How I View Headphones

Last spring, my I dropped my cell phone while listening to music on my headphones. Ever since that incident, I have been listening on my Apple earbuds, which unfortunately are also not the most durable. Luckily, they are a lot cheaper than the headphones. While I am impressed by how long my Frends headphones lasted considering the materials and design (3 years with a significant amount of use during the last year of their life), I would love a longer lasting pair. While I am looking for a new pair of headphones, I loved the jewelry inspired look of these and how light they were when I wore them.

 <– Frends Taylor Rose Gold Headphones

 

As an industrial designer, I am becoming more and more aware of materials in products and the lack of longevity in a lot of them. I would much rather buy expensive headphones that last many years than live off of a new pair of earbuds every year (I’ve bought 2 in the past year) or have to buy new headphones within a couple years. Production of many products as well as the products themselves cause a lot of waste and harm to the environment. My old headphones in the long run were only worthy of the money I paid due to their unique design, but a better quality, longer lasting pair would be preferable.

As I consider which pair to buy next, these are the main factors I am considering: look, sound quality, price, and durability. Because I am a designer, my first concern is overall look. This one is generally not negotiable in my mind, even if quality of the product is lower. My goal is to find a balance between overall aesthetic and quality. I am not very sensitive to minor sound differences, so buying expensive high sound quality headphones is also not something I’m interested. That being said, I am conversing with another student who knows the logistics of sound quality because I want to avoid muddled or tinny music. My budget is a pair less than $300 (and preferably only that high if all my demands are met). Another more minor factor I considered was durability in hopes that the headphones last longer and can be used as I do physical work on my desk every day. Another more unique wish is to have the ability to plug into my cell phone since wireless headphones require charge, and I would prefer to not have to worry about them running out of charge. I am, however, not bias against both into the design.

Considerations:

 

  <– Urbanears Plattan 2

These are pretty clever in their design. The flexibility and durability is really good, and the price is pretty ideal. I loved the simple design and color options of them. The unique part of Urbanears is that many of their headphones can have the fabric pieces washed and parts replaced. However, the sound quality is on the lower side, and many reviews said the earpieces come off too easily.

 

 <– Marshall Major II

These headphones are also pretty good in terms of design, featuring the classic Marshall aesthetic in a few color variations. The price is good, and the sound quality is just okay.

 

 <– Sennheiser HD1 Pink Floyd Edition

I love these. As I would say in real life – they are pretty funky. As an accessory they are definitely a statement with the purple iridescence and rainbow stitching on the band. They work both as wireless and wired headphones. The sound quality is amazing according to reviews. However, the price is currently at $499.95, which is not considerable with my budget.

 

 <– Sennheiser Urbanite XL

While I am not 100% in love with the look of these, they are better than a lot of headphones in the market (in my opinion). The headphones sit at $118 (the wireless version is significantly more expensive) and come in 3 more unique color combinations. The sound quality is pretty amazing, and the headphones themselves seem durable in structure.

 

 <– Beoplay h4

 

Currently, these are my favorites. The simple, clean look is appealing to me, and the sound quality is excellent (and can be adjusted with the adjoining app). The brand focuses on the simple needs of the headphones in terms of function and form. They are both wireless and wired depending on the consumer’s needs and are comfortable to wear. The materials used are high quality, and although the price is near to my budget, the grey pair can be found cheaper on Amazon.

 

I have learned a lot as I look for a new pair. Again it comes down to form and function within a pricepoint. It’s just a matter of what you value most in design.

 

Here is a link to a PC Magazine article featuring a detailed chart comparing some of the “best” headphones of 2018:

https://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2399261,00.asp

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