How can I fix my headphones, without buying a new pair?
September 22, 2010 6:37 PM   Subscribe

I broke the jack on my nice headphones. :( Is there some way to fix them?

The jack size is (I believe) 1/4", the one that basically fits most iPods and PCs/laptops. I've already tried soldering a new jack, but I think that I also damaged the cable somewhere along the line so that didn't work. What I'm wondering is - is there a store or anyone that sells cables with already soldered jack on one side, and exposed wires on the other end that I can solder directly onto my headphones? Basically a readymade headphone cable without the headphones. Maybe there's an easier way to do this as well?

Here's some pics of the opened headphones, if that helps:
posted by GrooveStix to Technology (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Idk if anyone sells something like this, but whenever I want something like that I just cut the end off a cable. Like, if you have a spare 1/4" to whatever lying around, cut off the whatever end and peel back the rubber.

For what its worth, laptops, etc. have 1/8" ("minijack") outputs. So what you probably want to buy is a 1/8" to 1/8". Cut one end off of that.
posted by jeb at 6:53 PM on September 22, 2010

Worth asking - have you checked first whether the entire cord unplugs from the headset part of the headphones? I have some fancy headphones where the cord is designed to be unpluggable & replaceable with ease...
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:56 PM on September 22, 2010

You can buy a headphone extension cable and cut off the female end you don't need and strip the wires, solder, etc. (I think you want 1/8" too)
posted by lee at 6:58 PM on September 22, 2010

Response by poster: @jeb & lee: I was actually thinking about the same exact thing. However, I realized that extension cables are straight and don't have the nice Y design of normal headphones. That would probably be a problem.

@UbuRoivas: I did checked, but it doesn't unplug. I was a bit over the top with the "nice" description, since these are definitely of a midgrade quality.
posted by GrooveStix at 7:04 PM on September 22, 2010

Use a 1/8" to RCA, boom. You can usually peel the Y quite a bit wider, but you'll have a true, upper case Y, not the trendy lower case y.

Or, use an old shitty pair of headphones (apple earbuds e.g.)
posted by jeb at 7:25 PM on September 22, 2010

A lot of higher end headphones have the wires covered in a thin, clear plastic casing. If you solder it on without completely melting the plastic off, the connection will loosen and probably come off. They're kind of a pain, but you can just hold the iron against the wires for a minute or so.

Anyway, one time I pretty badly damaged the cord from a pair of headphones and transplanted the cord from another broken pair. It looked a little ugly, but it worked.

Laptop jacks and ipods are 1/8", by the way.
posted by wayland at 7:25 PM on September 22, 2010

FWIW, the pointy end on the cable - the bit that goes into the socket on your laptop / ipod - is the plug, not the jack. The jack is what it plugs in to; 'jack' is another name for 'socket' - specifically, one that has a fixed mounting.

(Wikipedia & Google both tell me that 'jack plug' is also used; I'll say that in 35 years as an electronics hobbyist and 20+ years as a telco tech, that terminology was extremely uncommon.)

And, unless you're fairly experienced at soldering and have a low-wattage or temp-controlled iron, you almost certainly melted the insulation & short-circuited the shield to the centre when you soldered the wires to the plug. That generally won't cause any damage, but it'll stop it from working.

But, unless you have the the aforementioned experience or equipment, you'll have fun soldering to the driver terminals too. It's sometimes slightly easier than soldering the plug end with flexible headphone cables, but the wires to the voicecoil can part from the copper terminal as soon as you look at them…
posted by Pinback at 2:10 AM on September 23, 2010

Sennheisers tend to have replaceable headphone cables. You can buy something like , cut off the two plugs on the top part that are supposed to plug into the headphones, and solder them into your phones.

If you're feeling like a project, another alternative would be to take a headphone extension cord, run it to one end of the headphones, and then use a thin wire routed along the headband to get the signal to the other side. That way, your phones will have the cable come on only one side (like the Sony V6 which I'm wearing right now, for example) which I find more convenient.
posted by bsdfish at 12:55 PM on September 23, 2010

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