Add a Jack to Your Crap [iphone] Headset for Better Audio Quality

Introduction: Add a Jack to Your Crap [iphone] Headset for Better Audio Quality

I had seen similar headphone hack on lifehacker, but as I am not as confident of my soldering skills as many, so I did not want to cut up my good pair of [in-ear] headphones. Also, I noticed when I tore my last pair of headphones (always make sure you haven't let your headphones fall half-way out of the door); they were Kilpsch S4's and they appeared to have 3 enameled wires inside instead of the usual 2, and I am quite sure that noise canceling sort have all sorts of extra odds and ends. 

The main point is it's reckless to cut up a good pair of headphones, even if you have superb soldering skills, and what happens if you get a new pair of headphones? 

This instructable will fill the void that I found on the internet with a short and simple headset hack, adding a 3.5mm jack to your mic/action button [iphone] headset.

What you will need:

1 Headset - needs to have the mic before the individual wires split - none of the kind with the mic on one side or the other
1 solderable jack - found mine at Radioshack
soldering gun
xacto knife
wire stripper
1 beer 

Time: ~20 minutes

Step 1: Cut and Strip

Just like it says: Figure out how much wire you need based on the length of your jack, or however much you want. Add a little extra to be safe, and nip it in the earbud.

Strip the wires, but be quite attentive as the pair of internal wires are easy to damage. As shown in the picture, I stripped about 1.3cm (.5in) from the end, which is necessary, to be able to reach the solder points inside the jack.

Step 2: Remove Enameling

Before we get to the fun part, make sure you know which lead is for which side. In my case the red enameled wire was for the left ear, and the green, right. The copper coloured wires were ground. I won't generalize about all headphones, because I don't have much experience, but I would guess most have some similar colour scheme.

I marked the left ear lead with a bit of masking tape.

This step is important, as otherwise the wires will remain insulated. The enamel [or whatever it is] is flammable on its own, so I just lit it.

I've seen some other hints for this step around the interweb:

douse it with a bit of accelerant, to make sure the enamel is completely burnt off
drown it in your favourite solvent
do both 

Step 3: Add the Jack

Before you start soldering, figure out which solder point is for which lead. On the jack I had, the tip solder point was copper [see diagrams]. Also, for ease, twist the 2 ground wires together

Then, thread your jack case over the wires, and start soldering. 

I did ground wires first and then the others, leaving the leads on the outside for ease of insulation.

Source for diagram

Step 4: Insulate

The final step before screwing the case on and calling it Shirley, is to insulate everything.

I wrapped the ground terminal in electrical tape first, and then taped the wires to the insulated ground to prevent them from wiggling around when you screw the case on. 

Insulate to your hearts desire.

Step 5: Finish & Clean Up

Hey, you're finished!

Now screw on the case, and test it out.

Oh, and as my dad always says, "Clean up, damn it!"

My final product was a little buggy. I had some distortion and the volume was significantly diminished, indicating added resistance in the system.

Once I can get my hands on another suitable headset, I will make a second attempt, and update.

Have some hints or ideas? COMMENT!

Thanks and drink good beer.

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