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Sony MDR-150 + SFI drivers = cheap and awesome

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Can't give too much info right now, been really busy as of late.

My project for the past month has been turning cheap ($15) sony headphones into some fancy 'open-back orthos'


Throw in some DIY cabling and a pair of 120ohm SFI tweeters, got some pretty decent phones on the cheap. :)

lemme know what you think!







post #2 of 26

Hahaha so awesome.  I have the exact same project lined up.  Got my V150, my 120ohm SFI, wire measured and cut for single entry.  You have white pads though (from where, I'd like to know), whereas my pads are stock black.  I do have a white Sony frame, though, thanks to some vinyl dye.


Your finished product looks very nice.  Can I see the headband?  I was gonna wrap mine in something, maybe pleather because I have some.  Might have to if the most elegant wire management is some tape or heatshrink.


Also, can you talk about opening the back of the cup?  How?  Did you have to damp or otherwise treat the housing?

Edited by Lurkumaural - 10/18/11 at 9:49am
post #3 of 26

Looks great! How does it sound?


Also, where have you been finding the tweeters? I cannot currently source any from the reference links I've found. 

post #4 of 26

The only known way to get them is to find a Head-Fier with spares.

post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 

If it sparks any interest, I actually have an extra pair of SFI drivers I'm thinking about selling...


The earpads are from the the MDR-ZX100 headphones in white. Basically, they are replacing the MDR-V150s, which are on their way out.


Lurkumaural : what do you mean by making the frame white with vinyl dye?


The headband is simple. Just drilled four holes on top for cable management, and otherwise the wire was taped along the inside of the headband at two points. If you are looking for elegant, you will not find it here! haha.

Wrapping the headband sounds like a great idea. The plastic one digs into my head after about 30 minutes :/

post #6 of 26

Oh wow what a great finish on these. I'm familiar with that sony model ( gave it away after I listened to it once/got it cheap second hand for the hell of it ) and was expecting something like the stock look on this project... but THIS:THIS IS COOL!


Driving that out of a portable...you must have an amp or Cowon :) Oh yeah a cmoy I just looked. The 120's I put in a larger shell take a bit of juice.


What is the mesh on the back/what's it from?

What did you use for damping inside , if any? Looks like nothing from the pics.

What's the resulting sound compared to others you have tried?


Can you please post this up in the Orthodynamic Roundup thread? AND ALSO the KOSS Pro4AAA's you did up with a description of how you handled the damping and transplant. Always interesting and i'm sure these'll be well received over there.

WITH PICTURES of both too!


these are great.

post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 

nick n: Thanks, captain. The mesh is from a file organizer. I felt it kind of gave it a grado look :)


There is a ton of blu-tak holding the driver in place, haha. I read on this site ( http://doesitpew.blogspot.com/2011/03/diy-hifi-orthodynamic-portable.html) about putting a rubber foor on the back middle air hole to "tame" the driver. But I don't necessarily notice any difference. But other than that, no dampening. 

I will say that there is an annoying peak around 2K that is fatiguing to my ears, due to no dampening(?) Im going to rip off the back driver cloth later, and try some other methods.

post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 

My KOSS pro/4AAAs didn''t sound good with the orthos, tried different configurations. One major problem I see is that the driver placement of the 4AAAs is far away from the ear, compared to other headphones. I'm working on tearing them apart, so I can hopefully install the orthos right up next to the ear :)

I've kept the KOSS phones because 1. they look cool and 2. My dad used them during his college radio days.

post #9 of 26
Originally Posted by ilikepie116 View Post
I will say that there is an annoying peak around 2K that is fatiguing to my ears, due to no dampening(?) Im going to rip off the back driver cloth later, and try some other methods.
I'd try to keep that driver cloth intact it prevents grit or dirt bits getting inside there and  reaking havoc on the diaphragm.
File organizer mesh great idea.
Damping questions could be answered at the thread i mentioned. The mesh may be reflecting a tiny bit of the backwave (?), maybe a bit of thick/ or thinner wool felt on the backside might help get rid of that annoying peak you mentioned. I've never tried an open back mod with sfi's yet.  Going to soon ! I'd be curious what works for you, as every application follows certain basic rules but each is still different.
Good luck.
Also hope you get something going with the Koss that should be a neat one to tweak. Heavy though? Does he know you tried modifying them? It would be a great surprise to hear them when done. He'd probably want them back though ha!


Edited by nick n - 10/19/11 at 6:51pm
post #10 of 26

I happen to have those drivers and a set fo V150, I think I might give them a try, but open back SFI really? last time I tried those drivers it was hard to get some bass out of them and had to seal them perfectly and damp a lot.

post #11 of 26

OP: Vinyl dye is a spray much like spray paint that goes into the plastic and changes its color rather than forming a coat like a paint would.  I bought mine at my neighborhood auto parts shop.  I'll try to dig up some pictures and post them.


Speaking of: would you mind if this thread hosted everyone's SFI-V150 projects, since it seems a few people have the capability to make one?  OK if you're not cool with it.


I thought of wrapping the headband because there's a groove on the outer edge of the headband that can cradle the wire.  Wrapping would address how the wire sits in the split in the headband.  I'm also trying to cook up a way to use copper tubing to replace the hangers, which break easily.  Tubing can also carry the wires into the cup.  I'm sharing the idea in case someone wants to engineer such a modification on their own.


I don't suppose you'd like to share pictures of the inside of the cups and baffle.  And the heat shrink strain relief.  I mean, I can see it just fine, but it's so pretty.  Is that 3:1?

Edited by Lurkumaural - 10/20/11 at 2:58pm
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 

JamesMc -

I burned the drivers in for about 20 hours, which made the drivers sound less harsh, and really brough out the bass. From what I understand, the SFI drivers are NOS from the 1980's, so the diaphram has been dormant for at least 20+ years.



I did figure out how to get rid of the huge peak @ 2K...

Tore apart an old black printer cartridge to get the ink-absorbing microcell foam. Cut in half, now sits between the back of the driver and the mesh. Improved the upper midrange response. However, I can't help but notice that some hi-end has disappeared after doing this.


Less dampening = better trebel response?



Lurk -

I will say that the bass response is definitely not like the Beats, or other bass-heavy phones.

But this is a good thing, in my opinion. Sound is relatively balanced.

Even without an open back, the stock MDR-v150s aren't sealed. There's a gap between the drive plate and the housing.


Don't mind at all. Could potentially become a good resource for people looking to mod the v150s


How would you wrap the headband? Any though to what materials you would use?


I'll try to get some pictures up this weekend of the teh insides smily_headphones1.gif


post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 

Many other ortho headphones I've seen, mopre often than not, are open back. So naturally, i decided to try going this route. the first attempt was in the v150s in the stock form, which sounded okay, without dampening or anything.

post #14 of 26

Nice ! Those white earpads are gorgeous !

I'm building my first "real" mod from SFIs and a Kanen KM-880, so any info on dampening etc... is always welcome :)


@liamstrain : art-of-sound-sb on ebay sells 120Ohms SFIs (29 pairs to go). I don't know if he ships to US, though, I live in France and received my order in about 4 or 5 days.

post #15 of 26
Originally Posted by melka View Post


@liamstrain : art-of-sound-sb on ebay sells 120Ohms SFIs (29 pairs to go). I don't know if he ships to US, though, I live in France and received my order in about 4 or 5 days.

Thanks - I found the seller - but their store currently has 0 items (edit. The UK ebay store has inventory, just none of the others - pity ebay can't coordinate with itself). I'll keep looking though. 

Edited by liamstrain - 10/24/11 at 1:38pm
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