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Can sound quality worsen if you accidentally pull the headphone cables but without detaching them?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

It happens to me lots of time, the cable is long and sometimes it gets caught on something, like a chair, and when I try to put the headphones on the cable gets pulled a bit, is this damaging to the sound? I think I have OCD so I always obsess over this, please respond.

 

I have the headphones from my pic, CAL.

post #2 of 3

Yes, this causes damage to the cable and will eventually lead to failure. Unfortunately, there are no early warning signs, it's not like the sound slowly gets worse; if the mistreatment of the cable continues then one day the sound will suddenly either cut out on one side, one side will sound louder/quiter then the other, or the sound will cut off completely. NEVER ever pull on cables to unplug headphones, and take care to not trip over or yank them with great force accidentally. Those are the most common causes of failure.

post #3 of 3
Your real risk of yanking cables around is breaking the cable, so it won't "sound worse," but you might eventually start getting intermittent sound, or the sound might go out completely. Electrical failures like this are pretty much "all or nothing" affairs.

For the most part, you only have to worry about two things on the main run of the cable. You'll either pull it apart (but in your case I doubt the tension is great enough for that), or you might be creating a rubbing condition for your cable, which could eventually tear away the shielding. How quickly the shielding degrades depends on what it's rubbing on. Sharp metal means (relatively) fast damage, but a smoother edge would take longer to get through. This should be pretty easy to spot and prevent, though.

The real thing you should be worried about is the terminals. That is, the places where the copper connects to something else are easier to break. The pulling you describe could be (essentially) pulling the wire out of your headphones. It will be fine for a while, but it would be weaking that point, and continued stress could break the connection. The same thing could happen at the other end (at the jack), but it will be a little more resilient since you are expected to pull (at least a little) on that end when you disconnect the headphones.

Are these headphones always in the same place? If so, you might consider re-routing the cable with some sort of straps so you limit how much of the cable is free to move. Even without clipping points, you might be able to route your cable so it doesn't get caught in anything.
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