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modded Urbanears Plattan - surprisingly competent and bass heavy

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

So my friend borked the cable on his Urbanears Plattan and asked me to fix them. This necessitated recabling the entire thing, and I figured while I was in there I could have some fun.


I didn't take too many pics of the Plattan while I was in there, but enough to get the gist. They are surprisingly easy to disassemble. The cup assembly isn't actually a cup. There's a ring which the headband is connected to, a rear plate, and the driver assembly which screws into the rear plate. So basically pop the pads off, take out three screws, and the whole thing comes apart. Sandwiched between the rear plate and driver is a piece of thick felt.


The cup is closed except for some tiny holes/vents on the side. The rear of the driver magnet plate has no vents either. So any acoustic pressure that goes into the cups is directly from the rear driver plate vibrating, or reflections from the ear back through the baffle diffuser ring. 


So anyhow, my approach to modding this was pretty standard. Vibration-damp the crap out of it and improve the seal. I didn't worry too much about acoustic damping since there really are no reflections to speak of in the design, and my aim would be to eliminate those as much as possible anyways.



Materials used:

fatmat (or dynamat, or any vibration damping material)

acoustic foam (I think this was Akasa, rubber backed and relatively heavy)

plumber's putty



about half an hour



Step 1:

The rear plate composes of the main plate and a silver "washer" which as far as I can tell is purely for aesthetic purposes. Anyhow, this washer means you now have large mating surfaces between the ring and plate that could cause vibration or leakage. So I sprayed the washer with some liquid rubber (roofing sealer) and cleaned up the edges with some sandpaper after it dried. This was to provide better seal and minimal vibration damping. On the rear plate itself I stuck a large piece of fatmat.





Step 2: 

One small piece of fatmat on the rear of the driver itself. Just cover it.






Step 3:

Replace the felt with some acoustic foam. I popped it out and traced the profile on the foam back. Be careful to figure out the orientation, because it is not symmetrical. I tried to keep the shape as close as possible, so that when I laid it sticky side into the back, it would further seal and hold everything together. The ring actually has a bit of a lip on the back edge, so you can stick the acoustic foam to that before putting on the rear plate assembly.





Step 4:

After reassembling the rear plate and driver, line the front edge with some plumber's putty. This is to provide better seal with the earpads.





Step 5: 

Snap on the earpads and you're done.




Just linking to the album for now. The forum keeps crashing on me when I try to link the pictures directly...




Change in sound:

bass becomes noticeably stronger (gives my Pioneer HDJ-2000 a run for its money) and remains quite flat

treble response significantly improved, frequency response reasonably smooth until the upper treble where you get one strong valley/peak

detail and instrument separation are improved, in part due to better treble presence, in part due to improved decay times


Edited by Armaegis - 4/30/12 at 4:49pm
post #2 of 19

Honestly I would really have to sit down and readjust my thinking if I was to go all out on a dynamic set. Essentially dampen where you are able and add some vibration/resonance control on the driver and shell itself. Seal up odd gaps in the housing. Deal with pads.Guess it's not all that much different.


  I should revisit the 890 and 9000 Philips and Superlux ones. Got some Acousti on the rears of the big baffles but the driver rears could use something just for kicks why not hey


How heavy is that fatmat on the driver backs? I wonder if you could use a heavy small disc supermagnet for added weight on the rears ( secured in some way ) and provide a minor boost at the same time?  Any thoughts there?  Does that even work? I will try it on one of the Red Devils sometime.


Edited by nick n - 4/29/12 at 12:59am
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

Yeah the Plattan seemed like an easy mod since I didn't have any acoustic cup resonance to think about.


A brief search on "Extra magnet" and "speakers" gave this somewhat (?) helpful thread: http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/multi-way/137517-adding-extra-magnet.html

General thoughts pertaining to speakers is that they are useful mainly for stray magnetic fields, but audible effects are negligible. I know I saw some mention of it for headphones here on headfi, but can't seem to find the threads. 


I'll try to weigh the fatmat I have, along with some rattlemat and peel'n'seel. 

post #4 of 19

So would you recommend these to folks then if they were to do the mod, which really looks sort of inexpensive to do for them?


You mentioned that they give the Pioneers a run for their $,  is that only in terms of bass?


What's the overall curve like now in your estimation?

Edited by nick n - 4/29/12 at 10:21am
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 

Retailing around $50 (or $60 Cnd), I think these are a good recommendation for general consumers even without modding. Solid construction with a plain yet appealing aesthetic, choice of colours, nice cord, portable, good isolation, and a bassy signature suitable for most modern music. Unlike Joker's review, I found them reasonably comfortable as well (a rarity for me with supraaural, although this pair were quite worn in and stretched by a guy with a head even bigger than mine)


They give my Pioneers a run in the bass quantity department only. Actually I would say the extension is possibly even better, but that's because the Pioneer humps the bass a bit so it feels like there's a rolloff when really it's just returning to normal levels. On the quality of the bass though, the Pioneer is easily a step up with much better... well, everything. 


I would say the overall curve is bass sloped yet quite flat, but with a minor hump around 60-80Hz. Compared with the Headroom graph, the treble extension significantly improved. There are still the treble peaks/dips in the upper registers, but the rolloff is no longer as severe. I would venture to say you can't even call it a rolloff anymore. This provides a lot of the detail that was missing before. 


For the price, I would be happy with a modded pair of these for general use when out and about. Very good for what it is, and affordable enough that I won't be heartbroken if broken/stolen. 

Edited by Armaegis - 4/29/12 at 11:44am
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

Random note: published specs say 32ohm, but I measured 60. 

post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

Updated with pictures.

post #8 of 19

Hi - thanks for sharing this - I'm curious about how your friend borked them and what the fix was? My urbanears just packed in - I think after the cable got a good yank (although I can't see any wires disconnected in the ear phone).


It's like they've lost a channel, bass has gone, anything panned centre (vocals etc) has all but disappeared into a tinny mess. It's very odd. Would much rather fix (which I'm just about up to) than throw away.


Massively grateful for any light you could shed.



post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 

My friend accidentally shut a door onto the wire.


If you've lost bass and centre sounds are gone and everything sounds like a echo, you've very likely broken the ground wire. The only real fix for that is to replace the cord, or if possible figure out where the break is and chop off and reterminate the cord if it's long enough.

post #10 of 19

Hi! I have gotten a Plattan around two months ago, and recently, the quality of its bass started changing. The sound's still the same; clear and all, but I've been losing the bass. Is it normal? If so, is there a way to fix it? I'd like to listen to music with a lot of bass, and this isn't satisfying me right now as much as it did before. 



post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 

A few things come to mind...

1) Is there any change to the earpads? Have they worn out or torn anywhere? Losing the seal will dramatically decrease bass. Where the pad contacts your ear is the most obvious, but you might also check where the pad meets the cup to look for any holes or dents etc.

2) Is there any damage to the cups? A hole or leak will likewise affect bass.

3) A break in the ground line of the cable will also cause a very noticeable decrease in bass, although it is also usually accompanied by a weird change in sound across the entire spectrum where it sounds like you're hearing an echo

post #12 of 19

I inspected the headset, and haven't seen anything wrong, even with the wire. I have recently used it on an iPad, iPhone, and a Mac air, and compared the amount of bass it produces to that of my laptop's, and the problem's really there. Still, the same sound is produced, but lack of bass. 

Edited by jpmvalderrama - 9/4/13 at 10:25am
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 

I really have no idea... if it's the same in both earpieces, then the likely culprit is the cable or jack somewhere. That's the best I can do without being able to examine it myself. Sorry :confused_face:

post #14 of 19

Maybe as simple as loss in clamping force (therefore worse seal)? Try pushing on the cups and see if bass response increases significantly.

post #15 of 19

This is way overdue, but I also have a broken Plattan which someone gave me to do my magic.  I found the easiest fix wasn't to recable, but just to cut the old cable off at the exit and plug in a 3.5mm extension cord on the right side!


Gonna try some of these mods next, sound is pretty muffled, probably because of the felt pads.  otherwise a pretty good build quality headphone!

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