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Audio Technica ATH- ES 10 Impressions Thread - Page 60

post #886 of 894

Removing the top piece of dynamat (the one in the top quarter) or alternatively, cutting a strip of felt in the same shape and covering the top quarter with it (still leaving the dynamat in) should do the trick.


I feared the cable might have made a difference... so the mod had to be performed on a stock pair. But you can definitely play around with the dampening and get very interesting results.


For instance, if you'd like to color the midrange, you can try stuffing different materials right where the circular piece in the middle is... or stack more leather and felt for a thicker and bassier sound. You can play around with that more to customize for your own personal taste. Myself, personally, I have a lot of dampening in the back, and it all gives a very nice strong bass presence with a clean and clear midrange.


The ES10 turns out to be a very transparent headphone, so every little change would make quite a noticeable difference. And it can sound very very good.


My ES10 is now tuned to be so transparent that a non-audiophile can detect the difference in the headphone out port of a 2011 MacBook and a 2012 MacBook. That happened just a few days ago, and it totally made my day when he went like "oh wow, how is that possible?"

post #887 of 894

I added the extra felt that you suggested, and now it is absolutely amazing the sound I get out of these phones!  Who would have thought it, but you did. I'd be interested in your thought processes as you started to go about this mod.  Did you have any idea what could be accomplished, and how did you come up with the materials?



post #888 of 894

I should add that I have never heard such a musical-sounding 'phone (now), a really well-balanced sound spectrum and a significantly larger sound stage.



post #889 of 894

Glad you like it! :beerchug:


I came up with all of this after a whole year of experimenting, failing, and experimenting again with the ES10.


Owning the ES10, I realized it was just the perfect statement headphone for me... since:


1) It's not hard to drive at all, and pretty much anything can make them it loud enough

2) It's a super portable headphone with massive drivers, the only one of its kind IMO

3) The tuning was close to ideal already. It just needed the extra push.


So that "extra push" lead me to experiment endlessly to improve on what it's missing (mainly just clarity and treble extension) while keeping what's already there (the strong bass, the warm and lush mid).


I do use a bit of physics to go about this. It's not that I blindly followed everything without a concrete base.


For instance, the sides of the ear cups would reflect more high frequencies (especially the top) because only those kinds can get past the enclosure and reach those regions. In order to improve them, a reflective surface such as the aluminum foil in dynamat would help. Plus the glue in dynamat has good elasticity, so it'll be pretty good at cleaning up extra vibrations from the cup, thus adding more clarity.


The back of the driver enclosure, which is open, would have sound output of various frequencies, but lower frequencies... from sub bass to mids would dominate higher ones there, so dampening that part would affect bass and midrange more.


Leather and felt are chosen for the task because they are not too stiff and not too soft. Stiffer materials would be more rigid, so they would tend to dampen higher frequencies more, and may make midrange too muffled, though they would help with bass. But we won't be needing more bass because... the construction of the ES10 allows quite a bit of air to get in already. Having those holes help ensure a pressure difference between the two sides of the drivers, and then they push more pressure, which makes more bass. Having more open space (less material) would then allow the bass to come out like that. Additionally, having more dampening materials in the back would cause them to stiffen, and they'll also transfer low frequency energy from the driver enclosure to the ear cups better. That's why Audio Technica compressed the yellow fiberglass material to begin with.


Finally, the wool felt and foam pieces at the bottom quarter help dampen extra vibrations from the cable, and also help dampen reflections coming from that quarter, which can be complicated because the cable is mixed in. Having them there aids in clarity and reduces a bit of bass warmth so that bass can come across clean and without intruding into the mids.

post #890 of 894

I had bought the ES10 originally for similar reasons, but had no idea about passively modifying the frequency response.  I realize that much the same process that you went though would be done by people designing loudspeaker enclosures, but it really never had occurred to me that the same could be done with an existing phone on a micro level.


In any case, you efforts are incredibly successful.  I have had only a few hours to try out the modded phones on a variety of music files, and really look forward to the next several days exploring how they sound with old favorites.


I had to buy moderately large amount of the materials for the mod, not that this was expensive.  I would be happy sharing these, now that my ES10 is modded, for minimal costs with others.  ES10 owners really deserve to hear the results of your work.



post #891 of 894

One additional, probably minor question.  After the mod, I note that the two channels differ slightly in gain, perhaps by 5db, L>R.  I had not noticed this before, but it seems to occur now with several sources (all of which can easily be set to compensate).  Any idea how this might have happened, if in some way I was a bit sloppy with the mod?



post #892 of 894

If you have a channel difference, it might be because of some slight differences in the way you cut things.


So open the headphone up again and inspect to make sure both sides are balanced?


In some cases, if you cut the felt and leather dishes too small and they don't fit snuggly into the circular spot, you may have to glue them on with double-sided tape.


If both sides are balanced and you still hear a difference, it may be because of fit. You do need a good fit with the ES10 to have both sides be balanced.

post #893 of 894
Originally Posted by lcats View Post

One additional, probably minor question.  After the mod, I note that the two channels differ slightly in gain, perhaps by 5db, L>R.  I had not noticed this before, but it seems to occur now with several sources (all of which can easily be set to compensate).  Any idea how this might have happened, if in some way I was a bit sloppy with the mod?



As with most mods with regards to dampening, it usually is something not falling in place when you close the baffles and put the headphone together. I would try seeing if something shifted when you reassembled the headphone.


That said, 5 dB is not a insignificant difference... Worst case scenario is driver variation, which is something not uncommonly found with the Fostex T50RP mods. You may need to compensate with a physical channel adjustment similar to one found on a receiver, or figure out an adjustment to a side to bring it closer to the other channel. 


Hopefully it's the former, as it's a relatively simple fix. 


Does the channel imbalance change with how you're seating the earpads?

post #894 of 894

Re-opening and re-setting in place the various felt baffles eventually largely equalized the two channels.  Now I plan carefully to re-cut each of these so that they EXACTLY match one other -- I had done it basically freehand before, but I can now well appreciate that being quite exact here will pay dividends in the sound profiles.


I can also appreciate now how one might hear a difference between two MacBooks of different years.  Whereas with the OEM fiberglass damping I could hear the differences between an excellent and a so-so recording but said basically "so what", now an excellent recording just blows me away, whereas an indifferent one sound causes various levels of real disappointment .  Much had been lost before in a generalized mushiness.   It reminds me of what a Russian friend says about the people in the old Soviet Union: "They are the happiest people in the world.  They just don't realize how unhappy they are because they have no comparison point." 



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