Stereo to Mono

Foxinabox10

Active Member
This question is for some work I'm doing in the TV studio at my high school.

For intercoms on portable productions (such as taping shows, concerts, graduation, etc.) we don't need the people on the cameras to talk back, so we just run regular headphones from a mic plugged into a headphone amplifier.

Our old headphones were mono, so the whole system was wired for mono. We just bought new headphones and they're stereo. We don't need stereo sound and right now you only get sound from one ear because the system is mono.

My question is: I have plenty of soldering experience, but is it harder than normal to solder a new mono connector on headphones that have a molded connector on them?
 
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fosstech

Active Member
Are these headsets or headphones? Sounds to me like headphones...

Shouldn't be a problem. If you're using the same stereo headphone amp, what I would do is buy or build a Y-cable for the input, splitting the single mono source into two plugs with the same signal. This will be easier to do, since you only have to do one instead of every headphone you have. Plus, it's easily undoable if you want to go back to stereo again. You also won't have the potential problem of overloading the amplifier by doubling the load.
 

Foxinabox10

Active Member

Chaos is Born

Active Member
i think your best bet would be to go out and buy a mono to stereo adapter. they do sell them, and it would save your headphones for a later system and/or you don't need to convert any more headphones
 

Foxinabox10

Active Member
I thought about adapters, but I figured that they would likely get lost with all the set-ups and break-downs. This system is used anywhere from once a month to three times in one week.
 

Foxinabox10

Active Member
koncept, why did you decide to do this instead of just changing the connectors?
 

koncept

Active Member
it was done because we were in a pinch, then it just got pushed aside due to other things. to keep from loosing them we super glued them on... if we had to we could take a knife and cut the glue and it would be back to normal...

edit: probably not one of the brightest things we've done but...oh well...
 

Chaos is Born

Active Member
The way that i see this, you can either spend some money and time to change the connector now, and some money and time to change it back later. Or you spend a little bit of money (i believe the adapter your looking for runs about $5) and virtually no time changing between the two.
 

Foxinabox10

Active Member
Yes, but if the adapters get lost, that's money down the drain.

I have decided that I'm going to replace the connectors. Are there any tricks with these machine fabricated molded cables/connectors currently on the headphones?
 

koncept

Active Member
if you take a sharp knife and are carful it is possible to cut the mold off and get some more wire exposed...to the best of my knowledge there are no tricks i know of.
 

SHARYNF

Well-Known Member
There are two schools of thought on these headphones. One is if you ever want to use them as stereo headphones, or of you want to retain the value of them it is usually not a good idea to chop off the connector.

The other is that in a number of cases when you cut the cable, and attempt to solder on new connectors you are likely to fine extremely small and weak wire in the cable, and that it can be a pain trying to get this weak cable to have a sufficient strain relief to keep the connection safe from any sort of pulling. It really is the molding connected to the cable that holds the connection in place.

So I would tend to come down on the side of using or making a simple adapter.

Sharyn
 

jkowtko

Well-Known Member
Can't you just use a piece of black gaffer tape to wrap around the connector and fasten it to the headphone connector semi-permanently? Gaffer is the universal band-aid for theater, and it's a lot less messy than super-glue, isn't it?
 

cutlunch

Active Member
Foxinabox My question to you would be why?

Is having a signal in only one ear an actual or imagined problem.
If it is an actual problem could you please explain why?

A lot of places only use mono for this type of thing.

Although one ear will still be covered it will be easier for the operator to follow the dialog with only a mono signal.

If you still need to do this I am in the crowd who favour adapters.

I look forward to learning your reasons so I can add it to my personal knowledge base.

Just another thought if you want both speakers in the headset to work and you wire them in parallel then you have halved their impedance. This means extra current will be drawn from the headphone amplifier. Depending on how many headsets you modify it may or may not be a problem to the amplifier.
 

Foxinabox10

Active Member
The reason this is needed is that it can be hard to hear on the headphones as it is when we're taping during band and orchestra concerts from close-up. This happens a lot and it's just easier to be able to hear it in both ears.

SHARYNF's comment about the strength of the connector on the cord really got me thinking, because these headphones go through a lot of abuse. I think I'll order the adapters and gaff tape them on. People don't normally take the adapters on purpose, they just get lost when we set-up and take down the system so often.
 

cutlunch

Active Member
Foxinbox thanks for that it makes sense.

Would it be to hard to change the sockets the headphones plug into?
I agree the simplest solution is the adapters but if you are never going to use mono headphones again it might be just as easy to change the sockets. That way the headphones can still be used for other things in the studio and you don't have to wory about adapters getting lost.
 

Foxinabox10

Active Member
We have about 12 different cables of varying lengths that we use depending on the set-up. In addition, our portable cart has connections wired to the side that then plug into the headphone amp inside. There would be close to 30 connections to change to adapt the whole system to stereo, so it's not really practical.
 

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