Bongiovi DPS

A Lesson in Looking After your Headphone Ear Pads

on December 10, 2013

By Jim Boden – Bongiovi DPS Insider Forum Moderator

I’ve had a pair of Bose QC 3 noise cancelling on-ear headphones for roughly 5 years and just love them. I use them for several hours a day so, over 5 years, I estimate they’ve logged at least 7,000 hours. Some reviews of these headphones say they have issues with charging the battery after 500 charges. I must have charged it over 1,500 times, because I do it every day, and have no issues at all. It’s a lithium-ion battery and I’m careful never to over-charge it as per instructions in the user manual.
My big failing with these headphones is that I’ve never paid attention to the condition of the ear pads. Many people recommend replacing them once a year and I’ve never done it until now. As you will see in photos below, they were pretty gross and in very poor condition.
After replacing the ear pads, I immediately noticed much better noise cancellation and audio quality. The sound is tighter and more detailed than before, and volume level is louder at my normal volume settings. It’s amazing how these things deteriorated over time and I didn’t notice.
One thing I like about Bose is that they have replacement parts for cables, ear pads, batteries, and possibly other things I don’t know about. You can replace parts and essentially have the equivalent of a new pair of headphones. I’m a customer of a high-end audio/video store in Toronto, which has been in business since 1946. One of the brands they specialize in is Bose and parts are always in stock.
5 years ago I paid $399 plus tax for the QC 3’s, so being able to keep them in good repair is a bonus. The replacement ear pads were $50 including tax, which I thought was very reasonable.
As for my listening and viewing habits, well over 95% of the time I use the headphones for music, watching TV, playing games etc. On my Windows 7 PC, I use DPS for all its audio, including games, music, YouTube and others. I use a Bose QC 15 profile, as the QC 3’s don’t have a specific one. I also have an iPhone 4S with DPS and the QC 15 profile. For TV watching, PS3 gaming, Netflix, and others, I have a Denon AVR with a headphone jack, which I use the majority of the time. Although I can’t use DPS for my AVR, the sound quality on the QC 3’s is just excellent, especially movie sound tracks.
The following pictures were taken with my iPhone to illustrate the before and after condition of the ear pads.

Pic 1 – Outer view of old ear pads (gross!) Notice the misshaped one in particular.
pic 1 old ear pads

Pic 2 – Inside view of old ear pads. Note the outer material coming apart.
pic 2 inside view old ear pads

Pic 3 – New ear pads installed vs. old ones underneath
pic 3 new vs old ear pads

Pic 4 – View of headphones after installing new ear pads. Just like new!
pi4 new headphone pads

So, what’s the moral of the story? Take care of your assets, whether it be a pair of headphones or loose shingles on your roof. Keeping things in good repair will pay off in the long run and save you money. Also, before making a new purchase, check to see if the item can be economically repaired to extend its useful life.

Jim Boden Google+ – Bongiovi DPS Insider Forum Moderator

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