Introduction: Audiophile Mowing Earmuffs

Picture of Audiophile Mowing Earmuffs

I slide a pair of cheap earbuds under my hearing protection while I mow and listen to podcasts and music on my phone. The audio is acceptable for podcasts but it's lousy for music. I recently upgraded my Spotify account, and one of the perks of their premium service is 320 kbps streaming audio. Spotify's free accounts are only permitted streaming quality up to 160 kbps. The difference is significant and even more so with a high-end pair of headphones.

I wanted to take this listening experience with me using the Spotify app on my phone while I mowed my lawn, but the high-end headphones offered little in the way of hearing protection. So, my solution was to mod a pair of 3M hearing protection earmuffs.

I decided to take the speakers out of my high-end headphones and put them in the earmuffs. The pictures that follow show you how I did that. Please consider this, less of a step-by-step Instructable, and more of a proof of concept. This is something you can do with any pair of headphones. Enjoy!

Step 1: I Dissembled the Headphones.

Picture of I Dissembled the Headphones.

Step 2: I Glued the Contacts Down on the Speaker to Prevent the Thin Wires From Breaking Off the Solder Joint.

Picture of I Glued the Contacts Down on the Speaker to Prevent the Thin Wires From Breaking Off the Solder Joint.

The headphone cable plugs into the headphones either on the right or the left. The black, plastic piece on the right of the photo is the jack. Both speakers have these.

Step 3: I Hot Glued the Original Dust Cap Back Over the Speaker.

Picture of I Hot Glued the Original Dust Cap Back Over the Speaker.

Step 4: This Is the Ear Cup and Cushion From the 3M Muffs. the Speaker You See in the Middle Will Fit Inside.

Picture of This Is the Ear Cup and Cushion From the 3M Muffs.  the Speaker You See in the Middle Will Fit Inside.

Step 5: It Wasn't Pretty, But I Made It Fit by Cutting Out Chunks of Plastic Until I Had Enough Room. Notice, I Had to Snip the Wire That Ran to the Other Speaker.

Picture of It Wasn't Pretty, But I Made It Fit by Cutting Out Chunks of Plastic Until I Had Enough Room.  Notice, I Had to Snip the Wire That Ran to the Other Speaker.

Step 6: I Drilled a Hole in Each Cup for the Wire That Connects Both Speakers and Then Another One for the Jack.

Picture of I Drilled a Hole in Each Cup for the Wire That Connects Both Speakers and Then Another One for the Jack.

Step 7: The 3M Frame Worked Great Because It Already Had a Hole for the Wire to Snake Through.

Picture of The 3M Frame Worked Great Because It Already Had a Hole for the Wire to Snake Through.

Step 8: I Used a Rotary Tool on the Headband to Etch Out a Small Channel for the Speaker Wire.

Picture of I Used a Rotary Tool on the Headband to Etch Out a Small Channel for the Speaker Wire.

Step 9: I Super Glued the Wire Into the Channel.

Picture of I Super Glued the Wire Into the Channel.

Step 10: I've Got One Cup Finished and the Wire Strung Over the Head Band and Into the Other Cup.

Step 11: I Ran the Wire Coming Down From the Headband Into the Other Ear Cup. Now, I'm Ready to Solder the Wire to the Other Speaker.

Step 12: I Have to Burn Off the Enamel on the Wires Before I Can Solder Them.

Picture of I Have to Burn Off the Enamel on the Wires Before I Can Solder Them.

Step 13: Hot Glue Is a Great Insulator. I Glued Over My Solder Joints and Then Glued Down the Fragile Enameled Wires.

Picture of Hot Glue Is a Great Insulator.  I Glued Over My Solder Joints and Then Glued Down the Fragile Enameled Wires.

Step 14: I Put the Last Speaker Into the Ear Cup and Reattached Both Cups to the Frame. I Also Stuck the Spongy Ear Pads Back On. I'm Done!

Picture of I Put the Last Speaker Into the Ear Cup and Reattached Both Cups to the Frame.  I Also Stuck the Spongy Ear Pads Back On.  I'm Done!

Comments

Fult0n (author)2015-01-11

"audiophile headphones"
Uses beats by dre....

ecrouch (author)Fult0n2016-04-16

Ok, I've been taken to task. "Audiophile", was not the right word to describe Beats. But, the concept is still valid. You can use what ever headphones you choose. If you do make this, I'd like to see your take on it. FYI- I should have used higher rated muffs. These didn't dampen enough of the outside noise.

craftclarity (author)2014-06-16

Clever! I like it a lot!

ecrouch (author)craftclarity2015-10-21

Thanks!

Timinator01 (author)2014-06-24

Rather than spending way too much money on a pair of beats that don't sound that great to begin with you could simply buy a pair of replacement drivers for AudioTechnica's M50s and get better sound. You can buy the drivers from parts@atus.com or scavenge them from a broken pair on ebay.

ecrouch (author)Timinator012015-10-21

Wow! On Amazon, those have 4.5 stars with 5000+ reviews! I'll have to ask Santa for pair.

sszorin. (author)2015-03-24

Please!..the Beats are not "high-end headphones". The combination of the lawnmower noise and the music noise equals hearing damage, even with 'earmuffs'. A lot of noise gets to your hearing apparatus through the vibrations of the skullbones and the head fluids and tissues. Just protect your hearing with the combination of earplugs and earmuffs when you cut grass and leave listening to music for other time. And get yourself better headphones. Life is too short to be wasted not only on bad music but also too short to be wasted on music played through lousy audio equipment.

1 - http://www.head-fi.org/products/audio-technica-ath...

2 - http://www.head-fi.org/products/beyerdynamic-tesla...

3 - http://www.head-fi.org/products/audio-technica-ath...

4 - http://www.head-fi.org/products/audio-technica-at...

ecrouch (author)sszorin.2015-10-21

I'll take that into consideration. Thanks for the input. It's worth investigating.

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