Fatal flaw with Audeze EL-8 ???
Apr 25, 2015 at 7:40 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 134

Gr8Desire

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I have enjoyed auditioning the EL-8 for the past few days.  The general build quality is good.  IMHO the sound is as good or better than many other closed cans. I prefer the EL-8's over the Oppo PM-3 and the Beyer T5p.  I am keeping the EL-8s.
 
I have one serious concern:  The EL-8 connector is HORRIBLE!  What were you thinking Audeze?


 
It looks like an Apple Lightning cable but only works in one direction.  Flip it over, and the cable doesn't fit.  Audeze even includes a warning in the box, saying "don't try forcing the cable in the wrong way".  What?

Once inserted (properly), there is significant lateral movement in all directions. You can even induce small amounts of noise by moving the cable vigorously. As such, I really doubt the long term reliability of this funky connector.
If Audeze was looking for a competitive advantage with this connector, I believe they failed 
angry_face.gif
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I am seriously considering gluing this connector in place to reduce wear on the contacts.

   
 
Apr 25, 2015 at 8:22 AM Post #2 of 134

Gr8Desire

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Is this connector different than other Audeze products?  

Is it used by anyone else?
 
Apr 25, 2015 at 4:44 PM Post #5 of 134

silversurfer616

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This connector kept me from buying the headphone.It is still work/design in progress and certainly will be changed.
 
Apr 26, 2015 at 1:19 AM Post #6 of 134

Steve_72

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This connector kept me from buying the headphone.It is still work/design in progress and certainly will be changed.


Same here. Heck, I tried to audition them in store and the sound kept cutting out due to the connectors being loose. I admit, what I did hear sounded pretty good, but I'm not going to plop down the cash with such a glaring flaw.
 
Apr 26, 2015 at 7:23 AM Post #7 of 134

Music Alchemist

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I've used things like twist ties and toilet paper to devise connection mechanisms for tricky headphone cables in the past, so I'm sure people will come up with DIY solutions for the EL-8. The most obvious material is tape. I wouldn't want to glue it on. Most people who own the headphone don't seem to have a problem with the connector, though, so perhaps some of them are duds? I dunno.
 
Apr 26, 2015 at 7:44 AM Post #8 of 134

Gr8Desire

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This design flaw is certainly a blemish on an otherwise good set of cans.

Gluing the connectors is not as extreme as you might think. I added strain relief reinforcements to my Grado cables years ago. They are still hanging in there.

DIY'ers might be  familiar with a type of glue called Shoe Goo.  Although not advertised this way, Shoe Goo is a self-levelling adhesive with the consistency of silicone caulking that is 100% removable. Perfect for this application.  I'll post pictures if the EL-8 connectors show any sign of degradation in the upcoming months.

MY QUESTION:  How good is Audeze customer support?  If these connectors are as bad as they look, will Audeze stand behind their products, especially after the warranty expires?

 
 
Apr 26, 2015 at 8:57 AM Post #12 of 134

Gr8Desire

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  You could contact Audeze now and see if there is something wrong with your connectors that they would be willing to fix.


That's a reasonable suggestion. 

The problem with EL-8 connectors is long-term. They appear to me - and others in this thread - as a potential weak link in an otherwise great product. Naturally, Audeze won't admit anything now. They only released it in 2015.

Audeze proudly advertises how they outsourced external design to BMWDesignWorks. Are the connectors part of the arrangement?  Were these connectors chosen only for their looks? Beyond testing simulations, no one know owns how well they will hold up.  

Most people who try the EL-8 in person will notice the connectors. If Audeze says they back the connectors with a better than average guarantee, that would go a long way toward instilling confidence in this product. Think about: Why should a static connector ever fail?  It is not difficult to demonstrate confidence and extend a warranty on something like this.
     
I will reach out to Audeze and see what they have to say. Will they consider supporting these connectors beyond standard the warranty period? That's a fairly normal response when a large number of buyers express doubts about a product.  
 
 
Apr 26, 2015 at 9:05 PM Post #13 of 134

Gr8Desire

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I decided to fix the EL-8 connector problem. Surgery was non-invasive and took about 5 minutes. The patient is doing well with no further symptoms.  
 
EL-8 PROBLEM DESCRIPTION

EL-8 cable connectors are flimsy and may be susceptible to long term failure due to excessive movement.   

MY REPAIR PROPOSAL

Use a non-permanent glue to improve contact and reduce wear due to movement.
 
THE GLUE

Shoe Goo!
 

 
Marketed in North America as a shoe repair adhesive. I have used it for years when I need a good flexible bond with plastic that is 100% removable. Shoe Goo dries clear and can be removed with mineral spirits - or just rubbing with your finger.
 
THE FIX
 
I added a small bead to the inside edge of each connector and let it dry for 8 hours.
  
 

 
The connections are now solid with no play in any direction.  I never plan to remove the EL-8 cables in normal use, so I am now 100% happy.

BUT WHAT IF I WANT TO REMOVE THE CABLES IN THE FUTURE?

No problem. I can pull on the connector with moderate force and the connector is easily removed. 
 

 
The left image shows the adhesive remaining on the connector after removal. The image on the right shows the connector 5 seconds later after I peeled off the glue with my thumb and index finger (no solvents needed).  I can re-glue - or not - as necessary.  
 
CONCLUSION
 
I still want to hear what Audeze has to say about a long term warranty on these connectors. For me, the issue is now closed.  The EL-8 connectors now work fine and I have a great new set of summer phones for listening at the cottage this summer.
 
Apr 27, 2015 at 7:51 PM Post #14 of 134
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Regarding EL-8 cable connectors, the EL-8 is one of the most innovative headphones on the market, from its magnetic structure to the ultra-thin film diaphragm and driver design. When we designed the connector it wasn’t meant as a differentiating factor but instead we were thinking long-term aboutthe EL-8 as a platform upon which to introduce new, easily accessible features.
 
The new connector has 8 contacts per side (see more below) and is part of the overall plan. The gold-plated connectors were designed with very low contact resistance and capable of carrying up to 2 Amps per connector for a total of 16 Amps. The current EL-8 connector has 4 contacts wired in parallel for each positive and negative signal with very low contact resistance (measured in micro ohms) while typical 3-pin XLR connectors are measured at 3 milliohms per contact. It also features connector redundancy and magnetic latching to prevent cable damage. Plus the cables are very robust with a minimum of 20,000 mating cycles.
 
A new Apple MFI-compatible cable will be introduced for the EL-8s in the next few weeks. A couple of weeks after that we’ll make balanced cables available for Sony, Astell & Kern and Pono players. The new cables are are straightforward swap with the current ones.
 
In the longer term, hopefully in 2016, we planning to introduce cables that can process signals like noise cancellation, DSP, etc. For some of these applications we have to take the signal from inside the headphone and return it after processing, thus eight separate connectors per side.
 
We've received reports that the connectors can become loose with increased lateral movement. We’ve shipped many, many EL-8s by now and find connector issues are only a small percentage of the total. If you have any issues with the connectors, please let us know immediately (support@audeze.com) so we can examine them. For most users they hold fine, others say they're not tight enough; perhaps we have to find a better "hold tolerance." We're definitely looking into it and pay attention to the comments made here as we continue to improve our products based on feedback.
 
In the end, the EL-8s are a product that, in a year or two from now, you can add new features.
 
Audeze Stay updated on Audeze at their sponsor profile on Head-Fi.
 
https://www.facebook.com/AudezeLLC https://twitter.com/audeze https://www.audeze.com/
Apr 27, 2015 at 8:05 PM Post #15 of 134

Gr8Desire

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I appreciate your feedback but remain concerned about the reliability of your new connectors.
 
I don't want to be overly critical of Audeze or stifle its innovation. You folks certainly make terrific products. I have tried many competing products. The EL-8’s are the best closed headphones I have ever listened to.
 
But given the amount of play and lateral movement in both headphone connectors from day one, I fear that I will be an EL-8 early adopter who ends up with a malfunctioning connector after the warranty has expired. Advanced features like noise cancellation and DSP will do little for me if the connector starts slipping or moving more than it does now.   
 
Whether 2 pins, 4 pins or 8 pins, I have to ask: Why is there no positive locking mechanism to eliminate movement and just keep the cables plugged in? 
 
I hope you are right and the EL-8 connector proves to be reliable. But until they have been in the hands of customers for a few years, there is no way to tell. I trust Audeze is prepared to standby the EL-8 and offer an extended warranty or other assurances about the connector.  If the new connector is as good as you say, how can you lose?
 

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