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-   -   How-to: Recabling the CrossRoads MylarOne X3i and XBi (and other IEMs) (http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum/showthread.php?t=24771)

dfkt 01-13-2008 01:33 PM

How-to: Recabling the CrossRoads MylarOne X3i and XBi (and other IEMs)
Build quality of the CrossRoads MylarOne X3i and XBi is nothing short of pathetic. Cheapest materials used, and no quality control whatsoever. Yes, they sound amazingly good for a $60 phone, but that's no fun if they crap out after a few days or weeks.


The cable is an awful tube of stiff plastic with two painted wires inside. The outer tubing is not molded to the wires inside, but can move around freely. I've never seen a cable as bad as that. There's also no strain relief of any sort - just the outer tube glued to the little ball on the earphone. This little ball is a very sorry excuse for a strain relief. Furthermore, which is extremely important for a sturdy cable strain relief - the cable is not knotted inside the earphone housing, just the bare wires hanging loosely around in the shell.

Take a sharp knife, pry those hunks of junk open, and take a look for yourself.



See? No strain relief at all...

I've taken the far superior cable of an old version XB (not XBi) to put on the X3i. Nothing to de-isolate, the cables are simply painted. Remove the outer tubing and burn the paint off the cable tips with a soldering iron.


De-solder the old cables and clean the glue residue out of the housing (at the silver connections as well as at the cable entry hole).


Now solder the good cables onto the speaker drivers. Remember which earphone is left and right, and also which cable is the ground and the signal. Also make sure to slip the back part of the housing onto the cable before soldering!


Next you make the strain relief knot inside the housing - the most important part in prolonging the life span of the phones! How CrossRoads could release phones without that knot on the cable is absolutely insane...


Before you glue the housing together, make sure there's sound on both earphones, and the left and right signals are correct.

Take some good glue for the housing (not the wimpy crap CrossRoads uses). I use two component epoxy glue, that should last a lifetime. I put it in a vice, very carefully of course, to let it dry.


Voila, much better than new! Good thing I also got rid of the X3i's awful tiny 3.5mm plug in the process, and back to the proper one of the old X3/XB versions.


Alex91 01-13-2008 02:58 PM

Too bad I don't have an Xb.

dfkt 01-13-2008 03:01 PM

Use any cable from some other cheap phone... :rolleyes:

And please stop posting these one-liners in all these threads if you have nothing useful to contribute.

Alex91 01-13-2008 03:12 PM

ok fine
I guess I'll use stock headphones in that case. If they end up breaking on me once I get them of course

Xenodius 01-13-2008 03:33 PM

Question; will I notice any difference in SQ if I use a standard (not gold-plated) jack from another pair of phones?

I don't really have anything better than a set of HP buds atm, and those have inline volume control-- and considering I notice a slight difference in SQ (mostly it pans slightly to left or right channel) I don't want to use those or cut & solder it out. And I really dont want to butcher the Cresyn buds that come with the D2, I hear they make for a better-than-average backup-- at least, much better than my HP buds.

dfkt 01-13-2008 03:35 PM

No, the only advantage of gold-plated over nickel plugs is that the gold ones don't corrode/oxidize over time. However, I've had no nickel plug ever get "crackly" on me as well, so there should be no difference. Other than that, there is certainly no sound difference at all.

However - an inline volume control most certainly makes the sound worse. Better buy a pair of $1 buds to slaughter, some with a decent cable.

Xenodius 01-13-2008 03:44 PM

Alright, thankyou! I suppose it isn't possible to remove the gold-plated male part of the connector and hook it into another... 'jacket', so that it has a non-iPhone compatible cable that can handle a little punishment?

Actually, for the ones with the inline control, I might just cut the cable off at the volume control since it is 5 feet long and the volume is near the top. I think that would leave me with over 3 feet of cable, just perfect for someone my height! ^.^

Thanks for the advice!

Alex91 01-13-2008 04:32 PM

How does a volume control make sq worse?

dfkt 01-13-2008 04:34 PM

Cheap inferior electronics in the audio signal path.

Alex91 01-13-2008 04:48 PM

ooo so people take convenience over quality.

dfkt 01-14-2008 11:43 AM

Guess I'm on a roll... replaced the awful cheap paper filters with proper metal meshes. It increases treble by a bit - which isn't bad, IMO. There's no increase in sibilance, so all is cool.

Note that the gunk on the nozzle is not ear wax, but the shoddy glue CrossRoads uses. But in the meantime we all know about the build quality...


Removed the paper filters with an exacto knife and cleaned the glue residue off the nozzle.


Used metal meshes from the old version XB, my trusty epoxy glue, and voila... much easier on the eye.


Alex91 01-14-2008 02:22 PM

Wow your camera has some pretty beastly macro.

Xenodius 01-14-2008 04:17 PM

Where would one without an older pair of XB's acquire suitable mesh?

I just received mine about ten minutes ago, OMG they sound amazing right off the bat, I had no idea what I was missing! My 5.1 (!!) headphones still have a slightly better soundstage, but I cant believe all the stuff I am hearing now! But meh, these things are hell on my ears right now, so incredibly tight! I am using the smallest tips and they still ache to the point of stinging within minutes, tried the bi-flange and it was seconds. Might have to order some ultra-small tips.

dfkt 01-14-2008 04:29 PM

Heh, congrats... yeah, they sound damn fine. If that wasn't the case, I wouldn't go through all the trouble modding them. :)

Same with the mesh as with the cable - you might find a suitable cheap phone to gut somewhere in a store or on cheapo sites like Dealextreme or Kaidomain. Those mesh sizes are fairly standard - the V-Moda Vibes use the same mesh, for example. You can also look for something like a mosquito net or similar stuff in a hardware store, and cut a fitting piece for the Mylars. Cutting the metal off some big regular earbuds might also work.

Too bad about the fit... is this your first pair of IEMs? If so, you might get used to the intrusive feeling, it just might take some time. Other than that, the Ultimate Ears foamies fit the Mylars well - you could order some of those from here: http://www.discountheadphones.com/uea.html

Xenodius 01-14-2008 04:40 PM

Yeah, this is the virgin voyage for me. After messing around I think I was inserting them too far, so that the hull of the x3i's were pressing on the outside of my canal. However, they dont look right when I stick them in just enough to hold a good seal-- at which point they certainly feel a little odd, but still quite comfortable. At least in my left ear, I butchered my right ear, I cant stick anything in there for a few hours. How far out do yours stick out? Cause I find my earbuds 'stealthier' than these atm-- when I am wearing them over my ears the cable sticks out quite a bit, and looking straight into a mirror I can see slightly less than half of the housing, like a large 1/3 moon shape. Using the small tips, anyway-- with the bi-flanges, they are ridiculous! The x3i's don't touch my outer ear at all right now.

Oh... and I cant believe how small these things are. I thought they were at least 2 1/2 times larger. My headset weighs like, three pounds, while these things are smaller than a dime and produce better SQ. In stereo, but much better for music. My God, I cant believe it! I have to listen to all my music again! Even with just my left ear it sounds completely new.

Thanks for the advice, btw! I would be SO lost right now without y'all!

dfkt 01-14-2008 04:44 PM



Xenodius 01-14-2008 04:48 PM

Ooooooh...... That would be hell. They don't even go in at that angle in my ears! They stick straight out and downward about 40 degrees.

I have no idea what I am doing! ^.^

I'll just give it a rest and let them burn a bit.

Thanks for the pic, that's exactly what I was looking for. A thousand words ^.^

EDIT: Question, how long did it take you to get those fit like that?

EDIT2: If a q-tip can fit loosely in my ear (only touches one side of the canal at a time, but just barely) then am I just doing something wrong?

PS: Gone for a few

Aardvark 01-14-2008 04:49 PM

Another top mod, I had no idea how down market the build was compared with the older classic XBs.

Would a mesh from fake CX300s also fit? on the earlier fakes, this was just glued over the end of the sound tube?

Also, what happened to the classic XBs that meant they were just donor fodder for the pretty new boys?

dfkt 01-14-2008 04:57 PM


Originally Posted by Xenodius (Post 204690)
Ooooooh...... That would be hell. They don't even go in at that angle in my ears! They stick straight out and downward about 40 degrees.

Ear canals aren't straight. You should try putting them in from an angle - usually from front/face side, to the back of your head. Use some water on the silicon tips or spit on them, nobody's looking! :)

I'm used to IEMs, been using them for almost 4 years now, so it's no issue for me.


Originally Posted by Aardvark (Post 204691)
Would a mesh from fake CX300s also fit? on the earlier fakes, this was just glued over the end of the sound tube?

Also, what happened to the classic XBs that meant they were just donor fodder for the pretty new boys?

I checked my genuine CX300's - the mesh is a little bigger, not quite 1mm more diameter. Should be possible to bend it to fit.

My XB's are still alive and kicking. Enzo sent me his pair of broken ones a long time ago - I sure found the perfect use for them! ;)

Xenodius 01-14-2008 05:41 PM

Okay, I hate to continue to threadjack but I have a question-- When I stick mine in all the way (well moistened and pulling on my ear with my mouth open, and roughly as deep as in your picture dfkt, with the smallest tips) I can only stand about 30 seconds before I have to rip em out. But the weird thing is when I put them in with the cord up, so that I can loop them over my ears, the cord sticks out at nearly a perfect 90. :confused: This makes it *really* hard to loop them over my ears. When I do them that deep downwards like with regular earbuds, I can't even see the main body of the x3i's, just the little bump around the cable where its glued into the housing. Is that just the angle of my canal, or am I putting them in wrong? I wish I could take a picture. I looked over all the tips and stuff for fitting these things long before I even ordered, but gall, they are sure a pickle more than expected.:rolleyes: It think it would be impossible for me to fit them in like you pictured, dfkt.:( Suppose I just need different tips? :mad:

If it wasn't for you I would probably be sending these back in already... But if I gave up now I would regret it later! But jeez, it isn't normal to get a headache from these things is it? Just from fitting, not from music...

If I have to wait longer for more tips I think I'll die ^.^

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