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Hifiman HE-300 mod removes the dark sound

post #1 of 78
Thread Starter 

I have tried to love these headphones, but I couldn't get past the overly warm and dark sound of these cans. I have modded tons of Grados and other headphones, so I took a shot with these. Remove the earpads (more on these later in the post), and then the six screws holding in the ring and the plate the driver is mounted on. There is a black felt cover. Grab it by the edge and peel it off. Reassymble the headphones and kiss the warm, dark sound good-bye.

 

That felt is the issue. It is thick, you can barely see light through it when holding it up to the light. The sound opens up considerably, and it is night and day. You can always put the felt back if you wish. Mine came off with a little tucking and had no tears in it.

 

The earpads.....the pleather ones darken the the sound, while velours give it more sparkle. Removing the felt trumps pad replacement. Try it. You can alway reverse it.

 

I can't believe I'm the only one to try this.

post #2 of 78
If I knew that I wouldn't lose any bass,I would try that with my pair.
post #3 of 78

The velour pads made the HE300s too thin-sounding I felt. It mates well with pleather earpads, just a tad too dark/boomy. I might try this, thanks for sharing.

post #4 of 78
Thread Starter 

Yeah, the velours do thin up the sound. The pleathers are darker and I think more comfy than the velours. Having said that, the removing that felt really helps IMHO with the pleathers or velours, and you can always put it back. When you take out the felt piece, just hold it up to the light. Just imagine using that stuff for a speaker grill. It won't be done.

post #5 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by trojan2900 View Post

Yeah, the velours do thin up the sound. The pleathers are darker and I think more comfy than the velours. Having said that, the removing that felt really helps IMHO with the pleathers or velours, and you can always put it back. When you take out the felt piece, just hold it up to the light. Just imagine using that stuff for a speaker grill. It won't be done.

I did do it a few hours ago and indeed, the removal of the felt opened up the sound dramatically. HE300s (no felt) + pleathers sounds really good; HE300s (no felt) + jergpads even more so, neutral with a slight hint of darkness. Still a bit closed-sounding though.

post #6 of 78
Thread Starter 

I agree with your observations jerg. Do I get a prize for my discovery? haha. It makes the HE-300 even better cans. That's my reward.

post #7 of 78
Bump for doing this mod when I get mine. Currently on Black Friday sale for $149, I couldn't resist.

Also, anyone try a grill mod to open the sound?
post #8 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soundsgoodtome View Post

Bump for doing this mod when I get mine. Currently on Black Friday sale for $149, I couldn't resist.

Also, anyone try a grill mod to open the sound?

Yes, and it does nothing. The HE300 drivers are pretty much closed (which is not bad if you think about it, minimal leakage).

post #9 of 78

I got my HE-300's about three hours ago so I thought I would share my initial findings. As someone else had mentioned earlier I also picked up the pair for $150 due to black friday sales. I didn't let them burn in much, maybe an hour or so but I was so excited to try them out I couldn't wait any longer. Now keeping in mind I've not had a solid set of cans for quite a few years. I used to have some sennheiser HD-580's and an Audio GD compass but sold those quite a while ago. My current high end gear is a set of tricked out GR-research Neo-2x's (which are superbly flat and clean monitors). I had originally been trying to get a pair of 580's or 600's since I was so familiar with their sound but really my budget was $150 so these seemed to fit the bill. I always enjoy trying new things out as well so I thought it was worth the "risk". 

 

Anyhow after taking a listen through a few tracks I feel like I can understand what people mean when they say they have a bit of a dark sound. The details and all there and you can pickup on all kinds of subtleties in the music. It seems a bit counter intuitive to have what I would describe as a warm, detailed sound but these seem to have it! I must say I am really blown away by these cans! I couldn't help but try the felt removal to see how it impacted the sound. Honestly I wasn't sure I would hear a difference but wow, it made a pretty significant change. Any hint of warmth seemed to be brushed away and the HE-300's sounded razor sharp. I feel like it bumped up the clarity a bit as well but it's not as if they were lacking before the felt removal. I thoroughly enjoyed the transparent and sharp details on good recordings but they became a bit fatiguing with lesser quality recordings. In the end I actually put the felt back in. The sad truth is that a good chunk of the music I listen to is rather poorly recorded and with the felt in place, I feel that the HE-300's are much more forgiving. 

 

I'm interested in trying them out with different ear pads if that does impact the sound as well. I'm also hoping to get a tube amp in the near future. I'm leaning towards the Vali right now. If it tames the highs a bit then I would absolutely consider removing the felt once more. Either way I am certainly impressed by these cans!

post #10 of 78

Would you mind posting a picture of it without the felt cover? I'm a bit curious what it looks like on the inside.

post #11 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by ryant View Post
 

Anyhow after taking a listen through a few tracks I feel like I can understand what people mean when they say they have a bit of a dark sound. The details and all there and you can pickup on all kinds of subtleties in the music. It seems a bit counter intuitive to have what I would describe as a warm, detailed sound but these seem to have it! I must say I am really blown away by these cans! I couldn't help but try the felt removal to see how it impacted the sound. Honestly I wasn't sure I would hear a difference but wow, it made a pretty significant change. Any hint of warmth seemed to be brushed away and the HE-300's sounded razor sharp. I feel like it bumped up the clarity a bit as well but it's not as if they were lacking before the felt removal. I thoroughly enjoyed the transparent and sharp details on good recordings but they became a bit fatiguing with lesser quality recordings.


Mine gets in on Tuesday (Amazon Prime) and your mini-review has me looking forward to giving them a try. I was thinking of going to an HE4 which I know is probably on another playing field, but having the HE400 (a set of planars, although sound is probably way different) and the fact that the HE4 won't be as good without a decent amp, I decided the HE300. TBH I'm excited to try them stock, as the Yulong D100 fairs on the bright side. The fact that detailed yet warm has me thinking they're like the RE400, and "Detailed-warm" sounds counter-intuitive but I know what you mean! I enjoy the treble a few DBs down with a clinical sound.

So what'd I do with the extra $200 saved over an HE4 purchase? I mean it wouldn't be Head-fi of me to save the money...
 
Got me some of these: Custom Hifiman mango wood cups!

post #12 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Soundsgoodtome View Post
 


Mine gets in on Tuesday (Amazon Prime) and your mini-review has me looking forward to giving them a try. I was thinking of going to an HE4 which I know is probably on another playing field, but having the HE400 (a set of planars, although sound is probably way different) and the fact that the HE4 won't be as good without a decent amp, I decided the HE300. TBH I'm excited to try them stock, as the Yulong D100 fairs on the bright side. The fact that detailed yet warm has me thinking they're like the RE400, and "Detailed-warm" sounds counter-intuitive but I know what you mean! I enjoy the treble a few DBs down with a clinical sound.
 

 

You know the odd part is I wouldn't exactly call them rolled off in the treble, or least not entirely. Granted I don't have the HD-580's to directly compare them too but I did use them extensively for about seven years so I feel like I got pretty well acquainted with them. They don't sound as buttery as I remember my HD-580's sounding. But I am picking out bits and pieces of music that I hadn't heard as easily. It's definitely hard to compare headphones without them side by side though.  

post #13 of 78
 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SanjiWatsuki View Post
 

Would you mind posting a picture of it without the felt cover? I'm a bit curious what it looks like on the inside.

 

 

 


Edited by ryant - 11/29/13 at 7:29pm
post #14 of 78

I picked up a pair of HE-300s with the $149 Black Friday sale for a friend, but got the ok from them to give them a trial and mod as I see fit.

 

Out of the box, I hate the pads.   Too stiff, very uncomfortable, and overall the sounds is just too dark.

 

The felt mod in this thread helps a lot.   While I had them apart, I tried using a spare pair of LCD-3 vegan pads... not bad, but not quite there.

 

Cue the Mad Dog Alpha pads.... and there we go.   Warm, full, lush without sounding overly dark.   Bass is there and sounds very good.

 

I'm driving them with a Schiit Vali, for the record.

 

Next up, experimenting with damping the rear of the cups with the foam that came out of the front.

 

   -Mike


Edited by mhamel - 11/30/13 at 9:15am
post #15 of 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by mhamel View Post

I picked up a pair of HE-300s with the $149 Black Friday sale for a friend, but got the ok from them to give them a trial and mod as I see fit.

Out of the box, I hate the pads.   Too stiff, very uncomfortable, and overall the sounds is just too dark.

The felt mod in this thread helps a lot.   While I had them apart, I tried using a spare pair of LCD-3 vegan pads... not bad, but not quite there.

Cue the Mad Dog Alpha pads.... and there we go.   Warm, full, lush without sounding overly dark.   Bass is there and sounds very good.

I'm driving them with a Schiit Vali, for the record.

Next up, experimenting with damping the rear of the cups with the foam that came out of the front.

   -Mike
I'm getting a Vali for my HE-300s. Is there much difference between a mobile device output and the Vali? Are they just a good fit together?
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