How to: Fixing my stuttering headphones!

Anyone who has seen me walking around NYC knows that I’m rarely on the streets without a set of cans over my ears (my shadow pretty much looks like a beefy EP4 Princess Leia following my ass around town).  Gotta say that regardless of how you may think they look or feel, there really is no acoustic comparison between cans and buds.  Around the ear headphones simply rock.

Especially in a city like New York with all the ambient noise, it’s hard not to appreciate any device that lets you drown out the nuttiness around you and allows you to get lost in your music!  In the past, I’ve gone through various brands/price points (Bose, Sennheiser, Sony, Skull Candy), but for their value+comfort, I’ve narrowed 2 of my favorites to the bose AE2, and the Sennheiser HD 428.  Although I love both sets, the one thing that has driven me nuts, has been the infernally cheap, thin-ass cables they both come with.

Many of you who’ve had cans will relate to that one infuriating momement when all of a sudden the music starts going choppy, then eventually sputters to an deadening silence.  First, you twist that cable like a mofo (which often fixes the prob for a few days), but then you hit that point where no amount of twistin’ or crimping will bring that puppy back to life.  Well, for those of you who know exactly what I’m talking about, the following video from Rich’s Methods is for you (please watch before you run out and plunk down any more of your hard earned $ having someone repair or replacing your current set):

I’ve personally gone through 4 sets clunking out on me (which I think is ridiculous considering their cost), and each one was brought back to life by replacing the headphone jack.  I’ve also included a couple of additional notes of things I noticed during the fix:

My test dummies:

Tools required for the fix (all purchased at Radio Shack):

Don’t need a special tool to remove the clear plastic coating around the wires (just use your fingernails), but make sure you get enough of it off as any unexposed wire will not make an adequate connection to the jack:

Here’s a pic of the split wires:

If you look closely at the copper and red wires, I actually found that wrapping them a few times around the connectors makes the soldering process a bit easier as there is less movement of the wire:

After soldering, I also used some electrical tape to prevent the wires from touching each other (which I believe can also lead to your cans shorting out):

Finally, just twist the cover into place, and tadaa, you now have a set of functional cans with new gold plated jacks!  Hope this helps y’all out.

Much thanks to Rich for putting that video together!

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