Mitchell & Johnson MJ2 Headphonessearch

Mitchell & Johnson MJ2 Headphones

Mitchell & Johnson MJ2 Headphones

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I would really like clarification from MJ about how the stock cable is wired at the headphone cup. There is no mention on the MJ website about the cable; they don't even state the length of the cable. Massdrop only quotes what the manufacturer tells them and doesn't provide any specs about the cable. The only way I learned that the cable may not be wired in the 'normal' manner on the cup end is thru reading reviews and reading here in this discussion. I sent an email to MJ Sunday night asking for clarification and a wiring diagram but have not received a response. I have some aftermarket cables that I either made or purchased and I would like to know if they will work with the MJ2 when I receive it.

I don't understand what MJ was trying to accomplish with their cable that supposedly allows you to plug the cable into the cups without worrying about which plug is left or right and still have the proper channels connected. Someone said the idea is that you can plug the cable in in the dark and not have to worry that the channels are correct and not possibly reversed. But the phones themselves are labeled L and R, so you would have to be able to see the phones before you put them on to get them properly oriented. So it seems to me you would orient the phones and orient the cables that should also be marked L and R and then you can turn out the lights and all is well. It seems to me that MJ was trying to address a 'problem' that really doesn't need to be addressed with their unorthodox cable wiring.

So, if the stock cable is wired as stated in the post below with the L channel as tip/sleeve and the R channel as ring/sleeve, then no aftermarket cable is going to work. You will need to have a cable wired only for the MJ2. It may be possible to open up the cups and rewire the wires from the connector to the drivers to match your cable but I hope that's not the case. Maybe someone here who already has the MJ2 and has only used the stock cable can check the continuity from the cup connectors to the amp plug and tell us how the cable is wired. Would be nice to know this before the phones arrive so I can possibly be prepared with a balanced cable using a 4-pin Neutrik connector on the amp end.

Of course it would be ideal if MJ would respond and clarify this. As I said above, an email to them thru their website asking for clarification4 days ago has not elicited a response.
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dpump
I know nothing about these headphones, but the monoprice M560 has a design that sounds like what might be used here: the cable is a y-cable with identical stereo plugs going to both cups. The left cup only plays the left channel, and the right cup only plays the right channel. So it doesn't matter which plug goes to which cup -- you could do it in the dark.

You could still make a balanced cable for a headphone that is wired this way, but you would have to mark the cable L and R, since there the two channels do not share a common ground.
HappyMax
That's right. You only have to pay attention at the earcups. Left earcup at the left ear and right earcup at the right ear and it's automatic ok !
Apologies for a long post. I have always wanted an Electrostatic headphone. Loved the MJ2 for the portability and cost. I’ve been on a major balanced headphone trip recently, so I talked to David Choy at Triton Audio Cables about a balanced cable for the MJ2. He had the foresight to say that they were new to him and that he needed to test the polarity of the headphone terminals first. So, I had the cans shipped to him direct. He was right. The polarity was unusual. So, David customised the balanced cable for the MJ2.

When I received it and plugged it in, this happened: (excerpts from my email to him). “Got the shipment with the MJ2. Need to pick your brains. Something strange with the MJ2 cable. When I plugged it into the headphones I heard nothing. I checked the connection and the settings in the Onkyo DP-X1. I thought maybe the TRRS scheme in the DAP balanced-in was unusual, just like you had said the MJ2 connection was. When I couldn’t get a peep out of the DAP, I thought maybe the headphone was kaput. I used the native unbalanced MJ2 cable. Great sound! I listened for some time and decided to reconnect with your cable. Lo and behold, amazing sound! I listened for a long time. The audio was wonderful. Later, I reconnected the native cable through a headphone amp. This is a hungry headphone. After sometime, back to your balanced cable. No sound again. Change to different cable, sounding fine. Back to your balanced cable, great sound again. I went through this experiment several times with the same result each time. I’m flummoxed.
Clearly your cable is fine.
But why is this happening? When used with a balanced cable, does it have trouble functioning? Anyway, when it works, your cable sounds fantastic”.

These were David’s replies:
1. “When I tested the original cable, I noticed that the headphone knows which is left and right and it doesn't matter which one is plugged into the left or right, the sound somehow comes out of the correct channel. I guess that's why the stock 3.5mm headphone end connectors aren't labeled L/R like most cables. Just now, I found this information that describes the issue completely: "The MJ2 do have left & right indicated on the inside of the headband, near the earcups. As you mention, the cables aren’t marked. This drove me crazy until discovering they don’t need to be! Mitchell & Johnson did something brilliant. They ran the left and right channel to both earcups using a 3.5mm trs plug. The internal female connector is only wired for the correct channel. There’s no way to plug the cable in with reversed channels. This feature is lost if balanced cables are substituted." It sounds like the only work around is what what you discovered and executed due to the unique wiring in the MJ2. Perhaps I didn't experience what you did because I used a 2.5mm balanced to 3.5mm stereo adapter and it worked great. However, I have a theory that due to the way the MJ2 has both right and left channels in each ear cup, if the 3.5mm headphone connectors on the cable have the tip and ring solder points bridged, then it might work, and like the stock cable it may not matter which side is connected to the headphone. The cable you have now has Tip/Sleeve for left channel, and Ring/Sleeve for right channel. The caveat is that I cannot guarantee that it would work as I don't have an MJ2 on hand. I hope what I wrote makes sense”.
2.
“I'll formulate a post in the MJ2 thread on head-fi. Sounds like a few people have balanced cables. I'm wondering if the balanced connection at the 2.5mm TRRS may be causing the issue if the headphone connectors on the left and right driver housing is able to determine a stereo connection for each appropriate L/R channel because the ground is common for both sides. With balanced, they are separated. I haven't seen a MJ2 opened up to see the PCB board, but I surmise that the separate grounds versus common ground is the culprit. Why the balanced cable works after the stock cable is inserted, I can only guess that some electrical components is able to get a charge (perhaps in a capacitor) long enough so that when the stock cable and balance cable is swapped, it works.”
Makes sense to me. Has anyone else had a problem like this with the MJ2? What do the Illuminati at HeadFi think?
I bought those on Indiegogo a while ago. After a very long burn in they are doing good. Try a balanced cable. This will make them really shine.
RichterDi
Where did you get your balanced cable? Please my post and tell me if you’ve had the same problem.
So.... shipping is limited to the US, but it says under the price it says "Ships to GB", please fix and stop teasing me...
twistercoo
just checked they are shipping worldwide
everton66
Thanks for that,.. Gonna go for it,
If anyone is looking for a pair of these headphones, I have one for sale at the offering price ($340). Apparently I somehow bought two pairs at the same time. Massdrop refuses to take one set back. Otherwise I will list on Ebay or Amazaon (retail is $500). James. 917-242-1889. jldooley61@gmail.com.
JLD61
You realize it's selling for 299.00 here right? With warranty.
Looking forward to getting & hearing these in my system. It was a pair of Audio-Technica ATH-7 (an electret condenser design) back in 1979, that got me jump-started on this crazy audio, headphone, sojourn, quest, obsession....
Denf
I have AT electrets. You are in for a treat with the MJ2.
Of course I paid a lot more, but nothing beats my HK901s!

RayF
OMG! I got the same headphone for my 5 year old daughter! She loves them, said the soundstage is something to behold and the bass is incredibly fast and impactful without sounding bloated, while the treble is just sooo sweet!
Would buy if they shipped to UK...where M&J are based...and where I live... aargh!!!

(I know that MD is based in the states..but still aargh!!!)

Oh hi MarkUp, sorry you didn't like the budget model GL1. I have the GL2 SE (kickstarter mid-tier model based on Verisonix technology just like the MJ2) and they are absolutely brilliant for the money - they just need a little running in time to get on song. Final design GL2 SE model is currently £300 on Amazon UK. These superior MJ2 phones are currently £472 on Amazon UK so a real steal at 340 dollars Massdrop!!

Oh by the way, just to correct a little 'fake news' below...Mitchell & Johnson is an established British Hi-Fi company founded by Paul Mitchell and David Johnson.
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Thank you for the tip! Like many good amps and speakers, they need "break time" time. Good to remember.
KlektiX
You can call them direct and ask for the Massdrop price explaining the geography issue and I can't imagine why they wouldn't help you out.
Would buy if they shipped internation.
I think its same too https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B074ZKFK8K/ref=psdcmw_12097479011_t2_B074ZPDCCX