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Heavy Grado Modding Project

post #1 of 81
Thread Starter 


I have always been doing a lot of DIY, and worked with leather, metal and wood. 

I got interested in Hi-Fi just around two years ago. And since i mostly listen to music on the go, i wanted to have some great headphones, so i bought a pair of grado sr 80i in Lydbutikken in Copenhagen, witch is a fantastic store, a must visit if you come by some time. I loved the sound and look of the grados to start with, but after a while i got tired of the looks (but not the sound), so i decided to mod them. I painted them in rastafari colours, made a new headband, added some metal details and made a one-side minijack port with  a beats by dre cable (witch does also fit iphone 2g). I were not a member af Head-fi back then so i haven’t shared any pictures until now. 


Foto den 22-08-2010 kl. 20.53.jpg


The proces were so fun so i decided to make a new pair of “heavy modded cans”.

I would also use a pair of grados from the sr series this time. 

I wanted the headphones  a less fancy than my sr 80i and have a more aesthetic look. I have been studying a lot of different headphones, from different fabricators, to find out how i would like mine to look. These are the ones i decided to mix the properties from:


I want to make a duble headband like the Sennheiser HD 25Headphones one 25.jpg

I want the earpads from the sony XB series




I will try to make them collapsible in the same way as the Bose on-ear phones.




And some of the metallic look from the grado HP 1000.




If anyone uses some of my mods i would be happy if they left a comment about how it went.

I am in the proces of modding the headphones and more posts will come when i come further in the project, this is a “live article” so i hope i don’t screw up halfway trough.


Every comments are very welcome. 

post #2 of 81

Great work!  There are plenty of great mods on this Headwize Projects page, but they're from 2004.  I do believe that the MS1000 modding thread has plenty of very elaborate pictures and there are many other Grado mod threads!  


My recommendations:


Double Headband: Easily enough done.  If I remember, the wimpy little metal band that goes through the leather can be removed quite easily and replaced


XB Series Earpads: From my experience, using leather/vinyl earpads with grados makes them sound terrible.  This is most likely due to the airtight seal that they provide. Maybe perforations may help out the sound, but you may want to reconsider using these pads.


Collapsible: This has been done somewhere, but I can't remember by who... Look for it!


Metal Cups/Grilles/Gimbals: Check out the Magnums by Symphones for a start, but there are plenty of Head-Fiers here who have aluminum cups that they (or a buddy) machined.  This can also be easily done.

post #3 of 81

Here's a mod that I was going to try with my RS-2 when I had it.  I believe he used 2 in brass pipe that you find in bars and restaurants.




Then there is this one.  I actually did this change to my RS-2 before selling it.  Turned out pretty well.



Edited by ecclesand - 8/23/10 at 11:52am
post #4 of 81
Thread Starter 

Thanks a lot for your repliyes, they were really usefull, especially the one about the brass rings.

I will come up with what i have achieved until now later today.


jageur272 i most admit that i hadn't thougt about the problem with the earpads, but since i have aleready ordered them i will try to modify them in someway to keep the grado sound.

post #5 of 81
Thread Starter 


Hello, i have now bought a pair of SR125, and since i’m just a poor fourteen year old school student, i bought them used, they came with the yellow sennheiser pads. 

So the first thing I wanted to change about these headphones, was the plastic housing.

I didn’t want to replace it I just wanted to change the look.

So firstly I opened the headphons,with the hairdryer method from “headwize the collected grado mods”. 


Grado mod for head-fi.jpg


Then I removed the plastic grills to replace them with some wire mesh. Last time I tried to remove the grills from a pair of grados, it didn’t turn out very well: The grills are glued to the housings with superglue, witch you can only dissolve with acetone, so I tried that and after it had loosened the glue it started to etch the housings pretty bad.

So i would try to use another method to loose the grills this time. Super glue does not melt by being heated by a hairdryer, but plastic does. So I heated the grill up and pushed it of, leaving only a thin layer plastic (like 0,1 mm) inside the housings.


Grado mod for head-fi 2.jpg

The next thing I did was to sand the housings flat I started with 60 and ended with 1200, I have an ideer of adding some details on the housings instead of the silver text, I’ltake that up in a later post.


Grado mod for head-fi 6.jpg


Now the headphones have a nice clean look but they’r far from finished.


grado mod for head-fi 7.jpg



The grill mod and the sanding mod is from Headwize.


And one thing more; I had the ideer of putting the earpads from Sony mdr xb 500 on my grados so i tried it, but since the grados sound horrible with these earpads (but were extremely comfortable) I just reversed the mod.

So now i have a pair of sony xb 500 for sale.


This is how they looked:


Grado mod for head-fi 5.jpg

post #6 of 81
Thread Starter 

So next was the cable.

I shortened it down to 1,2 meters (4 foot), and i wanted to sleeve the cable with some shoelaces, and since i have the yellow Sennheiser pads on them i wanted the shoelace to be yellow too.

The cable gets thinner after the "Y" split, and I wanted it to have equal thickness before and after the split. So i bought some cheap cable and pulled the rubber over the thin cables, then the shoelaces, some heatsink instead of the "grado plastic splitter".

Then I putted on a temporary plug until i get my pailiccs plug from Hong-Kong.

Here are some pictures:


Foto den 02-09-2010 kl. 22.17 #2.jpg


Foto den 02-09-2010 kl. 22.17.jpg


Now the easy DIY'ing is over next up i'll talk about the metal work.

post #7 of 81
chippechanga, could you please share how did you remove the pads from mdr xb 500?
post #8 of 81

This is a VEry cool thread! Nice work on the Grados!

post #9 of 81
Originally Posted by chippechanga View Post



grado mod for head-fi 7.jpg




That looks brilliant :)

post #10 of 81

Theres a small screw Deep inside the pad then u twist them off

post #11 of 81

Thanks, I figured it out - 4 screws and two rings :P

post #12 of 81
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by nikongod View Post

This is a VEry cool thread! Nice work on the Grados!

Thanks I will post some pictures of my new mods soon. (I have made them collapsible.)

post #13 of 81


post #14 of 81

How does it sound? I made a modification on my akg and it sounded bad with bigger earpads so I had to remove it.

post #15 of 81
Originally Posted by JamesMcProgger View Post



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