3M Dual Lock and Attaching Your Player to a Portable Headphone Amp Page 2

General Gear Stacking
For me, the greatest advantage of using Dual Lock is being able to use the iPod/iPhone without a rubber band covering some part of the device. The advantage of rubber bands, however, is that they provide some protection for the headphone amp below. In general, my suggestion is to attach the player to the headphone amp with Dual Lock, but leave rubber bands around the amp's front and rear to provide bumpers. As an alternative, 3M also has adhesive rubber feet.

It's worth mentioning at this point, that Dual Lock sticks together much better than Velcro. You need about half the surface area compared to Velcro for the same connecting strength. The two inch strip I used on my HeadAmp Pico Slim is almost too strong for me to separate. That's good, of course, because your gear is secure, but too much of a good thing with Dual Lock is possible.

One of my issues using Velcro solutions in the past has been that when using the player detached from the amp, you have a field of material sticking out from the player's surface. I recently discovered something cool, though: using an Otterbox Defender case on my player, I can cut away the outer silicone cover of the case revealing the inner plastic protective case onto which I can adhere the Dual Lock strip. It is then recessed below the surface of the silicone cover, and sticks out only slightly.

Let me show you ...

Planning and Marking
Every situation will be a little different, so I can't tell you what to plan. I can tell you that you need to plan a bit, however. Once you've figured out what you want to do, cut pairs of Dual Lock strips to the appropriate sizes. Position one of each accurately on the rear of the case, and outline it with a marker.

Once the outlines are marked, place a straight edge on the case aligned with the marks and cut out the silicone back where the Dual Lock strips will go. Be sure not to press too hard and cut into or through the plastic protective case underneath.

Adhere Strips
Once the openings are cut, clean the plastic surface with Windex, alcohol, or some cleaner that won't leave a residue. Pull the backing off a strip and place it in the hole. Press firmly. The adhesive will stick immediately, but takes 72 hours to fully cure.

Placing Dual Lock on the Headphone Amp
Once all Dual Lock strips are adhered to the player, attach the second strip of each pair to their respective strip already attached to the player. Clean the amp surface. Remove adhesive backing. Carefully position the player over the amp, and then press firmly into place. This will insure the strips are perfectly positioned on the amp.

(If you look carefully, you can see that I've cut my attaching strips because I didn't plan well enough to leave room for the rubber bands. Again, planning is important here.)

At this point it is best to leave the player attached to the amp for a couple of days. If you try to remove the player from the amp before the adhesive cures, you might pull off the strips from the amp or player before separating the Dual Lock.

Finished Attachement
Here's my system with the iPod Touch Dual Locked to the Cypher Labs Algorithm Solo DAC, which I've rubber banded to my Todd the Vinyl Junkie TTVJ Slim Headphone amp. The red bands hold the amp and DAC together, and protect the TTVJ Slim when I place it on a surface. The black bands hold the two apart so they don't rub on each other.

The advantage here is I can remove and replace the iPod quickly and easily for other uses, and I don't have any rubber bands covering the iPod. The iPod is also easily usable on its own and the Dual Lock doesn't extend above the surface of the silicone cover by much, and it does not snag on clothing like the "hook" field of Velcro might.

The disadvantage here is that this system won't fit in your pocket. The one on the next page will, however ....

3M Center
St. Paul, MN 55144-1000

4nradio's picture

Thanks for these do-it-yourself tips, Tyll.

I wasn't aware of the 3m Dual Lock product but have used Radioshack "Superlock" strips for years. It is very similar to 3M's offering and may be easier for some folks to find. It is RS catalog #64-2360 and costs $3.99 for two 1" x 3" strips. You certainly don't need to use much due to its high tensile stength. Like with 3M it is also best to let the sticky-backed adhesive set for a couple of days before pulling the gear apart.

13mh13's picture

Luv da way TH *strains* to SNAP the DualLock'd pieces apart. Good thing he has those $$$ OtterBox ... uh ... "strain reliefs" LOL!!!

I have a horror story about using the death-grip-like DualLock (Radio Shack variety) ... resulted in cracking an iPod PERMANENTLY out of commission. But that gave the person an excuse to buy a HiFi-Man DAP. The 3M-HiFIMan conspiracy! LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But Descarte's Evil Demon would wear the High-end-audio-journalist's horned baseball cap ... and say:
"Highly Recommended"


"Be of Sound Mind", folks.

metalsonata's picture

I wanna know what all that stuff is strapped to the poor bloke above. Looks like some sort of cyberpunk nightmare.

Tyll Hertsens's picture
That's Si Burning, and yes he did regularly wear that rig around Manhattan. Left to right is: a gel cell battery pack; the gray tube is spare batteries for the CD player; the CD player above; then a pouch holding an iRiver IHP hard drive player with digital out; then I think he has a HeadRoom Portable Micro Amp w/DAC under the player in the bag. The iRiver remote is clipped to the strap.
metalsonata's picture

...pretty much the only thing I can say about that rig. Imagine trying to get something that looks like that through airport security today.

13mh13's picture

Some of the now-CLASSIC Stereophile ads -- ca. early/mid 90s -- were not much ... uh ... "worse". BETTER IMHO ... those had character.
Now ... yawnsville and totally UNmemorable.
Technological "improvements" = miniaturization + form-factor-"improvement". Now, folks can stick their iPods in their Fruit-of-the-Loom DRAFTS ... and walk around LOOKING totally normal ;)
No more individuality -- everybody's off the same assembly line. Same song, different day. Work with me on this, folks.
Speaking of underwear + normal ... how far would YOU go to for your company ...

Merck's picture

Wow that stuff really seems to work very well. I will definitely keep this article in mind when I build an awesome portable rig with the CLAS.

CarlSeibert's picture

They marketed this stuff to photographers as far back as the eighties. I have strobes from back then with patches of "PhotoLok" to hold slaves and they still work fine.

My laptop dock at work is held together with about 2 square inches of it and it's not going anywhere.

Believe Tyll when he says you have to plan for the thickness.

allmotor91's picture

Did you make those short iPhone to amp connectors or can you buy them? Awesome write up about it. Love the DIY stuff.

mikemercer's picture

You can buy those LOD cables (cables coming from the iPod/iPhone) from ALO, or Moon Audio, Whiplash Audio makes them as well!

GREAT write-up as always Mr. Hertsens!!