Finally! The near-perfect custom cable set for your custom in-ear monitors.

I own a set of JH Audio 13Pro custom in-ear monitors. These are high-end headphones which sound amazing and will set you back $1000 if you don’t get them on special ;-)

Over the course of owning these, I have come to realize just how much not only file quality (128k 256k 320k MP3 vs AAC etc) but also equipment and cable quality matter. I have honed my portable system to the point that I have a great sounding system – JHAs driven by a Centrance HiFi-M8 DAC, fed by my iPhone/iPad.

But…

If I want to be able to use my JHAs with an iPhone, and use volume controls and Mic for regular calls, then I have a big problem. The cables that are available to plug into an iPhone are bad. bad.

You may have seen an earlier post I made about trying to connect my JH Audio 13 Pro CIEMs to an iPhone cable successfully… The result of which is a cable that didn’t do particularly well either.

I had a few custom cables made by a guy in China, and those, too, were bad. I even went so far as to write an iOS App which would detect a proper Mic module on a cable, since three of his cables actually didn’t work with a Mic.

I also hacked a set of Ultimate Ear cables… which have reversed polarity, which butchers the sound stage…

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So it seems to me that the only way of getting the full quality from my setup is to have interchangeable cables. A set for when I want to listen to high fidelity music, and a set for when I am using a direct connect to my iPhone… sacrificing quality for a Mic control.

The snafu here is that to do this, I would have to plug/unplug the connectors that connect directly to the IEM. The connectors have two pins and stay put through basic friction… which means the more you plug/unplug them, the more they become loose. Im talking 5 or 6 plug/unplug cycles before a cable starts to literally wiggle itself loose.

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After a lot of custom cables, I finally found Moon-Audio. (Actually, I finally spent time to learn more about what they did instead of dismissing “high end cables” as voodoo and a way to extract money from me)

Moon Audio makes a Silver Dragon (and many other cables)  for various headphones, including JH IEMs. If you use one of these cables with your existing system, I have to say, that it sounds fantastic. It makes about as much difference as plugging in an external DAC like the Centrance HiFi-M8. Really.

What mae me order it, however, was  that these cables can be ordered with a Male miniXLR connector allowing you to switch out what you actually connect your headphones/monitors to. In my case I have a balanced RSA cable and a “regular” stereo minijack:

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First prototype interchangeable iPhone Cable:

Now the only thing I need is an “iPhone control” cable. What I did was to go out and buy the components I needed to mock one of these up. A female MiniXLR with 4 pins, an iPhone minijack (TRRS Minijack) and the old Mic remote pod I removed from the official JH Audio iPhone cable. (Yes, I have tried a LOT of iPhone cables)

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The result is a working prototype, shown above.

Next, I contacted Drew at Moon Audio to make me a proper one of these using the fantastic cable found in the Silver Dragons, with not only great components and construction (silver cables, silver solder, high-quality XLR etc etc) with no iPhone control actually connected, since they don’t usually do it.

The connections look like this under the hood:

InterconnectDiagram

I had to find an iPhone mic control to attach to the end. As it turns out a few of the vendors seem to use the same module. (Ultimte ears, Beats and a few others) The easiest way to source one of them is Amazon – search for a Beats replacement iPhone cable. It also does make a difference which pins are connected to which pins in the control, as there must be some diodes in there, so its important to use a multimeter to note what is what. Luckily the Beats control snaps off easily…

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Drew from Moon Audio made me my custom cable, and I soldered the iPhone control to it, and added a clip for the cable, resulting in a complete, high-quality iPhone cable:

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Impressions to follow….

2 Responses to Finally! The near-perfect custom cable set for your custom in-ear monitors.

  1. Ryan Burbridge says:

    After all your research and trial and error looks like you came up with a great setup. I am the type of person who likes to know the specs on most things I deal with. I like to know that the “standard” head phone jack is actually a 1/8(3.5mm) trs phone connector.

    I have searched to no avail for name or spec of the two pin and socket connector used on a lot of CIEMs (in ear monitors).

    Maybe you could help?

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