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Re-cabling Advice Thread


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I have had my beloved ATH-L3000 for many years now.

It has developed a frayed cable around the split:

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I am seeking advice as to possible next steps. Right now, it is not causing any performance issue (has not broken connection). As a safety measure, I have wrapped the entire junction with some blue painters tape to hold it all in place - not ideal.

Questions:

  • Is a replacement original cable (NOS) available? - checked with AT - they had no real response - said send it in.. <_<
  • Try to repair the junction? - not much room to work and secure.
  • Is a compatible replacement available (equal quality)?
  • Possible third party cable replacement recommendation? Or play in the DIY cable gallery.

I have not opened the headphones at this point, but I have no issue conducting the re-cabling myself if needed. But I wanted to reach out for any advice first. 

Cheers,

Mikey

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Not sure Mikey. I'm not really up on any of the current cabling guys like Moon Audio (see some hits for these phones with Silver Dragon cables on them). It would be nice if AT said what they would or could do before you sent them in :)

From the pic, it looks like it is just heatshrink that is splitting, but as you say, getting access to a free end to replace it is problematic unless you can remove the cable at the headphone end.

Edited by Pars
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Thanks Chris,

Yeah, no big deal to breakdown the cans to get at the end wire end so that I could re-sleeve the cable. 

It wouldn't have much meat to hold onto. The section coming out of the split is a reinforced tube about 1/2" long. That seems to have broken for the other side. 

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I feel that there maybe a twist point there. You can see the little threads on the other side of the heatshrink as well to the left.

I guess that I could try to undo the cable, cut off all that tubing and then try to build up a new sleeve - maybe a small stiff tube - and then heat shrink on top.. 

and yeah - sad about customer service - gave them a pick and the whole story.. 

cheers

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1. Measure the diameter of the plug at the end of the cable.

2. Purchase appropriate diameter 6:1 heat shrink - https://www.cableorganizer.com/heat-shrink/heat-shrink6.htm - bonus, this stuff is adhesive lined.

3. See if a 2" section will cover and reinforce what you need, including grabbing onto the cable split housing so the whole thing can act as a strain relief for the worn cable section.

 

My guess is if you do something like that, for around $30 (assuming some shipping) you'd have a nearly stock looking setup that'll last a long time if not abused.  If nothing else, it'll buy you some time to figure out the long term recabling plan.

 

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Not difficult to recable the L3000 at all.  Remove the earpads, screws (4 screws holding the earcups and another 3 holding the driver assembly in place), and you should get to the driver.  I suggest a high quality silver cable to enhance the resolution, open up the soundstage, and tighten up the bass impact.  I recabled my old pair with Moon SIlver Dragon Gen 1 but this was probably around 7 - 8 years ago before I sold it to a local friend.  I recently recabled my 3000ANV with the left over SIlver Dragon and the work was not difficult at all.  If you are handy with soldering iron, it can be done ..... just take your time and be careful.  Take pictures before and after removing the driver holder assembly...you want to line up everything the same way.  Here are some pics of my W3000ANV that I recabled last week.  The internals are more or less the same as the W2002 & L3000.  You can do it.

While at it, get them reterminate with a 4.4 mm balanced connector.  The L3000 isn't that difficult to drive and many top end DAPs of today can do wonder with these headphones.  Plus, they do sound considerably better driving from a a balanced amp.  They sounded spectacular out of my Balanced Gilmore Reference amp at that time.

   

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Edited by purk
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I would terminate with a 4-pin XLR myself. You can always build a 4-pin XLR->1/4" phono adapter cable and use it with unbalanced amps, which is what I do with my DynaFET. I don't use portable amps anymore though, so the 4.4mm connector isn't useful for me. Plus, they are difficult to find, particularly a good chassis jack.

Edited by Pars
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30 minutes ago, Pars said:

I would terminate with a 4-pin XLR myself. You can always build a 4-pin XLR->1/4" phono adapter cable and use it with unbalanced amps, which is what I do with my DynaFET. I don't use portable amps anymore though, so the 4.4mm connector isn't useful for me. Plus, they are difficult to find, particularly a good chassis jack.

Yes, I have done the same for all headphones with a "detachable" cable.

I think it is more practical to terminate it on a XLR-4 and then use an adapter if necessary to TSR 1/4" .

By the way, now in large stores such as "Home Depot" they sell a cable covered with cotton in many different colors for lamps and decoration. This cotton coating can be great if you want to keep the original look of the new cable. 

 

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Otherwise, you can always use the body of the XLR-4 as ground pin (as long as the female connector of the amplifier is isolated from the chassis and connected to ground)

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I was once a member of a team 4 pin XLR, but earlier this year I reterminated all of my headphones from 4 pin balanced to 4.4 mm balanced.  Many top end DAPs are approaching a really good desktop system hence my suggestion plus the L3000 is super easy to drive.  You can always make an adapter going from 4.4 mm back to 4 pin XLR or whatever.  Furutech makes really good 4.4 mm plugs and Moon audio make a high quality male and female 4.4 mm as well...same can be said for Eidolic.  
I think you guys will think the same once you give a 4.4 mm balanced a try.  Even my HD800 is reterminated with a 4.4mm Furutech balanced jack.  Sony NW-WM1A DAP actually do a good job driving the HD800.

 

Edited by purk
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I, too, have re-terminated my headphones with 4-pin XLR and built a 4-pin XLR to TRS adaptor cable. 

Additionally, I replace the female TRS socket with 4-pin XLR on single-ended amp when I can. To me, the primary benefit of a 4-pin XLR connector for single-ended amp is to avoid the brief shorting of output when plugging and unplugging headphones with TRS connectors.  

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1 hour ago, mwl168 said:

....avoid the brief shorting of output when plugging and unplugging headphones with TRS connectors.  

Yeah that's a good point too Michael.

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@mikeymad - let me know if you do go down the custom recable rabbit hole, I've got a closet half full of supplies like heat shrink and nylon multifilament (the good stuff, not the super microphonic techflex) of various sizes that might be able to save you some $ and hassle that I will never use.  I looked to see if I had the right 3:1 or larger stuff the other night when I wrote my initial post and sadly, don't think I have anything that'd work for the repair.  And FWIW my vote remains to keep them stock for as long as possible. I've never really found an aftermarket cable that I like as much as a lot of stock cables due to inflexibility and increased microphonics.  It might be worth looking at what stock headphone cables you like best (for example the HD800 cable is quite nice) and considering adapting one of those to your current application. You can always troll HF looking for people selling lightly used cheap stuff as well.  Anyway, just figured I'd throw a few more options out there for consideration.

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16 hours ago, sbelyo said:

I've done the same.  But I totally get where purk is coming from.

After hearing what these high-end DAPs can do it was an easy choice for me to make.  Desktop systems always going to sound better, but something like the iBasso DX220 MAX and slightly modified Sony NW-WM1A/1A have really push the boundary on what portable/transportable DAP can do.  It isn't that far behind the mini Dynalo and you can take it with you every where.  AT cans are easy to power hence my recommendation.  

4 hours ago, n_maher said:

@mikeymad - you can always troll HF looking for people selling lightly used cheap stuff as well.  Anyway, just figured I'd throw a few more options out there for consideration.

Agreed about buying used.  However, one can buy the Black Dragon in bulk at $14/ft or buy DIY litz from Norne (better quality).  I usually go with the Black Dragon (BD) because it is easy to work with and the BD does wonder on brighter sounding headphones such as the HD800S thanks to its warmer tonal balanced.  Moon Audio also make many nice connectors (not cheap) but they are easy to work with.  I also have a good success with Effect Audio 4.4 mm connectors.

https://www.moon-audio.com/moon-audio-4-4mm-female-connector.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI67PDu-m77AIV9YJbCh1A3gIEEAAYASAAEgI2WPD_BwE

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 https://www.moon-audio.com/moon-audio-4-4mm-trrrs-balanced-connector.html

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https://www.effectaudio.com/accessories/ea-4-4mm-connector.html

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https://www.moon-audio.com/black-dragon-headphone-cable-bulk.html

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https://www.moon-audio.com/furutech-fp-705m-r-4-pin-balanced-xlr-connectors.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIoIzl5-u77AIViuzjBx0QCAMKEAAYASAAEgI5QvD_BwE

http://www.norneaudio.com/litzheim/Norne-Audio-22-awg-occ-ohno-continuous-cast-ultra-pure-cotton-core-copper-diy-headphone-cable-wire-cables-wires-solder-ciem-iem-full-size-aftermarket-up-7-n-6-upgrade

Edited by purk
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