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Sony EX700 filter mod

post #1 of 59
Thread Starter 
Ever since I own the EX700, I have been looking for a way to reduce the unbearable harshness over 6~8kHz region. No, it isn't because of the bad music files nor bad source. I have burn-in my EX700 for over 200hrs now, tried various sources including DAP, PCDP, PC, CD player, etc with both lossless and lossy music, but the harshness is still there. After experimenting with various kind of foam (to replace the original foam in the nozzle), I realize changing foam usually result in either too little or too much change, and neither are desired. My goal is to mod it in a way that only the harshness will be reduced while there will be minimum impact on other freq. After months of playing around, I am happy to report that I have found what I was looking for.

[Important] This mod is only for those who find EX700 harsh sounding.

Materials needed: EX700, a very small tweezer (I use the one on my Swiss Army knife), a pair of ER6i's filters, a small needle.


Here is the EX700 before and after the mod.



First, use the small tweezer to grab hold the foam inside the nozzle. You will find that the foam is not attached to the side of the nozzle but only glued at the end. Pull the foam out very slowly and eventually the glued end will break clean from the end of the nozzle (Area B in red on one of the following pictures). You should know by now that the foam is actually attached to the housing of the transducer (which blocked half of the nozzle inside).

For those who are not familiar with the inside of EX700:




Now use the small needle and punch a small hole on the ER6i filter. The size of the hole should be less than 0.5mm in diameter. You should try to make the smallest hole you can in the first trial (in case you need adjustment later). You will notice that the filter has a small gap (blue in color) on the top - make a note here.



Now, place the mod'ed filter in reverse into the nozzle. It should fit very snugly. Make sure that the gap on the filter is facing forward (align with the unblocked part inside the nozzle, Not area B)

If you feel like the sound is reduced too much, you can take the filter out by tweezer and enlarge the hole with the needle (be sure not to overdo it). The best result I have is around 0.4~0.5mm. Make sure the hole of both filters are about the same diameter.

I'll advice you only attempt one side of the earpieces first to find the best hole diameter for you, than followed by the other side. Take note that the hole diameter has a major impact on the quantity of treble in the final sound.

Overall, the harshness can be reduced by 6~9dB which resulted in a more pleasing sound. Bass impact might be slight reduced but it is very difficult to notice (unless you are A/Bing with an unmod'ed pair). Since the treble (especially the harshness) is reduced, the overall sound signature will become slightly warmer in comparison to the unmod'ed sound. Enjoy.
post #2 of 59
Thanks for the tip!
post #3 of 59
Prior to doing any mods to the EX700 I advise others, who find them harsh or offensive sounding, to:
1. burn them in with loud, bass heavy music - several hours makes significant change in the sound
2. try different tips and inserition depth as both affect strongly the perceived sound quality. I am able to insert all but the two largest sizes of tips but I ended up with the smallest ones as they give me dark, relaxed and sibilance-free reception.
post #4 of 59
Agree majkel. After lengthy use (around the 200 hours mark now), the sibilance has smoothed out tremendously.
post #5 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jabada View Post
Thanks for the tip!
I lol'ed.

Nylan
post #6 of 59
Thread Starter 
The sibilance does quiet down (maybe) 2~3dB after 150hrs of burn-in, but it doesn't impact enough on the overall 6~8kHz peak (which is around 10~12dB) to achieve any satisfying result. YMMV.

On the plus side: This mod can be reversed by removing the filter and reinserting the foam (or replacing those foam with any light foam).
post #7 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post
The sibilance does quiet down (maybe) 2~3dB after 150hrs of burn-in, but it doesn't impact enough on the overall 6~8kHz peak (which is around 10~12dB) to achieve any satisfying result. YMMV.

On the plus side: This mod can be reversed by removing the filter and reinserting the foam (or replacing those foam with any light foam).
I'm not saying your mod is any bad, just saying what to start with prior to altering the phone's construction. BTW I suspect you think too much about the characteristics you've seen on the web. I don't look at them and base on descriptive impressions only. If it's really +9dB 7kHz remaining, it would be simply unlistenable. So I assume these chars were prepared incorrectly, without having proper coupling adapters.
post #8 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by majkel View Post
I'm not saying your mod is any bad...
I can assure you that thought never crossed my mind. I am just rephrasing something I said before (not on this thread, but my multiple IEM review, linked in my signature)

Quote:
Originally Posted by majkel View Post
BTW I suspect you think too much about the characteristics you've seen on the web. I don't look at them and base on descriptive impressions only. If it's really +9dB 7kHz remaining, it would be simply unlistenable. So I assume these chars were prepared incorrectly, without having proper coupling adapters.
I can further assure you that my conclusion of a 6~8kHz peak doesn't come directly (or only) from the web, but my own experience. I simply use the evidence that another person has found to reinforce a point I made previously (about the peak).

It is actually rather simple for me to detect the peak. I use a graphic equalizer on my PC to adjust individual band to find that peak. Since harshness is known to be found around the 8kHz region, I simply have to adjust the band around that region until the harshness disappear, which is about -10dB around the 6~8kHz region in my final finding. Of course, that conclusion is supported by the info I found (later) on the web (and it comes with a freq. resp. graph that I can used). And you are right, till I carried out the mod, I was never able to listen to EX700 casually for more than 15 minutes at any time on a flat EQ (because of the irritating sibilance). As I said before, I stand firm to what my ears tell me, but YMMV.
post #9 of 59
Wow, you must have super sensitive ears ClieOS (can't listen to them for more than 15 minutes? that's quite a claim of bad SQ). The sibilance was never that grating and the trade off of having that slight sibilance compared to the anemic bass of the SA6 (and lack of a soundstage) is a good compromise.

To each their own.
post #10 of 59
Thread Starter 
Maybe not super sensitive, but I do believe my hearing is pretty good (don't most of us have the same feeling about our hearing?). EX700 doesn't seem to be as popular on the West as it is on the East (mainly China), which I have seen a lot more comments on sibilance than there are here. To disagree w/ you, that is IMHO, sibilance shouldn't be counted as compromise of anything.
post #11 of 59
To be honest, I haven't noticed sibilance on mines other than when they were brand new. What sibilance may occur are usually due to the recordings in which they sound shrill on my ER-4S as well. So such a big claim that you can't bear it for more than 15 minutes due to sibilance is a bit far fetched.

There's been other posters who have he EX700s and agree that the sibilance really isn't an issue after thorough burn-in.

Just to clarify, my ears didn't get use to the sound of the EX700 and thus miraculously I now dismiss the sibilance. I had a listen to them for about an hour when I first bought them and I found them very harsh but since they are dynamic, I burned them in continuously until I was at about the 100 hour mark. After the 100 hour mark I started to use them regularly, also by that time, the sound had more or less smoothed out. They are at around the 200 hour mark now and they truly are very smooth now. They are also unmatched amongst in-ears at the $200 price level but sadly they are very very very underrated as folks tends to go for the more "audiophile" brands (thus explaining the tremendous popularity of the SA6). Looking forward to a pair of IE8's though
post #12 of 59
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dookiex View Post
...thus explaining the tremendous popularity of the SA6...
You have not seen the first few months when SA6 was released. As one of the early adapter of SA6, I have read many comments about SA6 being nothing more than FOTM instead of a real performer (especially from people who never listen to one). However, Time has proven otherwise. That certainly goes beyond so called "audiophile" branding, assuming Sleek Audio can be counted as one in the first place (members here called them 'gimmick' one year ago).
post #13 of 59
I think I'll burn mine in for a while longer before I consider any mod. Sony deserves some credit for producing a phone that can even resolve the frequency range that I'm hearing. Knock their oddball design, but you can't argue with the physics. A 16mm driver is moving A LOT of air in your ear canal. The bass is jaw dropping, but on the other end, a crash cymbal can be this phones worst enemy. Much has to do with the source mix. The mix on "Zappa plays Zappa" is a great example. Terry Bozio's cymbals are bright, crisp and detailed. Rush's "Different Stages:Live" is another story. Neil's cymbals sound like frying bacon. Zero detail. The EX700s really shine with classical, orchestral scores, piano/voice. Just unbeatable. Also, they work much better with my 5G iPod than with my NWZ-818 (there's some irony). The Sony seems to exaggerate the highs and lows more than iPod so I EQ to cut down on the ear fatigue. After about 50hrs. of listening, I'm quite pleased with the EX700 so it'll be interesting to hear how they change over time.
post #14 of 59
The SA6s still feel very gimmicky. Have you wanted to try the custom Sleeks yet ClieOS? I'm wondering if they have a different sound to them but I'm guessing probably not since they are the same drivers with the same tuning ports (except permanent).
post #15 of 59
Thread Starter 
No custom of any kind for me. I like my SA6, and find no need to get another set of the same thing. Even as SA6 doesn't have a great build quality that could rival its competitor, it is still one of the IEM that I believe have done more right than wrong.
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