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Pioneer se-505, Another Golden Oldie + a funny advert from the 70's

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,

I just wanted to mention one headphone I managed to get pretty cheap that is easily worth the price of entry.

The Pioneer SE-505 (dated 1973).

They weigh a tone because they are pretty much 100% metal and leather.
They clamp with authority, but really are not horrible once positioned on your head (not nearly as bad as MS2's or 325's, especially with flats.).

The sound sig is like a mux up of an ES7, k340, and Sennheiser HD580.

The mids are the star part of the spectrum.
The bass is not huge, but everything seems to have plenty of weight.
Treble is not *sparkley* and sounstage is not particularly airy.

However, it is a pretty huge soundstage, especially for a closed headphone.
Detail is quite nice, maybe not as good as the TOTL ones from the major manufactureres, but certainly holds its own.

The impedance must be somewhere near 600ohms, as it is the only headphone that I have ever gone past half power with my amp. It actually needs 3/4 !

I suggest throwing some cotton under the pads to give a bit more space between your ear and the driver.

They have two drivers for each cup, one bass and one treble. I think that this is how they got around teh bass defeciency issues with drivers at the time.

I would say that they are forgiving, much like how a Senn is - just forget the veil.

If you can pick a set up for less than $50, it is a great deal!
Apparently the other SE line up is not very good (sans the se700) from what others say.

Definately a toe-tapper... I just don't know if I need yet another in the stable! Such is life.

Funny cartoon advert that is on EBay for this headphone:
post #2 of 20
I nearly bought a set of these off craigslist a while back, but they weren't for me, I'd had a pair of the slightly older SE-50's so I thought I'd give these a try. What the heck they were only like $20 and I figured I could negotiate on that

Heaviest headphone I ever tried, no doubt.. made my Pro4aa feel featherlight
Should come with a neck brace or some kind of safety warning..

and talk about huge.. I swear I could see these in my peripheral vision they stuck out so far!

Still, they're built to survive a nuclear winter, I'll grant you that. And the case is nice too

I'll stick with the "lightweight" K340 though myself.

I think a nice big beefy amp might do those Pioneers justice, they're pretty inefficient if I remember correctly. Try a Raptor or something similarly "oomphy"
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I thought about making a franken-phone from the drivers.
The things sound pretty darn good.

Got any housing reccomendations?
post #4 of 20
lol, Id not have a clue, I'm a complete neophyte. but theres got to be something lighter they'd fit in.
Perhaps some old realistic Nova housings, they were pretty light from what I recall.
I wonder how much of the sound is dependent on the weight of the housing, or the (considerable) clamping force.

let us know how it goes if you decide to tear them down. God only knows what you'd need to cut them up though..
post #5 of 20
Looks like most vintage Koss headphones in the design, IE awful, and Ill give even odds on them having awful paper cone drivers, or similar, and there's not a chance in hell of that being real leather on them either. My housing recommendation is approximately wheely bin sized and shaped.
post #6 of 20
On the contrary, Pioneer made some insanely good gear in the 70s. The phones probably have paper cones, but just think...they're sooo burnt-in by now!!

Let me guess: very strong prominent midrange with rolled off highs?
post #7 of 20
I think they're that crinkly plastic. (mylar?) drivers, not that bad, kind of like the old Pro4AA. I can't remember if I tried to disassemble the SE-50's i had I gave them away some time ago now, i imagine they're pretty similar in construction. Might be a sealed capsule like the Koss has.

wow i found the weight on a site.. 690 grams. damn that's one and a half pounds! that's a serious neck workout.

Oh and I'm pretty sure it's grade A Vinyl on them too :/
post #8 of 20
Specifications (se 505):
- Mylar Cone Drivers (45mm woofer cone, 32mm tweeter cone)
- Matching impedance 4-16 ohm
- Impedance 8 ohm
- Frequency response 20 hz - 20 khz
- Max input / channel 500 mw
- sound pressure level 108db / 0.3 V
- weight 690g (!)

I was just browsing ebay, and was wondering if these might be a good buy. Good review!
post #9 of 20
I have the pioneer se-550. Does anyone know anything about them?
post #10 of 20
Still waiting to find my old SE-505 or SE-405 pair...can't recall what they were/are. Back in tha day, tho..man those things probably gave me neck problems...so freakin heavy.

They were the volume-knob version, but I think that was on both the 405 and the 505. Was the 505 some quad version or something..can't recall.

Anyway, they were sa-weet back then. I honestly just recently started trying to find them in the piles of old crap in our storage...and my parents' storage....and my sister's storage....and.....should just buy some one else's but still....someday I will find them....MMUUHAHAHAHAHA.....
post #11 of 20
there were some se 500's recently on ebay, infact so recent the auction may still be live
post #12 of 20
Originally Posted by craiglester View Post
God only knows what you'd need to cut them up though..
Cut them up? These cans look great from the photos I've seen. Maybe not in reality?
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hey Guys,

I decided to mod these suckers.

First, I pulled them apart in every single way. Then I cleaned it all.
Quickly decided to get rid of the dual pots on each side as they could do nothing but degrade the sound and add extra weight.

-Removed all foam covering bass driver and in the cups.
-Rewired all internals
-Filled the Cups with Cotton Stuffing
-Filled gaps with Cotton
-Filled corners/edges with cotton
-Taped down all wiring/coverd vibration areas
-Covered bass driver with very thin cotton
-Created more direct music sound
-Tuned the drivers for better balance and staging
-Plugged the holes of the pots with soldered on dimes

I kept the original cable as it was in pretty decent condition and one of the better stock cables I had seen.

WOW! What a difference in the sound. Very clean sound and much more detail. The treble reach is nice a sparkly! Good rumble to the bass. The Dual pots in each headphone and the metal knobs added a buch of weight, much lighter now that they are removed. Still heavy, but not bad really.

A real bargain if you are willing to put a little effort into them. You can get closed cans that are a d1000 presentation with a soundstage wider than ES7's, and the durability/isolation of HD25-II.

I tuned them for vocal performance and it delivers. Plenty of helf to everything and you *feel* the music.

Everything is held together by screws and it is pretty darn easy to open up and work on.

BTW: It took quite a bit of trial and error to get it right, so don't get discouraged if it sounds bad from your first try. You need to get the damping just right and tuned the drivers since you got rid of the pots.
post #14 of 20
Did you take a picture or two while working on them?
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
No, but I could always open them up for anyone who needs assistance.

Be sure to keep the capacitor that feeds the treble driver. That is essential! I would add resistors to taste as the pot that you remove is 60 Ohm and you are also getting rid of the tone pot.

Wire the input to the bass driver first and then to capacitor and to the treble driver.

The cotton stuffing is the same as I stated above. Think Markl Mod only without the Dynamat.

I might take pics once I get through finals and go home.
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