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Grado Cable Adapter

Grado Cable Adapter.jpg

Do you want freedom from the Grado cables?

  • Do you think the original cable is too long, short, thick or heavy?

  • Has it happened to you that the original cable broke somewhere?

  • Perhaps you’d like to see if the sound can be improved?

  • Or you’d like to make your Grado wireless?

Please note that the adaptor currently available is for Grado models with partial gimbal, not the continuous band around the earcup. As far as I can tell, those would be the headphones based on the small, L-cushions. If you have any of the large, G-cushion based models and you think you might be interested in such an adaptor please let me know (email on top right of the page).

Prices:

If you are based in the USA:

  • For only $50, with some basic soldering skills you can do it yourself.

  • For $100 , we’ll do it all for you.

If you are outside the USA:

  • The DIY kit costs $75 or

  • We can do it for you for $125.

All prices include shipping to you. If you want us to do the installation, you’ll have to send them to us (contact me for details, email on the top right of the page).


Let me apologize to the people outside the USA: I am based in New Zealand and I am bothered tremendously when I come across something that favours those based in the US, I know how you feel. But as many of my clients are from the US, I first focused on this market and I found a partner who offered to provide the installation service.

I am looking for a similar collaborator based somewhere in Europe, to service that market. Email me if you are interested.

Questions you might have:

  • Q: What is the quality of the plastic like?

    A: I thought I should keep up with the times, and so it is 3D printed. I used the latest Multi Jet Fusion technology promoted by HP. The parts are solid, the finish is not shiny as most plastics are, which I like better. Being 3D printed, one can choose, for the appropriate price, from a multitude of materials, finishes and colors - let me know.

  • Q: If I am to cut the cable, I could just put some sort of a socket at the end of the cables, couldn’t I?

    A: Of course you can. It is up to you to decide if my adaptor is worth it to you.

  • Q: Do the products and/or the modification (if done by us, the seller) come with warranty?

    A: No. The modification is very basic, we do not intervene in the sensitive part of a headphone (inside the earcup or the driver). With the gimbal back in place, the adapter can not move. You can also use the set/grub screw for further tightening of the adaptor, but the screw will get into the earcup. If you want to preserve that, do not use the screw.

  • Q: This is an invasive modification. Isn’t it dangerous, could I ruin my headphones?

    A: Yes, it is invasive, but we believe it is a lot less invasive than trying to get to the driver. I know there have been successful but also unsuccessful attempts involving hair dryers to soften the glue the earcup is put together with, although Grado specifically mentioned somewhere that they improved the glue for the “e” versions of their headphones. Of course, it is all up to you.

  • Q: Less solder points, even better no solder, is the best for preserving the sound quality, right?

    A: Some believe in this theory, some don’t. In practice, make sure the theory applies to you. If it was so evident, none of the very expensive headphones would have connectors, but most do.

  • Q: You propose a cheap connector. Wouldn’t this decrease the sound quality?

    A: Again, some believe in this theory, some don’t. In practice, make sure the theory applies to you. I looked for connectors for a long time. Other than some rhodium plated ones (but not in this format), I couldn’t find anything special - and I don’t know if they indeed “sound” better. I do not know what connectors those expensive headphones have, but I doubt they created something exotic (=better) specifically for those headphones. If they did, they would have said so: they know that stories are important. Besides, you can actually use whatever connector you want, that is why I left more room than what the connector I recommend requires, which is 3.5mm = 1/8in, being I believe the most ubiquitous and still the most reliable.

  • Q: What cable(s) do you recommend?

    A: If we are talking about sound quality, some say the cables matter, others say they don’t - it is a never ending argument among audiophiles. As I said before, you need to check if you are sensitive enough to pick up the differences. Personally I did pick up some differences between a very cheap cable, for example the type which comes in a basic CD/DVD player box and a well made cable, with a decent wire: I would get a well made cable myself, but not something that costs hundreds of dollars. I am considering offering a good cable, but I am still in the research phase.

  • Q: I see the adapter lets the cable go down in angle and not straight into the shoulder. That’s good, right?

    A: OK, this wasn’t a question, but something I like and I didn’t know where else to say it.

  • Q: How do I make my Grado wireless?

    A: Glad you asked! With the speed the wireless technologies develop, I am not at all fond of built-in wireless capabilities. Your headphones are bound to become obsolete very quickly. Bluetooth is already at 5.1 (and we should all know how reliable the claims for backward compatibility are) and there are quite a few more different wireless standards in existence, let alone what they’re working on: LDAC, HWA, SBC, etc. I hope you don’t believe there will ever be a “winner”, it can’t be, they’ll always come up with new stuff. You will be able to get one of those small wireless adaptors any time and even attach them to the top of the headband - I also provide the clip in the photo below. They get smaller, better sounding, longer lasting (battery life), more complex (streaming services built-in), cheaper. Your headphones, the sound part, should last for years and years, so if you appreciate them being wireless, why don’t you make them?

Here are a few ideas (I am not affiliated with any of them, and have not played with any of them):

  • https://www.fiio.com/bluetooth_products

  • https://theauris.com/products/amplify-hi-fi-wireless-headphone-amplifier

  • A few more ideas here: https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-bluetooth-headphone-adapter/

  • https://www.amazon.com/stores/Shanling/Shanling/page/A2FB4636-5C86-45EC-A495-5D920DDE3815

  • Places like Kickstarter and Indiegogo should have new things popping up regularly

with clip & dedicated cable.jpg

Procedure:

I used white parts so that you can better see what to do. The adaptor supplied with be black plastic, but there are options for other materials and colors. Contact me if interested. The white gimbal in the photos is for demonstration purposes only, it will not be supplied.

Step 1: Remove the gimbals and shorten them under the pin, leaving 2-3mm around the pin. The plastic is soft, a basic cutter is good enough. File for a better finish.

gimbals.jpg

Step 2: Cut the original cable leaving about 5cm = 2in outside the earcup. The photo shows my 1st try, so don’t worry about how it all looks.

cable.jpg

Step 3: Solder the 2 wires to the socket (darker colors - blue, black, are the ground).

soldered.jpg

Step 4: Attach (screw) the connector to the adapter when the adapter is unattached to the earcup. Then pull the adapter over the driver side of the earcup aligning the original cable under the channel provided:

hide+cable.jpg

Step 5: Push the adapter in around the earcup, aligning the U shape notches in the adapter with the earcup holes for the gimbals:

all in.jpg

Step 6 (final): Screw the adaptor’s cover on with 2 x M2x5 Phillips machine countersunk screws. Re-install the gimbal. You can further secure the adaptor by using the grub/set screw M3x3 which goes through the middle of my small logo above the original cable channel. This screw will get into the earcup and so if you want to preserve that, please do not use it. Please note that no new gimbals will be supplied!

headphones.jpg