I will give that I try. I think that I might try hand washing first. I not sure that the aggressiveness of most washing machines is the best bet. While I'm still on the issue of the Velours I tried to take the foam spacer from the Pleaters with most agree does not help their sound and put it in the Velours. I like it for comfort, and I do not hear a major difference in the sound.
I also thinking about trying some other damping ideas on the Pleathers, even though I'm not quite ready to permanently change the pads. I'm pretty sure I'm keeping them, but what will it hurt to play around with felt, spacers, tape, and any other thing I or someone else thinks of.
I have been wondering about this for a while so I'm curious has any one tried to modify the retaining ring it self? It seems like the holes could be expanded. I have to concerns about it. The first is that removing to much material might leave the ring non functional. This does not seem to be a huge deal, the ring does not have major stress placed on it, and could likely be much less robust then it is and still function. Second does it have a point, this one I'm less sure of. Would allowing greater access to pad change the sonic signature. I'd be happy to read peoples experiences, or thoughts.
At some point I will try making my own out of leather I have all the stuff, by I'm at college, and its all in a storage unit.
Last Jerg thanks for the ideas I'm glad you posted them, if nothing else they have me less worried about playing around. and have given me ideas on what types of things generally change the sound in what types of ways.