[Aaron] Shows Us What Life Would Be Like If [Bob Vila] Started Hacking Headphones


[Aaron Horeth] had a pair of headphones that had seen better days, and before he tossed them out, he realized that he could use them to build a set of custom cans. He had always wanted a pair of headphones with a detachable cord to prevent damage when tripped over, and thought that his old set would be the perfect donor.

He swung by his local hardware store to peruse their collection of construction earmuffs, eventually finding a set that looked decent and didn’t cost an arm and a leg. Using construction earmuffs as the framework for his headphones gave him the durability he was looking for with the added bonus of being designed to deaden extraneous noise. Once he got them home he pulled the drivers from his old set of headphones installing them into the earmuffs, but not before he wired them up to support a breakaway input cable.

There’s no doubt that the modifications are simple, but we imagine they come in pretty handy when tinkering around the shop.

19 thoughts on “[Aaron] Shows Us What Life Would Be Like If [Bob Vila] Started Hacking Headphones

  1. Bob Vila would build his out of 2x4s, finishing nails, and construction adhesive. This is more like ‘Tim the Tool Man Taylor’ style. I bet there’s even room for a secret compartment to store his drugs.

    1. You’re thinking of Mike Holmes or Norm Abrham. Bob Vila wouldn’t actually build anything, but he would sell you the Craftsman™ Safe and Sound™ headphones from Sears™.

      Actually, combining hearing protectors with in-ear monitors blocks an incredible amount of outside noise. (I barely have to turn the volume up any more than normal on my regular earbuds while mowing.) Highly recommended for yard work!

      1. +1, this is how I mow the lawn as well. In-ear monitors plus over the ear hearing protectors is a great way to block out sound.

        Also, I definitely expected to see something wooden in this hack as well.

  2. I tried this some months ago after seeing the Lifehacker story about it.( http://i.imgur.com/oQ5vQ.jpg ) I actually used the exact same cans, but let me warn you. The plastic that makes the band does not play nicely with heat, especially direct sun light… While I was wearing these, blasting tunes and mowing the lawn the band eventually exploded into five pieces because of fatigue from the stretching and heat. ( http://i.imgur.com/yzJ48.jpg ) It is a fun simple project but do not use the same cans. If anyone has a suggestion for making a new band please do share….

  3. @Frank Derp, it would help us to know how large your head is. I’d love to see a comparison between a solution like this and the most expensive Bose NC Headphones against a baby crying on a plane. Typically NC headphones don’t do much against high frequency babies, and instead hush the low drone of the engine. When faced with long flight and dead batteries in my NC set in the past, I’ve put my earbuds in and placed the dead NC set over those for at least a muffled noise protection. Has any one attempted surround sound this way with multiple drivers?

    1. Not very. I am a small in most head wear, or cinched in almost all of the way. Just wearing them by themselves they completely cancel out small noises like car engines and take the edge off of yelling/ large bangs. Against human voices especially crying you can kind of tell that there is something making noise but it doesn’t bug you any. With music even at a very low volume, it completely cancels out talking/crying/screaming. And for most machinery you cannot hear it either. though it get confusing with larger machines especially ridden ones because it is a strange sensation to hear something and them feel a completely different rhythm

  4. I think most everyone here is missing the point entirirely, which is; He built them!

    I just made a pair about a month ago at my work, and now everyone is wanting a pair to plug into their work radio, working in a plant where it constantly sounds like a jet engine is sitting there ready to take off, ear protection is a must.
    But with allot of commercial products on the market what i found was they were not compatible with our radios.
    My two cents. but this is a hacking community and i think it is awesome such a simple hack/mod made it on here!

  5. I was looking for a pair of these to wear at the gun range. I considered buying the Sync ones, but they are too “fat”.

    I always wondered, do they still “keep out” thesame noise after they are modded? I don’t want hearing damage from the shooting..


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