Posted: December 10, 2010 in Misc
I have what most people would call a long-ish commute to work. A 10 minute drive to the train station, followed by an hour long train ride, followed by a 20 minute walk. Add in the 10 minutes spend waiting for the train at the station, and you have a 100-minute door-to-door commute. In each direction. Needless to say, this presents quite the opportunity to listen to music, especially considering that my new phone has Pandora Internet radio. Last.fm, and a Democracy Now news app.
A key ingredient in listening to music is a good set of headphones. I prefer the on-ear designs, as the over-ear models are usually a bit too hot in the summer. I prefer a pleather earpad to a foam one, because I don't want my music leaking out and bothering others, and they're also better at keeping noise out. I can't wear the traditional iPod style earbuds, because my ears oddly lack the little "shelf" that they rest in. And in-ear styles usually fall out to easily. The earbuds that clip around behind your ears are usually the iPod style buds, and with no little "shelf" they tend to swing away from my ears like little barn doors.
So an on-ear design it is, and I've been a long-time user of the Sony MDR-V150 headphone. The sound is good, they stay in place, and they're usually fairly cheap ($20 average). There's only one problem. Like lots of headphones, they break after only a few months of use.
Usually headphones die on me when the cord fails at the jack, and you lose one channel. On the V150s, they've reinforced the jack considerably, so instead the cord just fails right where it connects to the earpiece. I've tried opening them up and soldering it, but either I'm changing the resistance of the wire or screwing something else up, because they sound like CRAP afterwards.
So after my last pair of V150s died, I decided to try a pair of Skullcandy Lowriders. These are similar to the V150s, except they fold up and get really small, so they're a lot easier to stow when you don't need them. They also have cool logos on them that a teenager would like (hah). Unfortunately, they come in a sealed plastic container, so there's no way to try them on before you buy.
On my first day of using them, I noticed that the sound wasn't as good as the V150s, and it's because they don't press to your ear very well. With all the hinges that make them foldable, they really are flimsy to wear, and a stiff breeze (or tree branch, or just the act of looking down) will cause them to fall off. And after around 8 months... you guessed it... the jack failed.
I went online to leave a scathing review, and noticed many of the other reviewers bragging about the warranty, so I decided to check it out. Turns out, if you own a pair of Skullcandy headphones, and they fail due to normal usage, they replace them, FREE. And even better, if you don't want the same ones, you can get the amount in credit toward any new pair from their website. You don't need a receipt, you don't need to know where or exactly when you bought them (a guess will do), and you don't have to wait long.
You basically fill out a form on their website, get an RMA number on the spot, mail them back at the post office, and 7-10 days later you get a credit to your account on the website for full MSRP, plus the $7 you paid to ship the old ones back. On top of this, they were having a 20% off sale on everything on their site, so after I applied my credit and the discount code, I got a better pair of $50 headphones, plus a toque (I needed to order something else to not have a negative total, although I probably could have just left a credit on the site) for $2.59. Yes, two dollars and fifty nine cents. This is especially awesome because I actually paid around $26 for the Lowriders, but they still credited me the $39.99 MSRP.
This is awesome customer service to say the least! You basically buy a pair of headphones and you have them for life! Even if you break them and it's your fault, they'll still give you 50% credit.
I can't wait to get my new headphones! Unlike the old pair, the new ones get great reviews, and they even have a built-in mic so I can talk on my phone. And I needed a new hat for the winter, especially after Jessica shrunk my old one in the dryer. I'll definitely be washing the new one myself!
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