This is a tale of a couple of pairs of headphones, and some interesting outcomes based on a couple of purchases that I have made.
First off, let me be very clear, I'm not an audiophile. For a pair of headphones to sound bad to me they probably are going to rate as god awful for anybody who claims that title, so this is not so much about audio quality as much as it is about the construction of the things.
That being said I found myself needing a new pair of headphones a while back and after sniffing around online I settled on a set of headphones from Status Audio, specifically the HD One's. The claim here is that Status Audio works on a direct to consumer model and that by cutting out all the middlemen and marketing crap that they deliver headphones comparable to other much more expensive brands.
The price was good and I thought that since they have a 30 day statisfaction garuntee I'd give them a try and tossed out an order for them and waited for delivery. When they arrived I pulled them out of the box, gave them a go, and they sounded fine. Given the coupons that I got and the free shipping (since they messed up on the shipping) the price came in around the 50$ mark. And that's where the problem came in.
While the headphones where good and sounded fine they really didn't have the build quality that I was hoping for. They where in fact very similar to some other headphones that I've come across at a number of other dollar store places over the past several years. In fact looking around on a number of sites I can see many other headphones that look very similar for a lot less money.
Now I don't know of the folks at Status are just picking up some inexpensive headphones, labeling them and sending them out at a decent markup, or if they have some secret sauce that they have figured out and they manufacturer that they are using just uses the same molds on a bunch of different products. Either way I can't get past the feeling that these things are going to snap in half while I'm trying to adjust them to my head.
If they where something that I picked up for 20$ or so I probably would not have had any complaints but for the price I was expecting something more robust. So, given that I had a 30 day guarantee on these I decided to take advantage of that and try something else.
That something else wound up being a set of Anker Soundbud Sports. They are quite a bit different but given the price at the time (25$) I thought it would be pretty hard to go wrong. After using them for several months I was pretty happy with them but earbuds like this don't generally fit in my ears well at all and these really didn't make much difference from others.
The quality is fine, they work well enough, and the battery life is fairly good considering that they are tiny little things and I was quite willing to keep running with them for as long as they would survive. I however wound up getting a bit of good luck in the form of a door prize that I won when a local retailer opened a new shop near my house.
That door prize was a set of Plantronics BackBeat 500 series headphones.
Now these things are quite a bit more than I would normally spend on a headset, simply because they don't tend to last for me and I'm cheap as hell. However after having these things for a while I'd seriously consider spending that money if I was looking at having to replace them. The sound is goog, battery runs for days and days, and if they go dead there's still the option to wire them in with a cable that came bundled with them.
I'm actually fairly familiar with the Plantronics brand from the headsets at work - and they hold up pretty well there considering that most of the people using them generally treat them like a rented mule.
Time will tell on this one, but I have the feeling that I'll stick with these headphones for a while, they don't have the issues with construction that the Status Audio ones do, but they have the convenience of Bluetooth so that I have one less wire hanging around to deal with.