Tip & How-To about Audio Players & Recorders

Replacing a dodgy plug/cable on headphones.

I have noticed a few people posting on the fact that their headphones are cutting out, or they have lost sound, or damaged the jack plug that goes in headphone sockets of amps, or I-Pods, or Mp3 players.
So if you have this problem here's what to do. First you must have a soldering iron, no greater than 25 watts, with a smaller tip as possible. A desoldering tool might come in useful too.

The first thing to do is determine where the damaged area is. This can be done with ease by plugging the headphones into a working source and flexing the cable all over (in stages) till you find where the break is.

I'm splitting the break areas into 3 sections which will help you determine the best course of action. 1: A break near the plug or the plug itself. 2: In the middle. 3: Near the headphones themselves.

Break Area 1: The most common area as the plug gets most abuse. The plugs are sealed and are not serviceable, so they have to be cut off and a new one fitted. I recommend (if it is just the plug that has gone) to cut it off about 10cm before the end of the plug body. This will take out any weak section of the cable due to bending. If the break is further away from the plug, allow some space to clear the damaged area.
A replacement plug. You should be able to get a replacement plug from your local electrical parts shop. They come in two main sizes 3.5mm and 6.35mm (1/4). Most headphones are fitted with a 3.5mm now. You can get adapters for both sizes. It is easy to solder to the larger size, but if you are fitting a new plug to go in an I-Pod etc, I would advise you use the 3.5mm. Jack plugs come in different types. Some have bends in them, you can get them in gold, also with metal bodies. The latter would be best if you have a habit of standing on the plug! Make certain you get a STEREO plug too!
A 3.5mm stereo jack plug.

Fitting a new plug.
After you cut the old plug off, don't bare the wires back, but put the body of the new plug on the remaining cable. Then strip the wires back.
They should look somewhat like this:

The colors may change with different makers.
The - wires are earth and the + wires are the channels. Never confuse the two.
Inside the plug

Connection is simple attach the right + wire to the right channel flange. Pass it through the hole, then do the same to the left. You don't need a large area of wire exposed when you strip it back, as the thick black cable has to be gripped by the Ground flange at the end.
The earth or - wires should all be group together and passed into the hole on the ground flange.
Make certain that the + wires L&R don't touch each other or the - wire ground. You can now solder them on. I find that applying a bit of spit to the wires helps the solder go on better! Again don't let the solder join the connections to each other.
At this point it's a good idea to test the plug by fitting it in a working device without putting the body over the plug.
If the channels are there, but it sounds spaced out or tinny, the - wires are not making a connection to the ground. If the right appears on the wrong side then reverse them (it won't have caused any damage).
If the connections are good slide the body over and the job is done.

2: Break in the middle.
Again cut off and fitt a new plug as above.
If the cable needs to be longer you can get one of these extension cables:
3: Break near the headphones.
This is the most tricky of the lot. It generally means a new cable. If you can't find one in your local parts shop, I suggest you get one of the above extension cables and cut off the female socket.
Replacing the cable will be more tricky if the wire is split in two (outside). This will mean you have to go in both "cans" to fit the wire.
There's no easy way to get inside the cans, but you will need to remove the ear pad(s) on most models. You might have to use some force to do it too! If you encounter foam next peel it off, again you might have to rip it off! Don't worry you should be able to glue it back with some Bostick white glue afterwards!
Hopefully you should now see some access screws.
It might look a bit like this inside:

Make a note of the + connection, before you unsolder the wire. Unsolder it carefully you don't want to disconect the wire that goes inside the speaker (you might need a desoldering tool for this). Don't short the + & - terminals of the speaker together when you solder the new wires on.
PS If you need to replace the above type of speaker you will find it is glued in at that black ring.

Some people have reported that the headphone case has broken or snapped, but they still work. So if you can't get hold of a parts to replace the broken bits and are more bothered by the sound quality then the look of the things, you can use section 3 to replace the headshell completely. All you need to do is find a cheap pair of headphones with the same size speakers as your current ones and take out the speakers and fit yours in the new cases. As I say they might not look as good, but they will sound the same!

Two final notes- if you have lost a channel and can't find out where the break is, the thing to do first in change the plug. If that doesn't work change the whole cable, but try a 1.5 volt battery accross the speaker terminals for a split second (it should pop if working).

Much of the above will NOT apply to the wireless or other forms of special headphones.

For those needing to replace earpads I recommend this site:
Jnt World also have plugs and cables for headphones.

If I have sent you to this page and the above link takes you to a sign in screen or it doesn't work please let me know. And I will correct the problem.

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1 Answer

my dsi has no sound at all

It could be either internal speaker damage, internal circuit damabe or problems with the headphone jack. Try plugging in headphones if you have sound then you have no internal circuit damage. Try cleaning the headphone port with a cut off Q-tip. Also sit it in a warm dry place for a few days. If the sound still does not work the speakers may need to be replaced.

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Denon 1908 no sound

Try inserting a headphone plug into the headphone jack and remove it. Sometimes these units have a problem in the headphone jack where the unit thinks there are headphones plugged in even when there isn't. This cuts all the audio output to the speaker jacks. If you never plan on using the headphone jack, you can also go inside of unit and unplug the cable that goes to the headphone jack board. Just make sure you unplug the unit before you do this, the plug is close to the main power switch.

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i have no sound and then sometimes after a half hour or so i will start to get some sound but it goes in and out. if i use the headphone jack to a speaker then i have normal sound.

The jack means the audio is ok--most likely a damaged socket where the headphone plugs in---there are leafs in it that when the jack is inserted cut the main speakers off---

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hello! I have a sound problem. When I us my headphones and plug them out my speakers won't sound. After a few restarts the speakers will come back to life, but if I plug in the headphones and plud them out...same thing occurs with the speakers.Any suggestions?

This is a setting issue ..and it is from the audio driver..When you plug the headphones it is normal to cut out the general sound..and work only on the headphones..But in the moment you unplug them a window should appear to ask you to select the 2 speaker out or laptop mode..
If this do not appear it means some changes were made in the settings of the sound manager and this is the cause ..basically you force it to headphone mode...but after a few restarts it sees the there is no jack plugged and ask for the normal mode again or takes it automatically ..Try to reinstall the audio driver ..this should fix any issues related with it ..If the thing goes on ..it may be the case of a damaged plug on the headphones out-let ..basically does not detects the jack being unplugged ..and you have to see whats wrong ..or change the plug if you think its necessary ..Or just plug and unplug a few times when you remove it ..maybe the contact its poor ..and does not sense the action being done ..
if you do not have the driver see this one
be sure you select teh operation system you have in use before downloading ..

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Sound out of one speaker only

I think it's probably a damaged audio jack. If you're still in warranty, get it off to Apple. If not, you've got 3 choices;

1. Attempt to fix it yourself. I managed to get stereo again by opening the ipod up and inserting a staple in the bottom of the jack, to fit between the headphone and the ipod's audio input. This took some fiddling around, using tweezers, and will probably not last long if I take it out somewhere. I might attempt removing the audio jack and seeing if I can bend the metal connects for the right audio channel so they touch the headphone cable again. An alternative to this method would be to put some cardboard in the audio jack socket and adjusting it so that it brings the hardphones back into contact. Someone did this and posted the results on their blog, but I forgot the URL...

2. Buy a new audio jack and replace it yourself. There's an ipod repair wiki out there, and several of the replacement jack suppliers have detailed instructions. It's about 40 UK pounds for the replacement though....

3. Get someone to repair it. Expensive, about 60 quid, but perhaps worth it if you're scared of further damaging your precious beast.

Note though that there have also been issues with software updates and audio output, search the apple discussion boards for more details...

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