Any news on LFF's attempt on improving the flat pads?
Any news on LFF's attempt on improving the flat pads?
I have gone though 14 different combinations and attempts. Of those only 2 really, REALLY improved the pads BUT found the foam falls apart after a few days and they feel oily afterwards.
I'm still trying.....
Alright, I used to not use my flats"i" because they were oily, but my HP2i just didn't sound right with TTVJs... strangely. The highs were almost absent, and the thing overall sounded muddy, in the same way a camera would be filming ever so slightly out of focus.
I thought this was due to my HP2i being too tight, because a similar/analog affect happens to the sound with my other HP 1000s when I push them hard against my ears (all of the three are less tightly adjusted [to their previous owner's head] in comparison, or their headband have already broke in; my HP2 was new-old-stock) .
So I did my usual Grado pad trouble shoot:
HD414, WOW SO BAD, worst than I remember it to be on any JoeGrado phone, I'm thinking it's just the "i" upgrade that is so crucially tuned it can't afford to loose sound laterally with such airy pads anymore (lateral airiness: HD414 > comfies > bowls > flats).
Taped-bowls, no, it's the same bowls and I still don't like them, and they sound worst than ever this time on the HP2i, again for the same reason, because this thing has been precisely re-tuned to go with other pads (well, specifically one, maybe two, flats"i" and flats maybe).
So I dig back the upgraded flat pads I bought and received from Joe last summer, that I had barely tried once when I got them; I had removed a lot of oil already but putting them in place left my index and thumb wet, I squished the pads in toilet paper again, which helped drying them. Even with all the oil I had initially removed (and re-removed just now; I was surprised to see any left actually) the pads still retain well their typical physical characteristics that distinguish them from normal flats: thicker, puffy/stocky looking, uniform density (no coated zones, differential texture in appearance/feel), and overall I think they are denser, which makes them a bit less comfortable, but the thickness helps the small ear in that department not to touch the driver wall.
And they did fantastically good to my HP2i, and solved my issue completely, and boy does it sound good. It does exactly has DannyB says in the first post, resolution is back, highs, everything falls into place. Now I need to know if it's just the upgraded pads responsible, if it's just the HP2's "i" upgrade (man it would totally, clearly be the best HP 1000 variation), or the purposefully synergistic combination of both, a highly positive end result intended by Joe.
But yeah, tomorrow I'm calling Joe for a second pair to which I won't remove any oil, and I need to think for maybe a third one too just as a reserve for the future.
Woohoo! Pads for Grado are still as crucial as they ever were! 150 dollars --if you could hear what I'm hearing right now, how better they make my HP2i and how much more sound quality they provide in the end-- is a bargain unheard of in the audio world!
I don't know how good these pads are going to be with other non improved HP 1000, but as soon as I repair my HP1 I'll come back to tell you.
Joe is incredible! if you own a HP 1000i (even if its not too tight, like is mine) but not the improved flat pads to go with it, I would highly recommend that you buy a pair! not even needing to try-before-you-buy
I have had a pair of Joe's "improved" earpads for a couple of weeks. I thought I would post a little information for anyone who may be interested.
As far as how they sound, simply put, consider getting two pair. The HP1000 is soooo dependent upon the earpads. The replacement ones offered by TTVJ change the character of the headphones where it seems the sound is dulled possibly by mostly effecting the upper and mid upper range. The bottom end was also not very tight. While I am no expert I am guessing they are just too dense. They are not a great direct replacement the originals.
Joe's "improved" new pads do the trick and give new and sustained life to the HP1000 series. I compared them to the the original and TTVJ pads on my HP2i. Overall, the new pads attenuated the sound a little bit compared to the originals (not when your HP2i is too tight, when things can't get any more attenuated already; I feel like mine has just been liberated) but sound at all frequencies were definitely improved. These earpads, for which Joe devised some process to allow more sound to flow from the drivers to the listener's ear, allows improved resolution at all frequencies (I'm astonished by how much they improved just about everything; an improvement so broad and powerful that anybody could notice at first listen), work very well and are an improvement even over the original pads (I don't know if the effect works in the same direction for non-upgraded HP 1000s; though I can't really imagine them sounding bad, as they're not really an EQ change, save for the slightly better extension maybe, I think they're best used in conjunction with upgraded pairs, and that most of their synergy comes from that; they might not be as good on non-upgraded pairs). Any HP1000 owner (I'll try them with my SR100-0 and SR325-0) should seriously consider getting them as no other earpad, including the original, sounds as good. Also, they nicely improve the sound on the SR225 and I suspect some other Grado headphones (I'll try them with some John Grados too, though I don't know their sound by heart as clearly as I know my HP 1000). Joe has done it again (HP2i + flats"i", is sublime, blissful on my head right now). Hopefully, some others will be able to chime in on these once they try them out. It is money well spent IMHO.
Joe is selling them for $150/pair. You can contact him directly at: 1-803-324-9768.
In the interest of Full Disclosure: I am a personal friend of Joe but am confident in my impression of the new earpads. (I confirm that I'm hearing the same thing!)
I may also had that I hear huge demasking/un-masking, no glare and a lot less midrange congestion... so in the end I hear more details, and silence after songs becomes fully silent faster... faster decay. This could be part of the HP 1000 "i" upgrade's features too.
Maybe its just improved clarity, like ChefGuru said... or something in those lines too: "The pads now hold the charge of the sound better, thus a significant increase in harmonics." I would agree to that too, what they do to sound is really special, and I'm also extremely satisfied.
The new pads would focus the immediately produced waves in the center (sounds "sharper" if that makes sense) and absorb the itinerant, bouncing ones (sound is tighter, faster)... is this like room acoustics optimization? It's frickin' amazing! (that my HP 1000 is now so good, basically)
Makes me wonder, does anyone know if Joe applies a doping substance to the driver's diaphragm, during the HP 1000 "i" upgrade?
In a distant future if something happens to my HP2i's drivers I'll replace them with those of my HP1, I would like to make sure they will still be compatible sound-wise. (because like I said the "i" upgrade made my HP2 incompatible with many Grado pads, for example)
Interesting post. Regarding the pads with other Grado, non-1000s, I found there to be a very nice improvement. Joe showed me this effect when I was over his house about 3 weeks ago and he put a pair on one of his lesser models, either the 125, 225 or 325-I don't recall at this time. Regardless, I ABd the original pads with the upgraded ones and it was an amazing and significant, and not so subtle, improvement. As far as what seems to make the difference regarding the "i" upgrade and/or upgraded pads, my listening experience tells me it is definitely both.
Okay I'm A/Bing stuff right now.
SR100-0 ("-0" means it has "HP 1000" drivers in it, the black back ones):
This one's headband is not too tight, my best pads, taped flats, gives it a nice balance. Nothing muddy, crispy highs.
Changing on to upgraded flats...
This guy is my first HP 1000, I know its sound by heart.
I like the comfort of the upgraded flats, they are thicker so my ears are much less close to touching the drivers than with the normal TTVJ flat pads (with which it happens, and cause me discomfort and occasional annoyances).
Pressing play: ...
Pressing pause, I listened to 1 second of music... it's a night a day difference. Oh my god.
Okay without kidding, listening to them, they're amazing. Are they as amazing as last night with my HP2i? I don't know. Probably not.
But they still improve my SR100-0 considerably, so SR100-0 owners should get themselves a pair to try, and another one for the trip.
Clarity is really incredible, I hear all the smaller cymbals and percussion the drummer does (a lot), all the smaller nuances everywhere, I can't miss any, they're right in front of... my ears :P, more than ever on any Grado.
The high notes of an electric guitar solo, the cymbals, they all have a better, "highzy-er" texture to them, like if the pads had unlocked, made available a farther extension for, what are they called, harmonics of a fundamental?
Yah, everything is more articulated, less congestion... When I went from my Magnums to a HP 1000 I had the feeling the Magnum was producing air more than music, and the HP 1000 more music and less air. Naughty version of air, not something desirable (not airiness), the one that distracts and fatigues your tympani for no reason. Well with those pads the headphones pushes less naughty air and yet more music.
More details (this all rhymes with the additional "clarity"), again on pretty much all the spectrum. This is amazing. I hear the bass better in every song... and blacks are blacker. The highs are more intense, sharper and reaching more hair cells, this is hard to describe, I don't think I ever heard such a thing in any headphones (or music reproduction, though I have little experience in all of that).
Did you ever hear a loud and high pitched whistle really close and intense? some kid at the playground where I worked whistled super loud a about one feet from my face, right in front of me and my two ears, I was not really prepared and it turned out to be quite a pleasing experience, as it induced a brief 10-15 second euphoria. I don't think it hurt me or anything, it just woke me up, on another level? Momentarily; and I just feel like my headphones would be closer at doing the same, being given that I raise the volume enough... which I won't do of course. Recorded piercing highs, are reproduced, more piercing than before.
I don't know if that's something other headphones have ease reproducing, for example a Qualia 010 that plays at 110 kHz, but now at least the pads of my SR100-0 re-directs them in my ears, so I can hear that on a Grado. I have not heard any headphones other than Grados.
The darn headphone pads, they are so important...
I don't need to try them on my SR325-0 or HP1... I know they're going to give them the exact same benefits.
On the HP2i though, I feel like they are giving more of those benefits; I think Joe aims for a specific, hypothetically perfect sound reproduction, and that he upgrades his gear consequently so that, headphones and pads, when put together, achieves sound as close as possible to that perfection. Both the "i" upgrade for the headphones and for the pads, goes in that same direction of achieving the same main objective. If you like the upgraded flats, which I'm pretty sure you will, you would also like to have your pair upgraded... which I'm pretty sure you would, also. I think it's official now and I need to go finish up my review... I'll use similar descriptors.
But before, let me go get my SR325i to make sure the upgraded pads also work with John Grados and Magnums. I think those pads just reveal more of the headphone and driver that lies under them, so if it's something good, it will be good.
(full Symphones aluminum, v2.5 chambers, v4 drivers; oops, not pictured)
Yes... I hear traces of the same improvements that I heard as night and day on my HP 1000s, they still do their job pretty well, of being improved, but what they do here doesn't do as much good to the Magnums as it does to the HP 1000. The clarity is still a lot better though (if you want your Magnums to have more clarity)... the pads makes you hear more of the highs and of the bass, I wouldn't say as far as to say that it increases them, but it makes them a lot clearer and more prominent. But the Magnum are already pretty U shaped in comparison to the HP 1000. So it's less synergistic a move from taped flats, which muddies those two parts a bit. But the mids are also cleaner just as well, and are specially good here.
Okay, these pads are A WHOLE LOT better, clearer, more detailed / resolving / faster (blacker blacks), extended than: bowls, taped bowls, flats, taped flats and HD414, don't get me wrong, all of the effects I listed above also applies here just as well, and it sounds really good, and not out of place or anything (seeing these were designed with the HP 1000 in mind). And they're also becoming my definitive pads for this headphone.
What applies to Magnums applies to John Grados too.
(I'll squish the pads again for the last remaining oil, and go try them on my pre-super vintage RS-1, just for fun)
Wow... a bit more like on my HP 1000. These Grado aren't as U shaped (less bass hump than Magnums, but highs a bit fuzzy; Magnums got controlled and smoother ones), and they sound superb with the upgraded flats.
This is all so much better than with the taped / non-taped TTVJ ones, still very much amazingly so.
To conclude this episode: Joe Grado did it again, these are pure gold; it's (a whole lot) better sounding foam pads for Grados. Get them while they are still being produced! :D
Oh yeah, and the upgraded flats... they sound a bit like bowls (they are thicker than TTVJ flats) (but still much better and nicer)... but anyway for those who have been seeking for a flat-bowl in between, these could fit the bill.
And they are just as tough as other Grado pads... I twisted (to remove them of my RS-1) and squished (between two napkins) them pretty hard, and they almost enjoyed it.
Which Grado have you contacted? The pads used to be sold and shipped directly by Joseph Grado.
According to Tamahome77 who called him a few days ago to upgrade his HP2 he still has them. And their price went from 150 to 60 dollars :D. There are even lesser good sounding options for HP 1000 pad pairs for respectively 40 and 25 dollars; though personally I don't see the reason behind these new budget-friendly offerings.
I've sent an email to Grado so that they tell me the pin-out information of this amp:
They gave me the phone number to Joe's house. There doesn't seem to be a way other than contacting him.
Nowadays Grado Labs is pretty much useless for the HP 1000 owners.
Joe's flat pads are really worth it. You won't regret having bought a spare back up.