3M Dual Lock and Attaching Your Player to a Portable Headphone Amp
|No Easy Solution|
I've been thinking about how attach headphone amps to portable players for 20 years. There's simply no really good solution. Using Velcro means semi-permanently sticking something to your iPhone ... which verges on blasphemy for some folks. The Velcro also doesn't last forever; it slowly "fuzzes out," which causes it to lose holding power and lets the player and amp wiggle relative to each other. Using large rubber bands works, but the size and shape of all the electronic components have to be the same as the iPhone (or player) or you will end up covering buttons with the bands. Using small camera bags works rather well, but it means hunting down a bag that just happens to be perfectly right for your needs, and in the end your phone won't fit into your shirt pocket any more. At HeadRoom, we custom made bags and rubber bits to accomplish the task, but it was enormously expensive to ramp up a fabric manufacturing capability, and to develop and make the rubber parts. They're no longer made due to the expense.
The perfect solution, of course, would be if portable players had great headphone amps built into them --- over time they've gotten better, but there will never be "great amps" in mass market portable players and smartphones (though the iPhone is quite good). I'm afraid enthusiasts will forever have to be a little creative with the tools and techniques available when assembling their portable rigs.
Fortunately there's a relatively new, and very cool product available that may help quite a bit.
3M Dual Lock|
Dual Lock works a lot like Velcro, except both sides are the same. Think of it as a field of tall mushrooms closely spaced together. When you attach the material together, the round tops slide past each other and then hook together under the caps. Once locked together, the material has a surprisingly strong hold, which has very little give in any direction. It lasts about 3 times longer than Velcro, providing 1000 open/close cycles (100 for the low profile material).
On the downside, it does leave about a 6mm gap (0.24") between devices. (There is a low profile version available that leaves only a 2.3mm gap (0.09").) This gap can be to your advantage in some cases; I'll show you about that in a moment.
Dual Lock can also leave adhesives on your portable gear when removed. Dual Lock comes with both acrylic and rubber based glues; I like using the rubber-based glue as it seems to come off more easily with a bit of Goo-Gone.
A full selection of 3M Dual Lock is available by the yard at iTapeStore here. Small 1"x3" strips under the Scotch brand --- usually in clear with acrylic adhesive --- is likely available at your local Staples or other stationary store (Scotch part no. RFD7090); and in black from Radio Shack under the brand name Superlock (part# 64-2360).