Buying headphones, need longer cord, for extension is 3.5mm or usb better?

alpharalpha

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I've read that the 3.5mm extension cables can fry a can when the connectors jiggle around, don't know if that's true but I use usb extension cords for my gaming controllers and they fit in snuggly so seem like that'd be the better option, though I'm a lot more limited in finding headphones with usb compared to 3.5mm, what do you think between the two extensions?
 

Zeoclang

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How far do you need to go? I have a 15' Monoprice 3.5mm extension. It has been used for tv/headphone and pc/speaker connections for years and never gave me a problem.
 

B00nie

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I've read that the 3.5mm extension cables can fry a can when the connectors jiggle around, don't know if that's true but I use usb extension cords for my gaming controllers and they fit in snuggly so seem like that'd be the better option, though I'm a lot more limited in finding headphones with usb compared to 3.5mm, what do you think between the two extensions?
You've read wrong. It may sound nasty but is in no way dangerous to the headphones with one caveat: If your computer PSU leaks 1/2 of the mains voltage to the chassis, it's possible that with bad luck your cans will get subjected to 55/110V depening on your local voltage if the 3,5mm jack touches the chassis and ground. But the scratchy sounds by themselves are not dangerous. Surprisingly many audio devices use floating ground which means that ground currents can (and will) travel through the signal cables. You can test this yourself by placing your finger between the signal cable connector and the amp. Chances are you'll feel pulsing electrocuting feeling. That's the ground current.
 

GotNoRice

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I use a 3.5mm extension cable for a number of headphones, such as my Sony MDR-XB700 headphones, which have a very short cable. It's never been an issue.

3.5mm vs USB is opening up a can of worms. 3.5mm means something else is powering your headphones and sending that output power over the cable to your passive headphones, similar to the way most speakers are powered when connected to a receiver. With USB, the headphones are powering themselves, with a built-in DAC and headphone amplifier. I prefer the former, as that gives you the chance to use a good DAC and a good headphone amplifier. With USB headphones, you end up with headphones that contain a built-in mediocre DAC and mediocre amp, along with the resulting extra weight.
 

Zepher

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I use a 3.5mm extension cable for a number of headphones, such as my Sony MDR-XB700 headphones, which have a very short cable. It's never been an issue.

3.5mm vs USB is opening up a can of worms. 3.5mm means something else is powering your headphones and sending that output power over the cable to your passive headphones, similar to the way most speakers are powered when connected to a receiver. With USB, the headphones are powering themselves, with a built-in DAC and headphone amplifier. I prefer the former, as that gives you the chance to use a good DAC and a good headphone amplifier. With USB headphones, you end up with headphones that contain a built-in mediocre DAC and mediocre amp, along with the resulting extra weight.
My Sennheiser headphones have 3.5mm that plug into the Sennheiser USB dongle/cable. with my setup I could use either a 3.5mm extension or USB extension.
 

Ebernanut

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There's nothing wrong with using a 3.5mm extension. I have a 15-20 ft one I've been using for years to watch TV late at night without issue, just make sure it has decent shielding for longer runs.

If you don't already have headphones you should consider whether you want a built in mic, stereo or surround, what quality level(price), and what sort of DAC/headphone amp you have in your PC. If you want a mic or surround you'll probably want to look at a USB headset and if you just want stereo with no mic you'll get more for your money and have a much higher ceiling on quality with standard headphones but might need a better DAC/headphone amp to properly utilize better headphones.

If you were using a USB DAC with a 3.5mm jack and needed to extend the overall length I would probably pick based on whether I wanted the dongle with the jack sitting closer to me or the PC. Outside of that consideration I would lean towards extending the USB side since in a digital connection like USB slight interference won't be noticeable but it might be on an analog connection.
 

alpharalpha

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There's nothing wrong with using a 3.5mm extension. I have a 15-20 ft one I've been using for years to watch TV late at night without issue, just make sure it has decent shielding for longer runs.

If you don't already have headphones you should consider whether you want a built in mic, stereo or surround, what quality level(price), and what sort of DAC/headphone amp you have in your PC. If you want a mic or surround you'll probably want to look at a USB headset and if you just want stereo with no mic you'll get more for your money and have a much higher ceiling on quality with standard headphones but might need a better DAC/headphone amp to properly utilize better headphones.

If you were using a USB DAC with a 3.5mm jack and needed to extend the overall length I would probably pick based on whether I wanted the dongle with the jack sitting closer to me or the PC. Outside of that consideration I would lean towards extending the USB side since in a digital connection like USB slight interference won't be noticeable but it might be on an analog connection.
It's going to be for my young child's bday along with the headset; extension is mostly so he can sit on his bed and watch shows without having to use the loud speakers (adjacent bedrooms etc.) We currently don't allow him to use voice chat so mic isn't super important; guess going forward would be practical to have but for the price point not necessary. The PC is an older XPS Studio which has integrated 7.1 with THX TruStudio don't know how that competes with usb but seems like the onboard audio would be better, though like you said the interference might be less with digital. My issue with the 3.5 is it seems an issue where eventually one of the channels stop working, I've read that this is due to the female connector and with analog this is a bigger deal. I suppose could tape it to secure the connection. Trying to find decent entry level usb headsets is really limiting my choices compared to 3.5mm.
 

Ebernanut

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It's going to be for my young child's bday along with the headset; extension is mostly so he can sit on his bed and watch shows without having to use the loud speakers (adjacent bedrooms etc.) We currently don't allow him to use voice chat so mic isn't super important; guess going forward would be practical to have but for the price point not necessary. The PC is an older XPS Studio which has integrated 7.1 with THX TruStudio don't know how that competes with usb but seems like the onboard audio would be better, though like you said the interference might be less with digital. My issue with the 3.5 is it seems an issue where eventually one of the channels stop working, I've read that this is due to the female connector and with analog this is a bigger deal. I suppose could tape it to secure the connection. Trying to find decent entry level usb headsets is really limiting my choices compared to 3.5mm.
It's hard to say for sure without more info but I would guess it uses a mid-range Realtek audio chip and likely has no real headphone amp to speak of. In that case you'd probably get better audio from most USB headsets since they would be properly powered but I also wouldn't want them too powerful for a kid unless you can trust them to not crank it to 11. If you do get regular headphones make sure that they're efficient, anything meant for low power devices like phones and mp3 players should be fine but stay away from anything that's advertised as high impedance.

I wouldn't worry about a particular type of connection going bad, a sturdy 3.5mm jack can withstand a lot of abuse while a flimsy USB port can be easily damaged(or vice versa) and the same goes for cables, the actual connectors rarely go bad. I suppose it is more likely that they skimped on the headphone jack though since everyone uses USB and there's likely also more backup ports for USB if one gets damaged.
 
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