Introduction: Wireless Headphones Mod

Picture of Wireless Headphones Mod

Mod to make my heavy wireless headphones work just as well with lightwieght and much more comfortable ear buds.

Step 1: Preparation

Picture of Preparation

I started this project because I was unhappy with my Sennheiser HDR 45 wireless headphones.

3 things bugged me about these headphones. 1, they were leaky, everyone could hear what I was listening to. 2, prolonged listening made my ears hurt from the headphones pushing against my ears. 3, they make my ears sweat - blergh!

After doing some searching for wireless ear buds, and being shocked with how expensive they are, I decided to modify my Sennheisers to allow me to plug in my comfy Sony earbuds. I figured I could just wear the heaphones around my neck but have the comfortable earbuds in my ears.

Okay: Lets get started.

You can open these headphones by gently prying open the cover near the battery (see pic).

The very first thing I needed to do was find a low profile stereo mini jack. Be careful though, you need one that has 2 normally closed circuits that are cut off when the mini jack plug is inserted. Fortunately Radio Shack had exactly what I needed (cat # 274-246), it was $2.99, that's why I don't like shopping there :) But hey, it was a Sunday afternoon, and this project just couldn't wait.

Now that I knew the size and shape of the jack socket, I could try to find somewhere to mount it inside the headphones. I opened the side with all the electronics figuring that it'll be easier to make connections on there, and looked for a suitable space.

Step 2: Making Room

Picture of Making Room

Once I'd located a suitable space for the jack socket, I set about removing things that were in the way.

I had to remove a post that was in the way and grind down a little plastic so there were enough threads sticking through my freshly drilled hole to enable me to thread on the panel nut.

Step 3: Wiring 101

Picture of Wiring 101

Now the tricky part!

I poked around a bit with some test wires and followed some traces to find audio ground, audio left, and audio right. I soldered a wire from the audio ground directly to the ground pin on the mini jack.

For audio left and right, I had to intercept the signal before it reaches the headphone speaker. Then I cut the trace so that the signal doesn't get through. Use several strokes of a sharp knife to cut through the track, but be careful you don't cut anything else.

Once the tracks were cut I tested the headphones to make sure nothing was getting through. Then I took some thin wire, and connected both sides of the cut tracks to the correct pins on the mini jack. The way you do this is important so be careful and take note of the diagram on the back of the mini jack box. Basically the signal side of the cut track needs to go to the side of the jack that will connect to the jack plug when it is plugged into the jack. The heaphone side of the cut track should go to the return side of the jack socket.

Step 4: 'Ears How You Succeed

Picture of 'Ears How You Succeed

Once I'd tested one channel (and make sure it cut out when I pluggedin the jack plug), I repeated the process for the other channel.

I routed the wiring around the pcb to keep it out of the way and make it look somewhat neat, and went for the full test.

Sure enough, the headphones worked fine as normal. Then once I plugged in the ear buds the headphones went silent and the sound came out of the ear buds instead.



JoelS3 (author)2014-08-11

The Myzone transmitter is FM. I just use a portable fm radio, tune it to the transmitter, and plug in my headphones. No hacking required. The cool thing about this is I can use it as an in ear monitor for my band. Saved hundreds of dollars.

MicahD3 (author)JoelS32017-02-06

Awesome brilliant

Hacklet (author)2016-09-10

I don't really believe I am commenting on a decade old Instructable; but, on the offchance that somebody still has a set of these lying around... I have a pair with the base station and power supply but no audio cable - I can probably just solder a jack to the board but to save me the trouble of guessing, does anyone happen to know the pinouts?

grt57 (author)2015-06-20

My question is for my dad. Would/could this same system work as a source for PC speakers? He doesn't like the headphones, but can't hear his TV, (he has hearing loss). Could I just change the jack to match a set of PC speakers, then he'd have a set of speakers right next to him, and he could control the volume to his taste. I know they make wireless tv speakers, but they aren't real affordable. Any advice would be appreciated.

dobbler (author)2010-10-31

This mightn't be the right place to ask this but I have a pair of Sennheiser TR120, they look similar to the ones used in the instructable.. Anyway, if there's no signal for 3 minutes, they cut off producing white noise through the headphones.. it's very annoying if you've been listening to music and it ends then 3 minutes later SSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hits you.. Don't know how many times I've been woken up like that.. it's not nice..

Anyone know to prevent it?

I thought about using Automator on OSX to play a sound every 2:30 minutes but not sure if it's possible. You can set loops but I'm not sure you can set them to repeat after a specified length of time..

Any ideas for mods or hacks for this would be great..

Great idea with the jack, I have exactly the same problem as I wear glasses and the headphones really hurt after a while..



ElvenChild (author)dobbler2011-03-11

in garage band make a song with no sound that I a couple of hours long that will play after your playlist

dobbler (author)ElvenChild2012-06-10

Managed to sort the static problem and made an instructable on it here:

I've just done the mod in this instructable and it's working beautifully.. So glad I don't have to deal with the bulky headphones hurting my head after a while..

Thanks for the instruction and inspiration!


KentaGrace (author)2009-10-06

Regarding the wireless-ness of the headphones, I have a pair of fairly cheap ones, but I'd like to put them on a better (e.g. higher) frequency rating, because my mom's baby monitor interferes with them. Can I do this simply by replacing some crystal oscillators inside the receiver (headphones) and the transmitter (base)?

shastalore (author)2009-08-29

Great instructable! I did the same with my trusty old Advent Wireless headphones. But, not wanting to clutter up the site, I did a sweep of, and discovered that you already have the bases thoroughly covered. Really, ALL wireless headphones should be manufactured with a "stereo out" jack! But, more importantly, I need to add, that the main reason for installing a "stereo out" jack, on my wireless headphone, was to function as part of a professional sounding 12VDC outdoor sound system -on a shoestring budget. I use a vintage late 1970's ghetto blaster (30 watt G.E. model#3-5265-A) with 5" internal heavy magnet speakers and real horns, for everyone to plug in their ipods, at outdoor picnics. For a small unit, it has great sound, and the speakers were built to last forever. Now, with my modified Advent Wireless headphones, I can now hook up my lean-and-mean 6VDC Virgin boomtube, mounted on a tripod, placed 60-70 feet away, on the opposite side of the crowd. A stereo "Y" connector is used to pipe mp3 tracks into both the G.E. ghetto blaster, as well as the 12VDC Advent Wireless transmitter. And, with this setup, everyone can clearly hear the music, and no one complains that it's too loud.

Stomp999 (author)2009-01-29

I did it with my old Acousatic Research AW721 and it work good !Thx a lot !!!

god_gave_knex_to_you (author)2008-12-27

i have a sony tmr-rf960r. they are kinda like those around-ear bose headphones, but even at close-range, there is really bad white noise, and when hooked up to my computer, they squeak when the mouse moves

amygus81 (author)2008-10-22

It doesn't sound too complicated, but what if your into sports? How do I mod my cheap headphones to be water and sweat resistant?

I gave up on this idea and I've been using the JayBird Bluetooth headphones for a while now and I'm loving them. I had an S9 before that and have also tried the Plantronics Voyager. I found the JayBird is the better of the 3 for work outs cause they stay on so well. They're also a good small size which I like.

punkatsub (author)2008-09-10

if the headset was wireless and has a plug like this would it or could it work?

isacco (author)2008-09-03

Dear Instant Arcade, I had the same idea to modify a cumbersome wireless headphone. With your instructable it will be much easier to get my idea done. Thanks and compliments for your work.

Ynothna (author)2007-04-23

Hey, was just looking through this tutorial for my own pair of headphones. I love the idea, and want to go through with it, lol, but I've hit a road block at the very beginning :P Does anyone have a clue how to open a pair of Nexxtech 900MHz (I know, I know, not that great, but they work). The model # is 3319666. I've been trying to get them open, but they don't have the normal type case that most do, the pads for the speakers are the only place where there is an opening, and from there I can only find 2 points where they attach, right where the headband attaches. From those two points I can't find out how to open it up, they seem solid. (I would post a picture, but it doesn't seem to want to let me :-( )

DjProToJeeX (author)Ynothna2008-04-11

nexxtechs are the best for wireless ive ever owned, who are you kidding. ive had a dozen pair of wireless and nexxtechs are the only ones that are still working. but there easy to open they snap together inbetween the cushion and the plastic. your going to break it no matter what but its not that bad its just a _ piece that big of plastic and hot glue or hobby glue does fine

Ynothna (author)Ynothna2007-04-24

Hey again, still no luck with inserting the picture, so I posted it here instead.

Ynothna (author)Ynothna2007-05-01

Ok, I managed to get it to work. Took a little while as the wiring in these things is a bit confusing. Thanks for the great project idea and documentation.

Ynothna (author)Ynothna2007-04-24

Boo ya, I got em. The blasted ear cover has to come off, then there's a plate screwed to it.

alston (author)2008-03-07

How would I go about making myself a pair of wireless headphones for my ipod, with a simple pair of head phones? I have a radioshack down the street, so if anyone knows the supplies... if you guys could, would you mind posting an Instructable of it ? I will attempt to post a picture of my headphones...they're already taken apart...

froosp (author)2007-09-29

Hi, I have Sennheiser HDR 40 wireless headphones. Is that possible to make those headphones wired? What kind of changes I have to do?

thejrb (author)2007-01-04

just were your earbuds duh

Instant Arcade (author)thejrb2007-01-04

Because ear buds aren't wireless :p

greenhack (author)2006-04-09

I just completed modifying my Sennheiser HDR-65's, following your guide, with one minor difference: Because the pivot that connected the circuitry-containing side of my headphones to the headband had broken, and it was difficult to get the phones to sit on my head properly, I decided to forget about the speaker pass-through, and to install the miniplug jack directly, which only required one soldering point on the circuit board, for the ground. The other two wires were connected using the leads already on the board. This meant, of course, that I was not using the headphone speakers, so I removed them, leaving a little extra room for wiring. This was a particularly nice mod, as the original Sennheisers came with a set of rechargeable nicads & charging base, which I can still use with the new setup! Now I am thinking about taking the leftover speakers, and mounting them in a pair of sound-proof earmuffs, or maybe a helmet... Thanks for you work in documenting this project, and answering my questions... the high-res photos were a great help!

jongscx (author)greenhack2006-12-04

just be careful when modifying safety equipment, like your helmet...

Instant Arcade (author)greenhack2006-04-12

Thanks for replying, it'll be cool to see what you end up doing with the spare speakers.

xsmurf (author)2006-04-03

Wow thanks for the idea. I had a pair of wireless headphones laying around. The headphones were pretty much used to the bone, the battery was dead... Basically it was taking the dust. Quick trip to RadioShack (err apparently I'm not allowed to say RadioScrap in Canada, so yeah TheSource) to buy a 2xAA battery pack. Already had an headphone jack. I tried an Altoids case first but it was a bit too small to fit everything (Jack + Switch) nicely so I used part of the old headphone. Now I have a nice little wireless audio transmitter which I can use with my bran new pair or isolating earbuds! :D Sweet! (What you see behind the headphone is the NiMH AA battery pack)

Instant Arcade (author)xsmurf2006-04-04

I was just thinking yesterday that the headphones are still a bit bulky and was considering doing pretty much what you've done there :) I considered putting a belt clip on the back too. However, I decided that I still want to keep the headphones in tact just in case. And by doing that it's a bit more of a steathier mod :)

xsmurf (author)Instant Arcade2006-04-05

Admittedly I wouldn't have scrapped the headphones if they weren't already pretty much dead and for the fact that I hadn't used them in about 5 years (so yeah they are the 900Mhz type, sadly).

Actually I have a belt clip laying around, thought about using it at first and then forgot. I ended up installing a lanyard in the end...
*** goes and frantically searches the mess in the closet *** There it is :D
*** adds the belt clip *** Done :)

xsmurf (author)xsmurf2006-04-03

Ho yeah, here's a picture of the Altoids version (actually that's an herbal tea case).

Instant Arcade (author)2006-04-04

Allright people! I've added some extra pictures (high res and clear this time) and also added a bunch of notes on the pics. Hopefully everything should be clear now.

greenhack (author)2006-04-03

I am modding a pair of HDR-65s (almost identical to yours)...can you tell me how to open the plastic case without breaking it? Thanks

Instant Arcade (author)greenhack2006-04-04

Okay, I'll take some decent pictures tonight that show more detail. Opening the case was fairly easy after I'd worked out which bit comes off. Just wrap a little tape around a small screwdriver (so that you don't mar the plastic) and pry the pieces apart. I'll try to incude a photo of that, since I have to pry it open again to take the new pictures :)

greenhack (author)2006-04-03

WooHoo! I've had a pair of Sennheiser HD-65s with a broken headband that has rendered them useless for several years...although the electronics still work fine. The headphones were expensive, and worked nicely, with rechargeable batteries, but the headband was REALLY cheap, and broke pretty quickly! I hung onto them thinking that "one day" I would get around to fixing them. Thanks to your tutorial, that day has arrived! Um, if its not too much trouble, more detailed photos would be helpful. Thanks!

colin (author)2006-04-02

Sweet project! (Although I wish the photos were more in focus.) I especially like how clean and professional the finished version is. You should pitch it to Sennheiser. I actually own a similar pair of wireless headphones and I haven't used them at all for just the reasons that you mentioned. I hadn't thought of modding them to support external headphones. Time to go break out the dremel.

Instant Arcade (author)colin2006-04-03

Yeah sorry about the quality of the pics. I started the mod and only had my cellphone handy, so I used that :) I figured it wouldn't really help to have more detail unless someone was modding the EXACT same headphones. If there's enough interest, I'll take them apart again and take some detailed photos.

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm a professional video game programmer.
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