I thought I would share this for anyone still using the classic Sony MDR-D55 / MDR-D66 / MDR-D77 Eggo headphones. In my view still amongst the best 'street' cans ever made with impedance that works with ipods / iphones acceptably well. Anyway.... just got delivery of some new pads from Ebay seller wang_yifei who I would highly recommend. Check out the pix
Here are the original tired looking MDR-D77 pads. Obviously completely worn out after nearly 20 years of use. I still kept these on there because they were actually made of better quality leatherette than the replacements offered by Sony.
Here are the box-fresh Sony replacements which are either not as good, because they are for the MDR-D55, or just because Sony reduced the quality over the years. Obviously these are pretty much impossible to come by. These came from Parts Store in the USA about 10 years back and were my last pair of spares, retained for when the pads on all my Eggos finally fell apart completely.
And then I spotted these on Ebay. The top ones are the Wang replacements, which are slightly larger than the Sony spares below in the pic. Also note the surface of the new Sony replacements is starting to crack even though they have never been used....
The Wang ones fitted to the cans. They are not as perfect a fit as the original or Sony replacement ones in terms of the lip that goes into the body of the ear cups, but the foam is thicker and therefore considerably more comfortable over long listening sessions. Also given that these are closed back for listening in public, often with loud ambient noise, they seal the ears and sound in just as well, if not better than the originals.
In fact I think having the extra foam thickness improves the sound stage ever so slightly, as the ears are not quite as close to the transducers in the cups. It will be interesting to see how well the foam bears up over time. Certainly I'm going to order some more as there can only be so many Eggo users still out there, although the cans are very well made and do last well. Which brings me to...
The main design flaw with the Eggos is the materials they were made from. Over the years the plastic gets creaky and this obviously is very annoying if you use them as monitors, their original function, so judicious application of vaseline or similar to keep the headband quiet around the ear cup linkages, is sometimes necessary. A more insurmountable problem is the nextel coating that is on the original D-55 and D-77 models.
This will be a familiar issue to anyone with high end '80s equipment from the likes of Revox, Musical Fidelity, Technics, Panasonic and others. Nextel is a kind of soft textured coating applied to plastics to give them a feeling marketed as being like 'suede'. It's probably better at absorbing sound reflections, but mainly it's just sort of cool, usually in an '80s grey kind of way.....
Unfortunately it doesn't age well unless you are very careful about not subjecting it to constant scuffing. Not a great material to make ear cups on headphones out of then, but of course it's exactly what you find on the MDR-D55 and D-77. To make matters worse Sony decided to include a soft leatherette bag and later a sort of lightweight airtex-like material pouch, as the only protection supplied for storing and transporting the headphones. Obviously this is pretty useless and so when the cans are folded into their headband, packed in a bag, they get scuffed and the nextel gets marked or worse wears off entirely.
Wang to the rescue again as you see above. For the princely sum of 10USD you get a custom made hard plastic case, which is in a sort of textured black woven synthetic fibre, visually reminiscent of the later Sony grey one, but constructed more like Samsonite luggage, which is what you need to protect these valuable and now rare cans. It fits the profile of the headphones perfectly and will hopefully prevent the nextel from suffering further damage.
So obviously I'd recommend anyone with these classic cans to grab these things while they are available.