Dear headphone manufacturers...

Dear headphone manufacturers who think it's a good idea to use straight plugs instead of right-angle plugs: What the fuck is wrong with you? Do you not own this invention called POCKETS?

Knock that shit off.

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23 Responses:

  1. pvck says:

    last two pairs of headphones I had died that way. I'm thinking of just laying in a brace of right-angle plugs and just letting my headphone cables get shorter over time.

    • jwz says:

      That would be a fine idea if modern headphone cables were made out of wiring that it is actually possible to splice/solder. Any time I've tried to open them up, they've been a hair-thin paint-insulated nightmare of "no user serviceable parts within".

      • luminalflux says:

        The solution is flux. Loads of it. I think I ended up using a good amount of spray flux along with heating a bead of solder on the leads for a couple minutes before getting a good connection when I repaired the the plug on my Etymotic ER-6's.

        • jered says:

          Far be it from me to dissuade you from fixing things yourself, but are you aware that Etymotic has really fantastic customer service and reasonably priced repairs?

          I have a set of ER-4Ps that I sent in to have the cord replaced ($25, I think). They said the drivers looked like they were cracking (these were about 8 years old), so they just sent me an entirely new set instead.

          • luminalflux says:

            I'd rather not spend money on those headphones since I don't like they way they sound compared to the Ultimate Ears. They're a backup pair to tide me over whenever what I'm using currently breaks.

          • dr_memory says:

            Oooh! This is incredibly useful information: I was in fact about to try the self-repair route on my ER-6is...

    • wisn says:

      I'd be happy to invest in a few right-angle adaptors. Less work and no surgery that way. Problem being that I'd have to find them, they'd have to be iPhone-compatible, and they'd have to be no more bulky than the headphone plug attaching to them, and that is apparently not possible yet.

  2. gthing says:

    It seems to be the standard that headphone jacks are on the top and bottom of devices nowadays. Some phones still have side headphone jacks, but I don't see them very often.

    I thought you were using an iPhone? Its jack is on the top ... why would you need angled headphone plugs? Do you carry your phone sideways in your pocket?

    • deviant_ says:

      Even ignoring the fact that phones and such tend to reorient themselves in pockets, there's another reason right-angle is better. When you jerk the cord on a straight plug, it stresses both the plug, the jack, and the solder joints inside, which can make any of those fail. When you do the same on a right-angle plug, some of that force can often convert to torque, and thus to spinning motion that doesn't stress anything.

      Which is to say that right-angle plugs break less frequently, and break your device less frequently.

      • gthing says:

        Hmm... interesting thoughts - I hadn't considered that.

        I think an angled plug essentially turns the whole thing into a lever. If your device is in your pocket and you jerk an angled plug you're effectively jamming the plug in a direction the socket isn't designed to go. It's like a little pry bar ruining your jack. Sure, you'll get some of that force converted to rotation, but your pocket is narrow and eventually you're yanking the plug out at an odd angle.

        Whereas if I jerk on my straight jack, it just pops right out of the phone. This seems like it would put less stress on both the jack and the plug. Unless you're using really crappy headphones.

        There's also something like the replug ( which would completely solve this issue.

    • jwz says:

      Either the plug ends up pointed down, in which case the weight of the phone is resting on the plug and the now-folded-completely-in-half cable; or the plug goes up, in which case it the plug gets used as a lever to bend the phone jack every time I bend my leg; or it goes sideways, in which case... oh wait, it's just like I said. Straight plugs are COMPLETE FAIL.

      Hey, I know, let's have the single most delicate part of the device stick straight out perpendicularly to the main mass. It doesn't matter where the hole is, it still sticks straight out asking to be torqued.

      Why do I have to explain this?

      • gthing says:

        I get the scenario you're talking about, but a straight plug only sticks up slightly more than an angled plug. Hold them side by side - so long as you have the small plug style like the iPod earbuds there is not much difference.

        I'm not trying to troll or argue, I just really don't understand the point, unless your player isn't pointing straight up.

        Seems like the most likely thing that is going to happen is I'm going to yank on my headphones. In which case you get more stress from an angled connector. I drew a really high quality picture to illustrate this:

        The red circles show points of unnatural stress.

        Any mechanical engineers care to weigh in?

  3. danomite55 says:

    Get yourself a pair of Bose QuietComfort 15s. Super light-weight, nice sound, and awesome noise cancellation. Also, very comfortable, and has a right-angle plug.

  4. sweh says:

    My problem with straight plugs is when I have my player on a belt clip. Being a little on the large side, whenever I sit down my flab pushes sideways onto the plug and causes it to bend and eventually a wire breaks. A right-angle plug solves that problem.

  5. jaydubbee says:

    You can always convert a straight to right angle with an adapter, but you cannot unbend a built-in right angle.

    • jwz says:

      If you convert either to the other, now you have the worst of both worlds, because the plug is 2x or 3x as bulky and thus far more likely to get fucked up. The fuckupability of plugs goes up with the square of their size. This is science.

  6. kfringe says:

    Is it portable? Right angle.

    Is it not meant to be portable? Straight.

    Is it sold by Apple? Straight that protrudes less than most right angle plugs.

  7. miguelitosd says:

    I'd like to have slim usb connectors at right angles too.

    • thumperward says:

      USB connectors aren't round, though. With headphones torque simply results in the whole plug rotating around in the socket. With a non-round plug design, torque is going to cause damage, no?

      - Chris

  8. elusis says:

    I'd like to echo this for the makers of doohickeys intended to connect my (iPod, iPhone, etc.) to the front of my car stereo. Since I have owned FOUR in the three years I have had a front jack. (At least Belkin had the good character to replace the last one for free.) I am bloody sick of disposable electronics accessories.