Sep 282009
 

Tweaked Apple In-Ear Headphone

I bought these fantastic Apple In-Ear headphones for my iPod 80GB several months back for $79, and found that they worked well with my Macbook.  I’ve since moved on from both the iPod and the Macbook, settling on a Nokia n97 mobile phone.  I found that the Apple headphones don’t work with these devices naturally and distort the sound.

The small control pod in the cable may be changing the impedance presented to the amplifier in the mobile phone, but I do not know this and have not measured the impedance; i am speculating. However, when you squeeze the middle button of the pod, the sound becomes normal, so I suspect the impedance may be changed by activating the button.  Some in-line controls for various microphones operate in a similar manner, where an impedance change can signal a button press without requiring additional cabling or connectors.

These headphones have magnificent sound for playing compressed digital audio files, as well as uncompressed CD audio, and sport dual sound drivers in each headphone.  For the money sunk, and the fidelity provided, it would be daft of me not to try and get them working on the Nokia.  Bonus points for not hacking up the cable and removing the pod.

The solution was simple enough, if a little unsightly.  Tightly wind a metal tie-wrap around the center button of the control pod to force the impedance to remain at something that the Nokia would correctly drive. It’s easy, it’s reversible, and it only takes a minute.  Make sure you wind it very tightly, and it may require a little fudging to stay in the sweet spot to keep the button depressed.

This has been tested with the Nokia n97 using the in-line Nokia-supplied remote audio control.  The combination of the two lengthy cables makes for a very long cable run between the mobile phone and the earbuds, and really, that should be sufficient to pack the Nokia in your briefcase or a low pocket, provided you can manage the microphone placement should you actually care to take a call.

This should also work (but has not been tested) on the Nokia n810, and any other device that expects to see “plain vanilla” headphones. I once had a gym with a treadmill that refused to accept the Apple headphones, so I suspect there are a large number of audio devices that have some sort of incompatibility with this product.

Good luck!

(An exact copy of this post was made to my personal blog at http://wwward.typepad.com; it’s too short to really make two versions, but it is useful info.)

 Posted by at 1:23 am
  • E

    Do you have it wired correctly?

    Tip – Headphone Left
    2nd ring – Headphone Right
    3rd ring – Headphone return
    Sleeve – Remote control

    The middle button shorts conductors 3 and 4 (sleeve). Maybe your phone's jack is touching the sleeve instead of the 3rd ring, and when you close the switch it's connecting it correctly?

  • http://shucknjive.blogspot.com/ Jon

    I'm a huge fan of these in-ear headphones too. I took it a step further with the in-ear portion (see here http://shucknjive.blogspot.com/2009/09/diy-cust… ). I'm certainly not surprised you'd want to make them work with every device you have!

  • http://www.BSoDtv.org/ Foxx

    I have noticed that apple branded headphones have been more of a social status symbol lately, and this also show you are sporting an expensive product ,making you a prime target for muggers, pick-pockets and thieves. If you don't believe me ask the few people I have known to have their head smashed into the back of a train wall unexpectedly to have their ipods ripped form their hands as the assailant flees from the train as the doors were closing.

    First thing I did when my I got an iPod for my girlfriend was replace her headphones with something that doesnt scream “Rape me, I have a $400 MP3 player/iPhone”

  • http://www.BSoDtv.org/ Foxx

    I have noticed that apple branded headphones have been more of a social status symbol lately, and this also show you are sporting an expensive product ,making you a prime target for muggers, pick-pockets and thieves. If you don't believe me ask the few people I have known to have their head smashed into the back of a train wall unexpectedly to have their ipods ripped form their hands as the assailant flees from the train as the doors were closing.

    First thing I did when my I got an iPod for my girlfriend was replace her headphones with something that doesnt scream “Rape me, I have a $400 MP3 player/iPhone”

  • DS

    THANK YOU!
    I have been trying to find a way to use my Apple headphones on my Nokia 5800 and I couldn't find anything.
    But after reading this IT FINALLY WORKS!
    Thanks again

  • http://www.mobilephonesignalbooster.net/ Mobile Phone Signal Booster

    Great work, I like your idea. and I will do.

  • jeerren

    Thanks for the fix! I used a tiny cable tie, mine is black but i know you can get translucent white ones.

  • http://abbmp3.com Rubyoxy

    Nokia's bluetooth keyboard is an amazing accessory. I've been using it for 3 years (yes, it's been around even longer) and I've put through all real-life tests. It is on the expensive side (almost $200) if you compare price to other options like the iGo. BUT, you cannot compare it's ease of use and custom buttons for the S60 device. Nokia should really update the look with some colour like silver or black (to match with my N95 8GB).

  • http://www.headphonesreviewinfo.com Headphones Review

    I found Apple headphones in the street yesterday, and I have Nokia N95 8GB device, will definitely try to do something about it now.

  • Pall112

    It works :D:D

    • Pall112

      Nokia 5800 music express btw