My Alessandro/Grado MS-1 headphones cable replacement

I bought those headphones about 10 years ago, and used them almost everyday with great enjoyment. But recently the right earcup started malfunctioning: it was intermittently becoming silent when the cable was being twisted just a little bit. Evidently the cable was fraying internally and causing this problem.

Instead of buying a brand new pair of headphones (probably the exact same model!) I decided to fix the cable. I took the opportunity to transform the headphones from having a cable that splits and goes to each earcup, to one that goes only to the left earcup, then travels along the headband to the right earcup, as I think this is more practical.

This is not going to be a step-by-step how-to as those are already plentiful, but I will describe the hardware I used. I hope this may prove useful to you if you’re also looking to replace a headphones cable, and especially if you live in Europe like I do, as I bought every part on a single shop, Thomann.

Main cable: Sommer Cable The Goblin

I bought 3 meters of this cable for €3.15. I don’t like very thin cables, so at 4.6 mm diameter, I think it is the perfect size. It is very flexible too.

Headband cable: Sommer Cable Cicada SO-D14

To connect the left and right earcup, I bought 1 meter of this cable for €0.95. It was the thinnest cable I could find on Thomann, at 2.6 mm diameter. It works well for connecting the two earcups, and it could also serve as the main cable if you prefer thinner cables, as it has 3 conductors.

Since in my case I only needed 2 conductors, I used the shield/drain for ground and both the inner conductors for the right channel.

3.5 mm jack: Rean NYS 231 BG

This is great quality jack, and even though it states that it only accepts a 4 mm cable, the 4.6 mm Goblin fits without any problem. It’s cheap too, at €1.55.

Headband: Beyerdynamic headband

I needed a way to secure the cable that goes between the earcups to the headband. There are probably many solutions, but I chose the easy way, simply adding another headband that clips right over the existing vinyl headband of the Alessandro, encasing the cable. At €7.90, it’s the most expensive part though.

Conclusion

The total sum for parts and shipping came to about €19. Since I didn’t have a soldering iron, I also bought a cheap soldering kit on Amazon, that comes with a soldering iron and a multimeter for about €23. Of course it’s not great quality but it worked well enough. All in all, this project cost me about €40 euros, which is much less than a new pair of headphones. I’m happy with the result, not only both earcups now work perfectly again, but the single-sided cable is really much more practical than the original double-sided cable! Now, I just hope these headphones last me another 10 years :)

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