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B&W P5 ear cushion mod

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 




I recently bought the B&W P5s and I love them, they sound gorgeous out of my iPhone 4.


My only minor complaint is that they become slightly uncomfortable after several hours of use, and whilst I don't mind too much as I'm sure I'll get used to it, I am wondering if it would be possible to use over-ear cups as opposed to on-ear ones.  As they are attached magnetically, I can't see any reason why someone couldn't make them, or possibly adapt them from other headphones.






I'm thinking I can buy a new pair of B&W cushions, remove the middle plastic piece (that should also be attached to the magnets that hold the cushions on) and then attach it to some over-ear cushions.


If anyone can offer any tips on doing this, such as what kind of glue to use or what pads you think might work well please do let me know.  I have contacted B&W asking where I can buy a new set of cushions.




post #2 of 13



I wear glasses and my P5s don't get along with them.


I've also been curious to know if opening up the pads, like the Grado SR-60i Quarter Mod (http://www.head-fi.org/t/508459/sr60-mod#post_6871729) would help at all.  It seems as though there might be a slight veil to the sound, seems to be a common point of contention with the P5

post #3 of 13

Hello all - this is my first post.


I have had such success with my P5's that I decided to sign up to Head-fi for the sole purpose of sharing the following information:


As with everyone who tries the P5's I was looking for the ultimate closed back headphones for ipod/iphone etc.


I burned them in for days using a mixture of pink noise, white noise, frequency sweeps....actual music too!


I've never been happy with the sound.


Far far too much bass...boom boom boom...muddy sound...or 'veiled' as some have described it.


Recently I started experimenting...


I took the ear pads off completely then pushed the cans against my ears and listened to some music.  Obviously it was really trebley and tinny...but I also noticed it was very very detailed.


Conclusion - ear pads 'create' bass


Next I took the 'round the ear' pads off my Creative Aurvana Live cans and listened to the P5's through them.  This time I got some bass back with no loss of detail.  The space inside the Creative's cups is far greater than that inside the P5's.


Conclusion:  The size of the cavity inside the ear pads affects the amount of bass.


Looking inside the P5's ear pads you can see that the opening for the sound to travel through has been reduced by the shape of the foam.  I decided to be brave and take a pair of scissors to mine and 'open them out' to match the shape of the grill on the driver unit.


...although reckless you might say...this is the best mod I've ever done!  I did it in stages and noticed the drop in bass and reduction in 'muddiness' with each iteration.  They now sound almost perfect to my ears!  The detail and separation between instruments and vocals is amazing for closed back cans!


I decided to see how far I could push the 'envelope'...


At this point I decided that the engineers who had likely designed the 'perfect' headphone driver were not responsible for the ear pads.  Here I assumed that the goals were luxurious comfort and that this may have impeded the sound quality.  You'll noticed that there is a 'void' in the upper section of each ear pad where there is no foam.  I concluded that this had been left out in order to increase wearing comfort on the ears, but will likely cause internal reflections of sound.  I took one of the girlfriends make-up removal pads, rolled it up into a cylinder and pushed it into this void.


This made a marginal difference, but to my ears it tightened up the bass slightly.  It also makes the cans less comfortable to wear though; confirming my suspicions that the placement of the foam is to optimize comfort, NOT preserve SQ.


Finally I have replaced the cable with a section of Sennheisser HD595 that I'd chopped off months ago.  The small 2.5mm jack was a pain in the bum however and in the end I bought one from Maplin, removed it from it's plastic barrel then used a hand-held rotary grinding tool to reduce it's diameter to fir the P5's cavity.


Another large step up in performance!  I would say that you should be careful with cable choice here as the amount of clarity and treble may not be to everyone's liking.  I tried to use 24AWG SPOFC Van Damme microphone cable initially but not only was the cable too fat to fir inside the P5's, the treble was too much.


I'll get some photos sorted out to show you all when I figure out how to do it ;-)


Anyhoo...that's about it.


I just wanted to share the joy since I'd been looking for a thread like this to 'show me the way' with my P5's.  I hope that this will allow all you other P5 owners to get the most from your investment!



post #4 of 13
Originally Posted by pjoliver182 View Post

I'll get some photos sorted out to show you all when I figure out how to do it ;-)

Please do!  Thanks for sharing.

post #5 of 13

photo1.JPGSo here's what I did to the foam in the ear pads.  This is the CRUCIAL mod and will take you about 5 mins to do

post #6 of 13

photo2.JPGExcuse the yellow electrician's tape please - I'll be adding proper heat shrink soon.  Note that the 2.5mm jack has been removed from it's barrel and ground down to fit.  The cable used is from some Sennheiser HD595's.  I'm only using 3 out of the 4 conductors however.

post #7 of 13

photo3.JPGHere's the P5's assembled showing the shiny new 3.5mm jack :-)

post #8 of 13

My p5's foams are well worn and they're a little less foamy but that only translate out to more treble and clarity!

post #9 of 13
Originally Posted by wilzc View Post

My p5's foams are well worn and they're a little less foamy but that only translate out to more treble and clarity!

Makes sense - that foam is responsible for all the negative reviews towards the P5's SQ...I'm convinced!


I hope a few more people try out my mod and confirm the difference it makes :-)

post #10 of 13

Decided to create a new thread for this which is not specific to ear cushions:



post #11 of 13
pjoliver182, how did you get your upgraded cable to sit so flush in the headphone cavity?
post #12 of 13

Sorry for the late reply!  I've tidied-up the wiring a bit since my original post.


I had to remove the outer layer of insulation and also snip off one of the four conductors (since I only needed 3 of them for the P5's).  The individual conductors are pretty narrow so with a bit of fiddling around, they fit in the channel quite nicely.  It's the magnets in the cans that keep everything from popping out though really.





post #13 of 13


Edited by rwmcjazz - 1/6/13 at 2:11am
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