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Headphone cords, Symmetrical Design Vs. Asymmetrical Design

May 26th, 2009 by Tech

Millions of earbuds and headphones are shipped every month with various styles and form factors. The big question from many people seem to be specifically about the cord design for ‘wearing’ your earphones. This is a very important topic for many people assume the normal ‘Y’ style headphone core or Symmetrical design is the only way and any other design is not correct or even a faulty product.  This is not true and we aim to dispell this myth and set the record straight. 

There are really two main types of headphone cord designs: Asymmetrical or Symmetrical. See diagram here:

     Asymmetrical Headphone Cord Design          Vs.      Symmetrical Headphone Cord Design

                symettrical headphone cord

 How does it work?

For the Asymmetrical design the longer cord wraps around the back of the neck to your other ear and the shorter cord goes directly into the other ear. You put the right cord around your neck. With one cable longer than the other both cords come together off center, to the side of the neck, or close to one ear. This design keeps the cord to the side and out of the way.

For the Symmetrical design the cord just forms a ‘Y’ and goes straight up your chest splitting to both ears in front where the left earbud goes to the left ear and the right earbud goes up to the right ear.

Many new and innovative earphones utilize the Asymmetrical design with the Purebuds being a perfect example because the Asymmetrical design really does help provide a more practical & comfortable experience with the headphone wires.

Benefits Of Asymmetrical Cord Design:

• When you take the earphones out of your ears they hang around your neck instead of dropping to the floor.

• Design provides a cleaner and more comfortable fit

• Form factor reduces the frictional noise from all the wires moving against your clothing.

• With this asymmetrical cord design if the Purebuds fall off, they won’t fall straight to the ground as your neck is supporting it.

• This design makes it clearer to identify which earbud is left & right.


“…I like the cord style, with one side longer than the other. With my iPod buds I always had a problem wearing my shuffle in my pocket. The even cord always caused one side or another to get dislodged. The uneven cord is great, I can stick the one side around the back of my head and keep my shuffle in the opposing pocket. In addition I don’t have to worry about getting tangled in the cord in the front when I am running….”

We hope this is information is helpful to share the truth about the two main headphone cord designs and how they are different. Asymmetrical and Symmetrical are both two viable headphone cord designs in which we believe the Asymmetrical form is better then the other.

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