Introduction: Shuffle Headphones


Attach an iPod Shuffle (or other tiny MP3 player) directly to your over-the-head headphones. I built these so that I could listen to music while machining, without the loose cables that would like to acquaint my head with the business end of the milling machine. As it turns out, this set seems much more comfortable than earbuds for extended listening, and it has taken their place for everyday usage.

Step 1: The Ingredients

1. A set of over-the-ears headphones. I used a junky set that's been sitting in a box for ten years.

2. iPod shuffle, or other light-weight music player. The shuffle claims to weigh 0.78 ounce (I didn't weigh mine). Substitute a heavier player at your own risk-- of headache.

3. An inch or so of Velcro (not shown, yet).

4. Implicitly, you will also need a soldering iron, shrink wrap, wire cutters, and so forth. If you aren't comfortable with these, maybe it's time to go shopping for a nice new set of wireless headphones!

Step 2: Shorten the Cable

Your headphones came with a cable that was several feet long, maybe six or eight feet. You now want it to be about six inches long, which requires a bit of cutting and splicing.

Cut the cable in two places, about three inches from each end. (Save the center section for a later project.) Strip the two exposed ends. There are three wires that go through the cable (left signal, right signal, and ground). The wires are color coded, so you can just solder the three pairs of matching colors. Use heat-shrink tubing or electrical tape to keep the three solder joints from touching.

As you can see in the photo, I used a piece of black heat-shrink tubing over the three pairs, which makes the splice nearly invisible.

Step 3: Add a the Velcro

Add a strip of velcro to the iPod and to the side of the headphones where the cable comes out. (You don't want to duct tape or superglue it, because you'll want to be able to take it off and plug it into your computer now and then.)

On the shuffle, the best place to put the velcro is on the back side, between the end cap and the battery indicator. That way, you'll still have access to the power switch while it's mounted. You'll still have access to the cap and battery indicator when you take it off.

Step 4: Plug It In.

I find it easiest to point the plug towards the back of my head when I'm wearing these, but you have the option to do it the other way if that floats your boat. The iPod should stick out far enough in the back that you can reach the power switch slider without unmounting it. This method of mounting gives you easy access to the controls, even while it's safely out of the way.

Step 5: Commence Grooving!

Congratulations, you've now made a set of shuffle headphones, go get your groove on!

See some of our other projects at