Convert Airplane Noise Cancelling Headphones to Stereo Headphones




Ever had a chance to have some of these noise cancelling headset from airplanes?

Here are some details on my quest on converting this three prong headphone to ordinary 3.5mm stereo headphone jack for computer/laptop or any portable devices such as cellphones and other music players.

Step 1: Gather Required Materials

We need the following materials:

1. 3.5 mm stereo phone jack - I only have angled jack during construction of this project

2. USB connector - I got it from old mouse. This will be used as power supply for noise cancelling function.

3. Various sizes of heat shrinkable tubing - it is used as isolation and protection

4. Solder leads

and the following tools:

1. Soldering Iron

2. Wire cutter

3. Pliers

4. Multimeter

Step 2: Prepare the USB Cord

Set the multimeter to voltmeter mode and verify that the USB connector is working fine. You will measure 5 volts accross the red and black wire

Red wire = V+ positive 5 Vdc

Black = V- negative connection

Step 3: Indentify Headphone Wiring

Using a multimeter set to continuity mode I have identified the following pinout:

Blue = Audio ground

Brown = V+ positive supply for noise cancelling (I have read somewhere that it can work as low as 3V to 5V)

Gray = Left audio channel

Red = Right audio channel

Green = V- negative supply of noise canceller

Step 4: Connecting Power

Connect the USB cord to corresponding connection

USB Headphone

Red to Green

Black to Brown

Test the headphone by sliding the switch on the left side. The LED should light up.

Step 5: Connect the Remaining Wires

Solder the rest of the remaining wires to each respective terminals.

Make sure that none of the wires are touching each other by properly insulating each connection.

I have used shrinkable tubing for insulation and protection.

Step 6: Testing Your Headset

Test your headset first before securing the cover of the stereo jack.

Time to enjoy your noise cancelling headset!



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    5 Discussions


    Question 21 days ago on Step 3

    Hello, I tried to follow your instructions but for some reason when I connect the green and brown to the USB I don't get a light. tried it on the 2 headsets I have


    1 year ago

    I'm sure I'm missing somethig obvious here but what is the usb for? The power for the headphones is provided through the 3.5 jack as per any other headphones right? I'm unsure of exactly how noise cancelling works, I remember something about recording ambient noise and inverting the signal to cancel out that range of tones, so is that what is happening here, and is that element what is powered by the 5v of the usb? Just wanted some clarification for my own understanding, thanks

    2 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    You're close with your concept of how it works. It actually doesn't record anything. But what it does is hears the ambient noise via little microphones and just inverses it to add to the music or what every you are listening to. It can even just provide the inverse noise without any music playing. And therefore the nosie you hears is canceled with the inverse nulling out the noise at the same time. Usually it works pretty good. But don't think it removes all background noise. It can't do that, but it come close. JMHO


    Reply 1 year ago

    The USB are used to power the noise cancelling circuit inside the headset. Your concept on how the noise cancelling work is right.


    1 year ago

    Good outline of the process to do this! I'm sure anyone finding themselves with a set of these headphones will find this guide useful. Thanks for sharing it here!