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[FIRST TIMER / NEWBIE] Headphone Recabling Supplies & Questions

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Hello. I have lurked on the forums for a while, and I've recently decided I want to try my hand at re-cabling. I am almost completely uneducated when it comes to electronics/circuitry (beyond putting together a few PCs).  

 

I have assembled a parts list and I was hoping someone could just help me make sure everything will work/fit together [i.e. SIZES OF SLEEVING, HEATSHRINK, PLUG COMPATIBLE W/CABLE size]. I was also unsure about some of the vendors & prices so any word on that would help [I realize the multimeter is terrible, but I was thinking I would only need to measure current to verify which wire (left v. right) I'm dealing with].

 

Note: I already have solder and a soldering iron from an older monitor repair job, but if I am missing any supplies I would appreciate any input. I am additionally considering the use of a hair-dryer and/or soldering iron for the heat shrink part, so any help on the technique would be great. Same goes for stripping wires (was considering a knife/scalpel).

 

MARKERTEK

 

makertek.jpg

 

WIRECARE.COM  

 

wirecare.jpg

EBAY

ebay.png

 

Connection Questions (having been thoroughly confused by a lot of vague guides):

 

1) I was wondering if it would matter how I connected the wires to the driver as long as the wiring orientation on both drivers is identical (in phase?). I was thinking of doing this to a pair of Denon's but am unsure (and don't know how to find out) about which solder pad on the driver is for the signal wire and which is supposed to be ground.  

2) Finally, if I choose the two blue wires as ground and the two white wires as signal, I would imagine that the two blue wires would be soldered to the bottom ring of the 3.5mm plug, and the two white wires going to left and right. Please correct me if I am mistaken here.  

 

Thanks for all the help.


Edited by l337toast - 6/9/12 at 10:04pm
post #2 of 24

markertek are decent as long as you dont need international shipping, they dont offer any of the midrange options like EMS or ups express saver.

 

the canare is ok, but its pretty chunky, heavy and stiff, nothing that special to have a cable that bulky. I prefer the mogami quad personally for the fullsize, but I would recommend you go for W2799 mogami mini quad, or the brother of that, mogami 2893 which is also even lighter weight (same wire gauge), and higher quality as well.

 

if you go for a chunkier cable, you may as well have it be effective as a stereo cable, the canare (and all star quad cables) is a mic or audio cable, its not meant to be a stereo cable even though it does a decent job, if you are going to bother with shielding a headphone cable, each channel should really be shielded individually like this Mogami W3106

 

26awg is plenty large enough gauge for a headphone cable and the miniquad is only 3.2mm, so you wouldnt have to drill out the barrel of your switchcraft mini like you would with a sleeved canare like you linked. you could go for 3/16 multifilament, half the size of the one you linked.

 

for the cables you linked the shrink and sleeve is about right, though you could probably get away with 1/4" sleeving, but it would be unnecessarily large and you would have to drill out the mini barrel. you would have to drill out the barrel for the dual channel one I linked too, but that cable would be a definite upgrade and depending on your usage might be worth while. a chunky cable means the headphones are much less likely to pull that disappearing act we all search for than the miniquad, which is lighter, much more flexible etc.

 

the multimeter will be fine for making cables and basic electronics


Edited by qusp - 6/10/12 at 12:46am
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 

Alright so I've revised a bit and come up with this (total w/shipping = ~$33.00). Would the sleeving and shrink tubing work for this particular cable size?

 

REDCO - 

 

 

EBAY - seller:  furryletters
3/32" BRAIDED NYLON SLEEVING audio TECHFLEX 25 ft. [ Can't seem to find 1/16" sleeving for the cable above the Y-split....would this be fine?]
 
  • same multimeter

 

THE SOUND PROFESSIONALS -  [not exactly sure as to the legitimacy of this site, but it's the cheapest option for the plug I'm considering] - 

SWITCHCRAFT - 35HDBAU 3.5mm Plug

http://www.soundprofessionals.com/cgi-bin/gold/category.cgi?item=SC-35HDBAU&source=froogle


Edited by l337toast - 6/10/12 at 4:50am
post #4 of 24

Quote:

Note: I already have solder and a soldering iron from an older monitor repair job, but if I am missing any supplies I would appreciate any input. I am additionally considering the use of a hair-dryer and/or soldering iron for the heat shrink part, so any help on the technique would be great. Same goes for stripping wires (was considering a knife/scalpel).

 

[snip]

 

1) I was wondering if it would matter how I connected the wires to the driver as long as the wiring orientation on both drivers is identical (in phase?). I was thinking of doing this to a pair of Denon's but am unsure (and don't know how to find out) about which solder pad on the driver is for the signal wire and which is supposed to be ground.  

2) Finally, if I choose the two blue wires as ground and the two white wires as signal, I would imagine that the two blue wires would be soldered to the bottom ring of the 3.5mm plug, and the two white wires going to left and right. Please correct me if I am mistaken here.  

First: you need a heat gun for heat shrink.  Hair driers don't get hot enough, and you can damage your soldering iron easily.  In a pinch you can use a lighter, but the end result will look substantially less professional if you do so.  Bottom line: drop the money on a heat gun--it doesn't need to be anything fancy.

 

Second: buy a couple pairs of cheap headphones of the sort that you want to rewire (IE circumaural headphones in this case) and PRACTICE on those.  It's a bit more money, but it's a LOT less money than buying a new pair of nice cans because you didn't have enough practice under your belt.

 

Finally: based upon your questions it seems to me that you probably don't have a multimeter.  Definitely invest in one--even a cheap 5 dollar job is more than adequate for continuity testing, though I'd tend to recommend you get a slightly nicer one, so that you can test the impedance of your lines post solder and work to keep the channels identical.  The cheap DMMs you can get will test such, but their reliability in terms of accuracy is a bit suspect, in my eyes.

post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by l337toast View Post

Alright so I've revised a bit and come up with this (total w/shipping = ~$33.00). Would the sleeving and shrink tubing work for this particular cable size?

 

REDCO - 

 

 

EBAY - seller:  furryletters
3/32" BRAIDED NYLON SLEEVING audio TECHFLEX 25 ft. [ Can't seem to find 1/16" sleeving for the cable above the Y-split....would this be fine?]
 
  • same multimeter

 

THE SOUND PROFESSIONALS -  [not exactly sure as to the legitimacy of this site, but it's the cheapest option for the plug I'm considering] - 

SWITCHCRAFT - 35HDBAU 3.5mm Plug

http://www.soundprofessionals.com/cgi-bin/gold/category.cgi?item=SC-35HDBAU&source=froogle

 

markertek have the switchcraft, 3/32 I think will be borderline too small and 1/16 would be way too small if it existed in this stuff, the multifilament does not have the expansion of the other types and I think you should stick with wirecare, thats who I use and I live all the way over in australia, as they have such a great range of high quality stuff in one place, there is heatshrink and there is heatshrink, the stuff from them is very nice. no affiliation, i'm just a happy customer

 

the initial canare you linked is large for the wire gauge as it has quite a lot of wadding, the outer rubberized sleeve is thick and heavy, as is the braided sleeve and foil. the mini quad is quite a bit thinner, but you dont need to halve the size of the thinner arm too, stick with 1/8 IMO so 1/8 and 3/16 will be fine, or you could just use heatshrink over the arms, if you twist them well this looks quite stylish IMO. 

 

get a hot glue gun too and some small zipties (again wirecare) you can use these for strain relief inside the cups, put a dab on the twisted paiur inside the cups with a bit of extra slack on the inside and add a dab of hot glue to it, then tighten the ziptie over it, you can cover this with heatsrink if you like as well. this makes it so the cable cannot be yanked and damage, or pull off entirely the solder pads on the drivers. on denons the positive and negative terminals will be marked with red and black markings nearby, mine were, maybe not all are but the d2000, d5000, d7000 all are and yes as long as both sides are wired the same, the phase is not a big deal, the phase of the signal has been inverted already several times on its way to you, those who worry about absolute phase are tilting at windmills


Edited by qusp - 6/10/12 at 7:52am
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 

First off, thanks for all the help. I really appreciate the advice.  And yes, I was hoping that the signal solder pad would be marked, as I have seen that in a guide pertaining to Denon's.  As for the soldering, I'll see if I can get a bit of practice with some old equipment laying around; that's probably a good idea after all.

 

@Hagios: Thanks for the word on the heatgun. I'll look into obtaining one from a friend

 

@qusp: So above the y-split I'll use 1/8" nylon sleeving and follow suit with 1/8" heatshrink

 

In terms of vendors: Only problem with markertek and wirecare is the exorbitant shipping cost.  Using those sites pretty much increases the cost of parts by ~67%. I'd rather put that money towards something other than shipping.

 

 

EDIT: While I am here, I was thinking I would solder the copper shielding (that surrounds the 4 wires) at the ground tab at the plug with my two ground wires.  I'm assuming this should be sufficient to ensure shielding (any interference just hits the copper and is taken to ground).  I guess this implies that the other end will not have any copper wrapping around any ground wires (at the drivers). In fact, I am not even sure how I would go about routing the copper to one/both drivers. 


Edited by l337toast - 6/11/12 at 8:56pm
post #7 of 24

well I was assuming you were in the states, you dont have your location listed and tbh that makes it hard to make specific recommendations to help you. its ok for me as i'm usually making a pretty decent size order and actually if you ask them by email, at least wirecare will do EMS which is usually not too bad. but markertek are downright rude for international shipping I agree.

 

for the reasons you mention above I hardly ever worry too much about shielding on headphones, you'll never surround the voice-coil and this acts like an aerial, so your best bet is just to twist tightly and rely on that for noise rejection. so I would and do, just stop the shield at the Y split; yes you solder it along with the ground wires at the ground tab.

 

for 1/8" heatshrink cover, no 1/8 shrink wont cover it, certainly not for any length, you could stretch a short length with needle-nose pliers to get it over, but you wont get it over any length. you need 3/16 or 1/4 for that, I use 1/4, make sure wherever you buy the shrink specifies expanded size, or shrunk size and if you arent sure, email them to clarify.

 

no worries on the help, I tend to drop in here from time to time and try to give a bit back, i'm not here as much as I used to, so i'm doing some intensive posting while i've got a bit of time (long weekend)


Edited by qusp - 6/11/12 at 10:27am
post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 

I actually am in the states, but I was still looking at a combined shipping cost of ~$20 from those two places, which takes a very reasonable cost of parts way up.

 

As for your comments on the heatshrink dimensions, I am somewhat confused. So I should not use 1/8" shrink above the y-split?  I apologize if I'm getting this wrong repeatedly, but would you be able to briefly reiterate what I would need below and above the y-split?

 

I was considering 

 

Heatshrink (I've been looking at all 2:1 expanded:shrunk ratio):

below: 3/16"

above: 1/8"   <------ I'm assuming this needs to be changed

 

Sleeving:

below: 3/16" nylon

above: 1/8" nylon

post #9 of 24

I personally like to use 1/16" heat shrink to isolate each individual solder joint as much as possible.  A spool of 1/16" will last practically forever, and makes your work just that much more professional.

post #10 of 24

Hello.

 

I hope you don't mind me tacking onto this thread.

 

I've never re-cabled and haven't soldered in a long time, but am very keen to re-cable my Sennheiser 202s as one side is out.  Ideally I'd like to make the cable detachable, and better still one-sided detachable.  I see there are good threads on this (ATH-M50 and AKG K518).  I have some questions... if you'd be so kind to humour me with some answers (sorry if they're straightforward/basic):

 

  • Could you supply some guidance how to wire a 3.5mm mini jack chassis?  ie, which wire should be attached where?

 

  • If I go for two-sided, removable cables - would I need to use two mono plugs or two stereo?  My thinking here is that each side headphone is mono, which combines with the main 3.5 jack (iPod-end) to make stereo.  Have I got this right?!

 

  • If I were to attempt a single-sided connection, how would I go about combining the left headphone wires to the right (3.5 female jack)?  I gather in each earcup there are two wires (+ and -) so this totals up to 4 wires.  How would I go about connecting these up?

 

  • Which is better a standard TRRS/TRS/3.5mm stereo phono connector or an RCA plug (I think this is also called a mini-coaxial plug) for the headphone connection/s?  I'd guess a regular 3.5mm male/female would be best.  I see there are other possible connectors to use, like the two-pin Sennheiser connectors.  Are these worth considering, or just stick to the standard issue 3.5?

 

  • What cable do the Beats Solo HDs use?  This is the strongest part of these headphones, so I'd like to reuse this.  I guess it's teflon coated.  What grade wire is it?

 

 

Thanks!  Sorry if these are popular/tedious questions.  Perhaps it's been answered before on another thread.  Any responses would be appreciated.


Edited by DogandPonyShow - 6/12/12 at 7:00am
post #11 of 24
  • If I go for two-sided, removable cables - would I need to use two mono plugs or two stereo?  My thinking here is that each side headphone is mono, which combines with the main 3.5 jack (iPod-end) to make stereo.  Have I got this right?!

You've got this right; two mono signals = 1 stereo signal

 

  • If I were to attempt a single-sided connection, how would I go about combining the left headphone wires to the right (3.5 female jack)?  I gather in each earcup there are two wires (+ and -) so this totals up to 4 wires.  How would I go about connecting these up?

Both channels have a ground.  For a balanced source, these will be kept separate; for an unbalanced source (IE TRS connector) you will join the grounds.

 

  • Which is better a standard TRRS/TRS/3.5mm stereo phono connector or an RCA plug (I think this is also called a mini-coaxial plug) for the headphone connection/s?  I'd guess a regular 3.5mm male/female would be best.  I see there are other possible connectors to use, like the two-pin Sennheiser connectors.  Are these worth considering, or just stick to the standard issue 3.5?

In terms of sound quality, neither should be appreciably better.  Go for ease of work/convenience/aesthetics.  If I wanted to create two separate jacks on a set of headphones, I'd be looking at the 2.5mm mini connectors, personally.

All this being said, there are worlds of difference in terms of difficulty getting clean solder jobs done.  It's much easier to solder to the lugs on a 3.5mm chassis mount and a 3.5mm TRS jack than, for example, to the pins on a Sennheiser style plug.

 

Hope these answers help!

post #12 of 24

Great! Thanks for those.

 

I think for convenience I'll stick to standard 3.5mm jacks.

 

 

Do you have any details about how to wire the mini jack (female) in the headphone housing?

 

For the single cable mod, I'm not 100% what should happen to the wires from the left headphone (non-jack plug side) - would I need to solder them all to the female jack socket on the right headphone?  Which connectors should they go on/to?

 

 

**out of interest (on the two cable set-up), what would happen if the two connectors were stereo plugs?  Presumably nothing, as the wiring would only be mono (there'd be one empty ring, on the plug, without any wires attached?)


Edited by DogandPonyShow - 6/12/12 at 10:33am
post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hagios View Post

  • If I go for two-sided, removable cables - would I need to use two mono plugs or two stereo?  My thinking here is that each side headphone is mono, which combines with the main 3.5 jack (iPod-end) to make stereo.  Have I got this right?!

You've got this right; two mono signals = 1 stereo signal

 

  • If I were to attempt a single-sided connection, how would I go about combining the left headphone wires to the right (3.5 female jack)?  I gather in each earcup there are two wires (+ and -) so this totals up to 4 wires.  How would I go about connecting these up?

Both channels have a ground.  For a balanced source, these will be kept separate; for an unbalanced source (IE TRS connector) you will join the grounds.

 

  • Which is better a standard TRRS/TRS/3.5mm stereo phono connector or an RCA plug (I think this is also called a mini-coaxial plug) for the headphone connection/s?  I'd guess a regular 3.5mm male/female would be best.  I see there are other possible connectors to use, like the two-pin Sennheiser connectors.  Are these worth considering, or just stick to the standard issue 3.5?

In terms of sound quality, neither should be appreciably better.  Go for ease of work/convenience/aesthetics.  If I wanted to create two separate jacks on a set of headphones, I'd be looking at the 2.5mm mini connectors, personally.

All this being said, there are worlds of difference in terms of difficulty getting clean solder jobs done.  It's much easier to solder to the lugs on a 3.5mm chassis mount and a 3.5mm TRS jack than, for example, to the pins on a Sennheiser style plug.

 

Hope these answers help!


2.5mm connectors will not last long, they focus the strain on one tiny little space and there is nothing to support the jack from the leverage, it will become loose and fail pretty quickly depending on usage. mini xlr from neutrik/rean is your best bet and most available, these will actually plug into the cup/socket that way and there will not be any possibility for leverage/movement. the lemo type connectors the senns use are not cheap and yeah a bit challenging for a novice builder. the mini XLR are pretty straight forward to use, should be fine and assemble very easily. the switchcraft version is a bit more rugged, but are 2-3x the price

 

my personal favorite is lemo OB series, but these are expensive, I like them as they are compact and locking, but I have a bit of a connector fetish


Edited by qusp - 6/13/12 at 12:13pm
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by qusp View Post


2.5mm connectors will not last long, they focus the strain on one tiny little space and there is nothing to support the jack from the leverage, it will become loose and fail pretty quickly depending on usage. mini xlr from neutrik/rean is your best bet and most available, these will actually plug into the cup/socket that way and there will not be any possibility for leverage/movement. the lemo type connectors the senns use are not cheap and yeah a bit challenging for a novice builder. the mini XLR are pretty straight forward to use, should be fine and assemble very easily. the switchcraft version is a bit more rugged, but are 2-3x the price

This is absolutely true and all worth considering.  That said, I think 2.5mm TRS is stronger than the 2 pin Sennheiser style connectors, though I don't have any hard evidence to back that statement up.

post #15 of 24

no you dont, because there isnt anything to back that up i'm afraid. the lemo types are aerospace, nuclear physics research based and must adhere to some mil specs, I hazard a guess their requirements are a bit more stringent than a 2.5mm mini; 3,5 would be bad enough.

 

Any mini used in this manner is usually of the recessed type, its the way they connect ie. inside and over a larger recessed connection and/or with 3 pins that makes it stronger, not the physical size. i'd lay money the mini would break/damage far quicker; its about mechanics


Edited by qusp - 6/14/12 at 3:40pm
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