How to Modify a 2 Sided Wire Headphone to 1 Sided Wire Headphone




I’ve got this Sennheiser HD201 about 3 yrs + ago, and I really love the sound of it. And I have produced all of my tracks with this headphone. You can read about its specs here .

But after few years, signs of wear and tear occurred. First was the leathered cushion started to peal off, follow by the 3 meter long cable starting to crack. 

Previously, I have shortened the cable since the cracked wires are somewhere near the headphone cups, so I just opened up the headphone and shortened the wires. I have done this for the past 2 times, and this time I decided to totally replace a brand new cable.

Step 1: Explainations

In this tutorial I’m going to show u how to replace a 2 sided cable headphone to 1 sided cable headphone.

You will need:
- soldering gun
- solder
- a new 3.5mm audio jack either male to male or male to female, we will be using only 1 side of the male audio jack
- a mp3 player for testing
- pvc tape/wire tape
- lighter
- heat shrink
- screw driver
- pen knife

You will need some basic soldering skill.
* do take extra care when using solder gun, and also pen knife. SAFETY COMES FIRST!

Check out the pictures for some explanation of how headphone wiring works.

Here’s the plan:
We would need to get the right channel of wire across the headband to the left side of the headphone cup, and fix a brand new audio jack cable from the left headphone cup.

Step 2: Removing the Parts

First step is to remove the cushion form the headphone. You can simply pull it out of the headphone as it is clipped on.

Step 3: Cutting the Parts

This is how it looks like on the inside. Remove the wire from the cable. If you wanted to totally change all the wires you may need to separate the driver from the casing. But, it is glued tightly, and its very hard to remove. I didn’t remove the driver and solder the cables to the driver. Following picture is where I shortened the cable last time.

Now decide where you want the hole to be dig for me I decided to dig a whole at the red circle. And it was a mistake until the end of the process where the green circle is a better place for wire to come out from the headphone cup

Step 4: Dissemble the Headband

You will need to get the wire across from the right channel through the headband, so you have to remove the latches, and also the head cushion. *the screw size is different from the one just now, and you have to unscrew it in a 90 degree angle.

Put on some heatshrink to protect expose cables, use a lighter to heat the heat shrink and be extra careful not to over heat it!!! I accidentally over heat it and melted the cable. try to hold the fire about 1.5 inch away from the heat shrink, i was actually directly burning the heat shrink which causing the wire's rubber to melt.

Step 5: Wiring Through the Headband

Now cut the long cable from the original headphone cable, which it is going to be use across the headphone headband to the left cup. Please cut a very very long cable, 50cm would be great. You will find out why you need a long wire later.

Dig a hole on your headphone cup, do take some time to think bout where you wanted the hole to be place, otherwise it will be a pain trying to get the wires out from the cup. Refer to step 3 for the better location on the headphone cup to dig a hole at.

This is how its gonna look like after you get the wires out of the right cup. And this is a very difficult process for me as I cut the hole at the wrong place. Its very hard to slide the cable through the headphone cup.

Step 6: Putting Up the Wires Together and Test Stereo

Removing the left cup of the headphone with the step above, cut all the wires ready. And now it’s time to get the 3.5mm audio jack and remove 1 side of the cable. Cut 1 side of the cable. You will notice there are 3 wires in the cable. 1 would be GROUND, LEFT CHANNEL, and RIGHT CHANNEL.

Now its time to solder the wires together and all the wiring will be need to insert into the left cup of the headphone. So, make sure all the soldering and wiring should be done so that it could fit into the space of the cup of the headphone.

I realize that there is no specific standard coloring of wires to determine the left, right and ground channel, so you have to do testing of your headphone and make sure you solder on the correct wires. You may download this free audio kit I made for the testing of audio channel. Test the cables if you have solder the right channels together before wrapping them up.


Step 7: Make Sure Wires Are Properly Placed

Now tape all the soldered part so that the wires will not touch each other. Note that the red/green colored copper wire, is actually a thin layer of coated protection to allow both ground and channel wires to touch each other. If you find it hard to solder, do scrap off the colored copper with pen knife.

Heat shrink the parts so it stays together. If you do not wish to, it’s fine as well. Be extra careful when using heat shrink. Do not over heat, it will melt the original cables. You can practice first before you do the actually heat shrinking. 

Do take note of this!!! Always remember to place your wires properly before you solder and seal off everything, for this case, I have actually forgot to cable the wire properly through the headband, and I have to actually cut the wires away and resolder again.

Step 8: Mistakes and Extend Short Wire.

Here’s a picture of the placing of cables in the cup. It will be slightly cramp inside but, still thankfully it’s quite spacious inside the headphone.

Here is the reason why you need to have long cable over the head band. Notice that the cable was TOO SHORT!!!! I actually measured the cables over the headband nicely and out of expectation, it actually not long enough when I needed some length inside the headphone cup that I never thought of it.

So the only way i can do is to cut the middle of the wire, and add extra wires to it. Because the cushion part of the headband is less spacious, I took 1 of the wires from the original headphone and strip off its rubber leaving the naked copper cables. 

Solder to the parts of the cut wires, and remember to tape the solder area. After than I just fold the wires and use pvc tape to tape them in the headband, underneath the cushion.

Step 9: Wrap Up Put Everything Back Together

Now that the wiring is done, its time to wrap up by resemble back all the parts together. Remember to always perform testing through out the process with your mp3 player.


Step 10: FINISH

Finally, everything is DONE, and here is the out come of the 2 sided cable become 1 sided cable headphone modification. I’m very satisfied with my DIY, and it took me about 4 hours to totally figure out the whole thing. If you think spending 4 hours is not worthy, you can just go ahead and buy a brand new headphone. But, I really do like the feeling of having things fixed by myself. And it will be great if any of you out there would find my tutorial informative.

If you guys have any questions, do let me know by leaving comments here or on my blog comments section, cause I will be more active at my blog :)

GOOD LUCK FIXING your headphones! 



  • Arduino Contest 2019

    Arduino Contest 2019
  • Trash to Treasure

    Trash to Treasure
  • Tape Contest

    Tape Contest

13 Discussions


7 years ago on Step 10

My friend had these headphones and they look beat up as hell, he throws it around, throws it in the bag(literally) and sometimes just lets it hand outside the bag and throws the bag around(not so literally this time) but the freaking headphones lasted him 2 years :)) i definitely want a pair for myself but when i tried his, they are dramatically less loud than I would expect from over ears? is it because its old? or are yours also lacking in the volume department?

3 replies

Reply 7 years ago on Step 10

it depends on your liking actually.

but this pair of headphone really lacks of bass sound, if u prefer heavy bass sounds then this would not be suitable for you..

for myself i find this headphone has very nice and crispy high frequencies... i love the realistic of the sounds such as ppl walking on the sand in a movie. it just sounds so real..

but comparing to its price range in the market, i find this pair is the most valuable buy ..


Reply 7 years ago on Step 10

Thanks for the speedy reply! I almost bought one of these just today, but I tried them on, they really do sound so weak (volume wise), but when I tried my friend's headphones, they sound amazingly well balanced given that my surroundings aren't too loud.

Though now, I'm planning on getting the Sennheiser 205s or something of higher quality, I want it to last me 2 years at least, instead of the 4 months my Pioneers gave me :| and now that I tried the 201s, they just don't suite my needs well, any suggestions?


Reply 7 years ago on Step 10

well.. i think u can just go for the headphone your friend had... since u liked it... :D

my friend used to buy the HD 205, that pair has stronger bass sound, but.. due its small can, the cushion actually placed on top of the ears, while HD201 covers the whole ears, which gives me more comfort... usually when i put my headphone on, it will be like.. stay on my head for HOURS... it will be very uncomfortable if there's something pressured on your ears too long.

its actually up to yourself. go to audio stores and try out those samples you had there. for my country, we dont really have good headphones lying around. the most common ones would be sony and phillips, sennheiser only sold on higher end audio stores... we rarely see pioneer, slanton ... etc...

205 is slightly more expensive than 201... since you love the sound so much. i think u can jst go for the 205... :)


7 years ago on Step 10

i have the same headphones and i done the same thing a while ago but i used the old wire (mine are not as old as yours) but i routed the wire neater but still good job

1 reply

Reply 7 years ago on Step 10

wow... do you have a picture of ur headphone? can i have a look?


Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

oh... i read from some forums, and they called them 'cups' haha... thanks for the info. :)


Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

I think the cups/cans thing is very much a regional slang thing. Granted cans is fairly pervasive in the US, but more often than not it is only ever used in pleural to refer to whole set, In my recording studio if someone asks for cans someone goes to get beer. Usually John Smith's or Tetley's.

Earpiece is almost universally understood.


Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

yeah, cups and cans and earpiece... they are all the same stuff depends on regional slang...



Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

If they work now, != fail, though for sure it's good to think more about the project, I usually disassemble something needing repair and then wait a few days so I've subconsciously thought about issues before they arise.

On the other hand, considering these are only $20 cans and the pads are worn out too, it might be worthwhile to just replace them instead.


Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

nitrox027: oh.. i didnt know both the wires are coated.. i thought only the colored ones..
ac-dc: this headphone cost rm110 in my country, its almost the cost of 22 meals... hehe..