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2591 posts

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#190765 11-Jan-2016 19:30
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Not sure if this is exactly the right forum (if not, apologies).

I have broken about a dozen sets of headphones in the last 5 or 6 years. It's always the same failure: where the cable meets the headset jack. I've tried reinforcing this junction with shrink wrap and it does help, but it's not perfect. I think this is just due to the wear and tear of having a phone and headset jack in my pocket for long stretches, rather than a single catastrophic failure/yank/breakage. But I'd rather not be buying a couple of pairs a year if I can avoid it.

I've experimented with bluetooth headsets in the past. The problem I have is that I mostly listen to audiobooks and podcasts, and I have previously found bluetooth technology too flaky - the drop outs are too distracting.

Just wondering if others have any kind of decent solution - has bluetooth technology improved enough now that you don't get the drop outs? Or can you get a headset (or even an adaptor for other headsets) with an (easily) replaceable jack?

I prefer the in-canal / in-ear style headphones. My last few pairs have all been Sennheisers and have done really well and sounded good (I'm not an audiophile and its mostly spoken word rather than music anyway). And if anyone is inclined to make recommendations, I prefer the "J" style behind-the-neck asymmetrical cable rather than a "Y" cable. In line controls might be a bonus, but I tend to use my pebble for controls anyway. I also use headphones while jogging (hence this forum) so any solution needs to stay in during mild exercise.

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4649 posts

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  #1467917 11-Jan-2016 19:59
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That's a reasonably common failure point for headphones, particularly if worn during workouts. You might want to look at getting a reasonable quality pair with removable cables, that way it should be fairly straightforward to replace only the cable when failure occurs. Generally you'll be looking at headphones that cost a bit more if you want one with a removable cable, however the investment probably stacks up Vs replacing the entire headphone every 6 months or so.

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  #1467922 11-Jan-2016 20:01
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Or get a plug from eg. Jaycar, cut the last few cm off the cord and solder it up.  Rinse and repeat until cable becomes too short (and then replace the cable)

Another thing I have found which works well is a spring ie. from a BIC pen to make the bend more gentle after the plug strain reliever.


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  #1467950 11-Jan-2016 20:21
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Soldering that individually insulated super stranded flexible cable yourself never is fun.

Swappable cable is the win IMO, many headphones and in ears have cheap aftermarket cables on aliexpress or amazon available. Some with mic's and controls for i-devices and popular android phones.



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  #1468000 11-Jan-2016 21:07
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Thanks for the replies. Seems bluetooth isn't the way to go, rather a removable/replaceable/breakaway cable.

I haven't seen the in-ear buds style headphones with replaceable cables (though google seems to show that this does feature on some very high end models). But I've certainly got enough pairs of buds that I can experiment with. I'm (just barely) competent enough with a soldering iron to connect a 3.5 mm stereo jack to a cable (though my one try with a 4 pole TRRS jack ended in abysmal failure).

If you wanted to try and make a replaceable cable set of buds, would you:

(a) solder a 3.5 mm female jack just below the "Y" of a set of headphones, then use an ordinary (replaceable) 3.5 mm male-male cable to connect to the phone - pros: straightforward, can use any standard male-male cable without breaking out the soldering iron again. Possible cons: heavy connector tugging on the headset?

(b) use some other kind of connector (suggestions? something magnetic to breakaway?) just below the "Y", then attach the other connector to a 3.5 mm male cable (some kind of braided/reinforced cable). Pros: possibly lighter. Cons: two rounds of soldering.

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  #1468004 11-Jan-2016 21:29
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I recently learned about the Bragi Dash, which I will be ordering the second I can. I know it's likely outside of your budget, but wow. 

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  #1468222 12-Jan-2016 09:27
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Try heat shrink again, but squirt some silicone sealant around the breakpoint first, and use slightly larger diameter heatshrink to encompass it all.

1) Small dia heatshrink at the expected breakpoint - long enough to get a bit of flex where the cable exits the heatshrink.
2) Apply layer of silicone.
3) Twist on the next size heatshrink, but not as long as the first layer. Shrink end points first to seal. then the rest of the heatshrink
4) More sealant over this layer
5) Last layer of heatshrink that covers the actual plug as well, and not quite as long as the layers underneath.

What you are trying to achieve is a set of gradually reducing layers where there is no sharp exit point, and a bit of strengthening.

My thoughts are no longer my own and is probably representative of our media-controlled government

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Master Geek


  #1476553 22-Jan-2016 09:11
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I've had reasonable success using a heat shrinked shortened pen spring as close to the connector as possible.

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