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AKG K142HD - Quick Foam Removal Mod

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

AKG K142HD - Quick Foam Removal Mod

 

 

 

Hello, Head-fi. I usually don’t do write-ups like this because I’m still rather inexperienced in headphone-dom and I’m probably not qualified to make critical assessments other than personal impressions. But I wanted to share a small discovery I’ve recently made regarding a pair of K142HD’s, just in case someone else out there has a pair or one of its many variants and is disappointed with its sound.

 

 

I understand that the mid-tier AKG’s were never very popular, and I can see why. I’ve owned the K172, K272, and now the K142, and they don’t really shine at their respective price points. For example, the top-of-the-line K272 lacks both treble and bass extension, its soundstage is meh, and is trumped by the K550 or A900X in terms of, well, just about everything. Despite this, I really liked the K272 for a number of reasons. Mainly, it offered a very neutral, laid-back listening experience with a good amount of detail and instrument separation, without the peaky harsh treble or uppermid humps that seem to plague its competitors. (I haven’t heard the KNS8400 so I may be wrong here) The driver in the K272 had potential- it was tuned well enough. So when I bought the K142 on impulse from a refurb sellout for cheap, I was quite curious to see what the semi-open design would bring to the table, since the same driver is used for all of AKG’s mid-tier line-up.

 

 

The first thing I noticed was the punchy bass. Holy crap, coming from the K272, which literally has no bass presence, the K142 was a huge improvement. It also seemed to extend deeper, which basically solved my biggest gripe with the K272’s. And so I was quite happy with them for a few days.

 

 

But as I kept listening, I realized there was a congested sound that I hadn’t picked up on the 272’s. In fact, the lower-mids sounded like it was stuffed with wool. Instrument separation was nonexistent there, and complex passages sounded like a mud puddle. It reminded me of really bad resonance issues I had heard on other headphones, except only in the lower mids. At that point I realized the problem was with the plastic part of the housing- it was vibrating, almost buzzing with the lower notes. So when I peeked inside the gap between the metal and plastic halves of the earcup and saw something that looked like fabric, I took a gamble and pulled it out via a pair of tweezers:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What came out was an 18cm x 2cm strip of spongy foam. Of course I panicked at first, thinking that I had pulled out the inner damping, but it seemed to have made all the difference sound-wise. The congestedness was gone, and the plastic housing no longer vibrated. The headphones sounded more open, with better separation and wider soundstage. The bass also sounded cleaner- more reminiscent of the K272 while still keeping its punch. Basically, it turned into a fuller sounding, more-open version of the K272’s, which I am very happy with.

 

 

I know that some headphones tend to develop plasticky resonance issues without damping and I’ve been watching out for the past week for such issues and I can’t hear anything like it. The headphones just sound better. The only cons of this mod is 1.) increased leakage (comparable to the K702) and 2.) a bit of rattle when the earcups move due to no cushioning between the metal and plastic parts.

 

 

Considering the K142 can be had for $90 or less, they are quite the bargain with this mod. I don’t want to hype them, but I think they sound better than anything under $150 I’ve heard so far, including the M50 and CAL!. Just beware that this mod basically turns the headphones from semi-open to open design, so don’t expect any sort of isolation/leakage.

 

 

 

 

Will keep this posted if I notice anything else. Thanks for reading!

 


Edited by viralcow - 3/19/13 at 12:02am
post #2 of 9

Good write up, interesting too.
Do you know whether this can be done to the 242HD or not?

post #3 of 9
Thank you for this. I just did this mod and still have to do further listening, but I definitely think this is an improvement over the stock sound biggrin.gif.
Edited by ToddTheMetalGod - 3/19/13 at 8:03pm
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Okay. Been listening more to these, especially with different genres, and I think I've noticed a few more things.

 

 

Quote:

I know that some headphones tend to develop plasticky resonance issues without damping and I’ve been watching out for the past week for such issues and I can’t hear anything like it.

 

As it turns out, the K142HD also suffers from a minor degree of resonance issues. When I said the above statement, I was primarily listening to rock, acoustic, jazz, and for those genres it's very hard to hear. In general, due to the metal earcups, there's not much of traditional "plasticky" resonance at all. However, when listening to:

 

the ringing of high notes seems to be slightly accentuated and sustained than compared to my K702. It's has a metallic hue, kinda like the ES10. I guess the foam did act as a form of damping after all.

 

Still, this is a minor setback. I can't hear it in most genres, and if I can, it's indiscernible without very careful listening and A/B testing with other cans.

post #5 of 9
That's good, the genres that I listen to probably suffer from the resonance issue a lot less. Thanks for letting me know about that though. Now I'm starting to wonder how a woodied pair of AKG might sound, perhaps that could solve the resonance issue and make the mid-range sweeter wink_face.gif. Too bad this is my favourite pair of headphones that I own at the moment and I suck at woodworking, I'd might give it a shot.
post #6 of 9

--------


Edited by MrTechAgent - 10/19/13 at 6:17am
post #7 of 9

I just listened today to the K142 for the first time. Like you, I found they were pretty damn good for the price especially. Maybe the highs weren't as sharp as Sennheiser HD6xx series, but otherwise nice.

 

I found the soundstage wider than Sennheiser Momentums, maybe due to the semi-open type.

 

Does anyone know how these compare to K240's? And also is the K-141 MK2 similar in sound?

post #8 of 9

you must have had it pretty loud for the plastic housing to buzz like that.  I have K142 and love the sound (made in Austria ones). I'm looking at them. The earpad are right inside the plastic housing and I'm wondering how to remove the earpads. I want to do this mod but can't see how to get them off. HELP!

 

...and do you know the driver size in the K142? I also have the K172 and it don't sound as good as these semi-open K142 so I suspect the driver size of K142 is larger.


Edited by kas1 - 12/30/13 at 6:52am
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by viralcow View Post
 

Okay. Been listening more to these, especially with different genres, and I think I've noticed a few more things.

 

 

 

As it turns out, the K142HD also suffers from a minor degree of resonance issues. When I said the above statement, I was primarily listening to rock, acoustic, jazz, and for those genres it's very hard to hear. In general, due to the metal earcups, there's not much of traditional "plasticky" resonance at all. However, when listening to:

 

the ringing of high notes seems to be slightly accentuated and sustained than compared to my K702. It's has a metallic hue, kinda like the ES10. I guess the foam did act as a form of damping after all.

 

Still, this is a minor setback. I can't hear it in most genres, and if I can, it's indiscernible without very careful listening and A/B testing with other cans.

 

Hmm... I would use untouched music for this type of testing rather than lossy encoded music from YouTube video.

 

Do you know the lossy encoding method/level for the music in it? You sure understand what lossy encoding does for audio.


Edited by jiiteepee - 12/30/13 at 12:12pm
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