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Cable for headphone extension lead

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Cable for headphone extension lead

Postby jodaki » Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:25 am

Hi,
I want to make a headphone extension lead (about 20m), should I use stereo balanced cable or speaker cable?
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Re: Cable for headphone extension lead

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:47 am

Use three core mains cable (1.0mm2/5A is adequate). Mic/signal cable would also work but is unnecessary and considerably more expensive.
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Re: Cable for headphone extension lead

Postby jodaki » Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:51 am

Thanks Sam. I tried twin and earth mains cable before for a diy long speaker lead but found it pretty horrible to work with. Its got a sort of sticky talc on it and was about as pliable as wood.

Im a bit confused though because t&E would not be suitable for a mic lead yet you say mic cable would be alright for a HP extension.

What do the people who make these leads use? Speaker cable or Mic cable?
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Re: Cable for headphone extension lead

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:55 am

Stereo/balanced cable -- ie, cable with two cores and an overall screen.

H
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Re: Cable for headphone extension lead

Postby jodaki » Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:55 am

Merci..
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Re: Cable for headphone extension lead

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:06 pm

I suppose you can buy three core speaker cable but it's not something I've come across. The point is you need three conductors to make a headphone extension and most speaker cable only has two.

Mic cable is screened and has it's two conductors twisted together to reject common mode interference (i.e. external electromagnetic interference). The screen can act as another conductor (as it does for carrying phantom power) so it can be used as headphone cable. Headphones signals are higher level than microphone signals so much less susceptible to external interference (also much lower impedances which, I suspect, also helps but I've never really thought about that aspect).

Mains cable comes in many flavours, lightweight/flexible stuff is available and works well for headphones. This looks like the stuff I'd use https://cpc.farnell.com/pro-power/2183y0-50mmwht5m/cable-2183y-0-50mm-white-5m/dp/CB17328?pf=113063029%2C110159823&krypto=P%2F%2BHPUuUc6FM%2FjpMjVggtE75nxJMonea5lYDLHZCLYPEY%2FFGolmLeLOSuqg7MCvGA94qSK9mPZHfv%2BqhYyJw%2Betv0Glk3fZYaaWB0EZESvUWNWMtJ04qKSOZE1rQPZDdU%2F4SNSFUg2%2BDGgLyv0%2F%2Bg9X6YFpLMIZy9%2BOgCH5yF1qqdGIodc%2FKpCSGiPLgSoQXOGkxqSM%2FoOPTdjgIJEZyW9cZUs2RGjI9HKnVcU%2BArb5DuxTo6OyD0xqCxITbDPntNfW55zZMYiNUdQqePaenVwzn7jPqAW6gqdJyEEEii7aoO6lw6hT5II9%2FjKFti19cchw%2B9fC4xx%2BKFcKpucL7nNzl0Kfr63nWEBZAD3qTwejBgP43OtuFAGnlup1maFZIwy%2Bdeuz1ybGieJL%2Bp9z0epg4L%2B3HXPwMNifzeaNrip1J%2BYE%2BIl8hw93B7XFM3bRPt0Q9CAaaZlajKo2mNfqfxoUIUz6UVt85tTQJqE2EjQFbzhVsKmsCIdgmwXKM4EXThkJPXktPDGyFxLP9Kon4pZWYrRF1%2Bcheuq0xbAEHwa7SPLBJEIFUUKH9kBB%2BsEo%2F59krnvEURXbpMbOH8UNr4w9%2FuJ8T2x6YjOBVnsl9pyop65jV9CBk47BDEmEoW1VvL2ntDKtC1BlyHiXxLE2P5bpwQNEGcKsLrjh%2Ba7t6OQK63Jsluq3FhSAwEzFQ5TUVaXdUbUWk7X35EepwvenRroD7pww0gXE66QWg3eBoQw0dguCc6LwOrS65luzx0t7BA0D4AMWGJsMBM6NvKVPbHFV%2Fd3ZfoXvQuKceHieiYieiIIB9pJiJoDuORafWACIHJ2npIOf0dzlFXAYnDLlNxjYrUESTw74Ph%2FHgu5nJYkxjQzkTyVNjb696R7Q3rLWoXQsxk4FFiZKDvDHGjE%2BPHIalUaPHnNn4XHC1LcAOESFT1FOvHO1bgr6e6AHXXF0lREBu2ZCdCqz2Ej%2Bgc%2BZkY1CZmclu4poMkaHP27RQu5M%3D&ddkey=https%3Aen-CPC%2FCPC_United_Kingdom%2Fw%2Fc%2Fcable-leads-connectors%2Fcable%2Fcable-wire%2Fmains-installation-cable

edit :- am I wrong about this Hugh? I've always use unscreened 3 core for headphone extensions with no issues.
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Re: Cable for headphone extension lead

Postby Luke W » Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:23 pm

I'm planning to make up a couple of TRS/XLR adapter tails and then just use XLR to extend headphones when I need to. How much use it is to you depends on how much XLR you already have, but seeing as I've got a load at different lengths it's quite a handy solution.
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Re: Cable for headphone extension lead

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:24 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:Headphones signals are higher level than microphone signals so much less susceptible to external interference (also much lower impedances which, I suspect, also helps but I've never really thought about that aspect).

Actually, there's not much difference between a quiet headphone signal and a loud mic signal...

And the impedance thing is a red herring too -- not really relevant in this context.

edit :- am I wrong about this Hugh? I've always use unscreened 3 core for headphone extensions with no issues.

There's no real technical problem with it, as you say. Yes, you do lose the theoretical benefit of an overall screen that comes when using standard mic cable, and so would be potentially exposed to picking up some unwanted interference in extreme circumstances... Without an overall screen there's also the theoretical potential for the headphone extension cable to radiate interference into other nearby sensitive circuits/cables... again, in extreme circumstances.

Personally, I always use mic cable for headphone extensions because I have lots of that lying around, whereas all my three-core mains cable stocks are chunky 13A types which wouldn't be appropriate for practical reasons!
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Re: Cable for headphone extension lead

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:24 pm

Luke W wrote:I'm planning to make up a couple of TRS/XLR adapter tails and then just use XLR to extend headphones when I need to.

Yep -- that works well too! :D
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Re: Cable for headphone extension lead

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:29 pm

Thanks Hugh, that all makes sense. I was considering making an XLR to TRSf adapter cable (I already have several XLR-TRSm adapters) so I can use a mic cable as a headphone extension, like you, I have loads of them about the place.
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Re: Cable for headphone extension lead

Postby jodaki » Thu Feb 20, 2020 1:11 pm

Luke W wrote:I'm planning to make up a couple of TRS/XLR adapter tails and then just use XLR to extend headphones when I need to.

That's what Ive just done too...
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Re: Cable for headphone extension lead

Postby ef37a » Thu Feb 20, 2020 6:24 pm

Just a teeensy reservation?
Traditionally headphone amplifiers had a source impedance (really a physical resistance) of at least 30 Ohms and more commonly 100 Ohms.
That make the amplifiers pretty much immune to shorts and instability caused by long cables.
However there has been a 'fashion' in very recent times for H/P amps with very low, notionally zero output resistance and I just wonder if such amplifiers will prove as bombproof on long lines as the old jobs? Screened mic cable does of course have a higher capacitance per mtr than mains type cables.

As to cable types? CAT patch cable is cheap and more flexible than mains. You can parallel up the pairs for lower resistance but I doubt a 'loop R' of about 6 Ohms per 100mtrs( iirc) is going to hurt? Also multi pair alarm cable is cheap and can be got as 2 pair.

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Re: Cable for headphone extension lead

Postby Folderol » Thu Feb 20, 2020 6:45 pm

A telephone extension cable can do the trick too - just cut the plug and socket off.
If you're really unlucky it might have the copper foil wrapped round plastic thread, but it's not usually done for these. If it is, you either have to crimp, or use fine wire wrap for the terminations.
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