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March 20, 2014 6:53 AM   Subscribe


 
My experience of this technique is that it would be more accurately titled "How to preemptively tangle your headphone wires"
posted by ook at 6:55 AM on March 20 [34 favorites]




now someone please post a video on how to spare 35 seconds every time I want to properly wrap up my headphones... The best method I've found to store any wires or cable is called the roadie wrap. It keeps the wire as straight as can be and actually develops memory over time to almost re-wrap itself.
posted by any major dude at 7:01 AM on March 20 [22 favorites]


This violates pretty much ever Cable Handling Standard I've ever learned from NYNEX back in the 80's through today. Over/Under FTW. Of course, I don't really use earbuds. Sony MDR-7506's don't need any fancy cable management.
posted by mikelieman at 7:01 AM on March 20 [8 favorites]


I'm a fan of this cord-wrapping technique myself. Helps prevent tangles and looks pretty sweet too. I used to make bracelets like this incessantly when I was younger, so it was pretty fun to find a practical-ish reason to pick it up again. Bit more work than the one from the article though.
posted by ashirys at 7:03 AM on March 20 [5 favorites]


I've been doing this for a while and it works pretty well!
posted by griphus at 7:04 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


(Although I hold it by the plug-end and slip that into the wrapped part of the cable.)
posted by griphus at 7:04 AM on March 20


I do a similar wrap. Not because it's some sort of "life hack", but because I have previously owned extension cords and ropes. This is just what you do with stuff like that.

The thing is, in the case of rope or extension cords, you then hang them up on a peg. In the case of ear buds, after carefully wrapping them up you then put them in your pocket where the Magic Pocket Gnomes not only unwrap them, but somehow manage to tangle them even worse than if you hadn't wrapped them.

Getting a tight wrap is the key, but if they're in your pocket long enough they'll still need a bit of untangling. Like that garlic pealing technique that made the rounds a while ago, it looks perfect on video but it only seems to work on alternate Tuesdays if there's a full moon.

The most productive "life hack" I've ever found was to stop reading sites like Lifehacker.
posted by bondcliff at 7:05 AM on March 20 [22 favorites]


I'm surprised anyone would need a video to show them how to wind a hank.
posted by orange swan at 7:05 AM on March 20


ashirys, I did that as well but it took me FOREVER. It's a lot harder to do on cables that have the split down the center instead of a circular cable.
posted by royalsong at 7:06 AM on March 20




Roadie wrap + a short length of that velcro cable tie that comes on a roll. Not just for headphones, if you buy a big roll of that stuff you'll be cable tying everything.
posted by jason_steakums at 7:13 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


I just use the Apple headphones that do not tangle.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:26 AM on March 20


I also have earphones with a silicon cord that's not very tangly, and wraps nicely around my player. Plus I never have to listen to that annoying music.
posted by sneebler at 7:30 AM on March 20


I've been using a binder clip lately. It's pretty convenient and doesn't require much dexterity.
posted by asperity at 7:30 AM on March 20


[janey47, fixed your links.]
posted by taz at 7:36 AM on March 20


I just wrap mine around my player and throw it in my bag. It doesn't tangle.
posted by Foosnark at 7:39 AM on March 20


I just let my earbuds tangle and then there's always a fun game in my pocket to pass the time!
posted by selfnoise at 7:39 AM on March 20 [11 favorites]


Huh. That's a good idea.

Foosnark: "I just wrap mine around my player and throw it in my bag. It doesn't tangle."

I find that the cord pulls on the plug, which causes all sorts of problems down the road.
posted by zarq at 7:45 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


I've found that the thing that keeps earbuds getting tangled in your pocket is that there are three different lines to get tangled (the left and right earbuds plus the bit with the plug on it). If you turn that into just two lines by using a little piece of a twistie-tie to keep the two earbuds together, the phones almost never get tangled (and if they do, you can usually untangle them just by grabbing them at one end and shaking).
posted by whir at 7:45 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Previously in Ask... Too useful to count as a double though.
posted by elgilito at 7:51 AM on March 20


Now what will stop my ear buds from always falling into my coffee when I pull them out and casually toss them onto my desk?

(Apart from me not throwing them into my coffee)
posted by Kabanos at 7:54 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: there's always a fun game in my pocket to pass the time!
posted by mikelieman at 8:08 AM on March 20 [2 favorites]


"Roadie wrap" is God's cure for garden hoses.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:13 AM on March 20


I use Bluetooth headphones. I don't need audiophile quality sound when I'm at the gym or running errands. No cords to yank my phone off of the elliptical or get in the way of a lift.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 8:17 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Bluetooth headphones are the only way to fly when out and about - especially in the gym, I'd be in a constant state of terror of snagging something. I leave the corded headphones for the desk or the couch, where I can better appreciate the sound quality.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:22 AM on March 20


I used to housesit for someone who I mentally classed as a Martha Stewart / Ninja housekeeper. Everything was perfect (and it always scared the hell out of me trying to keep it that way for two weeks).

Anyway, once I asked her how you fold fitted sheets, and she said (more or less) "Ya just ball 'em up and put 'em in the drawer where nobody can see 'em."

I learned a lot from that. It's probably at least tangentially relevant.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:24 AM on March 20 [12 favorites]


tight wrapping is for people who enjoy replacing cables frequently (or replacing headphones, when you cannot separately replace the headphone cable)
posted by idiopath at 8:32 AM on March 20 [3 favorites]


I just use the Apple headphones that do not tangle.

I didn't know there were an option for those. ;)

I've been using the standard Apple ones, darnit. Maybe they were the tangle free and I simply violated the warranty by attaching a scrap of duct tape to keep them differentiated from everyone else's Apple earbuds or earpods.

But yeah - tight wrapping, yeowch. Wire buster there on such thin and thinly insulated buds.
posted by tilde at 8:41 AM on March 20


I tie them loosely in a figure 8. It may weaken the cord, but the earbud will pull off sooner than that. Also, cut off and save the audio pin - it makes a great silencer for the laptop, so when you try to discreetly use the laptop during a lecture or whatever, you won't be busted by the startup sound.
posted by theora55 at 8:42 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


He keeps them from being tangled into knots by tying them in a knot.

Idiot.
posted by xmutex at 8:45 AM on March 20


It takes less time for me to untangle my headphone cords than to wrap them in any tangle-preventing way. Laziness wins again.
posted by Metroid Baby at 8:47 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


zip ear buds
posted by chavenet at 8:48 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


When my ear buds get tangled, I just throw them away and buy a new pair from the dollar store.
posted by briank at 8:54 AM on March 20


I find that the cord pulls on the plug, which causes all sorts of problems down the road.

The plug on mine is a right angle, which helps to minimize that. I also intentionally keep some slack there.

I go through players faster than I go through headphones. I'm on my second pair of Sennheiser CX400s in roughly 20 years -- the first pair was stolen along with my Zune.
posted by Foosnark at 9:04 AM on March 20


I don't use nearly as complicated a technique. I just wrap around 4 fingers (spread them out a little so the wrap comes off easily), making a circle, squeeze the middle, then I wrap around the circle making a figure 8, and tuck the jack into one of the loops. The trick is to release the jack end first. It falls apart 60% of the time, and the other 40% is easily untangled if you focus on the jack end instead of the headphones.
posted by Chuffy at 9:07 AM on March 20


sugru. For all your earbud/wire/tangle/pressure point problems.
posted by Room 641-A at 9:18 AM on March 20


I use this all the time now, but slightly modified. I keep it wrapped loosely to not yank on the wire too much (they're only 5 bucks, but that's still 5 bucks I can save). I've gotten good enough to do them while walking around so it doesn't waste any time.
posted by lownote at 9:25 AM on March 20


All of these cable wrapping/handling techniques are incorrect.

The correct procedure is to bring both ends of the cable together parallel to one another, essentially loosely folding the cable in half.

Keep doing this until you have a folded cable just long enough to tie in a loose knot.

Prevents tangling, saves on unnecessary internal wear on the cable components, and is ready to untie and use immediately, without tangling or unwinding.

Also means one end of your folded and tied cable is all loops for hanging, and the other contains both ends side by side, so you can tell your 1/4" TRS male to XLR male from your XLR male to XLR female right next to it apart immediately by sight.
posted by stenseng at 9:48 AM on March 20 [4 favorites]


I just buy a new pair of earbuds each time I want to listen to music.
posted by gwint at 9:53 AM on March 20 [6 favorites]


I have lost count of how many times I've seen someone on the subway (when I lived in New York) or on the bus (now that I live in San Jose) fiddling with yarn, thought "Oooo, I wonder what they're making!," and then realized that they were just untangling their headphone wires. It happens to me over and over, and I'm surprised by it every single time. I think I might be the human version of Allie Brosh's not-very-clever dog.
posted by bakerina at 9:56 AM on March 20 [7 favorites]


OK, so am I the only one in the world who uses one of these? An earbud case that has a little spinny wheel inside to wrap the cord around?

I never see anybody else using a case like that, like, on the bus or whatever. I don't know why. It takes about 1/4 the time of the linked video to get earbuds into that case, and it's instantaneous to get them out. The case keeps the left earbud on the left and the right earbud on the right, so you don't need to try to make out the letters in low light. The case I have now came with earbuds I bought 10-15 years ago and has held up that whole time under moderate use.

Am I the only person that this very sensible invention seems sensible to?
posted by gurple at 10:08 AM on March 20


I use the roadie wrap for my charger cord. It has developed a memory, and I have a velcro tape that I wrap around it.

I love the embroidery-cord-braid thing; I think I"ll use that for my headphones just because of how pretty it is, actually.

For the headphone tangle problem, I also used to wrap around my player, but you do need a specific size/shape of player for that. And it obviously wouldn't work for cell phones. I'm afraid I threw money at the problem instead of trying to solve it otherwise, and ended up with these. But they are perfect. The nicest thing is that once you wrap them once, you don't need to unwrap it all---I just unwrap the plug tip about two windings and thread it through the slit again and plug it in the player on my waist, unwrap the earbud tip until the loose part is long enough to reach my ears and thread it through the slit again---I don't have the whole cord dangling while I run any more, and rewrapping is commensurately faster, too.

Of course now I have the device, I am aware that one could cannibalize an old silicone spatula or muffin tray or whatnot to make one's own, too.

On preview gurple, when I acquired those devices I had actually gone in looking for that wrap-around-wheel contraption. Couldn't find one, the search engine gods were aligned against me that day or something.
posted by seyirci at 10:13 AM on March 20


You know, it would be a natural thing to wrap earbuds around an empty cassette case. If I had any reason to carry an empty cassette case around anymore...
posted by mikelieman at 10:14 AM on March 20


Am I the only person that this very sensible invention seems sensible to?

Those are nice, but don't fit earbuds that have any kind of noise isolation. I use ones that I have to squeeze to fit in my ears like earplugs because otherwise I have to turn up the sound really loud, and then my ears hurt (or I'm getting horrifying hearing damage, or both.) How anybody can stand to use the ones with no insulation in anything but a quiet room, I don't know.
posted by asperity at 10:17 AM on March 20


I feel like "Roadie Wrap" would be a good name for a sandwich at a sound-equipment-themed restaurant.
posted by aka burlap at 10:27 AM on March 20


I feel like "Roadie Wrap" would be a good name for a sandwich at a sound-equipment-themed restaurant.

That would be whatever is leftover after the band and production crew have finished eating, wrapped in a tortilla.
posted by mikelieman at 10:53 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


I've done this for years now. I'm not sure where I picked it up.
posted by painquale at 10:53 AM on March 20


Served Bitter and Cold...
posted by mikelieman at 10:54 AM on March 20 [1 favorite]


That would be whatever is leftover after the band and production crew have finished eating, wrapped in a tortilla.

That easily unwraps when pulling on it.
posted by jason_steakums at 11:01 AM on March 20


Yes, that article was quite interesting when I read it 8 years ago.
posted by humboldt32 at 11:26 AM on March 20


OK, so am I the only one in the world who uses one of these? An earbud case that has a little spinny wheel inside to wrap the cord around?

That's what all the Cool Kids had at my high school. (I was not cool.) Do they still sell them? Also, I seem to recall that you take the headphones completely out of the case to use them, which means you now have a 3rd thing to keep track of besides the player and headphones. I would lose such a thing in a heart beat. But that Smartwrap cord thingy linked above is neat! Thanks.
posted by bluefly at 12:27 PM on March 20


They sell headphones with flat wires. They don't tangle nearly as much as round ones. It's the only kind I use now.
posted by Jacob Knitig at 1:11 PM on March 20


I use Bluetooth headphones. I don't need audiophile quality sound when I'm at the gym or running errands.

Anyone have suggestions for a decent pair of bluetooth headphones I could wear while running (and won't constantly fall out)?
posted by inigo2 at 1:40 PM on March 20


This little gizmo has worked out pretty well for me.
posted by epersonae at 1:41 PM on March 20


I don't like ear buds cause they always fall so I've sworn by these Sony retractable over the ear headphones for years. I love them, the only problem is they're not cheap and don't stand up to the abuse I give them all that well.
posted by kmz at 4:25 PM on March 20


I use Bluetooth headphones. I don't need audiophile quality sound when I'm at the gym or running errands.

YES

Anyone have suggestions for a decent pair of bluetooth headphones I could wear while running (and won't constantly fall out)?

These1 changed my life2. I cry a little inside anytime I see someone with wires, and I want to run up and tell them it doesn't have to be this way. I manage to restrain myself; I can't go around preaching bluetooth to strangers3. But you asked!! Woot!

1Look around and you can probably find them cheaper.
2I freaked out the first time I got a phone call and my neck vibrated.
3Although when I see someone else wearing 'em I do the smile and nod and point at them and then me with the suggested "eh? right? yeah! right? me too!" kind of thing.
...um, probably even when I'm not wearing mine. Like Louis CK.

posted by hypersloth at 6:15 PM on March 20 [4 favorites]


Argh, edit window closed. I'm not sure if it matters, but mine are actually these.
posted by hypersloth at 6:21 PM on March 20


I find that the cord pulls on the plug, which causes all sorts of problems down the road.

Yeah, this is why I had to get the jack replaced, and it still works kinda buggy-ish even after that. I don't know the right way to wrap cords, but at the very least, you gotta unplug the darned thing every time :(
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:33 PM on March 20 [1 favorite]


If you're looking for a reel (or other device) to hold earbuds, and have a 3d printer, thingiverse is full of them - this one is very popular, and looks like an easy print, but take a look around.

If you don't have a printer, MakeXYZ is an option.
posted by Orb2069 at 5:49 AM on March 21


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