I love old music gear because it was built to last. Modern crap seems so fucking disposable. Why even bother? Sometimes, it’s worth a quick bother because I can’t be assed to go out to the store and plunk down even $10 when I know I can do something myself. Such was the case with a cheap ass pair of Earpollution Ozone Earbuds.
I got these at a truck stop to wear in the van while on tour. The rubber tips completely block out the inane chatter of my beloved bandmates when I just don’t have the patience. They actually sound killer with a boomy bass. I was wearing them at work when the cord got smooshed in a printing press. Only one earphone worked after that. While I was recently packing for a personal trip, I pulled them out and said, “Fuck this shit, I throw nothing away until all other options are gone.”
Easier said than done. I traced the broken earbud to the area where it got was obviously damaged. I carefully plied apart the cord with an X-Acto blade. Inside the tiny casing, I found the grounding wire, clearly obvious, and a bunch of little red hairs that had been split. I figured those were insulating the positive signal wire, so I started to unthread them.
I couldn’t find anything obvious that I could solder back together. As it turns out, all those tiny little red hairs ARE the signal wires. I took them and placed the tips of both sides against some conductive metal; sure enough, the earbud got a signal again. I’m not sure what these petite, copper m-fers are coated in, but it doesn’t conduct. Twisting the wires together and soldering them was a no go.
I twisted the severed halves back into shape and stuck their ends really close together on a piece of electrical tape. I’d already proven to myself the severed tips would conduct signal, so it was just a matter of putting down a small drip of solder to give the electrons a path on which to move.
I laid a tiny bead of solder down quickly with my Weller Digital Soldering Station set on a very low temperature. I sealed up the tape, wrapped it around the cord, and applied some heat shrink to seal the package.
And my Earpollution Ozone Earbuds worked again! Score one for not wasting a perfectly functioning device, no matter how cheaply I could replace it. Let’s end the age of waste, let the bass boom, and party rock.