Here are a couple videos demonstrating Level Headed -- EL Wire Headphones that react to the music you are listening too! The first shows the headphones decorated with EL wire and the second shows just the headphone cable decorated. Unfortunately, the camera doesn't show the correct colors and blurs them together. It looks great in person.

This instructable will show you how to decorate a pair of headphones with electroluminescent wires (EL wire) that react to the music. This project uses over the ear headphones, EL wire, an inverter taken from a T-shirt EL panel graphical equalizer display (T-qualizer knock-off), and an mp3 player. I call this project "Level Headed" because it dynamically displays the levels of the audio you're listening to on your headphones.

Materials and Tools
over the ear headphones
5 strands of EL wire
7x1 ribbon cable
7x1 crimp terminal housing
21 female crimp terminals (order extra in case you mess up)
220 ohm resistor
3.5 mm stereo cable with a male connector (cut a cheap loopback cable in half)
3.5 mm stereo splitter
electrical tape
clear heatshrink tubing
super glue
crimper or pliers with knurled jaws
soldering iron
knife (for removing phosphor)
xacto knife (for cutting PCB traces)
small phillips screwdriver (for disassembling the inverter)

saw come up with a new control system with ipad might be useful for you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8c6u_P4lUM

IYER931 year ago

Hi, I'm ishaan, a student in India. I too have the exac same invete PCB as you, so firstly thank you for doing this instructable, I've been wanting to mod my inverter for a long time, to read an audio signal rather than just hear.... sort of like wanting it to learn the language and the alphabets to make words rather than just have it interpret what is being heard, so thank you.

now one thing i'd like to ask u ... instead of going through the whole thing .... i'd like you to riddle me this ....

1.An auxiliary cable has a +VE , -VE and GND

2.An electret microphone too has a +VE cum SIGNAL pin and a -VE cum GND pin

A. if we were to combine the +VE and -VE signals from the aux and solder them in place of the +VE cum SIGNAL pin on the board and solder the GND wire fom the aux to the -ve cum GND pin


B. if we were to connect the +VE signal from the aux to the +VE cum SIGNAL pin and combine the -VE signal and the GND from the aux and solder them in place of the -VE cum GND pin on the board

..... would any of the this work in terms of making the EL Wires dance to an audio signal ....

please advice before i mess up ... these PCB's are tough to get hold of ... and i only have two ... one that is the same as yours and the other is a smaller condensed version.... this is a mod I've been thinking of doing fo quite some time... as the battery management and power management is done.... except that the mic is a really stupid part ... in the sens its unable to pick up music if not close to the music and this hampers the visual appeal..... i'd like to mod it so i can make custom shutter that dance to music.

xMcSquidx2 years ago
I bought the inverter you linked to in order to replicate this fine project but they seem to have updated the PCB since then. The new revision is much smaller. I think I can still pull this off but I'm having trouble figuring out what is the same and what Isn't.
yardleydobon (author)  xMcSquidx2 years ago
Sorry. You might have to buy a purpose made inverter that has an audio input. Maybe you could get away with attaching a speaker to the inverter so it triggers the microphone. I tried putting a headphone up to the microphone I had to crank the volume too high to get it to work, but maybe if you made a separate amplifier for the headphone speaker it could work without having to have the volume on the mp3 player too loud. I'd also try using an acoustic horn for amplification.
xMc Squidx - I'm working on a similar project and received this smaller inverter, as well, from DX. While it drives the included EL panel well, it seems to be under-powered for a project of this size. The North American distributor for the popular equalizer t-shirt company has told me they are phasing out the model used in this Instructable, they still have a few around but you have to ask for them specifically. Currently waiting on my replacement. They and other suppliers now have a red 4XAAA battery pack that works well, is very sound reactive and bright, but with no input jacks and they only drive four channels.
clgst142 years ago
Could you give a link to the website you bought all the stuff? I'm not american or something so names of markets will not work..
how much did this cost you?
yardleydobon (author)  Canadianthunder2 years ago
Around $35 to $40.
Could you clarify the headphone cable part a little more. Mainly connecting them to the inverter.
yardleydobon (author)  whipflash1912 years ago
The headphone cable isn't connected to the inverter. The EL wire wrapped around the headphone cable is connected to inverter's ribbon cable. The inverter has its own male phone connector, so you could use a different audio source to drive the EL wire than what you are listening to on the headphones. This picture shows all the connections.
ok this is actually pretty cool i might actually do this
Br4nd0n322 years ago
I would buy these!
yardleydobon (author)  Br4nd0n322 years ago
Cool, thanks. Vote for me please!
M0HIZ2 years ago
This would be great for use when you're walking along the road at night to show other road users that you're there. You could use it on a bike helmet too.
osgeld2 years ago
Thats pretty cool
yardleydobon (author)  osgeld2 years ago
Thanks. Please vote for me!