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The Most Comfortable Grados In The World

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

finalproduct.jpg

 

Props to fra107 for the idea here: http://www.head-fi.org/t/445027/modify-my-headache-of-grado-325i#post_6505738

 

I have copied his mod by putting Beyerdynamic DT880 velour pads on my Grado SR80i's. I already modded the Grados by venting 4 holes, felt-dampening the air chamber and driver, replacing the grilles and padding the headband with the foam which the headphones shipped packed inside. I glued a cut-out section of that foam to the headband. It's very comfortable now.

 

supplies.jpg

 

cutouts.jpg

 

adapters.jpg

 

adaptersinvelourpads.jpg

 

I used Elmer's 3/16" foam board (which is VERY rigid) cut into rings with a circle cutter, quarter-modded (well, slightly bigger than quarter-modded, enough to not cover ANY of the holes leading to the driver) Sennheiser 414 pads and the circular sheets of foam which came with the DT880 pads to construct the adapters to fit the DT880 pads onto the Grados. The 414 pads are glued to the foam board rings. The foam circles are glued to the other side of the foam board rings. You then slip the foam boards into the stretchy inner circle of the DT880s and slip the 414 pads onto the Grados and boom: you have the most comfortable Grados ever.

 

I had an idea of what to expect from the sound of these before I made them from looking at a graph at Inner Fidelity displaying how all the different Grado pads, including the G-pads, affect the sound signature of SR225is. I figured my mod would affect the sound similarly to the G-pads because they're both circumaural and both add soundstage by distancing the ear from the driver. I confirmed this is exactly what happens by listening to my mod. The mids from around 1,800 Hz to around 3,300 Hz are significantly scooped by about 4 dB, and the treble is quite peaky and sibilant. The good news: 1. This mod makes the super lightweight Grados amazingly comfortable, 2. This mod gives the Grados soundstage, and 3. The scooped mids and sibilant highs can be corrected with EQ.

 

I loaded up SineGen, a free sine wave generator, and identified three peaks at around 7,500, 9,100, and 12,300 Hz. I then came up with an Electri-Q EQ setting that gives them a nice bass boost (compensating the best I can for the Grados' significant sub-bass rolloff), boosts the mids where the mod scoops them and scoops the treble at the peaks. The result is a warm, fairly flat (aside from the bass boost which is to my personal taste) sound signature which sounds powerful, natural, and speaker-like with its soundstage. I can listen to these for hours and hours now; neither the comfort nor the sound signature are fatiguing.

 

I believe fra107 has come up with an affordable, viable alternative to the extremely expensive wooden C-pads which have been previously used to mod the DT880 velour pads onto Grados. These Grados are comfortable enough to wear for many hours in a row now. With a little EQ tweaking they sound incredible; they sound far more natural and speaker-like than stock Grados.


Edited by ComfyGrados - 6/7/12 at 12:05am
post #2 of 12

Very cool :P, they look soo comfortable!

 

Good job ;)

 

I didn't even know about this Grado anti-headache mod, that I found very well done also.

 

 

You, you wanted to chase away headache or improve comfort to pillow-like?

 

This inflated bass response in your graph is because your system can't handle/read it at all or something, right? Because such low bass on Grados never existed before as far as I know.


Edited by devouringone3 - 5/27/12 at 11:47pm
post #3 of 12

Looks similarish to my pads...  One thing I dislike is the foam covering the driver like that.  I haven't heard the sound through that particular foam, but certainly the difference in sound between the standard foam comfy pads and without them the grado's sound much better (to my ears) without anything covering them. 

 

Hence why most people who use them do the quarter mod.  Is there really no sound colouration with the beyer foam?
 

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
You, you wanted to chase away headache or improve comfort to pillow-like?

 

This inflated bass response in your graph is because your system can't handle/read it at all or something, right? Because such low bass on Grados never existed before as far as I know.

 

The mod's only goal was comfort and it succeeded. As I type this I've been wearing them for hours.

 

The bass boost I use in that EQ setting is merely a bass boost to personal taste. However, if you look at the frequency response graphs of stock SR80i's, there is a significant, steady bass rolloff below 70 Hz; they're 0 db at 70 Hz and -15 db at 20 Hz. So, the bass boost in the EQ compensates for that.

 

 

Quote:
One thing I dislike is the foam covering the driver like that.

 

Trust me when I say that it is entirely necessary with this mod. This mod makes the highs sibilant as is. It'd be worse without the foam there. I don't recommend this mod for Grados which aren't designed for the G-pads unless you're willing to EQ them like I do. This mod changes the sound very similarly to the way in which G-pads change the sound of Grados which aren't designed for them: it scoops the upper mids and boosts the Grados' already strong trebles. It does this because it moves the driver away from the ears like the G-pads do. EQ'd like I showed, these sound absolutely perfect to my ears, but music without the EQ gets fatiguing quite quickly due to the highs.

 

Plus, I tore the fabric covers off the drivers a long time ago to remove a hair that was on the plastic driver membrane causing a rattling sound, so the layer of foam there is also to keep hair out.

 

My next step is to get some in-ear microphones when I have some money to measure the cans with so I can see a more detailed example of how the mod changes their sound than my ears can give me. I should be able to tweak the EQ even better once I have the measurements, and I should also be able to use the measurements to come up with a close-to-flat/neutral response for any situation in which I'd need that as well.


Edited by ComfyGrados - 6/7/12 at 12:05am
post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by ComfyGrados View Post

Trust me when I say that it is entirely necessary with this mod. This mod makes the highs sibilant as is. It'd be worse without the foam there. I don't recommend this mod for Grados which aren't designed for the G-pads unless you're willing to EQ them like I do. This mod changes the sound very similarly to the way in which G-pads change the sound of Grados which aren't designed for them: it scoops the upper mids and boosts the Grados' already strong trebles. It does this because it moves the driver away from the ears like the G-pads do. EQ'd like I showed, these sound absolutely perfect to my ears, but music without the EQ gets fatiguing quite quickly due to the highs.

 

Every time you put more distance between your ear and the headphone's driver this very change in sound seem to occur

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

Wrapped some black electrician's tape around the pizza box foam and the headband because the foam was getting itchy. Still very comfortable with the foam there. So yeah, pizza box foam + electrician's tape is a basically free comfort mod to the headband.

 

comfygrados.jpg

 

Also, these sound pretty good, actually, without my EQ and with my Fiio E10's bass boost turned on, the bass boost goes a long ways towards balancing out the sibilant highs. I guess I exaggerated how bad these sound without EQ. Upper mids are still kind of lacking though due to the increased distance between driver and ear. They're pretty damn good for gaming and movies without the EQ and with the bass boost on though, really excellent soundstage. Still can't listen to music without the EQ though. Maybe I can make a passive notch filter for the highs in the future, their only flaw un-EQ'd would be slightly lacking upper mids then.


Edited by ComfyGrados - 6/5/12 at 3:15pm
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

Curiosity got the best of me today and I poked the remaining 6 holes in the driver felt on each side for a total of all 10 holes poked on each side. Because I have already lined pretty much the entire interior of the resonance chamber aside from the vent holes, this didn't muddy up the sound with reverb at all. Instead, simply more delicious bass and soundstage. Un-EQ'd, they sound about as bassy as they used to sound with a bass boost in the EQ. I've now got the bass boost in the EQ set to gradually roll up from 120 Hz to 20 Hz simply to compensate for the rolloff at 120 Hz the SR80i drivers themselves exhibit. They sound plenty bassy now, but not muddy. The treble from 7500 to 12000 Hz is still there. It needs to be EQ'd or filtered out.


Edited by ComfyGrados - 6/7/12 at 12:06am
post #8 of 12
When i see the thread title, i think you are joking, grado and comfortable do not belong in same sentence. So you change the pad, i have a friend who also something like this, but he said the sound change significantly, not grado anymore, it is a matter of comfort or sound, to each of his own,i guess.
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by the fool View Post

When i see the thread title, i think you are joking, grado and comfortable do not belong in same sentence. So you change the pad, i have a friend who also something like this, but he said the sound change significantly, not grado anymore, it is a matter of comfort or sound, to each of his own,i guess.

 

Quarter modded HD414 pads make my Alessandro headphones very comfy, and I am very fussy about comfort.

post #10 of 12

The only comfy Grado is no Grado. tongue.gif Actually I am with ProjectDenz on this one, I use quarter modded 414 pads and they are by far the most comfortable and best sounding to my ears.

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by the fool View Post

it is a matter of comfort or sound, to each of his own,i guess.

 

Yeah, my philosophy on cans has become if you're choosing between a couple similarly priced models, go with the most comfortable ones then EQ to taste.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 

newesteq.gif

 

This is a picture of my current EQ setting flipped upside down. I just spent a lot of time playing with Sinegen and listening very closely for peaks, then correcting them with Electri-q while listening to pink noise. This EQ setting makes them pretty much flat, so flipped like this, I think it's a very good example of what my ears are hearing un-EQ'd.

 

The source of the peaks at 3 kHz, 7.4 kHz, and 12 kHz, by the way, Tyll explained like so at InnerFidelity: "The length of the ear canal provides opportunity for modal artifacts; typically peaks at 3kHz, 9kHz, and 15kHz roughly, depending on the exact size and shape of the ear."

 

That small, wide peak at 750 Hz was surprising, I wasn't expecting that at all. I have no idea what mod did that, that's not in any SR80i graphs I've seen, but it's definitely there in Sinegen to my ears.


Edited by ComfyGrados - 6/7/12 at 2:20am
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