fewer issues with bass notes being muddled.

Sure, your ears aren’t as sensitive to bass—meaning it’ll take a backseat to mids and high notes—but at the end of the day you’ll have a pretty clinically accurate sound.

With the ATH-M50x, there’s a little bit of variation in the high harmonics and a little bump in the bass,

but other than that the ATH-M50x stays fairly well within our studio tolerances.

While these don’t provide the kind of “signature” sound that many high-end headphones are after, they’re more clinically accurate and better at a wider range of genres.

If you’re looking for a concrete example,

take a classical arrangement—this type of music probably will benefit from tasteful changes in emphasis,

but on the whole you don’t want crazy bass muddling up the mix; you don’t want the cello completely dominating the violins,

or timpani drums, or harps, for example. With the ATH-M50x, that isn’t a problem.

15 Best Noise Cancelling Headphones

Performance

The M50’s are monitor headphones, which gives the best representation of true sound possible.

They will provide you with accurate tones and vocals.

Sometimes this is referred to as transparent sound, but flat is technically the correct term for this sound.

During these tests I was using these headphones plugged directly a computer without any additional amps, and I listened to a mix of FLAC and also MP3’s.

The M50’s peaks in its response at about  9,000 Hz, which sound great for many kinds of music, when it comes to classical music  is where you really hear the highs come into play.

When the strings kick it up a notch and then you can appreciate the sound that these headphones can produce.

Listening to a vocalist like Jennifer Hudson who can belt out the high tones is a way to demonstrate the great sound of these headphones.

Some headphones would create a sharp sound at higher levels, but the M50’s create a smooth tone that is easy on the ears no matter the level.

The treble at higher levels finds a way to sneak out of your headphones and allows others within a few feet to hear what you are listening to.

This is something that should be mentioned so you are mindful when listening in close quarters.

The ATH-M50x is a good choice if you want high-end sound at a reasonable price.

Pros:

  • Removable cable , updated more comfortable earpads,
  • more detailed sound
  • Build, Portability, Cables, Punchy Bass

Cons:

  • proprietary connector, wish there would be a cable with in-line mic/remote for smartphones
  • Way too hyped, Bass overpowering, muddy, slow, congested

 


AKG K181DJ Review

akg-k181dj
AKG K181DJ Review ($80-$120)

Well they look cheap and feel cheap, and the headphones creak when held,

but they feel like the type of headphone that would put up with a lot of abuse.

There are stress points that look ripe for the breaking,

but I’ve beat these guys up with no stress fractures or damage shown.

The headbanddid survive an intense stretching session as well,

so there’s that. The mini XLR removable cable is a nice touch to durability.

Build Quality : 

The lower-tier K81 is already a well-built headphone but the K181 takes build quality one step further.

The construction is brutish and features a metal inner structure and hard plastic outer shell.

One downside is that the K181s don’t fold into quite as many configurations as the K81s – the bulkier joints and larger cups reduce the degrees of freedom allowed by the 3D-Axis mechanism. Still, they are plenty portable when folded and a velour carrying pouch is provided.

The detachable stock cable is slightly shorter and significantly thicker than the K81 cable and connected via a 3-pin mini-XLR connector, same as AKG’s other detachable-cord headphones.

If I had one worry it would be about the silver paint that’s used extensively on these and may chip over time as well as the plastics, which may start to crack if these are thrown about a lot.

Comfort:

Again improving on the K81 formula, the K181 features a wider, slightly padded headband. .

The pads, though big enough to be circumaural, have an inner diameter identical to the K81 pads and thus remain supraaural,

though they are quite thick and comfortable. The K181s also don’t clamp quite as hard as stock K81s but are about 2x heavier. The greatest improvement,

though, is one that fixes my greatest criticism of the K81 – a longer headband.

Though the K81 fits on my head just fine, there is no reserve left in the headband for those with larger noggins. The K181 fixes this with a truly monstrous headband length – they actually fit just fine *over* the fully-extended K81s.

Isolation : 

Again improving slightly on the K81s, the thicker pads of the K181 offer more isolation than those of their smaller sibling.

Sound : 

Head-to-head comparisons with the K81DJ are inevitable but I will try to be as general as I can.

In a nutshell, the K181s alleviate a lot of the issues I had with the sound of the K81s but just don’t go quite far enough.

They are more balanced and less dark than the K81s.

The low end is still very powerful but the K181s do a better job of controlling it and it is even more extended than with the K81s.

The bass also feels like its integrated better into the overall sound.

Additionally, there is a bass toggle switch, but after playing with it for a bit I decided that it is better kept in the “low” position for fear of altering plate tectonics.

The midrange is very clear and boasts a good amount of detail and very natural tonality.

It seems slightly forward compared to the K81s but this is likely the result of the K181s’ better bass and treble control.

The treble is equally natural and very smooth. Though it lacks the distinctive sparkle of the K81, there is not a hint of harshness or sibilance with the K181.

Amplification has an effect on the K181s, but not so much that I would recommend getting an amp just for them.

I have also been using them with a DHC Cryo K702 cable, which sounds brilliant with these. It really helps with the treble rolloff issue that these share with the K81s.

Overall the K181s are still far from being flat, neutral monitoring phones but they can be quite fun, especially with the club-type music for which they were so obviously designed.

AKG K181DJ Designed in cooperation with leading international DJs ,have a good feel for the sound and construction 

Pros:

  • Secure on head;
  • Built in bass boost.

Cons:

  • Extreme clamping force;
  • Cheap look and feel;
  • Overall mediocre sound quality.


Sennheiser HD25-1 II Review

sennheiser-hd-25-1-ii-professional-headphone
sennheiser-hd-25-1-ii ($120-$200)

The HD25-1 has been my favorite (trans)portable headphone for quite a few months.

I spend a few nights a week away from my home rig and the HD25 works wonders with my iBasso D10 and netbook.

Hi-fi on the go has never been so rugged and simple. Best of all is their sonic versatility – though my backup portables, the AKG K181Dj,

excel with certain genres and recordings, the Sennheisers perform more than adequately with anything I can throw at them.

Build Quality :

When it comes to build quality, Sennheiser’s flagship portables can do no wrong.

The structure of the HD25 is painfully elementary.

They are neither flat-folding nor collapsible, with very simple rotating joints and removable metal hardware.

The rough black plastic is resistant to cracks and scratches.

A thick and sturdy steel cable, terminated in a beefy L-plug, completes the picture.

The headphones are also very light and not likely to get damaged from falls.

Lastly, every single part of the headphones is user-replaceable. From the detachable cabling to the headband padding to the cups and joints, the HD25 can be disassembled completely in just a few minutes.

Comfort :

The HD25 is surprisingly light compared to headphones such as the AKG K181 and M-Audio Q40.

The adjustable dual headband exerts very little pressure – the majority of the force is applied by the supraaural coupling.

Though clamping force is fairly strong in the HD25, the structure does a great job of distributing it over the entire surface of the pads.

The cups have a good range of motion despite lacking any joints whatsoever and conform very well to the shape of one’s head.

Vinyl pads come installed on stock HD25s but some versions include the optional velour pads as well.

Even if that isn’t the case, at $7+shipping the velour pads are a worthy investment, providing a comfort improvement at the expense of a tiny bit of isolation.

Overall comfort falls just behind the likes of the impossibly light Senn PX100s and the circumaural CAL!.

Isolation :

Though portable headphones can never isolate as well as the IEMs, the HD25 can compete with certain shallow-insertion in-ears.

While the vinyl pads isolate just a bit more than the velour ones, the tradeoff is unlikely to be worth it for most users.

Even with the velour pads the isolation crown of the HD25-1 can be usurped only the hard-clamping AKGs and only if you’re lucky enough to get the AKGs to seal properly.

Sound:

Upon first hearing the HD25-1 I was absolutely convinced that I would be giving them a 10/10 in sound quality.

Having owned them for a while, however, I can’t help but notice that for $200 headphones they are just slightly lacking here and there.

But the fact that I am still using them as my primary portables is certainly telling of the fact that they are a competitive product.

They are well-balanced with a slight reduction in midrange emphasis, have good clarity and detail, and are quite transparent when it comes to sources.

The bass is tight and accurate. It’s hard-hitting in character and more punchy than powerful as opposed to something like the K181Dj or M-Audio Q40.

It has impressive extension, though it won’t keep up with the M-Audios down to the lowest reaches.

It is also well-textured and does not bleed into the midrange.

For a portable headphone the quantity of bass is just right – a bit more than what one would expect from an analytical headphone but far from AKG K81/K181 quantity.

The mids are neutral, clear, and detailed. Articulation is very good and sounds are well-separated.

However, the HD25 is lacking noticeably in both soundstage width and depth, at least when compared to most full-size headphones.

Most of the other closed portables I own don’t exactly shine in soundstaging either but I can’t help but be disappointed that the smaller and cheaper PX200-II has a more spacious sound.

Sheer size aside, soundstage positioning is fairly precise and instrumental separation is excellent on all but the densest tracks.

Towards the upper midrange the HD25-1 struggles to stay smooth and as a result is very unforgiving of sibilant tracks.

The high end is quite present and reasonably extended but comes off a bit edgy and clinical at times.

The overall sound, though, is quite pleasant and works particularly well for genres not dependent on soundstage size for the full experience. All of my quibbles aside, the HD25 is as good for use on the go as any portable headphone I have heard.

  Sennheisers well-worth the $200 price tag and one of the easiest portable headphones to recommend.

Pros:

  • Indestructible
  • comfortable
  • well-isolating
  • great detail and clarity

Cons:

  • Fairly analytical sound
  • treble can be aggressive and unnatural
  • small soundstage


  Sony MDR-V6

 sony-mdr-v6-300x300

Sony MDR-V6 (Under $100)

Sony MDR-V6 is a classic model of headphones famous for its evergreen design and sound.

It has a special place among audiophiles as it’s probably one of the first Hi-Fi models they’ve encountered.

This is one of the most popular studio models for professionals and it’s still in use today even though it’s been released in 1985. In headphone age that is ancient.

But don’t let its age fool you. The value you get is time-proven and these headphones can compete with the best of them even today.

For the no-nonsense pick, Sony MDR-V6 will not disappoint even the most demanding user.

 

What’s in the box?

  • Sony MDR-V6 headphones
  • 3mm (1/4 inch) adapter
  • User manual

Comfort: Very good comfort for long use

The big over-ear design will fit all adults without a problem. They’re built for studio use, so they’ve built them for long use.

The only issue might be the earpads. They are on the shallower side which might bother some people.

Closed-back earpads offer good passive noise isolation as is usual for studio monitor headphones. This means less sound will leak out or come inside.

Durability: Very good build-quality, earpads are a weak-point

These are built to last. The metal headband protected by leather cushioning and durable plastic earcups fare very well with time.

There are people who still own and use them for 25 years now. This is something that cannot be said about most headphones.

The only bad parts are the earpads. They start to flake after a while which seems a flaw with the original design.

With heavy use, the earpads fabric starts to disintegrate over time. Thankfully you can replace the earpads if the first ones get too damaged. Velour earpads are recommended.

Features: Foldable, long coiled cable

The Sony MDR-V6 don’t offer many special features, but they do offer some.

Headphones fold together for easier storage. Now they don’t come with a carrying case or bag, but you can always get that separately. You can take them with you anywhere you go.

The second thing is their cable. 10ft (3m) long. It’s coiled which is rare to see nowadays. The benefit of this is that the cable can extend to a good distance. But when you don’t need it, it shrinks back to normal length.

You get the best of both world’s, long cable and convenient size, though the cable tends to tangle a bit more because of it.

These are pretty much all “features” of Sony MDR-V6 but they more than make up for it in sound quality, comfort, and durability.

Sound: Studio clarity, lots of detail, deep, punchy bass but not heavy, good soundstage

The design might look very old, but the sound is still very modern and updated.

Overall, the sound signature is rather balanced with crispy clear details and punchier bass.

These are not basshead headphones.

The highs might suffer from some sibilance at certain points, but the overall level of detail is just amazing for the price.

The mids are rich and well pronounced.

The bass can be very deep and controlled. It doesn’t bleed or overpower other ranges and has a good presence.

They’re great for listening to all kinds of music as long as you don’t expect ear puncturing bass.

The soundstage is very good as well, making them a good choice for gaming too. Soundstage responds well to amplification in case you want to get the most out of them. Note: Find other gaming headphones here.

Sony MDR-V6 will sound great at whatever you want, putting out studio quality clarity and detail in a balanced sound signature.

If you don’t mind “vintage” design and want great, affordable, time-tested over-ear headphones that sound great for home use, get Sony MDR-V6.

PROS

  • Vintage, classic model
  • Time-tested
  • Affordable price
  • Comfortable for long use
  • Replaceable earpads
  • Long, coiled cable – 10ft (3m)
  • Great sound, studio clarity and detail
  • Great for all music genres and gaming

CONS

  • Long cord suitable only for indoor use
  • Earpads need a replacement after a while


Philips O’Neill SHO9560

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philips-oneill-sho9560 ($30-$80)

These are the rugged headphones Phillips and the surfing brand O’Neil have come up with.

FIT

These fit pretty well on my head, the ear pads are really soft they adjust to the perfect spot on me,

the fabric headband is OK there’s a plastic band that goes through it (it makes the creaking noise when you first put it on) other wise they are really comfortable. and they are really light (lighter than my iphone 3g)

SOUND

The Philips Stretch have 40mm Drivers and are 32ohms, they are really bass heavy,

i can hear the bass guitar and the drums really well more than i can hear the highs if you listen to anything bass oriented try these.

the mids and highs are somewhat drowned out by the bass but that just might be me,

i heard that you can take the fabric in front of the drivers off and the mids/highs will be alot better but I’m not gonna try this…yet. these have some holes in the housings (three 4mm ones an the bottom and two 2mm ones at each hinge where the headband connects to the housings.

 

BUILD

These seem like very durable headphones just the simplicity of them and the few parts make them durable. the super stretch nylon is stretchy and holds its shape really well

(if I’m right the same plastic is used in tooth brush bristles, just to give you an idea) the fabric headband is stretchy also because of two plastic bands go inside of it and conforms to the shape of your head (those plastic parts in the fabric headband creak a bit)

the Stretch headphones are dual coated with paint

(the black on the housings turn to dark magenta) the semi detectable cable comes in hand when putting these away and for a few “oh crap” moments when the cable catches on something. and the nylon cables are a promising sign of cable durability. if the cable near the housings die ill probably do a full detachable cable job on these.

 

ISOLATION

These isolate very well i cant hear people talking or the TV at 1/3 the volume and i can turn these up full blast and people have to be within a good 5 inches of my head to faintly hear them.

 There is no doubt that the SHO9560 is a very versatile portable headphone – lightweight, durable, and user-friendly all around.

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Pros:

  • Comfortable
  • Light
  • Nice design

Cons:

  • Too much bass
  • creaking in fabric headband

 


M-Audio Studiophile Q40

m-audio-studiophile-q40
m-audio-studiophile-q40 ($120-$200)

The Q40 is a full-size collapsible monitoring headphone from studio equipment manufacturer M-Audio.

Prior to the Q40 all of M-Audio’s headphones were Ultimate Ears rebrands and were mostly made obscure by the lack of competitive pricing. However, the Q40 does not seem to have an OEM progenitor and is a whole different story.

Build Quality

 Underneath the handsome black-and-grey plastic paneling of the Q40 is a tank-like steel construction.

The well-padded steel headband and massive steel hinges really make the Q40 feel like it was built to last.

The headband stretches to gargantuan lengths and has numbered notches for easy adjustment.

The pleather pads are soft but the cups aren’t really deep enough for such shallow pads.

The thick 9’ cable is detachable and utilizes threaded 3.5mm jacks at both ends.

There are some reported long-term issues with the cable but replacement cords are available at a cost of about $10.

Comfort

The steel headband of the Q40s boasts quite a bit of clamping force.

Despite being very pliable, it is also surprisingly resilient to permanent deformation.

The padding on the headband is great but the ear cushions just aren’t quite thick enough for me. As a result my ears are constantly pushed against the grilles, resulting in pain. Beyerdynamic velour pads are better but not quite thick enough either.

I ended up using the pads off of my JVC HA-RX700, which didn’t fit the Q40s perfectly but gave a great comfort boost (thickness difference illustrated here; stock pads on the right).

Though I did not attempt this, a cost-effective way to improve the comfort would be to stuff an additional foam ring into the stock pads to boost their thickness and then sew them back up.

With thicker pads the Q40 can provide hours of comfort.

Isolation :

The perforated external grilles on the Q40s are purely decorative – the headphones are fully closed.

The isolation is surprisingly modest for such a large headphone – noticeably lower than the smaller JVC and AKG portables.

Still, they isolate more than most and leakage is negligible so they are well-suited for portable applications.

Sound :

The most striking aspect of the Q40s’ sound is the bass – specifically the depth, power, and texture of the low end, which are all superb.

The Q40s can really go deep when the track calls for it and the sub-bass is felt as much as it is heard.

For my tastes the boosted mid- and upper bass on the Q40s is excessive but the rest of the sound signature is rather neutral and monitor-like.

They remind me of a far more refined JVC HA-M750 on both counts. The midrange is lush and full but seems to have a slight dip at the lower end.

The treble is never harsh or sibilant and is rolled off slightly off at the very top.

The soundstage is slightly below average in width and lacks depth, resulting in a rather intimate sound.

Instrumental separation is good and the Q40s do a good job of relating detail.

They are not very forgiving of poor source material and the 64-ohm impedance means that while the Q40s are perfectly capable performers when driven by a portable source,

they do benefit from some additional juice, which opens them up and gives them some more speed and control in the lower and middle registers.

Studiophile Q40 headphones  sturdy phones are collapsible for easy travel

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Pros:

  • Impactful bass
  • good midrange
  • good textured sound

Cons:

  • Stock cable
  • comfort
  • upper bass muddies up the sound
  • congested sounding sometimes

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