Wednesday, November 9, 2011

In-Ear Monitor Repair on the Cheap

I am the king of wearing out all kinds of cables: microphone, instrument, power, headphone, network, USB, firewire - you name it. I can't count the number of cables I've destroyed over the years just by using them until they fall apart. I now make most of my cables from scratch, buying cable and connectors in bulk and soldering/crimping them together myself.

Unfortunately some cables are particularly difficult to replace - like the cables for in-ear monitors. I have three sets of Shure monitors of various vintages, and over the years I've had to send them in for repair at least 6 times - every time because the cables went bad. Now this isn't an inditement of Shure quality, as every other brand would likely fare the same given how much I use them, but it's a real pain that I have to send these things in for warranty repair every six months.

Enter Sugru, a moldable soft silicon that cures at room temperature. Here's an article about how someone used it to repair his Shure E4C earphones after running into cable issues, and another article on using Sugru for creating custom ear molds.

When I find cool things like this I immediately start to think, "What else can I use this for?" Things like:
  • Stress relief ends for cables
  • Custom molded bumpers for my guitar tuner
  • Color-coded caps for the knobs on my mixing board
  • Adding grippy-bits to guitar picks
  • Repairing the bridge on my glasses for that extra-nerdy look
  • Fashioning removable Elvis-like sideburns
  • Making snot-balls to gross out my kids

The possibilities are endless. Check out Sugru's site. They have a growing list of user-contributed uses for the product.