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Full ATH-M50 Deconstruction

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Since I have never seen a well documented deconstruction of the ATH-M50's, a very popular headphone, I decided to do my own.

 

I hope you enjoy.

 

 

Tools:

Phillips and flat head screwdriver

Needle nose pliers

Wire cutters

 

Required parts for recable:

Thin wall 28 AWG or smaller! You will see why later.

 

Note: This deconstruction took place after I had taken apart the left ear.

This is deconstruction from the right ear and both ears are similar.

Some pictures are missing so just bare with me.

 

Steps:

 

1.

Remove the part where the pleather headband meets plastic. There are 2 screws inside the headband and you just peel them apart.

 

Pull the ear down till it pops out and it should look like this.

 

In my picture I already began to remove the pleather.

 

1.jpg

 

2.

Well remove the pleather and expose the layers of foam.

 

The foam is adhered to the steel headband bar that provides the clamping force and will easily peel away. Try to keep the adhesive in one piece as it may begin to rip off the foam.

 

2.jpg

3.jpg

 

3.

The black plastic pieces will just slide off. Notice how the wire is routed and place your 28AWG or smaller wires accordingly.

 

Reassemble foam

 

Take your flat head screw driver wedge it under the pleather, pinch and pull till the pleather is back.

 

_MG_2085.jpg

 

 

4.

Now to the ear piece. It should look something like this cut off.

 

4.jpg

 

 

5.

Remove the 2 screws above the earpiece to expose this.

 

6.jpg

 

 

6.

Remove the screw in the middle of the PCB and that should let the slide come off.

 

Cut that off and place it aside.

 

Take your flat head screwdriver and begin pushing a "c" shaped washer off the brass cylinder.

 

Examine this picture VERY closely to see what I'm talking about.

 

All of this is under spring tension so upon reassembly you will need to get a good grip, push the springs down, then move the "c" shaped washer back in place.

 

7.jpg

 

This is what I ended up with.

 

8.jpg

 

8.

Remove the 2 screws at the joint of the ear to the slide.

 

9.jpg

 

 

 

9.

Just pull the black ring off the brass and expose a spring.

 

Just keep pulling all the pieces apart till you get something like this.

 

VERY IMPORTANT TO TAKE NOTE OF THE ORDER!!!!!!

Upon reassembly, you could screw yourself, if you had to shove the thin wall 28 AWG through the brass cylinder like I did and forget one item.

Game over.

 

10.jpg

 

 

10.

So go back to the slide you put aside.

 

There is a spring holding the plastic to the metal bar. Push the spring towards the opening. Close your eyes because you can catch a spring in the eye.

 

Take not of were the wire is routed. You will need to remember this.

 

11.jpg

 

 

These are all the parts lined up.

 

12.jpg

 

 

11.

Now you can crack open the cup by removing the 4 screws.

 

You need to remove the silver spring that retains the cups swivel

 

2 Silver screws

 

13.jpg

 

 

12.

Remove all the lovely padding and push the nubs out to fully disassemble the ear piece.

 

14.jpg

 

 

13.

So at the headphone joint. There is a plastic cover. Simply pry it off breaking some tabs but it will be fine.

 

15.jpg

 

Note:

If your using thin wall 28 AWG like I did then you will need to take the flat head and bore out the holes so they fit.

 

Like so.

 

16.jpg

 

 

14.

Use some plasticine to put the wire on the black plastic because its a pain to keep it in one place.

 

17.jpg

 

 

Note: 

This is where I expect the reader to use past knowledge.

 

15.

I didn't use the PCB but your welcome to do extra soldering.

 

18.jpg

 

 

16.

Feed the wire through the brass cylinder

 

19.jpg

 

17.

 

Heres how I fed the wire through the earpiece clip.

 

20.jpg

21.jpg

 

 

18.

Make sure you have the right order setup.

 

22.jpg

 

19. 

Put all the plastic back and slide the washer clip back. Use needle nose pliers to pop it back on.

 

23.jpg

 

20.

The rest is down hill. Just reassemble

24.jpg

 

21.

 

Heres my fully recabled ATH- M50's.

 

I did have to solder the 28 AWG to the 26 AWG main cable. I put some glue over the direct joint to. 

 

Obviously you can't fit 26 AWG through the tiny tiny brass cylinder. So I was forced to solder the 28 to the 26.

 

Here we are.

 

 

_MG_6618.jpg

 

 

Sorry if I am missing info. But those were all the pictures I had.

 

 

post #2 of 16

 

Nice deconstruction guide.

 

The c-shaped washer is a circlip.

 

Craftly little things, they can have a habit of springing away, never to be seen again.

post #3 of 16

 

Quote:
Craftly little things, they can have a habit of springing away, never to be seen again.

 

Yes they can be very annoying to put back aswell.

post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Yes they can be very annoying to put back aswell.

It wasn't too bad for me when I bought $2.50 needle nose pliers from Harbor Freight. Worth the $2.50 imo

post #5 of 16
Could someone please show me what both drivers look like on the back side where those solder terminals are? And could you also label the connections as left right and ground? I am thinking of doing a balanced mod on the ATH-m50 and would like to know whats what before I begin. I think I can even leave that over-the-head wire in there as long as I clip it or move it away or something. It should only require disassembly of the actual cup isntead of the entire headband.
post #6 of 16

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shrimants View Post

Could someone please show me what both drivers look like on the back side where those solder terminals are? And could you also label the connections as left right and ground? I am thinking of doing a balanced mod on the ATH-m50 and would like to know whats what before I begin. I think I can even leave that over-the-head wire in there as long as I clip it or move it away or something. It should only require disassembly of the actual cup isntead of the entire headband.

 

If you're leaving the headband wire in place, then you only need to open the left cup assembly.


From:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/484744/crosstalk-on-audio-technica-m50#post_6601078

 

 

P1010383web.jpgP1010386web.jpg

 

 

post #7 of 16
So I take it that the other side has 2 wires, right + and Ground. I can probably leave those in place and use a 4 core cable on the left driver and still have it be balanced without needing to screw with the right ear.

Does the right ear have any of those copper traces?

Also, am I seeing 4 actual traces? The outer most semicircle with the gray burnt looking thing, is that 2 seperate contacts?

My original idea was to drill the bottom of the other headphone and have a cable coming from each cup. This would mean 2 wires per driver, which lets me do L+, L-, R+ and R-. I was going to leave that black cable in there but cut it and secure it so that the contacts are nowhere near anything.

It looks to me like Black and Gold wire combo is the ground, red is the right earpiece and green is the left earpiece, and the largest semicircle is actually 2 seperate contacts. Does this sound correct?

EDIT: another idea would be to break that copper connection for ground into 2 seperate connections and that way it would be a slightly easier mod, but I dunno how that all works because its hard to figure out texture from a picture and I dont really have a dependable fallback for headphones.
Edited by shrimants - 3/21/12 at 4:29pm
post #8 of 16

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shrimants View Post

So I take it that the other side has 2 wires, right + and Ground. I can probably leave those in place and use a 4 core cable on the left driver and still have it be balanced without needing to screw with the right ear.
 

 

Yes.


 

 

Quote:
Does the right ear have any of those copper traces?

 

I assume so. But I have not opened it up to confirm for myself.

 

 

 

Quote:
Also, am I seeing 4 actual traces? The outer most semicircle with the gray burnt looking thing, is that 2 seperate contacts?

 

One side of the gray thing is the + terminal, and the other is the - terminal. The rest is just for connecting the wires to the right cup.

 

 

 

Quote:
My original idea was to drill the bottom of the other headphone and have a cable coming from each cup. This would mean 2 wires per driver, which lets me do L+, L-, R+ and R-. I was going to leave that black cable in there but cut it and secure it so that the contacts are nowhere near anything.

 

Should be all right. Maybe put some tape/heatshrink around the end of the wire just to be safe.

 

 

 

Quote:
It looks to me like Black and Gold wire combo is the ground, red is the right earpiece and green is the left earpiece, and the largest semicircle is actually 2 seperate contacts. Does this sound correct?
 

 

Yes.

 

From the left cup entry:

 A: red: right +

 B: green: left +

 C: black: common ground

 

From the internal black wire that goes to the other cup:

 D: red tinted copper: right +

 E: clear copper: right ground

 

So for a single entry balanced cable, you can connect the A and D wires directly together. Then connect the E wire with the extra ground wire from your new balanced cable. Actually, you can also refer to the thread that I got the pictures from. The OP there pretty much did exactly that, except he terminated it with a TRS at the end.

 

 

 

One other thing to note is that all the stock wires are coated with enamel. So you'll need to burn or strip it off before resoldering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #9 of 16

All right, let's be fair. These headphones are the invention of a Japanese fellow who used to be royal torturer in his previous life during the shogunate. Just the springs - ow. They're worth a 7/10 minimum. Nice sound once modded though.

 

Here they are, modded with Blu-tack and three different kinds of silver-plated twisted pair wiring:

 

One note about the headband: you don't have to break it apart completely, just peel the thicker foam layer slightly to free the cable, which can then be freed from the foam's glue/grip, and pulled out.

 

The plug is a Neutrik angled thing, NTP3RC (or was it 3 at the beginning of the code, somesuch model anyway). The jacket is Techflex 1/8" orange, and the original plug spring is included as a strain relief (the owner asked for the Neutrik angled plug and the spring specifically).

 

And you can see the orange/white twisted pair in the right cup wire duct, it's AWG 30. AWG 26 inside the main cable, AWG 30 for cup -> headband, and dual AWG 32 TP for headband wiring (there's enough space there for two cables really, but AT went on the cheap with a single dual-wire cable). Original soldering miniboards were reused.

post #10 of 16

Just wanted to say thanks for this post, I needed to replace a damaged cable in my M50's and it was very useful to see them stripped down before I started work. k701smile.gif

 

Actually, it's been such a long time since I last used mine I had forgotten how good they sound, great pair of budget headphones. Thanks for saving them from the bin!!


Edited by Frodo - 2/16/13 at 1:13am
post #11 of 16

Wow. Definitely need to try this once I upgrade. Doesn't look too difficult. How do they sound? 

post #12 of 16

My M50s has the removable cable mod. It was really simple to do to me. And I used a lot of really nice parts. so it looks really flush. and like it came stock

post #13 of 16

Thanks to Pingupenguins for the excellent, comprehensive write up and pics. I just picked up a dirt cheap set of broken m50s so this guide will be super useful as I try to revive them.

 

Random question: does audio technica sell the arm assembly that holds the cup?

 

The set I bought is busted there and it looks a lot easier to replace it than try to repair the plastic.

post #14 of 16

To follow up for posterity, Audio Technica sent me a free replacement arm.

 

I couldn't be more impressed with AT USA's service department. I emailed them in the morning, inquiring about purchasing a new arm, received a reply within an hour offering the part for free, and ultimately received the arm via USPS less than a week later. I installed it using Pingupenguin's write up and now have a perfect set of m50's at a total cost of under $20.

 

Hell, the Shure 940 velour ear pads I bought for the m50s cost more ($25) than the headphones!


Edited by CraigMammalton - 5/7/13 at 3:29am
post #15 of 16
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