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So I took my Klipsch Custom 3 apart...pics inside

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

So I broke out some small flat head screwdrivers and started playing with my Custom 3 earphones.


First off, the ring slides up easy, just a dab of CA glue.  From here you can start prying at the seam and break the CA glue holding the earphone casings together.  Slowly work your way around the perimeter slipping the earphone in two. Pretty soon you'll have two halves like below.


Lifted ring and two halves apart:

Custom 3 1.jpg


Close up of the inside.

Custom 3 2.jpg


From here you can see the basic layout of the earphone.  The cord comes in top and gets wired to the circuit board.  Wiring seems pretty straight forward, just two tabs, easy.


From here I started prying around the perimeter of the transparent silicon casing.  This casing is glued on the bottom side around the earphone port to seal the sound.  You can work your way around and eventually break the internals free from the case.


Internals broken free.

Custom 3 3.jpg


The BA driver setup consists of two drivers.  One is fired directly into the earphone nozzle.  The second BA driver is buried in the silicon encasement.  There is a small metal port that is attached to the plastic casing and sort of angle fed into the nozzle.  This port sticks up through the silicon casing and to the port of the bass driver.  It does seem to function pretty well.


A shot of the port that sticks into the silicon encasement for the bass driver.

Custom 3 4.jpg


Now my intent for this foray was to see how the wiring was set up and gauge how easy it would be to swap wiring if need be.  The wiring looks pretty simple to do.  This earphone has a metal pin that is sort of melted into the plastic casing that holds the wiring form getting pulled out.  This same pin also acts as the memory wire for the ear guide.  I assume it's some sort of aluminum.  When swapping wiring, it might be best to leave that as alone as possible to maintain the functionality.  You might break it free for ease during the swap, but you would need to maybe epoxy it back in place when you're done. 


Another shot of the internals and wiring.

Custom 3 5.jpg


It's kind of hard to get a good pic of the drivers, but they basically cross each other inside the silicon.  The high frequency driver is angled down straight into the nozzle.  The bass driver lays length wise and fires just into the opening that the bass port sticks into.  The bass driver is decently substantial in size and does contribute to the good bass definition of this earphone.


Once you do fiddle with this, the earphone does snap back together and stay together fine.  There's actual locking points on the casing as well as the ring holding it together at the cable.  It won't be glued, but it stays together.  Since the bass driver is effectively floating in silicon, I am curious how the bass might get tightened up if it was more securely attached and ported into the nozzle.


One reason for me taking this apart was to see about the nozzle filter.  I want to remove it and see how the top end improves.  The treble driver is comparatively strong relative to the bass driver but has roll off on the top end that is significant enough to warrant a little fiddling.


Well filter removal didn't go well.  I ended up just shoving a paperclip through the filter, lol.  The filter itself is extremely thin on its own, very minimal materal really.  Removal does open up the midrange and top end a little bit.  I ran through a pink noise track, and the response sounds pretty flat across most of the spectrum.  It seems better than stock actually and doesn't carry any real top end emphasis.  I guess I don't get what the filter's for.  I think it's better without.  Sensitivity goes up a touch.  The top end is a little more extended.  The sound is just a little bit more forward, open, sparkly than before.  Just don't see a downside at all.  Big ??? for why Klipsch added anything at all.  Maybe it was mostly just to keep stuff out of the drivers and that was it.  It may be little other than a built in wax guard really.  However, it does influence the response a little, enough to have gains from its removal.

post #2 of 12

Very cool and thanks for sharing.  The Custom 3 has stayed on my "to buy" list for some time.  I've always assumed a DIY owner could fix the bad cabling, but it is nice to see the first steps of the process.

post #3 of 12

Nice work!

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

Yeah.  I won't touch the cable till it actually goes wrong.  Unfortunately the kinking issue is simply a side effect of the cloth covering.  The weave spreads at points and the rubber cabling underneath pokes through.  It's nearly impossible to fix though, so you're stuck.  It's just a design problem.  The fabric can be cut, and you'd just have the rubber cable left which is fine on its own.  I just assume there'd be a durability issue afterwards since the rubber casing is quite soft and probably isn't strong enough to prevent stretch and eventual breakage.  A lot of the loading would be stuck on the wire itself.  this isn't terrible, but a thick casing both helps protect from abrasion and provides some level of tensile protection since external forces are mainly placed on the casing and not so much the wire.


With the way the earphone is designed, I can see it very easily transitioning to a custom mold.

Edited by mvw2 - 10/6/10 at 12:30am
post #5 of 12

Nice job @ mvw2. Thanks!!

post #6 of 12

Thanks for sharing, mvw2.  While practicing with an X-ray machine a while back, I took this shot of the Custom 3s.  You can see the angled drivers.  The cross over is towards the upper left.  It's nice to see what it looks like optically for comparison.


2 driver C3 top a.jpg

Edited by IpodHappy - 10/6/10 at 7:26pm
post #7 of 12

Is the cabling really that bad? It looks quite sturdy in those pics though.

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

The big problem with them is the kinking.  It a rubber encased wire that is wrapped with a weave cloth cover.  After a while, the weave opens up in spots and the wire pokes out.  There really isn't an easy fix for it other than removing the cloth sleeve over the wire.  Then you're left with a pretty unsubstantial casing over the wire.

post #9 of 12

where exactly are the filters located? Were they encased in the plastic nozzle (where the silicone tips sit) or placed atop each individual arm driver?

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

The filter (or possibly mainly a wax guard) is located in the plastic nozzle where you slide on the tips.  This is where they always go, and these filters act as a low pass filter to tune the end response.  Every BA earphone has one.  Dynamic earphones tend to use foam inserted.  If you look in, you'll see a metal cylinder in the pastic nozzle with a solid material in it.  It's actually a thin waffer, not like fiber batting or anything.

post #11 of 12

Interesting... I had fisher (inearz) remold my custom 3's and they mistakenly forgot to place the filters back into earpieces. I did notice an improvement in clarity & soundstage, and now I wonder if it was because the filters are missing...

post #12 of 12

From Klipsch:


High Level: Most top-line PM's use two or three armatures and a passive crossover. Our Custom 3 goes much further. Not only does it have two different types of drivers and a second order passive crossover for both armatures, it also has a patent-pending low-pass acoustic filter. (This is the one thta you opened and feel isn't needed.)

The Custom 3 utilizes a Klipsch premium KG723 armature for the HF tweeter. This allows vocals to be ultra-silky and very low in distortion. The LF is implemented with a KG732 armature for the woofer. The Custom 3 also has two acoustic low pass filters: the armature has an internal LP filter plus the patent-pending LP filter on the outside, which is optimized for a very low crossover point without sacrificing sensitivity in the lower region of the response.

The passive crossover has more components than any other comparable headphone. With the two acoustic filters and second-order crossover, the LF has a 24dB per octave slope rolled off at 1kHz. Why so low? Most other headphones cross-over above the vocal region, but we wanted to eliminate intermodulation distortion (IMD), so we have removed the kick drum and bass tones from the tweeter, so the diaphragm can concentrate on reproducing highs without movement from the LF signal. This also allows us to take advantage of the shape of the crossover for additional EQ in the midrange. With Custom-3, the vocals are so natural that high frequencies won't fatigue your ears the way most designs can.

For those who appreciate good clean bass, Klipsch headphones deliver. These headphones are flat below the musical bandwidth, offering virtually no limitation to the bass.
 Thanks for the pics, etc.

Edited by goodvibes - 3/25/11 at 10:39pm
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