Shuffle Headphones





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



    • Oil Contest

      Oil Contest
    • Clocks Contest

      Clocks Contest
    • Water Contest

      Water Contest

    22 Discussions

    Its funny seeing this now, thinking back to when the first shuffle was tiny. :)

    I did the same thing for my touch by just using a rubberband instead of velcro.

    I put my shuffle in a fabric slip case (made for the shuffle, with control markings on the outside) and used a Velcro strap to attach vertically in-line on the side of the headband. Works great. Also, if you can find a pair of phones with a detachable cord, like Sennheisers, you can make a tidy short replacement cord.

    2 replies

    Main problem with these for me is that A: the weight is uneven B: the one beside the shuffle sounds totally different because having electricals right beside a speaker changes the sound.

    2 replies

    A: With the newer shufle, there's really no weight to speak of-- it weighs less than the old cord did. B: I *really doubt* you could hear any difference-- I certainly can't. In any case, the quality of these headphones is so much better than that of regular earbuds that it's a clear win.

    Sony MDR-V6? Yes, they're very good. With an open set it will screw with the sound because it blocks the hole. Just an interesting fact, Hi-fi systems will sound better in the day because less people are using their mobiles.

    Wow! Are you the Evil mad scientist? I once made your bristlebot i believe it was called :)

    1 reply

    i got an old pair of mdr-p10s sitting around, but i still use them, they just sound soo good awesome base response

    it makes me sad to think that a nice set of headphones like the MDR-v6 sat in a box unused for 10 years. i have a set and i love them to death.

    2 replies

    I agree. They are probably the best headphones available for their price range, and to think they've been sitting there neglected for a decade, it's quite saddening.

    NO THEY DON'T. I have a second gen shuffle, and they are literally, and I mean LITERALLY indestructable! I snowboard with mine. I messed up on a jump and slammed down on my shuffle, sliding it across PURE ICE!! I jumped up and looked at it. There was no scratches, the music kept playing and there was no snow clogged in it


    12 years ago

    cool. I was thinking about something along these lines. I'm glad someone posted this. i was thinking about putting the shuffle on the headband for a more "inline" thing.. but w/e this works too!..

    1 reply

    think about the ergonomics. Having them inline will cause a little bit of cognitive adjustment 90 degrees as you mentally map to the controls In the image of the lady shown, raising your arm will have a direct correlation to the controls and therefore be more intuitive- if you see what I'm saying.

    dont forget you need to hit pause when the boss is shouting at you and whats the point in owning an ipod if no one can see the whiteness? Cool project, functional.

    or maybe you want to increase the volume when the boss is shouting.. either way it needs to be on the outside.