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Advice on building some headphones.

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

So currently I have some AKG q701 headphones and I absolutely love them. I pair them with a asus essence STX and a parabolic equalizer to get some pretty amazing sound quality. However, good is never good enough. 

 

The other day I was in 5 and below and I noticed some headphones for 5 bucks. They were pretty darn comfortable and had surprisingly good sound quality for 5 bucks. I was originally thinking about getting some and swapping out the drivers just for fun, but then I thought, what the heck, why not just build my own. 

 

I don't mind spending some money, and I would like to get the best quality possible. I can figure out the actual body of the headphones later, but right now I would like some advice on the actual components such as drivers and such. If anyone would like to chime in and give me some advice, I would really appreciate it. 

post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 
So I got some drivers for the audio technica ATH-900x, and I have some questions before I go any further.

I have taken apart some of my other headphones and I have noticed that they all have different designs. For instance, my razer charcarias (or however you spell it) simply has the driver seated to some plastic, and then it just as an open backing that it is attached to. It is very simple without too much engineering.

My AKG q701's on the other hand seem to have this skin that somewhat resembles panty hose nylon that goes around the driver to help make the headphones "open".

So I am at a bit confused and I would like to hear from someone who has the ATH-900 series of headphones to tell me what the basic construction is. Also, if I could get some dimensions for the wooden cups, that would be great too.

Thank you for any input you might have. smily_headphones1.gif
post #3 of 8

Taking what little I know about modding, the first step would probably to make a baffle, the piece of plastic or metal that the driver is surrounded by, which you could then design the rest of it around. If you could machine it, aluminum would probably be good for that, if not, some well dampened plastic, you don't want backwave resonance from that.

 

If the drivers were originally designed for open cups, or a certain dimension of closed cups, chances are you should probably stick close to that. For example, the Sennheiser HD 428s have a sort of inner cup in between the driver and outer cup that seals the driver in a smaller place. When this is removed, there is bass, and nothing but bass, from a formerly well balanced set of headphones. The driver wasn't really meant to be used in a cup designed that way, since the entire back of the driver was open (I.E. no paper over vent holes, just a plastic frame).

 

The 900Xs look like just a regular closed cup, but if you can examine that cup, and see if there is anything around the driver, or bass ports, that might give you a good starting place on how you should design the cup if you want a similar sound. You could always just make your cups to fit the baffle you made, with any design you want, open or closed, and tune from there, but open might give you less room to work with modding materials since you can usually see the insides of open headphones.

Grados and Hifiman HE-300s are good examples of a plain open backed design. 


Edited by lostmage - 1/2/13 at 2:32pm
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your response. I am thinking about making a wood grado style baffle since that is easy enough for me to do and then simply dampen them until they might as well be closed. 

 

The 900x doesn't seem to be anything special. Just drivers and a closed cup. So hopefully my idea will work. 

post #5 of 8

You also don't have to limit yourself to one design, assuming you have the resources to make multiple prototypes, you could make a few different cup designs, and try a couple different baffle materials, then mix and match, maybe try some porting depending on how it sounds. 

 

Back to the Senny 428s, they have a really strange design for closed cans. The ports are actually vents facing the ear, inside the pads, on either side of the driver. Both sides covered by a semi-permeable paper. Maybe something like that would be interesting to look at too. 

 

IMO, the hardest part about building a pair of headphones is 1, getting it to look refined, and 2, the adjustment mechanism on either side to fit it to your head. I'd just use another pair of headphones for the sliding things on either side. You could make your own headband, that's not too hard. Just something to keep in mind.


Edited by lostmage - 1/2/13 at 4:35pm
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lostmage View Post

You also don't have to limit yourself to one design, assuming you have the resources to make multiple prototypes, you could make a few different cup designs, and try a couple different baffle materials, then mix and match, maybe try some porting depending on how it sounds. 

 

Back to the Senny 428s, they have a really strange design for closed cans. The ports are actually vents facing the ear, inside the pads, on either side of the driver. Both sides covered by a semi-permeable paper. Maybe something like that would be interesting to look at too.

What I have in terms of resources is a couple of dremel tools, all sorts of saws both electrical and manual, a bench grinder, lots of sand paper, drills, beginners luck, and time. 

 

I will look into the sennheiser headphones and how they are designed. 

 

I think the biggest mistake I made was going with audio technica for the drivers. Originally I simply wanted to get cheap headphones and do a driver transplant. The issue is that audio tehcnica seems to be one of if not the only company that uses 53mm drivers, so that pretty much screwed over my plans. Other then that, I wouldn't have the faintest clue on how to make cups any more complex than what grado has. Unless of course I could locate someone who would share their lathe. 

 

Any ideas on how to make closed cups without much equipment like audio technica uses?  

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjj226 Angel View Post

What I have in terms of resources is a couple of dremel tools, all sorts of saws both electrical and manual, a bench grinder, lots of sand paper, drills, beginners luck, and time. 

 

I will look into the sennheiser headphones and how they are designed. 

 

I think the biggest mistake I made was going with audio technica for the drivers. Originally I simply wanted to get cheap headphones and do a driver transplant. The issue is that audio tehcnica seems to be one of if not the only company that uses 53mm drivers, so that pretty much screwed over my plans. Other then that, I wouldn't have the faintest clue on how to make cups any more complex than what grado has. Unless of course I could locate someone who would share their lathe. 

 

Any ideas on how to make closed cups without much equipment like audio technica uses?  


Layer pieces of wood maybe? Kind of like one of those laminate boards, cut a larger circle in a (~1cm thick) plank of wood, then make it a ring, maybe like 1 cm thick (sand it down later) then make a smaller ring that goes after that one, kind of like an onion, but with the rings overlapping so they stack up, and it looks like stair steps. Each layer you glue to the previous, then when you get the desired shape, finish it off with a solid circle or oval, to cap the end. Then sand the staircase-looking outside and inside down.

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lostmage View Post


Layer pieces of wood maybe? Kind of like one of those laminate boards, cut a larger circle in a (~1cm thick) plank of wood, then make it a ring, maybe like 1 cm thick (sand it down later) then make a smaller ring that goes after that one, kind of like an onion, but with the rings overlapping so they stack up, and it looks like stair steps. Each layer you glue to the previous, then when you get the desired shape, finish it off with a solid circle or oval, to cap the end. Then sand the staircase-looking outside and inside down.

 

Ok. I can do that. I just need to pick up some special drill bits for that then. 

 

I will post back in a day or two with some results. popcorn.gif

 

Thanks again for your help. 

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