Everyone needs headphones - maybe it's just for the commute, or perhaps to survive in a noisy office. Some of us want headphones to enjoy gaming and movies without disturbing the family, while others prefer the way their music sounds with the right pair of headphones.
Some members of the Gadgets 360 team - no naming and shaming here [Editor: It's the author] - suffer to the degree of traveling with three sets of headphones: a noise cancelling pair for travel, one set for enjoyment at home, and one somewhat hardy set for taking to the office, to keep the noise out.
Or perhaps you've only got a single pair of headphones that suit just about all purposes. Whatever the case, it's imperative that you pack and store them properly, both for when they're not in use at home, and for when you're traveling.
One of the easiest ways to manage it is to keep the original cases that your gear came in - these will be designed with fitted slots to keep everything safely in place without any wear and tear, during either storage or transport. But if that's not an option, then at least make note of the points below, which we've put together with inputs from audio experts, and thanks to our own misadventures in storing headphones.
1) The under-over method
Tying your cable into a tight coil is a surefire way to add kinks to it, so it doesn't straighten out properly, and eventually frays and breaks. That also means that you don't tightly wrap your headphone cable around your phone and slip the whole thing into your pocket.
Basically, you want to form loops without winding the cord, and this is called the under-over method. The process is pretty simple but hard to explain in words. Basically, each alternating loop should go in the opposite direction, as seen in this video - this means that the wire doesn't get too tight, and unrolls easily without tangling as well. And remember, once you do this, slip the headphones into a case, don't just toss them into your bag where they'll unroll and tangle.
2) Unplug the cables!
While we're on the topic of cables - unplug them please! We've seen people travel with cables tightly wound around their phones or iPods, and it's the sort of thing that makes you cry inside, even if they're doing it with the basic earphones that came in the box with the phone.
Most headphones also allow you to disconnect the audio cable from the headset when it's not in use, and if you're going to be traveling, it's a great idea to do that, to ensure that the cable doesn't get bent at the connecting point.
3) Remove the batteries
We've seen at least one noise-cancelling headset brought to ruin because a thoughtless person forgot the batteries in there and didn't touch the headset for a few months. As you can imagine, the AA batteries ran out of power and eventually, leaked. The contacts were all badly corroded, and if it wasn't for the fact that Bose has really good customer care, that headset would have been toast.
So remember - if your device uses batteries, and you're not actively using it, take them out right away. Sure, you can leave the batteries in if you're using the headset daily, but if you've come back from a trip and you're putting the headphones into storage, make sure the batteries are out.
4) Get a case
If you're traveling, this is an essential step to follow - when your headphones go into a backpack, they shouldn't just be tossed in. There are a lot of different cases that you can get for your headphones. The manufacturer might include one with the purchase, but if they don't, visit your local electronics store and look at different options right away.
Brainwavz has a few large headphone cases that should fit most on-ear or over-ear options at from around Rs. 2,500, and Boat has cheap cases for in-ear earphones you can just for just about Rs. 300. Ideally though, you're going to want to buy from a local store, so you can see that the size is a good fit, and the case offers enough protection for your headset.
You want something that is tough, and if it includes a pouch for things such as the audio cable, or batteries, that's a definite plus.
5) Pull the plug, literally
Pulling the plug sounds like a bad thing - killing something before its time. But in the case of headphones, it's an essential thing to remember - cables are thin and delicate and deserve to be treated with love, so when you're looking to disconnect your headphones, pull them out via the plug, and not the cable.
Pulling via the cable adds stress to the wire particularly close to the plug, which is also where it will bend and weaken when plugged in, practically guaranteeing that something is going to break.
6) Do I need a headphone stand?
Okay, maybe. You don't actually need a headphone stand, particularly if you store your headphones properly in cases or in the original packaging, and you store that in a proper place, then you definitely don't need a stand.
On the other hand, if you want to keep your phones out and easily accessible, then a stand is better than leaving them strewn across desks or one on every sofa. Get something thick enough to support the headband without putting a bend in it.