I have trouble finding headphones that I find really satisfactory. I've long preferred the style that fit over the ear to the kind that squash the ears against the skull, for instance, and the latter are evidently much more popular nowadays for some reason (perhaps because, I will grant, they do look a trifle less preposterous).
Also, I seem to have corrosive alien sweat or something, because when I do find a set I can live with, they last for maybe a year or two and then the pads disintegrate into a flaky, uncomfortable mess. That's what's currently happening to the headphones I have now, a set of own-brand active noise canceling on-the-ear jobs my mother picked up for me a few years ago at an airport Brookstone. I've used these regularly and they've served me reasonably well, but they evidently didn't serve Brookstone well, as they don't carry them or offer any spare parts for them any longer. (Besides which, the active noise canceling feature doesn't really work as well as the promotional materials would seem to suggest, and they're on-the-ears, so I can only stand to wear them for an hour or so at a time anyway.)
Between the various factors named above, I was poking around the interwebs the other day looking to see if there was anything on the market that could simultaneously scratch my over-the-ear itch and address my durability/availability-of-spare-parts concerns. I wasn't finding much - like I say, headphone fashion seems to be trending away from over-the-ear designs, and there's really no guarantee that any model will have spare parts available in five to ten years' time - but then it struck me, What about aviation headsets? Those never change, and they tend to remain in service for aaaaages. Aviation hardware is expensive, but it has an insanely long service life.
So I went poking around the website of one of my favorite corporations, The David Clark Company of none other than Worcester, Massachusetts - makers of NASA spacesuits, military and civilian anti-G and pressure suits (that suit Felix Baumgartner wore on Red Bull Stratos? That's one of theirs), and - most importantly for my purposes - about a million-billion pairs of those giant mint-green headphones you see airliner and helicopter pilots wearing on TV and in the movies. If anybody knows how to make a sturdy pair of headphones that cope well with noisy environments, I figured, it'd be those guys.
Not only was I right, but it appears that someone at DCC thought of it already, because in addition to all their dedicated aviation products, they actually sell a micless "stereo listen only" version of their classic Model 10 aviation headset.
They're not cheap - so not cheap that, when I mentioned I was thinking of buying a pair, even though I had said nothing about it costing her anything, my mother made a little choking sound of dismay - but I think that's officially going on my "when the boat comes in" list, along with a shock ring and boom arm for my Snowball mic.
Who would have thought? Worcester to the rescue after all this time.
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.