How To Stop Your Headphone Wires from Tangling (7 Tips)


The age-old problem of tangling wires still torments audiophiles to this day- probably since the appearance of the first headphones, audio interfaces, speakers, and microphones. But with some tips, we can solve it together!

Let’s think about how studios usually deal with this. As audiophiles, we got our little studio going on, so we must treat it accordingly. Try to:

  • Stop spinning the cables
  • Optimize the room
  • Clear up space
  • Keep things on the box
  • Separate hardware
  • Use fewer wires
  • See ideal wires

Between our many audio hardware, wires lurk on the ground, the wall, and every surface. However, if we don’t organize them, they’ll probably tangle quickly, which is not something audiophiles benefit from happening. Not only do tangling wires provide an unpleasant display, but they can also result in severe damages to your gear.

Cables generally tangle themselves to relieve some tension, which is an attempt at maintaining durability. Typically, spots with tangled wires accumulate dust, create a mess, and shorten any equipment’s reach. This issue is not something only happening on headphones but every piece of audio equipment.

Stop Spinning The Cables

Notice how you typically wear and remove headphones when using them. It’s common to spin the equipment without paying attention, which eventually tangles the wires. Generally, when lifting the headphone off their place, be it for wearing or removing them, you turn them sideways without noticing; when this happens constantly, it builds up enough cable rotation for the wires to be tangled.

This curling and twisting can also be an outcome of adjusting the headphone. On everyday use, we might re-adjust a mistakenly-weared headphone, causing it to twist naturally.

Furthermore, the wire-curling issue is more common to earbuds, especially when you keep them in the pocket. I’m sure everybody has at least once found earbuds mysteriously twist in unnatural ways inside a bag, tangling themselves so much that they almost create a blind knot.

The ideal course of action on outer-ear headphones is to set a perfect place for them to sit whenever you’re not using them. The setting needs to give you an organized sense of direction. For instance, if you buy a headphone stand, the gear will have an appropriate position to lay at while offering visual reference to its correct placement.

This solution for headphones must be accompanied by efforts in organizing the headphone’s positioning both on the stand and head. Monitor any twisting movement with the equipment, and avoid over-adjusting it.

If the headphone’s wires inevitably twist, run your finger along its cord in such a way that the cable’s shape returns to its original form. Apply force and make sure the wire is curling back to its natural state.

A practical solution for inner-ear headphones or earbuds is to store them in fit cases or carry bags. There are many cheap and reliable earbuds cases on the internet, which you can browse.

A modern approach that audiophiles can make in the earbuds field is to get wireless gear. Models such as the Sony WF-1000XM4 and the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 make the need for wires trivial. Both models also come with convenient cases.

Fold the cables correctly.

This is a segment of the “Stop Spinning The Cables” section. Since most HiFi audio equipment requires out-of-ordinary wires to conduce electricity information, audiophiles must know some ways to keep these cables intact carefully.

There are different methods for folding cables, and we’ll feature some exciting ones that you will benefit from learning.

  • Over-under coiling: A technique known as “over-under” cable folding enables correct cable coiling. The trick in this technique is to alternate between a regular and twisted coil while coiling the wire. You can see it step-by-step in this illustrative video. An extra educative video might also help´.
  • “Tug” method: Another coiling technique, which I call the “tug” method, enables quick folding for earbuds wires. However, as you can see in this helpful video, the handy technique can assist any wire-coiling. In short, you’ll need to loop the cord regularly until about 10-inches are left to coil up. The remaining part of the process is to curl the rest of the wires cross-wise.
  • Use things to assist you: By taking advantage of rubber bands, velcro, and duct tape, you can curl any earbuds or wires to a shape and permanently bind it with these valuable items.

With these methods, I’m confident any audiophile reading the article will get exciting results. However, please pay extra attention to the tightness of the wrap. When wrapping a headphone cord too tight, the action will likely cause damage over time to the headphone’s wires.

The last thing you want is to abuse your headphone’s wires. Therefore, avoid bending, twisting, and wrapping the cords with too much force.

Optimize The Room

There are always ways to customize the room to serve as an ideal setting, especially if you dedicate the space for your Hi-Fi audio equipment. As audiophiles, we know that many cables and wires will be present in our home studio, and for organizing them, there are changes one can make.

Wires can tangle with other cables; they can curl up when not fully extended, and they will probably lose durability if positioned in unhealthy ways. An efficient method to treat this is to place the wires on the walls.

Many wire holders can operate efficiently to hold wires where they’ll not make such a mess by fixing them on walls. These helpful tools make it possible for various organizing arrangements while keeping wires in a healthy stance.

A wire holder fixates itself on every wall you assign it to, and they’ll offer a holding part where cables can be positioned. This way, by placing many of them in good order, you can quickly conduct equipment’s cords around the walls.

There are also exciting choices to affect the space’s structure that audiophiles can make. If the budget allows, make some room decisions to fit hardware in a separate, organized way. Allow room for cables and rackets of equipment, and leave some space behind most hardware.

Clear Up Space

It’s vital to offer any HiFi audio equipment an ideal room to breathe. In addition to that, whatever space we use for tech gear, in general, must be clean and tidy. This kind of care is suitable both for headphones and any other equipment lying around.

It’s common to share the same computer for personal use, work purposes, and audio endeavors. Hence, some things that served you in the past, such as a pen and paper, might still be loose around your computer’s desk. This results in accumulation and spatial issues, which impact wires.

Boxes full of random stuff, books, mugs, old cases, and even your wallet can induce your headphone’s wires to enclose themselves and tangle. The space pollution in your desk reduces cable positioning, which in turn makes headphone wires “fight” for territory, ultimately causing twists and curls.

Among many things, an untidy desk will result in messy wires. The excess of dust and other nasty material may cause your headphone cables to have a gluey behavior. Clean your wires to evade nasty oiling up; take special effort to avoid eating/drinking in your audiophile space.

Valorize the space in the room, primarily the desk where your computer and headphones will stay.

Keep Things On The Box

We love our audio equipment, and we usually have a lot of them too. The issue with audio gear is that they and their wires are occupying space when they’re not doing anything. Microphones, speakers, and amplifiers, for example, has as many cables, or even more, as headphones.

If your headphone is in a setting with four more audio hardware that you are not using, then a needless amount of wires is present. When there is an excess of cords, it’s common for them to tangle, curl, and twist by conflicting with each other.

If the headphone’s space shares itself with other audio equipment, it better be with something useful in the moment. Keep unnecessary gear and wires in cases; take them out only when you’ll use them; the same goes for headphones.

To make this advice even more valuable, apply an organizational structure inside the box where you keep your wires. It’s highly typical for cables to create a tangle fest inside the box where they’re kept. This results in a time-consuming activity of separating cords when you need them.

To avoid the issue mentioned above from happening, place paper roll inner cones inside a sizeable box in such a way that they create a dozen or more sections. For a more oversized cable, create a segment in the box by gluing cardboard to its walls.

To illustrate this, please see this image of a well-sectioned wire box.

Separate Hardware

There are handy tools to aid audiophiles in keeping their hardware in an ideal setting. The messy placement of audio equipment can quickly cause wires to tangle.

Some racks and shelves provide separation and support for organizing the valuable HiFi equipment in your home studio. Manufacturers like Salamander Designs have exciting modular open stands particularly fit for electronic equipment.

In addition to that, some racks offer helpful adjustments. For example, Salamander Archetype 3.0 Three Shelf Audio Rack is adjustable. Another reliable stand that has strong points on weight capacity while still being affordable is the Walker Edison Everest Multilevel Component Stand. The Walker Edison stand features a decent weight capacity, but it may not be 100% trustworthy for massively heavy equipment.

Furthermore, like everything in the audiophile niche, racks for organizing hardware also have a DIY version. And we’ll share four models of shelf that anyone can make in their home. The models will contain a link with an in-depth explanation.

  • DIY TNT FleXy Table – TNT Audio: This model provides as many flexible shelves as you want. This rack isolates hardware adequately while still being an on-budget solution.
  • Flexy Rack Thread: A attractive model that uses plywood and is highly customizable. The link contains a thread with pictures and processes of making one.
  • Easy Flexy Rack: Easy to build and conveniently low cost. This model is an outstanding option for the flexy rack with an inner tube, a drill, some MDF, and a highly detailed step-by-step process (which you’ll find in the link).
  • Interpretation Of The Flexy Rack: This version of the flexy rack upstands itself for its visual and spacious display. Its versatility makes it fantastic for any audiophile studio.

By understanding the importance of racking your audio gear or organizing them on ideal shelves, you’ll recognize the importance of investing in separating hardware.

Use Fewer Wires

Headphone wires often join in at the party when a tangle of audio cables happens. One of the ways to avoid this cord meetup from happening is to reduce their numbers. Since headphones don’t typically allow for reducing their cord number, other hardware can provide this option.

A “snake” is a handy instrument for solving this problem. Snakes, or stage snakes, are what audiophiles popularly call an audio multi-connector extension. These are optimal for using a single cord with various connectors while plugging multiple wires into a single, organized stage box.

Models can vary; some will offer eight channels, while others 12, 16, 24, and even 32. Many manufacturers are offering exciting lines of snakes. For example, “Audiophile” creates industry-standard snakes; the products may not be top-of-the-game level but are highly reliable.

For attractive alternatives, check Elite Core Audio’s snake line called Perseus. They use Neutrik connectors, IP-rated stage boxes, plus they allow customers to brand the product with any logo.

Other professional options include Whirlwind, RapcoHorizon, ProCo. A valuable piece of advice is to observe Neutrik and Whirlwind connectors for both fan and boxes.

However, when browsing through snakes, a helpful piece of advice is to buy a few more than needed perpetually. For instance, if you’re thinking about getting an 8×4, consider purchasing a 12×4 instead. When in doubt between a 12 or 16×4, go for the latter. 

Furthermore, do not apply this for cable length. The goal here is to avoid wire-tangling; more cable means more opportunities for the issue to happen. Take appropriate measures and choose the exact cord size you’ll need in your room.

Place the snake box strategically in the studio and out of the headphone’s reach, prioritizing the intuitive positioning of all your gear safely.

See Ideal Wires

Not only wires but also ideal headphones. Any wire-tangling problem that conventional headphones create quickly disappears using wireless versions of the same gear. The only inconvenience with those will be charging them, which is not that big of a deal.

The Sennheiser Rs 120 li – Nf E Gtia is reliable and provides high-quality sounds for the wireless option. An even higher quality outer-ear wireless headphone is the Sennheiser Momentum 3. Still, their CX 400BT earphone on the Sennheiser brand provides a wireless alternative for the inner-ear gear.

However, many audiophiles do not rely blindly on wireless alternatives for HiFi headphones, so it is essential to know the tangles aspect of different wires. It is crucial to choose the cord type the studio’s equipment will feature, regardless of headphones. A typical standoff is when choosing between flat vs. round cables.

Generally, thin-braided cables do not tangle. Furthermore, flat wires can’t be worn over the ear and usually curl up and twist more often. For flat cords, an efficient way to avoid tangle is by reducing the flexibility on their wide axis. For braided cables, the flexibility should reduce itself in general to prevent entanglement.

The braided cable alternative will present itself more often on earbuds. Models such as the Symphonized MTRX Genuine Wood Braided Earbuds offer excellent performance and higher resistance to tangle.

However, braided cables, even when providing minor curling and twisting capacity, do present some critical flaws. A flat wire commonly features a thicker appearance, seen in Mogami and Canare products, and has fabulous inner-shielding. Inner-shielding is vital for sound quality, durability, and correct electrical conduct.

However, by sticking to braided cables, remember to keep them in boxes when they’re not used since they are fragile.

Some people go even further by braiding the inner lines on the headphone’s cables with DIY methods; the result is highly pleasant-looking. Not only is it visually attractive, but this approach also makes wires less likely to tangle, which is the main goal here. Check out this example of DIY braided Hifiman cables.

Júlio Roque

Júlio is an audio producer and sound designer. His experience and knowledge of audio and music drive him to write exciting articles related to plugins, hardware, and general audiophile gear.

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