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Why do my 1/4 to 1/8 inch adapters keep dying?

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Why do my 1/4 to 1/8 inch adapters keep dying?

Postby wcburg1 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:33 pm

I've been having this problem for years now. I'm always in need of a 1/4 inch to 1/8 inch jack for various purposes. However, whenever I manage to buy a new one of these from the internet, it seems like every single one I buy simply stops working in a very short period of time, like two weeks tops. I have to have gone through at least 15-20 of these damn things in the last few years. Is this just a common occurrence or am I doing something wrong? Like is it just a thing that people have to go through these adapters 24/7? Maybe I'm just getting cheap ones and so they just crap out? I leave them out all the time so maybe that has something to do with it, other than that I mean I'm not doing anything horrendously damaging to them... Please help! :headbang:
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Re: Why do my 1/4 to 1/8 inch adapters keep dying?

Postby James Perrett » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:49 pm

Are you going for the cheapest that you can find? If they're the cheap plastic cased ones then they don't last as long in my experience as the metal ones that come with Sennheiser/Beyerdynamic headphones. In fact, I don't think I've ever had to replace any of the metal ones that I've had although some are starting to go very slightly noisy.

One other thing to watch is that you don't continually pull the headphone lead to one side which might have the effect of bending the contacts if the socket is slightly sloppy.
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Re: Why do my 1/4 to 1/8 inch adapters keep dying?

Postby innerchord » Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:30 am

Since you say 'various purposes' can I simply recommend you get high-quality adapter cables built for the function you require.

I have some I made twenty years ago that still work perfectly. Cables also lessen the strain placed on sockets.

Good luck finding anything reliable off the shelf these days.
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Re: Why do my 1/4 to 1/8 inch adapters keep dying?

Postby blinddrew » Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:36 am

I'm not quite as cynical as innerchord :) but i'd also recommend making up your own cables if they're going to be used a lot.
If not then at least use metal-cased adaptors.
P.s. when you say 1/4 to 1/8" I'm assuming you mean a 3.5mm pin and a 1/4 socket? If you mean the other way round then I don't think I've ever had one fail.
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Re: Why do my 1/4 to 1/8 inch adapters keep dying?

Postby ef37a » Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:29 am

Line (cable mounted) jack sockets have always been inventions of the devil, with the probably exception of the Neutrik locking jobby.

I avoid adaptor cables wherever possibly and make up 'breakout' boxes to interface gear.

On a related subject. If you have some very expensive gear (or stuff that might be a PITA to get fixed) consider 'sacrificial' connectors? E.g. short XLR-XLR stubs permanently plugged into a high end interface so as to protect the on board connectors. Or, one of the aforementioned boxes! I did this for our A&H ZED10. Not only keeps dust out of the XLRs but I built in 'kill' switches and 48V switches and LED indicators. (have a couple of Reslo ribbons).

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Re: Why do my 1/4 to 1/8 inch adapters keep dying?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:47 am

Adaptors are the work of the devil and it's best to avoid them wherever possible -- bespoke cables are a much, much better idea!

A particular problem with any adaptor than plugs into a 3.5mm socket is that the weight and leverage of the adaptor body +cable puts a lot of strain not only on the (not very strong) 3.5mm plug pin, but also stresses the socket's internal contact springs -- both actions leading to considerable unreliability and early failure.

Wherever possible, I always try to use 90-degree 3.5mm plugs because their inherently shorter bodies minimises the leverage acting on the plug/socket, and the weight of the cable will automatically rotate the plug into the position of minimum stress too.

H
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Re: Why do my 1/4 to 1/8 inch adapters keep dying?

Postby John Willett » Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:30 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Wherever possible, I always try to use 90-degree 3.5mm plugs because their inherently shorter bodies minimises the leverage acting on the plug/socket, and the weight of the cable will automatically rotate the plug into the position of minimum stress too.

I agree and this is what I do wherever possible. :thumbup:

Ideally using the Neutrik rt.angled plugs. :thumbup:
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Re: Why do my 1/4 to 1/8 inch adapters keep dying?

Postby CS70 » Thu Feb 15, 2018 11:33 am

All true what the fellows say above, but a 2 weeks average to failure in over 15-20 samples is excessively short even for the worst-fabricated plugs in the world.

You must be doing something that stresses the plugs excessively: perhaps the way you lock them in or out, their position in the gear or something like that?
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Re: Why do my 1/4 to 1/8 inch adapters keep dying?

Postby mjfe2 » Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:54 pm

I take the point that bespoke cables take less strain but would you still avoid adapters by reputable companies? The Neutrik models seem robust, and even Taiwanese-made Hosa adapters aren't too bad...
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Re: Why do my 1/4 to 1/8 inch adapters keep dying?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:27 pm

I use adaptors when appropriate and convenient, but never directly into 3.5mm sockets -- the weight and leverage is almost guaranteed to cause problems.

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Re: Why do my 1/4 to 1/8 inch adapters keep dying?

Postby John Willett » Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:17 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:I use adaptors when appropriate and convenient, but never directly into 3.5mm sockets -- the weight and leverage is almost guaranteed to cause problems.

H

Agreed - if I am wanting to plug headphones with a ¼" jack into a 3.5mm socket I always use a short cable.

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Re: Why do my 1/4 to 1/8 inch adapters keep dying?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:48 pm

Better still, one with a right-angle plug for the 3.5mm end like this Hosa one:

Image

£4 and in stock at Amazon UK

https://www.amazon.co.uk/HosaTech-MHE-100-5-Right-Headphone-Adapter/dp/B000068O6B
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Re: Why do my 1/4 to 1/8 inch adapters keep dying?

Postby John Willett » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:45 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Better still, one with a right-angle plug for the 3.5mm end like this Hosa one:

Image

£4 and in stock at Amazon UK

https://www.amazon.co.uk/HosaTech-MHE-100-5-Right-Headphone-Adapter/dp/B000068O6B

:thumbup: I agree.
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Re: Why do my 1/4 to 1/8 inch adapters keep dying?

Postby Kwackman » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:50 pm

John Willett wrote: :thumbup: I agree.

But yours had "Digital" on it, so it MUST be better? ;)
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Re: Why do my 1/4 to 1/8 inch adapters keep dying?

Postby innerchord » Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:48 am

I find that slightly longer adapter cables are a better choice. You then have spare length to use to tape them down to avoid putting strain on the sockets when they (inevitably) get yanked. This also gives some play when the laptop/source gets moved - as it will!

I secure output cables as a matter of course when taking feeds from laptops. Unfortunately, most SFX and music comes in (to the theatre I work in) on Mac laptops, and they almost never bring cables, let alone a decent audio interface. They just show me their little 1/8" sockets and smile sweetly...

If a cable were to be pulled out during a show or recording, I'd rather lose the feed alone, than the feed AND the laptop supplying it.

Also, I have both straight and right-angle cables, so I can choose the one that fits the gear layout best.

I do have a selection of cheap adapters that I bought when I was a young teen, and have NEVER used them. I learned why not very early on in my audio career ;)
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Re: Why do my 1/4 to 1/8 inch adapters keep dying?

Postby John Willett » Sat Feb 24, 2018 11:55 am

Kwackman wrote:
John Willett wrote: :thumbup: I agree.

But yours had "Digital" on it, so it MUST be better? ;)

:bouncy:
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Re: Why do my 1/4 to 1/8 inch adapters keep dying?

Postby resistorman » Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:48 am

it's just sad that professional audio has to deal with connectors that were never intended to carry anything that would be a showstopper if it failed. Same with toslink... here we are using crappy plastic connectors to interface pro gear when they were just meant to hook up CD, DAT or minidisc players to your home stereo.
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