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How can I add stress relief to headphones?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I know that for a lot of headphones/IEMs/earbuds, especially low-budget onces, very poor stress reliefs (or none at all!) are implemented. I used to have this problem all the time with my Skullcandies (don't laugh) and I still do with my JVC HA-FX101's, and other IEMS I own. I was wondering how I could add on stress reliefs? I don't have to take apart anything to add things to the outside, so in theory it should be pretty easy.

 

I did some looking around and found this thread - http://www.head-fi.org/t/471958/reduce-stress-strain-on-rca-cables - that suggests using heat shrink tubing, epoxy paints, grommets and hot glue.

 

Doing some research, heat shrink looks like an effective method - but does anyone know which product I should be getting? And how to apply it to my headphones?

 

Also, a friend's dad showed me this rubber paint he had - http://www.plastidip.com/home_solutions/Plasti_Dip - which is used for putting plastic handles on tools with worse handles. Could that work? Maybe I should give it a try.

 

And, ATH-M50 spring strain relief? Those are cool. Yeah.


Edited by poopsockk - 3/3/14 at 11:06pm
post #2 of 5

I think the "best" way is the spring type strain relief if you can just replace the connector altogether. I know there are some jacks out there that have springs built in, and i would imagine they are the most durable. Definitely not the easiest approach or cost effective maybe, but i would choose this way if i wanted something truly reliable.

 

Heatshrink tubing is easier but the larger the jack is, you'll need larger tubing to fit over the connector and it may not shrink enough on cable part to do the job. If you go this route, try to find the absolute thinnest tubing that fits over the jack and use a few layers of it if its still too flexible. For IEM's though i would choose this since the jacks usually aren't much larger than the cable itself so it should fit better.  You can get it in all kinds of colors besides the usual black which is a plus, and i have personal experience with this one so i know it works at least. Any kind  should work well. Just be careful not to burn it if you use a lighter!

post #3 of 5

Almost all headphones have some sort of cable strain relief. Without it any pulling force on the cable would act directly on the solder joints IN the headphone and rip them apart in little time. 

 

If you want to go above and beyond what the MFR includes you are kind of in a bind. 

The issue is that in order to add strain relief you usually have to add considerable bulk to the cable. 

In the case of full sized headphones, this is not a significant issue. In the case of IEM or earbud style headphones this could be significant. 

 

You *might* have success using plasti-dip or a similar product in an effort to make the cable just a bit stronger where it connects to the actual headphone, but you might also have complete failure. 

Heat-shrink cant usually be shrunk enough to go over an earbud *and* shrink tightly around the cable. This is not as hard in a full size headphone where the cable can be removed to put the heat shrink on. 

Springy-thingies are great for protecting the cable from bending, but may also be hard to attach. Also less of an issue in a full size headphone. 

 

You may find that the best solution is to just use them until they fail. Have them replaced under warranty (Skullcandy and KOSS both have lifetime warranty) and sell the replacements immediately. Then buy something with a replaceable cable, or just a better cable. If you take good care of the headphones they will likely last long enough to save up more than enough money for a SIGNIFICANTLY nicer set of cans. 

post #4 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikongod View Post

Springy-thingies are great for protecting the cable from bending, but may also be hard to attach. Also less of an issue in a full size headphone. 

 

I've used the springs from cheap click-pens to make strain relief before. If you don't care about looks, you can even wind one onto an existing cable and fix it in place with some glue.

post #5 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Armaegis View Post
 

 

I've used the springs from cheap click-pens to make strain relief before. If you don't care about looks, you can even wind one onto an existing cable and fix it in place with some glue.

 

I like this idea, and will probably try it on my porta-pros the next time I have a few pen-springs laying about. 

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