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DIY Guide: Detachable Cables on a (metal) grado

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
This guide uses my Alessandro MS-2. I assume it will work exactly fine for MS-2i, 325, 325i. For plastic grados i assume it will work perfectly as well, except instead of having one metal cup and one plastic cup, you will have 2 plastic cups. If you have a wooden grado, please dont hurt it!

I used stereo plugs/sockets, but only due to availability. Mono plugs is all that's nessesary and i cant really imagine any benefit in using stereo There wasn't much in the way of mono gear at my local electronics place so i just used stereo and bridged the signals to make them mono

Shout out to friend and skilled DIYer pho_boi who did this with me.
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Well, a while ago I posted that i wanted to recable my alessandros, and moreover make it so they had detachable cables. (original thread), since then a few others have done their plastic grados too, but i figured that I should post up how i did my metal alessandro MS-2s incase anyone is interested in doing this to their grados - particuarly metal ones which can be very daunting.

Tools Required:
1 pair of Grado/Alessandro headphones
Soldering iron
Solder
Hair drier
Tapered spoon
Dremel (or drill, probably)
Round hand file (optional)
A few cm of wire
2 mono or stereo 3.5mm sockets (2.5mm could also be used. There is little room for anything bigger than 3.5mm)
2 mono or stereo 3.55mm plugs (or 2.5mm)
Black electrical tape

STEP 1: Grand Opening

Firstly, you have to open the headphones. This is relatively easy but takes a bit of guts, as it is likely you're first attempt at doing anything with your headphones that may damage them. I personally scratched mine a tiny bit (as you'll see below in photos) by experimenting. Fortunately for you, I can give you the best method as a result of my experimentation.

Step 1a) Remove the pads. If you dont know how to do this, this guide isn't for you.

Step 1b) Remove the cups from the headband. To do this, just pull the plastic clamp apart a bit and fidget around with the cups until they come off. This is relatively easy (just a bit fidgety) and the cups should come off without anything breaking)

Step 1c) Get the blowdrier and apply it to the side of the grado casing on hot setting at a distance of around 10-15cm for around 1 -1.5 minutes. The purpose of this is to melt the glue that holds the grados together. Turn the cup around a bit to ensure that you're melting all the glue.

Step 1d) At the end of the 1-1.5 minutes, quickly get a tapered spoon and place the handle in the gap between the cups (in a metal grado, there is a metal cup and a plastic cup). Slowly pull the spoon across, so that the shape of the spoon levers the two halfs apart. It requires a bit of force but should come relatively easily. The metal on the grados will scratch quite easily, so if you're having to pull really hard, repeat step 1b again for a bit longer because the glue probably isn't melted properly

Step 1e) once the cups are apart, pull off all the excess glue, there's heaps.

STEP 2: removing the cables

Now that the cups are open, it's time to remove the cable. This is pretty straightforward for anyone who's make interconnecters etc before. If you haven't had any DIY cable experience, put your grados back together and start making interconnecters for a while. A little experience is nesssary. Heat up the wire and solder and remove the cables.

STEP 3: Ading the sockets

Now it's time to add the sockets. For my sockets, i used cylindrical 3.5mm stereo sockets because they're available and fit well. Others will probably work, and mono is all you need.

Step 3a) To put the stocket in you will have to make a hole in both the plastic half, and the metal half. We used a dremmil with a relatively small grinding tool to cut away at it.

The hole in the inner (plastic) part of the casing has to be large enough to fit the body of the socket (the wider part), as you can see in the photo below



Here is a before and after comparison of the size of the hole:
BEFORE


AFTER


(incase you're wondering why my plastic looks so mangled, that's just the black eletrical tape which i'll explain later. Also, for my own sense of ego- the hole is MUCH nicer shape in real life, i dunno why it looks all out of shape in this photo)

Step 3b) Expand the hole in the metal/outer cup. This hole only needs to be as large as the smaller, threaded part of the socket. If it is too large and the body of the socket fits through then it will look ugly and the socket wont be held in place. The socket is held in on one side by the end screw, and on the other side by the width of the body of the socket). Again, we used a dremel with a grind bit to make this hole, but i suspect a drill would work too.



As you can see, the hole is a decent size larger than the original. By making this just a hole (rather than expanding the whole of the original area), it will hold the socket in place wonderfully.

The socket should now hold in place in the outer shell when the end bolt is screwed on.

STEP 4: Connect the socket to the driver

Connect the socket to the headphones. Just use the wire you bought to connect the signal and ground.

See the photo below to see which is ground and which is signal



Connect the ground to ground and the signal to signal. If you're using a stereo socket, connect the 2 signals together with some wire.

STEP 5: add plugs to headphone cable

Get a 3.5mm plug and solder the blue wire to ground and the white or red wire to signal. do this on both sides of the V. Again, if you're using stereo, connect both signals with a wire.

STEP 6: Closing act

Now that you have a connected socket on your cups and plug on your cables, it's time to put the grado back together. The best way to do this is using electical tape

Simply get some black electical tape and tape it around the diameter of the plastic part of the grado (inner cup). This electical tape will provide sufficent friction between the 2 cups to keep them together, but will allow you to put it apart with relative ease if desired at a later stage.

If you find that the cups dont stay together, just put an extra layer of tape on

The finished product:





yay!

--

If anything is vague on this guide or hard to understand or requires more pictures, please let me know so i can fix it up. It's only a "first draft" of sorts
post #2 of 18
This is an awesome guide, hugz! Good work!

Now if only somebody would come up with a similar mod for the captive cord Sennheisers, we'd be all set! Universal cords for everyone!
post #3 of 18
Nice. I did this to my SR-325's a while ago but I used locking 2.5mm jacks - Nice and small and no chance of them pulling out. Didn't have to cut the metal casing either. Someday I'll get around to posting a picture of the phones, but these are the Switchcraft connectors I used:

post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by shiggins
Nice. I did this to my SR-325's a while ago but I used locking 2.5mm jacks - Nice and small and no chance of them pulling out. Didn't have to cut the metal casing either. Someday I'll get around to posting a picture of the phones, but these are the Switchcraft connectors I used:

We did consider the 2.5mm plugs and sockets, but it was very hard to find decent 2.5 plugs in Australia. So I think we decided on the 3.5mm for its availabilty and wide selection

Looking back, I can't believe we actually put a dremel to the aluminium bit. It was quite scary doing something like that to such an expensive item.
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by shiggins
Nice. I did this to my SR-325's a while ago but I used locking 2.5mm jacks - Nice and small and no chance of them pulling out. Didn't have to cut the metal casing either. Someday I'll get around to posting a picture of the phones, but these are the Switchcraft connectors I used:


how hard are those to solder up though? seems like space inside would be a little tight, but doable
post #6 of 18
Hugz I have a few questions,

Did you notice any decline in sonic performance after the upgrade? I did a detach mod on my sr-80s and the sound quality dropped.

also I was too scared to use a hair driver as I didnt want to damage the drivers from excessive heat. Is the blow dryer method the universal tool to open up grados?

I used a jewelers screwdriver and made little dents in the rims around the plastic egdes. But the pads seem to cover them up.
post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
I didn't notice an sound difference, but then again i didn't do any extreme before-and-after listening. nonetheless, i'm fairly confident that it probably wouldn't make a very big change. After all, it's just one extra connection in the signal path- no worse than using a 6.5 -> 3.5 adapater

I too was terrified with the hair dryer method when i did it, but i assure you it's not as bad as it seems. just point it at the side and the drivers seem to be okay. I literally had to do it like 5 times the first time because i wasn't sure how long to do it, but even after doing it 5 times nothing was damaged.

I first tried to use a screw driver to lever it opened but that left a dent. I think i also tried another method to no avail. there was so much glue in there that i'm not supprised it wouldn't budge without melting it first.
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScubaSteve87
how hard are those to solder up though? seems like space inside would be a little tight, but doable
You dont actually solder it inside the cup. From memory i think we measured a length of wire that would be nessesary to reach from the driver to where the socket would sit, and then cut the wire and soldered the plug on. Then we soldered the other end of the wire to the driver.

Nonetheless, because the socket is attached to a wire that extends a few inches out from the driver, you still have enough room to work with
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pho_boi
We did consider the 2.5mm plugs and sockets, but it was very hard to find decent 2.5 plugs in Australia. So I think we decided on the 3.5mm for its availabilty and wide selection

Looking back, I can't believe we actually put a dremel to the aluminium bit. It was quite scary doing something like that to such an expensive item.
as pho_boi said, we chose the 3.5mm partly because of availability. For one thing, the local electronics store didn't have much in the way of 2.5mm plugs and sockets- and i'm impatient so we didn't want to have to order around or anything. Another thing is that the parts that are inside it currently are all pretty cheap (but sound fine), but i figured if i ever do want to upgrade in the future to expensive(ish) high end plugs and sockets, there would be a much larger range of high end 3.5mm than 2.5mm.

A final factor that make me chose 3.5mm is that i was a bit worried about the gripping power of 2.5mm. Obviously your plugs need to support the weight of the cable. Since it's my portable setup, it also has to be abel to withstand a bit of extra force. Although it's possible to get locking sockets (though may be hard to find in 2.5mm), i didn't want it to be completely locking, because one of the advantages of detachable is that if your cable gets yanked, it wont pull on your precious cans too much.. it will just detached.

And lol yeh, in hindsight (we actually did this mod months ago, i've just been lazy to do the write up) it was kinda funny doing the dremmelling. I was scared that my hands are too shaky, and he was scared of going near my precious cans with a powertool. All's well that ends well though, and i'm glad we did it. Highly recommended mod for anyone considering it

edit: I see your 2.5 sockets ARE locking. Well as mentioned above, the lack of lockingness (what a word..) was one of the reasons i wanted to make it detachable, which make it a non option for me
post #10 of 18
Here we go... tiny 2.5mm connectors. Not for fiends of fat cables or techflex lovers:

post #11 of 18
I seriously didnt know you could take appart the metal grados...guess Im just dumb...Im going to use this guide to recable my grados...Thanks alot alot...
post #12 of 18
Anyone willing to do this for me?

Scared out of my mind to solder my 325i's
post #13 of 18
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Edited by jon743 - 9/17/11 at 12:55pm
post #14 of 18

how can this be done to audio technica ath m50??? i really want to mod it and make it detachable on one side with shorter cable!!

thnk u biggrin.gif

 

post #15 of 18

Would this mod  also be possible to do with Woody SR 325i Grado's? biggrin.gif

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