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Just a doubt, about audio wires fixing, please, could I ask you?

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Hello!
Pardon me, but could I ask you for a confirmation, or perhaps should I say a clarification?

I have a problem of damaged headphones wires (the sound’s randomly getting cut following random movements around an area that’s damaged). I can fix them (cut the damaged part, remove isolation, braid together the wires, tie together with a soldering iron or electrical duct tape, make sure it’s isolated again, OK), but there’s something I am not sure of…

With headphone audio wires, not digital but good old jack plug,
– is the sound “ALL OR NOTHING”, perfectly good sound, or no sound at all, and nothing in between
– or is there a possibility of poor sound quality being delivered, but still, sound is delivered
– And in that second case, in case of improper wire fixing, should the sound be very noticeably damaged, leaving clearly no room for doubt that it’s not the original sound that comes out
?

I searched far and wide and, blame my poor google-fu, I couldn’t find a proper answer.
It’s rather important to me, that would be the second time my headphone’s wire is fixed, but if it means there’s a risk I’ll get bad sound for the years to come, at this point I say fuck it and I get new headphones. However, if I can be confident I’ll get the “original” sound I should have gotten, then it’s great news, and I don’t care if there’s an abominable home-made fix in the middle of my wires ;)

Thanks if someone can take pity and tell a newb like me :)

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john
john

err….theoretically it’s not perfectly good sound, or no sound at all, there is something in between. improper wire connection will increase the earphones impedance, thus affecting the sound quality. ( google How does impedance affect sound quality?
In general, amplifiers are designed to have an extremely low output impedance (usually fractions of Ohms) so that the loudspeaker impedance is significantly higher. However, the impedance of the connecting cable can also have an audible effect on the sound quality.)

ohya…. thx for the website and countless ero manga… really tq tq vr much :-)

Trollus maximus
Trollus maximus

I have some experience repairing my headphones and i have encountered 3 scenarios so far.
1. Repair is not sucessful and there is no sound. Causes: the wire is damaged in other parts, the connector is damaged or the speaker itself is damaged.
2. Repair is sucessful.
3. Repair is partialy sucessful, the volume is low and there some kind of “low pass filter”. The songs sound like karaoke (voices are almost muted). Causes: the solder is cold. Cold solder occurs when cool air is blown in the solder when liquid, that makes little bubbles inside the solder and when the solder solidifies has very high impedance. Cold solder is opaque, while good solder is shiny. However, this scenario is very unlikely, so good luck with your repair.

chuck
chuck

Cold solder joint – you’re partially right. Cold solder joint could cause increased resistance/impedance. A cold solder joint is caused by melted solder that just sticks to substrate/wire……doesn’t flow onto wire substrate, caused by not heating substrate sufficiently before applying solder.

Fake
Fake

you are describing the ultimate fate of almost every pair of every earpiece or can headphone i’ve owned. you can cut short the wire and re-attach it to the headphone plug but you won’t have any luck fixing mid-wire unless you like being very still when using them or suffering cutouts. i have soldered cut short wires to the plug and bound them with electrical tape before but that’s never lasted long and crackled – if the wire is intact can’t see it affecting sound quality unless they have a loose connection to plug however.

these days i buy wireless earbuds for out and about and headsets with detachable cables for home gaming/movies because i hate to think of the number of times i’ve tossed a nice pair of sennheisers after walking too close to a door handle or wrapping them too tight and losing sound in one ear.

mattacme
mattacme

I am not an audio or electrical professional, but I am a user of old(er) audio equipment and offer the following:
If the cause of the sound interruption is, in fact, a broken part of the cable and there is enough cable to make a splice repair then the cables will transmit a satisfactory amount. If the cables are otherwise damaged over their length (excessive heat, insulation damaged/copper corroded, etc) then replacing the cable at the connections inside the headphones will result in a satisfactory repair. If you replace the cable I would advise also replacing the jack.
Good luck!

frankoh
frankoh

Well, i’m not a professional but i’ve repaired my headphones countless times. Unless you have a expensive headphones and a sensitive ear, you shouldn’t notice great difference. A cause of bad sound could be a poor soldering or wrong conections between the cables (left, right, ground). My recomendation: compare your repaired headphones with similar another ones, if you don’ t notice differences (beyond the differences due the model and design) the only go on. The most important is how do YOU feel the sound. Even between different models of the same maker the sound is different

Pavlov
Pavlov

I was thinking the same thing, that if you can’t tell the difference, then there’s no difference that matters! I’ve tried reading graphic response charts and they really mean nothing to me. All you can do is put the headphones on and see how they sound. When I upgraded my computer speakers, I realized that I’d been listening to garbage equipment, but it sounded fine to me at the time. I don’t regret the past, but I sure wouldn’t go back to those old speakers!

My personal problem is that the balance between my ears is off, my left ear can hear slightly better than my right ear. Sometimes. Other times, the balance is equal. I don’t know how many headphones I chucked before I realized the problem was me, not the headphones. I wasted a lot of time trying to find an electronic solution, before I realized I could just muffle the left speaker with a tissue and restore the balance. I suppose an audiophile would be horrified that I’m slightly muting one side but I’m enjoying my music just fine, thank you.

I recently went wireless, got Bluetooth headphones. God only knows the price I’m paying in extra electronics, they’re quite solid and heavy. But the funny thing is that I’ve still got my wired habits: I catch myself trying to protect the wire that isn’t there! If I get up or lean to one side, I’ll automatically turn my head to keep the wire from getting tangled on things, even though there’s no wire. Decades of being garroted by headphone wires has trained me in how to move about!

Anomanom
Anomanom

I’ve tried a few times to repair headphone cables, and each time has ended in failure. The wires are so fine and delicate that it’s very hard to splice them properly. You might just be better off buying new headphones, perhaps something with a removable cable so in the future you only need to buy a new cable for it rather than a whole new set of headphones. The Astro A40tr are one such example.

vinnie
vinnie

if you are already considering a new pair then just fix the set you have if it works to your satisfaction then great if not then you get a new pair. better to try first than to just say fuck it and get a new pair

Hands Solo
Hands Solo

Id buy a couple of headphone extension cords and turn the headphones into ones with a detachable wire. (extension cord and a headphone jack if you dont plan on dismantling the headphones for the fix.) Future wire changes will be easy and since there will be a plug right next to the earphones themselves you wont be able to jank on the wire all that hard by accident.

As for soldering. I had a bit of trouble because the metal strands themselves were colored with a coating that prevented the soldier from adhering properly. Just burn that layer off, rub off the ashes and you should be good to tin the wires. Dont be stingy with the flux.

anonymous
anonymous

As someone who has been fixing their headphones and mice for various reasons, I can offer some insight into this.

If fixed properly, you will get the exact sound as you did before, there is no doubt about that. Others have talked a lot about the reasons and different distortions you can get, so I’ll talk about how to prevent them from happening.

First of all, I recommend buying some self-amalgamating tape (also known as vulcanizing rubber tape and some other names), make sure to get one that is not vinyl (it’s harder to use in small repair, I’ll leave links to what they look like at the end). This is because it’s very easy to take small pieces of it, stretch them and insulate the individual wires with it without the whole thing turning into a gigantic blob.

I also recommend buying some audio cable from an electrical store that you can use to make the wire of your headphones longer if it gets too short from having to cut it while repairing, or if you just want it to be longer in general :)

If you have the dexterity to use them and to make the repair operation not turn into a gigantic blob, you can also get heat-shrink tubing to further make the repair job last longer. If you get some, get very small tubing for the wires and a larger one for the cable. Before you start soldering, cut a long enough piece of the large shrink tubing and put the cable through it, you’ll be covering the result with it afterwards to protect it. Make sure the tubing you get has a large shrinkage ratio, whether you get one with glue or not is up to you, personally I don’t care for it, but I have used it and while they don’t tend to shrink as much, the result is very hard and tough. You can survive without using the small tubes, but I do recommend getting the bigger one at least to make the result stronger.

Do not use electrical tape, because it does not last for very long and you’ll end up with a sticky mess, as the tape eventually comes off (can happen in as little as a few weeks).

When you start soldering the small wires, remember to put the small shrink tube on the wire before you twist them together, if you use them and be careful not to hit the tube with your soldering iron while soldering, the tube WILL shrink and stick to the wrong spot :p

Secondly, after you’ve soldered a single wire, do not cut the resulting ‘extra’ spike too short or handle it too roughly, the weakest point of the soldering is where the flexible wire meets the solder, it’s easy to create a seemingly good solder, only to find out that it broke while you were insulating it by twisting it in various directions too much. Rather cut it to be about 0.5cm and bend it to be parallel with the wire, then either slide the shrink tubing you. If possible, solder each of the wires at a slightly different spot so that you wont end up with all 3 solder-spots at the same spot because that is how blobs are made.

Illustration of how to separate the positions where you solder them to avoid blobs of death:
|-X==———–|
|——-X==——|
|————X==-|

X is where the wires are soldered together,
== is the bent end of the leftover spike of the solder spot.

When you solder the wires, first solder one pair of wires, apply a layer of the amalgamating tape (cut pieces off the tape with scissors after removing the protective layer, and stretch it thin), to avoid blobs) to cover that fully, then solder the next one, apply a layer and so on. If you use the shrink tubing, use the amalgamating tape on the ends in such a way that the wire is fully covered. Soldering may damage the insulation of the wire from a longer distance than meets the eye, especially if the insulation of the wire is made with a varnish instead of plastic or rubber.

Finally, TRY IF IT WORKS BEFORE APPLYING MORE TAPE OR COVERING THE REPAIR SPOT WITH THE LARGE HEAT-SHRINK TUBE!

This is what the vinyl version looks like, don’t buy it:
https://www.amazon.com/Design-Engineering-010476-Multi-Use-Self-Vulcanizing/dp/B000MY55F4/

This is what the rubber one looks like, that you’ll want to get, note that it could also have a white plastic-like layer going inside it, but otherwise look exactly like this:
https://www.amazon.com/Fixman-Self-amalgamating-Repair-Tape-25mm/dp/B00FHXGG4O/

The rubber tape is also good for repairing ANYTHING. It also has very high friction so it can be used to open troublesome glass jars and other bottles, not to mention putting a small piece on top of a screw can help you open screws that have been damaged!