The earpads for my headphones (Sony MDR-7506) are almost gone after 3 years of daily usage.
They are dissolving . Not only it’s not safe, it damages the audio quality and it’s not safe as pieces fall off and might get in say food or drinks I have near me.
Time for action!
Early this year I ordered a pair of replacements from a third party. Very cheap, like 5 euros or something, but from a company I have heard before. I received them and did NOT try them for reasons I don’t know. A couple of days ago I said enough is enough and I decided to swap in the new ones. Very nice blue color too!
From the first few hours this proved a bad purchase. I don’t know how it is possible, but the new earpads make my ears HURT. A lot. Painful.
I tried to get used to them, but by last night I decided I rather not be in pain. I removed the new ones and put back the old ones. I am lucky I didn’t throw them away, but kept them in the packaging of the new ones.

I thought I will get a couple more weeks out of them till I see what to do.
So, again last night, I decided to order the official replacements. Not for 5 Euros, but for 30 total including shipping.
Almost 1/3 of the money I spent to buy the headphones new (on sale). Too much money, but what can I do?

Few minutes ago I received a phone call from the shop. They called to clarify I didn’t make any mistake in the order.
I ordered 1 PIECE. Not a pair. ONE PIECE.
The information is in the store/product page, but somehow it didn’t register in my brain.
So if I wanted to continue and purchase a second piece, to have a pair, then I would need to spend about 60 euros. 2/3 of the price of the headphones.

First of all, bravo to the shop for calling me.
Second, I cancelled the order. I refuse to pay so much money for two small pieces of cheap FOAM. Yes it is foam, I can see it in all its yellow glory.
So, not only the pads are poorly made, Sony asks for a stupid price for them too.
Fuck off.

I am now looking to buy new headphones, not Sony.
Even if I end up paying more money.

That’s almost the price of the headphones themselves

various popular ear pads pricing from a music electronic etailer

There’s worse than Sony apparently, audiotechnica m50x ear pads are half the price.

I currently have a nice pair of Logitech Wireless Pro that sounds very good to me and has Dolby support and of course the Virtual 7 channel surround sound which you can adjust accordingly or simply not use.

These were not cheap but purchased at Best Buy.

They pair nicely with the Logitech Hub software with my Logitech mouse.

It is this pair

I did pay less then what Logitech wants directly however.

I’ve had Sennheiser HD558’s that I’ve worn off and on for like 10 years. Would definitely buy them again (or whatever the equivalent is these days) if I were looking in that price range.

Of course the Sennheisers are also open back.

EDIT: I actually just looked and the HD 559 is only $80. The Sony’s are actually a little more expensive than that.

If you do end up keeping them and look for new pads in general, i got a pair of the sheepskin angled Brainwaves pads on amazon for my AKG 553 Pro, the original pads just disintegrated and didnt seal any more, they also dont really sell them and they are a huge headphone. The new ones are a different shape, it does change the sound a little but they are so much better now.

They also do pleather ones closer in shape to the originals, but I imagine they will also break down eventually, but i dont know for sure, that is just a guess.

I dont think they were extremely expensive, definitely worth whatever it was for the headphones i got.

Good quality pads are expensive. End of story.
Think of headphones like track cars. All the amazing horsepower and perfectly tuned gearbox and breaks are worth nothing without tires. Same for headphones. Does not matter how amazing the driver and ear-cup tuning are, when the pads are garbage, the result is underwhelming.

  • How noisy are your surroundings / How noise sensitive are your surroundings?

  • What sound signature are you after? (elevated bass, flat, pronounced treble)

  • What style(s) of music do you listen to?

  • What device are you going to drive your headphones with? (phone, pc, DAP, Amplifier)

  • What are the intended uses? (Gaming, video/music production, music listening, movie watching, etc.)

  • In what part of the world are you? (this is about shop availability and price scaling of various products)

Overview of affordable closed back headphones:

Lowest I would go is AKG K-240. And I refuse to listen to stuff made by companies when said company also makes RGB keyboards.

Around the 100€/$ mark is the Sony MDR-7506, Audio Technica M40x and Beyerdynamic DT-770. I am personally not a fan of the AKG K-361 (and even less of the K-371).

150 to 200€/$ range has the Beyerdynamic DT-880 and Fostex T50RP (the T50 NEEDS upgraded pads like the HPEAC1540, else your ears will fall off). The Focal Listen Professional can also bee had for this money, was not a fan of it when I demoed on in store.
Yamaha HPH-MT7 may be a better alternative to the M40x, have not had a listen to them though.

Beat me to it, these are exactly the two that I’ve listened to and would recommend around $100.