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Should single-side headphone cables come out of the left or right earpiece?

Historically, on single-sided headphones, the cord comes out of the left earpiece. I've always assumed it is so that right-handed people are less likely to get tangled up in the cable as they write. Well, the folks at NOCS have released a new on-ear headphone (NS700 Phaser) with the cable coming out of the right earpiece. I've heard through the grapevine that they claim it's because right-handed people can more easily get to the remote controls that way.

Part of me wants to tell NOCS to sit down in the boat and put the cable on the left where it belongs. Part of me thinks their reasoning is sound. Part of me thinks it just doesn't matter. But the biggest part of me just doesn't know what to think. What do you think?

Oh, and being left-handed I feel kinda jilted.

Should single-side headphone cables come out of the left or right earpiece?
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COMMENTS
FLAudioGuy's picture

It seems to me IIRC that most 'phones & buds that sport controls/mic offer it on the right earpiece. Since the majority of humans are "righties" this makes sense. But for control-less units, why not the left side, does it really matter? Perhaps an argument can be made for either wiring case. I would think that people get familiar with the feeling of a wire dangling down on one side a majority of the time and will feel odd about it being occasionally on the opposite side? To each their own, I guess.

Regardless the "exit strategy", the product looks quite nice to me. I wonder how it sounds, especially the BA unit. Cheers!

KikassAssassin's picture

As a right-handed person, I prefer having the volume control on the left side, so I can adjust the volume with my left hand while I'm doing something else that requires more dexterity (writing, using my phone, using my computer mouse, etc) with my right hand.

Of course, even if the cord is coming out of the right side of the headphone, I can easily reach across and adjust it with my left hand anyway, so I don't think it's really a big deal.

Double-A's picture

That is a good point actually . . . I didn't think of that.

johnjen's picture

What about both sides (HD800)?

JJ

Tyll Hertsens's picture
Silly boy, did you read the title? :)
Headphone Junkie's picture

Don't earbuds have the control talk on the RIGHT side. So I guess it DOESN'T matter.

dalethorn's picture

Isn't there already a major brand that has a detachable cable that can be inserted into either side (jacks on both sides)? I prefer double side for minimum wiring and equal length wires to the drivers, but I prefer single side for convenience, so I'm hoping more mfr's will give assurance with single-side cables that they're addressing those concerns.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
I think the Skullcandy MMM has connectors on both sides. And the Sennheiser Amperior/HD25 series have the cable on the right, but I think they do it because that model has an option of a boom mike that mounts to the same place as the cable, and boom mike traditionally go on the left so the cable ends up on the right.
kmj2587's picture

The PSB M4U 2 also allows you to plug the cable into either side.

Tony Wang's picture

hmm, HMD-25 has cable on the left
so,maybe it's more convenient for DJs to have the cables on the right?

The Monkey's picture
I'm pretty sure Phiaton had one, too (or soon will). I think it's a good idea. EDIT: I believe the Phiaton Bridge, due in September, will have the option of either ear piece.
Double-A's picture

I think that you should be able to plug in the cable to either earpiece as some people are righties and others are lefties.

SAS's picture

The PSB M4U 2 lets you connect to either side.

bikermanlax's picture

I wear dress shirts (and some T-shirts) with a pocket on the left. Easier for the excess cord to go into my pocket if it comes out the left side.

Speakerphile's picture

I think you are missing one major option, which is, both. Shouldn't any single-sided headphone be switchable? It would seem like the best way to appeal to the widest audience, no? I am left handed for most things, but right for others. I would probably go back and forth depending on the activity.

NA BLur's picture

To me it really does not matter as long as the Left/Right sense is well labeled. So many headphones either do not label Left/Right or have done so in a way that makes it hard to find. I do not want a small L or R on my headphone. I want a very easy to read and large L/R something on the order of type 36 font. If the letter is too large for the surface then the letter needs to be as large as possible and the right earpiece colored red if possible. I like the red is for right pneumonic.

Ideally there should be a connector on both earpieces and the cable should be detachable.

FLAudioGuy's picture

I can concur with either side in this debate. My initial comment was based on earbuds (e.g. Apple, Sony, UE, others) and not specifically on headphones. I suppose I should have understood the question better but didn't realize that "home audio" genre headphones would have controls a la "portable" genre. Now, as to headphones with no controls, I think it really comes down to what feels "natural" to a specific individual. Not that homo sapiens walks around with headphones on in a natural state?

From an electrical/time/space/galactic/continuum standpoint, there is no "real" benefit to having 2 wires, being, one wire of equal length to each driver. I think rather, that the high-end phone business necessarily caters to some mythology, as perhaps rightly it should to make sales of über-expensive audio toys. Remember, these are not brown goods. They are, ultimately, toys. And it surely looks nice to have a couple Lemo®-esque connectors terminating the cables, yes, indeed. I love the Senn HD800/700 & Audez'e LCD-2/3's. We should want our high-end cans to look every bit expensive that they are.

From a manufacturing standpoint (I have years in audio manufacture from both the OEM and branded viewpoint) I can see some benefit in single sided wiring. I understand a desire for replaceable cables but I usually just solder in my own if need be (of original manufacture style). Of all the headphones I have owned, I think maybe 3 in 20 years or so have needed to be replaced only because I broke them, not of any fault of their own. For my IEM's, yes, I have had to replace cables several times. Some get sweat damage after a while of performing use and some get tweaked a bit too hard, others got stupidly crushed under foot. LOL, please laugh with me too if it ever happened to you :) Cheers!

warrenpchi's picture

The cable (along with any/all controls) should be (and rightly is) on the left side PRECISELY because there are more right-handed people in the world.

IMO, this is an example of NOCS not thinking far enough ahead.  While they are correct in understanding that a greater number of people are right-handed, they have erred in assuming that most of us have shortened and stubby right arms.  We're human, not T-Rex, and thus our arm segments do have considerable length.

If controls were to be placed on a cable dangling off the right side, all right-handed people would have a harder time reaching them.  Forearms would have to be bent to more acute angles, elbows may have to swing out/back, and wrists may have to bend unnaturally depending on the height at which the controls are placed on the cable.

This results in motions that are less comfortable, less ergonomic, and most importantly less efficient.

So IMO, I think that:  (A) having the cable on the left is important (at least to right-handers like myself); (B) NOCS's reasoning, while well-intentioned, is decidedly unsound; and (C) I agree with everyone above that suggested an ambidexterous single-entry solution so that my sinister bretheren are not left at a disadvantage.

Tyll Hertsens's picture

First, I think your ergonomic assessment is correct. Second, 13 internet points for the proper use of "sinister" regarding us left-handers.

Mua ha ha ha ha ha! laugh

warrenpchi's picture

myself . . . but then realized why it would be a bad idea a few milliseconds later.  smiley

I do appreciate the general sense of concern on NOCS's part, but there's something to be said for why some things are the way they are.

Interestingly enough, the word sinister (Latin origins I believe) didn't start out with a negative connotation.  IIRC, I think that slant arose in popular Western thought because of alchemical-pseudo-boffins sometime during the dark ages.  Still, its about time that we all considered ergonomics for left-handers as well (I mean, it's not like aren't capable on a technological level).

FWIW, I'm still a fan of dual-entry myself, but then again I'm weird like that.  cheeky

XVII's picture

I am always glad to try something new. So let's move it to the right)

Lunatique's picture

The best solution, is to allow the user to choose. You know how some headphones allow you to pull out the cable connector from the headphone? Simply allow the user to plug the cable into whichever side they want. Problem solved.

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