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AudioProduct presentation 914

Deadphones Vol. 2: A second life for headphones

After ranting about the short life span of headphones, now’s my time to give some praise. At least to some of them. There are models that come with spare parts and are easy to repair – many Sennheiser headphones, for example.

Last year, I gave vent to my anger about how quickly headphones break. If it’s not the cable or plug, I’ll bet you the ear cushions will start to crumble.

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I'm not a paranoid conspiracy theorist and I don't scream «planned obsolescence!» every time something breaks. But it didn't surprise me that the ear cushions on my Sennheiser HD 449 began to fall apart after three years. It's not too bad at the moment, but once they start to crumble, I'll be covered in small, black bits of plastic for weeks or even months.

I’d already started looking for new headphones when I saw there are replacement ear cushions for my exact model – headphones that are no more available since a long time. I ordered them right away and received them the next day (sorry, I got the last ones in stock).

Ohrpolster  HD 428 (1 pair)
CHF 17.–
Sennheiser Ohrpolster HD 428 (1 pair)


Mail delivery

  • 8 piece(s)
    in our warehouse


  • Basel: today at 12:30
  • Bern: today at 17:00
  • Dietikon: today at 13:30
  • Geneva: tomorrow at 14:00
  • Kriens: today at 13:00
  • Lausanne: tomorrow at 12:30
  • St Gallen: today at 13:00
  • Winterthur: today at 12:00
  • Wohlen: today at 11:00
  • Zurich: today at 12:15


If ordered immediately.
Information subject to change.

View details

I unclipped my old ear cushions and clipped on the new ones. It took no tools and no time at all. In about 30 seconds, my headphones were as good as new. Nothing easier than that.

Remove the old cushion.
Clip on the new cushion.

After this operation, I’m sure my headphones will last another two or three years. If the cable breaks, I can replace that, too.

KBL EXT - HD 448, HD 449 (Black, 1.6m)
CHF 17.–
Sennheiser KBL EXT - HD 448, HD 449 (Black, 1.6m)


  • The delivery date is being clarified with the supplier and will be updated shortly.

Information subject to change.

View details

I knew Sennheiser supplied spare parts for the legendary HD 25. But I was surprised they did the same for my model, the HD 449, which costs less than 100 francs now and is a completely unspectacular piece of equipment by today's standards. It has no remote control, can’t be used as a headset, has no wireless transmission and no noise cancelling. It can't really do anything except play sound.

Wie Wein, nur besser: 30 Jahre Sennheiser HD 25
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Wie Wein, nur besser: 30 Jahre Sennheiser HD 25

Massive props to Sennheiser. That's the way it's supposed to be. I hope Sennheiser sticks with this attitude, customers appreciate it and other manufacturers follow this example.

A case for spare parts

Yes, providing spare parts can pay off. I don't know what the situation is in this particular case, but it's undeniable that the margin on spare parts can be a lot higher than on the entire device. Why? Because customers pay less attention to the price of spare parts. When I need a new cable, I buy one – whether it costs 10 francs or 18 francs.

Sennheiser isn't the only manufacturer to provide spare parts. Separate ear pads are available for both the black and white versions of the Bose QuietComfort 35; removable cables that are easy to replace have long been standard. In our shop, any spare parts, if available, are listed as accessories on the product page.

There's definitely no evil master plan that causes some components of your headphones to break after a while. Next time your headphones break down, crumble or fall apart, check if spare parts are available. Even better, look out for spare parts before you decide to buy headphones in the first place.

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David Lee, Zurich

  • Teamleader Thor
My interest in IT and writing landed me in tech journalism early on (2000). I want to know how we can use technology without being used. Outside of the office, I’m a keen musician who makes up for lacking talent with excessive enthusiasm.


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User ExtraTNT

Kenne solche sachen nur zugut...
Einmal in-ears gekauft, nach 2 wochen bereits nur noch einseitig ton, nach ca 3 monaten, wollte ich sie nicht ein 4. mal zurückbringen... das ist heute einfach langsam standart... ;(

User FabianKu

Dann hast du aber wohl einfach sehr schlechte in-ears erwischt. Meine funktionieren seit 4 Jahren problemlos.

User Softloader

Ich habe nun meine Over Ear Bose seit QC25 ~3 Jahren. Einmal 250.- bezahlen dafür hält die Qualität.

User kunz2544

Ich habe 2 Bose Modelle für je rund 300 CHF. Für die QC 15 5 Jahre, gabs neue Ohrmuscheln und ein überkopfbügelpolster. Leider nicht von Bose, die bieten dies n nicht an. Dann einen Bose over ears der kriegt nach 4 Jahren ebenfalls neue Ohrmuscheln.

Also die Qualität finde ich nicht unbedingt besser als bspw. Der Sennhäuser im Artikel.

User yannick

Wo hast du die neuen Ohrmuscheln besorgt?

User Softloader

@Kunz2544 also Bose bietet sehr wohl Ohrmuscheln an (auch andere Shops [Digitec]). Jedenfalls für QC25 (QC15 kann ich nicht sagen).

User one0one2552

Ich habe meine von AliExpress für mein QC25. Die originalen hielten bei mir nicht mal ein Jahr. Fairerweise muss ich sagen mein QC25 auch schon mehrmals um die Welt gejetet sind und wenn ich sie nicht auf den Ohren sondern um den Hals habe dann kratzt mein 3 Tage Bart schon arig an den Muscheln..

User markuslaeng

Wäre cool, wenn ihr bei Digitec auch Ersatzteile für die Beyer Dynamic Kopfhörer anbieten würdet (zb das zentrale Schallerzeugungsteil für den DT770 250OHM)...

User clemensfac

Dafür liebe ich meine Koss Porta Pro: Alle zwei, drei Jahre ein Satz neue Schaumstoffpolster - läuft. Seit 20 Jahren.