How to Store Headphones & Cables for Optimal Performance
Tips and tricks to prevent damage and maintain a long lifespan
You want something to last? Take good care of it.
You've made an investment in your audio gear: high fidelity isn't cheap. That being said, here are some pro tips in how to store you gear when you aren't using it to protect your investment and keep it working like new day after day.
The number-one failure point in cables is at the headphone connector. After all, it's the part of the cable that see's the most action. Plugging in, pulling out, twisting, etc. Over time, with normal wear and tear, it's only natural that moving or disconnecting parts will degrade. However, being mindful of the force being used and storing them in non-stressed positions, you can dramatically increase their lifespan.
When storing headphone away in a case, it's always a good idea to disconnect the cable (if they are detachable) and neatly coil them.
Depending on the cable, there are specific industry-standard ways of storing your cables. We say "industry-standard" because these are proven ways to relieve the stress on the wires, allowing them to coil and lay naturally. We'll go over the two main cable types for our purposes here: over or on-ear headphone cables and IEM (in-ear monitor) cables.
For larger headphone cables (over/on-ears) most people use a technique called the Over-Under. This is especially useful for longer cables to prevent them from tangling when unwinding after storage also. To do this, twist the cable in one direction to create the first coil, then un-twist the cable to make the next coil, and repeat this step until the cable is neatly coiled in its entirety. It takes a bit of practice, but most importantly it protects the wiring inside from unnecessary twisting.
Coiling IEM cables are a bit different because the cable is much thinner and delicate (in some cases). To safely coil your IEM cable, place the amp connector in the palm of your hand facing you. Next, wrap the cable around your hand away from your body and coil the cord flat without twisting it. The cable should coil on itself in its natural looping pattern. You can see a video of this being done on our In Ear Monitor Connection Guide.
If storing your headphones on a stand, either with the cable in or detached, fully retract the headband to prevent any additional tension on the ear cup from the headband. Tilt the cups forward also so that the attached cables are not resting on the table or bottom of the stand at a 90-degree angle. If storing your headphones on a hanger, drape the cable over with the headband and allow the cable to hang lower than the cups, again, minimizing the stress and tension on the connectors.
Kinks are a sign of internal damage and are a direct result of improper cable storage or usage. The wires inside are still susceptible to being damaged cause by bending or twisting, so anything you can do to minimize that over time the better.
With proper care, even well-used cables can last decades. Some of our demo cables are 14 years old. Your cables are just as important in your signal chain as your other gear - so be sure to treat them with the same care. Take care of them and they will take care of you (and save you money from needing to buy replacements).
If you have any questions about cable or headphone storage please leave a comment below. We want your Dragon Cables to last a lifetime, along with the rest of your high fidelity gear! Happy listening!