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Buying headphones, need longer cord; do you think the 3.5mm or usb are best for extension?

Coyle

Member
May 15, 2020
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I've read that 3.5mm extension cords can damage the headphones as they move around at the connections. I have usb extension cords for gaming controllers and they connect more firmly. Though finding headphones with usb is a lot more limiting than 3.5mm. Anyone have experience using 3.5mm extension cords?
 

MrSquished

Lifer
Jan 14, 2013
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I've read that 3.5mm extension cords can damage the headphones as they move around at the connections. I have usb extension cords for gaming controllers and they connect more firmly. Though finding headphones with usb is a lot more limiting than 3.5mm. Anyone have experience using 3.5mm extension cords?
I use a 3ft 3.5mm extension for a pair of large over the ear JVC cans I have. Works perfectly. I would definitely recommend a 3.5mm extension vs a usb. Seems much more secure. I mean it clicks in nicely, whereas usb does not have that extra 'lock-in' click. This is what I use:

 

sdifox

No Lifer
Sep 30, 2005
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LoL I have minijack extension cable from the 80s still working fine. Most of them die from physical abuse, not design flaw.
Most decent headphones come with like 1.2m of 1/4" end cable.
 
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Coyle

Member
May 15, 2020
148
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I use a 3ft 3.5mm extension for a pair of large over the ear JVC cans I have. Works perfectly. I would definitely recommend a 3.5mm extension vs a usb. Seems much more secure. I mean it clicks in nicely, whereas usb does not have that extra 'lock-in' click. This is what I use:

I had considered those but in reviews found some to loose power in one side; this seems to be a common issue with the 3.5mm connection. Wonder why it affects some and not others?
 

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
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3.5mm is an inherently weak connection type due to the small springs in the female sockets and also the quality of the connector including quality control variances, and how much stress the user places on it.

Better cans used to use 1/4" instead for this reason, but today everything needs to be shrunk down to near the point of failure in normal use, USB-C included.

Any audiophile would recable their perferred cans with longer wire and a 1/4" plug, then if your source is a PC with only 3.5mm out, either go digital to a DAC having 1/4", or wire up whatever else does the trick.

Damaging the headphones isn't much of an issue, rather the issue is almost entirely wearing the spring contacts in the female socket whether on/in the extension cord or the PC, then you get loss of a channel.
 
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MrSquished

Lifer
Jan 14, 2013
12,676
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3.5mm is an inherently weak connection type due to the small springs in the female sockets and also the quality of the connector including quality control variances, and how much stress the user places on it.

Better cans used to use 1/4" instead for this reason, but today everything needs to be shrunk down to near the point of failure in normal use, USB-C included.

Any audiophile would recable their perferred cans with longer wire and a 1/4" plug, then if your source is a PC with only 3.5mm out, either go digital to a DAC having 1/4", or wire up whatever else does the trick.

Damaging the headphones isn't much of an issue, rather the issue is almost entirely wearing the spring contacts in the female socket whether on/in the extension cord or the PC, then you get loss of a channel.
Could just get 3.5mm to 1/4 adapters, then use a 1/4 inch extension cable might be better.

My Burson desktop amp only has a 1/4 out of course, so with those JVC's I use the adapter to plug then in there, but their standard cable is 3.5mm so the extension is for them only. It has worked fine, it does lock in quite reassuringly.

My Beyer headphones are 1/4 already as is to be expected at that level.
 

Coyle

Member
May 15, 2020
148
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3.5mm is an inherently weak connection type due to the small springs in the female sockets and also the quality of the connector including quality control variances, and how much stress the user places on it.

Better cans used to use 1/4" instead for this reason, but today everything needs to be shrunk down to near the point of failure in normal use, USB-C included.

Any audiophile would recable their perferred cans with longer wire and a 1/4" plug, then if your source is a PC with only 3.5mm out, either go digital to a DAC having 1/4", or wire up whatever else does the trick.

Damaging the headphones isn't much of an issue, rather the issue is almost entirely wearing the spring contacts in the female socket whether on/in the extension cord or the PC, then you get loss of a channel.
Do you think that taping the male/female connection would prevent that; or is it still going to be a weak spot? I'd prefer to use a 3.5mm extension as trying to find decent entry level usb headsets is very limiting compared to 3.5mm; but he is young and can expect at some point for the cord to get yanked a bit. With the USB A extensions I use for gaming controllers this doesn't seem to be as much of an issue, plus I've found making a loose loop connected with rubber band helps keep them connected.
 

mindless1

Diamond Member
Aug 11, 2001
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Taping with thick enough tape or enough wraps to keep the contacts from flexing would help but in some cases they just get weak over time, or with the generics, super-thin plating so # of insertions can wear down to metal that oxidizes, and yet it can still be cost effective to buy cheaper ones and replace as needed, over some luxury brand that costs 5X what it ought to.
 

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