Traveling with silly expensive headphones, the Westone 3 and Bowers & Wilkins P5


If (when) the cord on the Westones breaks, I recommend having the drivers remolded into custom IEMs. I had it done with my Q-Jays, and it’s really quite amazing.

I don’t have the slightest idea what makes good audio equipment but I thought this story quite interesting:

Just 25$ … Why don’t you give those a try?


how does the p5 compare with b&w’s speaker lineup-- say, the dm601s3?

I’ve had a pair of Etymotic ER-4 iems for years, and they’re great for traveling. I’ve never used a set of actual headphones that has sound isolation as good as good iems. (The active sound canceling ones are a total ripoff, and aren’t even in the same league as similarly priced in ear monitors.)

Custom molds aren’t always better. I’ve had a few pair and when you move your jaw the fit can change and break the seal, and a good seal is vital for the function of IEMs. There is debate on whether to make the mold with the jaw closed or slightly open. Also, depending on the shape of your ear, they can be comfortable to fit in until they are in place, and uncomfortable to get out - again, depending on the shape of your ear. So, I’ve gone back to stock IEMs using foam or flange fittings. The silicone and foam fittings adjust better to keep the seal when I move my jaw than custom molded IEMs made out of acrylic.

For everyday use I really like having a good pair of IEMs made for wearing with the cable over the ear. A shirt clip clip the Y junction of the cable to the back of your collar is helpful to keep enough slack in the cables to the IEMs so you can turn your head, though. And most IEMs fit close enough to the ear that you can turn your head on a head rest or pillow or what not - something that isn’t true of headphones.

My main criterion with expensive earbuds is: will they survive a 60 degree wash and spin cycle? Because I am a moron with lots of pockets.


BB flogging the 1%-er-affordable technocrap totally undermines their social and political stories, I find.


Maybe the latter help to alleviate residual guilt induced by the former?

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The speakers themselves usually last for an eternity. If the wires chew off with (ab)use, just pop the cases open, cut out the damaged part, solder back. If too many such operations shortened the wires too much, replace the cable with a length of a suitable one.

An excellent way to get good electronics is having rich friends with no soldering skills. :smiley:

Maybe there could be some alternative to conventional recycling of electronics? Add a step where the throw-outs get an attempted repair (many are low-hanging fruit, e.g. chewed wire or dead capacitor). Then strip the reusable spare parts, give or sell them. Recycle only the rest. There are enough students, hobbyists, unemployed technicians, etc., to make the scheme potentially work. Could hackerspaces/makerspaces play a role of organizing “centers” here?

I believe it was the Great Walter Cronkite in 1964 who coined the only real, perfect response to such a cogent rejoinder:

“Winner. Winner. Chicken Dinner.”

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I don’t really think so. It’s a blog of “wonderful things” and while there’s a lot of garbage and pseudoscience in audiophile circles, genuinely good products are a worthy investment to a music lover. And, given they last much longer and are better taken care of, are effectively better for the environment than “disposable” junk products. Plus, boutique audio companies are (generally) not affiliated with detestable corporate behemoths.


I use Bose Quiet Comfort 15s and dig them quite a bit - especially when traveling - though they’re bulky. But - the seam on the headphones is splitting after 3 years. 44$ for new ones. I suspect it was my glasses (removing them without taking the headphones off first) weakened the seam. The wife hates the underwater feeling of noise cancelling headphones, so these arent for everyone. Also, I hear tell that some people with better ears than I have issues with the tonal range.

Sucks to be you, poors!

Yeah, I love living in a place where we have dirt roads, dirt-poor people (by American standards), but the urban-dwelling BB tells me to feel guilty about my overwhelming paleness. Then they plug crap like this. Maybe next they’ll tell me about the hip restaurant I couldn’t afford to get a reservation to. Yeah, I chalk it up to guilt on their part.

Meanwhile, I guard a pair of these with my life:

They were cheap when I bought 'em ($20 then, more like $30 when you can find them), they break easily, and like most Sony consumer gear have almost no copper in those insulators. But they sound okay.

Not my photo, but I have one of those Sansas stashed away somewhere. Get a refurb, add Rockbox, and you have a heck of a dedicated MP3 player there.

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I am so very far from a 1%-er, yet I appreciate and am willing (if not always able) to pay for quality transducers of all sorts. And if you’re gonna pump rock and roll directly into your skull, the lower the total harmonic distortion, the better it is for that one pair of transducers that no amount of money can replace.

Also, look into the Samuel Vimes Boots Theory of Economic Injustice. Or as I am inordinately fond of putting it, “the cheap stuff costs more.”


Ooh. Edgy.

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I like Koss PortaPros. They sound good, are comfortable, cost around $50, and they’re guaranteed for life. I guess I’m just lucky that I don’t need more than that.


I just bought some Grado sr80is. Haven’t had a chance to try them out much yet.

Don’t try to use them outside, particularly if there are any streets nearby.

I have read people complain about these issues, but don’t have this myself. The seal is great, and chewing or opening my mouth do not break it.

If you want more comfort, and are willing to shell out a little more, try the silicone custom molds.