The Ultimate $20 Headphone Hack

Chances are you have a least one or 2 pairs of DJ headphones that are broken in some way. If you buy the Sony MDR-V700’s, then you might have 5 laying around. Usually, these cans go to waste, as it’s always just the foam, plastic joints, or some other cosmetic feature that is broken while the speakers themselves (the most important part) are perfectly fine. In today’s article we are going to show you how to re-use those old broken headphones and turn them into something better—for only $20.

The following pictures and instructions were created by one of our dedicated forum members, Villinus, who submitted his DIY headphone fix for our enjoyment. He writes:

“So it all started when my old Sony MDR-V700 broke. A guest at our house party put them on her fat head and they snapped

No sweat. $20 with shipping got me these from the interweb:

Initially I thought I could fix them, and upon taking them apart, I realized they had to WAY too many little moving parts and screws/springs/etc., so I knew I would have to replace the body and just use the drivers:

I drilled a hole in the bottom of one can, and one on either side of the top of each can. I recommend using a dremel, to cut/drill the plastic, as it’s way quicker and more precise than carving the plastic with a knife:

Next, it was time to wire them up… Oh geez:

Progress. I ran the wire from a 1/8th inch wire from one headphone can, through the neoprene headliner. I couldn’t believe they are open on either side… it’s almost like they were meant for wiring! 
Something to note: The Sony wire is very thin, and coated with a very thin coating, that is not conductive. You have to hit it with a lighter for a few seconds to burn it off, clean off the wire with a razor, and solder to your wire/solder points.

A slit needs to be made in one side of the foam to let the wires through. Remember, these are DELICATE wires! Last one:

Here they are all wired and re-assembled:

The best thing about these things is, they’re rated a 27 for noise reduction because they are meant for shooting ranges, meaning that what ever is going on outside of your cans can hardly be heard… at all. I’m talking, you can hear your heartbeat. When you throw some quality drivers in there, all you get is music. It’s fantastic!
Also, the earpads snap on and off very easily and are very comfortable. They squeeze your head so snug you could headbang and not loose em 

and finally, my ghetto headphone bag 

This article is a great example of all the helpful things that go down in our world class forum—if you are not a member yet, then hustle on over there and join up! Do you have some great DIY hacks or tips? Send them to our editor!

Comments (62)
Add Comment
  • crifg

    Yeah but “DJing” takes zero talent.

  • Adriano Salvio

    I use the same Crown Royal whisk bag to fit my headphone!

  • MRT

    i know its a weird comment and maybe a little to late but hey do you still have the old body for the head phones becuse mine broke frome the same place and im to scared to do all the wiring and honestly these are really amazing headphones

  • Anonymous

    LOL – I just did a bypass on my Revision3 Subjekt headphones. The damned right channel kept dropping out. But the wires to the side are just too fiddly to try and fix so I stripped the ends off a segment of telephone line cord and looped that over the top.

    They work great now. And a future upgrade, I’ll probably get a couple of RJ-11 jacks and use that. That way I can snap the line out when it needs to be replace.

  • Johnjane00

    Very cute! What a nice idea. Maybe another way to use up some of those remnants too small for use in a larger project. really I like your blog…. it’s an excellent blog post found here…
    your blog contains very unique and very interesting
    information, Thanks very much for the share…
    fashion handbags


  • Kenny Fiesta

    I just got my Leightnings and my headphones are all taken apart…I definitely wanna do this.

  • Dracwolley

    How did you get the wire through the foam on the top? I’ve got my hands on a bluetooth headset and really want to try this but I can’t figure out how to get the wire through the top of the headphones.

    Also, regarding what you said about Kipkay’s mod, I actually did the same thing without seeing his mod or this, and I happened to have those exact drivers laying around so I used those. Why? Because they sound extraordinarily good. Easily comparable to my friends Bose QC3 headphones. Also they are indeed built very cheaply but with a little bit of skill and some hot glue the issue is easily solved. However, screw 2 wires coming out, hell, screw one wire coming out – Bluetooth baby! But of course, I need your help for that 😉

  • Juan Carlos Velasco Olvera

    Really nice Work it is one of a kind dj headphones

  • Villinus

    @mrommer- It should work fine. I would expect that any driver that will fit in a similar sized headphone will work.

    @Nick- Not sure why you’re lacking bass response. I’m sure you’re right though about the drivers being spec’d to their headphone enclosures. I would recommend this hack with something with large drivers like the MDR-v700, which has 50mm drivers.

    @bRileyy- I have no idea what you just said there.

  • mrommer

    This looks great. Does anyone know if it will work with the MDR-V600?

  • bRileyy

    looooook im using a pair of old dennons hahahaha just to do a project for class now on the color rs for the head phones for my dennons (WIRES) i have on on one side red and ground and the other side green and a mixed green and red i cut up an old xlr cable and 1/4 ts and on that one its red and white and ground any ideas on getting this mod to work rofl

  • nick

    i just completed this hack tonight. not exactly what i expected. i used my old Bose Around Ear headphones because the ear cups were thrashed and head band broke. i thought “hey, they were over $100, why waste the drivers?” they have absolutely no bass response in these howard leight ear muffs. i assume Bose tuned the speakers to produce flat response inside their cans, which is why they dont sound as great in these new ones.
    however, these ear muffs really do isolate and are VERY comfortable. if i get sick of the quality, i might purchase some broken MDR-V700s or something.

    i’ve never owned any MDRs, can anyone attest to the sound quality inside the new ear muffs?

  • FUFR

    What’s with the bashing crap?
    I’m using my MDR-V700 for more than 7 years now.
    Never had any problem at all

  • DJN

    Nice post – nice replacement cans may have to look into that.
    I got a pile of the best drivers-put-into-the-cheapest-headphones that I use for repairs and stuff like this. Best one so far has been a Ma Bell classic operator headset with dual headphone drivers – great looks from that one

    The Crown Royal Bags are great – I remember leaning over the bar after a gig pointing to an empty bottle saying ” would you mind handing me my headphone bag, mate?”

  • Marcos

    Guys, yes, kipkay has done this. i also saw it on another DIY site, Instuctables buy a guy who works for Make magazine back in ’05. Heres the link

    He called them jackhammer headphones. not trying to discredit you but just to tell others that, yes this has been done before and this is one way to do it, Kudos to you Villinus for an awesome looking hack. I for one would have never thought to run the wire through the headband.

    P.S. is really a great place for DIY and other projects. i’v been on this site since 2006 and it is a plethora of DIY and other handy knowledge

  • onetidd

    hey, nice trick can i do the same with my broken hdj 1000??

  • Ezmyrelda

    This is essentially what I am going to do with my old technics drivers, but I decided that I was going to look around thrift shops for an old 70’s pair of headphones that had a volume knob on each can.

  • DJ R3 Bonaire

    any other tips on replacement ear pads. My gray ones SkCndy were going and it looked like i had severe dandruff. Can’t be because i am a skinhead. I might need Croco leather……

  • Anonymous

    I’m deaf….any good hacks for me?

  • Punky

    This is great! Very, very cool!

  • Fatbat

    Nice mod! A bit off topic but if you have Sony MDR-V6, MDR-7506, or MDR-7509 with rotten faux leatherette ear pads, they can be revived by replacing them with terrycloth Beyerdynamic ones for their DT-250/280/290 models. MUCH nicer feel cause they are they are soft and fluffy and breathe better so you don’t get sweaty under them. Best €18 I ever spent (I got a second set just in case) and they revived what were otherwise perfectly good headphones to better than new condition.

  • Villinus

    [quote comment=”33067″]*ahum kipkay *ahum[/quote]

    Honestly, I did this hack without knowing about KipKay or that he had done anything similar, although I will say that I think his idea is cool for about 5 minutes, until you realize they sound like shit, have a cord from each ear, and could fall out at any minute. My hack is pretty hardcore man, you could throw them at a wall and their fine, swing them by the cord, still fine. Gig-proof to say the least, and really shine when you’re trying to hear your mix in a loud club, or when recording with an extra sensitive microphone. I tested them out for recording. No more click track bleed! Hooray!

    The biggest diff is, it’s making use of your broken DJ headphones, making something EVEN BETTER than you had before.

    I’m thinking about making some more with custom drivers and hi-fi cable to sell to a select few 🙂


    Dang, my 700s still serve their purpose without any cracks…
    Though I will think about this if they ever break 🙂

  • charus

    This is awesome Headphone hacks.I also have the old Sony MDR-V700 as wwll. I’ll try to mod it .

  • yess

    *ahum kipkay *ahum

  • Brett

    Great post!

    These are ingenious! A perfect example of what makes this community great. The Crown Royal bag is a nice touch too. I might do this with my non broken headphones just to get the noise reduction and a coil chord. Ace!

  • Dj Nvidia

    Thats really cool, buts its prolly easier to just buy a quality pair of headphones…

  • Sarasin

    Very cool. Reminds me of a Dj i once saw who had an old telephone handset as cans. Was very cool at the time. Haha

  • hipnotikk

    that vci is the coolest thing i’ve ever seen.

  • Anonymous

    [quote comment=”32951″]Nevermind i just figured it out..
    Flipped the last i right?[/quote]

    yup! Flipped the I ;)~

  • JesHernandez

    Haha, I use a Crown Royal bag for my headphones too!

  • daluxer

    haha,thats exactly what kipkay did in this video!:D

  • roadieflip

    I’ve been using a pair of drummer’s ear defenders with some Sony drivers in them for years, now. The best thing? You don’t need to crank up the volume and they’re infinately more comfortable than my Senheisers…

    Perfect for those long afternoon mixes!!!

  • David Meridian

    I have a Chivas Brothers bag for my headphones 😉

  • Sir Andy

    I was doing my sound check before my very first club gig and the head bartender came up and asked me if I wanted a drink to “warm up with”, as he was talking to me I was uncoiling my audio-technica ATH-M40fs’. He came back with my “warm up” drink and an empty Crown Royal bag and said, “this might be good to keep your headphones in.” Been rockin’ that back ever since! Great tip btw. Here’s another-Don’t let fat-headed people put on your cans!

  • Anonymous

    Nevermind i just figured it out..
    Flipped the last i right?

  • Anonymous

    [quote post=”6648″]I was wondering if anyone would catch the Bianchi sticker. I felt it needed a little chopping and screwing to be a bit more fun ;)[/quote]

    WHERE DID YOU GET THAT?!?!?! You couldnt of made it because how would you get the ! out of the normal Bianchi decal… I gotta know!

  • B33SON

    Do u have a hack for me leavingmy headphones at the gig cuz too drunk?

  • Villinus

    Hey guys,

    Thanks for the props!

    The knobs on my VCI are the stock ones, I painted them with black Plasti-Dip to give them a rubberized feel. While some has come off, it’s more because I didn’t paint them correctly. The two LF knobs are peeling, but the rest are holding up and it’s got a great feel to it!

    I was wondering if anyone would catch the Bianchi sticker. I felt it needed a little chopping and screwing to be a bit more fun 😉

    “Is that a towel rack in your living room?”

    That’s my bathroom. In DIY land, all product modeling pictures are shot in the bathroom XD

    @Patch: The isolation is unbelievable, however, these are more aimed toward gigging and recording, as after a few hours your head might need a break. Not painful, but they are snug.

  • R3 Bonaire

    I have done some modifications on different headphones. I found that a brand “Iwave” sold at Ross has some good quality 40mm replacement drivers. The headphone has a grey and chrome look and sells for $12.99. The blisterpackage will show that it has a 40mm driver. There is also a black model but that is a 30mm. I rebuild a scull candy ‘Nine” with these drivers and to my big surprice they sound much better than the original. Also the high is much clearer and gives a fat low.
    These drivers are truely worth trying if you have any damage pair.

  • n:deuce

    i was wondering about those knobs as well. they look rubberized. now where did i toss those 700’s?

  • Smittydc

    I did a similar hack with an old bakelite telephone handset: I wired in a sony driver and a 1/4″ plug. It sounds surprisingly good, and was much cheaper than one of those custom mono headphones.

  • Shog

    Very nice hack man!Cheap too.. 🙂

    One question though..about the vci on the first pic.What kind of knobs are these?Never seen them before..looks good.

    Cheers. 🙂

  • scorchio

    @Ezra: that’s cool, but that won’t help your already broken headphones… but if you can give me a HD25 for this price please tell, I’m interested.

    What a great mod, I was totally in search for something like this. I wonder how my AKG k181 parts will fit this… I bet it’ll be badass.

  • Zhadow

    Wow, great hack

  • Ezra

    Or you could buy a pair of the Sennheiser HD25s and never have deal with this again. Just a thought.

  • space monkey

    Is that a towel rack in your living room?
    Nice write up. 🙂

  • Hambone

    Awesome hack…Kip Kay anyone? When good ears go bad

  • ToS

    ARRR!! This arty be to my liking. Good woork mateys!

  • tekki

    I’m with Whyte here! 😉

  • Whyte

    [quote comment=”32883″]After my disappointing revelation the MDR-V700’s craptastic build quality, I recycled mine into a leather MIG fighter pilot’s helmet. Great DJ headgear for the underground party, especially in an environmentally-challenged venue. I have an antique headset, probably from a military field radio, which would take smaller drivers and result in the height of steampunk style. Lots of cool stuff you can do with a little imagination. Excellent tip with the Crown Royal bag too.[/quote]
    I just have to ask.


  • Archies'bald

    I remember doing something similar to this with a pair of ear defenders I got when I was an apprentice. I even filled the inside of the ear muff with cotton wool so there was more noise reduction.

    I was asked for the ear defenders back when I left the company, I told them I had lost them and they charged me £3.00 for the damn things. Best 3 quid I ever spent, although I looked like a proper tube at parties.

  • DJ Milk

    After my disappointing revelation the MDR-V700’s craptastic build quality, I recycled mine into a leather MIG fighter pilot’s helmet. Great DJ headgear for the underground party, especially in an environmentally-challenged venue. I have an antique headset, probably from a military field radio, which would take smaller drivers and result in the height of steampunk style. Lots of cool stuff you can do with a little imagination. Excellent tip with the Crown Royal bag too.

  • DJ Rock Well

    At last! Finally I can go shooting to the soundtrack of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son” in glorious stereophonic sound!

  • Chris Jennings

    [quote comment=”32876″]I like the bianchi decal on your vci :P[/quote]

    i noticed that to.

  • Dj Dennis

    1. have used a crown royal bag for over a decade…only downer is that if you leave that jawn layin around, someone might think you are actually leavin a big ass bottle of liquer around and snatch it up! 😛

    2. doin the mod with shooting range cans is BRILLIANT! cheers to you for a fantastic mod…and for such a good price…maybe some of the folks who make/design the sony stuff will take notice!

    3. no one is going to want to steal a pair of headphones that they dont know the name brand of them…ingenius i tell you…

    nice one indeed!

    Dj Dennis

  • Funkfish

    Love the Crown Royal bag, I’m totally stealing that idea!

  • Anonymous

    I like the bianchi decal on your vci 😛

  • Patch

    Nice hack! Only one question – to get the most out of the noise reduction on those cans, are they pretty tight on your head? I’ve had a problem with some cans when positioning them on one ear, and off the other. If they’re too tight, I get a small amount of pain after playing for a couple of hours…

  • Chris Jennings

    One of those why didn’t I think of it things!! Great mod!!