1. List of materials and consumed time:
Thin Plywood for Model Making 2 mm
Cheese head screw M2 8 mm
Cheese head screw M2 5 mm
Standard screw fi ca. 2 mm
Push-Pins fi ca. 3mm
Anti Vibration Washers
Universal Steel Mesh Car speaker grill
Fisher 105 genuine plug HE90
Oepheus HE90 Headband with caps
Sennheiser HE60 O-ring
Sennheiser HE60 Suspension
Sennheiser HE60 Cable w/o plug
Sennheiser HE60 Transducers
2. Cogitation and design = 10 hours
3. Execution = 10 hours
4. Necessary tools: Dremel + cutting and grinding tools, precise screwdrivers, side-cutting nippers and soldering iron.
5. Aim: I decided to give another chance to the little Orpheus. Some time ago I bought NOS transducers to modify the Baby Orpheus HE60. I knew how they worked and I wasn’t absolutely convinced by them. There are plenty of people around the world who are fascinated with HE60 and they often preferred them to Omega.
Why am I doing this? Well it is a little bit of fun, and I am also a curious person. Therefore I decided to modify and replace the drivers of baby Orpheus and transplant them into the Orpheus HE90. Theoretically, such a solution should surpass ubiquitous, unappealing plastic that was used in HE60 by Sennheiser. The benefits of Precious wood with an extremely comfortable headband, earcaps and earpads from the Orpheus HE90 will enhance the overall experience when listening to all kinds of music.
Execution: I recorded the entire process in the form of a ‘step by step’ with photographs. Design works, individual elements and stages of the modification have been recorded accurately.
Without question many photographs will speak for themselves and sometimes comment can be deemed as unnecessary. I would like to draw your attention to the method of the driver installation. This was the most important and the most complicated part of the whole venture. To some extent I based my procedure on the original Sennheiser’s concept. I even tried to buy part of the casing in Sennheiser Germany; unfortunately, parts of the Orpheus headphones are just not freely available anymore.
It is possible to buy rubber elements, pads, headband pads but elements of casing are extremely difficult to source, even in the second hand market. The only choice left was DIY. I did it as follows: I made four Ø1,5 mm holes in plywood. The holes formed 70 mm x 50 mm square. Using two-element push pins designed for fixing computer fans, I screwed down a half of that pin on the side of the suspension of membranes.
In this way, the basis of that pin and accurately fixed screws ensured four stable mini-columns. The driver was placed between these columns. Rubber dampers, which secure an o-ring, were placed on these pins (mini-columns). After installation, I cut them down and for a better aesthetic look I plugged them using the remaining element of the set. The seat of drivers is soft but at the same time it ensures a secure grip in the earcap.
I varnished all extra wooden elements and plugs black. The grid that shields the driver on the ear side was made of the protective frame of a loudspeaker designed for a car. The mesh is similar to the original one of HE60. All used materials and conducted actions were supposed to reflect the workmanship perfection of Orpheus casing. Executing all modifications, I kept the aesthetic elements I desired firmly placed centerstage in my mind. Thus I tried to execute all changes accordingly to the highest quality of Sennheiser’s design.
The final effect: I didn’t expect such a noticeable improvement of the sound. I do not attribute this success to myself; it is rather a result of the surrounding area in which the driver was placed. It is confirmed that a proper casing, its acoustic chamber, perfect headband and earpads result in the sound taking on new dynamics and exuberance. It is important to mention that the more comfortable the environment, the longer you can listen without unnecessary movement and adjustment. All facets of the audio interplay were improved, especially the sound stage, bass response and acoustic definition. You certainly do not experience such dramatic audio nirvana in the plain plastic version HE60.
It goes without saying that it won’t still compete with Orpheus; however, the improved version has now more in common with high quality headphones. I do not exclude the possibility of modifying the STAX drivers SR-507. If bass improvement of the 507 is enhanced in such a manner, it is certainly worth dedicating the time.
Photos - part 1 (stage I.)
Photos - part 2 (stage II.)
Photos - part 3 (stage III.)