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What does wood do to sound exactly in a headphone

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
I have getting ready to woody mod my technics for a while now but id like to get a better grasp as to how wood actually affects the sound quality of the cans. I know alot of companies use wood in their mods and alot of the top end cans use wood and i guess this is for good reason but why exactly im curious
post #2 of 31
Wood by nature is resonant, and that last thing you want in an audio device is a resonance inside the audible frequencies at least, that is why mainly all speakers manufacturers avoid the use of wood, and use MDF instead, as the can control the density and the resonace better, wood as all natural materials is also not very uniform in the density. We have some stock woodie headphones, and the ones that came with wood stock, are made of very hard woods, almost non resonant, like the case of the R-10 that is made from the heart of zelcova, or mahogany in the case of Grado, etc...

If you are going ot use wood, choose heavy and hard wood...
post #3 of 31
I'm suspicious of wood, honestly. I really don't think it makes that much of a difference, especially in something as small as headphones. Buffet has conducted a test at an ICA convention where they asked premier clarinetists to try an R13 made of wood and one made of plastic made to the same specs. It made no difference, turned out.
post #4 of 31
Look at Headroom's measurements of the D2000 vs. the D5000. The only real difference (unless you count the cable, which most skeptics will tell you all measure the same) is plastic cups, vs. wooden cups. (OK, that's a *slight* simplification. They are not shaped 100% identical inside the cups, but are quite close).

They measure significantly differently, and sound very different. In many people's opinion (not all), the wooden D5000 has the superior sound.

What sounds best on any given headphone is going to depend on both the headphone and the listener's opinion of what he hears.
post #5 of 31
Quote:
Wood by nature is resonant, and that last thing you want in an audio device is a resonance inside the audible frequencies at least, that is why mainly all speakers manufacturers avoid the use of wood,
Al, you assume that metal/aluminum/plastic/leather/padding etc. do not resonate--- they do. It's entirely possible that their resonances are less appealing and more harmful than those of wood (such as used in musical instruments we love). It's possible that plastic's resonances are worse or more pronounced from an audio standpoint than wood. I have no more evidence to back that up than anyone else has that any particular wood (not all made the same) resonates more/worse than plastic (not all made the same), though. We're all just blowing smoke really.
post #6 of 31
Thread Starter 
so very dense wood doesn't resonant as much as most plastic housings do is that right. But aren't there synthetic materials that are harder than wood that don't resonate
post #7 of 31
Let me just say that there is something very inherit and satisfying about the use of wood. Some might call it placebo, some might call it genuine improvements in SQ. From my experience I would say that it is the latter, but as with all things this is entirely my opinion based off of my own ears.

As for resonance being an issue, for the small amount of wood used on headphones I very much doubt that it could ever impact resonance enough to distort/detract from the overall presentation. But just in case, I would also recommend sticking with harder woods if you ever delve into woodies (as mentioned before, not a concern on headphones that use wood in their stock build).
post #8 of 31
Thread Starter 
I will lacquer the wood and ill try and use the hardest wood i can find as i guess the lacquer will make the wood harder and well look nicer. However i can't help but feel that there's more to this as the 010s from sony dont use wood and they sound godly for $2000 US but still what did they use that's so different than using wood like the R10s or any other top of the line woody?
post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by markl View Post
you assume that metal/aluminum/plastic/leather/padding etc. do not resonate--- they do. It's entirely possible that their resonances are less appealing and more harmful than those of wood
Yes. John Grado's choice of mahogany had a lot to do with it's lack of effect on his driver. Or the effect was more musically positive than that of plastic or something else.
post #10 of 31
Thread Starter 
My guess is as good as everyone's but id say from what ive read that it does affect the sound as any woody headphone ive seen has been regarded as good if not amazing. But given the responses ill try a harder heavier wood to help with resonance in my mods
post #11 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sovkiller View Post
Wood by nature is resonant, and that last thing you want in an audio device is a resonance inside the audible frequencies at least, that is why mainly all speakers manufacturers avoid the use of wood, and use MDF instead, as the can control the density and the resonace better, wood as all natural materials is also not very uniform in the density.
There are very few woods that actually resonate. Basically EVERYTHING about wood avoids resonances. The inconsistencies in its density, cellular structure, and grain all serve to internally dampen a piece of wood. Dampened things dont resonate.

MDF is used because its actually flat. Cut boards are almost never flat, which makes building a tight enclosure virtually impossible. You can find small speakers and high frequency drivers mounted in solid wood cabinets.
Quote:
We have some stock woodie headphones, and the ones that came with wood stock, are made of very hard woods, almost non resonant, like the case of the R-10 that is made from the heart of zelcova, or mahogany in the case of Grado, etc..
The shell of the D5000 is mahogany. I would argue against calling mahogany almost non resonant, it is VERY non resonant. plastics depend on the plastic and how its formed. metals: most are resonant enough to make a functional bell out of.

the beauty with a "hybrid design" using BOTH metals and wood is that the wood dampens the ringing of the metal, and a little metal gives the wood exceptional strength. i'd say its QUITE cool.
post #12 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by markl View Post
Look at Headroom's measurements of the D2000 vs. the D5000. The only real difference (unless you count the cable, which most skeptics will tell you all measure the same) is plastic cups, vs. wooden cups. (OK, that's a *slight* simplification. They are not shaped 100% identical inside the cups, but are quite close).

They measure significantly differently, and sound very different. In many people's opinion (not all), the wooden D5000 has the superior sound.

What sounds best on any given headphone is going to depend on both the headphone and the listener's opinion of what he hears.
I agree that this makes the most sense from an engineering standpoint. The size and shape of the cup is going to make the most difference it would seem. Thus larger plastic cups might sound better than the best/better smaller wooden cups even if only slightly. That is why ALO for example uses the plastic mods on the 325's (and because wood is too easily cracked). With that modification, the 325's can be brought more in line with the RS-1's (although from a pure measurement standpoint, I wonder about comparability of the tests).
post #13 of 31
I think wood headphones typically being superior can be explained fairly easily. Wood, especially the very good looking, appealing to use in audio, kind is expensive, and so the headphones that they used wood on are more likely to be higher quality to start with. As for modded ones, such as Darth Beyers, or even the self-done mods seen sometimes on here, I don't think you could point just at the wood as being the reason for the improved sound. Generally if someone is going to put in the effort to make wooden cups, they're also going to recable and probably do some other mods.

In my opinion, the material you make the cups out of really does not matter nearly as much as you would think, as it is very easy to dampen it. Nearly all closed headphones benefit from the "blu-tak" mod, as the main focus of it is the change to the damping used in the stock headphone. In some cases it has the potential to greatly improve the headphone's sound for very little cost.
post #14 of 31

Can You Tell The Difference...

Can you tell the difference between a "plastic" guitar, and a wood guitar, or "plastic" violin, or cello and a wood violin, or cello?

If so... that's the same difference you'll find between "plastic" headphones, and wood headphones.

Some will notice the difference, and care... and some will not.

It's just that simple.
post #15 of 31
I wrote a review about woodying my metal 325i's to mahagony, it made a huge difference, the cups were also bigger though.
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