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First Post! KSC75 drivers.....in a HD555

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi world.

 

 I've read a lot on Head-Fi, mostly crazy advice on modding Grado's and vintage Orthos.  One of the drivers crapped out in my HD555's the other day.  Lost all bass and developed random crackling.  Turns out the driver had come lose and had gotten banged up pretty good.  Tried to blow out the wrinkles, pull them out with tape, but it's just too mangled.  Rather than spend money buying replacement drivers for old headphones I got off Kijiji for next to nothing, I thought there had to be a free fix...

 

...And at this point I noticed the KSC75 drivers are almost a perfect fit for the baffles.  And I thought: "Those damn earclips have never fit right, I've got a pair of phones with a busted driver, and another pair that I never use.....2 birds one stone?"  So I looked around on Head-Fi and was surprised that no one has tried it before.  You seem to cram these drivers into everything!

 

 Of course my experience building sub boxes for car audio in my youth has taught me that sticking a random driver into a random enclosure just because it fits usually ends up sounding like "worst song, played on ugliest guitar".  But someone has got to be the first to try, so that I can warn everyone else not to do it.

 

 So I'm almost finished the work.  I've taken pictures, and thought it would be fun to share the experiment and results, for better or worse.  I'm saving the listening tests for last!  Now I'm just making some posts so that they'll let me upload pictures to my shiny new account!

 

 I've got Sennheiser HD555's, Grado SR80i's (mods inspired by Kojaku's Killer Grados), old school Fostex T10 orthos, even older Fostex HV/1A's, Koss KSC75's and SportaPros, and some Shure 315's I never use because I can't get used to things in my ears.  I've owned (and mostly broken) Fiio amps, Audioengine D1, DACDestroyer by Hot Audio, and a CMOY.  I run a pair of NHT Absolute Zeros off an old Marantz with a passive sub for my speaker set up.  I mostly listen to FLACs, but have a turntable for my favorite albums.

 

 I buy most of my gear in garage sales or off kijiji, huge fan of anything under $100.  My love of cheap old gear and extremely abusive habits means I've had to learn a few things about fixing and modding.  In fact if you own anything I own and want to know what breaks first I got answers!

 

-Rapier Ape

(Retired Super Villain, current star attraction at Fun Beards)

post #2 of 10
Welcome. Sounds as if you were meant to be here.

Which mods did you try on 80i?
post #3 of 10

Hope it goes well!

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

-This is to answer the question about my Grados.....next time I will use the quotes!

 

I've tried pretty much everything but woodies and a recable, here's a recap:

 

1) Went from comfies to bowls.  For me they are more comfortable, preferred the sound in every way.

2) Punched holes in the back of the driver, went with four out of eight.  This made a big difference in bass.  Not subtle, were I to do it again I'd start with 2 and punch more if I felt they were needed.

3) Removed the buttons (turned into an accidental complete grill removal.  Those things were stuck on good).

4) Removed the little white cloth material between your ear and the driver.  Would not recommend this one.  Any improvement in treble is negligible and I have to keep cutting my hair or it gets in there.  Even long ear hair is a problem.  Don't laugh kids, it will happen to YOU when you get old!

5) Felted the inside of the enclosure.

6) Added dynamat wherever I thought there could be rattles or vibration.

7) Kojaku's Sock Mod, which is detailed somewhere on the internet.

 

I have a friend with a stock set that I occasionally compare to.  The results of these mods are not subtle.  They are very obvious when comparing to stock.  The worst mods were removing the material between driver and ear, and the dynamat seemed to make them sound..... more boring?  The most obvious change in sound was poking holes in the rear of the driver.  Boosts the bass.  But I'd start with 2 and work your way up.  Bass heads might like 8 but I probably would have been happy with 2.  The best mod by far was the sock mod.  It really seems to make them sound more neutral, smooths them out, and even improves the comfort significantly.

 

My Grado's are my most fun headphone.  They are a little bright, and lack the lowest frequencies, but sound great with some types of music, and are actually very comfortable after all the modding!  They are a great entry to modding because you can pop them open easily and it's great to start learning how you can change (and sometimes improve) the sound of your equipment.  Inspired me to take apart everything else!


Edited by RapierApe - 3/7/14 at 9:32pm
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

And thanks Cat with surprisingly large headphones.  As long as no one is killed I'll consider it a success, but it would be really cool if I ended up with something that sounds good!

post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by RapierApe View Post
 

-This is to answer the question about my Grados.....next time I will use the quotes!

 

I've tried pretty much everything but woodies and a recable, here's a recap:

 

1) Went from comfies to bowls.  For me they are more comfortable, preferred the sound in every way.

2) Punched holes in the back of the driver, went with four out of eight.  This made a big difference in bass.  Not subtle, were I to do it again I'd start with 2 and punch more if I felt they were needed.

3) Removed the buttons (turned into an accidental complete grill removal.  Those things were stuck on good).

4) Removed the little white cloth material between your ear and the driver.  Would not recommend this one.  Any improvement in treble is negligible and I have to keep cutting my hair or it gets in there.  Even long ear hair is a problem.  Don't laugh kids, it will happen to YOU when you get old!

5) Felted the inside of the enclosure.

6) Added dynamat wherever I thought there could be rattles or vibration.

7) Kojaku's Sock Mod, which is detailed somewhere on the internet.

 

I have a friend with a stock set that I occasionally compare to.  The results of these mods are not subtle.  They are very obvious when comparing to stock.  The worst mods were removing the material between driver and ear, and the dynamat seemed to make them sound..... more boring?  The most obvious change in sound was poking holes in the rear of the driver.  Boosts the bass.  But I'd start with 2 and work your way up.  Bass heads might like 8 but I probably would have been happy with 2.  The best mod by far was the sock mod.  It really seems to make them sound more neutral, smooths them out, and even improves the comfort significantly.

 

My Grado's are my most fun headphone.  They are a little bright, and lack the lowest frequencies, but sound great with some types of music, and are actually very comfortable after all the modding!  They are a great entry to modding because you can pop them open easily and it's great to start learning how you can change (and sometimes improve) the sound of your equipment.  Inspired me to take apart everything else!

 

Thanks. I stripped the driver of the cloth and like the change. It's marginal--very slight improvements in clarity and the slightest bit brighter. Hairs aren't an issue as I'm using S-cushions. But you've gotten me thinking about that sock mod, so I hope it won't be a problem. The best "mod" I ever did to them was buying a more comfortable aftermarket headband. Eventually, I'll take them apart completely and replace most of the parts with wood and metal.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 

 

Thanks. I stripped the driver of the cloth and like the change. It's marginal--very slight improvements in clarity and the slightest bit brighter. Hairs aren't an issue as I'm using S-cushions. But you've gotten me thinking about that sock mod, so I hope it won't be a problem. The best "mod" I ever did to them was buying a more comfortable aftermarket headband. Eventually, I'll take them apart completely and replace most of the parts with wood and metal.

 

 With the bowls there is a direct path between the driver and your ear once you've removed the cloth material.  I like the sound, but with all my hair, and cats and dogs bouncing around the place, and the vacuum habits of a proud bachelor, I just end up with hairs touching the driver too much.  I can always blow them out, but its a bit of a pain.

 

 As a plus, my immense hair means that all headphone bands are pretty comfortable.  That will not stop me from fabricating some kind of custom leather pad for my Grado's next time I get the modding itch.

 

 And if you get a chance, try out some bowls.  They have quite an effect on the sound, and you can do things like run tape around the edges or cut them in half and sock mod them.  They did a post on Innerfidelity a while back where he measured the effect of various Grado ear pads and mods, and some can change the sound quite drastically.  I liked the taped bowls, but found them uncomfortable.  Kojaku's sock mod makes for the best sounding, and most comfortable pads I've tried on my Grados.  It's a shame you need to buy bowls and then cut them, making it an expensive and non reversible mod.

 

Whenever I get bored with my headphones I pop the Grado's open and mess with them.  Changing their sound helps to alleviate upgrade-itus, which is the bane of the frugal audiophile.  

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by RapierApe View Post
 

 

 With the bowls there is a direct path between the driver and your ear once you've removed the cloth material.  I like the sound, but with all my hair, and cats and dogs bouncing around the place, and the vacuum habits of a proud bachelor, I just end up with hairs touching the driver too much.  I can always blow them out, but its a bit of a pain.

 

 As a plus, my immense hair means that all headphone bands are pretty comfortable.  That will not stop me from fabricating some kind of custom leather pad for my Grado's next time I get the modding itch.

 

 And if you get a chance, try out some bowls.  They have quite an effect on the sound, and you can do things like run tape around the edges or cut them in half and sock mod them.  They did a post on Innerfidelity a while back where he measured the effect of various Grado ear pads and mods, and some can change the sound quite drastically.  I liked the taped bowls, but found them uncomfortable.  Kojaku's sock mod makes for the best sounding, and most comfortable pads I've tried on my Grados.  It's a shame you need to buy bowls and then cut them, making it an expensive and non reversible mod.

 

Whenever I get bored with my headphones I pop the Grado's open and mess with them.  Changing their sound helps to alleviate upgrade-itus, which is the bane of the frugal audiophile.  

 

I'm familiar with the bowls. That was why I hope it won't be problem if I try the sock mod. I prefer comfies to bowls for organ music, which is what I mainly use my Grados for. For metal, I preferred bowls. So I'm willing to try the sock mod as it would seem to be more comfortable than stock L-cushions and to get the drivers close to my ears as they are with the comfies. Is that right?

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 

 

I'm familiar with the bowls. That was why I hope it won't be problem if I try the sock mod. I prefer comfies to bowls for organ music, which is what I mainly use my Grados for. For metal, I preferred bowls. So I'm willing to try the sock mod as it would seem to be more comfortable than stock L-cushions and to get the drivers close to my ears as they are with the comfies. Is that right?

 

 With Kojaku's mod you cut the bowls in half, so the end result is much closer to your ears (though probably a little further then with comfies).  The sock sticks out just a little farther than the ...sponge type material?, so the soft cotton makes contact with your ears.  I also found that it smooths some of the treble peaks without really lowering the overall levels of treble.  They still sound like Grados, but calmer and more neutral.  I'm a big fan of the end result.

 

 I tried to do the sock mod without cutting the bowls, and it gave me a bit of a preview of the sound and comfort, but it works an awful lot better after I cut them and reapplied the sock.  I hadn't really thought of how it moved them closer to my ears, but it definitely did, and that might be part of the reason the sound changed.

 

 I guess if you have bowls and dont really use them, than it's worth a shot.  Here's some of Tyll's thoughts and measurements on the mod:

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/last-call-diy-cans-heres-latest-nick-ns-killer-grado-sr225i

 

 And the mod itself is at the bottom of this page:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/560806/sr60-mod-part-ii/1335

 

And even though my sock mod sounds excellent, it looks much uglier than his.  He might be more patient or talented in his bowl cutting and sock wrapping!

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by RapierApe View Post

With Kojaku's mod you cut the bowls in half, so the end result is much closer to your ears (though probably a little further then with comfies).  The sock sticks out just a little farther than the ...sponge type material?, so the soft cotton makes contact with your ears.  I also found that it smooths some of the treble peaks without really lowering the overall levels of treble.  They still sound like Grados, but calmer and more neutral.  I'm a big fan of the end result.

 I tried to do the sock mod without cutting the bowls, and it gave me a bit of a preview of the sound and comfort, but it works an awful lot better after I cut them and reapplied the sock.  I hadn't really thought of how it moved them closer to my ears, but it definitely did, and that might be part of the reason the sound changed.

 I guess if you have bowls and dont really use them, than it's worth a shot.  Here's some of Tyll's thoughts and measurements on the mod:

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/last-call-diy-cans-heres-latest-nick-ns-killer-grado-sr225i

 And the mod itself is at the bottom of this page:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/560806/sr60-mod-part-ii/1335

And even though my sock mod sounds excellent, it looks much uglier than his.  He might be more patient or talented in his bowl cutting and sock wrapping!

Thanks. It's coming back to me now. He's the fellow who modded the hell out of that 225i. I forgot about that.

Interesting to see the measurements. Of course, the question is what smoothed out the sine wave? The sock mod? the mahogany? And is smoother what I want? Since I can't tell without trying and the cost is minimal, I'll get round to it.
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