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Make Your Headphone Cable Removable

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The cables on my headphones were beginning to fray near the ear pieces. I had pulled too tightly on my headphones so many times that the plastic wrap around the cable was beginning to break apart!

To fix this I decided to install headphone jacks on each earpiece. This not only fixed the breaking cable, but also acts as a psuedo quick disconnect as well. DISCLAIMER: this instructable will only work if you can open up your headphones ear pieces in such a way that they can be put back together! I have Grado SR60s, which worked perfectly for this.

I didn't think ahead and take a picture of all the tools needed, but here's a list;

   • Pliers and/or wire snips
   • Cable Strippers
   • Dremel Tool and/or Drill + Bits
   • 2 x 1/8" micro mono panel mount headphone jacks
   • 2 x 1/8" mono phone plugs
   • Heat shrink of various sizes and colors.
   • Heat gun

NOTE: I've skipped describing the process of how to actually connect the speaker wires to the connectors and plugs. There are other, better, instructables available that describe the process. Sorry!
 
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Step 2: Install the Headphone Jack

You'll need to widen the hole the cable comes through to install the headphone jack into the ear piece. I used my Dremel Stylus and a grinding tool to widen the existing holes until the jack fit. I also had to thin the earpiece wall so that I could screw the jack into place. You could probably use a drill and bit to do this as well.
dgateley1 year ago
That style of 1/8 panel jack has become unobtainable. The only thing I can find anymore are the plastic box type.
Nick.D (author)  dgateley1 year ago
radioshack.com tells me my local store has them in stock.

I can't imagine mouser.com not having a suitable panel jack either.
They have mono, no stereo either in-store or online and that was the same thing that I found with all the online parts suppliers like Mouser. I was able to find some on Ebay from a chinese seller. That took three weeks and they were defective. No holes in two of the solder tabs. Still perfectly usable but indicative that all that remain are seconds.
Nick.D (author)  dgateley1 year ago
Sorry. I don't know what to tell you ;)
Oops. The project in fact uses mono jacks. Mine didn't.
maniacse1 year ago
Great idea! But since I do not any idea how to disassembly my AKG's, I'll be waiting till I broke some of cables and then I try to do something like this. Thanks again for inspiration!
shveet2 years ago
awesome idea but what if you have a mic attached to your headphones? would you just add another adapter on the headpiece and have a separate cord that goes to mic input? for me that seems logical enough to try.
Or, if You have one-side-cable, You can use 4-pin jack instead..
Nick.D (author)  shveet2 years ago
I would probably make whichever earpiece has the mic attached to it use stereo jacks and plugs. That way you can use one channel for the driver and the other for the mic and then avoid having an additional cable to plug in and manage.

Make sense?
waliahs1 year ago
how it download pdf guyzzzz???????
ghmagm2 years ago
Paint the headphones red and you got some ghetto beats ;)
Well yes, however why you would want your Grados to look like Beats I would never know.
And they have muchhhh better sound quality than Beats, so it's a win-win!
hi i really want to do this with a pair of akg headphones my dad gave me. they look similar to the grados but i know close to nothing about wiring things like this... my dad would help me out with the actual work but do you think you could post a link to some tutorials regarding this, and if you can, links to the needed mono male and female parts? thanks so much.
Nick.D (author)  skateflip9772 years ago
http://lmgtfy.com/?q=how+to+wire+headphone+connector will give you the results you're looking for. Specifically, the 2nd result is a decent write up.

The parts you can find at radioshack for a few bucks.
Lowney2 years ago
Yay for Grado! I have the SR60i, not sure what the "i" model does when compared to the regular SR60, but they're certainly the best headphones I've ever owned. I don't think I'd have the courage to open them up like you did, so I say, bravo sir, bravo!
numanair Lowney2 years ago
The "i" means they're the newer ones. My dad has the SR60 and they are THE BEST HEADPHONES EVAAR! At least of those I've used.
Lowney numanair2 years ago
Yeah I know that, I meant what the actual difference was, like improved drivers or magnets or something (what hifi says that there is a difference in terms of sound between the two but I can't remember it mentioning what said difference was) :P
numanair2 years ago
Those Grado SR60's are my favorite headphones! Are those the original foam pad things (whatever they're called) because if so, how have they not fallen apart?
Oh, and look at these mods! http://www.head-fi.org/t/119314/post-your-grado-mods
Nick.D (author)  numanair2 years ago
Wow. Some of those mods are really high quality! Thanks for sharing!
Nick.D (author)  numanair2 years ago
What you can't tell from the pictures is that the inside portion of the cushions were completely shredded to bits. ;) Shortly after taking these pictures I replaced them with Grado L-Cush's. They're not intended for SR60s, but fit perfectly and while I didn't notice a difference in sound quality, they're far more comfortable then the stock cushions.
Did you notice any drop in sound quality?
Nick.D (author)  bobbybraswell2 years ago
None what-so-ever!
cellrune2 years ago
Is it possible to do this mod with a single sided cord headphones? Maybe we can use a stereo plug instead of the two mono plugs and solder the appropriate wires? I'm just curious if it was possible or not, and that I may be buying new headphones (Sennheiser HD 448's) and I'd like to know if I could fix the headphones myself after the 2 year warranty is over?
Nick.D (author)  cellrune2 years ago
I don't know why you couldn't just use a stereo plug and jack to do this. But every set of headphones is different, so you'll have to decide yourself if it will work out. The key points are if you can take apart the headphone (and put it back together!), and if there's a decently flat surface to install the jack on.

Like I said in my instructable, my headphones worked out perfectly for this. But not all headphones are created equal...

Looking at pictures of the 448's online, it looks like they already have a removable cable?

Good luck!
cellrune Nick.D2 years ago
I think the Sennheiser's would do fine. Its really spacious and if I remember correctly it uses a 40mm driver, so the space inside the earcup would be more than satisfactory. B (but the wiring is what I'm worried about. Oh well, I haven't got them yet, no need to worry this early! haha (I just want peace of mind because those cans would be my first pair of mid-high range headphones)

As for the 448's having removable cable, holy crap, I can't believe I missed that detail. Almost all the videos and reviews I've seen never once mentioned the removable cable for the Sennheiser HD 4XX series. That's another reason to buy it :))

Looking forward to seeing more headphone mods! Thanks!
Nick.D (author)  cellrune2 years ago
I think this might be my last headphone related mod, I have nothing more to do to them! Haha.

Thanks for the kind comments, and good luck in your mod (if necessary)!!!
You should add an in-line amplifier with volume control knob.
Nick.D (author)  bowmaster2 years ago
That's not a bad idea. My headphones are the older SR60s though, that have the smaller ear-cup. So I don't think an amp would fit. Even a tiny one.

Also, since there are cables going to each ear, and not one, it means I'd have to install two amps. Which is really not very beneficial for these headphones at all.
An amp in the earcup would be really cool, but I meant one along the cord.
it wouldn't be impossible to do, but making it practical seems a little difficult. it would need a power source, circuit, and housing to hold it all together, making it kind of heavy, too heavy for your cord. if you could find a small case with a belt clip on it then it would be doable, then you could put an op amp in there with a potentiometer and switch.
Yes, you could certainly do that, as long as there is room inside the headphone cup.
jsmith1522 years ago
Nice Grados! I love mine too much to take them apart though.
bitza20092 years ago
Nice...
Ganoderma2 years ago
Having a lot of problems with cable fractures on my headphones, I might try this sometime :)
If the cable breaks, buy a new one and plug it in rather then spending some time soldering each time.
ac-dc2 years ago
This is a good idea except that 1/8" jacks tend to not tolerate stress, strain, etc. very much and will cause an intermittent contact fairly soon.

I suggest using a more robust connector type like RCA sockets.
Nick.D (author)  ac-dc2 years ago
I agree - except there was barely room for the 1/8" jack in the first place. With that said, I actually completed this mod almost a year ago and haven't had any trouble with intermittent contact failure. Even when one jack's clip that holds the plug into place started to come loose and would fall out too easily.

To fix that opened the earpiece up again and bent it back into place.
jessetb2 years ago
AWESOME!!! I GOT SO TIRED OF BREAKING HEADPHONE CABLES THAT I GAVE UP USING MY IPOD. NOW I CAN USE IT AGAIN. THANKS ALOT!!!
Polarize2 years ago
I had this idea a while ago after getting frustrated carrying round mulitple headphones for different jobs (gym, home, going out) as the cables were getting in the way. Very nicely done :)
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