Zach Margolis


Amplivox Audiocups

Tuesday December 4th, 2007

What the heck are Amplivox Audiocups? Well now pop a squat, son—It's story time. Last Friday I went to UC Davis' Bargain Barn and bought a pair of amazing retro headphones for $3. They had some odd foreign connector at the end, so I gnabbed a $1 pair of earbuds with a working 1/8" jack that I could transplant. As a side note they used a connector called a DIN connector, which happens to be the granddaddy of mini-DIN, more commonly known as S-Video. It explains why the store clerk tried to plug the headphones into the back of a few old television sets when I asked her if she knew where I could find something to connect this to.

So yesterday I borrowed some tools and soldered together the most amazing pair of audio producing cups in existence. These things orignally were used for medical listening tests, which is why they pretty much prevent all audio from passing outside. I can't tell what's going on outside, and even at the loudest volume (which is amazingly loud, actually) people around me can't tell what's going on inside. And that, my friends, is the story of the Amplivox Audiocups. Now go play with rocks or something...whatever you kids do these days. Happy Hanukkah, too.

Tags: projects


I recently picked up a pair of these myself on eBay for $15 that came with a 6.3mm stereo plug instead of a DIN plug. As these were originally designed for use with audiometers, there are many different types of plugs and wiring configurations available so it was just luck that these had a common type audio plug. Some have DIN plugs, some have an odd DB9 style connector and others come with two 6.3mm monaural plugs for each audio channel.

While Audiocups were designed for hearing testing, the Telephonics TDH-39 headset elements that are used with the Audiocups have a relatively flat frequency response up to 8KHz. They are okay for listening to music though commercial headphones designed for listening music would probably have better upper end frequency response. I should note that besides hearing testing, the Telephonics TDH-39 headset and its cousins the TDH-49 and TDH-50 were originally designed for and are still used on aircraft such as the Boeing 737-300.

I was interested in a pair of Audiocups because I was looking for a set of headphones that I could use in a very noisy environment for two-way radio communications. I figured anything that could provide a quiet environment for hearing tests could do the job. The Audiocups are indeed very quiet and I have found them to be quite useful in blocking out just about all exterior noise. I just wish it was easier to get parts as only medical supply companies carry parts and they are not cheap.

Aardvark on October 18th at 1:27 PM
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