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Question on DIY headphone cable

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I know there are a bunch of posts on headphone cable and I have done plenty of research on the topic through this site and others. There are just a few things I have questions on that I am not 100% clear on. 


First off, here is my project/plan. I got a pair of cheap Sony MDRZX100 headphones ( http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004WODP20/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00 ) off Amazon. Since this is my first attempt, I did not feel like cutting up a more expensive pair of headphones. I then bought ~10 feet of Canare L4E5C quad cable , ~5 feet of Canare L2E5 cable , one stereo plug, 2 mono plugs, and 2 mono jacks. 


I plan on cutting the old cable, opening up the cans, and connecting the existing cable end to the mono jacks and mounting the mono jacks inside the cans with the jacks poking out where the old cable went into the bottoms of the cans. Then I want to take the L2E5 cable, solder up one end to the mono plugs, and I will have 2 lengths of cables with one end having a mono plug and the other free. I will take the L4E5C quad cable, solder it to the stereo plug for the other end. My only question is the connection with the open ends of the 2 L2E5 cables with the open end of L4E5C quad cable. I feel like simply soldering the wires together would not only be difficult to make look good, but could pose an issue with the audio quality. Is there some plug/connector that allows the bridging of the cables together? Or would I be better off splitting my quad cable and using the quad cable entirely?

post #2 of 3
You just want to split your quad cable. Just strip 12-16 inches of the jacket off. Split out your two pairs. Twist a few times and hit each pair with some shrink wrap. I believe 1/4" is the shrink wrap you want. Then throw some 1/2" shrink wrap around the Y connection to neaten that up. Then solder on your mono jacks. Viola.
post #3 of 3

Unless you have a need to retain shielding the full length of the cable -- you probably don't since you're not draining the shield's charge to anything -- split the quad cable at an arbitrary point (I usually go with 14-16 inches, but for on/over ear headphones the actual length is mostly a matter of convenience) and run two lines to each cup. Less work and probably less expense, too. It will guarantee a lighter cable, too.


The issue with a solder joint at the split is probably less one of audibility or appearance -- if you know how to solder a wire splice already, you will be able to do a neat and effective job -- and more one of durability and ergonomics. It will make the split larger and stiffer (it'll get in the way), and introduces a potential failure point where you don't have to have one.


Don't use shrink wrap the length of the Y runs, since that makes them stiff and makes the cable noisy when it brushes and bangs against things. Carefully separate each two pair of wires from each other so that they remain twisted around each other. Then twist them a little further without rotating the wires on their axes. They won't unwind after they're secured to plugs.

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