Converting a Jabra Clipper into a Bose QC3 Bluetooth module

One of my favorite, but least mentioned gadgets are the Bose QuietComfort 3 noise cancelling headphones. Reviews are mixed about them because of the price, but I love mine, as the integrated active noise cancellation is just invaluable in noisy situations.

I have however wished for a wireless module for a long time. They’re actually made to allow for switching the cable, thanks to a 2.5mm 4-pin headset jack connecting the cable to the headphones. From what I can tell, Bose did actually plan a Bluetooth module at some point, but for some reason left that project for dead.

I’ve actually “made my own” Bluetooth headphones, and since those are working so well, my Jabra Clipper hasn’t seen any use since I did that. I decided that an accessory I don’t use is worthless, so I decided to risk it to try to create my own QC 3 module.

Obviously I was successful, or I wouldn’t be writing this. I split the Clipper in two, removing the metal clip, and ended up with a (luckily still functioning) flat Bluetooth module. I had a spare cable for the QC3, and managed to figure out which pin is what, as the pinout on that 4-pin 2.5mm jack is proprietary(!). I then added a jack directly to the audio output connector of the Jabra Clipper, giving it enough length to read down into the 2.5mm input on the headphones. Finally, I simply atteched the whole thing with poster tack.

Ugly as hell, you say? Indeed it is! Looks like someone blew up something and then glued it onto the side of a pair of perfectly good headphones.

The QC3 are expensive headphones, and I don’t want to permanently change them. As such, I need the module to be fully detachable, and that means that I need to compromise. I could have stripped a lot from the module and integrated it in the headphones somehow, more similar to what I did with my previous mod, but like I said, it’s important for me that this is an option, n
ot a conversion.

Despite it being ugly, I’m extremely happy with the result. I don’t use this outside, so it doesn’t bother me that it looks strange, and around the house this combination is amazing. I was vacuum cleaning the other day, and actually had to check to see if the vacuum was on, as I couldn’t hear it. Normally that means very loud music, but not in this case, thanks to the noise cancellation. The range of the Clipper (maybe I should call it Clipped now) is good enough for it to work anywhere in my apartment, hooked up to my Android phone.

This is my second Bluetooth-related mod in a row that I’ve ended up loving, and it makes me wonder why I’ve never been as happy with any commercial Bluetooth headphones. With the QC3 still being popular after so many years, and having just gotten an upgrade with an iPhone remote control cord, I do wish that Bose would see the potential in this and finish making a module of its own.

 

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.