It seems that with any type of headphone, be it the ever popular 300 dollar Beats by Dre, or the 10 dollar ear bud style radio shack pick me up, the jack plug is commonly the place where most problems are found. I personally have found it quite silly that companies do not put more effort into making this particularly are more sturdy.
The situation of all is when you suddenly find your 200 dollar pair of headphones broken and that is exactly what happened to my pair of Bang and Olufsen A8’s. I present here a cheap and easy fix for broken headphone jack plugs or for those looking to mod their currently working headphone jacks. Some of the tools you will need for this fix include a wire stripper, a lighter, a replacement head jack (pictured underneath), a pair of scissors and a screwdriver. Solder tools are optional if you provide the stability that soldiering provides compared to screws.
So you may be asking yourself, why would I perform such a repair/mod. The main benefit besides having to throw away an otherwise perfectly functional and potentially expensive piece of hardware is that gold offers minimal resistance and having gold as the jack plug theoretically can improve audio quality. For all you wannabe audiophiles out there without the cash to get yourself a pair of Grado’s this is a… no never mind. I have no idea what I’m talking about. The only reason you would do this mod is because it makes your headphone jack look boss…
Warning. This maneuver most definitely wards your manufacture warranty.
Now take your scissors and cut the wire just before the faulty jack. After this has finished, depending on wire type you should see 2 separate insulated cables with a coated wire and an un coated ground wire inside each. The coating may either be an epoxy or insulating shrink wrap. Now we must strip the insulating tube to expose the ground and stereo cable. Strip so that half an inch of wire is exposed. After you have identified which wire or wires inside the cable are ground, spiral the ground cables together to form one cable like shown on the right. Wires are normally color coded with ground wires being gold. If you are not sure which wire is ground and which wire is left or right stereo sound, check online forums for color codes and what which connection they correspond to.
Now we must expose the copper wire underneath the insulation in each stereo cable. If the insulation is epoxy, get a lighter or match and burn off the epoxy making sure to quickly blow out the fire as the copper wire underneath, if heated to much, will become brittle. If the insulation is shrink wrap, use the wire strippers to expose the copper underneath the insulation. I have also heard of people using sandpaper to sand off the epoxy coating and if you are keen on keeping your inner pyromaniac at bay, this is also an option.
The next step is to pull the remaining parts of the jack inside the wire so once you make the connections you can complete the assembly of your jack.
After this has completed you want to connect the 3 wires (left, right and ground) to the replacement jack and screw to secure or solder to ensure. Here is a helpful diagram for what should go where.
The ground cable corresponds to the bronze in our diagram. The right and left cable you should wire according to your own cables respective color code and again online forums should help if the colors of your wires are not those in the diagram.
After you have secured the connections, pull the included insulation piece over below area.
Now you can go ahead and test your headphones. If they work connect the rest of the jack plug together.
Wallah! There you have it. A quick 10 dollar fix to save 200 dollars headphone. If you have the tools and are up for a challenge, go ahead try this mod. Just think of all the knowledge gaining, ear popping potential!!
By James Xu
Feel free to ask questions in the comments.