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Left earcup on my Bose headphones broke. Fix it or buy new?

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July 21, 2008 6:15:27 PM

So I've had these headphones now for about 2 - 3 years. After so long of abuse in my backpack (silly me for not using the case that comes with them), the left earcup went and died on me today. It produces absolutely no sound except for the tiny piece of metal or something I can jiggly around in there when I shake it. Right earcup works fine though.

I'm trying to find someone who can, maybe, fix it, but in the case that I cannot I'm considering buying a new pair of noise-canceling headphones. However, I don't think I want to buy from Bose again on account of I've heard some bad rep about them.

So what do you guys think? Fix it or buy new? And if so, could you suggest some quality and sturdy noise-canceling headphones (something below <$200, I'm not really an audiophile)?
July 21, 2008 10:44:29 PM

Sennheiser does good stuff. The active noise cancelling is expensive, but these are quite good if you can go for $225.
Related resources
July 22, 2008 2:35:48 AM

Those are nice, but they aren't noise cancelling. They will block out the sound quite well, but the ones I linked to are active noise cancelling, so will actually almost completely eliminate all background noise. If you want great sound quality though, the ones you linked are very nice, and much cheaper than a comparable sounding noise cancelling pair.
July 22, 2008 6:01:33 AM

Well isn't 'noise attentuation' and 'noise cancelling' basically the same thing?

Also the previous headphones I had, the Bose Quietcomfort 3, while it did block out a lot of noise, it could never block out everything completely. So in a way, there is no true, complete noise cancellation. At least not yet. So I don't think I'd really notice a difference.

Or am I missing something?

Edit - I think I get it. The 'noise attenuation' comes from just the way the headphones are made so that the construction of the earphones reduces outside sound. But the 'noise canceling' uses electronics that are actively on and producing the anti-sound to completely eliminate most outside sound. Is this right?

Because if that's the case, then I might get these instead.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I've looked at Sennheiser's line of noise canceling stuff and I'm not too sure there's really much point to spending more than $150 on those kind of headphones. I mean, I like my music and all, and I like having the quiet environment from the noise canceling, but I'm not what you'd call an audiophile. I don't obsess over whether my mp3's are 128kbps or 192kbps and I can't tell the difference between then (at least I don't think I can). So would this be a good buy for me?
July 22, 2008 7:30:21 AM

perhaps you should look at IEM's. if you don't mind shoving smoething into your ear they offer good noise reduction and are portable.
July 22, 2008 2:16:45 PM

I've used earphones before, I don't like them much. Granted I've never had real quality ones, but even so I don't like having them directly in my ear because they're usually uncomfortable or don't stay in my ear very long. Plus they're a slight hassle because they're so small.
July 22, 2008 3:21:44 PM

mathiasschnell said:
Well isn't 'noise attentuation' and 'noise cancelling' basically the same thing?

Also the previous headphones I had, the Bose Quietcomfort 3, while it did block out a lot of noise, it could never block out everything completely. So in a way, there is no true, complete noise cancellation. At least not yet. So I don't think I'd really notice a difference.

Or am I missing something?

Edit - I think I get it. The 'noise attenuation' comes from just the way the headphones are made so that the construction of the earphones reduces outside sound. But the 'noise canceling' uses electronics that are actively on and producing the anti-sound to completely eliminate most outside sound. Is this right?

That's exactly it. Noise attenuation = foam + good seal against your head, while noise canceling = active elimination of sound. Looking at the specs, the HD280Pros have up to 32dB of passive noise attenuation, while the PXC350 have 32dB passive plus an additional 18dB active noise attenuation, so could drop noise by 50dB. An extra 18dB is definitely significant. The smaller sized PXC250 though (that you linked to) probably wouldn't drop the sound as much. They have the noise cancelling, but some of the reason why the bigger ones work so well is because they also have the noise attenuation. I wouldn't get those - the HD280s are probably just as quiet, so unless size matters a lot to you, there's no point in getting the PXC250.
July 22, 2008 3:42:59 PM

Well the Bose Quietcomfort 3 cups were on top of my ears, not enclosing them and they still blocked out a lot of outside noise. The PXC250's look to be about the same in concept, though with a slightly less bulky frame overall. Still, the PRO 280 one does look pretty sturdy and reviews seem to indicate that even without the active noise canceling that the attenuation from its construction is phenomenal. I suppose if I'm not satisfied with one of the other, I could maybe return it for some store credit or something and get the other one. Well, whatever, I'll pick one soon and just go with it. Probably the PRO 280s since they're a great deal right now.

Thanks for all your help guys.
Anonymous
January 4, 2010 3:42:55 PM

The left ear-cup on my bose on-ear headphone also ***ed up. I thought Bose was a pretty durable earphone but...i guess either my handling of it was rough or its just too fragile.

Whatever the case, I somehow got it to work. This was how:

Situation: Left ear cup has no sound but when I press the left earcup hard towards my ear there's a momentary sound that lasts for less than second.

Step1: i dismantled the left ear cup. There's a total of 4 screws to take apart the left ear cup in which two of them are hidden within the thin sheet of padding that surrounds the plastic of the ear cup (not the outer foam part of the ear cup which can be taken off the ear-cup quite easily) and the other two are visible once you take off the foam part.

Step2: I tried to determine the source of why the sound was cut off only on the left ear cup but fiddling around with the speaker wires inside the ear cup to see if I get any sound out of that action sorta got me to conclude that it isn't due to any of those speaker wires.

step3: i then reflected back on how when i press on the foam towards my ear, there's a momentary sound. that gave me the idea to use my little screwdriver to press down on the actual plastic covering of the speaker where the bare conductor runs through it. (KINDA DANGEROUS THOUGH, MIGHT RUIN YOUR SPEAKER SO IF YOU EVER ENCOUNTER THIS, PROCEED WITH CAUTION). When I pressed down on the plastic covering where the bare conductor is passing through it, the sound came back like there was no problem at all.

- the thing is is that i thought about going further and dismantling the speaker itself out of the ear-cup and then had second thoughts to it because thats really getting into dangerous territory where i could possibly seriously damage the speaker. Anyhow here's the solution:

I added a little cotton pad on that area where the bare conductor runs through the plastic covering of the speaker, so that when the foam part of the ear-cup is applied to the ear cup itself, the cotton pad presses down on that plastic covering part.

This gave me my sound back just like there was no problem to begin with.
Ofcourse, i have no idea how long this solution will last for but, its a temporary solution since I don't have the receipt or the warranty for that bose headphone.

This was my cheap fix to the ear-phone problem.
This is just my experience...

Anyways, just happy to have my sound back cuz i'm not spending $200 for another pair of headphones for at least a couple of years.

Cheers~
January 10, 2010 12:22:51 PM

cjl said:
Those are nice, but they aren't noise cancelling. They will block out the sound quite well, but the ones I linked to are active noise cancelling, so will actually almost completely eliminate all background noise. If you want great sound quality though, the ones you linked are very nice, and much cheaper than a comparable sounding noise cancelling pair.



well actually active noise cancleeing blocks out the lower end of the sound around u, so only the high pitched sound can get across the phones

passive noise cancelling blocks out treble sounds so bass osunds come though to your phones


try it out if u dont believe me.
Anonymous
January 10, 2010 1:40:05 PM

Quote:
The left ear-cup on my bose on-ear headphone also ***ed up. I thought Bose was a pretty durable earphone but...i guess either my handling of it was rough or its just too fragile.

Whatever the case, I somehow got it to work. This was how:

Situation: Left ear cup has no sound but when I press the left earcup hard towards my ear there's a momentary sound that lasts for less than second.

Step1: i dismantled the left ear cup. There's a total of 4 screws to take apart the left ear cup in which two of them are hidden within the thin sheet of padding that surrounds the plastic of the ear cup (not the outer foam part of the ear cup which can be taken off the ear-cup quite easily) and the other two are visible once you take off the foam part.

Step2: I tried to determine the source of why the sound was cut off only on the left ear cup but fiddling around with the speaker wires inside the ear cup to see if I get any sound out of that action sorta got me to conclude that it isn't due to any of those speaker wires.

step3: i then reflected back on how when i press on the foam towards my ear, there's a momentary sound. that gave me the idea to use my little screwdriver to press down on the actual plastic covering of the speaker where the bare conductor runs through it. (KINDA DANGEROUS THOUGH, MIGHT RUIN YOUR SPEAKER SO IF YOU EVER ENCOUNTER THIS, PROCEED WITH CAUTION). When I pressed down on the plastic covering where the bare conductor is passing through it, the sound came back like there was no problem at all.

- the thing is is that i thought about going further and dismantling the speaker itself out of the ear-cup and then had second thoughts to it because thats really getting into dangerous territory where i could possibly seriously damage the speaker. Anyhow here's the solution:

I added a little cotton pad on that area where the bare conductor runs through the plastic covering of the speaker, so that when the foam part of the ear-cup is applied to the ear cup itself, the cotton pad presses down on that plastic covering part.

This gave me my sound back just like there was no problem to begin with.
Ofcourse, i have no idea how long this solution will last for but, its a temporary solution since I don't have the receipt or the warranty for that bose headphone.

This was my cheap fix to the ear-phone problem.
This is just my experience...

Anyways, just happy to have my sound back cuz i'm not spending $200 for another pair of headphones for at least a couple of years.

Cheers~



Yes!!! I had the same exact problem you did and did the same thing to fix it.. minus taking out the screws. That just saved me over $100!!! Thanks alot!
March 23, 2010 1:57:44 AM

Quote:
The left ear-cup on my bose on-ear headphone also ***ed up. I thought Bose was a pretty durable earphone but...i guess either my handling of it was rough or its just too fragile.

Whatever the case, I somehow got it to work. This was how:

Situation: Left ear cup has no sound but when I press the left earcup hard towards my ear there's a momentary sound that lasts for less than second.

Step1: i dismantled the left ear cup. There's a total of 4 screws to take apart the left ear cup in which two of them are hidden within the thin sheet of padding that surrounds the plastic of the ear cup (not the outer foam part of the ear cup which can be taken off the ear-cup quite easily) and the other two are visible once you take off the foam part.

Step2: I tried to determine the source of why the sound was cut off only on the left ear cup but fiddling around with the speaker wires inside the ear cup to see if I get any sound out of that action sorta got me to conclude that it isn't due to any of those speaker wires.

step3: i then reflected back on how when i press on the foam towards my ear, there's a momentary sound. that gave me the idea to use my little screwdriver to press down on the actual plastic covering of the speaker where the bare conductor runs through it. (KINDA DANGEROUS THOUGH, MIGHT RUIN YOUR SPEAKER SO IF YOU EVER ENCOUNTER THIS, PROCEED WITH CAUTION). When I pressed down on the plastic covering where the bare conductor is passing through it, the sound came back like there was no problem at all.

- the thing is is that i thought about going further and dismantling the speaker itself out of the ear-cup and then had second thoughts to it because thats really getting into dangerous territory where i could possibly seriously damage the speaker. Anyhow here's the solution:

I added a little cotton pad on that area where the bare conductor runs through the plastic covering of the speaker, so that when the foam part of the ear-cup is applied to the ear cup itself, the cotton pad presses down on that plastic covering part.

This gave me my sound back just like there was no problem to begin with.
Ofcourse, i have no idea how long this solution will last for but, its a temporary solution since I don't have the receipt or the warranty for that bose headphone.

This was my cheap fix to the ear-phone problem.
This is just my experience...

Anyways, just happy to have my sound back cuz i'm not spending $200 for another pair of headphones for at least a couple of years.

Cheers~


After removing the large outer foam cup, did you also remove the thin sticky foam material to find the other two screws? Because that thin sticky part isn't removing easily, but rather coming off in small pieces.

If so, do you mind telling me where those two screws are, so I can just remove the thin part where the screws are rather than the whole thing?

Thanks so much for the posting.

March 23, 2010 1:58:45 AM

Also if by any chance you took a picture of what you did for the solution and wouldn't mind posting that (or emailing it to me), I would really appreciate it.

Thanks!
Anonymous
May 5, 2010 3:05:27 AM

Quote:
The left ear-cup on my bose on-ear headphone also ***ed up. I thought Bose was a pretty durable earphone but...i guess either my handling of it was rough or its just too fragile.

Whatever the case, I somehow got it to work. This was how:

Situation: Left ear cup has no sound but when I press the left earcup hard towards my ear there's a momentary sound that lasts for less than second.

Step1: i dismantled the left ear cup. There's a total of 4 screws to take apart the left ear cup in which two of them are hidden within the thin sheet of padding that surrounds the plastic of the ear cup (not the outer foam part of the ear cup which can be taken off the ear-cup quite easily) and the other two are visible once you take off the foam part.

Step2: I tried to determine the source of why the sound was cut off only on the left ear cup but fiddling around with the speaker wires inside the ear cup to see if I get any sound out of that action sorta got me to conclude that it isn't due to any of those speaker wires.

step3: i then reflected back on how when i press on the foam towards my ear, there's a momentary sound. that gave me the idea to use my little screwdriver to press down on the actual plastic covering of the speaker where the bare conductor runs through it. (KINDA DANGEROUS THOUGH, MIGHT RUIN YOUR SPEAKER SO IF YOU EVER ENCOUNTER THIS, PROCEED WITH CAUTION). When I pressed down on the plastic covering where the bare conductor is passing through it, the sound came back like there was no problem at all.

- the thing is is that i thought about going further and dismantling the speaker itself out of the ear-cup and then had second thoughts to it because thats really getting into dangerous territory where i could possibly seriously damage the speaker. Anyhow here's the solution:

I added a little cotton pad on that area where the bare conductor runs through the plastic covering of the speaker, so that when the foam part of the ear-cup is applied to the ear cup itself, the cotton pad presses down on that plastic covering part.

This gave me my sound back just like there was no problem to begin with.
Ofcourse, i have no idea how long this solution will last for but, its a temporary solution since I don't have the receipt or the warranty for that bose headphone.

This was my cheap fix to the ear-phone problem.
This is just my experience...

Anyways, just happy to have my sound back cuz i'm not spending $200 for another pair of headphones for at least a couple of years.

Cheers~


Dear friend,


I can´t find the hidden screws. I removed all the padding and can´t find the damn screws. Could you send me some photos showing these screws?

Thanks.
Anonymous
June 2, 2010 2:02:20 AM

Remove the thin line of padding. It's a bit tricky because the padding is attached to a sort of a piece of tape. So basically, run your fingernail along the top and pull off that black tape/foam. The hidden screws are beneath it clear as day.

Hope this helps.
June 6, 2010 1:12:45 AM

mathiasschnell said:
So I've had these headphones now for about 2 - 3 years. After so long of abuse in my backpack (silly me for not using the case that comes with them), the left earcup went and died on me today. It produces absolutely no sound except for the tiny piece of metal or something I can jiggly around in there when I shake it. Right earcup works fine though.

I'm trying to find someone who can, maybe, fix it, but in the case that I cannot I'm considering buying a new pair of noise-canceling headphones. However, I don't think I want to buy from Bose again on account of I've heard some bad rep about them.

So what do you guys think? Fix it or buy new? And if so, could you suggest some quality and sturdy noise-canceling headphones (something below <$200, I'm not really an audiophile)?


B. O. S. E. = Buy Other Sound Equipment
June 6, 2010 11:46:02 AM

soundguruman said:
B. O. S. E. = Buy Other Sound Equipment


indeed
Anonymous
June 26, 2010 11:36:19 AM

So the thin layer of foam has to be removed permanently?
Anonymous
July 1, 2010 9:14:41 PM

jst stick to bose, its the best!
July 2, 2010 3:22:12 PM

bose is the worst. it literally is, youve been fooled by their marketing gimmicks, or u jsut havent heard many other phones.
Anonymous
August 3, 2010 3:00:27 PM

Hi All,
I just got same problem today.
When you press on tho the headphones, because of vacuum you will slightly move membrane. okay, as soon as you will remove padded portion (little flat screwdriver between padding and plastic and just carefully lift it until it pops up and do it on all 4 sides) you will be able to see membrane (speaker).
If you look closely, there is copper thin wire under membrane which goes from center onto side. if you take something non metallic/magnetic and slightly press around side of the membrane where copper wire is, you will see it will play. I guess this is due to poor design and wire just get snapped. Anyhow as previously said, if you put small piece of cotton or something really soft under plastic meshing so it press slightly on side of membrane where wire is, it should be working. For how long, Ive no idea, I just done it today. btw, this should qualify as replacement because of bad design and obviously this is failing point, shouldn't it?. cheers
October 9, 2010 11:28:56 PM

Just to add my two cents worth. As much as I think the Bose headphones are great soundwise their durability is another story. I'm on my second set now and both sets have encountered the same problems. I've never had any problems with the wiring or loss of sound. The problems I've had are first the ear pads start to disintegrate. Black flakes start coming off the pads and eventually the pads are not shiny anymore but a dull cloth look. This isn't a showstopper but not great either. The big problem is that the plastic frame starts to just crack and fall apart for no reason whatsoever. I've always looked after the headphones well, keeping them in their case and not handling them rough. It almost seems that they are designed to self destruct after about three years. I wouldn't have bought the second set due to this but they were a gift. Now after having the exact same thing happen to two sets bought from different parts of the world, several years apart, I would not even consider buying them again. For the money they cost they should last more than three years. I now use a pair of Shure in ear headphones that sound just as good, are comfortable, block out just as much noise, a lot more portable and cost considerably less. The Bose are definitely great quality soundwise but spending $300 for headphones that last only three years doesn't make a lot of sense.
October 14, 2010 7:22:13 AM

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