A quick FYI for those interested. These are on sale at Amazon for $33.99 for the first couple of lucky customers. The vendor (Abes of Maine Cameras and Electronics) has only a few more in stock.
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Official K-81 DJ thread - Page 178
Gear mentioned in this thread:post #2657 of 26628/19/14 at 3:56pm
Are these earpads compatible?
I`ll probably get one althought I`m worried about the comfort...post #2658 of 266210/26/14 at 4:52pm
Found these headphones a couple months ago and loved them. Came here to share a few things: my experience, a modification, and some sad news.
Awhile back, I went looking for a good pair of portable cans, since my AKG Q701s aren't exactly ideal for travel. I wanted something smaller, closed-backed, and something that isolated well, since I'd be using them on the plane, or even just in the living room with my girlfriend. I tried the Beyerdynamic DT 235 and liked them quite a bit (after a few modifications), but unfortunately, they didn't last--the isolation just wasn't good enough. They leaked too much sound so my girlfriend would hear my music, and they let too much sound in so they weren't ideal for plane rides. Back to the drawing board.
After a lot of searching, I stumbled upon the AKG K81DJ (or, if you prefer a short cable, the AKG K518)--exactly the size and form factor I was looking for. Similar to the Sennheiser HD-25-1 II, but far cheaper at around $50, and instead of a v-shaped sound signature (which just doesn't work for metal), it has a big hump in the bass.
This is certainly a strength of the headphone--bass is fun!--but it was way too bloated for my tastes. I prefer a more flat response, with a bit of bass punch--not something that drowns out the mid and high frequencies. From what I hear, the AKG K181DJ has a better balance, but is closer to a full-size headphone, which isn't what I wanted. So, like my DT 235s before them, I started looking for a way to mod these headphones into something that fit my preferred sound signature a little better.
First, I removed the foam circle inside the pads, as shown in this post. It made a huge difference right off the bat, and couldn't be easier--just pinch the foam inside the pad and pull it out. No disassembly required.
Unfortunately, that still wasn't enough. I tried the Blu-Tack mod, but I barely noticed any difference. I tried doing something similar to my DT235 mod, but due to the way the inside of the cups are shaped, the cotton makeup pads I used on the DT 235s were not an option. Even dynamat would be hard to stuff in there with everything going on. I knew that some cotton "stuffing" would probably produce the results I wanted, though, so after trying a couple things, I finally found something that worked: some cut-up pieces of old socks.
Here's what I did: remove the pads and unscrew the three screws underneath, shown below:
Then, carefully open it up and remove the cups. I eyeballed the area inside and cut a little donut out of the top of two old socks and put it in, as shown here:
The results were pretty great. The bass isn't quite so forward now. It still has some great bass punch, but the highs and mids are much more forward. I'd actually argue that the bass is still a little too bloaty, but it's about 85-90% of the way there for me, so I'm happy (after all, a little extra bass never hurt anyone). I'm sure you could use more sock if you wanted to to tweak the sound to your liking.
Here's the sad news: While searching the web for these headphones I found that they've been discontinued since I bought them two months ago (oh no)! You can still grab them on Amazon pretty cheap, but they might become harder to find as the next few months go on.
Either way, I wanted to have this here for posterity. I'm sure you can still find them around the web, and could even adapt this mod to any other headphone you wanted (after all, this one was an adaption of an adaption of a mod for another headphone!). But it's a bummer these have been discontinued--I hope there's an improved successor on the way.
Edited by Gyroscope352 - 12/31/14 at 10:51ampost #2659 of 266210/27/14 at 4:58pmThanks. I almost want to nab a pair before they go for good. They were my first purchase that derived from here and I loved them. The clamping force was too much for me but the hint to push in and not out that someone suggested was great. The foam removal made a world of difference And was easy as pie.
I always wanted to try the k181 as I assumed they had to be better. They are almost the same price on Amazon.post #2660 of 26622/12/15 at 2:25am
Hi Everyone. Hope I can breathe some life into this thread.
I have a 7-8 years old K81DJ and I would like to revamp it a bit, need advice.
Looks like it's better to use a sock or some fabric instead of blu-tak, so will try that. Any other small mods I should go for? Read about removing some cotton from somewhere but all the pictures were removed in those threads.
I also need new ear pads, the originals basically dried off. I would like to lessen the isolation, originally these phones isolate so good it is dangerous to walk around town (I remember almost walking out into car traffic once). That's why I'm thinking about Sennheiser HD 25 velour pads, is that a good idea?
Also want to get a headband pad, the lack of it is one of the things which make the K81DJ a little unconfortable IMO (the other is the headphone being a bit too tight), any recommendations? Never bought a headband pad separately before, so I have no experience, don't know which ones would fit.
The last thing I'm thinking about is the detachable cable mod, or at least making cables one-sided because I hate them this way, but for now only small modifications.
Please help me, hope someone still reads this.
Thanks in advance.post #2661 of 26621/20/16 at 8:13pm
i was going through my stuff and dug up my 7 year old pair k81dj's.
what's everybody else's long term experience with these things?
when i first held them, the ear cups were covered with what looked like sticker goop. but then i thought maybe it was rubbery plastic they use that was getting old and melting, albeit very inconsistently. used some goo gone to clean them off, but may take a few rounds to get it where i'm satisfied. the earpads disintegrated a while ago and i ripped them off already. but now i'm thinking of reviving them for travel use instead of full sized cans. ordering replacement ear pads first to see if i still like them, then maybe i'll invest in velvet ones.post #2662 of 26623/16/16 at 3:48pm
Bought mine new in June 2006. The vinyl drawstring bag peeled and fell apart early on. Replaced it with one of the Cosmos soft black cloth headphone drawstring bags you can get in a set of 5 cheap on Amazon. I've replaced the earpads once as they too had started falling apart like the bag. And after trying several solutions ultimately stayed with the spiral cable management wrap to "shorten" the 10' length to a more useful 3.5' for use with portables. For comfort I added a self-stick adhesive Senn HD25-1 pad to the underside of the headband (they come in pairs so I have a spare when needed). Works wonders for my bald head Never felt the need to go with velour earpad replacements.
These and a pair of Philips SHL5500 (same 40mm drivers and basically the same SQ as the newer SHL5605 Citiscape Downtown model) comprise my "battery" for portable headphone use augmenting several IEMs. They both have their strengths and weaknesses but I've never been moved to upgrade or replace either. My "go-to gold-standard" cans are still my Senn HD600's driven by a "Schitt stack." Been a Senn HD580/600 fan since 1993
Edited by Bob A (SD) - 3/16/16 at 5:27pm
- Official K-81 DJ thread
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