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Joe Grado HP1000 modifications - Page 7

post #91 of 110
Originally Posted by LCfiner View Post

I was really nervous performing the mod since I’m typically rather klutzy and the HP-1 has that polarity switch so there’s a lot more wires in that cup that need to be moved out of the way to secure the foam (4 wires from the center of the cup to the driver plus the two wires entering the cup to the switch backplate). I was paranoid that some 20 year old soldering joint would snap as I moved the wires out of the way... but I got through it unscathed and the end result was worth it. (I’m still too nervous to try the dynamat mods to the back of the driver. But I think I like the existing bass impact too much to add the damping, anyway)


Yeah, earlier in this post I clumsily torn the cable to the left driver... grr. OH AND that was my HP2! Props to you, I'm looking at the rat nest that is inside my HP1 right now and I can't even conceive how you managed to do this. I think it's a neat feat really, as there is no room to operate at all in there!


I have a stock HP1 and a HP2i, let's meet and A/B the crap out of those headphones... can I go at your house? Seriously you got me curious about Purrin's mod... and no, I will not apply it to my HP1 :(.


Originally Posted by LCfiner View Post

I’m gonna stick some leftover foam on the pads. brb


edit: I did it. OMG 400% more detail!


ok, but seriously, I think I would need more than 1 mm to notice a difference. Maybe splitting the difference between the bowl and flat thicknesses


You mention volume and that’s actually something that concerns me. It’s way too easy to crank the volume up with these headphones now. I gotta be careful if listening for a long time!


Improved flat pads are about 1-2 mm thicker, yeah. The same ones that really provide 400% more detail "OUTPUT".



Any of you can give me their feedback on my custom pads:


Basically you put on a HD414 pad (no absolute need to be quarter-modded but it's a bit better) and stick a bowl between it and your ears (I double-side Scotch taped the two together but you can manually fit the bowl easily, for trying purpose and quick revert to normal).


They do just that, open the sound stage, remove some bass presence, adjust the highs a bit. At first you might think it's lacking in bass but I assure you that it's still fully there, just compress the two pads a little bit. I came up with that while wanting to use bowls without my ears to touch the driver walls. Comfort is great, but the pads require breaking in for the HD414 to flex and for the bowls to memorize your circumaural head topology.

Edited by devouringone3 - 6/9/12 at 5:58pm
post #92 of 110

The part that made me nervous was removing that rat’s nest out of the cup. Looks like John’s old soldering job was solid. :) nothing snapped or broke when I lifted out the driver. The I just cut 3 strips of the foam/tape combo and placed them in with some pliers and a little screwdriver as a poker. It was too crowded in there to try to run the foam as one long strip.


Of course, I realized early on before I started working that we’re only talking about wires here. I never felt there was a risk of messing up the driver. If a wire snaps, it can be re-installed. It’s an inconvenience but not the end of the world. I even had a good friend with a soldering iron and a steady hand. Plus I didn’t have to do anything drastic to get the drivers out of the cups.


As for your custom pads, I just tried them now on the HP-1. They do increase the soundstage size but they also, naturally, increase treble volume. more than the mids or bass. so they end up sounding a little more like RS1s. Which isn’t terrible as I like RS1s. But I prefer the more tamed treble of the HP1 with flats.


I think your bowls would work well on the HF2 and PS500. Those are already tuned for bigger bass and less treble so the increased distance between ear and driver won’t make such a large difference. I know I didn’t hate the HF2 when I put PS1000 bowls on them before. It was a little bit tizzy in the highs but your pads aren’t as big so the effect wouldn’t be as dramatic.


I’ve thought about taking my second set of flats, cutting off the front flaps and sticking them on my other flats to get that extra couple mm of distance, while maintaining the same material density. I just don’t want to mess with them right now. Maybe in a month or two I’ll try it out.

post #93 of 110

I'm wondering if the Joe Grado's modded HP-1000i are worth more than stock ones,and if so,by what percentage,they should,since they're modified by the man who created them,i also wonder about the value of those modified by they're owners...Hmmmm!

post #94 of 110

The wires in my HP1 run around following the circular shape of the inner wall of the cup, they would probably hold the foam stripes nicely against the circular wall. Adhesive foam, I remember all the trouble of lining my T50RP cup with that... ouch, and it'll be even harder to remove. But no, these are keepers, right? :P


The Ultra-Wide bandwidth I have is one of the most flexible headphone cable I have. It's good because it's being used in narrow corridors and twists in the HPA amplifier and in the HP1s.


Is your HP1 of the domed kind? Mine is has a flat metal grill and some of the wire contacts of the polarity switches goes about 1 mm inside the driver's central concavity. There's no way I could fit a Dynamat ring on top of that podium (the elevated back of the driver), the red switch is too close to it, almost touching it.



That switch is cool, if you apply enough control over it you can leave it rest in the middle position, and the headphone won't work (no contacts will be made)... a nasty trick to pull on a HP1 owner, you could leave him thinking one of his channel is broken, lol.


People think the HP1 is less durable than the HP2, because of the switches and all the wiring allows for more things to fail. I think the contrary, because the switch acts as a relay between the main headphone cable and the driver. As long as it is possible to resolder a headphone cable to the switch, you won't have to risk doing it on to your driver. The switches itself has two signal paths to offer, the "-" and "+", and both work/sound the same. So if any one of the polarity dies in one cups, you always can listen to the headphone putting both cups on the remaining polarity. So basically that means at least twice the "cabling durability" of the HP2 (where if a single contact failure happens you need to recable the whole channel, directly onto the drivers). I say "at least" because the switch is what feeds the driver and the switch is steady and acts as a solid strain relief; the wires can never move. It's not like Grado's one-way strain relief (tight wrap) system which prevent tugging of the cable but not pushing in of it, which potentially could break the solder joint just as much. Something similar happened to me when I took out my HP2 driver out, basically I tore the joint by pulling on the cable in the direction of the driver, and the soldering job poorly mishandled such an unnatural stress. Really, my mistake was to let the driver hang backwards and it fell off like if nothing was even attached to it/retaining it. Of course I've been so negligent to let is hang backwards. I also felt John Grado's soldering skills were solid though.


I listen to my HP1 on "-". :P


Thank you for your impressions of my pads! That's true that they give it a very John Grado signature, I also think that! You listened to the right pads.


I also reverted to... well hum... bowls (I sent my bowls to Joseph Grado :P) and liked the "fuller timbre" (midbass) more than I had remembered, yesterday. You feel the impact in the bass a lot more, although I didn't like that much when I first heard the HP2 with flats.


I've tried by HD414-bowls on John Grado headphones but the headband lacks the rigidity to force the drivers back closer to your ear (like the Joseph Grado headbands can do), and preserve a decent balance and the bass.


I understand that Purrin's mods goes in the direction of my pads, but without being as drastic and balance shifting, denaturing?



I did try pad sandwiching with bowls and flats (reversed bowls + bowls, flats + bowls, flats + reversed flats, reversed bowls + reversed flats) but nothing good came out of that experiment because (I think) the pads are already "tuned" to function better on their own. They all have a dense crust on their back (that allows for some reverberation I guess) and some of that increased density (applied in front of the pad) also sits on and around your ear.

Edited by devouringone3 - 6/9/12 at 6:59pm
post #95 of 110

Question for Purrin -   Are both modifications present currently in your pair of HP1000? (Foam lining and back of motor dampening) 


Also, have you thought about using the Dynamat Extreme under the foam in place of just foam on the actual air chamber? I know it is much less reversible, but it is also more suited for resonance control.   Your thoughts?

post #96 of 110



I tried the mods using inner foam from beyer pads(only available right now). It bacame more balanced, detailed and natural. A little lean bass but no bloat. Big upgrade!!!

I shall be getting more appropriate foam to replace the temporary beyer foam. And I will try it on my PS-1 as well. I expect it will be a big upgrade too.

Thanks for the all informations from this thread, especially to 'purrin'. I'm really happy now^^

post #97 of 110

I've been enjoying my HP2i for a while now and, returning to my HP1, I was bothered by the midrange shout / glare when rocking at higher volume levels.


For those who don't want to (or can't) go all out and mod their HP 1000 just yet, I found that this "sweet spot" EQ setting can remove much of glare while remaining conservative of the musical information. Of course it doesn't provide any of the benefits the mod does, but it does remove most of the annoyance (at mid-high to high volumes) and even pain caused by the shoutiness (at the highest, experimental/critical volumes; because in my opinion the shout is the first thing that becomes unbearable when cranking, really high, the volume on this headphone).


: -2 dB at 3 OR 4 kHz (depending on the band you have on a ~10±some band EQ; the "hurting" of the shout seems to be localized at 3.5 to 4.5 kHz; the 2 and the 6 kHz bands remain at 0)


And if your EQ has more bands, it would give you something like this (on foobar2000):


-1 dB @ 2.5 kHz

-2 dB @ 3.5 kHz

-1 dB @ 5 kHz



I will come back to tell you if I find better settings but I've been playing with those for like 2 hours on foobar and I always came back to the -1 -2 -1 dB centered on 3.5 kHz.

Edited by devouringone3 - 3/6/13 at 12:38am
post #98 of 110

The six set screws used to remove the driver are critical to the performance of the HP 2.  When you removed the drivers, you removed the screws.  Do you have any idea how tight any of those screws were?  When you replaced the drivers, I'm sure you were careful to cross tighten as well as apply even pressure to each screw.   Those screws will loosen over time, and must be  evenly snugged up in order for the HP's to sound their best.  No doubt other factors contribute to the overall sound, but the screws can have at least as much of an impact as the dampening. 

post #99 of 110

Your words are in vain.  Everyone who mods these headphones has at least one screw loose.

post #100 of 110

This was my first post, so I thank you for being gentle in your response.  I've had my HP2's since 1990.  They have thousands of hours of very respectful use.  I voiced the Holmes Powell DCT headphone amp with these cans back in 1993.  I don't sense the 2-3 K shout everyone keeps talking about.  I'll be the first to admit I generally prefer stock over modified, but I've spent a lot of hours under these cans, and I have yet to hear anything I like better, However, I did make a small mod on this pair.  I was playing around with cushion mods that left the housing surface around the driver uncovered.  I fabricated concentric rings from moleskin to cover the surface.  Moleskin is a Dr Scholl's product purchased in adhesive backed sheets ( flesh tone of course, we are dealing with the feet, LOL ).  My mod ended like so many, in failure.  When I returned to stock the HP's returned, to their former glory, but the area I had covered with moleskin was now also covered by the cushion, begging the question,  What if any effect does the moleskin have in this configuration?  Joe didn't put it there when he designed the cushions.   I have no idea what effect the moleskin has at this point, but my system sounds great, and I hear no peak, or the shout that seems to be causing such a problem.  Give it a try, it's reversible. Just my take.

post #101 of 110
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by gregoryk View Post

The six set screws used to remove the driver are critical to the performance of the HP 2.  When you removed the drivers, you removed the screws.  Do you have any idea how tight any of those screws were?  When you replaced the drivers, I'm sure you were careful to cross tighten as well as apply even pressure to each screw.   Those screws will loosen over time, and must be  evenly snugged up in order for the HP's to sound their best.  No doubt other factors contribute to the overall sound, but the screws can have at least as much of an impact as the dampening. 


Instead of cross tightening (as how one would secure a wheel on a car or a speaker driver on a box), I decided to attempt the unorthodox method of tightening screws in a clockwise direction. I also applied massive torque to each screw so as to completely strip the aluminum so all the screws would no longer properly hold the driver in place.

post #102 of 110

I hope you're kidding.

post #103 of 110

I have been following this thread with great interest and just registered here for the first time. 


I am wondering when looking for a set of HP2s, if I don't want a previously modified set, is there any kind of regular "maintenance" that these require? Is it bad if there is no record of having been sent to Grado for servicing. I come from the world of speakers so I know a 20 year old pair of speakers almost certainly will have had a refoam at least once by now. 


So is there anything that goes "bad"? I noticed one person earlier in this thread said he sent his in for a "busted" driver. I am wondering how that even happens (someone asked but it was never answered). 


Thanks for the input.

post #104 of 110

Welcome playdrv4me, I bought my stock HP1000 about 4 years ago from an autorized Grado dealer, who was selling them as a favor for one of their good client. They are the HP2 model. To my knowledge, they have never been serviced, and they still sound great. For many reasons, I have no intention of having them modified. I recently bought a Grado HPA-2 amp, and they sound amazing together.


I have to say, the HP1000 being so rare, and expensive, I am surprised that you are considering them as your first pair of Grados, usually, people will buy the SR60i or SR80i, and if they find that they like the Grado house sound, then they might consider a more expensive model.


Please do not take what I said the wrong way, I meant no disrespect,,

post #105 of 110
Thread Starter 

The HP1000s were created by Joe Grado. Joe Grado is John Grado's uncle. I doubt Grado (John Grado) will service the HP1000s as the drivers are no longer being made. It's possible Joe still has some stashed away somewhere, but he is really old and supposedly from last I've heard, not in the best of health. This is Joe Grado's website: http://www.joegradosig.com/


The HP1000s are fairly neutral, maybe with a slight bass emphasis depending upon pads used. They sound totally different from the current (John) Grado headphones, Many people feel the HP1000, is still one of the best sounding headphones ever made.


If the HP1000s have been well taken care of, there is no need for maintenance. The HP1000 drivers don't use foam or rubber surrounds, so there is nothing that will disintegrate. Best not to touch them. Most busted drivers are the result of abuse, i.e. overdriving them.


The mods which I suggested in this thread are reversible. But I'm not selling mine.

Edited by purrin - 12/19/13 at 12:01pm
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