Easy Foam Mod for the HE-5For anyone who finds the HE-5 a bit bright, or those who seemingly received a bright pair, don't fret. I had some foam pad linings left from an extra set of DT990 velour pads I bought last year, so I cut them to size and stuck them in the HE-5. I'm not sure if just any foam pads would work, since the ones I'm using were specifically designed for this application in headphones. Not surprisingly, they made the same differences as they did in the DT990: less top end, more bass quantity (particularly upper bass and lower midrange), and a less airy soundstage. Aside from the last point, I think the differences are positive. It's all about trade-offs and priorities. If you feel the smaller, less holographic soundstage is worth taking the edge off the highs and increasing the bass, then this is a mod for you. I feel the bass may be a bit tighter too, but I'm not convinced yet.
The foam pads are not self-adhesive and stay put inside the earcups just with friction, provided you shape them slightly larger than the area inside the HE-5 earcups. The procedure literally takes seconds and is safe/easily reversible. I compared the sound with the pads off and on several times in quick succession over a period of 2 days before posting here, so I think I have a grasp on the differences. Long-term listening will reveal other important information that I may have missed. I'll post pics later, but the mod is really self-explanatory.
Above: original foam pads that I cut the periphery of to get them to fit inside the HE-5 earcups. The top 2 foam pieces are just the extra that I cut off the bottom circular pads and may be discarded.
Above: HE-5 earcup in stock form.
Above: foam pad inserted.