yanking the cable worsen sound quality?
post-15710823
Thread Starter
Post #1 of 13

addicted2music

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 7, 2019
Messages
119
Reaction score
69
Location
Mumbai, India.
Joined
Apr 7, 2019
Location
Mumbai, India.
Posts
119
Likes
69
I have accidentally yanked my iem cable 10 times at least. Does it affect or worsen the sound quality?
 
     Share This Post       
post-15710846
Post #2 of 13

baskingshark

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 6, 2019
Messages
2,720
Reaction score
6,124
Location
Jabberwock Island
Joined
Jul 6, 2019
Location
Jabberwock Island
Posts
2,720
Likes
6,124
I have accidentally yanked my iem cable 10 times at least. Does it affect or worsen the sound quality?
It may cause wear and tear over time with small yanks and may cause fraying of the cable, and sound may be affected if certain solder points are damaged (for example, u might lose sound if you angle your cable in a certain position).

Definitely a big yank may damage the cable permanently (it happened to me once when a person snagged my cable when I was walking past him; the cable couldn't be used on the damaged side as strands of the cable braid was ripped out during that bad yank). This may be bad especially for IEMs that have non detachcable cable, as cables are generally the first point of failure for such non detachable IEMs. So try to be careful especially of door knobs or when walking past people with a wired IEM!
 
     Share This Post       
post-15710855
Post #3 of 13

addicted2music

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 7, 2019
Messages
119
Reaction score
69
Location
Mumbai, India.
Joined
Apr 7, 2019
Location
Mumbai, India.
Posts
119
Likes
69
It may cause wear and tear over time with small yanks and may cause fraying of the cable, and sound may be affected if certain solder points are damaged (for example, u might lose sound if you angle your cable in a certain position).

Definitely a big yank may damage the cable permanently (it happened to me once when a person snagged my cable when I was walking past him; the cable couldn't be used on the damaged side as strands of the cable braid was ripped out during that bad yank). This may be bad especially for IEMs that have non detachcable cable, as cables are generally the first point of failure for such non detachable IEMs. So try to be careful especially of door knobs or when walking past people with a wired IEM!
Other than losing sound, can it affect the frequency response? like make them sound brighter or darker?
 
     Share This Post       
post-15711593
Post #4 of 13

Davesrose

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 20, 2006
Messages
4,693
Reaction score
122
Joined
Oct 20, 2006
Posts
4,693
Likes
122
Other than losing sound, can it affect the frequency response? like make them sound brighter or darker?
Is the plug L shaped? If so that may cause more wear if not enough sleeving over inter-connection (if this is the Etymotics, they look to have pretty good amount of plastic around the connection). I have had cables go bad on me, and it's always the solder with connector (which presents as noise or intermittent sound as I wiggle the cable). I would think that since IEMs have more consistent diameter with cable and earphone connector there could be less stress if you yank by cable.
 
     Share This Post       
post-15711803
Post #5 of 13

baskingshark

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 6, 2019
Messages
2,720
Reaction score
6,124
Location
Jabberwock Island
Joined
Jul 6, 2019
Location
Jabberwock Island
Posts
2,720
Likes
6,124
     Share This Post       
post-15711831
Post #6 of 13

bigshot

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
Messages
21,200
Reaction score
3,379
Location
Hollywood USA
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
Location
Hollywood USA
Posts
21,200
Likes
3,379
Website
www.facebook.com
As long as the cable isn't shorting out, it's working.
 
     Share This Post       
post-15714295
Post #7 of 13

castleofargh

Sound Science Forum Moderator
Joined
Jul 2, 2011
Messages
8,952
Reaction score
4,292
Joined
Jul 2, 2011
Posts
8,952
Likes
4,292
Other than losing sound, can it affect the frequency response? like make them sound brighter or darker?
It's possible. not super likely but possible. If you break a bunch of the tiny wires around the same area(or crush them real good!), the impedance will rise(smaller conductor diameter in that area). How much is needed for an IEM to change frequency response(in one of both ears), that's really going to be case specific and very IEM dependent.

If your wire reached such a situation, I wouldn't be too optimistic about its life expectancy. And it might be worth checking that the amp/DAP's plug still holds the jack firmly in place. Not all plugs and not all soldering jobs are equal when facing the "door knob while in rush" kind of abuse scenario.
 
     Share This Post       
post-15715576
Post #8 of 13

addicted2music

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 7, 2019
Messages
119
Reaction score
69
Location
Mumbai, India.
Joined
Apr 7, 2019
Location
Mumbai, India.
Posts
119
Likes
69
It's possible. not super likely but possible. If you break a bunch of the tiny wires around the same area(or crush them real good!), the impedance will rise(smaller conductor diameter in that area). How much is needed for an IEM to change frequency response(in one of both ears), that's really going to be case specific and very IEM dependent.

If your wire reached such a situation, I wouldn't be too optimistic about its life expectancy. And it might be worth checking that the amp/DAP's plug still holds the jack firmly in place. Not all plugs and not all soldering jobs are equal when facing the "door knob while in rush" kind of abuse scenario.
Interesting. is it a subtle or a very noticable change?
 
     Share This Post       
post-15715592
Post #9 of 13

bigshot

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
Messages
21,200
Reaction score
3,379
Location
Hollywood USA
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
Location
Hollywood USA
Posts
21,200
Likes
3,379
Website
www.facebook.com
It would be a quick deterioration to not working at all. It’s unlikely that a subtle problem would last more than a day or two of normal use before becoming a big one. If it works, don’t worry about it. Don’t waste money on replacing it until it goes bad.
 
     Share This Post       
  • Like
Reactions: addicted2music
post-15716115
Post #10 of 13

castleofargh

Sound Science Forum Moderator
Joined
Jul 2, 2011
Messages
8,952
Reaction score
4,292
Joined
Jul 2, 2011
Posts
8,952
Likes
4,292
Interesting. is it a subtle or a very noticable change?
There is no way to tell in general. Let's make up an example: after some cable brutality you've broken half the threads in the "+" right channel wire. So the impedance in that path is now doubled in the wire. To know how much impact this has on the frequency response, we need to consider the voltage at the IEM. So you need to know some electrical values. And that's where despite being a very simple circuit, the unknowns start to pile up. What is the source? What is the IEM? What impedance do they have? Is the total impedance of the cable just that of the wire's gauge? Probably not. Chances are that the plugs, soldering, contact surface with the female plug, play a bigger part than the wire itself. But we don't know unless we measure. Maybe losing half the threads leads to doubling of the impedance in the cable, maybe it only accounts for a 5% change for the all cable and then once we also count the amp and IEM, that 5% turns into 0.5% or even less(which is why we typically don't spend too much time worrying about cables changing the sound. not that they can't, but if they even barely align with some standard, the impact should be tiny under most circumstances).

Or if everything had crazy low impedance and somehow the IEM's wire made almost all of the cable's total impedance, then in some scenarios you might end up with more than a dB of change and audibility becomes very real.
So we do need a bunch of data. And even then, without some idea of how much damage was done to the cable(electrically), all that would still be useless in term of making a prediction. On the other hand if I knew all the electrical measures I could easily make a prediction, but then it would take less time to just check the output and measure it^_^.

If there is some moderate damage and with most IEMs and most cables, I'd quote this about audible frequency response impact:
No I don't think that is likely.
And if the wire is literally hanging by a thread, then who knows how very audible it could be? But obviously hanging by a thread probably wouldn't last very long. :sweat:


I guess there could also be some massive damage done to the insulation, but that seems less likely to me as it's typically the most elastic part in the cable.
 
post-15716650
Post #11 of 13

addicted2music

100+ Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 7, 2019
Messages
119
Reaction score
69
Location
Mumbai, India.
Joined
Apr 7, 2019
Location
Mumbai, India.
Posts
119
Likes
69
There is no way to tell in general. Let's make up an example: after some cable brutality you've broken half the threads in the "+" right channel wire. So the impedance in that path is now doubled in the wire. To know how much impact this has on the frequency response, we need to consider the voltage at the IEM. So you need to know some electrical values. And that's where despite being a very simple circuit, the unknowns start to pile up. What is the source? What is the IEM? What impedance do they have? Is the total impedance of the cable just that of the wire's gauge? Probably not. Chances are that the plugs, soldering, contact surface with the female plug, play a bigger part than the wire itself. But we don't know unless we measure. Maybe losing half the threads leads to doubling of the impedance in the cable, maybe it only accounts for a 5% change for the all cable and then once we also count the amp and IEM, that 5% turns into 0.5% or even less(which is why we typically don't spend too much time worrying about cables changing the sound. not that they can't, but if they even barely align with some standard, the impact should be tiny under most circumstances).

Or if everything had crazy low impedance and somehow the IEM's wire made almost all of the cable's total impedance, then in some scenarios you might end up with more than a dB of change and audibility becomes very real.
So we do need a bunch of data. And even then, without some idea of how much damage was done to the cable(electrically), all that would still be useless in term of making a prediction. On the other hand if I knew all the electrical measures I could easily make a prediction, but then it would take less time to just check the output and measure it^_^.

If there is some moderate damage and with most IEMs and most cables, I'd quote this about audible frequency response impact:

And if the wire is literally hanging by a thread, then who knows how very audible it could be? But obviously hanging by a thread probably wouldn't last very long. :sweat:


I guess there could also be some massive damage done to the insulation, but that seems less likely to me as it's typically the most elastic part in the cable.
The iem in question is the etymotic er2xr. I have yanked the cable some times. The cable seems intact from outside. There are some sonic differences I can hear, but I am also burning them in. So maybe it is just that.
 
Last edited:
     Share This Post       
post-15716818
Post #12 of 13

Davesrose

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 20, 2006
Messages
4,693
Reaction score
122
Joined
Oct 20, 2006
Posts
4,693
Likes
122
The iem in question is the etymotic er2xr. I have yanked the cable some times. The cable seems intact from outside. There are some sonic differences I can hear, but I am also burning them in. So maybe it is just that.
If you're trying to go from memory from another listening session, then the problem is that memory is not strictly accurate. Your audio perceptions can also change throughout a day, given your diet, activity, or previous exposure to noises.
 
     Share This Post       
post-15717359
Post #13 of 13

bigshot

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
Messages
21,200
Reaction score
3,379
Location
Hollywood USA
Joined
Nov 16, 2004
Location
Hollywood USA
Posts
21,200
Likes
3,379
Website
www.facebook.com
This is the science of psychology at work here... not electrical engineering. When I was in second grade, on the first day of class, my teacher told the whole class to take out their crayons and break them all in half. She said she didn't want crying when the first crayon broke by accident, and she didn't want us to be afraid to use our crayons. There's a strong streak in some people of worry about damaging things. They will drop something and convince themselves that they may have broken it somehow, even if there's no evidence that it's broken.

I have a friend who has OCD. He sometimes asks me my advice on things. I've learned that what he is really asking for is reassurance, not advice. If I inject any kind of equivocation or "what if" into my answer, he will spin out of control with worry about it. He never spins like that on things that really are judgement calls, only on things that are pretty much obvious. I never answer saying that it is 99.9% OK, because he'll start worrying about the .1%. I just give him the quick and useful answer. When they ask you if something might be wrong, the only way to satisfy them is to say if it works, it isn't broken. It's perfectly fine, because if it was broken, you would know it for sure. It's the kind thing to do, because giving them unlikely options just makes life worse for them.
 
     Share This Post       

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top