1. Dark Penguin's Avatar
    Most of you are probably familiar with ear buds that feature a button on the cord to skip tracks in the playlist or album, or back up to a previous track. I don't really use the feature much, so I'm not even sure of the procedure involved. IIRC on my current set of Skull Candy ear buds, one click of the button advances to the next track, and a double-click makes it go back to the previous track.

    At this point I need to explain that I like to use right angle adapters, particularly when the jack-end of the ear bud cable goes straight into the top of my phone, i.e. without a built in right angle. At times I have even used two right-angle adapters, as shown here. This comes with a couple of benefits: first, the cover of the carrying case, which I wear at my waist*, can close over the top of the phone without constantly pressing the jack end of the ear bud cord sideways**. Without the adapters, the cord has to go straight in, like this. In the past, I've done this for a couple of reasons. First, look again at the second picture. When the phone is carried upright in a pocket, or in its carrying case, the cord has to go upwards from the jack for a couple of inches, then the weight of it makes it loop downward a foot or so, then the rest of the cord runs upward to my ears. I find this results in an annoying tendency of the cord to spontaneously loop, often around the back side of the carrying case. It also tends to snag easily around any small item I happen to walk past, like a doorknob. The second big reason is that I believe it prolongs the useful life of the ear buds if the cord can hang straight downwards from the point of contact with the phone. Also,if the cord does become twisted when connected this way, it's much easier to untwist when I'm using an adapter. Furthermore, if I'm in a darkened room trying not to disturb someone else while using the phone, the right angle adapters, as shown in the first picture, make it much easier to drape a scarf or other small piece of cloth over the phone, so the light of the screen doesn't spill out all over the room.

    So here's the problem. This type of ear bud will, apparently not work through a right-angle adapter. Instead, it will only play while that little button I talked about is being held down. Take your thumb off that button, and the sound becomes weak and tinny; for instance, if you're listening to music the sounds of all but the most strident instruments and vocals disappear. And it's been the same with any other ear buds that have that button; the brand makes no difference.

    Am I making sense? The more I try to describe the situation, the more difficult to explain and the more pointless it seems to become.

    Is there any generally known reason for this problem, and is there any way to fix it? I know there are ear buds out there that already have a built-in right angle at the jack end, but it's hard enough to find the right ear buds as it is, due to a peculiar set of prerequisites***.


    ETA: Today I had to replace my ear buds again. I picked out a different brand I hadn't seen before****, mainly because they looked all right, and they hit my price point perfectly: modest in price without being so cheap the store wouldn't sell me a 2-year replacement contract. Other than that, I had little to go on as you can't tell what's in the box until you open it, and I knew that the jack-end would have three contact rings because the headset included the usual inline control button. However, to my very pleasant surprise, when I opened the box and removed its contents, I found that a working elbow adapter was included!

    *Yeah, I know carrying cases are dorky, so sue me. Actually I do simply carry the in my pocket sometimes but can't help worrying that one day I'll sit down with it in my back pocket, destroying it.

    **I actually took this carrying case to a shoe repair shop and had them cut out a piece of the cover, to allow it to close down over the top of the phone while the ear bud cord is plugged in.

    ***Needs to fit and remain in ears comfortably, cost around $30, and NOT have a manufacturer replacement plan, because that means I can't use the Best Buy in-store replacement.

    ****They are Urbanears Bagis, and cost around $38 on sale.
    08-17-2012 02:02 AM
  2. Dark Penguin's Avatar
    I found a workaround solution for this problem, and it's so simple that I overlooked it until today. Just by winding a twist-tie around the button and its housing was enough to keep that button permanently in the pressed position. Now my ear buds work through the adapters just fine.

    I used the little black tie that comes with most ear buds, but any similar sort of twist-tie will do.

    ETA I asked about this issue over at Androidforums.com, and I find this reply, by one Ed Vim to be quite helpful and interesting.
    08-22-2012 05:59 PM
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