1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

1/4 Cable dilemma

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by QBA, Apr 22, 2010.

  1. QBA


    Apr 22, 2010
    Hello to everyone :)

    Sorry that this thread probably doesn't belong in this section or maybe even in this forum, because unfortunately I'm not a musician, but I love music and that is what got me here :)

    I'm trying to buy the right 50 feet cable to be able to listen music on the living room, from my receiver that is hiding on the basement.

    I though it will be a straight forward process of buying a 50 foot 1/4 male to male cable and a 1/4 wall plate, with a female connector for the headphones. I know the wall plate complicated things and create an extra connection, but I'm planning to install the wall plate on the living room wall and hide the cables inside the wall, that will go from the front of the receiver in the basement, to the back of the wall plate in the living room.

    My dilemma is that I keep reading on the internet about balanced, unbalanced, TRS and so many other terminologies that I'm not familiar with, and people keep telling me not to buy balance cables because it add noise to the sound if I use it for headphones, or to buy it because they work great with headphones ect. All that is making it really difficult for me to decided what cable to buy.

    I just hope that people will your expertise can help me to sort it all out.


    Located on the basement

    Wall Plate:
    It will be on the living room, where I will be connecting the headphones

    I'm planning to buy this 50 foot cable to connect it from the front of the receiver to the back of the wall plate

    I don't have headphones yet, but it could end up buying this ones


    1. Are those 4 items compatibles?

    3. Will this cable give me a lot of noise because is not design for headphones?

    4. Do I have to buy a headphones amplifier because the length of the cable is 50 feet?

    Thanks a lot

  2. you don' have to buy a headphone amp,but it might be easier to have one but......would it not be better to have the controls where you listen.....i would think that some of the modern room by room set ups that are available these days might make life easier....a central command center and a keypad in the rooms you listen in and.....check into the stereo rags at borders......
  3. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    Essentially you are just making a very long headphone cable. Since the audio is at a higher level, you will not get any noise added - just perhaps some level loss.

    The problem will be that you cannot control the audio from the headphone location. If you just want it really simple, this will work, but you may find it wearying to keep running back and forth adjusting the volume, etc.

    Why not just get a cheap portable CD or MP3 player?
  4. Keep it simple. Because of the remote control issue, buy a used receiver or use an MP3 player in the location where you want sound. The receiver has the amp you need, and pawn shops have them all the time.
  5. QBA


    Apr 22, 2010
    Thanks for the reply guys,

    So about the noise level there shouldn't be any real issue about using the cable on the link as a headphone extension right?

    The scary part is that the tech support people from the site that sell the cable, kept telling me no to buy those cables for headphones extension because of possible noise.

    About controlling the audio, I didn't want to give you the whole set up to keep things simpler, the set up is that my htpc computer, xbox 360 and blue ray player are all connected to my receiver via hdmi cables and all those devices are controlled with a single harmony remote control via an IR extender that hides behind the TV. So I can control volume, change songs, play movies etc, all with a single remote.:hyper:
  6. MD


    Nov 7, 2000
    Marin Co. CA.
    I'd put a pair of speakers in the LR and install a volume control. Use "SPKR B" out of your receiver. If you want remote control access, run an extra wire (cat 3/5) and use an IR repeater system.
  7. If I were running an amplified audio lead from basement to room above, I'd just buy heavy-duty zip cord - NOT COAX - to do it with. Buy cable that's rated for in-wall service. You can buy it from Radio Shack.

    Here you go...100 feet of 16-gauge wire for $21.99...it's everything you need. Install your own connectors.

    You can see all the Radio Shack branded speaker wire here:
  8. QBA


    Apr 22, 2010
    Thanks for the reply MD, another info I forgot to share, is that I already have a 5.1 speaker system connected to that receiver, that I used to listen to all those connected devices, controlling the audio via the single remote control.

    I just want to have the option to listen via headphones if the wife or child are sleep.

    So the 1/4 male to male cable on the link is perfectly fine to work with the receiver and the headphones right?
  9. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Yeah, you don't need mic cable for headphones. 'Phones are just smaller speakers, and you're dealing with speaker issues. Just get some relatively heavy zip cord as Pilgrim suggests. Run it from the basement receiver up to the wall plate, put in a TRS 1/4" jack in the wall plate and a 1/4" TRS plug on the end in the basement.

  10. would the unshielded speaker cable not be the best option then if you can control all your functions via remote and your headphones are working from a speaker out,why use coax at all....counter any loss with a heavier gauge wire
  11. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    Tech support guys can sense a non technical person on the phone and will very often try to take advantage of their lack of tech experience and thereby get them to spend more money. Running long lines to headphones will not pick up noise.
  12. You're running an amplified signal, so coax is not the most appropriate cable. The medium-heavy zip cord will work well nd it's easy to add connectors as needed.
  13. How about wireless headphones ? You plug the transmitter in the stereo headphone jack, then walk all over the house with NO WIRES. I have a couple of sets, and that IS the way to go IMHO.
  14. Dudaronamous

    Dudaronamous Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Oct 16, 2005
    Bothell, WA
    +1 on the wireless headphones!
  15. i'm not seeing the op's problem......run the speaker wire to a terminal and done
  16. QBA


    Apr 22, 2010
    Thanks a lot guys for all the replies :)

    ggunn your point make a lot of sense, but what made me post in this forum is that they don't even sell headphone extension cables, so they are telling me don't buy the one we sell because it will give you noise levels, and by the way we don't sell headphone's extension cables at all.

    About going wireless I prefer to stay away from that, I'm sure wireless technology is fine but my personal experience with wireless through the years has been one of disappointment and frustrations that goes from dropping signals to batteries issues. So I always try to keep wireless to the minimum if possible. I have the holes open from the basement to the living room already.

    Speaker Cables
    So run two speaker cables, left and right? and install a male 1/4 in each end?

    If this is possible and I won't lose any quality, that would be just great, Since my amp has what Yamaha called zones, I think they are alternatives speakers outputs, just in case some one want to listen to the same or maybe even different audio in another room, while using the same amp.

    My goal in the future was to connect the headphones extension cable to one of those zones and then with the remote control from the living room, I could just change the amp speaker output and be able to switch back and forward from the main speaker to the headphones, without having to go down to the basement every time to plug or unplug the headphones extension cable in the receiver headphones input.

    So I guess as John mentioned earlier headPhones are just smaller speakers, I never saw it that way because I though they were running a different type of signal than regular speakers, meaning different level or type of amplifications and therefore a cable with 3 lines was needed, ground, left and right.

    So I don't need a ground cable then? what happened to the ground in the 1/4 male in the actual headphones? Would it generate noise because the ground is not connecting to anything?
  17. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Your standard speakers have a common ground. It's in two different wires because thet typically go to different locations. Headphones, because they're going to the same place, eliminate the extra wire. The 'phones need a hot for each of the left and right, and a common ground. Also, the 'phones do have a separate amp to drive them, but the signal is only a lower output. It's still an amplified speaker signal.

  18. QBA


    Apr 22, 2010
    Thanks for the explanation John,

    I guess two wires are fine then.

    So I could have the option of a male 1/4 in each end to connected to the receiver's headphone input or the alternative to connect the cables to one of my receiver's speaker outputs (zones), as long as I use a headphone amplifier right?
  19. As usual, John is in target. After reflection, you need three wires:

    + left
    + right
    Common Ground

    Unless you buy three-conductor wire, I'd pull two pieces of heavy zip cord, use all four wires and by doing so, keep the grounds separated. It's the lazy man's way, and using common wire it's not expensive. Having two complete sets of leads might also provide options for the future...and I'm REAL big on leaving myself future options.
  20. QBA


    Apr 22, 2010
    Thanks Pilgrim, I guess I misunderstood John.

    I though he meant that you need only two wires because in the case of speaker wires, both left and right channels have the ground passing through it already.

    So I need 3 wires then? I guess as you said 2 pair of 4, 1 of each join together for the ground.

    what if I want to connect the left and right channel to one of my receiver's alternative speakers outputs? What do I do with the ground since those only are left and right?

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.