# Does the electrical impedance of a headphone depend more on the cable or on the headphone itself?

I'm currently considering buying a defect headphone with a built-in broken cable which would be quite expensive otherwise. I'm quite sure I'm able to solder a new cable onto the headphone to fix it.

My question is the following:
Does the impedance of a headphone noticeably change if I use a cheap standard AUX-chord or does it mainly depend on the internal electronics of the headphone?

• Can you confirm that there is some electronic circuit inside the headphone? This may make a difference. – Andy aka Jul 7 '17 at 17:13
• You don't have to keep the make and model of the headphones secret from us. We promise not to tell anyone who can't see this. – Andrew Morton Jul 7 '17 at 22:27

The impedance of headphones is a function of the headphones themselves, not the cable.

The cable does have a finite resistance, but that is small compared to the impedance of the headphones. Unless the cable is unusually long or thin, the cable is not a issue. A few feet of even thin cable should be fine.

A standard set of headphones has no electronics. The sound is produced by miniature electro-magnetic loudspeakers.

simulate this circuit – Schematic created using CircuitLab

The impedance of the speakers is typically >= 8 Ω and the wiring would be less than one tenth of that for good control of the speakers.

Be careful to get the phasing of the speakers right. If you swap them the sound will be out of phase and will give a weird hole-in-the-middle-of-your-head effect.

In short - the speaker. The cable is usually neglectable in comparison.

The impedance of a headphone or speaker is determined by the speaker. The resistance of the wire has almost nothing to do with the impedance.

There are cases where using the wrong wire or type of wire can cause problems. Most of those involve high power, high frequencies, or high power and high frequencies.