Thursday, January 12, 2006

Wired for Sound

It should be noted that my old pair of headphones decided they were under a bit of pressure and ended up with a distressed cable (you know the one... it works but only after you jiggle the cable a little bit). Initially I solved the problem by looping the cable around one earpiece which supplied just the right pressure for everything to work.

Unfortunately that didn't last and I was left with sound in only one ear, which was annoying to say the least. I decided to be a bit of a home electronics handyman and promptly set about unscrewing the headphones to discover their inner workings... after all, I reasoned, I can't possibly make them any worse.

Luckily, I didn't make them any worse but I didn't end up fixing the problem either. What I did discover is that apparently soldering connections is entirely out of vogue... why solder two wires together when you can kinda stick them together and then tape them? Yes... tape... I shit you not. Anyway, after a lot of fiddling, some swearing and learning something special about tweezers, wires and tiny contact areas the damn headphones still only produced sound in one ear.

Enter Sean, who offered to go and buy a pair of headphones for me. I did the right thing (I think) by politely declining the first time, the second time he offered I decided it would be a lot better than the mp3 player earbuds I was using (the cable on them was entirely too short). Boy did I score nicely! I have no idea what the headphones cost, although Sean assures me they weren't terribly expensive but they sound much better than what I'd been using and have a certain... solidness... to them that suggests they probably used solder rather than tape to hold the inner workings together (I could be wrong on this but I'm not willing to find out).

Thanks Sean!

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